Abuse of Faith

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77 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    “Think of these pastors as entrepreneurs…business men who have planted and invested themselves in something they believe they have ownership of and will allow no outside control over.”

    When I posted this link in Open Blogging, I indicated a “trigger warning”… with cause. What is described, starting from the top down, is devastating. At least among the RCs we may see some accountability with resignations and court actions. Among the SBC, because of your observation which I quoted, only a diminished “market share” will effect any change whatsoever. As you are preparing for Anglican ordination, I know you have already gone through an extensive background check. Next will be psychological evaluation by a qualified psychologist, board certified with a terminal degree. Lastly you will receive training on recognizing and reporting signs of abuse. This is standard. I’m afraid that the issue among independent Baptist (and other) churches is systemic and not a matter of isolated incidents.

  2. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Even with the extensive background checks and training, some bad guys get ordained…we own the fact that we can’t eliminate the possibility of bad people getting in.

    We do take the precautions we can, however…it boggles the mind that this isn’t a Christian standard.

  3. JM says:

    Strangest Thing. This popped up in my “inbox” after I sent you an email regarding it. There was a time when people would blush over these things and take action. People don’t blush anymore and they certainly don’t quit supporting these perverted ministries.

    In recent times, we here have had quite a discussion about the state of the church at large and, as often happens, about the troubled and immoral history of Calvary Chapel. We have been in difficult passages that highlight the progression of sin and came up with a question that needs to be asked. In many cases of unrestrained immorality it leads to other, even more heinous sins, such as murder. We were wondering if you, or anyone else, has knowledge of an abortion being necessitated by the adulteries of any of the Calvary Chapel pastors who committed such sins? (This is a logical question based upon Biblical patterns of sin’s progression.) I suppose the next question might be if any of these pastors remain pastors in the CC system–even if they are not serving in the congregation where their sin was committed?

  4. Michael says:

    JM,

    I don’t have any knowledge of such, though my guess would be that it has happened.

  5. JM says:

    Thank you for your answer, Michael. Your answer is absolutely reasonable.

    The fact that sexual license was pervasive among CC’s leadership and that biology means that a baby can be made each time one of these perversive leaders acted in “license”, means that the odds that no single incident ever resulted in pregnancy are too high to be possible. That makes it impossible that no baby was ever conceived. Therefore, I feel safe in adding murder (infanticide) to more than probable outcomes of the unchecked, sexual sin in the CC camp. It is something that God will not leave uncovered forever, however.

  6. Patrick Kyle says:

    Saw a comment on another blog concerning this article. The commenter urged people to report these incidents directly to law enforcement, circumventing the church/denomination leadership entirely, given their horrible record of covering it up. Once Law Enforcement is involved, the church will have no choice but to deal with it publicly. We need to have Zero Tolerance policies in place in all our churches and denominations regarding these crimes.

  7. Michael says:

    Patrick,

    I’ll say the amen…

  8. JM says:

    Patrick Kyle–you are absolutely right!
    I was dumb enough to assume the best about the church and believe they would be appalled and surprised at the news of such gross abuse in their camp. Not so. The same sick toleration of incredible sin is also evidenced here by the SBC. I think leaders, by virtue of the leavenous view of power they receive in their positions, assume they are above Scripture and reason and become their own gods of a sort. Perversion among church leaders is an epidemic and, sadly, typical now.

  9. Em says:

    Perversion indeed! How many of these imposters cover their sin saying that they are “just like David?” They aren’t.
    God forgives a humble confession of sin, but He doesn’t wink … and He for certain doesn’t say, “That’s just My boy…”. IMNSHO, of course. 🙎

  10. Babylon's Dread says:

    Yes, zero tolerance, report everything, hide nothing. Baptist churches are pretty uncompromising with sexual sin. Once discovered I have never seen the person survive public ministry without at least a break. By sexual sin I mean those acts involving other than a spouse (and in certain cases involving the spouse). It is no doubt a problem and issues live to be faced. These high profile figures are outliers in terms of what outcomes can be expected.

    45,000 churches over 20 years and 700 victims, I’ll say it. Those numbers are not even close to dramatic. There is no hint in my comment that it should not be reported, punished and adjudicated, but it is not a compelling reason to dismiss this movement.

    Sensationalizing sin has become the purview of arenas other than churches, that’s an interesting phenomenon. And I am sure I’ll be boiled in oil for admitting the obvious. These problems exist in every facet of culture the church is not different.

    We do background checks on all hires and all employees and all volunteers who have access to vulnerable people. We report all miscreant behavior and I support the move to do better and clean it up. I’m just not going to burn down the house to clean out the rats.

  11. Reuben Mills says:

    Good article, while it still blames the wrong things. I got all excited right up until “The people in the pews.”

    The very nature of what religion is makes the people in the pews powerless. You are ordained by god to present the scriptures, an apostolic miracle that transcends humanity, it makes you holy and right. You can say whatever you want, Michael. I know you well enough to suspect you would indeed be the last person on earth to leverage god’s word for power over a person, but you know what the dynamic has created, and it is entirely Christianity’s fault. There is nobody else to blame.

    I read the article, and it only reminded me of the good old days when I was a heretic in Calvary Chapel for denying the autonomy of the pastor, or the church. I always knew it was the Petri dish of abuse. I knew this because I grew up a pastor’s kid, and watched my father fail at the same madness. He realized what you did, that it will not change, and it will never change.

    Wanna know the definition of an anti-theist from an anti-theist? God made this possible, and he continues to do so in his apparent silence to anyone but those ordained. I have no respect for god. The end. Further more, he made a supreme example of himself to lay the foundation for what he calls the church today, what with all the genocide, let alone the disdain for the woman species. e literally made those things law. We just lock step with it because we are not god, and we are not Levite, so what recourse does one have? Are the ordained going to fix this under instruction of the almighty god? Michael, you and I both know that equates to being defrocked, and exiled. This phenomena is not limited to Christianity by any stretch. Islam has the same problems, made possible by that god, so do Jews, so do Hindus, and one likes to pose the question, what exactly is religion doing to ALL OF HUMANITY in its many glorious and terrible denominations? They are exceedingly proficient and killing each other and killing their own. I would cite the Russian Orthodox Church because I know she is going to call me hogwash yet again. I would also cite Henry VIII.

    Religion breeds this nonsense. I am no longer surprised by it’s acts of loving kindness, that surprise left me when I was a pastor.

  12. Em says:

    Pastor Dread, a voice of reason… Don’t burn the house down to get rid of the rats? Amen! ! !

  13. Babylon's Dread says:

    It’s always slightly fascinating to see how surprised, and angered people are to find out things that God told us not to be surprised about and to guard ourselves against and to overcome them.

  14. Reuben Mills says:

    Dread,

    “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

    Dare I ask? What test? We live in a theocratic capitalistic society that denied it’s very foundations to exalt god. How has god’s ordained tested you? How are you tested as god’s ordained? How does the evils perpetrated and perpetuated by the church test the man of god? What fire? What is there to overcome? It seems there is just fear in general, at what exactly, nobody is quite sure, but you are ready for “it”? How are you guarded? You don’t molest children? Does that set you apart as a really really ordained man of god?

    “and the moral authority of the church will be a joke repeated by an unbelieving world”

    Truer words have never been spoken. You can’t blame me for it. I reject the god, the moral authority, and the church for reasons specified in this article, and countless other reasons which outlining in historical truth will only get me banned, because none of it is “written”…

    “These problems exist in every facet of culture the church is not different.” The grand default “it’s not my problem” sword is pulled from its scabbard and wielded once again, as if to say “Christianity has faults, but look at you godless heathens… ” That’s the thing that will get you boiled in oil in the real world. No anti-theist, atheist, or agnostic I have ever met would be found on all fours with scum leveraging god to take advantage of people. In fact, we stand profoundly and proactively against it. The power you have is your fault, not mine. I do not give one single god the time of day in my life. If god asked, I would be inclined to place my knee squarely in his nether regions, and not waste a word whilst walking away. I have no structure that compels me to believe that abuse in the church is a fiery trial I must endure. The mere thought makes me tremble with rage, because it makes you unaccountable entirely.

  15. JM says:

    Here’s something in the category of life being weirder than fiction.
    It may go to the issue of problems in the pews as well.
    https://christiannews.net/2017/02/04/pastor-caught-in-adultery-with-members-wife-fleeing-naked-wont-resign-since-hes-already-forgiven/

  16. Em says:

    Reading Reuben’s post has me thinking… I grew up in my grandparent’s home. He was a retired Nazarene minister, one of the founders of the denomination, but they had raised their children when he was a minister in the holiness movement. My mother and one uncle rationalized away god after the manner of Reuben as they observed quite a bit of duplicity in the Pentecostal movement. I think, in their case, however, it was the demands of sinless living as taught by the holiness people… too close to teaching grace for salvation, but strict obedience after? …. Dunno
    Do we need more understanding of Lucifer, the trickster? … Dunno … Maybe
    Not wanting to start a new religion – not at all – but i do think we underestimate our role in this human drama… I think it is being played out for reason we won’t understand this side of the grave. as opposed to the religious practices and games in world history, the Judeo-Christian history, the true one is not a religious exercise; of that i am convinced.

  17. BrianD says:

    Michael, you are right. Nothing will change. It’s either someone else’s problem or the pastor is a good guy who’s done some bad things or the remaining pastors were led astray or I really could care less since it’s not my problem or they deserved it or….

    Just like America, the church is not as godly as it presents itself to be.

  18. Randy Davis says:

    First of all, anyone who has knowledge of sexual abuse needs to report it to law enforcement. In Louisiana I am legally obligated to report any child abuse that am aware of. Twenty plus years ago we developed a child protection policy along with other churches in area. We took it to a lawyer to make sure we got it right. We did background checks on anyone, staff or volunteer, who worked with children-including me. We also required every Sunday Class have at least 2 adults in the room. It was hard to get teachers to understand the need for two adults in the classroom.

    In pastor selection, Baptist churches have desired educated ministers. That offered a small weeding out process. But lately we have the rise of uneducated, untrained ministers and that is taking a toll. All ordination is done by the local church level, so there is no way to require a psychological screening of candidates for potential ministers.

    For Southern Baptists it has to be done at the local church. After the revelations cited by the article (much of the material is old) there was a effort to get local churches to set up policies of protection and to follow them. The problem is that church members don’t care enough to do it. State conventions and associations do help but it is the local church that has to act. I don’t know if people are ashamed to talk about or are lazy or just don’t care.

    I think that the SBC could keep a list of convicted sexual criminal ministers. Conviction is a public record. But churches have to do the due diligence. Churches are still naive about predators. Narcissistic predators are very believable people. And every church and denomination can fall victim.

    I don’t know if it has always been this way. I’m sure it has to some degree. But I thinking that internet pornography has not helped. I wish I knew more answers.

  19. kmom says:

    My mainline church had such an incident involving a leader and someone else’s wife. The church president reported it to the congregation (the pastor was out of town that weekend). The recommended action, removing that leader from staff and requesting that he find another church, received quite a bit of blow-back from the congregation. People spoke out to support the leader, saying that we are supposed to forgive them, for all have sinned. It felt kind of blame-y toward the woman involved and to the cong president who revealed it. People left over it. The leader did leave, and is no longer working in ministry (but is teaching elsewhere). I wondered if some of those that pushed forgive and restore where also wanting that for themselves. It was hard for them to understand that a person in leadership in the church needs to hold a higher standard.

  20. JM says:

    kmom–I think you have hit upon something. I have heard others opine that the reason people put up with such egregious behavior from their pastors is because it justifies a whole host of unconfessed sins such as adultery and other perversities committed in their own lives. In a case like the one of which you were a witness, kmom, as well as similar situations many of us have suffered through in church, there is something we have to be wise enough to consider. It may not be the noble idea of “forgiveness” that people were really worried about, but rather the cloak this “forgiveness” of the pastor gives to them for their own ungodly behavior. In essence, if the pastor can remain in the pulpit after all that he has done with little consequence, then they won’t have to suffer for what they have done either. No consequence and no repentance. Now that’s a recipe for great moral character and God’s favor! Not!

  21. Captain Kevin says:

    Maybe the fact that my dream of pastoring never came to fruition is actually the Lord’s way of protecting a group of people, including myself. Idk.

  22. Outside T. Fold says:

    I send out thoughts of compassion and wishes of support for all those for whom this is ax extremely painful, triggering moment. What happened to you was wrong. It is not your fault. I believe you.

    I am steeling myself to even read the article. It may take several short sessions of reading to make it through.

    Two things (in general) about sexual abuse inside the church.

    I served on a jury for a small, spanish-speaking protestant church in the greater LA area. The church was dealing with a major abuse of trust with one of the men who was an elder. He (trigger warning) placed a digital video camera inside a spare speaker (think amplifying audio) that was stored in the small women’s bathroom, and switched it on for the duration of the Sunday morning church service. I remember thinking that the church did the right thing when they found out what this man had done. They said, This is a matter for the police. Given how churches tend to bury the deed and rally around the erring clergyman, the way the elders handled the matter seemed different, and welcome. (Then again, every female parishioner of that church was his victim.)

    Reading William Lobdell’s Losing My Religion, the memoir of the Orange County-based LA Times journalist who covered the church beat. Lobdell described some shady dealings by well known clergy/mini, thinking that people would welcome sunlight to expose unsavory behavior by the famous ministry personalities so that the org could clean house and get back to what it was doing. Surprise! The readers did not welcome sunlight and rallied around their big ministry guy. Lobdell with the LA Times was sent materials that led him to cover the emerging Roman Catholic Priest Abuse matter as it unfolded on the West Coast and Alaska. Again, the people stayed true to the priests.

    That book taught me a lot about how local congregants and regular watchers of TV ministry shows choose to remain deluded, even when someone comes along to tell a carefully-vetted story of harm, abuse, and bullying. I fully expect that when I read the Houston Chronicle’s story, it will be carefully and well-told. It will be devastating and painful in the extreme. There is, on the one hand, a careful eyewitness account by the journalist. The debate here over the untapped power of the people in the pews, and whether a group of people will lead themselves, or will they follow their pastor over a cliff. I do not have high hopes.

    In the case of #MeToo stories, while one woman telling her story falls into the void of silence, because one woman is not to believed (because reasons, because misogyny), the telling of the same story again and again and again by multiple women tends to break through the “she is lying” screen. At this point, with all the other church abuse stories coming to light, will we see a similar phenomenon, where the overwhelming numbers, on top of previous stories, will bring change? Maybe. Probably not. I certainly hope I am wrong, and I hope that people act in a way to seek wholeness for themselves.

    I send out thoughts of compassion and wishes of support for all those for whom this is ax extremely painful, triggering moment. What happened to you was wrong. It is not your fault. I believe you.

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    BD

    “45,000 churches over 20 years and 700 victims, I’ll say it. Those numbers are not even close to dramatic.”

    They are currently concentrating just on incidents in Texas. I’m afraid when the investigation spreads to other states (encompassing the 45,000 churches) the numbers will be very dramatic. This is just the beginning.

  24. JM says:

    Duane, scary but absolutely true.

    I wish all denominations who will not clean out their own house would be exposed. Remember how God rebuked Judah because they thought they were not as bad as Israel? Good luck to other denominations who stupidly think they are safe or “better” than the SBC. It would be better if they all did the right thing on their own. Because they will not, God will use secular authorities to do what they rebelliously and willfully neglected. There will be no grace from the secular authorities and that’s appropriate. Leaders who had the power to do good and stand up for the abused in their congregation have, instead, sullied the name of God and hurt their own brethren by their assent to perverse sin in the camp–not to mention their blindness to their own sniveling cowardice. If these complicit leaders complain–I will be deaf and make popcorn. For the congregants who were too lazy or involved in chasing their brand of materialism or rationalizing their own sin–again–popcorn. People have lost the fear of God and deliberately overlooked that there is a sin of omission. They should have done right when they had the chance. Today, like every day, is a good day for public repentance. Crickets is what you will likely hear from all quarters, though.

  25. Duane – That doesn’t seem to be correct:
    ” We found complaints made against hundreds of pastors, church officials and volunteers at Southern Baptist churches nationwide.

    We focused our search on the 10 years preceding the victims’ first call for a registry and on the 10-plus years since. And we concentrated on individuals who had a documented connection to a church listed in an SBC directory published by a state or national association.”

    Nevertheless, this is God’s work. May justice reign.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    I was going by what the reporter said this morning in an interview on NPR. He indicated that while they dealt with nationwide complaints, they focused on Texas… I was confused, as well, in terms of the scope of the initial reporting…

  27. Jerod says:

    On one hand I think it is high time
    On the other I wonder if it is SJW’s shooting us all in the feet with information we already know.

    Either way, it’s one more nail in our coffin as the church.
    As you said a few days ago, Michael, the problem is in the Pews.

    There is a low-view of the word of God and so a low expectation of our church leaders and the discipline of them.

  28. Jerod says:

    Each church needs to deal with these issues appropriately, quickly, according to the prescriptions in the Bible (have nothing to do with them) and in conjunction with the authorities God has placed over us. Otherwise we are bringing judgement on ourselves

    which will *really* suck

  29. Jerod says:

    Def holding those two opposing hands in tension.

  30. Michael says:

    I was writing about this stuff before the term “SJW” was ever heard of…because I love the church and the people of God.
    I guess I should be happy that it took 24 hours to politicize the matter…

  31. Outside T. Fold says:

    I wonder if the reason that the humans who tend to be dismissed using the term ess jay double ewe came to be a group because they are people who are and have been on the receiving end of harmful and abusive acts such as the ones that are the topic of this post.

  32. Michael says:

    OTF,

    I think that’s a good observation…

  33. bob1 says:

    I find the term SJW to be insulting. Justice is a huge deal in Scripture.

    I also find that it’s almost always folks on the hard right who use it.

    Says more about them than anything else.

  34. Outside T. Fold says:

    Thanks, Michael.
    (also, having a hard time with no edit button, above at 10:12 pm last night. Ax? Ax? I meant acts of not ax of. yikes. I need to write shorter comments.)

    The most outrageous ess jay double ewe statement of all time: “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

    I have found it instructive to change the word “welcome” to other words, focusing on behaviors that the more powerful people do to those who have less power. When the Roman Catholic clergy abuse stories were coming out in the early aughts, I did that and substituted that short, four-letter anglo-saxon verb beginning with the letter f. We are back to this again, Southern Baptist Leadership. Whoever f***s one of these little children in my name also f***s me, and whoever f***s me does not f*** me, but [f***s] the one that sent me.

    That Jesus of Nazareth has some pretty strong things to say about the least of these. The people who are listening and saying something about it? I’ve got a great idea! Let’s dismiss them and call them ess jay double ewes! High-five, guys! Great work, everyone.

  35. Outside T. Fold says:

    Narrator voice:
    OTF did not write a shorter comment.

  36. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Thats very informative…I’ll be addressing this thread later in Things I Think…after Trey school…

  37. Of course all the heads are saying all the right stuff today.

    But every single one of them covered for CJ Maheney, so there’s quite a blind spot here.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    I’ve seen the same “blind spot” among Anglicans, RCs, Orthodox, Lutherans and Evangelicals… It’s a tragedy and a scandal.

  39. filbertz says:

    part of the issue remains that for so many, is that intellectual assent to theological statements (doctrinal statements) without an expectation/demand for changed attitudes and behavior sinks the ship. People will go to the wall for their “beliefs” but slink away when it comes to actions.

  40. Jerod says:

    It took 24 hours to politicize an issue that is both political and spiritual? Let’s not pretend it wasn’t political before. You’ve written about the politics of #churchtoo.

    At any rate, no offense to anyone, bob. I didn’t say SJW’s were a bad group as a couple tried to imply. Those were words y’all stuffed in my mouth. I simply wondered if that was the driver.

  41. Jerod says:

    I’m holding the two thoughts in tension

    I agree with filbertz

  42. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    I started writing on church abuse in 2001…started this blog in 2002…

  43. Michael says:

    fil nailed it…

  44. Jerod says:

    Michael, yes I know. I guess I don’t understand where we are in conflict

  45. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    The conflict is that I’m sick and tired of people imposing their political worldview on every issue and distorting the issues until they’re unrecognizable.

  46. Jerod says:

    I’m getting sick of writing this and hearing myself. Ugh.

    I know that the main driver is the actual abuse but it doesn’t seem to be the driver behind the study because it’s taken …. how many years?

    Btw, whatever happened with that young gal and the alleged kidnapping/rape at Masters? Disproven, met with a yawn??

  47. Em says:

    Someone here observed that the problem being discussed has crept into the churches mirroring the secular world… sadly, i think that is the problem it in a nutshell
    that’s a strange phrase – in a nutshell… walnut? peanut? pecan? Does that make it a kernel of truth?
    Reading in Numbers this morning i was, once again, struck by how cavalier we are today with the holiness, the absolute holiness of God…
    Doesn’t it appear that we pew sitters have elevated strong human traits to a place where God doesn’t put them? Personality/charisma above understanding and devotion to this God of grace and mercy? This God of absolute holiness?
    PhxP is sounding a wake up warning
    And for those who say that they gave up on God because of abuses they suffered or heard of in church, i have to say, sadly, you may have tasted “religion,” but you never got close enough for God to get a hold on you …. Look again, listen for His voice… evidently He’s found in unexpected places today … Anglican, Orthodox even Lutheran gatherings 😇

  48. Jerod says:

    Michael, well I apologize I didn’t mean to. Maybe the issue is that the incoming data about these issues is confused a. By the glasses we wear perceiving reality, b. The nature of the internet self, and c. Truth is often very relative betwixt the two.

    By the way, I am very very very close to the issue itself. So there’s a bit of insight on my part. That doesn’t make it Paramount but it’s worth something

  49. Outside T. Fold says:

    filbertz, thank you for your important perspective.

    Jerod, I appreciate your clarification on ess jay double ewe term, and holding two things in tension. I apologize that my posts had the impact of a pile-on, building on a misunderstanding of Michael’s 24 hours comment. I apologize that my posts imputed to you an intention you did not have. I tried to generalize the discussion with different spelling and a remote, disembodied third-person voice. I failed to make it clear that I was gesturing thataway outside this thread but also coinciding with general events nowadays, and I failed in my intent and brought you harm. I am sorry.

    . . . .

    The term ess jay double ewe is ⚡️high voltage. ⚡️I am currently reading Dr. King’s final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community . I’m in chapter 2, which is entitled “Black Power.” When Dr. King and others were using the slogan Freedom Now, others used a slogan Black Power— another ⚡️ high voltage ⚡️ term, introducing a rift into the mid-20th century Freedom Movement. King starts a very deep and considered (50 pages!) discussion by noting that semantics includes meaning in a strict sense, as well as all the connotations the term receives as it is used. (Oh, hello 2019 ess jay double ewe!) As I continue reading, I will be bearing this present day ⚡️⚡️⚡️term in addition to the current-then, prescient-now writing of Dr. King.

  50. Reuben Mills says:

    2 quick things.

    First, I came to this blog originally to fight Michael’s attitude against the then infallible Calvary Chapel, and his heretical beliefs regarding TULIP, and came a second time as a full blown pastor in CC because he was dead right on every single point he ever made, and I had witnessed what he described and much more.

    Second, dang right SJWs are motivated to speak out against the very things they have seen happen, as I said, I was one of those people.

    I don’t think people realize what a threat Michael was, and is to Calvary Chapel. I used to moderate and write on a closed Calvary Chapel Pastor’s blog named Simpleminded Preacher (named that way on purpose to jab at Michael) and I bet they have endless threads discussing damned near every post he puts up, because we sure did as much 7 or 8 years ago. There are very very few pastors in CC who will listen to Michael without first waving the defending dove flag in ignorant protest.

    ok, a third thing… politicizing abuse in the church is BS. I have known extremely right leaning and extremely left leaning pastors wallowing in the same mud, and getting off clean and clear every single time. Names we have all heard as a matter of fact.

  51. Michael says:

    Rueben,
    I don’t think they talk much about me anymore, although one of them did an obituary on me a few months ago.
    He’ll be surprised at how much life is in me if I ever meet the fat (expletive deleted)…

  52. Reuben Mills says:

    😀

    I think you told me about that a couple months ago, and I will take one guess at who wrote it, and I will be right

  53. Michael says:

    Reuben,
    I’m sure you would be.
    Hope you’re well, my friend.
    Back to schoolwork…back later.

  54. Jerod says:

    OTF, thanks

  55. Em says:

    Doubke U … Brought back a memory… we moved from Calif. to Kansas and i had to give my last name to someone… It begins with ‘W’ and she wrote down UU.. turns out back there they pronounce the ketter W doubleyah

  56. Linnea says:

    The more I read about abuse in the church, it seems to boil down to 2 Tim. 3:2, which starts with being a lover of self. And our society sure encourages being a lover of self.

  57. Jtk says:

    This seems a little too cynical.

    Changes do occur, even though it may be far slower amongst Baptists😂😂.

    People do speak up, in private (Matthew 18:15), and changes do occur. They may not get publicized. Our outrage culture moves on.

    Often the private appeal is dismissed, and people (congregants) vote with their feet.

    Each type of church government has its own strengths and weaknesses.

    You mention church authority beyond the local church. While “independent” churches cannot deal with things as you suggest, that is NOT to say other approaches do not or cannot work.

    Whether it be fellow pastors, people in the community or congregants, appeals can be, and often are, made. Many times, situations are properly explained, many times leaders make appropriate changes, and many times leaders refuse to change and God deals with them directly (in small to frightening and large ways)….

    ….just like He deals with fathers and husbands, that have no real other authority over them, other than the criminal and civil courts systems. Those systems cannot force a husband to be kind, compassionate and understanding. They cannot force a father to throw a ball with their sons.

    But think of how often we fathers have listened to appeals of a friend or fellow congregant when appealed to!

    May it happen more and more, amongst church leaders and families!

  58. Jtk says:

    (1). Definitely law enforcement has to get called.

    I’m interested in knowing the Anglican process as you go through it, Michael.

    You might be surprised to know how many tiny churches go through pretty strict background checks and put in place best-policy-and-practice in these matters.

    Of course, as you and other point out, slick folks who do damage rear their ugly head regularly and nauseatingly often.

    (2)
    Reuben, you stated how you’ve given up on God and all these things.

    While PP exposes these things done, we need to consider how we can make right the wrecks.

    Virtually all in ministry are helping those victims, and I can’t IMAGINE how people can be helped apart from God. Ohhh I’m all for secular counselors, doctors and everything else, but the trauma these victims go through is so bad, I can’t imagine dealing with it apart from God.

  59. Reuben Mills says:

    Jtk,

    I contend the assertion that “Virtually all” is not anywhere close to the truth. I state that as a former insider on countless abuses witnessed first hand. As has been stated here before from numerous people aside from myself, the problem only snowballs once exposed. People are always amazed at how widespread the problem really is with each wave of confirmed allegations.

    An exposure incites others to expose, and so on. It’s how Bill Cosby was brought down, and the same applies in virtually all abuse situations. Example, seemingly nobody knows that Bob beats his wife Sally until someone says something, and miraculously (or not) everyone always knew Bob beats Sally, but was afraid to say anything.

    I have been to depths of ministry that I don’t want to discuss. The trauma in seeing abuses go unpunished alone is worth thousand and thousands in counselors and various tried and failed drugs. I have only begun to uncover the true trauma to myself, and am in therapy with a psychologist who diagnosed me with severe PTSD that causes me to harm myself, which I did for 7 years trying to literally drink myself to death, and I almost did.

    Dealing with this with a god is something that I tried, and I can not overemphasize that.

    Part of my problem was, and is that I taught people to be slaves to this system using what I wholly believed to be correct doctrine, and what many here would consider to unquestionably correct doctrine. The guilt in that after 12 years of preaching is something that I doubt most people will ever begin to understand, and it is a daily struggle. I believe Michael is one of the few that I trust in this matter, I know some of what he has seen, and he knows a lot off

    Only weeks ago, I came into contact with some pastor’s kids at a former church I co-pastored at. The stories of their life are crushing. Crushing. All of them have either secretly or openly rejected god and the church, and contacted me to tell me that after almost 7 years of zero contact.

    I can not tell you the pain I have endured in life protecting a god in any of what I have experienced. I wanted to die, and if it were not for intervention of the secular world to place me in a lockdown detox facility, pumping me full of drugs to counteract massive withdrawal seizures and anti-psychotic meds, I likely would be dead. I knew full well when I left the pastorate and left the church that I was going to drink to ease the pain. I became an alcoholic of my own free will. It was the only perceived legal means of suppressing a catastrophically failed life, and I openly and unashamedly blame god. These days, therapy is helping me more than I could have ever imagined, and I no longer drink.

    For every abuse, I point to scripture to explain exactly why the abuse came to be, and why it was covered. I blame god for teaching me things that I in turn taught to others, things that ruined their lives. I am only slightly comforted to know so many of the people whom I taught to be the ultimate submission to god’s will have since ultimately given god the finger.

    The failures of the church is something I used to blame on people. I no longer do that. The failures of god’s church are god’s fault, and I intend on explaining to anyone who will listen precisely why that is the case. It happened just this morning on Facebook, by the end of the day, it’s likely it will have happened again.

    I want to be clear, I don’t hate Christians. I hate Christianity. I don’t hate church goers. I hate the church. From the implementation of the twelve tribes of Judah and even before, systems were set in place that fostered, encouraged, and exacted abuses. Systems were created that changed how every living person views humanity, women, politics, social structures, you name it. This is not limited in scope to the god of Abraham. Religions worldwide throughout history have decimated cultures and civilizations, grinding them into nothingness since forever. The bigger the picture I take in, the more I am driven to blame gods. Almost all of them had a code of conduct that was obsessed with sex and the marginalization of women, which makes Christianity rather boring among religions, only distinct in it’s scope of impact. The variance with which they have dealt with children has been pretty wide. Islam actually does a better job at raising children than Christianity by my measure through study, Judaism as well.

    All that to say, I CAN imagine dealing with these traumas apart from god, and it’s only getting better doing precisely that. The only promises you get from god is that you will have troubles, but you get to die and become freed from those troubles. All you have to do is acknowledge that you were created sick, and commanded with the threat of eternal torture to be well. I vehemently oppose the very proposition, and unapologetically call it the first and foremost destructive abuse god could have inflicted on humanity.

  60. Reuben Mills says:

    Additionally, Linnea nailed it.

    “The more I read about abuse in the church, it seems to boil down to 2 Tim. 3:2, which starts with being a lover of self. And our society sure encourages being a lover of self.”

    This is 100% correct in a Christian worldview. Absolutely fundamental. You can not be a Christian and believe otherwise. Self loathing is the first step. You repent for your miserable condition, abandon your identity, and take on the “new man” which is a reflection of Christ, living your life in absolute denial of yourself.

    What this has created for BILLIONS of people is hatred of ones self, and the knowledge that you can never escape being inadequate and a failure. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Period. Look up what that term “filthy rags” means. Nobody is righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of god’s glory. Nobody seeks after god, nobody. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. To live is Christ, to die is gain. You must believe this. You must hate yourself. This is what makes salvation justifiable. You accept that you are worthless, and worth comes from someone else, that someone else being Christ Jesus. If you do not hate yourself, you get to burn forever, no sky cake. It is that simple. You are given a problem that you had no control over to begin with, and presented a choice, from the very one that created the problem to begin with. You can deny yourself and follow him, or you can burn forever.

    I smell a celestial North Korea, and I remove myself from the smell.

    No person in their right mind would see this play out socially/politically and accept it as humane. Stalin, Mao, the Kim Dynasty. But we willingly subject ourselves to it?

    No need to answer. Just making the point, Linnea is accurate, and it should be seen for what it is.

  61. Outside T. Fold says:

    “celestial North Korea”

    Powerful. As another one on the outside, I wish you Freedom. Liberation. Healing.

  62. Jerod says:

    Reubens
    How does that square with the second of the two greatest commandments, according to Jesus?

    I think you’re too eager in this post. By your logic Jesus is telling us to hate our neighbor.

  63. Reuben Mills says:

    Jerods,

    I think you are operating with a failed hermeneutic. Scripture with Scripture is how this works, and I was quoting your Scriptures. So let’s try that again, what does Jesus mean when he says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” What does it mean to love not your life unto death? And consider the context of that verse. These were people who were distinguishable by blood and testimony. They had become exactly what Jesus asks you to be. I think you are a little too eager with one verse. Jesus never told you to hate your neighbor, so go and figure out what the rest of that verse means.

  64. Jerod says:

    Reubened

    No he didnt, but aren’t you saying as much by telling others they are called by him to actually hate themselves, when he clearly calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves?
    Maybe you could enlighten me as to what the rest of the verse means? Even Paul acknowledged that it is absurd to think someone could ever hate their own body.

    Our testimony before God and men is indeed more important than our personal comfort. I’m sure you taught in your CC that “hate” is only relative when compared to the love you should have for God. How did you come out the other end? Was scripture straightforward for you then, whereas it isn’t now? And why is it literal when it comes to hating ourselves but allegorical when it comes to, say, the last supper communion?

    One more question, who was more right, Malcolm X or MLK,Jr.? The one who preached violence and separation, or the one who preached that there was a greater cause to be won with love and self-sacrifice?

  65. Reuben Mills says:

    Jeroded, (haha, I like this name fun!)

    I will lay out the proper translation in ghetto. You know how to feed yourself and wipe your own butt, go and do likewise for others. Linnea solved this for you before we had the conversation. She is correct. What love is in the context of your quoted verse is not embracing your self in self admiration. That would be contrary to every other scripture on how we ought to view ourselves. The absolute opposite is what is required by your god, and as Linnea said, “The more I read about abuse in the church, it seems to boil down to 2 Tim. 3:2, which starts with being a lover of self. And our society sure encourages being a lover of self.” Maybe you do too.

    What is “the other end”?

    I always believed there was one true hermeneutic, but nobody has found it yet. So Sola Scriptura, and scripture with scripture is always the best bet. If you have one verse that you think means one thing, but does not align itself with god’s word in general, you are misunderstanding the scripture. It may be a failure to understand the historical social constructs, or the language after it has been interpreted 12 ways to Sunday. A whole host of problems arises with the whole of scripture when you start spouting that in order to love your neighbor, you must first love yourself, and you are not the first to contend such nonsense. It is neither the content nor the intent of your pivotal verse. I believed that then, I still believe that now.

    Malcom X and Martin Luther King both had strengths and failures in their respective theologies. I tend to agree with Malcom X, not so much for his theology but for his ability to call racism what it is, and piss off white folk. Not sure what that has to do with the topic at hand at all. Both took issue with white supremacy, and that is the mark they have left on history. The racism, by the way, was statistically a white christian male problem, and still is today, arguably more so, so both of them have accomplished little in practice, but much in theory, and it had nothing to do with their concepts of god, aside from the fact that Jesus was black. Theologically, Chuck-D is better at spiritualizing racism than either of those men were, but, you know, who listens to that gangster rap s#!t anyway.

    BTW, Paul beat himself. Go figure out why. He only wrote how many books of the Holy Bible? And this was a major theme of his, the whole self denial bit that apparently does not exist because Jayzus.

    2nd BTW, my life’s verse was Acts 20:22-24… “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me…”

    Sorry for the delay on my response, I run a small company and it has been consuming my play time with invoices recently.

  66. Reuben Mills says:

    My comment went bye bye.

  67. Randy Davis says:

    This subject has generated anger, rage, and other emotions and rightly so. But to me the question is, what is to be done about it?

    This sin problem runs the gamut of Christianity. Protestant and Catholic, mainline and independent, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist have had their issues. It is a blight on the church.

    The problem is not a matter of the right program or structure. It is a sin problem of the deepest kind among men who are supposed to be shepherding the flock of God. I think it is also a church problem, not just clergy.

    So, what is to be done about it? Can it be fixed? Or, is the church, in all of its forms, no longer viable?

  68. Michael says:

    Randy,

    Good questions that I have no answers to…

  69. JM says:

    “The problem is not a matter of the right program or structure. It is a sin problem of the deepest kind among men who are supposed to be shepherding the flock of God. I think it is also a church problem, not just clergy.”

    AMEN, Randy Davis.

    There is not enough of an outcry from top to bottom. Entrenchment, expediency and willful blindness has set in.

    Secular authorities are anathema to these corrupt church systems. Don’t you know–they are the enemy. Even if the case could be made that the authorities care nothing for Christian values, the “Christian” leaders have become sold out to their ego-driven delusions and are now worse. They think they are morally superior and above the scrutiny of the peons and infidels. I think that is essentially what Judah thought about itself before the spiritually dark Babylonians decimated them. After multiple warnings, God did what He said He would do to an unrepentant Judah. I cannot see an excuse for any of these complicit leaders who should have known better.

    Sadly, If a teacher of God’s Word can defy it so soundly and without even a wince from their conscience, it has a chilling effect on the body of Christ. It says that there is no power to resist or to deal with sin in the church. Infact, many cannot call sin what it is anymore. All of that is a lie, but, by default, that is what these corrupt leaders are modeling.

    I have made no secret of the fact that I wish to see the abusive leaders removed at all levels of the CC machine. However, even in the “new group” that emerged from the old that was supposed to be “better”–I hear crickets on the subject of abuse that occurred in their association. There appears to be no will to acknowledge it or make it right.

    I would not be surprised if many of the “old” group (and some of the “new”) who either committed or covered up their perversions will self-righteously decry what has been exposed in the SBC. Like Judah–I would still like to believe that their day will come.

  70. To take Randy’s wisdom a step further, it is a church problem, but not just a church problem. It has been, or is being exposed in every sector of society. The church problems bother us more because we should know better, but be assured, wherever people have gathered this has been a problem.

    How do we deal with it? We are dealing with it. It is ugly and painful, but this is how it works.

  71. Randy Davis says:

    For Baptists anyway, we need to do a total reassessment of what it means to be a church. Unbiblical concepts have been slipping in since revivalism took over Baptists.

    Revivalism lead to a disproportionate emphasis on baptisms, numbers and growth. Certainly the church growth movement contributed to this. In all the meetings I have been to, SBC evangelism conferences, and pastors meeting, we are pushed for growth. We are given as examples of churches and pastors, who are “successful.” But you rarely heard about pastoral integrity and spiritual growth. Now this was different in seminary.

    The entrepreneurial pastor became this model held up to everyone else. The techniques were from the business world. It’s the model of the powerful CEO. The thing missing is any biblical models of ministry and church. Our church culture has taken us far from biblical modes.

    I was thinking about worship this past week. Modern church worship has a lot of praise songs about what God has done for me. What is missing are hymns and sermons that express the glory, holiness, righteousness, purity, and sovereignty of God. When you don’t begin with the proper understanding of who God is and who we are, you get a distorted view of both pastor and church member. We do not know our spiritual poverty, or what true confession and repentance are or the meaning of faith and love.

    In other words we have taken our eyes off God and have given ourselves to idolatry. Until we understand this, we will not have sexual integrity and a moral church. As it is, the average church has no more integrity and moral authority than does MacDonalds or the local bank.

  72. Randy Davis is 100% correct.

  73. Duane Arnold says:

    Unfortunately, what Randy says applies to other denominations, as well… including many churches in mine.

  74. Babylon's Dread says:

    “Modern church worship has a lot of praise songs about what God has done for me.” Untrue, it was more true of the revivalism Randy decried. Worship music always has a broad range of application and effect. In my Baptist days we dealt with the effects of I and Thou in worship. Were we entering into the majesty and praise of God or were we singing about ourselves?

    In my present day worship we deal with the same range. The worship must go upward foremost and outward and only secondarily inward. The music of this present era is profoundly focused on praise and adoration singing to the Lord more than about the Lord or about us.

    The so-called proper understanding of God is greatly enhanced when we put the language of the text to worship. Our churches know that.

    You no doubt have a point but it is too sweeping. A very famous contemporary Christian music ‘band’ came to one of our national conference meetings and was completely lost because they were leading worship rather than performing. They said openly on the second session that they were a bit thrown off by being with people who insisted on mass participation and Godward worship rather than sitting while the band led.

    I have often marveled that God has allowed me to live to see the day that expressive participatory adoration to God among the people was normative. It is not devoid of liturgy as it has its own rhythm and method that the people find and join. But, I don’t call it superior to historic liturgies. It is simply an onward march in the indestructible kingdom of God on earth.

    Please understand I do not outright reject the critique or the plea behind it. I reject the sound of a caricature that fills so many of our critiques of one another and our thoughts that we know what God wants and can prescribe it with precision.

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