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121 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Looks like a whole lot of fun

  2. I don’t think Alan Kurschner is a very good student of the Bible or he is a master of the misdirect. Giving his airtight argument he stays in Rev 20.

    My question – why does he ignore Jesus’ direct comment that he has bound the devil? … past tense.

    Jesus when asked how he casts out demons, says that if he does it by God’s holy spirit that he first has to bind the strong man. Salvation is all about Jesus plundering satan’s domain – and how does he say you do that … bind satan.

    Matt 12 – 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

    So much for air tight – I hope I saved you all a trip to Las Vegas. 🙂

  3. Babylon's Dread says:

    Hubris light

  4. Babylon's Dread says:

    When the bus goes over mountains of bodies the ride is bumpy.

  5. brian says:

    I wish Mr. Driscoll would remember he is a Pastor, that would solve much of these issues.

  6. brian says:

    I find Ken Ham interesting, despite what people say I think he did quite well in the debate against Bill Nye, it is totally honest that Bill won hands down over the science, that is a fact. But that is not what the debate was about, it was about world views and truth. There are different truths of different parts of life. I think Ken Ham pointed out some of the real big problems with naturalism set up to answer some of the more profound questions we all struggle with. One thing that I really do agree with the presup folks is that the idea of God is written on the heart of all human beings. It was a very insightful debate, I read AiG, I admire Ken Ham went out of his way to deal with any ideas of racism in some groups that read Gen literally. I admire that given his world view. You see I really try to find the gold in the dirt, I mean I figure God found it in me I should strive to do the same with others. Does that make any sense?

  7. Neo says:

    Brian. It sure does.

  8. brian says:

    thanks Neo I really think Ken Ham is honest, he is absolutely wrong in every single fact of his world view from a scientific stand point but I believe him to be sincere. I have great hope for sincerity. I would love for him and his ilk to actually answer questions. But that is not good for business, and God hates that. If I learned one thing in my time as an evangelical it is that, God loathes interruptions to the revenue stream. Trust me that will get you the spiritual boot, always and twice on Sundays. No good news here we can move on by. I wish I could.

  9. Mark says:

    Brina- could you expound on your statemant that Ken Ham “…is absolutely wrong in every single fact of his world view from a scientific stand point”?

  10. Mark says:

    I meant Brian

  11. David says:

    Which is what is so frustrating: the weird “prophet” movement where we learn God apparently made covenants with our Founding Fathers (apparently including those deists, and Unitarians) and we never heard about this until a random woman showed up 235 years later. That this is coming from the head of a Christian Magazine and not a random person on YouTube is a problem – and she’s apparently taken seriously.

    But Pyro isn’t the one to cover it. More hubris and yet another conference by only cessionists isn’t the best way to handle this. Too many continuationalists think this stuff is pointless or dangerous as well.

  12. Jean says:

    Good morning. Thank you for the Links Michael. Lot of interesting topics this week.

  13. Francisco Nunez says:

    Good stuff Michael.

    The discerning NPD’s article is very interesting and very similar to the article you posted a while back titled the Saul Syndrome.

    It seems that NPD may be a modern term but if we look closely enough in scripture ,we can discern that king Saul, Absalom, and the entire Herod blood line all suffered NPD which stemmed from their deep fear of man and insecurity. All three were also sadly unteachable.
    .
    If in our ministries we sin like Saul, Herod the great, or Absalom, may our Lord give us the humility to repent like His servant David.
    In Him
    fco.

  14. The paid clergy article is spot on. The go to seminary scam to obtain a career is part of the rapidly bursting higher education bubble. Protestants could learn much from the Mormons who have no paid clergy and expect all boys to mature into ministry. The protestant movement has been ill served by following the Catholics in their professional clergy ways. I have seen many choose the seminary route to ministry and it is a bust in most cases.

  15. Apologia says:

    Mark –

    “could you expound on your statemant that Ken Ham “…is absolutely wrong in every single fact of his world view from a scientific stand point”?”

    I can elaborate this a little.

    Ken Ham is ‘absolutely wrong in every single fact of his world view from a PARTICULAR scientific stand point.’

    And in particular that ‘standpoint’ is the one where we are led to believe that ‘science’ is indeed a singular, all-encompassing, all-authoritative ‘theory of everything.’

    In short – the version they begin teaching in schools to children dumb and trusting enough to not question it until such a time when it is so foundationally rooted in their understanding of the world around them that it is considered authoritative.

    On that basis, everything that Ken Ham says about everything on which Ken Ham speaks is wrong.

    Problem with that is that it is as ridiculous an idea as believing that ‘Christians’ all believe the Bible. Clearly they don’t. Or rather, those who call themselves ‘Christians’ don’t all believe the same things which are traditionally used to define ‘Christianity.’

    Not all evolutionists are global flood deniers. Therefore some of them would deem that some of what Ken Ham teaches is harmonic and truthful, even likely. Not all scientists are evolutionists, some are creationists, therefore some of them would deem that some of what Ken Ham teaches is harmonic and truthful. Not all Big Bangers and the ‘Something Came Out Of Nothing’ faithful are even remotely scientific in their viewpoint.

    So it’s all about definition.

    If you define ‘science’ as ‘the all-encompassing theory of origins from particles to people, in a God-less vacuum’, then you’ll be using a definition of ‘science’ which is the most widely used and accepted.

    Unfortunately you’ll also be using the version which is the least evidentially established, the most fractured and challenged, the most fantastical in fact. You’ll be going beyond what science can prove, and into the realm of what some of the people who classify themselves as ‘scientists’ choose to believe.

    Once you establish that this is the nature of the argument – one of definition, not demonstration – then you understand the nature of the problem and the foolishness of believing that the Bible has a lesser authority than the mythology devised by men with philosophical agendas, failed theology, inability and inexperience in appropriate scientific skills, and so on, which some how has managed to stick for a century and a half – not because it has proved itself or disproved anything else, but because it was a more popular ‘theory of everything’ than one which placed God central and testified to the authority of the Word.

    On that basis I can say that Brian’s statement is true.

    But I can equally say, without fear of contradiction or paradox, that I don’t recognise the authority or cohesion of the ‘science’ which Brian addresses.

  16. Muff Potter says:

    brian @ # 7:
    Makes sense to me brian. I have found with age that it’s much better to unite and relate with one and other on the basis of a shared and common humanity. Life is so short. Why divide on stuff that doesn’t mean squat in the big picture?

  17. Does anyone really divide on a relationship just because of differing opinions and thoughts? I need to hear more about this.

    No one, not even my wife (we live and work together 24/7/365) thinks like me or holds to all of my opinions – many disagree and we have great debates that may even turn into fights at time – but we all get along fine.

    I cannot think of a single person who I have broken a relationship with over thoughts and ideas. I do know some here who have with me – but I would still go have coffee (and even buy) if invited.

    So, can someone here tell me stories where you broke off a relationship because of thoughts and ideas? Not where someone else shook the dust off at you, but where you did it.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD,

    You are touching the heart of a huge problem in evangelicalism and in Bible churches and nondenominational churches…. they think agreement is essential to harmony.

    So many think Biblical interpretation is a zero sum game… all or nothing. Not so. There can be points of disagreement…btw I think those points have more to do with pastoral outcomes than academic unity… but there can be points which are insuperable but most things that divide people need not do so.

    In our milieu every preacher is a pope and every sermon is a potential war.

  19. Babylon's Dread says:

    And a thought or two about MD’s video…

    1. Clearly his hubris has given way to some level of openness.
    2. Clearly he has been humbled (though may not be humble) by the pressure of criticism and possibly defection.
    3. Clearly he has to care about the opinions of others since he is bringing in reconciliation teams.
    4. Clearly he is concerned about PR and is trying to recapture the narrative.
    5. Clearly is future is unclear.

    Now as for the process he is speaking about… well I predict it will be about as successful as getting Palestinians and Israelis to the table. He is offering reconciliation talks…. others will insist on conditions… those conditions will be hard to meet… people will claim all kinds of unfairness and eventually the various sides will harden into intractable camps… the sides will be able to maintain they operated with good will and the other side did not.

    But then the Gospel might actually … forgiveness could…. um… no wait these are christians so expect the previous assertion to maintain.

  20. Michael says:

    My thoughts on MD’s video.

    PR bullspit and an absolute refusal to be honest or accountable.

  21. Papias says:

    MD’s video.

    Yes, there is still a lot of MD coming through in that video. But there is also a man who is following God’s calling on his life, dealing with attacks of the enemy, his own pride, and knowing that he’s hurt people.

    I still wouldn’t attend his church if I lived in the area. It would be nice if they would come clean and fess up, and if that happens, then cool. But I ain’t expecting that to happen.

    There’s still hope that MD will allow Jesus to turn him around. Maybe preaching through 1 John will work on him a bit. 🙂

  22. “PR bullspit and an absolute refusal to be honest or accountable.”

    Some of you are really a tough crowd. Find me another pastor’s public video where he talks on the personal level MD does here. I know you want to see him slit his writs on camera, but it probably not going to happen.

    I thought it was a bold move that he is calling in a reconciliation team – this is huge.

    My first move as my congregation’s president was to call in some reconciliation people, and I have handed over my class (and I give my class up for no one) to have them work us through reconciliation for all 5 Sundays in August.

    But I usually stay away from this gossipy stuff about pastors.

  23. Xenia says:

    Here is what I can say about Ken Ham: I agree with him in this article. I don’t care if life is found on other planets such as rabbits and daffodils but if intelligent life is found, that is, “people,” then there is a problem.

    1. Do these people have souls? Or are they like cattle who return to dust and are gone forever, with no thought of afterlife.

    2. If they have souls, that is, if they are human persons, did they pass the test in their version of Eden? Or were they not given the test but were created unable to sin? Or were they created able to sin, they sinned, but God doesn’t care?

    3. If given the test and they passed (Their Eve didn’t eat the apple) are they still living in innocence and unrestricted relationship with God?

    4. If they flunked the test (Their Eve ate the apple) were they placed under the curse and needed a savior?

    5. If #4 is true, does this mean Jesus Christ had to visit hundreds (millions) of planets to live out the Passion story over and over again to obtain their salvation?

    See, it’s not a simple problem. If there is intelligent life (human persons, no matter their physical appearance) then some theological problems arise.

    I realize that for those whose god is science it is very simple: Throw out the Bible, throw out Christian Tradition, trust in your own reason and all problems disappear. Or so you think….

  24. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    The Bible doesn’t speak to any of that and Ham’s simply speculating on things we have no clue about.
    The Bible is addressed to us and we are to embrace it’s teachings…if there is life on other planets, they have the same God and it will be interesting to hear their stories when we get home.

  25. Xenia says:

    Christianity is harder than most modern Christians think but not for the reasons given in the article.

  26. Xenia says:

    Sorry Michael, I do not agree with you.

  27. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That’s ok. 🙂

  28. Xenia says:

    That’s good! 🙂

  29. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You do not need a reconciliation team to admit that you’re a plagiarist who has abused dozens of people, and misappropriated funds.
    This is no more than drama to deflect people from pressing him…and keep the Kool-aid drinking faithful paying the way.

  30. Michael says:

    Xenia…talk about your new gravatar…

  31. Why is it that the malcontents are always ‘the wise ones’ and the people who are pleased with what is being presented and represented are always labeled here as “the Kool-aid drinking faithful “???

    Perhaps the contents have looked at it critically and like what they have and the malcontents are koolaid drinking followers of Wenatchee (nothing against Wenatchee – he may be doing God’s work tracking every Driscoll step for the past 8 yrs in calculated detail).

  32. Xenia says:

    In Iraq, the enemies of Christ are telling Christians “Convert to Islam or else.” “Or else” could be a number of things, including death by sword. The enemies of Christ are spray painting the Arabic letter for “N,” which stands for Nazarene, their term for Christian, on Christian’s homes. So Christians around the world have appropriated this symbol as a sign of solidarity with the Iraqi Christians.

    http://euronews.com/2014/07/22/how-an-arabic-letter-was-reclaimed-to-support-iraqs-persecuted-christians-n/

  33. Michael says:

    MLD,

    It’s all about the evidence.
    Wenatchee has done a huge service to the church because he documents with great care.

  34. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I may add that to my Facebook profile pics…I think it’s a great idea.

  35. Xenia says:

    I think so too, Michael.

    Lots of martyrs being made.

  36. Nonnie says:

    MIchael’s 35. That is exactly what I was thinking. May I use it, Xenia?

  37. Jean says:

    Even when the Pyro guys have a point….

    I have a question about this statement from the article: “Francis Chan now tells us God ‘asked’ him to write a whole book. This isn’t Chan’s first irresponsible statement of the kind.”

    Is the “irresponsible statement” that Chan believes God asked him to do something, or is it that Chan told people God asked him to do something?

    If it’s the former, then is it the author’s contention that God doesn’t ask us to do things?

    If it’s the latter, then is it the author’s contention that we shouldn’t tell anyone when God asks us to do things?

    This is a serious issue, and would appreciate some eyes on it and feedback. Thanks.

  38. Xenia says:

    Nonnie, I hope a lot of people use it!

    You can get it off the article I linked to.

    But… please don’t let this distract anyone from the Pastor Saeed campaign. Today is Wed, those of you involved in the Free Saeed campaign…. don’t forget about that, please!

  39. Michael says:

    Jean,

    That part of the church believes that God only…and I mean only…speaks through Scriptures.
    Thus, no personal messages…

  40. Jean says:

    Michael, #40, I was afraid that’s what they meant. I wonder what they think it means to live by the Spirit (Rom 8)? I’m glad I don’t worship a distant and uninvolved God.

  41. Why do you find that God cannot be close and involved through the Bible?

  42. Michael says:

    MLD,

    “Why do you find that God cannot be close and involved through the Bible?”

    Who made that assertion?
    Why do you make things up out of whole cloth?

  43. Babylon's Dread says:

    One notable difference is the tone of MD’s video. The straight talking direct in your face cocksure presentation is replaced. What we see is prevaricating assertions laced with spiritual rhetoric. In other words a man who is forced into a role that he prefers to force on others.

  44. Chris Canuel says:

    If anyone would like a free kindle book, I’m offering my book Ruminations for free till Friday. Check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Ruminations-Chris-Canuel-ebook/dp/B00FO997ME/ref=zg_bs_8917432011_f_2

  45. In answer to your comment “That part of the church believes that God only…and I mean only…speaks through Scriptures.”
    Jean replied – ” I’m glad I don’t worship a distant and uninvolved God.”

    Which I take to be a rebuttal saying if he relied on hearing God only in the scriptures he would feel God was distant and uninvolved.

  46. Jean says:

    I’ve take some heat the last couple of days for saying that people twist my words. MLD, you’re the main person who twists my words, but I didn’t want to get personal. The thing that frustrates me when you twist my words, is not that you get a good laugh or try to make me look bad, but that I have to waste my time correcting you for the benefit of others who may be hood winked by what you say that I believe or said.

  47. Xenia says:

    Who made that assertion?<<<

    Jean did.

    " I’m glad I don’t worship a distant and uninvolved God" which he said in response to the idea that some people claim God only speaks to them thru the Bible.

  48. Xenia says:

    And I agree with Jean!

  49. Although I do not hold to Scott Clark’s covenant views on the topic of children in the church, I do whole heartily agree with his conclusions for children in church and the theological misunderstandings that dictate banning kids from the worship service.

    Segregation in the church is terrible.

  50. Jean,
    I did not twist your words at all – I asked you a question using the very words you used. The bad part was that Michael jumped in and made it an imaginary confrontation.

    I am one who believes that God speaks only through his word – and I don’t find God distant nor uninvolved..

  51. Jean says:

    MLD #51,

    Here’s what I said:

    “Michael, #40, I was afraid that’s what they meant. I wonder what they think it means to live by the Spirit (Rom 8)? I’m glad I don’t worship a distant and uninvolved God.”

    Here’s what you said:

    “Why do you find that God cannot be close and involved through the Bible?”

    Where in my statement do I say, imply or infer that God cannot be close or involved through the Bible? NO WHERE!

    If you had asked me, instead, if I believe God can be close and involved through the Bible, I would have said YES. I would have also said that I don’t find God’s involvement with me limited to the Bible.

    MLD, we don’t know each other well enough to impute beliefs to each other. If you disagree with me, shout it from the roof top. If you have a question, ask. But don’t tell me or others what I believe.

  52. Jean,
    I will ask my question this way.
    In contrast to your statement – ” I’m glad I don’t worship a distant and uninvolved God.” – who is it that you think is worshiping a distant and uninvolved God? In context of the discussion how God communicates.

    Send me an email so we get to know each other – most here know who I am and many are facebook friends

    mld1517 at yahoo dot com

  53. Jean says:

    #53,

    Michael wrote: “That part of the church believes that God only…and I mean only…speaks through Scriptures. Thus, no personal messages…”

    That is not my experience of God, not during prayer and not during the Lord’s Supper. If God restricted his communication with me to solely the Scriptures, I would find that distant and uninvolved because I have experienced so much more. Moreover, I don’t feel like I have the right or authority to try to limit or confine God as to how He might choose to work in my life. I have found nothing in Scripture itself to support the view Michael reported on above.

    What do others think?

  54. Neo says:

    I see this clear as day: Mark Driscoll has a leadership victim mentality. Not at all surprised. And….it will take much to change that.

  55. On the Gaza War, Israel needs to finish this.
    We. as other governments, would not put up with this endless harassment of our state by missiles.
    A government’s foremost responsibility is the protection of it’s citizens.

    In every conflict they are ever in, once they start gaining the upper hand in the warfare, the UN and associates step in and try to stop them before they can do what needs to be done.
    Any warrior can tell you what needs to be done, Hamas needs to be destroyed.
    If Israel is stopped once again, then we can expect to revisit this in a few years.
    This is me speaking as a soldier, let them finish this.
    It will end up as less bloodshed over all that way.
    I don;t view this through any “prophetic” or “biblical” lens.
    Instead, as MLD has repeatedly stated on here, if it was Mexico continuously raining missiles down on border towns, I guarantee that Mexico City would be occupied within a month.

  56. Jim says:

    I believe Michael is correct about MD. He’s pulling an SGM with the group reconciliation charade, and I’ll bet he’s using the same group, AoR.

    I was a part of SGM’s $400K process, and it accomplished nothing but PR. In the end, the “disgruntled” were chastised by the “reconcilers”, and no reconciliation occurred.

    If Mark’s problem is with “anonymous” ex leaders, he can simply pull out the rolodex to determine where he stands with each man.

    Mark was spending time with CJ just before his 2007 power grab, and it sounds like they’re still comparing notes.

  57. Groups like Hamas just nee to die. They need to be exterminated like the termites they are.

  58. Dude says:

    There is no political solution for the Israeli…..Hamas dispute.The Palestinians want the Jews out of the Holy land period.They are willing to sacrifice their own children to achieve that goal also.Have to agree with Derek on this issue.

  59. Jean says:

    The Driscoll affair

    I converted to Christianity at a high school youth group weekend camping retreat when I was age 15. It was a powerful conversion experience and after that, I went through a period (6 months give or take) of intense euphoria about my conversion. Even after I settled down, I became very involved in my church, bible study, and youth group. I absolutely loved my faith and my new church family.

    During that time, I got to know the lead pastor of my church and he became a strong role model and inspiration to me. I tried to be around him every chance I got and hung on every word he said. To me, he was the quintessential godly man. He did not solicit veneration but he was a great people person, and I did not maintain a healthy boundary (I didn’t even know what one was).

    One Sunday at church about 2-3 years after I joined, one of the other pastors announced from the pulpit that this lead pastor had been placed on a 1 year leave of absence to deal with his marriage because he had admitted to (or was caught in) an affair.

    This news broke my heart and called into question in my mind the very validity of everything I believed about God and church. I felt personally betrayed. I left that church and spent many, many years away from any church, and my relationship with God atrophied. Away from God for many years, I made many mistakes in life.

    Looking back, I wish that pastor had said to that 16 year old kid: “Jean, you’re a promising young man and I appreciate our relationship very much, but always keep your eye on Christ and never hold me up to that standard, because I am a man and a sinner just like you and someday I, like every other human being, will let you down in some way. When that happens, I want you to have a faith in Christ strong enough to endure my fault.”

    That’s the only thing I can offer on the topic of celebrity pastors.

  60. Jean says:

    My #60, I’m not accusing Driscoll of a marital affair. I said the “Driscoll affair” as in the “Driscoll matter”.

  61. Babylon's Dread says:

    Jean,

    I appreciate the transparency but I cannot fathom your testimony. I do not mean to be offensive in any way. I just cannot fathom it. Other people have never had anything to do with the stability of my relationship to Jesus. Still, I know what you are saying is more common than I imagine and is attested to by some texts of scripture. Still, I do not get it. This is not to question your faith or to exalt my own. Perhaps I have been a believer so long that I have become insensitive to the reality. But wow… it blows my mind to imagine.

    Truthfully I do say something like what you asked to people quite regularly … so I guess I can imagine it. I guess I can. It makes me very sad to read it.

  62. Jean says:

    Thanks BD. I’m not proud of what happened. But when you’re a kid and don’t have a male role model, you can make mistakes. I don’t wish that on anyone. I was like a groupie, but not of a rock band.

  63. There is only one way to keep your pastor humble – make him wear a clergy dress like my church does.

    Those guys who are BMOC aren’t going to be rushing for the pulpit job with that dress code.

  64. I will agree with MLD that clergy dress is a deterrent to self aggrandizement. It also struck me in the most negative ways imaginable as a kid. It honestly struck me as emasculating. I always thought my pastors were unmanly. Yes I know I sound like MD. Oh well, MLD calls for exterminating Hamas and I call for do the same to clerical collars.

  65. Jean says:

    Ah; either the clergy dress or, better yet, the medieval monk hair style 🙂

  66. Lutheran says:

    I can empathize with you, Jean. At that time in life for many folks, it’s a time of uncertainty and change. You want to hitch your star to someone you can look up to. I don’t think there’s anything ‘odd’ about your experience.

    I’ve always been a reader, so when I was that age, I was idolizing people I read about in books, Billy Graham among them. Maybe I was fortunate that way!

    I went to a mainline (UCC) church at the time, and similar to what MLD said, we weren’t in the habit of putting pastors or other leaders on a pedestal. That’s one good things about mainline churches — at least the ones I’ve been involved ini. They don’t play the celebrity game.

  67. London says:

    Jean,
    I don’t think your story is odd either.
    You were a kid looking up to someone you felt you could trust to have integrity. He didnt, and that can be heartbreaking to a young person and even their faith.
    There’s all kinds of stories of young folks who become disillusioned when they find out their role models fail too

  68. brian says:

    I meant during the debate, of course Mr. Ham is not wrong about every single thing. Its seems to me that where science is concerned Nye is consistent, where existential issues and moral framework I would say Ken Ham’s world view is more correct. Most likely this is why I get frustrated with myself.

  69. robert says:

    I am glad for you Jean, it truly is a treasure, God bless you and your community.

    ” I absolutely loved my faith and my new church family.”

  70. robert says:

    “There’s all kinds of stories of young folks who become disillusioned when they find out their role models fail too”

    I have to agree with London, but the main role models I tend to look at are the students I work with, they have never disillusioned me. Hit me with chairs, toss me down a flight of stairs, get a full colostomy bag across the face, bit on dozens of occasions and I mean the real mouth full of flesh bites, kicked, punched, called some rather colorful epitaphs, scratched, spit on, had food thrown on, or fesses (actually that was an almost daily event,) But to a person I never got really angry and always forgave.

    Then I go to church and I get talked to wrong or I feel a slight or a brother or sister tries to correct me and I hyperize it into a major hurt. Sounds like unjust scales to me. Something God is against. That was an eye opener to me. I am unable to love my Christian family with the same love I give the students I work with. Granted there is mitigation but there is always mitigation. God forgive me on this one. Does that make any sense?

  71. brian says:

    robert = brian I use it on a non theological forum because there a bazillion brian’s on that forum, robert is my middle name.

  72. Bryan Stupar says:

    On Driscoll:
    I watched the entire video.
    His tenor is definitely one of somberness & brokenness.

    At 29:29 he said, “I am sorry for the hurting that some of you are feeling”.
    Earlier he shared about the process of reconciliation via the 3rd party group, Peacemakers.

    The acknowledgment of hurt others have felt was not accompanied by anything along the lines of, “I’m sorry for MY role in causing it”. That addition may have been helpful, but any assumptions of purposeful neglect seem misplaced, especially given the context of the whole video. He did admit early in the video that he has done things in the past that have caused confusion, hurt and pain, for which he’s open to others to point out and bring correction…even via the reconciliation process. There appears to be many who’ve been wounded by MH, which need to reached out to by way of acknowledging hurt and asking forgiveness. On top of this there appears by many accounts to be an underlying culture of fear/domination which needs to be acknowledged & repented of, and replaced by gospel love and gentleness.

    Hurt, anger and unforgiveness, can run very deep in these situations.
    Grace, love and forgiveness, if allowed can run even deeper.
    There are no simple solutions here.

    When is the right time for forgiveness/reconciliation to happen?
    Can’t people truly change?
    Should we not be people who are optimistically hopeful for transformation in others’ lives…even pastors?

    In all honesty I’ve NEVER seen a ministry worker/pastor address something in a posture of brokenness and transparency, like this. Many will claim it’s a PR stunt. But again, if we claim to be a community of forgiven/reconciled people, shouldn’t forgiveness/reconciliation be what we eagerly (and painfully) display to others?

  73. Bryan Stupar,
    That was my take at #23 – I even challenged people to link to a pastor’s video where he speaks on the personal somber level of MD … but it was called bullspit, which I take to mean it does not make good blog fodder.

    If anyone knows anything about Peacemakers (I have used them twice) they will get to the bottom of the issue. If it gets used or not is a different story.

    In my church, it is in our by laws that all pastoral and lay leaders go through reconciliation training each year – and as I said earlier, I opened up my class to such training for 4 weeks to the congregation.

    But we are Lutherans and we are a fighting bunch – so we need it. 😉

  74. Jim says:

    Bryan,

    He said that they are bringing in a group affiliated with Peacemakers. SGM did the very same thing, using AoR. After months of interviews, here’s what AoR had to say about personal reconciliation-

    “A few others made some requests for mediation assistance, but these requests were outside the scope of the AoR Group Reconciliation Assistance. AoR was responsible for mediating disputes that would have the potential impact of affecting the entire SGM network. Mediation assistance may be sought through other channels where both parties agree to seek such assistance. When appropriate, AoR provided counsel for people to encourage and prepare them for mediation through other sources.”

  75. Jim says:

    And here’s how the “handled” the elephant in the room:

    “We learned about cases in different settings that involved allegations of sexual misconduct
    among different members of the church. We met separately with parties from more than one
    viewpoint on a few of the cases. These situations involved complicated situations that had been addressed in different ways. Often people from one or both sides felt deep hurts about the ways in which the cases were handled or the ways in which other people responded to the situations.
    Cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct are sensitive and require special attention and expertise beyond the scope of our Group Reconciliation Assistance. While we were open to listening to people about their concerns, we sometimes needed to recommend other avenues of assistance. AoR did not have access to all the information and resources necessary to directly address these concerns.”

  76. Bryan Stupar says:

    MLD, several years ago I had the privilege of taking part of a small group of pastors who got to interview Ken Sande of Peace Makers….It was one of those definitive moments in my adult life which reshaped how I understand the gospel.

    Peace Makers material is must read info for our elders/leaders in training at our church.

  77. The first time I experienced Peacemakers, I could not believe how much of the Bible deslt directly with reconciliation – it was fascinating.

  78. Jim,
    I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of reconciliation services – they are to help each party recognize an issue and work through it the best they can. The are not an arbitration board.

    In what you quoted, it looks like they did identify the issue and recommended a higher level of intervention.

    They cannot make anyone adhere to corrective action.

  79. Jim says:

    MLD,

    The requests I’m referring to were not for arbitration. AoR was asked multiple times to facilitate reconciliation between ex members and current leaders. It was outside of their “scope”.

  80. “Cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct are sensitive and require special attention and expertise beyond the scope of our Group Reconciliation Assistance. ”

    I read that they are saying that the sexual abuse charges were outside of their scope.

    Also they stated that network wide issues were not within their scope – they are meant to deal one on one – one group having a problem with another group.

  81. Michael says:

    The Driscoll tape is bullspit.
    It’s the tyrant figuring out that he can no longer control the narrative by stonewalling.
    There is no recognition of the non relational issues at all.
    The biggest, most egregious lie is that the complainants are “anonymous”.
    That’s purely evil.
    We ran Paul and Jonna Petrys story years ago…and now many of the co conspirators against them have affirmed their story.
    I have lots of names, email addresses, and phone numbers of former leaders and staff…and Mark doesn’t?
    Bullspit.

  82. Jim says:

    MLD-read it again.

    “A few others made some requests for mediation assistance, but these requests were outside the scope of the AoR Group Reconciliation Assistance. AoR was responsible for mediating disputes that would have the potential impact of affecting the entire SGM network. Mediation assistance may be sought through other channels where both parties agree to seek such assistance. When appropriate, AoR provided counsel for people to encourage and prepare them for mediation through other sources.”

  83. Michael,
    “That’s purely evil.”

    I take evil more seriously than to toss it around in a church dispute.

  84. Jim,
    “Mediation assistance may be sought through other channels where both parties agree to seek such assistance.”

    It looks to me that neither side had any intention of working through the process. they could not even decide what to mediate.

  85. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Destroying reputations and lives is evil.
    You’re never met a tyrant you didn’t like…

  86. “You’re never met a tyrant you didn’t like…”

    Blinded by fury – I don’t know where you picked that up

    I don’t particularly care for Mark D – I think his theology is terrible and hurtful and I don’t care for mega pastors as I think they are the antithesis of the calling

  87. Jim says:

    MLD,

    100’s of people met with AoR, many at my urging, and at the end of the process, none were satisfied. I spoke with their president for an hour, and was later vilified in their report.

    They did nothing but provide cover for an abusive organization. I’ll bet that Mars Hill is using the same group, and will achieve the same results. Time will tell.

  88. Michael says:

    Yea, I’m blinded by fury.
    I wish.
    I’m so damn depressed a good fury would be welcome…it would make me feel like I’m alive.
    Unfortunately, I’ve got no fury left in the tank…and you prefer to impute motives and beliefs that suit your narrative.
    I’ll see if Driscoll has any openings on staff for you…

  89. Michael says:

    Jim @ 91…exactly.

  90. Jim,
    I guess I don’t know – our story was 100% different

    When we used Peacemakers, it was after we lost 2 associate pastors who took calls as senior pastor (probably to get away from our senior pastor) and we had suspended our senior pastor for 7 month. Upon his return, we lost perhaps a quarter of our congregation who did not want him back and we had a pretty unrepentant pastor – and the issue was 100% his problem.

    We worked through it with Peacemakers and the pastor apologized to the congregation for all of his trouble.End of issue.

  91. Jim says:

    MLD,

    Mars Hill is not using Peacemakers. They are using a group that is “a part of Peacemakers”.

    I’m a big fan of peacemakers, and or their founder and former leader, Ken Sande.

  92. “I’ll see if Driscoll has any openings on staff for you…”

    He is one of yours theologically – not mine.

    You have lost all ability to communicate fairly. I have never once, not once – did I say not once over the years stood up for any single action of MD. I rarely enter the conversation about him. I made a comment about his video – someone above agreed with me early on and Bryan Stupar chimed in this morning.

    Somehow you have twist that into we support evil. I’m a big boy and I can take it, but i think you break the 8th commandment when you make such charges – at least against me.

    I don’t care enough about MD or his church to continue this conversation.

  93. Jim says:

    Non-apology: “I’m sorry for the hurting that some of you are feeling.”

    Apology: “I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

    This is basic stuff, kids….

  94. Michael says:

    “Somehow you have twist that into we support evil.”

    I did not say that.

    I said what Driscoll has done and continues to do is evil.

    “Fair” communication is when you represent people and their words honestly and without twisting them…and you seem to have lost that ability long ago.

    I’m done with it.

  95. Xenia says:

    Jim @ 97

    That kind of back-handed speech is awful. It is a way to distance oneself from the matter at hand and you see it all over the place.

    “You will be missed” rather than “I will miss you.”

    “You are loved” rather than “I love you.”

    “You are needed” rather than “We (or I) need you.”

    “You are forgiven” rather than “I forgive you.”

    “If you were hurt by something….” rather than “I hurt you.”

    “If you feel hurt….” rather than “I hurt you.”

    “I seem to have hurt you” rather than “I hurt you”

    “I SAID I was sorry” rather than “I am so very sorry.”

    “Sending up prayers” rather than “I will pray for you.”

    “This is a difficult situation” rather than “I caused a huge mess and I am so sorry.”

  96. Xenia says:

    Using the straightforward Subject-Verb-Object formula is a good idea.

    “I forgive you.”
    “Will you forgive me?”

    This is a simplicity of speech that is part of the simplicity of Christian life we talked about a few weeks ago. It lacks guile.

  97. Jean says:

    Xenia #99 and 100,
    Very well said!

  98. I can’t help myself – I said I was not going to comment anymore – but now we are dissecting because he didn’t say he was sorry in the approved manner? LOL

    I need to listen to my wife more closely when she apologizes to me – she may not be doing it right after all these years.45 yrs and now I find out she may have been playing me.

  99. Xenia says:

    I think the way one says something reveals what’s going on in the heart.

  100. or they spoke sloppy – with good intentions and no intent at harm.

    But I don’t judge the heart – i go by their words – but i still have the challenge on the table, can someone please post a video of a pastor making amends with his church that used all the right words, hit his cues and sounded more remorseful than MD?

    I said yesterday, I don’t think that any video message that does not end with MD slitting his wrists will ever be accepted.

    OK, now done.

  101. Jim says:

    MLD,

    What Xenia and I are saying is what Peacemaker Ministries teaches. It’s also Christian relational communication 101.

  102. Xenia says:

    They spoke sloppy<<<

    Well, I agree that's usually the case. I think intentions are usually good. (Not speaking of the MD situation.)

    I am speaking for myself, to try to speak with more directness and not distance myself from a situation by using the passive voice, for example.

    If someone says to me "You are loved," that's good enough for me. I will try to say "I love you," though, because frankly, speaking directly is often more painful and that's probably a good thing.

  103. Jim,
    “is what Peacemaker Ministries teaches. It’s also Christian relational communication 101.”

    And perhaps that is what MD needs to learn through the process – but you are cutting him off at the knees while he is trying to get to that point in the process.

    I said yesterday that the fact that he even spoke of bringing in a reconciliation team was huge – and it is. You chose at that time to criticize him by comparing what happened in your experience.

    So, he tries to say he is sorry and he gets cut down for saying it wrong.
    He wants to bring in a reconciliation team and you jump him because to paraphrase you “he is in collusion with CJ”

    I get it – until we see blood on his shirt cuff – he is dog dung.

  104. Bryan Stupar says:

    We’re a forgiven/reconciled community, yet slowly move (or refuse) to welcome an (offensive) MD back to the table of grace, apparently until blood is shed…

    I’m not defending MD’s actions or heart.

    I am wondering what constitutes enough.

  105. Jim says:

    MD’s relationship with CJ is well known. I haven’t called anyone dog dung.

    The bottom line is that if you know that you have personally screwed people big time, you contact them and attempt to make things right. Again, very basic stuff.

    If you were involved in the CJ debacle, you’d see the coincidental similarities. If you’d like to see the final AoR report for SGM, I’ve linked it below. I’ll summarize, with commentary in parentheses.

    SGM is wonderful, but their rapid growth caused them to hurt some people who are now sinning in horrible ways. We believe that those hurting people should stop sinning, and here are our recommendations for SGM (which are the exact same things that those horribly sinning detractors have been telling them for decades. We’d like to actually help, but reconciliation isn’t really what we do, it’s just a word that we use in our title, and to define our process.)

    http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/file.axd?file=2012/4/Group+Reconciliation+Report.pdf

  106. Jim says:

    Bryan,

    It’s simple. It starts like this. “I fired Joe Schmo when he tried to interfere with my power-grab. Joe, I’m so sorry. Would you please forgive me?”

  107. Bryan Stupar says:

    Jim, and you know w/ certainty, that this hasn’t happened w/ any who’ve been hurt by the MH machine?

    Personally, I’m to far removed to comment on specifics…perhaps you have info I don’t.

    If MD’s NEVER reached out to one he’s hurt/offended then I can understand your angst.

  108. Jim,
    Thanks for the report. I will read the whole thing. I did read the first several pages and it seems apparent that the trust level on the lay side was very weak … so I guess that probably says much about the reaction to the report.

    One thing I did get a kick out of was the introduction of the AoR team and the Lutheran was identified as the “Conflict Coach” – we are so good at conflict, we even coach it. 🙂

  109. Jim says:

    Bryan,

    I do not know with certainty that Mark has not personally reached out to those he has hurt. What I do know is that Mark stated in the video that he can’t respond to criticism from ex-leaders, because they are anonymous. The poor guy can’t figure out who he burned.

  110. Jim says:

    MLD,

    A lot of the people who participated in the process did so reluctantly at my urging. I also participated, by having an hour long conversation with Ted K at SGM’s request.

    I was cheer-leading for these guys, and it bit me, and those who listened to me in the butt.

    More Christianity 101-never give hope to the hopeless when your endgame is to pull a Lucy with Charlie Brown’s football.

  111. I guess in summary, MD and CJ are just typical of independent pastors – untrained, grew their own system and will do it their way.

  112. Bryan Stupar says:

    MLD, didn’t Luther become independant and grow his own system?

  113. Actually, he was never independent as the church was still covered by the state.This is why the Augsburg Confession was written … and not by Luther – but to show that Luther was indeed Christian – or be closed down..

    Folks like CJ and MD have never really had to come under anyone’s covering.

  114. Jim says:

    Before 2007, MD was accountable to a large board, who could fire him at any annual meeting. CJ was never accountable to anyone, and publicly stated that he was “mentoring” MD just prior to MH’s reorganization. Mark Dever has stated that his relationship with CJ began when CJ helped “walk him through” firing an elder in his SBC church.

    MD has a charisma that the camera loves. CJ’s charisma is strongest face to face. I met him in a room of 4000 people, and he made me feel like I was the only one in the room. I’ve seen grown men who pastored large churches literally run when CJ called for them. Scary stuff, that few men possess.

  115. But they make no one stay against their will – so i always figure those in the pews / chairs come Sunday morning are getting their needs met.

    Their needs are shallow – but they are satisfied.

  116. Apologia says:

    Xenia #99

    Wow, what you wrote there reminded me of a documentary I saw the other night which was addressing the characteristics of sociopathy (and ultimately demonstrated the ways in which investment bankers are even greater sociopaths than serial killers). It was fascinating because they covered exactly what you said right there. They showed how sociopaths are the most prolific liars because their underlying motive in everything they do is self. There’s no lie they won’t tell, no throat they won’t cut, no ethic they won’t betray, no standard they won’t compromise,no friend they won’t walk over, because everything is just a means to an end for them.

    As I watched it I actually thought of many large-church, celebrity pastors that I’ve experienced – loving the adulation, enjoying the success, adoring the wealth, living off the thrill of being the big cheese.

    One of the traits they mentioned was an inability to genuinely emphasise and to self-reflect and recognise fundamental wrong and a need to change. Apparently almost all have the knack of avoiding personal guilt, and addressing a general claim of ‘sorrow’ that someone else was disappointed in them, or perceives them as guilty. They also demonstrate an inability to ‘own’ emotion and instead generalise it. For instance, an alleged felon against whom was a stack of evidence toward his complicity in the disappearance of a close family member, when asked by the court ‘how did her disappearance make you feel’ could only manage to say ‘You feel all the usual things a person would feel… Hurt, anger, fear, hate, rage…’ Like all classic sociopaths he could tell you what you want to hear in order to move on and get what he wants, or tell you what he thinks the answer should be, but he never actually owns it, because he doesn’t actually experience it.

    Too many ministers behave the same way, and demonstrate that they’ll say anything by way of contrition, as long as they get to keep their position – the thing they love the most. And then they justify their own resilience in the face of their crimes by treating themselves as if they are a fundamental instrument in God’s long-term strategy.

    I’ve learned to beware anyone who insists on having such a flameproof justification for their own impunity or persistence in the ministry.

  117. Martin said:

    “My question – why does he ignore Jesus’ direct comment that he has bound the devil? … past tense.”

    Not sure how you can respond to something that I have not asserted?!

    Your prooftext does not work, not the least ignoring the context of Revelation 20. Come to Vegas because, as you wrongly assumed, I will actually be responding to this worn-out amill prooftext. I’ll give you a hint to your objection.

    Alan

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