Albert Mohler: "We should not be surprised that the secular world confuses sinners and sociopaths, prison and hell"

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Todd Bowditch's picture

I definitely appreciated Mohler's comments as they sum up the human condition and inadequacies of human justice.

"We should not be surprised that the secular world confuses sinners and sociopaths, prison and hell. Christians, however, must understand the differences. One need not be a monster, by human definition, to go to hell. The sinfulness of “normal” humanity is quite enough for that."

 

That being said, I think we can safely reject everything Mohler says because of his comments on the Travyon Martin case. I suspect an ulterior motive in this article...perhaps some influences of the liberal media? <read tongue-in-cheek>

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Steve Newman's picture

that Castro just thinks he's sick. 

While "sociopath" crystallizes the secular definition of what he is, what would we say scripturally? His conscience is deadened due to the extent of his sin. He is extremely self-deceived into believing what he did was somehow OK in his world. Probably a lot more!

Julie Anne's picture

Mohler's article about Castro is good.  He says the right words and his article is compelling.  Similarly, he posted a great article about Sandusky/Paterno in 2011 and discussed church's responsibility in handling abuse cases.   But he is easily confused or in great denial or is in sin.

He says:  "By definition, a sociopath is an individual who lacks a moral understanding of his or her own moral actions."

He went on the record publicly against Sandusky/Paterno and the Penn State scandal before the case went to trial.  Yet he says he couldn't say a word about his good friend CJ Mahaney and the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit which dwarfs the Penn State case in numbers of victims and perpetrators involved.  Sandusky was a coach for crying out loud.  He was not caring for people's souls.  The church/school leaders in the SGM case were supposed to be shepherds under the watchful care of Mahaney.  Not only were children sexually violated by perpetrators (some now convicted), but some of them were allegedly violated sexually and spiritually by "shepherds" of people's souls, leaders/teachers within SGM.

Mohler really needs to keep quiet about these kinds of things until he can hold his personal friend to the same standards he holds unbelievers.  Church leaders in positions of authority should be held to a higher moral standard and Mohler has failed.  He still refuses to admit it because of a court technicality.  I find that shameful and lacking moral and spiritual integrity. 

If you are a pastor who has never dealt with a survivor of sex abuse and spiritual abuse by a church leader, or walked with that person as they go through many years of questioning where was God when this kind of atrocity happened, and you defend Mohler, I will have a hard time reading your words.   I'm so tired of people defending Mohler.  Mohler talks about Castro as if he is an expert on these kinds of things.  I find it appalling.  

I have documentation on what I describe above here with links to prove my point.

 

christian cerna's picture

Julie Ann, I agree with you. But unfortunately we must accept that even religious institutions have been compromised by evil people. Much in the same way that politicians can commit crimes and get away with it, or have their crimes swept under a rug, or merely get moved to another government position, so it happens in Churches or religious organizations. It's like being part of a club. Once you reach a certain level in the organization, you are treated differently; you can get away with much, when you have peers willing to protect you.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Here is an interesting article about Mohler.

http://www.thewatchmanwakes.com/John-Macarthur-Al-Mohler-Dever-UN-change...

Christian,

I have some issues with Mohler, but you have to be careful about your sources. When I went to the home page of the site you linked, this was the lead article:

The Demonic Power of the Small Group

“The power of the ‘small group’ was addressed by a comrade of Maslow, Dr. Carl Rogers, as he saw that moving from traditional religion to the small fellowshipping groups would culminate in ‘God will be dead and buried.’”

Why is your pastor ushering you into a small group? In order to understand what's happening in your church then read What is the Church Growth Movement?

This kind of kookiness is epidemic among right wing, IFB types, and they are not trustworthy sources of critique on anyone. This guy has determined that both Mohler and MacArthur are unsaved, false teachers. While I may not be in complete agreement with these men, I would hardly consider them false teachers. That kind of stuff is ridiculous. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Here is an interesting article about Mohler.

http://www.thewatchmanwakes.com/John-Macarthur-Al-Mohler-Dever-UN-change...

Christian, this article is conspiracy theorist drivel with a heavy dose of right-wing narcissism. I hope that you do not take is as serious scholarship.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

christian cerna's picture

How is it drivel if it has facts that you can verify yourself?

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

How is it drivel if it has facts that you can verify yourself?

The following are some quotes from the "article." The author cobbles together some random information and then makes a conclusion that isn't even logically supported by that information. The information that he accessing occasionally touches reality, but his peculiar notions of theology have derived unwarranted applications from that information.

Since John Macarthur invites Dr. Mohler to speak at his church, most Christians would assume he’s a true Christian.

I'm guessing that he doesn't think Mohler is a true Christian. It is ridiculous to make that claim. It is contrary to Scripture to make that claim..especially on the basis on which the author develops his conclusions.

Widely sought as a columnist and commentator, Dr. Mohler has been quoted by the N.Y. Times, The Wall St. Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post, among others. He's appeared on many national news programs such as the “Today Show”, “Dateline NBC” and “The News Hour with Jim Leher.” Clearly, he has a close relationship with the Satanic press.  Dr. Mohler also spoke at the 1998 EMNR (EVANGELICAL MINISTRIES TO NEW RELIGIONS) conference.  Go here to learn about the evil of EMNR.

I don't know about you, but this reeks of several types of crazy to me. The press is not satanic. It is human. It is secular. Mohler is castigated because of the author's warped understanding of the media. A statement like this indicates to me that the author is playing with a less than complete deck.

Since all NGO’s must be in agreement with the UN agenda, and since that agenda includes the destruction of biblical Christianity and the creation of Satan’s one-world government with the emergence of the anti-Christ, one wouldn’t expect to find any church denominations with NGO status. But expectations can be wrong. The amazing fact is that many, if not all, of the major church denominations have been granted NGO status by the UN, and therefore, are all on board with the UN anti-Christ agenda. To give one example of this, years ago, I was urged to “trick or treat for UNICEF” (United Nations Children’s Fund) by the local United Methodist Church. The UMC serves the UN agenda as an NGO. This church/NGO encouraged “trick or treating” because it helped finance UNICEF.

See my above comments. The United Nations is not the anti-Christ. The fact that the ERLC of the SBC is an NGO of the UN is mind-numblingly unimportant. To paraphrase one of my favorite movies, "Truly, this man has a dizzying intellect." To which he responds "I'm just getting started!" He summarizes by stating that most of the churches are actually ushering in the anti-Christ! And all of this is being accomplished by by 8 year-olds dressed up as Luke Skywalker with plastic jack-o-lanterns full of candy. Like I said...all kinds of crazy going on here.

Dr. Land wants Christians to be “radical change agents committed to the common good.” This is clearly the language of Communitarianism and the dialectic process. A change agent's purpose is to get others to compromise their Biblically-held truths for the “common good.” Like Tom Patton, the former Guild pastor, Dr. Land also “boldly casts” this “vision.”

Just to be clear, the author of this article believes that Christians should not be agents of change for the benefit of others....James 1:27...nuff said. This is a clue to me that the author does not have an understanding at all of what a Christ-transformed life should look like as it interacts with other believers and in the world.
 

Now I'll summarize some of inanities for sake of space. Dr. Land is the president of a committe on which Mohler serves. That committee has friendly relations with other ministries that may or may not be as Gospel focused as we would like, thus, Land is a reprobate. Mohler continues to serve on that committe...thus Mohler is a reprobate. MacArthur lets Mohler preach at his church...thus MacArthur is a reprobate. The author of this "article" is taking a very strong stand on 5th degree separation. What's scary to me is that that whole connection apparently makes sense to the author...but wait, there's more...
 

This very disturbing fact hasn’t prevented John Macarthur from inviting Richard Land’s close associate and subordinate, Al Mohler, into his church every year. Recall that John Todd stated that all members of the CFR believe that Lucifer is god supreme.

I don't know who "John Todd" is...but I doubt that he is qualified to speak on the personal religious opinions of everyone in the CFR. Again, that phrase "believe that Lucifer is god supreme" sounds like the bats are a little loose in the belfry. I'm guessing John Todd is this guy (http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Rock-n-Roll/john_tod...). If so, I'm even less enthusiastic about his opinions.

It appears that John Macarthur has also now found common ground with Christ's enemies.

Huh?

Those who cite Dr. Mohler's firing of liberals at Southern Seminary as evidence that he must be a “true brother in Christ” fail to understand that in creating a “conservative renaissance at the SBC,” they have created a successful “front” organization; for a successful front organization will have a label or an appearance that is to the far extreme of what the organization really does. This is why Communist front organizations are called “People for the American Way” or “Students for a Democratic Society.” If the SBC had a "left-wing" label or appearance, then it couldn't draw the Christian, right-wing community into globalism.

This little nugget explicitly states that the revival of the SBC is actually an intentional and organized attempt to deceive Christians into thinking the SBC is conservative. Then, the SBC will drag them down and make them...<drum roll>... democrats, communists, and liberals...eagerly anticpating the antichrist. I find it to be high form of blasphemy to say that God's work in the affairs of our world is actually the work of Satan. I can only remember one time in Scripture in which Jesus addressed that willful blindness to God's work...and Jesus wasn't in favor of it.

At its very core, the "article' is a string of third degree connections. The "facts" that he uses as his foundation do not prove what he's seeking to prove...that's why its drivel. His conclusions are for the most part non-sequiturs. For instance:

The CHBC website states that the CHBC is “A Southern Baptist church since its founding... CHBC is in friendly cooperation with the causes of the SBC.” The symbol for CHBC includes a “shield cross.” The “shield cross” is a Masonic symbol.

What is the point of his statement? That Capitol Hill Baptist Church is affiliated with the Masons? No intelligent person would accept that line of reasoning. It is possible that it is merely a completely random statement that's not intended to prove anything.

"Dr. Dever has written a book entitled “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.” Though I have not read this book, I have read an article written by Dr. Dever on his website entitled “How to change your church.” The first sentence of this article states, “Change is necessary.” This statement is a declared paradigm shift and basically a declaration of war against God."

Change is not a "declaration of war against God." Change of itself is due to the fact that we are finite beings in a fallen world. The church has been changing from the very beginning. That's why the Jerusalem church looks different than the blended churches of 64 A.D.

 

 

So, in short, yes. This article is drivel. It is puerile, simpering, obscurantist, ignorant drivel. It is the deranged ramblings of a man who is out of touch with Scripture and its connection to the world that we live in. The author fails to logically develop his points while at the same time failing to arrive at rational conclusions.
 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Todd obviously read further than I did, have covered some of the material about Dever. I can say, I have read 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. I have passed it out to friends. I have taught it in Sunday school. I have (and do) fully endorse the biblical content it contains. I am sitting here looking at my copy of the book. Here are the nine marks (changes) Dever advocates churches adopt (change to): expositional preaching; biblical theology; the Gospel; biblical understanding of conversion, biblical understanding of evangelism; biblical understanding of church membership; biblical church discipline; concern for discipleship and growth; biblical church leadership. I cannot find the nefarious influence lurking there - I agree that churches all across the land would be wise to return to these core values. Anyway, not piling on you personally Christian, just passing along some added information. I think Todd has been kind to identify the article as drivel - that seems a little benign to me. 

 

Now, going back to Julie's point that led down this rabbit trail. I have to agree. I respect much of Dr. Mohler's work, however, I do not understand why he is so willing to take these strong (and I believe biblical) stands in respect to worldings like Sandusky and Castro and refuse to take the same stand with a professing Christian who claims to be a leader in the church. "It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17).

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Julie Anne's picture

"Here are the nine marks (changes) Dever advocates churches adopt (change to): expositional preaching; biblical theology; the Gospel; biblical understanding of conversion, biblical understanding of evangelism; biblical understanding of church membership; biblical church discipline; concern for discipleship and growth; biblical church leadership.I cannot find the nefarious influence lurking there - I agree that churches all across the land would be wise to return to these core values."

I've read some of the 9Marks writings and some of these ideas are troublesome to me.  I am concerned that while the basic principles may seem to work as a guideline for good and decent shepherds, they also may give license to those pastors who are heavy-handed in authority and ruling over their congregants.    We need to be wise in turning to core values in the Bible, not core values of Dever and 9Marks - just sayin'.

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Julie,

I'm sure you didn't intend to post a hit and run, but that is what you have done. Which of the 9 marks of a healthy church, as espoused by Mark Dever, do you find to be unbiblical?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

christian cerna's picture

I think who a person chooses to associate with does indeed affect their ability to present the Gospel. For example, if I were a minister, and I was part of a religious group of which Obama was a member, I think many Christians would see that as suspect. After all, Obama is openly in favor of homosexuality and abortion. 

So how is it different if a well known minister is associated with a group that is part of the UN- which functions with a questionable agenda? It certainly isn't a Christian agenda. 

Greg Long's picture

Dever's stuff is about as biblical as you can get. If you're concerned about abuse of authority, you'll definitely want to go with Dever's views on church polity, as it is a balance of plurality of elders and congregationalism.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

I think who a person chooses to associate with does indeed affect their ability to present the Gospel. For example, if I were a minister, and I was part of a religious group of which Obama was a member, I think many Christians would see that as suspect. After all, Obama is openly in favor of homosexuality and abortion. 

So how is it different if a well known minister is associated with a group that is part of the UN- which functions with a questionable agenda? It certainly isn't a Christian agenda. 

Christian, do you actually have any idea what the ERLC is?
http://erlc.com/

 

The ERLC advocates for religious liberty around the world. They actively work to oppose resolutions that limit religious liberty:

http://erlc.com/article/erlc-100-plus-groups-oppose-united-nations-defam...

http://erlc.com/article/critics-blast-u.n.-panel-religious-vote/

 

The ERLC refuses to participate in projects that compromise their religious identity as Baptists and Evangelicals:

http://erlc.com/article/land-cut-u.s.-funding-to-uns-population-fund/

Coincidentally, the "evil" Dr. Land spearheaded that opposition and "bragged" about it on the webpage.

 

Furthermore, the ERLC recommended that the US refuse to ratify a UN Ruling unless an appropriate amendment was made to explicitly exclude abortions.
http://erlc.com/article/ltr-to-rubio-and-sen-re-disabilities

 

Similarly, the ERLC condemned the UN ruling that limited parental righted and expanded governmental rights. At that time, only the US and Somalia had refused to ratify that ruling....the ERLC was strongly advocating that the US refuse to ratify that ruling.

http://erlc.com/article/erlc-treaty-threatens-parental-rights

The ERLC is not a puppet of the UN. The author of the "article" has taken part of a truth (that the ERLC is recognized as a legitimate lobbyist/charity by the UN), and twisted it into something that it does not mean. The ERLC has consistently stood for biblical values...even in the face of opposition by the UN. The author of the "article" has manufactured lies. He is has manipulated facts to arrive at unjustified conclusions.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

I think who a person chooses to associate with does indeed affect their ability to present the Gospel. For example, if I were a minister, and I was part of a religious group of which Obama was a member, I think many Christians would see that as suspect. After all, Obama is openly in favor of homosexuality and abortion. 

So how is it different if a well known minister is associated with a group that is part of the UN- which functions with a questionable agenda? It certainly isn't a Christian agenda. 

1. Associations can, but do not necessarily affect Gospel ministry. However, that ministry must in some way conflict with Gospel Ministry. The ERLC promotes religious liberty. They have never compromised the Gospel. They have not engaged in any actions (to my knowledge) that conflict with Gospel.

2. The ERLC is not a religious group, it is a political action institute that assesses political issues and disseminates them to members of the SBC so that the members can be informed. I think that politics and religion are distinct topics, though often connected.

3. President Obama claims to be a Christian, He was a long-time member of  UCC congregation. His current chaplain is Southern Baptist. Here is his description of his beliefs in his own words:

"I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals."

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/104-32.0.html?s...

Christian, does this mean that you will stop calling yourself a Christian? If you are a Baptist, will you stop calling yourself a Baptist? The fact is that your statement is difficult to apply consistently. You may call yourself a Republican, but a Republican senator just had an affair with an intern. You shop at Walmart, but so do sex-offenders. Where does this hypersensitivity to associations end? Often time when associations and "nth-degree separations" come up in conversations, people have no desire to actually consistently practice it.

My question is: "Do you consistently practice your statements of separation and associations? Or are you just looking for a reason to not like someone?" If you are consistent, then I applaud you for that, though certainly I do not share your views.

4. The ERLC is not part of the UN. It is recognized as a legitimate group by the UN.
In a direct quote from the UN website:

"NGOs can give their opinions on social and economic matters, but in the powerful political organs-- the General Assembly and the Security Council -- they did not get a role."

http://www.globalpolicy.org/un-reform/ngos-9-25/31833.html

The ERLC has "Special Consultative Status"
http://esango.un.org/paperless/reports/E2010INF4.pdf    (pg 26).

Following is a lengthy quote explaining what an special consultative NGO actually is:

"Eligibility, Categories and Rights of Categories

To be eligible for consultative status, an NGO must have an established headquarters, a democratically adopted constitution, authority to speak for its members, a representative structure, appropriate mechanisms of accountability and democratic and transparent decision-making processes. Organizations established by governments or intergovernmental agreements will not be considered NGOs. The basic resources of the organization shall be derived in the main part from contributions of the national affiliates or other components or from individual members.

The new arrangements retain categories of consultative status, which distinguish between different types of NGOs. They can apply for two types of consultative status. "General" status is reserved for large, international NGOs whose area of work covers most of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC. NGOs that have competence in only a few of the fields of activity of ECOSOC are eligible for "Special" consultative status. These replace Category I and Category II respectively, of the original resolution 1296. NGOs that do not qualify for consultative status with ECOSOC, or that have consultative status with a UN specialized agency, can be included on the ECOSOC roster. The roster lists NGOs that ECOSOC or the Secretary-General considers can make "occasional and useful contributions to the work of the Council or its subsidiary bodies."

There is a fundamental distinction between NGOs in consultative status and those on the ECOSOC roster. NGOs in consultative status have a political relationship with ECOSOC and therefore have rights and obligations, while NGOs on the roster can contribute only upon invitation. NGOs in general and special consultative status have the right, among other things, to designate authorized representatives to be present at public meetings, submit written statements, and make oral presentations.

In addition, NGOs with general status have the right to propose items for the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. These NGOs also have the right to address ECOSOC; NGOs in special consultative status can only address ECOSOC in the absence of a subsidiary body dealing with the same topic. No provision is made for NGOs on the roster to address ECOSOC.

The actual rights of NGOs in the different categories differ from the rights established by the original resolution 1296 in one important respect: participation arrangements in both ECOSOC and its commissions and other subsidiary organs "may be supplemented to include other modalities of participation." While not as explicit as some had hoped for, this principle does provide flexibility for the UN to continue building upon innovative practices such as government-NGO panels, dialogues, briefings and hearings."

http://www.globalpolicy.org/social-and-economic-policy/social-and-econom...

Basically, the ERLC is permitted by the UN to have a voice on particular topics in which they are interested and qualified to speak. The ERLC has a track record of supporting human rights and religious liberty. The only voice, participation, or requirements for the ERLC deal with issues in which the ERLC has a distinctly Christian presence. They are the equivalent of religious lobbyist group that attempts to influence policy within the United States legislative system. In fact, the ERLC does lobby for human rights and religious freedom within the US!

 

5. You are correct in stating that the UN does not have a Christian agenda. But, the United States does not have a Christian agenda. Whatever gym you might be a member of does not have a Christian agenda (unless you are a member at the YMCA, but even that only has a limited Christian agenda [at best]). I have no expectation that any of the aforementioned groups would have a Christian agenda. They are run by worldlings for the benefit of worldlings.

The fact is that Christians are not called to only participate in distinctly Christian organizations. Paul exhorted the Roman believers to interact with their sinful government as good citizens. Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to be careful (but not totally avoid) eating meat that was slaughtered in pagan temples and sold behind the temples. Paul told Ephesian believers to be good servants and good slave-owners. All of this is in the Bible to show us that it is the responsibility of believers to live consistent Christian lives within the world that we are a part of. The entire point of Romans 12:1-2 is that everything in life can have spiritual meaning...not because it is inherently spiritual, but because believer can use it as an opportunity to glorify God.

As best as I can tell, the ERLC is attempting to influence government in such a way that it will protect the rights of humanity and believers. God is glorified when believers try to impact others with the life-changing power of the Gospel. Men like Mohler, Moore, MacArthur, and Dever have a God-given opportunity to have wide influence. They are not perfect, but they are doing the best that they can. They don't do everything that way that I do things...but they are NOT my enemies. They are friends of Christ and of his kingdom. Stop "forbidding others to cast out demons" merely because they aren't exactly like you. Paul praised God that the Gospel was preached (Philippians 1); he didn't care that it was in that case being done for the wrong reasons...he rejoiced that God was glorified and that the kingdom was increased. You can criticize men without devaluing the work that God has done through them.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

Btw, actual scholarship requires that the author research and understand the topic from primary sources. For instance, information about the ERLC is obtained directly from their website and their own public statements. The author of the "article" most frequently (or only) quotes secondary sources. He quotes someone else's opinion of the primary source as if it is the actual statement by the primary source. It is academically disingenuous to misquote someone or intentionally mischaracterize their statements.

The second step of scholarship is to synthesize the data into a cohesive statement that is borne out by the source materials. It is the author's job to comprehend the material for what it is and to clearly state it. This is the point at which random tidbits of information should be eliminated if they do not contribute to the point of the article. It is also helpful to structure the content in a way that is persuasive and flowing. Logical fallacies should be avoided at all costs.

 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Julie Anne's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Julie,
I'm sure you didn't intend to post a hit and run, but that is what you have done. Which of the 9 marks of a healthy church, as espoused by Mark Dever, do you find to be unbiblical?

Chip, I am happy to explain.  I need to break it up into 2 comments because of length.

 

Here's an example of something I find troublesome at 9Marks:  their guidelines on church membership.  What exactly does the Bible say about church membership?  Not a whole lot, yet 9Marks has a whole lot about it.  Where did all of that come from? 

Here is an article explaining some of their thinking on members who leave churches:  Pastors, Don't Let Your People Resign into Thin Air.

 
I would first like to address an overall tone that I find prevalent at 9Marks.  What do you think an average church member will think when they read that title?  Look at the word "let" -   it implies that a pastor is the one who decides, not the congregant.  Once again, pretend you are a congregant when reading the following excerpts and see if you can read an underlying tone that church leaders own church members:

When a church releases a member in good standing,

WHY YOU CAN’T LET PEOPLE RESIGN INTO THIN AIR

When your church made that person a member, you were declaring to the world that this person belongs to the kingdom of Jesus (Mt. 16:18-19). By regarding this person as a member, your church affirmed that he is indeed a “brother” in Christ (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

If someone tries to resign mid-process in order to “escape discipline,” should the church just let them go? Of course not. That would defeat the whole point of church discipline. Instead, the church must retain the right to refuse someone’s resignation and send them out another way—through excommunication. 

The upshot of all this is that a church should not accept a member’s resignation who is not doing what Christians do—in this case, regularly assemble with a church.

 

 

I thought pastors were to guide their people, being servant leaders, not rule over.  That is a topic all on its own.  But I thought it was important to observe the overall tone first.  This is the prevailing tone at the site, that pastors rule over congregants.   I realize I'm probably stepping on some toes by saying this, but if you (in general) are feeling defensive by my words and perhaps because I'm a woman bringing this subject up, I'd like to challenge you on this authoritarian position.  If pastors are modeling after Christ, they are servant leaders.

I am aware that a lot of pastors participate at this site. I want to be sure that this message is clear:  I am not at all against pastors/shepherds.     I am against spiritual abusers or what scripture refers to as wolves.  Because of this tone and pretty strict guidelines on membership/discipline, etc, I think 9Marks could be very attractive to spiritual wolves who are control-happy and care more about being in charge rather than guiding sheep.

Most pastors who have studied scripture in Jude, 2 Tim, Matt 7 know very well the dangers of spiritual abusers/false teachers.   I recently read that one of the top 10 professions that appeal to narcissists are pastors.  We know from scripture the dangers of false teachers and God shows his grief about the harm it causes His sheep and what He will do to spiritual wolves in Ezekiel 34.  Scripture also says that wolves creep in unnoticed and devour.  They deceive.  The behavior of false teachers/wolves in scripture matches up with behavior of narcissism.   Even if pastors were in the top 20 professions for narcissists, that still paints a very sad picture for the health of some of our churches and for the people within them.

 

Julie Anne's picture

Part 2 of my response to Chip:

 

So now, let me explain why I have problems with the 9Marks brand of church membership, discipline, changing churches.  I'd like to explain in story form.  

 

Patty is a single middle-aged woman going to a church with a bona fide spiritually abusive pastor.  She had difficulty with some of the teachings at church and questioned an elder.  The elder told the pastor about it (elders are instructed to tell the pastor of any kind of 'dissension” among the ranks).   

Patty's church is an independent church. Her church is connected with 9Marks.   Her pastor has 2 elders, but they are yes-men (truth be told, they are afraid of the pastor).  They have never questioned him or challenged him on anything they have seen over the many years they have served as elders.  They remain silent on any issues of concern.  

The pastor has no one over him to hold him accountable.  He is spiritually abusive, twists scripture in order to gain more authority over members, and uses his authority in ways that are intrusive in the private lives of church members.   Patty decides that she must leave and so she quietly leaves Grace Church and finds Pastor Nate's church.  

Pastor Nate's church is part of 9Marks and knowing the guidelines set up by 9Marks, he appropriately asks Patty which church she recently left.  She tells Nate, "Grace Church, from across town."  Nate knows the pastor of Grace Church.  He's a likable guy.  Pastor Nate has run into him at various events in town and knows him by name.  He had recently seen him at his son's soccer game, but they were supporting opposing teams, so they waved to each other as they passed the concession stand.

When Patty tells Pastor Nate that she left Grace Church, Pastor Nate tells her she must go back and tie up loose ends at Grace Church before he will allow her to stay at his church.  Patty then reluctantly tells Pastor Nate that her pastor from Grace Church was spiritually abusive.  She really had hoped to not bring that subject up. 

Pastor Nate doesn't know Patty, but he's known the Grace Church pastor casually for 5 years.  Surely this could not be.  This pastor couldn't be spiritually abusive.  There surely is a misunderstanding.

Who is Pastor Nate going to believe?  Patty, whom he doesn't know from Adam, or the pastor whom Pastor Nate has known casually for 5 years?  Most likely Pastor Nate will believe the pastor, after all, both churches are connected and committed to the 9Marks practices, so the Grace Church pastor can't be that bad, right?

What does Patty do now?   Patty is having a hard time trusting anyone in church authority at this point, but she knows the Bible tells her she needs to be meeting regularly.  She likes Pastor Nate and his church.  It is solid biblically and it feels safe to her.  She wants to stay there, but Pastor Nate says she must go back to Grace Church.  

 

Patty thinks to herself that maybe the spiritual abuse was in her head (spiritual abuse victims often justify the abuser's behavior - similar to a domestic violence victim).  She convinces herself that maybe she does need to repent of her sins with the pastor at Grace Church (Patty hasn't sinned, she's been spiritually abused.  Victims often unknowingly set themselves up to re-victimize themselves.)  

She goes back to Grace Church.   Now, because the pastor found out that she left his church and went to Pastor Nate's church, she is put into church discipline for not following the proper membership rules (sanctioned by 9Marks).  She is excommunicated and shunned by the church members (the pastor sometimes stretches the rules)- and all of her friends she has had for the last 8 years abandon her.  She is completely alone.

Where can Patty go now?  If she goes back to see Pastor Nate, he will tell her he cannot receive her because she is in church discipline from Grace Church and needs to repent.  The pastor from Grace Church called Pastor Nate.  They at first made some small talk about common connections, but then he told Pastor Nate the story of Patty's divisive behavior.  The story was compelling to Pastor Nate.  How could Patty have been so dishonest with him?  (She was completely honest.  The wolf was pulling the wool over Pastor Nate's eyes.  Honing in on their mutual connections and experiences the wolf built a level of intimacy and trust and Patty's "divisive character" was an easy sell.).  

Chip, this is not a far-fetched story when it comes to spiritual abuse.  This is the type of story that I get in my blog’s e-mail.  Even you (and any pastor reading here) are not exempt from being fooled by a wolf.  Unless you personally know what is going on in someone's church (you won't know that unless you are part of it intimately), if you go by 9Marks guidelines of connecting with pastors of previous churches, you may mistakenly align yourself with a wolf and inflict harm on people by adhering to those guidelines. 

 

Chip, I’d be happy if my blog could shut down.  It’s only been growing and it’s because of stories similar to this.  People want to be in church, but church leaders are sometimes unknowingly working along side a spiritual wolf who is destroying lives.  I get some of those broken pieces of people saying:  what next?  where can I go?  who can I trust? 

I know this comment is very long, but I hope I have shown you a different side worth considering as you consider aligning with some kind of 9Mars system where precious sheep can slip through the cracks and be left abandoned and shattered like Patty.

Todd Bowditch's picture

Julie Anne, I sympathize with the story that you have related...if the particular are not real, they are at least accurate.

However, I believe that the issues that you mention highlight the abuses of pastoral authority more than the present a critique of 9Marks.  The first pastor, at least, has compromised his spiritual authority...frankly, it doesn't matter whether he is 9Marks or Hyles Anderson, he is not fit to be a pastor. He would be just as spiritual abusive if he was affiliated with another ministry.

The hallmark of 9Marks church leadership is that a plurality of equal elders provides balance in the leadership of the church. Certainly at some level, there is a single person who provides the ultimate vision and leadership, but every other elder of the church is qualified and expected to challenge any poor or unspiritual decisions. That is the type of eldership that 9Marks tries to encourage. It abhors "yes-men."  Every church that tries to follow 9Marks will have their problems.  But that reflects the inconsistencies of humanity more so than it reflects on deficiencies in the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. We have to avoid the fallacy of evaluating a philosophy by the worst of its adherents.

The second issue that you address is church membership. Dever advocates an engaged and responsive church membership. obviously, there is a lot built into church membership today that was not foreseen by the New Testament authors. However, the principles remain that church members should edify each other, encourage each other to good works, challenge each other on sin, and discipline for unrepentant sin. If applaud churches that can consistently practice these pillars of the church without a formalized membership. Most churches have found it easiest to implement some structure in their membership for organizational, administrative and legal purposes. But the point of the New Testament church is that the congregation is comprised of mature and maturing believers who take the initiative in these tasks. As leaders come to the forefront, they are recognized as elders. The nature of elders is that they are chosen by the congregation to provide leadership and direction. Thus, church leadership (and a plurality of leadership) is merely an outgrowth of proper congregational leadership.

Again, this is how the New Testament church should ideally operate. In practice, things are not as smooth. Situations like the ones that you mention are far too common.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Julie Anne's picture

 

Todd said:

The first pastor, at least, has compromised his spiritual authority...frankly, it doesn't matter whether he is 9Marks or Hyles Anderson, he is not fit to be a pastor. He would be just as spiritual abusive if he was affiliated with another ministry.

Yes, precisely.  But as my story illustrates, this wolf may not be known, so he is actively devouring.  9Marks may even have the wolf's church linked/listed on the 9Marks member churches.  9Marks wouldn't know he's a wolf just as "Pastor Nate" didn't know.  I'm just saying that 9Marks may have a nice and tidy system in place, but it is not foolproof.  People can and will slip through the cracks and I tell you, as much as I like the idea that my blog is reaching an audience, to see it grow concerns me greatly.  

 

"Every church that tries to follow 9Marks will have their problems.  But that reflects the inconsistencies of humanity more so than it reflects on deficiencies in the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church."

I don't know, Todd.  The language and authoritarian vibe I get sounds over the top to me.  It sounds like a business or political system attempting to bring people under their control and dominion.  There's far too much focus on hierarchy rather than bringing people to Christ.  You do not see this heavy authority emphasis in scripture.  I believe it is man's obsession with control and IMHO a breeding ground for control freaks/spiritual wolves who creep in unnoticed. 

Most churches have found it easiest to implement some structure in their membership for organizational, administrative and legal purposes.

Case in point with your quote above - just replace the "churches" with the word "business."  Yikes.  

Where's Jesus in all of this "business?"

If you were talking about all of this stuff regarding an organization or business, I'd be rocking and rolling with you.  With too much focus on business, I mean church structure, Jesus and the sheep are getting lost in the shuffle.  

 

 

 

Julie Anne's picture

I thought of something else -  didn't Dever put together this 9Marks thing?   9Marks may be the cool thing as far as bringing structure and order to church governance, but I'd like to bring something to your attention.  I believe Dever talks out of both sides of his mouth.  

I know those are some fighting words and you guys are probably squirming in your seats because I'm a woman challenging.  Hang on, though.  Tell me this.  Why was C.J. Mahaney allowed to take refuge at Dever's church while he went on his leave of absence?  CJ was being challenged by SGM leadership about his pride and heavy authority, etc.  It was supposed to be a time of reflection.  The normal policy at SGM if a pastor was under question, he would be to remain at the church under SGM leadership.  CJ would never have allowed any of his pastors to leave SGM while taking a leave of absence.  Why did CJ get to bend his rules?  Furthermore, why did Dever allow him to do this?  Dever knew what was going on.  

I'm sorry, but if someone is going to be a church leader and establish rules/guidelines for governance, then they better be adhering to polity themselves.  Even if SGM had different polity than 9Marks, Dever, as a church leader known for proper handling of discipline issues, should have known not to involve himself in his friend's affairs.  Dever should have referred him back to the already established polity and church leaders at SGM.  Dever (along with Mohler) gave Mahaney a free pass.  This is ridiculous.  (And lest anyone not be familiar with the SGM lawsuit all while CJ Mahaney was at the helm, here it is.  Read at your own discretion.  Strong trigger alert for sex abuse issues.)

This kind of thing along with my first comment in this thread about Mohler's hypocritical moral high ground is what people are seeing - hypocrisy in church leadership.  Someone needs to own up to it because they are making a mockery of Christ with this kind of behavior.  

 

 

Todd Bowditch's picture

Julie Anne wrote:

 

Todd said:

The first pastor, at least, has compromised his spiritual authority...frankly, it doesn't matter whether he is 9Marks or Hyles Anderson, he is not fit to be a pastor. He would be just as spiritual abusive if he was affiliated with another ministry.

Yes, precisely.  But as my story illustrates, this wolf may not be known, so he is actively devouring.  9Marks may even have the wolf's church linked/listed on the 9Marks member churches.  9Marks wouldn't know he's a wolf just as "Pastor Nate" didn't know.  I'm just saying that 9Marks may have a nice and tidy system in place, but it is not foolproof.  People can and will slip through the cracks and I tell you, as much as I like the idea that my blog is reaching an audience, to see it grow concerns me greatly.  

 

"Every church that tries to follow 9Marks will have their problems.  But that reflects the inconsistencies of humanity more so than it reflects on deficiencies in the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church."

I don't know, Todd.  The language and authoritarian vibe I get sounds over the top to me.  It sounds like a business or political system attempting to bring people under their control and dominion.  There's far too much focus on hierarchy rather than bringing people to Christ.  You do not see this heavy authority emphasis in scripture.  I believe it is man's obsession with control and IMHO a breeding ground for control freaks/spiritual wolves who creep in unnoticed. 

Most churches have found it easiest to implement some structure in their membership for organizational, administrative and legal purposes.

Case in point with your quote above - just replace the "churches" with the word "business."  Yikes.  

Where's Jesus in all of this "business?"

If you were talking about all of this stuff regarding an organization or business, I'd be rocking and rolling with you.  With too much focus on business, I mean church structure, Jesus and the sheep are getting lost in the shuffle.  

 

Julie, I'd say that we're at an impasse here.

1) You don't like the tone of the 9Marks material...I can't help that or answer that. I don't get the same vibe that you do. I doubt that we'll reconcile our positions on that.

2) You don't like certain levels of organization and structure. I'm assuming that you do like to have some level of organization in your church, you prefer it to be at somewhat of a lower level than 9Marks discusses. Again, I can't argue with you on that...I believe that membership has responsibilities because Christians have responsibilities toward each other. I see Paul having specific instructions for who leads churches, how they lead churche, and what they lead cchurches to do. All of this seems very organized to me. If it "sounds like a business" to you, then I doubt that we'll reach a consensus on this either. It is the church's business to reflect Christ.

Please understand that I am not denigrating your positions. I don't think we disagree on the objective principles, I think we disagree over the subjective applications (or levels of applications).

 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

Julie Anne wrote:

I thought of something else -  didn't Dever put together this 9Marks thing?   9Marks may be the cool thing as far as bringing structure and order to church governance, but I'd like to bring something to your attention.  I believe Dever talks out of both sides of his mouth.  

I know those are some fighting words and you guys are probably squirming in your seats because I'm a woman challenging.  Hang on, though.  Tell me this.  Why was C.J. Mahaney allowed to take refuge at Dever's church while he went on his leave of absence?  CJ was being challenged by SGM leadership about his pride and heavy authority, etc.  It was supposed to be a time of reflection.  The normal policy at SGM if a pastor was under question, he would be to remain at the church under SGM leadership.  CJ would never have allowed any of his pastors to leave SGM while taking a leave of absence.  Why did CJ get to bend his rules?  Furthermore, why did Dever allow him to do this?  Dever knew what was going on.  

I'm sorry, but if someone is going to be a church leader and establish rules/guidelines for governance, then they better be adhering to polity themselves.  Even if SGM had different polity than 9Marks, Dever, as a church leader known for proper handling of discipline issues, should have known not to involve himself in his friend's affairs.  Dever should have referred him back to the already established polity and church leaders at SGM.  Dever (along with Mohler) gave Mahaney a free pass.  This is ridiculous.  (And lest anyone not be familiar with the SGM lawsuit all while CJ Mahaney was at the helm, here it is.  Read at your own discretion.  Strong trigger alert for sex abuse issues.)

This kind of thing along with my first comment in this thread about Mohler's hypocritical moral high ground is what people are seeing - hypocrisy in church leadership.  Someone needs to own up to it because they are making a mockery of Christ with this kind of behavior.  

Julie Anne, Your statements spawn a number of topics. Some of them can be interpreted charitably based on the information we know.

1) The nature of Mahaney's attendance at CHBC and what discussion Dever had with him about it. The 9Marks comments deal specifically with church membership, not church attendance.

2) Whether Mahaney's church recommended that he attend elsewhere during the crisis. This is a demonstration of how biblical eldership should occur. The elders of the church challenged Mahaney on the issues and forced him to take a leave of absence. It is possible/likely that they requested that he take time away from the congregation. In this event, Mahaney would have resolved the issue to the satisfaction of the congregation and he would be eligible for church membership elsewhere.

3) Whether Dever did refer Mahaney back to his own church. However, there is no indication that Mahaney's sought to join Dever's church. Mahaney visited the church of one of his good friends for a period of time. To my knowledge, Mahaney was not running away from issues at Covenant Life in opposition to the consensus of the elders and congregation. 9Marks does not advocate sending away visitors; it does tell churches to value membership and not allow people to just run away from unresolved issues. This is in regards to whether Dever was being hypocritical.

4) Whether Dever and or Mohler have personally challenged Mahaney over the issues at SGM.  It does seem very likely that they encouraged Mahaney to withdraw from the upcoming T4G.  http://t4g.org/cj-mahaney/   Because they have been friends for years, I would expect them to have some faith in him. All of us have friends that have been accused of wrongdoing and we have hoped and believed the best of them. That does not mean that Mahaney is innocent, but I can understand their loyalty.
 

In regards to the church membership issue, I think Dever has been consistent with the policies that he recommends. At the very least I think there is room for interpreation of the events to be in accorance with the policies.

As to the lawsuit:

Obviously you are familiar with the joint statement released by Mohler, Dever, and Duncan.  I can pretty fairly ascertain your view of it.

http://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/05/23/mohler-dever-and-duncan-issue-statement-in-support-of-c-j-mahaney/

I do refer you to Tim Challies' blog. I think he clearly expresses my thoughts and prayers in this matter.

http://www.challies.com/articles/thinking-biblically-about-cj-mahaney-an...

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Greg Long's picture

Julie Anne wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Julie,
I'm sure you didn't intend to post a hit and run, but that is what you have done. Which of the 9 marks of a healthy church, as espoused by Mark Dever, do you find to be unbiblical?

Chip, I am happy to explain.  I need to break it up into 2 comments because of length.

 

Here's an example of something I find troublesome at 9Marks:  their guidelines on church membership.  What exactly does the Bible say about church membership?  Not a whole lot, yet 9Marks has a whole lot about it.  Where did all of that come from? 

Here is an article explaining some of their thinking on members who leave churches:  Pastors, Don't Let Your People Resign into Thin Air.

 
I would first like to address an overall tone that I find prevalent at 9Marks.  What do you think an average church member will think when they read that title?  Look at the word "let" -   it implies that a pastor is the one who decides, not the congregant.  Once again, pretend you are a congregant when reading the following excerpts and see if you can read an underlying tone that church leaders own church members:

When a church releases a member in good standing,

WHY YOU CAN’T LET PEOPLE RESIGN INTO THIN AIR

When your church made that person a member, you were declaring to the world that this person belongs to the kingdom of Jesus (Mt. 16:18-19). By regarding this person as a member, your church affirmed that he is indeed a “brother” in Christ (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

If someone tries to resign mid-process in order to “escape discipline,” should the church just let them go? Of course not. That would defeat the whole point of church discipline. Instead, the church must retain the right to refuse someone’s resignation and send them out another way—through excommunication. 

The upshot of all this is that a church should not accept a member’s resignation who is not doing what Christians do—in this case, regularly assemble with a church.

 

 

I thought pastors were to guide their people, being servant leaders, not rule over.  That is a topic all on its own.  But I thought it was important to observe the overall tone first.  This is the prevailing tone at the site, that pastors rule over congregants.   I realize I'm probably stepping on some toes by saying this, but if you (in general) are feeling defensive by my words and perhaps because I'm a woman bringing this subject up, I'd like to challenge you on this authoritarian position.  If pastors are modeling after Christ, they are servant leaders.

I am aware that a lot of pastors participate at this site. I want to be sure that this message is clear:  I am not at all against pastors/shepherds.     I am against spiritual abusers or what scripture refers to as wolves.  Because of this tone and pretty strict guidelines on membership/discipline, etc, I think 9Marks could be very attractive to spiritual wolves who are control-happy and care more about being in charge rather than guiding sheep.

Most pastors who have studied scripture in Jude, 2 Tim, Matt 7 know very well the dangers of spiritual abusers/false teachers.   I recently read that one of the top 10 professions that appeal to narcissists are pastors.  We know from scripture the dangers of false teachers and God shows his grief about the harm it causes His sheep and what He will do to spiritual wolves in Ezekiel 34.  Scripture also says that wolves creep in unnoticed and devour.  They deceive.  The behavior of false teachers/wolves in scripture matches up with behavior of narcissism.   Even if pastors were in the top 20 professions for narcissists, that still paints a very sad picture for the health of some of our churches and for the people within them.

 

Julie, according to the CHBC Constitution, members can only be removed from the church by discipline with a 2/3 vote of the congregation at a members' meeting. So the elders can't just kick people out of the church on a whim.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Julie,

Todd (and Greg) covered this well. The problems you describe are not endemic to 9 marks. In fact, they are mitigated (albeit not perfectly eliminated). Neither of the pastor's you use for a foil make good representations of 9 marks churches, or of Dever for that matter. As Todd identified, the problems you bring up are very real, but they are not inherent to 9 marks in any way.

Regarding your take on the vibe, you are walking on thin ice. You are judging the attitudes behind the writings. Furthermore, while there must certainly be a servant's heart and balanced leadership, you seem to forget verses such as 1 Timothy 5:17, where pastors who rule well are commended for double honor. That is a very specific word in the Greek. It doesn't portray the whole pastoral picture and is certainly not a proof-text for pastoral tyranny, but it does add more teeth to the pastorate than you seem willing to acknowledge. (There's also Hebrews 13:17 where believers are commanded to obey their pastors using the same word as in the Ephesians 6:1 command for children to obey their parents)

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Julie Anne's picture

Obviously you are familiar with the joint statement released by Mohler, Dever, and Duncan.  I can pretty fairly ascertain your view of it.

What joint statement released?  Do you mean the one that was released on Facebook that garnered 100+ comments and they took down (removing all the comments - mostly negative calling them to account)?  The one that was then altered without proper notification?  The one that was put back on the T4G website?  The one that was then taken down again with no public notification?

Yes, I have some views of it.  

If you put that link at the Wayback Machine, you can find 2 versions listed:  http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://t4g.org/statement/

What kind of integrity does this show integrity from Mohler, Dever, Duncan?   Is this forthright and honest leadership?  Or are they covering up and backtracking for their friend?  What would God say about their behavior?

While Christian men in "high places" turn their eyes to this kind of behavior, there are other eyes watching.  

If you'd like to read comments that were removed from the real original statement on Facebook, someone took a screenshot.  Unfortunately, you can't expand all of the comments, but you can see very clearly that many eyes are on these guys and evidently they didn't like the honest feedback.  Why not?  Are church members not allowed a voice?  

  

 

 

Julie Anne's picture

Todd:   Thank you for your response.  I agree that we are at an impasse with regard to subjective info.  

I do think there are guidelines with regard to church governance in scripture, but not to the fine detail as worked out in 9Marks.  So that means to me it is man's interpretation which is far from perfect.

You say it is the church's responsibility to reflect Christ.  I agree.  It is my hope and prayer that church leaders continually put that goal as #1 far before governance/polity issues.

Re:  your 2nd post on Mahaney taking leave of absence at Dever's church.  I have read a lot at the SGMSurvivor site where people have posted specific polity and information regarding this situation.  It would be too difficult to wade through that again, but I do have sources who may be able to find something, but it would take some time, most likely days to get a response.  I will ask around and report back if I get more specific info. 

I do refer you to Tim Challies' blog. I think he clearly expresses my thoughts and prayers in this matter.

I have problems with Challies' non-response.   An appropriate response for TGC would be for them to remove him from the speaking circuit at a minimum.  This is a great response.  One would think that Christian leaders should have more moral integrity and thoughtfulness than those in secular society - - even if they are innocent.  Remember, Mahaney wrote the book on Humility.
 

 

 

Julie Anne's picture

Julie, according to the CHBC Constitution, members can only be removed from the church by discipline with a 2/3 vote of the congregation at a members' meeting. So the elders can't just kick people out of the church on a whim.

That's good and seems very reasonable as long as those rules are adhered to by honorable and upright church leadership.  These rules are not foolproof.  Case in point:

We were told we were excommunicated 3 wks after we left the church when the pastor and his 2 elders came to our door with a recording device.  Not too long later, we found out that we were in church discipline and shunned.  We still don't know why as we never had any meetings with any elders (before we left, we had meetings that we initiated, but regarding other issues).

Today a blog reader told me that my former pastor/church is listed at the 9Marks website.   I'm appalled that anyone can type in 97006 at the 9Marks site and be referred to a spiritually abusive "pastor" who sued 5 former church members and also had his license revoked.  

Here is an article I wrote on the anniversary date of the ruling in our favor describing what has been going on behind the scenes.   

 

Julie Anne's picture

Chip said:

Furthermore, while there must certainly be a servant's heart and balanced leadership, you seem to forget verses such as 1 Timothy 5:17, where pastors who rule well are commended for double honor. That is a very specific word in the Greek. It doesn't portray the whole pastoral picture and is certainly not a proof-text for pastoral tyranny, but it does add more teeth to the pastorate than you seem willing to acknowledge.

I didn't forget that verse, it simply was not part of the discussion.

(There's also Hebrews 13:17 where believers are commanded to obey their pastors using the same word as in the Ephesians 6:1 command for children to obey their parents)

You would have no way of knowing this, but let me share something with you.  On my last Sunday at my abusive church, one of the elders sat at the back of the church and read that specific Heb passage over and over again.  He used it inappropriately in an effort to exert his position over me, most likely to guilt me into "behaving" and to stop questioning his authority.  (I was questioning them about our friend, staff employee, who was abruptly fired.  We were told we could ask questions.)  Because of that negative experience, I did a study on that particular verse.  The word "obey" does not mean the same way we use it in English.  

 

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