May 142013
 

imagesAn amended lawsuit has been filed against C.J. Mahaney and other SGM leaders alleging sexual abuse and/or failure to either report or discipline the perpetrators.

 

I will link to the lawsuit…be aware that the allegations are both graphic and terrible.

If you have been a victim of this kind of abuse it may be advisable not to read the document.

You can read the lawsuit here.

The pattern is familiar.

The institution (and it’s leadership) are valued more than any victim, no matter how horrific the offense.

Offenses are covered in secrecy and shame…even after they have been exposed.

Rather than submit to an open and honest investigation, the courts and online media have to carry the hopes for truth and justice.

As a result, the name of Christ is disgraced and the people of God are crushed.

Jesus wept…but He keeps good records too.

All involved will eventually give Him an account for their actions or lack of same.

On a very minor note, I am seeing these offenses somehow linked to the fact that SGM considers itself a Calvinist denomination.

In reality, according to records we now have of the Genevan consistory, pastors were held to high standards and these matters would have been dealt with immediately and severely.

I know John Calvin…and C.J. Mahaney is no John Calvin.

Calvin wouldn’t have tolerated the silence of the Reformed on this matter either.

The issues would have been dealt with in the church, in front of the community.

What a novel concept…

 

 

 

  714 Responses to “The (Alleged) Shame of Sovereign Grace Ministries”

  1. Yep. Calvin would’ve burned ’em at the stake.

  2. 🙂

  3. Calvin didn’t have that kind of authority…but the city council would have roasted them.

  4. I think the lawsuit has been taken down or the link is broken. Then again, it could just be me.

  5. Fixed it…

  6. That was more than I could bear to read. Terrible, tragic stuff. I didn’t make it very far before I couldn’t take any more.
    We had a man in our church who tried to work with youth, until we found out he was a convicted child molester. Turns out he had been convicted of something he did while serving as a youth volunteer at a church in California. We told him to not have any contact with youth, but multiple times we found him meeting up with youth from our church at the mall or at his home (right next door to mine!) So we proceeded to quickly kick him out of the church. To the best of our knowledge nothing ever happened, but our estimation was that what he was doing was classic ‘grooming’ behavior.
    He accused us of being unforgiving and unwilling to believe that God had changed him and restored him, assuming he had impure motives and trying to dictate who he could talk to. He told everyone he could about how judgmental and unspiritual we were, not believing that he was now a new creation… And he did probably turn the hearts of some against us.
    But I can handle that kind of heat, if it means never having this kind of blood on my hands – for allowing a known sexual predator to have access to children.

  7. You know in my “experience” I have seen far worse, a young child raped so bad her back was broken and she was resigned to a wheel chair bed the rest of her life screaming at the demons that haunted her. I mean haunted her daily, the nights were worse, the long deep shrieks, the one left in the van by her mother who was a prostitute and this little three year old kid beat her head so bad it caused brain damage. Those are the “lite” cases, of course I actually cant speak to what my christian fellowshipped told me when I struggled with this. Being the God hater that I am it was awful. Nope no good news there.

    If any of these allegations are true, they should all suffer the worst fate an evangelical can suffer in this life, a loss of revenue. If you want to kill the alleged beast stab it in the heart, aim for the wallet. Trust me all this stuff listed in the law suit is forth or filth tier compared to the revenue stream. Because I am a coward I am posting under my fake name.

  8. Please!!!! If anyone ever, ever sees a previously convicted child molester having ANY contact with youth, or hanging out where they congregate, CALL THE POLICE!!! It is a violation of their parole and conditions of their release. As a registered sex offender they should NEVER be in close enough proximity to initaite ANY relationship or grooming activities.

  9. Our situation happened outside of the United States, where US parole laws do not apply, and where what qualifies as legal consensual relations are much more broad – not to mention whether or not laws are enforced…

  10. I’ve been covering this story for months on my blog. It is horrific. SGM is more than Calvinist – they are New Calvinist. I believe their doctrine is one of the biggest problems. If you look at the way in which they handle these situations, they care more about making sure there is reconciliation, even going to such lengths as having a toddler go to a meeting to reconcile with her sexual perpetrator. In this same story, church leaders told the parents that they should not have informed the police.

    CJ Mahaney has been speaking at conferences (Gospel Coalition) even as recently as a few weeks ago in S. Africa and his Gospel Coalition and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary friends give him a free pass. Why? Because CJ has the right doctrine in their eyes. When someone has the their perceived correct doctrine, all of the other stuff (even reporting sex abuse to civil authorities) takes a back seat. Doctrine is more important than anything else. It is their idol. http://goo.gl/3FtZL

  11. You know I live a celibate life, and am rather a prude personally though accepting of other people. I have never felt more dirty and disgusting then when I shared that fact in the faith community, basically I am not sleeping around and I had no children out of wedlock though I took care of those that were and that I dont even hug on a regular basis. That basically makes me a rapist, trust me it does. I dont date never had time to busy taking care of family, dealing with pain, and trying to keep my program open. I am sure that to makes me some type of sexual pervert but I dont feel that way. I mean I dont even sit close to women at church or even on the same pew, been rebuked for that a few times. Now I find this all stupid and utterly pathetic but it is my experience. What I do do is always show respect for women, acknowledged the suffering many of them have suffered. I have actually had women come to be in bible studies tell me they appreciate me not trying to score with them. Of course that makes me gay note I dont consider that an insult but I am just that, not gay.

    You know I longed for a time I could ask christian women what they found disgusting about me, I mean they made it clear that they did but I wound up with two vile sins. I did not have big muscles and my car was not real good. When they found out I was a special education teacher they went into full gag puke mode. Of course they were nice about it but I was damaged good. Actually I am glad I did not get involved with any of them. Look I believe one should wait until they are married, I have seen how folks suffer when they dont, another reviling weakness of mine. I struggle with images online and on tv so I am cancelling my direct tv and hbo to sign up for God tv, of course that makes me a prude and pharisee. My point you cant win, or even get ahead. I dont get it, is there any good news in all this mess, you do what people want and your a deceiver, you fall or struggle you are of the devil. Basically God gave me over, now I have no trouble what so ever believing that, in spades.

  12. Oh, Xpat – what a stressful situation to be in! The cases I investigated and victims I have worked with were all very young – ages 2 – 12 and here in the states. Way too often spouses and churches failed to keep the perp away from kids (even their initial victims) in the name of “grace” and forgiveness. Thus my highly emotional reaction.
    My reactions to this particular case may best be discussed on the Questioning the Faith page in a day or so when I have calmed down abit.

  13. Incog, I truly admire you.

  14. Like XPat, I could only read part of the document. What absolute and utter sickness and perversion! And the cover-ups. Do these people have no fear of God? I pray for physical and emotional healing for all the victims. Lord, have mercy!

  15. I was told by local authorities that the crime he had been convicted of in the US would not even have been considered a crime in their country…
    I’m so sorry to hear of churches like the ones you mention that don’t take these issues seriously enough.

  16. Julie Anne,

    I’m glad you IDed SGM as “New Calvinist.” They are definitely NOT anything close to the more traditional Calvinist churches/denoms such as the PCA, CRC, UPC, etc.

    My guess is that their “paradigm” is similar to CCs, featuring a strong ruling personality and a lack of transparency (yes I know not all CCs are like that). But I’m just guessing, since all I know about SGM is what I read online.

  17. My take on the apparent sin of SMG they got caught, God hates that with a vengeance if one cant keep it out of the local paper, one should burn in hell for ever. There should be no room for weakness, if one committed sin they should be held accountable as long as it fulfills the apologetic. What is the apologetic, first and far above all God hates us, He loathes us from the very foundations of the world. God hates us, we start there, then we enter into the supposition God my actually forgive us, I mean He killed the Lord Jesus for our forgiveness, but that is rhetoric, no God hates us with malicious of forethought. God stayed up nights thinking what a horrid evil rhetoric we were.

    I will admit I have tried to hate God to fulfill my apologetic, but I cant. I count that a personal failing. I should hate God on an apologetic trigger. If I had a pair I would be praying myself and my eternal soul into eternal hell. I dont, granted that makes me hate God more. From the very cheap seats, this is not good news it just is not. Granted that means nothing and we are all heathen lost cases that God hates. I get the fact God hates, basically everything and even more. Personally I dont hate God but that just goes to show my apostasy. It really is a very strange religion. I can no longer follow it. I hope God does not kill me for this decision, even wen I understand he should.

  18. Captain Kevin I am not even a human being and that is on a good day please dont admire me, please pray God’s eternal wrath does not take me out. Now that is a prayer I might even agree with. Thanks.

  19. PMI,

    be careful how you speak of calvin here (not the counterpart to hobbes). michael has his own ‘Robert Frost’ version of Brother John and his activities at Geneva. if you push it too far he will probably emulate his hero and ‘flame’ you. (just watch how he responds to my comment.)
    so by all means, don’t mention ANY of the 68 humans put to death during Calvin’s tenture as leader of the Protestant Papacy in Geneva.
    (michael, i won’t argue with you on this. consider it dropped)
    -MIC

  20. “It really is a very strange religion. I can no longer follow it.”

    Incog – I can never tell when you are being sarcastic. Which religion are you going to stop following? The one where God hates everyone? That would be great.

  21. I remember the excitement of going to hear CJ and Larry at the TAG meetings in Washington, DC in the 70s. What glorious times we had as young people!

    It was just a weekly teaching ministry. Finally one night as the crowd was filing out, the Lord spoke to CJ (I think it was CJ) and said something like, Are you sending them out to pasture or as sheep to the slaughter?

    So they knew they had to build something, and they did, and really it was quite wonderful in its time.

    Here’s a lesson, folks, and most of you have already learned it: Religion can make you weird.

  22. Stunned and speachless after reading the complaint.. I went to my library, found C.J. Mahaney’s Humility, True Greatness and threw it in the dumpster.

  23. Terrible. Reading it makes me very angry (all over again). I guess I haven’t gotten spiritual enough to be numb to it and not care.

    I have a stack of allegations still about Calvary Chapel, one allegation being that they shuffled a pedophile to south america (among many other bad things). I know that is highly against the rules here and highly unpopular due to the CC Pastor presence here, but it is a fact that former long-time CCCM insiders gave me that information.

    I wish Susan Burke the best of luck in her pursuit of justice on behalf of these victims. I hope she will turn her attention to the Calvary Chapel System of churches when she is done and give Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the CCOF/CC Association a huge test of their “we’re a group of churches with connections and affiliation contracts” vs. “we’re all 100% independent”

    I admit that I would love to see Calvary Chapel experience some justice for their ignoring abuse victims and helping support the abusers.. If God is real and that is sin, then I beg God for mercy on me a sinner.

  24. 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

    I don’t yet know 100% for sure if God, Jesus and the bible are real, largely due to doubts caused by me experiences in the church (and specifically Calvary Chapel) and my experiences with “pastors” and Guru leaders and the hypocrisy, evil and injustice and lying and spin that is tolerated, facilitated and promoted. It has caused me to listen more closely to skeptics who criticize the church and religion.

    Yet, there is something innate that doesn’t allow me to disbelieve, just to doubt some things.

    One paradox (of many) in the bible is illustrated above. If the parable is true, then it seems I am more righteous than the smug pastors and flag-wavers of a bad brand who continue to support abusers in their Group. A denial of this principle is to deny the bible. I am honest about who I am and I express myself directly without the couched passive aggressive pastor-ease and Christian-ease. I know the hearts of many on here and in CC feel the same anger and same feelings about me and others. It slips out often, but none cop to being the Publican, because they can’t. Their Construct only allows and promotes and tolerates and encourages the Pharisee. The Publican is reviled and hated and cast into hell.

    This paradox makes me think G is right in another thread. I think if God is real, that there will be many “pastors” in hell…and many sinners in heaven.

  25. Anddddd…..another thread about Calvary Chapel.

    A side bar thread was created for # 24.

  26. It’s not libelous, it’s my opinion and if you want to test it out, you can tangle with CASP.

  27. Mike and Brandy, your number 19….I must disagree. Michael is extremely generous with allowing people from all backgrounds and opinions on this site. I would venture to say the the majority of us would not refer to ourselves as “Calvinists.” I think your comment was a gross exaggeration.

    And I am agreeing with Steve W. that was uncalled for. Believe, you burn your own bridges……..bridges that many would walk on with you….. but you beat us away with flames of anger. I say that, but you know I still continue to pray for the truth to come out in your situation and for healing.

  28. Josh, in a way you are a prophet. “….another thread about Calvary Chapel”. Because what has happened at SGM has happened, is happening in CC. And most likely SBC, and many other denominations. I know there are victims, survivors paying close attention to this case, hoping they might find courage and advocates to step forward and bring perps and those who have protected them to justice.

  29. Nonnie, that’s horse manure. No one has walked on the bridge with me from this Group. Many others have, but none from here, other than a few platitudes and a ton of scorn.

  30. Actually, I think there was one CC pastor who gave $50 and maybe one other person from this Group who gave $50. There are some who I would consider to be more CC Abuse people than PhxP who have given some practical help, but none of the PhxP-only regulars, mostly scolding and looking down their noses when I express real honest human expressions about the bad stuff that’s happened and gets defended by some in this very Group.

    “Atta boy” is not walking on the bridge. I give an “atta boy” to lots of stuff online like “atta boy Save Saeed, I hope they release you”…that is not waling on the bridge, that’s a pretty easy public sentence of support, but I haven’t sent money or donated time and I don’t claim to be “walking on the bridge” to save Saeed.

  31. @ 29 – Yes, awful stuff has happened in every denomination. I have recommended Christa Brown’s book about Baptist sex abuse to tons of people. Her blog is stopbaptistpredators.org . She used to have a quote from me featured on the side bar.

    However, this blog gets like Groundhog Day when the same crap is posted in every thread. I just want us to discuss the actual topic that Michael posts about.

  32. On topic: SGM sucks. Mahaney sucks. I hope they lose a lot of money and support for their bad actions. May karma bite them in the ass-ets.

  33. Thank you for the blog link, Josh.

  34. There is one former CC guy that has done way way way more than most. I’m very thankful to him. He spent countless hours being my friend and when push came to shove he ponied up a substantial amount of money, which helped cover costs. He’s not really a PhxP-ite, though he comments once in a blue moon. You know who you are and thank you again. You’re the only one who really stepped up in a practical way.

  35. Back to the topic: SGM is a bunch of low down dirty bastards. Mahaney’s punishment should be to have to renounce his Calvinism and plant Calvary Chapel’s in Russia with George Bryson.

  36. Believe, I disagree. None or very little scorn about your case, your charges of violent abuse. Many, many people believed you and your brothers and wanted to see the truth. Where we got burned was when you started viciously attacking folks because they didn’t respond the way you expected them to, and taking over the blog with your repetitive posts. That is apples and oranges.
    Many, many people here have prayed for you and are concerned about your well being and your legal case. You can believe that or not. I know what I believe.

  37. Geez, I’m supposed to send financial support to a guy who always brags about the several businesses he owns.

    Part 2 – I didn’t want to go off topic, but I can’t let Steve Wright get dragged through crap again. He is a great guy. He does not deserve the crap he has taken at this blog, for no other reason than being a pastor, and caring about others. Find a different punching bag.

  38. Nonnie said, “Many, many people here have prayed for you and are concerned about your well being and your legal case. You can believe that or not. I know what I believe.”

    I don’t disagree with that. But, that and $5 will get me and my brothers a coffee at Starbucks. Another parable, since I’m on Jesus Parables today:

    25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

    28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

    30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    You know who has had mercy on me the most? Atheists. Atheists followed by liberal Christians who many of you Fundamentalists would claim are unsaved.

    When push comes to shove, I have been severely disillusioned and disappointed by the vast majority of “Christians” in this whole saga. The biggest support has come from a fellow pastor abuse victim (Julie Anne), a former CC guy, some very liberal Christians and then a HUGE amount of help, encouragement, support, time, human-to-human counsel and “love” from Atheists (and some formerly religious).

  39. Poor, poor Alex. He doesn’t mean for every thread to be all about him. He just forces it to be that way.

  40. And by the way, Alex has never sent me a dime.

  41. Can we not want the best for you, pray for you without bashing all things CC? I don’t agree with everything you do and I still hope the best for you. I feel that way about CC also. I love so many people and there is such good fruit coming out through many folks in the movement. I’m sorry if you cannot accept love and the best intentions from me If I won’t hate all things CC. It’s not who I am. I’ll walk away now..not angry at you and still hoping the best for you and still praying for you. I won’t argue with you. You can believe me or not.

  42. After reading some of the allegations, I have some questions for pastors:

    1) At what point do you cross the line from ‘admiration’ to ‘idolatry’ in regard to your particular ‘brand’ (corporate church)?
    2) If you do cross the line to idolatry, should you shut the corporation down as it is no longer a church but a business?

    I’ve often wondered where “Nothing worse than a snitch” originated from. I believe Satan invented it.

    I am also aware of several fraternities where you are under oath to not ‘rat out’ a fellow brother. This of course breeds corruption under the guise of “trust” and “having your back”.

    Where do “allegiances lie” in these situations?

  43. Josh, I am a member of one business that is a multi-member LLC with other family. I used to make a lot of money back in the day, I have been clear that I don’t make a lot of money any longer. We make a living, but we’re not rich. My wife has been stressed out since day one of this ordeal and she has been shocked at how little support we’ve gotten from this Group that I have spent so much time with. She thinks I’m a total idiot for spending time on here and thinks very poorly of many of you. I think she’s right about the me being an idiot part. I got sucked into the “Crusade” over here (invited by Michael) and then left to take the arrows alone when the spit hit the fan.

    I don’t want your money Josh. That wasn’t the point. I don’t want anything that has to be schmoozed or politicked or ass-kissed into happening. That’s been a real truth-revealer for me. If “God” is still interactive with mankind today, I figured that me choosing to be brash and not an ass-kisser wouldn’t make a difference in “God’s People” and are supposedly “filled with the Spirit!” coming alongside and helping out.

    I see now that it’s a function of ass-kissing, PR’ing and everything the World knows to be true. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” rings much truer in practical terms than does the bible.

    When push comes to shove, most Fundamentalist Christians do no remotely resemble the Parables of Gahndi Jesus, they much more resemble the Parable of the Pharisee vs. the Publican.

    …but that’s assuming the bible is true, and maybe it isn’t.

  44. What is it that you call someone who holds others to a standard that he won’t live up to himself?

  45. Back to the topic: I think I’ll send some real support to the SGM victims and not just “walk the bridge” with them by typing an atta boy on the internet. I think I’ll have mercy on them and try and help them in a practical way, even if one or two of them are assholes who are jaded from their experiences.

    Or, maybe that’s naive and stupid and should worry about me and my own first and foremost and not bother. Maybe I should just type an atta boy or two and then pray for them and then say how much I support them in their cause without really doing anything that costs me any time or money. Then I can tell them how they need to act a certain way and behave a certain way and how they need to be more righteous like I am.

  46. Where were you when my hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills came in? Oh yeah, you were making fun of me.

    Meanwhile, fundamentalists loved and supported me all the way through it.

  47. My apologies, I was getting Trey ready for school.
    I have removed Steves name from the post in question.

  48. Josh,
    Your #40 equals…..Histrionic Personality Disorder. Google it.

  49. At the end of the day, most are full of shit and their shit is full of shit. I don’t know what good it does to bitch and moan about this sort of thing on a blog when it leads to none of you actually doing anything practical. Most of you are a bunch of fair-weather cheerleaders who take more time and effort in correcting blog etiquette than you do in actually putting a dent in the abuses and corruption you seem to be so opposed to.

    Give me a few fringe Christians who are really passionate and stick their actual necks out and a pile of Atheists over you blow-hard do-nothings any day.

    I don’t apologize for speaking the truth. If you don’t like it ban me or mod me or tell me to f**k off, makes no difference to me. I just won’t stay silent in the face of the total horse s**t which passes for “Christian”. If you’re going to claim the book is “infallible, inerrant, perfect!” and if you’re going to not tolerate any doubt and disbelief, then you sure as hell should put some of the stuff in practice.

    Again, to your shame, I have more Atheists “walking the bridge” with me than “Christians”…by far. Seems Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan defined who would “live” and who wouldn’t. Explain that paradox keyboard theologians.

  50. Josh,
    It’s rare in males but considering his profile it is understandable.

  51. @ 49 – Where were you when I was in need?

    You are the blow hard. You keep condemning others but have done NOTHING yourself.

  52. Frosty – I did have to google it 🙂

  53. Believe @ 49

    I have no money. I’m still thousands of dollars in debt from all the money I gifted to a church (that I didn’t have) to help it expand years ago. The pastor assured me God would bless my donations and open floodgates of financial blessings on me.

    The only thing I have been blessed with so far is Bank interest on that debt. Tithe, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Now that you know that I am hurting, how may I help you aside from prayer?

  54. Believe.

    Watching your rollercoaster ride from the grandstands, I can very much empathize with your sorting through various emotions. Even if it is done publically on a blog such as this. But, to allow that to interfere with your personal finances at the expense of your family is where you have dropped the ball, in my opinion.

    Hey. I get it man. Corruption, politics, power plays, and ego driven personas that lead lemmings over the cliff of reasonable faith are all too present in the Evangelical Church. The frustration is that everyone seems to either be in on it or seduced by it….like it’s some sort of Truman Show or something.

    But the key to going into the belly of the beast and fighting the spiritual disease is to know when to say when. In other words, in the words of U2, “don’t let the bastards drag you down”.

  55. The rage and instability in #49 is classic and dangerous. I know he won’t like being “diagnosed” and that is not my purpose. We are dealing with very hurt person whose pain thrives on attention.

  56. Josh, I’ve given $6,000 to one former PhxP couple.

    I’ve given Michael an $850 ipad and other monetary donations.

    I’ve sent hundreds of dollars to other PhxP and CC Abuse folks.

    I’ve stuck my neck out, spent countless hours hammering away at abuse stories on behalf of others and got sued for it.

    I’ve spent a ton of money flying to Costa Mesa, driving to Portland, flying to Visalia, hours spent sending reporters and attorneys information, etc etc all in an effort to do something practical to “have mercy” on abuse victims.

    So, basically, f**k you.

  57. Crowned1 said, “I have no money. I’m still thousands of dollars in debt from all the money I gifted to a church (that I didn’t have) to help it expand years ago. The pastor assured me God would bless my donations and open floodgates of financial blessings on me.”

    That’s terrible. I’ve given far more than I should have to churches over the years as well. I often did it quietly because I bought into the “don’t let your right hand know what your left had is doing” b.s. so my step-dad didn’t see all the giving and often accused me of not doing enough. I stopped giving to him because I saw how the money was wasted, so I started helping folks directly and skipping the middle-man. But, I’m an evil unrighteous heathen and demon-possessed according to that Camp.

    Frosted Flake, I am dangerous, I speak my mind and tell the truth and I’m not afraid to go to war. Those are the most dangerous types of people.

  58. At the end of the day a blog is interactive social media.
    It can publicize things that would otherwise be ignored and it can indeed raise awareness and create some amount of public pressure.
    I think we have done that well in this situation.
    What we can’t do is force anyone to do anything…either decision makers or readers.

  59. “I’ve stuck my neck out, spent countless hours hammering away at abuse stories on behalf of others and got sued for it.”

    You got sued by your step dad right? So the lawsuit wasn’t really on behalf of others, was it Mr Martyr?

    You’re judgmental and hypocritical. Two of the many things that make you an intolerable personality.

  60. Frosted Flake, you have Bulls***t Coming out of Your Mouth Disorder. Due to the abuse, I’ve had to see qualified folks with the credentials to have an opinion about “disorders”. I do have a disorder, it’s called Asshole Disorder and a normal coping mechanism. Unfortunately for you and others who don’t like me, I was found to be dealing with the stuff in one of many normal ways for what I’ve experienced. I didn’t get labeled with any “disorders” other than human.

  61. Well, I may be full of shit, but part of that continues to pray for you Alex.

  62. Josh, I stuck up for my brother Paul who I believe. I stuck up for the many former staff, bookkeepers and long-time CC-ites who reported abuses to me. I got sued for speaking out on their behalf. Read the lawsuit or does the brain damage affect reading comprehension and memory?

  63. Josh said, “You’re judgmental and hypocritical.”

    That’s the first thing you’ve gotten right today.

  64. Haha, good one.

    You got sued because you talked big and have acted like a baby ever since.

  65. I’ll leave the SGM bitch-fest to you Bridge Walkers. I wish I could not get angry about this stuff. I wish I could say a prayer and type a platitude and ignore the abuses. I’ll try really hard to act like it’s not happening and that someone else will do something practical.

    I hope I can be as spiritual as some of you.

    Blessings. Praise Jesus!

  66. Part 2 – Read the lawsuit – HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I remember when the Huge Win for free speech came out. I read it, and couldn’t understand why everyone was dancing in the streets. I assumed I just didn’t understand the legal
    language.

    Turns out I was the only one who understood.

  67. Believe. Whiskey helps.

  68. Make no mistake, there is a high personal cost to engaging in this kind of battle.
    I admit I failed to count that cost and have reaped the whirlwind myself.
    I still am…but I have chosen to do so.
    My hope, for Believe and myself is that we are in the middle of a process that God is engineering…and most processes don’t look good in the midst of them.
    The end result is often a completely different story.

  69. So Alex goes back to making fun of me because I had an aneurysm. I seem to remember him getting all bent out of shape when MLD said something like – he understood why Bob would beat him.

    Yeah, no hypocrisy there. None at all.

    I fully admit I’m not the best Christian in the world. I have huge trouble liking someone who is just so unkind.

  70. Please…can we stop this? The only one who is really enjoying this is the evil one. There is hurt and pain enough in this life, without us devouring one another. I feel for Believe and pray and there is not more than that that I can do. Our Lord’s heart bleeds for us all.
    Can we not have peace with one another?

  71. I got sued because I spoke out and kept the pressure on and wouldn’t let up, like a pit bull on a bone.

    I’ll survive it because I’m a survivor. It’s a war of attrition and it will cost my opponents a lot more men than it will cost me and I’ll do it all again if necessary.

    My greater disillusion is in God not acting and in the responses of so-called “good” Calvary Chapel pastors and even many on here.

    I’ve learned a lot about people and the mythology that Atheists and other non-Fundamentalists can’t be like Jesus. I’ve become a more empirical sort of truth standard type. I tend to cut through the b.s. with a sharper knife now and see things for what they are. I don’t know a whole lot for certain, but I can quantify situations and how human beings respond and I can compare that to the essence of the Parables of Jesus and the stuff adds up differently than Fundamentalists sell.

  72. God has spoken loud and clear, Alex. You’re not listening.

  73. JTB (Josh The Brain), sounds like you read one of the “rulings”, which is not the “lawsuit”. Read the lawsuit. Read the Complaint and then read the Responses to the Complaint. That’s the “lawsuit”, not the “ruling” you seem to be calling the lawsuit.

  74. JTB said, “God has spoken loud and clear, Alex. You’re not listening.”

    Well, God is currently in the Court of Appeals in California.

  75. Read my 66 again, I never called it the lawsuit. I just pointed out that your track record for understanding what you read isn’t so good.

  76. But, yes, I think something has spoken…I’ve learned a ton and much of what I’ve learned has shattered the mythology of Christian Fundamentalism for me (thank God, in whatever form).

  77. B,
    What is there to like Dude? Like I said “dangerous and unstable.” There is nothing normal about how you are coping with your pain. I have never seen more expletives unmoderated since I have been here. Your wife is correct, this blog is a bad place for you to process your considerable challenges. Out!

  78. ” I just pointed out that your track record for understanding what you read isn’t so good.”

    I think you were referring to the article Michael wrote with that headline you cited? Are you accusing Michael of being an idiot?

  79. F.Flake said, “There is nothing normal about how you are coping with your pain.”

    Others with credentials in the field who counsel abuse victims all the time disagree.

  80. Joseph was sold by his family into slavery.
    He was rising up the slave ranks when a woman falsely accused him of attempted rape and he was thrown into prison for two years.
    After twenty years of hell, Joseph found that God had been in it all along.
    It had to be an incredibly painful, doubt ridden twenty years…but God redeemed the time.
    May it be so for all who read here…

  81. @ 78 – I said that day the post was unwarranted. You were leading the cheers, though, and the ruling was linked. It didn’t say what you thought it said. Period.

    I didn’t realize the existence of God was tied to how long Alex the Internet tough Guy could post crap about his dad and not get sued.

  82. Michael. Truly, it’s a leap of faith these past ten years. You’ve paid a price and the full ramifications are probably not yet seen. I don’t know how it’ll all turn out but I do know you’ve got your finger on the pulse of our Christian circles.

  83. Again, Believe, you should never let your Crusade affect your family. Always keep a line between business and religion.

  84. Believe. It seems your going all “Franky Schaeffer” on us. LOL.

  85. Michael’s 80, amen. Trusting that God does work all things together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

    Believe, I’m sorry you perceive that I have somehow hurt you or am against you. I am not. I have been offended by you, but I’m an adult, I’ve had teenagers sling stuff at me and can understand and deal it.. I have tried to speak to you, encourage you, teach, and gently correct you at times, but all along, I have wished the best for you. I am sorry you can’t see that. I’ll continue to pray for you, and I am adding your wife and children to that. I do hope that you treat them much, much better than the way you treat folks here.
    Please don’t take your anger and vitriol home with you.

  86. Josh,

    I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend whose family was done very badly wrong in another denominational group.
    She was working through some theological material about the providence of God and wondered aloud why He seems to allow such things to go on and go unaddressed.
    Sometimes I wonder that myself.
    This situation has been very hard on all of us.
    It has at times decimated the community and caused me unending stress on many levels…I’ve caught it from both sides and catch it from both to this very day.
    At the end of the day, I come back to the beginning.
    I tried to mediate resolution for this before anyone ever heard of any of the people involved.
    I was stonewalled.
    So, we went public, hoping that pressure would shame those who had authority into a real investigation and appropriate action.
    That didn’t work either.
    Now we have allegations of both physical and sexual abuse that have gone without proper investigation and disclosure and we have a pastor suing his step son.
    As Christians we owe it to the name of Christ to have done better…to have tried to resolve this within the church transparently and completely.
    It didn’t happen and it won’t happen.
    What we see here today…what we’ve seen here so often over the last couple of years…is the result of our failure to act biblically and in truth and in love for either those accused or the accusers.
    The SGM case this thread was originally about shouts the exact same message.
    This is high tragedy…indeed, a tragedy of biblical proportions.

  87. “Yep. Calvin would’ve burned ‘em at the stake.”

    LMAO!!

  88. MIchael, I believe that most here agree completely with you. If what Believe has said is true, and I think many here do believe him, then it is a travesty that the church did not respond to these charges. it sickens me how this has been handled.

    However, the way he has treated people who meant him nothing but good will is inexcusable.

    Do his action prevent me from wanting the best for him and healing for him, NO! But that does not mean that the way he has treated people in this community is excusable. Again, I say, “Apples and oranges.”

  89. MIchael, I don’t know exactly why that was addressed to me. You know I am against abuse, and understand the price you’ve paid over the years.

    Alex, on the other hand is an internet bully, and I have a knee-jerk reaction to those types.

    As for SGM – it seems they had bad organization. I do hesitate to throw CJ under the bus, because so many people I respect think highly of him.

    That being said, we have to do better about reporting sexual abuse. I think many times the pastors think of it as an isolated incident, and they don’t want to ruin a friends life by accusing him publicly. These cases have shown again and again that strategy will not work. We have to do the right thing, even when it hurts.

  90. I was stonewalled<<<

    Michael, I am going to be perfectly honest with you and say straight up: Was it at all reasonable for you to expect the pastor of a church you never attended (as far as I know) to respond to you, a complete stranger with a blog with a reputation for being anti-CC, about personal details of his family life? Am I missing something here? You yourself have gotten enraged (yes, enraged) when people asked you personal questions about your family. Why on earth did you ever expect BG to respond to you? I surely would not have. Yet you have always used this perfectly understandable reluctance on BG's part to talk to you as the reason you went full-bore (for a while) with the Alex story.

  91. This whole scandle is a foul stench in our Lord nostrals.He is being misrepresented and mocked by church leaders who claim to be Servants.This whole thing leaves me distressed.I can see the lampstands getting dimmer and dimmer.

  92. Michael,
    At what point does it stop being “our” responsibility that someone we’ve never heard of before did something horrible x number of years ago and start becoming the responsibility of the people involved, all now adults, to accept the fact that the past isn’t going to change and deal with things in a way that they get healing for themselves.
    There’s many, many, many people in the church that have been victims and perpetrators of all kinds of “sins”.
    I think we are each responsible for working on our healing without causing harm to others as much as possible, and for admitting to others when we hurt them (that part sucks the most for me cause I like to play the “victim role” more than i like admitting I sometimes play the perpetrator role)

    I’m NOT responsible for anyone else’s sin or healing. To keep saying that we are, is almost a form of co-dependency that isn’t healthy for anyone…

    What do you think?

  93. Josh,

    I know that you are completely opposed to abuse and would never question your heart on this matter.
    My point is that the system can create this kind of behavior when it provides no other options.

  94. Xenia,

    Others have made that point as well.
    I went about it respectfully and hopefully and it was perhaps a fools errand.

  95. @ 93 – I agree. Unfortunately, we have seen abusers in every system. I’m not sure where else to go with it. Bad guys abound.

  96. Church scandals are becoming passe now. People need to read the word for themselves so that they can Identify unbiblical leadership and then run for the hills!

  97. Yet when he declined to share his personal life with you, you use the pejorative term “stonewall.”

  98. “My point is that the system can create this kind of behavior when it provides no other options.”

    Michael, I respect you so much, but I disagree. That is like saying, “The devil made me do it.”

  99. London,

    Good questions.
    We are all individually responsible for our actions and responses to the actions of others.
    I am not defending or excusing anyones behaviors.
    Having said that, the Bible speaks of us as a Body, an interconnected assemblage of individual parts responsible to each other by the the law of love.
    When one hurts, we all hurt, when one rejoices, we all rejoice.
    We are biblically bound to hold each other up, both in exhortation and rebuke.
    My hope for the last ten years has been that we would begin to strive toward those ideals and that maybe we could play a tiny part in facilitating that.

  100. Nonnie,

    Maybe so…but the lack of a mechanism to address these issues exacerbates the problems.

  101. As I see it we have two plates on the same table. Justice and Recovery. The victim desperately needs healing and the perpetrator needs to be accountable. One requires reporting and law enforcement and other the court system. The church cannot arrest, detain, file charges, pass judgement or pronounce sentencing. The church can do what the church can do which isn’t much IMO. Having been in the ministry for a while now we have uncovered over a hundred cases of sexual abuse and ALL of them have been reported to the authorities. We haved helped several “Christian” men and women go to jail. So I don’t readily buy into the “pastor’s suck” language used so often around here. As far as the victim? We pray, we confront, we tough love and hopefully counsel them to a better place. As far as Believe is concerned this thread is a flame and it is understandable that “Mighy Moth” would show up with hurt in hand.

  102. Xenia,

    Yes, I did.
    No one will ever know how much I didn’t want to see what we have seen happen in this situation.
    I am very frustrated that it happened anyway.

  103. Lack of mechanism<<<

    Well, that's what most of you want, isn't it? Freedom to do whatever you like without interference from some kind of medieval hierarchy of bishops? All you fans of independent churches…. what do you expect? You can't eschew all authority on one hand but scream that there's no one to come to your assistance on the other hand when your free-range pastor goes off the rails.

  104. Could we please please please talk about something less controversial, like, say, abortion clinic bombing or something?

  105. I believe Xenia has a point. My husband and I “walked away” very quietly from a church many years ago because of what was being taught. We were confronted and rebuked for not making a statement about why we left, and told we should have informed the leadership. We didn’t really feel we owed explanation seeing we were not “members” of the church and we did not want to cause any trouble. We just wanted to leave.

  106. Michael,
    I understand we’re called a body, but at some level, if we don’t take care of ourselves by doing what we gotta do to get healed and quit perpetrating (in whatever form that takes) then we are just causing more injury to the body.

    I’m not going to accept that I am responsible for some guy I’ve never heard of before behaving in a way that is disgraceful.

    If we all shared our stories of how we’ve been severely wounded by the church, our parents, our friends, our lovers, our employers all day long, what would we gain? We’ve all got HUGE scars and open wounds.

    It’s my responsibility to do what I gotta do to heal from as many of those as possible so I don’t continue to wound others. Sometimes that takes a lifetime of hard work.

    I’m only responsible for myself and those in my family and circle of friends. I am NOT responsible for all the idiots that are in the global church.

    I think we’re mistaking connection with co-dependency here.

  107. Wow! I last checked in before starting work at 7a and now I come back to at 11a to find someone has opened the cage with all the poo throwing monkeys…

    What happened? How did we get to several ‘brothers in christ’ telling eachother to F off and openly attacking eachother’s person?

    Someone’s been Moderating in Moderation and not cleaning up after the well being of the Rest of the World who might be looking in to see how Christians treat eachother.

    Do what you want, it’s your blog ‘community’ but… Wow!
    -MIC

  108. London,

    You might be right.
    Looking at this discussion and the rest of my life I probably need to step back and try to hear what God is saying in the carnage.

  109. “How did we get to several ‘brothers in christ’ telling each other ”

    For the record, I only saw one say that. Several people involved in the convo, but only one saying stuff like that.

    Now, i think since around # 86 or so some real good conversation has started to take place. London brings up some good questions about the limits of our irresponsibility, and Xenia hits the nail on the head. SGM by definition cannot have some governing body. It, like CC and SBC, is a network of independent churches.

    Unfortunately, in more organized denominations, these types of scandals happen all the time. I don’t see a clear answer.

  110. mike,

    I don’t have any moderators available and I chose not to remove the comments.
    It’s ugly and painful and sometimes this is what the church looks like.
    I didn’t even bother with your flame.

  111. “It’s ugly and painful and sometimes this is what the church looks like.”

    You always know what to say ….

  112. I think Michael’s #80 needs to be stated again and again.

    “Joseph was sold by his family into slavery.
    He was rising up the slave ranks when a woman falsely accused him of attempted rape and he was thrown into prison for two years.
    After twenty years of hell, Joseph found that God had been in it all along.
    It had to be an incredibly painful, doubt ridden twenty years…but God redeemed the time.
    May it be so for all who read here…”

  113. “After twenty years of hell, Joseph found that God had been in it all along.”

    Exactly.

  114. Wait, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Believe wouldn’t be so flaming mad at God and us if we had just paid a financial toll to walk on the bridge. I don’t know how I missed that all along. Damn, am I stupid or what?

  115. Catherine, just wanted to say that your #70 did not go unnoticed.

  116. London said, “I understand we’re called a body, but at some level, if we don’t take care of ourselves by doing what we gotta do to get healed and quit perpetrating (in whatever form that takes) then we are just causing more injury to the body.”

    London said, “It’s my responsibility to do what I gotta do to heal from as many of those as possible so I don’t continue to wound others. Sometimes that takes a lifetime of hard work. I’m only responsible for myself and those in my family and circle of friends. I am NOT responsible for all the idiots that are in the global church.”

    Yes, that is my current conclusion and something I expressed to Michael offline when I got a similar talk from him about how he has to take care of himself and his family.

    I didn’t follow that advice, I stuck my neck out for others thinking it was the “Christian” thing to do. I have learned by lesson and expressed what is in essence exactly what London says above, only I expressed it more crassly.

    Don’t give money, don’t stick your neck out, don’t risk your well-being for others. Take care of you and yours. That is the true belief and true doctrine expressed above…and I feel like a sucker (as Crowned1 does) for buying into the b.s. and costing me and my family so much time and money.

  117. Whenever I go to confession Father G. always starts out with the following questions: Do you consider yourself to be a sinner? Have you forgiven everyone? See, forgiving everyone is a requirement for me to receive communion. There’s one person in my life, a relative, who has caused me a great deal of emotional distress. I always say to Father G, ” I am not sure I have completely forgiven this person, I keep remembering things that happened.” He responds, “God forgive you, keep trying, that’s what counts.” I think I might have really forgiven this person because despite all that has happened I wish this person only the best and I have made no effort to spread all the bad things I know about this person all over the Internet.. In fact, except for immediate family and a few close friends, I don’t talk about this person at all because deep down inside, I do love them and it hurts me to say bad things about a person I love. It is hard to love this person. Love and forgiveness is a choice. It is a hard choice, sometimes, but it is what our Lord requires of us. He says if we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us. <— That is rather terrifying, don't you all think? And forgiveness is more than saying, "Oh yes, I forgive this person"BUT and then going about trying to destroy their life.

    There is no healing without forgiveness. God knows what He's talking about. We will reap what we sow and we ourselves. will fall into the pit that we dig.

    There is no healing w/o forgiveness. <— Can't be said enough.

  118. The funny thing is…I think it’s a balance (I’m mostly writing today to myself btw)…

    I DO feel responsible (maybe a different way of using the word than I did above) for other people in the world who are suffering.
    I highly value social justice initiatives and try in my small way to do what I can to help others that I have chosen to help.

    I think it’s important to inform others of issues, and to allow them to join in the fight or movement as they see fit. What I resist and will not condone is anyone trying to guilt, force or blame me into doing what they want done.

    Nor, will I accept that somehow, by claiming the name of Jesus, I am automatically responsible for anyone else’s actions but my own.

  119. CK, it’s the heart and the attitude and the lack of practical help. I don’t care if it was $1, it’s the fact very very few did anything practical and it speaks volumes and taught me a lesson about truth and how things are. I am a sucker, Crowned1 was a sucker. I won’t be the “church’s” fool any longer.

    Take care of #1 and your own family. Provide for them, protect them and make sure to pick your battles wisely and don’t listen to the manipulative religious b.s. especially when they need money or help with something.

  120. “I think I might have really forgiven this person because despite all that has happened I wish this person only the best and I have made no effort to spread all the bad things I know about this person all over the Internet.. In fact, except for immediate family and a few close friends, I don’t talk about this person at all because deep down inside, I do love them and it hurts me to say bad things about a person I love. It is hard to love this person. Love and forgiveness is a choice. It is a hard choice, sometimes, but it is what our Lord requires of us. He says if we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us. <— That is rather terrifying, don't you all think? And forgiveness is more than saying, "Oh yes, I forgive this person"BUT and then going about trying to destroy their life.

    There is no healing without forgiveness. God knows what He's talking about. We will reap what we sow and we ourselves. will fall into the pit that we dig.

    There is no healing w/o forgiveness. <— Can't be said enough."'

    Word is Bond!!

  121. “I feel like a sucker for buying into the B.S. and costing me and my family so much money”.

    With all due respect, your feeling is accurate.

    Rarely does one regret the things they don’t say in comparison to the things they do.

  122. Believe,
    Perhaps not intentionally, you are twisting my words to Michael and saying that you did “exactly” what I suggested above, but that’s not really the case. My words weren’t about you. They were about me.

    You did whatever it is you did (don’t know, don’t care to know) and you made the choices.
    You and only you are responsible for those actions, just like I and everyone else here who is an adult, is responsible for their own actions.

    Only children are not 100% responsible for their actions at some level.

    As adults, we all are.

    Please don’t use my words in a way I did not mean them.

    Thanks

  123. Make your own miracles. If you are out of work and have a brain in your head (and Michael does, he’s very smart)…then retrain in healthcare, become a nurse or an x-ray tech or a cardiology tech or something in very high demand that you can find work anywhere. The tech programs are usually 2 years and then you have a good job with benefits. There are many jobs that are currently unfilled because the unemployed aren’t training specifically for those jobs. Use your brain. Pick a field that has a future and is underserved.

    If you see someone who has suffered abuse, tell them life sucks and to avoid churches that abuse. If it was sexual or physical abuse as a child by a pastor or loved one, tell them it’s not their fault and the pain and anger are normal and then stfu and let them vent and if the statute of limitations hasn’t run out, point them to a good attorney.

    If you are pointing the finger of judgment as a pastor or holier-than-though Fundy Pharisee at another human being who isn’t living up to your selective pick-and-choose view of the bible, then chances are those other fingers pointing back at you are condemning you to hell, just like the Parable from Jesus.

    Expect human beings to be dirt-bags sometimes. When they cross a criminal line, report. When they cross a civil line, sue the hell out of them (if it’s that important to you).

    If someone needs money or food, give them the number to a church and the government. If they can’t get help through those two avenues, they aren’t trying hard enough. There will always be suckers who give their time and money to some churches and there will always be some churches that will give money and food away. There are a TON of government options at the national, state and local levels.

    Any time or money you spend not directly benefitting you and your immediate family is stupid. Don’t buy into the sales pitch of “church”. When push comes to shove, the real belief and the real doctrine expressed (in general) is every man for himself.

    Go and do likewise.

  124. Xenia @ 117 – Once again speaking with so much wisdom. I have never met a better ambassador for the Orthodox Church.

  125. London, I wasn’t asserting that your words were about me, I was noting that you made a public expression in your words that was extremely similar/same to a conclusion I made to Michael off-blog after he told me essentially what you stated, focus on you and those in your close family and close circle and there is no obligation as a “Christian” to step out and risk your resources, time, legal trouble etc for someone else. You are under no obligation. Look out for #1 and those you deem as close to you and important to you, and you are under no obligation to help others who you don’t know in the ‘church’ or wherever, as you expressed in that post.

  126. Incognito, you said, “Captain Kevin I am not even a human being and that is on a good day please don’t admire me, please pray God’s eternal wrath does not take me out. Now that is a prayer I might even agree with.”

    With much love and respect, I rebuke your line of thinking. You are a compassionate, caring, walk-a-mile-in-their-shoes kind of man. I choose to admire you because you admit your shortcomings. I choose to admire you because, even though you have been treated like scum by purveyors of religion, you continue to trust Jesus. I choose to admire you for the self-sacrificing way you have cared for your family and your students. I choose to admire you because you have a heart for those who hurt.

    God’s eternal wrath was poured out upon Jesus. You are not destined for wrath. You are dearly loved by God, by me, and by many in the PhxP community.

    Can I get a witness?

  127. Aye, aye, Capt. K!!!

  128. TEstifyin’ on #126!

  129. Believe,
    Still not what I meant by the post, but that’s ok. People filter and perceive things differently than they were intended and that’s fine today.
    Not going to spend time trying to correct the translation.

    Like I said, writing mostly for myself today anyway.

  130. Again, another Paradox in the bible and in the church.

    Out of one side of the mouth: Be the Good Samaritan!

    Out of the other side of the mouth: We are under NO OBLIGATION to help others, I don’t even know this guy! He’s an asshole! (But, err, I thought this was a ‘community’? And why was I so stupid to help others I don’t know? I guess I’m a total sucker idiot)

  131. CK,

    I affirm that as well.

  132. Believe @ 116

    You are correct, I indeed felt suckered. I will never again tithe to man’s church. This is the legacy man’s church has left me with. Missionaries & charities only in the future.

    As far as sticking your neck out…you are in a spiritual battle with evil. satan has zero interest in scandals being exposed and ruining his plans for man’s church structures.

    It is his desire for man’s churches to remain cesspools of evil. he will do everything he can (money & power) to stop you.

    You are not assured fiscal victory over evil, but you are assured spiritual victory. Do you not know that we will judge angels? Last time I checked, satan is an angel.

  133. London, no worries, and I agree with your assessment about communication. I often am doing exactly what you stated, writing for myself (though others perceive it as for them).

  134. Xenia, I love your #117 and agree with Josh’s response at #124.

  135. Believe,

    The context of our conversation was the amount of conflict and attention that these situations demand of me…and my reality that I can’t pay the price to do so anymore.
    Whether you believe it or not, I have worked hard on your behalf and loved you through this whole mess.
    I regret that it hasn’t been enough, but you got all I had.

  136. Again, not sure if you know you’re doing it…but please stop attaching yourself to my words and my feelings. You have NEVER before expressed that you are writing for yourself (that’s what your blog is for btw) until I just did.
    Now, I anticipate that whenever you go on one of your rants, you’ll pull that line out and say it’s ok…”I’m just writing for myself just like London does”.

    It’s so predictible that it’s just plain lame.

    Don’t do it.

  137. Bri…what KK said. 😉

  138. I’ve given all I can as well for the “cause” to the point it has taken a toll spiritually, emotionally and financially, but I will survive it and I will fight harder and more ferociously if I’m forced to. I’d rather die than give in to the injustice and real bullies.

    I won’t make the mistake again of allowing my emotions and sympathies and anger to get the better of me to the point of spending so much time and money and personal emotional capital.

  139. “I will fight harder and more ferociously if I’m forced to. I’d rather die than give in to the injustice and real bullies.

    I won’t make the mistake again of allowing my emotions and sympathies and anger to get the better of me to the point of spending so much time and money and personal emotional capital.”

    These seem like 2 completely contradictory statements. Pray tell, how will your wife and children fair if you fight harder and more ferociously, even to the point of death? I’m not trying to bait you, I honestly don’t see how these things can possibly coincide.

  140. London, I’m going to choose intentionally to extend some grace to you. You’re not my enemy. And, yes, there’s a high probability I would point that out a few times 🙂

  141. Now that the Corinthians study is about over, Michael could do a Proverbs blog study.

    I know as we are going through it at our place, there is so much application to the internet age of communication.

    Which is truly amazing when one thinks how old the Proverbs happen to be.

    God’s word is timeless.

  142. Agreed Steve, in fact His Word is alive and still speaking!

  143. Thanks for the grace.

    I’m learning to own my own feelings, words and actions so appreciate that you are not going to try to claim them as your your own or manipulate them to mean what you want them to mean instead of what I want them to mean.

  144. CK, there comes a point in a war that the two sides look to end the conflict that is resulting in mutual attrition. I have come to the realization that my fighting for others has not resulted in God doing anything in an active manner (I think God, if real, is much more passive in His creation than the Fundamentalist version of god). I have significant doubts now in the god of Christian Fundamentalism (and the god of Calvary Chapel which is what gave me the conviction to stick my neck out in the first place).

    However, if the opponents continue the fight, I will do whatever I can within my power, energies and resources to win the war or die trying (metaphorically). When you go to war, you have to be prepared to go the distance and fight to the death (metaphorically). As a General, you also have to make assessments, survey the damage, survey the benefits of war etc and make a good decision.

    While I believe in my right to free speech, while I believe my brother, while I know of my own direct personal experiences, while I believe in the real pain and the things reported by many others, I no longer believe in the Fundamentalist Christian “Cause” of fighting the abuse and corruption in the church and following 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, Matthew 18, Ephesians 5:11, 1 Timothy 5:19-22 etc etc. Others can swing at those windmills and risk their necks.

  145. multiple verse stuck in mod

  146. Alex, people not giving may not be for the reasons you have stated; for some giving money is a great sacrifice, people have given money in blind faith before and then seen how it was mismanaged in many different ways.

    Maybe I missed something but I never knew what the bills were or if enough had been collected, my understanding was you were going to win and then the plaintiff would have to pay legal fees, etc.,what was going to happen to the money then, was it going to be returned…maybe start a ministry for the abused, who was responsible to see the money was not mismanaged, or does a person just trust the main guy again.

    So more information and accountability measures may have different results.

    Also the case changed into a freedom of speech case; how would that bring some final solution, or just allow more blogging without bringing the facts to light, I would prefer the plaintiff answering under deposition.

  147. The Appeal’s Process will play out. If we win in Appeals then that should be the end of the conflict. If we lose, we simply continue the War in a traditional defamation lawsuit context if the adversary chooses to continue the fight…and we fight on and keep on fighting at the expense of mutual attrition to the death (metaphorically) until someone wins or gives up.

    I’ll hope for the best and have a couple of years to prepare for the worst.

  148. Believe @148 – Or….you could take my suggestions from a few weeks ago, for the good of your family, your finances, and your soul.

  149. Q, I got a ton of advice from pastors, CC pastors, family and lawyer friends etc. At one time I wanted to fight the lawsuit Pro Per/Pro Se to fight the good fight and expect a “miracle” from God for stepping out doing what I believed was right.

    I was a fool.

    I was told so by pretty much everyone, including Michael.

    The only option was the Anti-SLAPP option and thank God (in whatever form) that the Atheists and Free Speech attorneys has mercy on me and Tim and decided to help us.

  150. Steve Wright, the smear on the toilet paper after I take a #2 and your “advice” are equivalent in my world. Save your “advice” for one of your CCool-aid drinkers at your franchise.

    I’m getting good advice from some very smart men who have credentials a mile long and have spoken more truth to me than any of you pastors.

  151. “I’m getting good advice from some very smart men who have credentials a mile long and have spoken more truth to me than any of you pastors.”

    And where has that gotten ya?

  152. And, Steve, if BG somehow wins, you and other CC pastors who gave me advice to focus on BG exclusively may get some accountability as the message to lay off Chuck and CC as a whole and to focus on BG is one of the biggest angles in BG’s lawsuit against us. Seems like you and the other CC guys like Rolph and even Chuck may have been setting me up to give BG an advantage in his suit. That’s my opinion.

  153. Cause spreading the bullcrap is a much better strategy!

  154. that should be the end of the conflict. <<<

    You can end the conflict right now by repenting and apologizing to your step father.

    Counter-intuitive, I know, but such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

  155. I know my 20 years working in the field of liability insurance means nothing, but speaking for myself, it has been my experience that no reputable attorney promises victory – at best maybe they will hope for a 80% chance (and thus why so often things are settled beforehand).

    Hard to see how an attorney lets his client prematurely spike the football on just a preliminary ruling that ultimately is not indicative of much.

    Hard to see how an attorney is so ‘shocked’ at a denial of a motion to throw out the case.

    Certainly no reputable attorney urges continued appeals despite terrible odds. I believe the civil appeal victory rate in CA is 20-25% – hard to imagine it being much higher when the appeal is asking to deny someone their day in court and the first judge is on record as saying the plaintiff has a high degree of meeting his burden.

    But every attorney knows how to cash a check. They are PAID to represent their clients. But PAID nonetheless.

    Maybe you can get some of these assurances in writing. At least to build your professional liability lawsuit against them for later, if their promises to you are as you report. Will the attorneys waive their additional fees if the appeal process is a failure?

    Or you could scrub the blog of the Bob references, (go ahead and keep it up for all the other CC stuff. Just drop the Bob stuff) – then ask Bob to drop his case and proceed to enjoy your family and life.

  156. “And where has that gotten ya?”

    Well, the advice from Michael, Steve, Rolph, Chuck and many others and my belief in the Fundamentalist take on the bible to speak out against sin etc has gotten me sued for what BG says was a “hate campaign” specifically against him (which isn’t true, but that’s the angle he’s arguing and that’s the advice I got from the CC guys and others many times).

    The advice I have gotten from attorneys once I was sued was that I am within my first amendment rights to speak out, and they point out the fact that I have spoken broadly to issues of public interest and many other pastors and abuses etc as I often went against the advice of Michael, Steve, Shaun, Rolph, Ron Arbaugh and many other pastors who railed against me every time I spoke about Chuck and CC in general.

    The advice I’ve gotten from atheists and attorneys since is to appeal the lower court ruling and to stick to my guns and to re-evaluate Christian Fundamentalism. Their advice is that the law is on my side and that I have the right to believe my brother and the others and to speak out publicly if that is my conviction.

    While I believe what happened is wrong and while I believe my brother and the others, and while I believe I have the right to speak out…I no longer feel the “spiritual” conviction or obligation to do so and I’ve learned that Christian Fundamentalism is not true in the form I once believed.

    BG says he’s good to go with his Board, with Calvary Chapel and with law enforcement in his area. So be it. If CC wants to rubber stamp him, if people want to sit under him and give him their money and trust him, then so be it. My brother can press charges if he wants to pursue justice. I believe him, I feel terrible for him, but I can’t fight that battle for him any longer.

    I felt a deep conviction and thought I was doing the Fundamentalists “God’s work!” at one time…I now feel like a total idiot for sticking my neck out and expecting God to miracle something.

    I’ll finish the legal fight, but I won’t beat the drum any longer. CC can do their thing, BG can do his thing. If God is real in some capacity, if the stuff is true in some capacity, then I imagine it’ll get taken care of someday, if not in this existence, in the next…but doubtful. I don’t think BG or CC really believes the stuff deep down. The actions don’t seem to express a true belief.

  157. The lack of any pro bono work, a sympathetic lawyer taking up the cause, seems to say something about the strength of Believe’s case.

  158. “I felt a deep conviction and thought I was doing the Fundamentalists “God’s work!” at one time.”

    You are hilarious. Let’s say you were doing the Lord’s work…what did you expect? Have you ever read the Bible? Guys who do the Lord’s work end up dead all the time in the Bible. It’s not a good paying job in this life.

  159. “You can end the conflict right now by repenting and apologizing to your step father.”

    If there’s a real devil, that came from him. I rebuke you in the name of Jeebus.

  160. Steve @ 148

    Unless we’re speaking solely about John 3:16…”Submit…or else”…should never be in a pastor’s vocabulary…ever

    Know what the motto of a pastor should be?

    1 Corinthians 6:7-8

    Why is it that the laymen understand this but so many pastors cannot figure it out? With your ‘calling’ and all, I’d think something like this in black and white would make sense.

    Not pointing fingers at you Steve, would just love a “pastor’s perspective” on this. Err umm, Trademark KWVE 2013, please don’t sue me 🙂

  161. “I’ve learned that Christian Fundamentalism is not true in the form I once believed.”

    Apparently, what you believed was – If I do something right, God gives me a cookie.
    Yes, you were highly misinformed.

    Xenia speaks much wisdom. Don’t be too quick to dismiss her while listening to Atheists and lawyers.

  162. “The lack of any pro bono work, a sympathetic lawyer taking up the cause, seems to say something about the strength of Believe’s case.”

    You have bad intel and bad info and don’t understand the situation. The leading Free Speech firm in the state of California took on the case and is fighting it through Appeals. The bulk of the expenses are pro bono, but there’s still costs involved and there are still tons of time and misc. expenses etc. Fortunately, the couple of hundred thousand dollars for our attorney’s bills will be BG’s if he loses in Appeals.

  163. Why not just go to court, if the truth is on your side?

  164. “Apparently, what you believed was – If I do something right, God gives me a cookie”

    I was intentional about stepping out in extreme faith. God was silent. I believed to the extreme and was intentional to the extreme and stepped out in faith in the extreme, like I had read in the OT and NT. God was silent. The church was silent.

    The main Group that stepped up to help were Atheists and Humanists, while the “church” has BG’s back.

    Sorry, not buying Christian Fundamentalism any longer. I’m a fool, but I’m no longer a sucker.

  165. “Why not just go to court, if the truth is on your side?”

    We are in court dumbass.

  166. “….if he loses in Appeals.”

    He won’t. You’re stuck in a pipe dream.

  167. If what people have stated about the abuse they have suffered and there is no repentance,
    how would it be wise to apologize?

    Seems more like selling your soul than wisdom.

  168. “He won’t. You’re stuck in a pipe dream.”

    Maybe, maybe not. If he wins in Appeals and if he wants to keep fighting after that, we’ll be ready, thank God for Atheist lawyers who are more sympathetic to victims than the church.

  169. Seems more like selling your soul than wisdom.<<<

    It is more about saving your soul.

  170. You’ll keep fighting? Even if it comes at the expense of your kids? If so, you’re no better a dad to your kids than yours was to you.

  171. ““Why not just go to court, if the truth is on your side?”

    We are in court”

    You knew what I meant. I just remember a post of you thumping you big, manly chest about how you WLECOMED a lawsuit, and couldn’t wait to get the truth out in court. I’m asking, why has that changed?

  172. Not exposing darkness saves souls?

    With that wisdom the lawsuit with SGM should be repented of and apologies should be made immediately.

  173. What might be gained by repenting and apologizing?

    1. A possible reconciliation with your entire family.
    2. Your step-dad might just apologize to YOU and ask your forgiveness.
    3. A clean conscience.

    What might happen if you continue?

    1. No reconciliation, ever. I would not want to approach the gates of heaven with this one on my ticket.
    2. Continual corrosion of your soul and your faith.
    3. Leading your family into apostasy. (might as well get fitted for the millstone now.)
    4. Possible loss of your businesses
    5. Years wasted by dragging this through the courts

    The choice seems obvious to me.

  174. Pardon @ 170

    So because his family might suffer monetary consequences for standing up for morality/truth and the exposure of sin, he is a bad father? What color is the sky in your world?

    Self preservation > The Gospel? No thank you.

  175. I am not saying the CURRENT cases of abuse should not be pursued in the courts. If you see someone being physically abused, call the cops and be willing to be a witness at court.

  176. “Self preservation > The Gospel? No thank you.”

    Which side of the Greneir case is representing the Gospel?!?!?

  177. Is not the alleged in a “CURRENT” position of trust?

  178. X, you don’t know BG very well.

    “What might be gained by repenting and apologizing?

    1. A possible reconciliation with your entire family.
    2. Your step-dad might just apologize to YOU and ask your forgiveness.
    3. A clean conscience.”

    1. Wouldn’t happen, you don’t know BG. My bro Geoff made peace with BG (even though it was BG who hurt him and was in the wrong) and my bro still got shunned for not lying for BG any longer.
    2. Wouldn’t happen, not a chance in hell (if there is such a place).
    3. I have a clean conscience, I had an unclean conscience lying for him all those years.

  179. Well, the advice from Michael, Steve, Rolph, Chuck and many others and my belief in the Fundamentalist take on the bible to speak out against sin etc has gotten me sued
    ——————————————————————–
    Since Believe already has a track record and made it clear a couple years ago that he was collecting all our words here for a possible lawsuit that he was going to instigate against the brethren, I must say this sounds like more of the same.

    Our advice got him sued?

    As I’ve said over and over, the more times Believe interprets things in such an odd way, the less likely people are to believe anything he claims.

  180. X said, “It is more about saving your soul.”

    You believe “I” can save my soul? How can I do that specifically?

  181. Crowned. Re:173. Yep. Kids are more important than exposing Gramps.

    …. The sky is my world is the following color: You’re a dork.

  182. Steve W, your advice, often, was to focus on BG and leave CC and Chuck alone. Seems a bit coincidental to me that a fellow CC pastor would use that advice as an opportunity to sue, no?

  183. @ 179 – She spelled that out for ya @ 154.

  184. Steve W, I don’t believe anything you claim, other than that you sold insurance at one time. That I believe.

  185. Folks, I think we’ve exhausted this.
    There is nothing happening here that is helpful to any of us.
    Wrap it up.

  186. Josh, I can save myself by lying and agreeing with BG? That sounds like an odd salvation. I think I’ll pass.

  187. Believe, I’ve noticed you are distancing yourself from your blog. You now state that you got sued fro believing your brother, and standing up for others. Wasn’t there tons of things that YOU alleged Bob did?

    Or has that been scrubbed from history now?

  188. “As I’ve said over and over, the more times Believe interprets things in such an odd way, the less likely people are to believe anything he claims.”

    Regardless, shouldn’t these claims be properly investigated by the Affiliation?

  189. The Affiliation claims they did investigate them, and there was not enough for them to move on.

  190. Josh, I can save myself by lying and agreeing with BG? That sounds like an odd salvation. I think I’ll pass.<<<

    How you twist words. I never said you had to agree with BG or lie. I apologized to my former CC pastor for some of the things I said about him here years ago. The things I said were all true but I should not have said them here.

  191. And it wasn’t too easy to write that letter, either.

  192. Josh, read the lawsuit, you are speaking from ignorance. BG is not suing for my personal abuse allegations, he is suing for reporting my belief in Paul’s allegations and the allegations of the many others who gave sworn testimony in the lawsuit.

  193. OK X, here goes:

    Since BG reads every word I write: BG, I’m sorry I called you an asshole and a dick. I still believe Paul and you and the others and you and I both know what happened in that home with you, me and Geoff.

  194. Believe, re: your #159, you are rebuking Xenia because what she said is of the devil???

    NO SIR!!! NO!!! As she stated, “Counter-intuitive, I know, but such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” While I honestly do believe that what you, your siblings and others have experienced is tragic and that BG is an a-hole of the highest order, that does not change what is the right-thing-to-do. YOU do the right thing because it is right, and if BG never repents, rest assured God will deal with him. The forgiveness and apology is as much, if not more, for yourself than anyone else.

  195. Should be: “I still believe Paul and the others” above.

  196. Steve W, your advice, often, was to focus on BG and leave CC and Chuck alone
    ———————————————————–
    Michael, before you shut the thread down, allow me to go on record that Believe is not just inaccurate in this summary, but outrageously so. (Need to prepare my legal defense for when you blog gets subpoenaed if Believe is playing around with the ideas he hints at here)

    Believe, I do notice your #182 response did not exactly deny my conclusion that your words here in several posts sound like a man looking to sue others for the troubles you brought on yourself.

    So tell us here – once and for all. No, I would never sue you guys around here.

    Or tell us you are considering doing just that.

  197. Sorry CK, not buying it any longer. I don’t think the “counter-intuitive” sales pitch does anything other than allow you to be taken advantage of and suckered. The church certainly doesn’t practice the “counter-intuitive”, they are shrewd and business-like. The “counter-intuitive” stuff is for sucker sheep who get fleeced and abused.

  198. Pardon @ 181

    Of course the children are more important than anything in this life, but you are using them as a scapegoat.

    Jesus didn’t say “stop standing up for Me when your kids are in trouble”.

  199. I would never sue Michael, ever. Steve, you are an f’ing a-hole and while I have no plans to sue you, I can’t use the word “never” especially since it seems like lawsuits are a-ok with Calvary Chapel and their affiliates as a means of dealing with issues.

    I do know for a fact you have told me many times (as documented) to focus on BG exclusively and to leave CC and Chuck out of it, etc. I am not a conspiracy theory type, but some think that is rather interesting advice since BG used that angle in his lawsuit (who just so happens to be a fellow CC affiliate of yours).

  200. Michael, I had not read your last comment before I commented again. My apologies. Moving on.

  201. All these abusive churches make my stomach turn

  202. Yes, back on topic, thanks SRod.

    SGM sucks, Mahaney is a total jerk. What are you going to do about it?

  203. Believe,
    Am sad for you and your old family, continuing to pray, think about you and those who love you and those you love.

    Cling to your wife, kids, your brothers who will just love you
    Nothing is worth impacting your kids, just a word from one dad to another.

    Hoping you can step away from the computer, no to silence you, rather that you just enjoy your life and the goodness of it all without the distractions of sparring with anyone.

  204. “The “counter-intuitive” stuff is for sucker sheep who get fleeced and abused.”

    You are probably correct, but I guess that’s just a chance I’ll have to take. “He knows the way that I take, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” – Job 23:10

  205. I hear you G. Stepping away. I will protect my wife and kids and have good experienced people in my corner to do so if needed.

  206. I like this moniker.

  207. I was PTI.

  208. “Yes, back on topic, thanks SRod.

    SGM sucks, Mahaney is a total jerk. What are you going to do about it?”

    Just warn people to stay away from these sinking Rat Ships! And encourage people not to make flesh their strength and trust in the Lord above all. There are too many Kool Aid drinkers in Christendom who Hate to see their heroes questioned. Thtat’s why poeple need to read their Word and not just go by what so called pastors say.

  209. “The Affiliation claims they did investigate them, and there was not enough for them to move on.

    What method and rules did they use to Properly investigate?

    Same as the SGM allegedly uses?

  210. If you want investigation methods with binding rules, you are going to have to be part of a church that belongs to an actual denomination. Otherwise, it’s make-it-all-up as you go. Otherwise, unless you are talking about a crime that you can call the cops on, there’s nothing you can do about it. But this is the type of church most of you seem to prefer,

    Q- what kind of church do you attend?.

  211. “The “counter-intuitive” stuff is for sucker sheep who get fleeced and abused.”

    Yeah…like that Jesus guy. I’m guessing it was pretty counter-intuitive to do some of the stuff he did…like not tell Pilate to sod off, not calling down angels to smote (cool word) everyone and allowing himself to be nailed on a cross for things he did not do.

  212. When we realize how much God has forgiven us, it should be relatively easy to forgive others. Christ was willing to die for my sins. All I ever have to do is kill my pride and forgive others, as He has forgiven us. Doesn’t mean my brain is washed clean of memories. Doesn’t mean I become a Pollyanna. Doesn’t mean I don’t use common sense. Just means I am obeying the Lord. There is something supernatural that occurs in our hearts when we forgive.

  213. Xenia, serious question here. Let’s say one of your priests faced an accusation from his children like this case. Would the Orthodox church seek to determine the truth of what happened those many years ago? Would it be a matter of simply hearing both parties, or would it be a long, complex trial with other witnesses and so forth? Then, would they defrock a priest who still claimed his innocence? Would the priest be allowed to sue the church (or is there an agreement somewhere that even if defrocked he gives up his rights to do so)

  214. It never ceases to amaze me all the dumbass Christians who profer their uneducated, inexperiencnced opinions on this website about Believer’s case or any matter of a legal nature. Kind of insults me as it should as I committed three years to a law school (law review)and many years to the practice. Good enough to direct the mothership. Why don’t you idiots just shut your yaps as you make me puke. Speak when you might have a crumb of knowledge re: the law, else you render yourselves fools. One of the reason I rarely enage in higher forms of critical thinking re: theoplogy since I do not hace the education or expereince so many have here.

    As to your “comittment” to various causes such a deterring child abuse, in the church and otherwise, let me leave you at this as it perfectly illustrates your pontification:

    “After all is said and done, far more is said than done.”

    In all my years, including 25 as a Christian and 11 in ministry, I have found that the great divide is maybe not correctly set forth in Scripture. Maybe it is not just…”In Christ or not”…or “in grace or not,” but what will you do, what are your convictions when your choice of using your funds is on the line. To those who compleltely are disabled to to constraint, this is NOT directed toyou. It’s the vast balance who sip their lattes and only fund to their personal benefit. My old man was right. “Morals and integrity go down the toilet when it comes to committting your money to correct a wrong.” Sadly, Christians fall right in line with that analysis..just like everyone else.

  215. “If you want investigation methods with binding rules, you are going to have to be part of a church that belongs to an actual denomination. Otherwise, it’s make-it-all-up as you go. Otherwise, unless you are talking about a crime that you can call the cops on, there’s nothing you can do about it. But this is the type of church most of you seem to prefer,

    Q- what kind of church do you attend?.”

    This really worked out for Catholic Church didn’t it?

  216. X,
    I don’t find it easy to forgive people at all. Find it harder to forgive myself, but, it’s not an easy thing to do by any means for me.
    Maybe I just haven’t gotten that far in the process yet.
    For me, what’s been sort of liberating if you will, is to ask for forgiveness a couple times. That is hard as all get out because I’m a “bit” arrogant and stubborn sometimes 😉 but the couple times I’ve actually said the words, not just “oh, sorry” but admitted what I’d done to harm or offend them, and then said sorry, it’s been something I thought I would die from, but lived.

    For me, it wasn’t enough to know God loved and forgave me. (He has to…it’s his “job” and his nature so it’s not that tough a thing to do for Him). What has made a bigger difference in the last 3 months or so was going to some people I love and respect greatly and admitting what I did to them was wrong and asking forgiveness.

    Not arguing, just thinking….(well, that and avoiding working)

  217. Steve, I don’t know of a case exactly like the one you present but I know of some cases that are similar:

    1. A priest was accused by some young men of molestation.
    2. The archdiocese told the priest that he could not function as a priest until the boys’ stories were investigated.
    3. He continued to serve liturgy
    4. He was defrocked.

    Another story:

    1. There were allegations of sexual perversion at a monastery in Texas.
    2. The victims were questioned, they were believed, the monastery was de-commisioned.
    3. The priests went to trial, one committed suicide.

    Another story in another state:

    1. Novices at a monastery alleged sexual abuse
    2. Monastery was decommissioned. However, nothing was proven in court and the monastery still continues as a schismatic group.

    Another story:

    1. A mid-western bishop writes flirtatious text messages to a young woman.
    2. Woman reports this
    3. Bishop suspended.
    4. Bishop resigns.

    Some of these priest claimed they were innocent but the victims were believed. Some confessed. I am sure there are cases that were not resolved as well as these cases were. I know there are ecclesiastical courts, if things get to that state.

  218. “Jeff”
    Grow up!

  219. This really worked out for Catholic Church didn’t it?<<<

    It did not work well in the RCC, you are right. A good old boys' club can subvert anything, it seems.

  220. Christians who profer their uneducated, inexperiencnced opinions on this website about Believer’s case <<<

    We would not be talking about him at all except that he has brought it here.

  221. Is this blog really going to allow posts like #220?

  222. Xenia, anything though about a priest’s personal family issues of years gone by – trying to determine guilt or innocence when there is no current allegations in his role as priest, but past allegations of many years prior involving just the family?

  223. I removed it…sorry, I have a bunch of stuff going on.

  224. Steve, I don’t know of anything like this happening so I can’t speculate. It depends on the bishop, I guess. I have never heard of a case of someone in a priest’s family bringing up decades-old stories. I imagine it has happened, I don’t know.

  225. Jeff,

    It would be a larger contribution here if you shed light on the places where you have seen ignorance.
    I have no legal experience or knowledge so you could help us understand what it is that has been spoken in error.

  226. Michael:

    Through the years I have respced you from afar…from our first call when I first left Calvary. I have enjoyed you forum and maybe it is just the nature of blogging that anyone can say anything, no matter the basis on knowledge associated with it..or lack thereof.

    I candidly do not have the time nor the inclination to respond point by point to some of the assinine comments made here about and to Alex about his legal issues. It is all in the mindset of contention because it is Alex…seemingly never adressing the greater issues in child abuse, churches wielding the lawsuit club, etc.

    Therefore, I wish you my best, His blessings and shall remove myself from the conversation. Apparently insults are allowed…profanity not. Yet it is the insuters who are profane.My request foregiveness for getting in the flesh is given.

    Michael: Thanks for the many things I have learned here and opening my mind to reformed theology.

  227. Another independent church ministry in a heap of trouble:
    http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/crime/article_0fe72bc4-4818-5e82-8b08-19d80c0ff9cd.html
    Even in the midst of troubling allegations this shepherd makes sure leadership and control of assets continues as he dictates, framing this as an “assurance” to his faithful followers.

  228. Jeff,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    You have a perspective no one else has because of your training and experience.
    I value your opinions greatly, as you know.
    It’s easy to get in the flesh here for most of us.
    This hasn’t been a great day by any of our standards and you are always welcome here.

  229. Jeff S.

    I trust you can tell when someone is speaking tongue in cheek…

  230. Just because a person is educated does not entitle them to call everyone else idiots and it sure as hell doesn’t mean that they automatically deserve any more respect than anyone else.
    Get a grip

  231. “Just because a person is educated does not entitle them to call everyone else idiots ”

    Actually, it kind of does in most contexts when insurance salesmen are doling out legal opinions.

  232. … and when pawnbrokers dole out theology.

  233. Sheck, I love you man. I really do. I would walk across a desert or climb over a mountain and go to the mat for you if you ever needed it. I mean that.

  234. London @ 230 “Just because a person is educated does not entitle them to call everyone else idiots”

    He didn’t say that. He spoke only on matters of law. I, for one, agree with him…my expertise is in computers, not law.

    So am I a dumb donkey when it comes to being a lawyer? Yup.

  235. Theology is a different animal altogether, and I did go to college…a college that was heavy on theology. CC pastors prove how low the theology bar is…just sayin’.

  236. Michael…thanks

    London…proverbs 13:16

  237. Michael, to be clear for you….my post @230 was not a comment referencing your @229.

    I was writing about many of my pseudo-legal comments earlier (i.e. getting promises of victory in writing, waiving fees etc.)

  238. Believe, I know you went to college and studied theology. I couldn’t resist making the comment.

  239. Believe, I’m sure you contacted your homeowners insurance company once you got sued, and asked them to defend you under the personal injury endorsement that I’m sure your agent endorsed onto your policy.

    Duty to defend is a pretty high bar for an insurance company to overcome (not that they don’t try all the time). I trust you have a well documented case so that if you do get stuck with these legal bills you can consider bad faith litigation against your homeowners insurance company for not defending you under the personal injury endorsement that your agent certainly must have endorsed.

    I’m sure your insurance agent told you to submit the lawsuit to your company, as is required when you told him you got sued, and you did so and received formal declination from that company.

    But what do I know…..

  240. The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
    Prov 18:17

    3000 year-old words, still worth living by. Especially on the internet.

    (and the verses speak for themselves, little “teaching” required…so off to share them with the people of God)

  241. Xenia wrote – “When we realize how much God has forgiven us, it should be relatively easy to forgive others. Christ was willing to die for my sins. All I ever have to do is kill my pride and forgive others, as He has forgiven us. Doesn’t mean my brain is washed clean of memories. Doesn’t mean I become a Pollyanna. Doesn’t mean I don’t use common sense. Just means I am obeying the Lord. There is something supernatural that occurs in our hearts when we forgive.”

    I don’t feel you are giving theologically or psychologically sound advice.

    Unilateral forgiveness isn’t found in Scripture. Christ died for and forgives the ungodly, but he still requires repentance. If your priest and the Orthodox Church really believed in unilateral forgiveness then why do they require confession and repentance? Why not just pronounce everyone forgiven and not ask them to repent?

    Psychologically, unilateral forgiveness may be popular in pop psychology circles but it’s not accepted as psychologically sound in professional circles. Professional books on PTSD explore the subject of unilateral forgiveness and demonstrate it is a false forgiveness.

  242. Here’s a Psychology Today article on forgiveness:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199907/must-you-forgive

    There is a term Psychologists use – “False Forgiveness” which describes much of what Christians call forgiveness.

  243. X said, “Believe, I know you went to college and studied theology. I couldn’t resist making the comment.”

    LOL, it was a good one, touche. I thought it was sharp and funny and a valid point.

  244. I agree with Tundra. I don’t see the unilateral forgiveness thing exampled by God when it comes to eternal judgment…though I hope He unilaterally forgives, if He’s real…that would be great, no hell for anyone…much better than the alternative and something I hope for for the sake of so many.

    The counsel I’ve gotten from some folks with credentials in psychology mirrors what Tundra asserted from that perspective as well (though one of my psychology friends might disagree with that one, I think. She is politically liberal, but theologically very conservative and a credentialed therapist. I’m guessing she might be “for” unilateral forgiveness from a psychological perspective, dunno for sure. Maybe not, as she has been abused quite a bit and has real empathy).

  245. “David Augsburger, a Professor of Pastoral Care at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, discusses forgiveness in this interesting interview at the National Association for Christian Recovery blog.”

    “Mr. Augsburger talks about whether we should offer unconditional forgiveness to people who are unrepentant, and whether Christ did this. He acknowledges that this concept causes much disagreement among Christians. He says “My own view is that forgiveness in the absence of repentance is almost meaningless. It may sound gracious and loving but usually the person who forgives prematurely, preemptively or unconditionally is trying to avoid the hard work of the forgiveness process. It’s saying “I don’t want to struggle. I can’t carry this any longer. I can’t face the burden.”

    http://childrenofsim.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/an-interview-with-david-augsburger-about-forgiveness/

    So we have “false forgiveness” discussed from a Psychological source and a Christian one.

  246. I think there’s a lot of truth here and I’m not a freak Frosted Flake, far from it.

    “I have found that there are three types of healthy unforgivers. For moral unforgivers, refusing means telling the truth, asserting fundamental rights and opposing injustice. Psychologically detached unforgivers accept the painful reality that they cannot experience the positive internal connection with a betrayer–usually a parent–which forgiving would require. Reformed forgivers have faced conflicts between feelings, religious principles, ethics or social responsibilities, and reject the conventional attitudes they once accepted. None of these three types is vindictive or against forgiveness in principle; they share the capacity to forgive but do not exercise it indiscriminately.”

  247. Pardon My Interruption @121,

    “Rarely does one regret the things they don’t say in comparison to the things they do.”

    This^^^^^^^^

  248. Alex has privately and publicly offered to be reconciled to Bob and to forgive Bob but Bob has shown ZERO sign of repentance in return. Bob thinks he has done nothing wrong. How can Alex forgive someone who thinks they have done nothing wrong? Where is the exchange that makes up Biblical repentance/forgiveness?

    I’ve heard this advice for years and at one point even believed this myself. It set me up for continuing abuse. I finally decided to break the cycle of that abuse and step away.

  249. “Rarely does one regret the things they don’t say in comparison to the things they do.”

    Depends on the context. My biggest regret to this day is not saying something in real time in our home. When I was old enough to confront it, the statute of limitations had expired and that was used as a smoke-screen to question the legitimacy of our claims.

  250. But, back to SGM and Mahaney: Susan Burke is a hero for taking that Group on. The folks who have put their lives on hold to try and hold SGM and Mahaney accountable have my deepest respect and empathy. I will try to do something practical to help them.

  251. I have to take this up a step. I believe it is abusive to tell someone they need to forgive.

    If the perpetrator is repentant then we are required to forgive. That’s what God has done for us. We were guilty, we repented and God forgave. That is the Biblical pattern.

    Would you tell God that He needs to just forgive someone who rejects Him? What sort of person could dictate those terms to God? If we can’t say it to God, how can we say it to our fellow man?

    God set the terms for forgiveness for Himself and the terms for us are no different.

  252. Believe @ 119 said, I won’t be the “church’s” fool any longer.

    In my opinion, it should read, “I won’t be the ‘Self proclaimed church’s’ fool any longer.”

  253. “There are situations where it is appropriate to forgive even if there has been no process. If an injury happens as the result of an accident, where there is no intention to hurt or where there was limited ability or capacity to prevent the injury, then we are to forgive freely and generously. And, we are able to do so even if no forgiveness is requested and no repentance is demonstrated. When you recognize that the person who injured you is not really responsible for what happened, then you can give forgiveness freely. But this same kind free and generous forgiveness is not appropriate in cases where the injury was intentional. Here’s where I differ from a lot of folks about Christ’s words from the cross. The absolute freedom of that forgiveness has always stood in contradiction to his teaching in Matt. 18 and Luke 17 – where he clearly calls for repentance as a condition of forgiveness. I think he said ‘for they know not what they do’ because he recognized that they were not responsible for their actions. He confronts them with their blindness and expresses his willingness, but that does not mean that everyone at the foot of the cross was automatically forgiven for eternity independent of their commitment to repentance. One thief was forgiven, one wasn’t. ”

    http://childrenofsim.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/an-interview-with-david-augsburger-about-forgiveness/

  254. My last post got put into moderation…

  255. That ain’t right.

    We don’t have to wait for someone else to decide they screwed up and admit it before we forgive them. Our action of forgiveness has nothing to do with what they do or don’t do.

    Also, it’s not abusive for someone to recommend to an adult peer (ie anyone on this blog) forgive someone else.
    What is abusive, however, is those b*st*rds in SGM who told those children they had to for forgive the people who molested or raped them. Especially the ones that did it while the creep was in the room.
    That was abusive in so many levels!

  256. “We don’t have to wait for someone else to decide they screwed up and admit it before we forgive them. Our action of forgiveness has nothing to do with what they do or don’t do.”

    That is unsound theologically and psychologically.

  257. mrtundraman,

    Your #253 is in kin to Believe’s #249 and both are a very valid points. Both are well stated.

  258. I fought this view of forgiveness very hard when I first heard it in seminary. I went home that night, stayed up late into the night and searched the Scriptures about forgiveness. I set aside what I had heard in pop psychology and other sources and just went to the Word. I found out that I was wrong. I went to the professor of the class the next week and asked her for five minutes to address the class. She gave me the time to explain that I was wrong the previous week, that I had searched the Scriptures and that she was right. I didn’t come to this view easily and it has definitely cost me in the Christian world when people just dismiss it out of hand without taking the time to really search the Scriptures.

  259. “Our action of forgiveness has nothing to do with what they do or don’t do.”

    Biblical forgiveness is always an exchange between two persons. It is never unilateral.

  260. You made that term “Biblical forgiveness” up and then defined it the way you want to, so no one can argue with you about it. I’ll let you have your own new term and just stand by what I said.

    No one has to wait for the other person to act before they can forgive them.

  261. I am like Believe – I have many doubts. I mean, is there really a Bob Grenier. 99.99% of the world’s population have no evidence that a Bob Grenier even exists.

    To many outside of the church, there is no more evidence for Bob Grenier than there is for Donald Duck.

    Why does Believe keep talking about this non existent character.?

  262. London @260 says, You made that term “Biblical forgiveness” up….

    How can Biblical forgiveness be a “term” made up?

  263. London @260 also said, “No one has to wait for the other person to act before they can forgive them.”

    Does this mean that we should forgive people before they do wrong and allow them a free pass, because that’s what Jesus did?

  264. Drop,
    That is not what I said at all.

  265. London,

    Sorry, I missunderstood.

  266. Couldn’t read the lawsuit. I expect corruption in the world. I expect something different of God’s people. Just like I experienced at CCABQ, it makes me question the moniker, “God’s people”. And I say that with fear and trepidation, knowing the God we serve.

  267. Nope. “Father, forgive them , they know not what they do” required no action of repentance or being contrite on the part of te Roman soldiers, Sanhedrin, et el.

  268. No worries Drop.

    What I meant was that the offended party has the right to choose whether or not they want to forgive the offender. They do not have to wait for the offender to repent.
    It seems more abusive to me to tell someone that they have to wait for the person to repent before forgiving the offender. That would be such a burden to have to carry.

    I understand what MTM is saying, that in the Bible, forgiveness takes two. I think the term I’m used to hearing for that circumstance is “reconciliation”. That takes two people in agreement, but forgiveness does not.

    Hope that makes more sense.

  269. “Nope. “Father, forgive them , they know not what they do” required no action of repentance or being contrite on the part of te Roman soldiers, Sanhedrin, et el.”

    But, God didn’t forgive them, it is assumed by Fundamentalists. God sent them to hell, no? (and Jesus is God, right?)

  270. …that’s the dirty little secret above. Fundies like to quote the “Father forgive them…” narrative, but the fact is that Fundies assert that those same Roman soldiers, those same “them” that Jesus (as God) refers to…are in hell and weren’t forgiven.

  271. …I don’t understand how seemingly intelligent folks miss that fact above (based on the Fundamentalist assumption of hell).

  272. Answer me this:

    Why should “I”…a human being…be held to a higher Standard than God Himself?

  273. There comes a point where you are forced into a corner and must accept one of two things as true:

    1. You don’t understand the principle of forgiveness correctly when you assume unilateral forgiveness.

    2. God forgives unilaterally and all get a big old Grace Sandwich, no matter what.

  274. “Biblical forgiveness is always an exchange between two persons. It is never unilateral.”

    Fascinating.

    So when we ask people to forgive unilaterally, should we really be saying, Overcome your resentment? Or, be ready to forgive if the other party is ready? Or?

  275. I can tell you this, most pastors don’t exercise unilateral forgiveness…that’s for sucker sheep who will fall for it nearly every time.

  276. Believe:

    Thanks for your kind words earlier in the thread. I’ve been gone all day.

    You said: Back to the topic: I think I’ll send some real support to the SGM victims and not just “walk the bridge” with them by typing an atta boy on the internet. I think I’ll have mercy on them and try and help them in a practical way, even if one or two of them are assholes who are jaded from their experiences.

    Send them to me and I’ll be sure that victims get them.

  277. Xenia said: You can end the conflict right now by repenting and apologizing to your step father.

    Do you see the red in my hair getting redder? Are you freaking kidding? For what? For telling the truth? I tell you what – as someone who suffered child abuse from birth until the age of 19, “repenting and apologizing” to my abuser would have sent my brain in a frenzy most likely resulting in suicide. That is crazy-a$$ stuff right there and I am deeply bothered that you would suggest Alex do that. Done with rant.

  278. Believe,
    Your 273 is why I’ve settled as a Universalist.
    Thing is, that’s where the freedom and compulsion to love and spread The Gospel begin for me. This is why I believe The Good News is entirely about communion with God, and The Bad News is missing out on that reality of God Consiousness through Jesus.

    Our host and most others won’t agree but that is ok, as long as the fruit is graciousness

  279. #189 The Affiliation claims they did investigate them, and there was not enough for them to move on.

    It’s like SGM and CC are sharing notes. Crazy.

  280. G, I SO HOPE your position is correct, I really do. That would be Good News indeed. Sounds too good to be true, but I sure hope to God it is.

    Why would anyone wish that the Christian Fundamentalist position is true? If it’s true, it’s terrible for the vast majority of humans in history.

  281. Believe,
    Your 272 is a very cogent realization with myriad implications best dialogued on the special thread, out of respect for Michael.

    I’ll have to find the quote from the Holocaust survivor about “if G-d exists”

  282. JA, will do. Thank you again for all your help, you are one of the very few who has really sacrificed a lot in these areas for folks you don’t know.

  283. G, OK, will do.

  284. “are in hell and weren’t forgiven.”

    You obviously (and it is obvious) don’t read the Bible.

    The scriptures are clear that ALLsin has been forgiven 2 Cor 5:18-21 and God has reconciled himself to man through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Read it for yourself and see if it is not true.

    Hell will be populated with forgiven sinners.

  285. MLD, your position still requires something and is not unilateral.

  286. Steve Wright quotes proverbs about how one side sounds right until the other side is heard…then the truth can come out.

    Isn’t that the point , his affiliation won’t investigate properly.

    Then makes a snide remark about going to teach God’s people.

    Same as always preach but don’t do.

    Stonewall instead.

    Better gig than selling insurance, for now.

  287. Yes, it requires only one thing – rejection by the person.

    But you said that people were in hell because they were not forgiven – I showed you that was a wrong statement on your part.

    But you will now spin it around and deny the Bible.

  288. I do take that correction because I do go over the top. Often after reading Romans, Galatians Ephesians Gen 1-11, Exodus, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, anything written on Triayou know who or team pyro. Most likely because I have an entire trainload of issues that I bring to the Text. Just like every single human being since we hobbled out of the caves and started to form communities.

    First of all I understand we all have presuppositions and hold to some type of authority claim. One cannot remain sane and not. But not all presuppositions are equal, not all authority claims are as valid. We live in a world of color where almost everything we do, I would venture everything we do on a practical day to day level is measured in probabilities and risk assessment, even if we dont know we are doing it. We may and most do filter those assessments through some vision or view of absolutes but we do not function as a human being weighing absolutes, one cant do that if one is not eternal.

    We build models, the thing you are typing or reading on was modeled, tested and vetted using theories that also support the age of the earth. That is a very simplistic rendition but it is basic, the medical care each of us uses is vetted using tools and tests that are a direct link to common decent, that is why we test medicines on certain types of animals. So it strikes me as somewhat frustrating when we accept some tools and ideas as valid as long as they dont touch our theological underpinnings. My frustration is also, when a prominent bible teacher says ToE or Age of the Earth is Science so called. That is silly, just step back and think on this, basically we are told that we have God’s eternal word and I think it is as well and because He was there at the creation of the world He gave us what we need to know and we should stop looking. We just accept it on faith. OK but all of the modern advances good and bad have come by way of questioning, skepticism, and trial and error. But those are considered sins and rebellious when we aim at theological constructs.

    Im not a biologist, not an expert, could be wrong, would gladly repent if I did, I am fallible and weak. The other side cant do that for the most part, because after you accept Jesus and the basic tenets of the faith comes the view of Genesis, Revelations, Women Pastors, spiritual gifts, church polity, and so on. It was discussed earlier about experts and reliable discussions I agree we are not experts on everything unless you run a large conservative evangelical seminary and talk on the radio all the time, then you are. As for believe, I came from a similar past though not as extreme in some ways but way more extreme in others. But my family was screwed up and we knew it, but never did we abandon each other, when death came we, well I was there. My father hated me at times and he loathed my evangelical religion it made him sick, but he would have never sued me, no matter what I said about him. He would not of even kicked me out of the house. You dont do that to blood.

  289. You say the person has to be baptized, take the sacraments, repent etc. All stuff that isn’t unilateral forgiveness, but requirements to get the forgiveness.

  290. brian said, ” but he would have never sued me, no matter what I said about him. He would not of even kicked me out of the house. You dont do that to blood.”

    EXACTLY. BG did the ultimate betrayal. He was in the wrong and wouldn’t do his part of the bible bargain. He wouldn’t cop to his sin. He then BETRAYED three of his supposed children and did what the bible said is worse than a heathen.

    He is the Judas and the betrayer and he is no dad and father. You don’t do that to your blood and he has proven himself to be a man of no character, a man of political/religious expedience and selfish and of the devil (if such an entity exists).

  291. Q, amen.

  292. Q, I’ll let the personal insults slide, but your thinking that ministry to me is “a better gig” than what I used to do speaks solely about you, about your judgmental spirit even without full knowledge of anything. Which is sort of relevant to the Proverbs verse quoted.

    As to my Proverbs verse, the better application speaks to the fact that nobody (certainly nobody here) has seen ALL the evidence that the judge saw when he made his ruling. The same judge that was hailed for his justice and wisdom by the blogosphere at first, and then declared an ignorant rube with no understanding of the law at the last. Now I’m no lawyer, but I can read that thing that has been posted on the other site for the last few weeks….But it was said around here that losing the motion and filing the appeal was actually “the best result possible” if of course we only knew the inner dynamics.

    As for the forgiveness discussion, I think there is a difference between restoration/reconciliation – which certainly takes two, and unconditional forgiveness, which is always for our benefit and healing (and yes, is commanded in Scripture)

    Unconditional forgiveness is “bad theology” Wow.

    By that measure, I guess if the person who hurt you is dead, then you really are destined for a life of wretched bitterness.

  293. Steve Wright said, “As to my Proverbs verse, the better application speaks to the fact that nobody (certainly nobody here) has seen ALL the evidence that the judge saw when he made his ruling.”

    You can review the full lawsuit, it’s public record. You can see what the judge saw.

    Steve Wright said, “The same judge that was hailed for his justice and wisdom by the blogosphere at first, and then declared an ignorant rube with no understanding of the law at the last. ”

    He is known as a good judge. No one I know of made such a statement of him being an “ignorant rube”…my attorneys just were shocked at his ruling as they are experts in this area of law and haven’t seen such a ruling as this in light of the evidence presented in their entire careers.

  294. “By that measure, I guess if the person who hurt you is dead, then you really are destined for a life of wretched bitterness.”

    It can to be honest, if one just reads my posts and late night rants there is a great deal of bitterness in it. Some directed at God, much directed towards my past communions, some slid in against my family and some heaped on me in sort of a self deprecation which is used to actually insult others. It would be dishonest of me to say that I think many of my personal reflections are filtered through a great deal of scares, some inflicted by others many by myself. If it was not for the sheer day to day joy I see in people who really do have a right to be bitter and angry I shake my head at my own self importance. So ya it can.

  295. Steve Wright said, “Unconditional forgiveness is “bad theology” Wow.”

    Does God forgive everyone unilaterally? Do all go to heaven? If not, then you seem to disagree with the reality of God’s theology on the matter of unilateral forgiveness (assuming the bible is true and logical, which I’m not convinced it is).

    If God sends folks to hell without forgiving them unilaterally, why are humans held to a higher standard?

  296. Steve Wright, here’s a softball for you: I have a million dollars in term life insurance, do you think that’s enough? Should I get more?

  297. Steve Wright said: As to my Proverbs verse, the better application speaks to the fact that nobody (certainly nobody here) has seen ALL the evidence that the judge saw when he made his ruling.

    I’m pretty sure the judge only saw what was filed, nothing more. Do you know more than that, Steve? The filings are public. I have seen quite a bit of the documentation. I still maintain it is a very poorly written complaint (compared to other complaints I’ve read, including my lawsuit).

    Believe said: He is known as a good judge.

    He may be known as a good judge, but I wonder how many anti-SLAPPs he’s seen? My atty said the cases are few compared to other kinds of cases. BG’s attys apparently made a compelling case, but I do not believe the judge gets it. Another thought is BG’s influence in the town, but that will not like favorably on him if it goes to a higher court.

  298. Steve, why did it go to a judge?

    Isn’t the church suppose to judge these matters?

    A better application of the Proverbs verse is your affiliation (partners) are suppose to investigate these matters hear both sides and make a sound judgment, and keep them out of court if by any means possible.

    Your posts seem to protect you and your “partners” (affiliates) positions.

    A “little” teaching a few hours a week and travel could be considered a good gig.

    And whenever someone exposes one of you and your partners inconsistencies, it’s always labeled a judgmental spirit, divisive, lacking a servants heart…you fill in the rest.

  299. Reading this is like being in the middle of a dark room where everyone is throwing things at each other.

  300. LOL

  301. Funny you mention that, there was more then one time on the units when the lights were out that a throwing match would take place. Life is often like that

  302. “You say the person has to be baptized, take the sacraments, repent etc. All stuff that isn’t unilateral forgiveness, but requirements to get the forgiveness.”

    Uh…no…either you don’t understand or you spin. They are not requirements to “get the forgiveness.” The forgiveness is granted, and you GET to be baptized, take the sacraments, repent, etc. if that’s your desire. (Not trying to answer for MLD. Just my view of it.)

  303. Steve Wright, here’s a softball for you: I have a million dollars in term life insurance, do you think that’s enough? Should I get more?
    ——————————————————-
    Believe, insurance is a complicated and diverse industry – sort of like the legal profession. And just as an attorney who specializes in corporate contracts or hiring practices wouldn’t pretend to know more about civil litigation (beyond the textbooks) so too with insurance agents.

    As I said, my specialty for over 20 years was insuring people and businesses (and their assets) from civil litigation. Protecting people from the lawyers.

    I was not a life specialist, though of course I’ve got a surface knowledge of the topic.

    My suggestion is to look for a CLU. (Chartered Life Underwriter). Someone who actually works in the field of discussion, an expert, who can spend the time needed to speak with you and your wife, talk about your goals, plans in the event of untimely death.

    Like a lot of things in life, we can work with experienced, educated, licensed professionals, or slap something together from info found over the internet.

  304. One’s views on forgiveness between people are often formed by one’s view on God’s forgiveness of us – specifically how that happens, what does ‘repent’ mean, and the whole eternal security question on top of it.

    Once we all agree on “Biblical” salvation, then I’m sure we will all agree on what “Biblical” forgiveness is. 🙂

    (But until then, I think we need to forgive for our benefit, trusting God’s Spirit to work His work in our life in response to that obedience – while recognizing that reconciliation/restoration may take a long time, and only after serious repentance by the offender, and in some cases, not even after that)

  305. Trigger warning for self injurious issues.

    Believe take this for what its worth, the very few times I shared this in faith communities I got the, no I wont ruin it with one of those rants. Along time ago I worked on this unit, about 10-12 folks dont remember the exact numbers. It was thanksgiving so I volunteered to work the day shift. This group of folks did things to themselves that went beyond regular biting and beating themselves senseless. I wanted them to have a good time so I brought a little tv and a vcr with some Thanksgiving movies and some snacks. During that shift we just fellowshipped, they watched that little 14 inch tv enjoyed the dinner they had (I wound up working swing as well) and were just people. I spoke to them about how special they were and each of them had a gift to offer this world and to each other. There were some responses it was subtle and very nuanced because none of them could talk, point at a picture card, or even give a facial expression but if one paid attention to the underpinnings and listed with all of ones senses one could understand.

    Not bragging and at times I have even been ashamed of this but I have been able to do that, connect on a level so obscure and removed as to just see the turn of the head or the difference in a body position to know something is wrong. On several occasions that ability helped me save a life. Its not simple, not clear cut, very blurred, colored in huge swaths of color and there are no clearly defined lines. Its messy and very human. I learned much of this from the students, coworkers (a great many whom were / are gay), and from prayer and believing the best about people I cant stand. Im lousy at being a human being but this seems to be one of those areas I excel at. I have tried to give it up because it just drains me to the point of physical exhaustion.

    Anyways I patterned my life after this, living deep in this community to the point of exiting most other communities like my own “peer” group. My few dates usually end with me blabbering on about the people I work with or how this or that can be done to preserve programs, teach this or that. My peer group discusses other topics, in my little experience it usually centers around family I E kids and person success. There is nothing wrong with that, if I might offer something there are CC pastors who really do try, they are no less burdened by the train load of presups and baggage all the rest of us have. I dont say stop or even slow down but give yourself one of those Thanksgiving moments.

    There was one event, a new person started and was assigned to work with me with this same group discussed above. I walked into the unit a few minutes early for evening shift as the day group was leaving, she pulled me aside. What did you do? Being a state employee I went into defense mode, thinking if I spoke, walked, breathed, turned my head wrong. I asked what happened? She said you walked in the door and the very second the clients heard my voice the tension level went down a great deal, she could not understand the change. They relaxed, a few smiled and the rest of the night went by with a great deal of fun and humor. I remember that, it spoke to me that maybe just maybe I was actually able to dispense some grace. Remember believe God is really the God of the gaps, He fills in the blanks and builds up on our human weakness and recreates it. As to your question, of course you have higher insurance to help with your family because that is the right thing to do. God honors right doing and it is not works salvation, you do not care for your family to be saved or any other such nonsense, you do right because it is right. Just like about 98.999% of humanity has done from the dawn of our species, if not we would have gone extinct long ago.

  306. Believe one more thing, you have overcome alot some of which you have shared here and on other sites. My story above was to illustrate one thing. Sew what you have learned back into humanity, be it with in or outside the boundaries of american evangelicalism. In my rather twisted screwed up wonderings in this life I have come to understand a few things. First I dont want nor care to even consider atheism (so just dont) take that from someone who has looked into that abyss. That is not to demean atheist, I, like you have been helped by this tribe, and as strange as it might be it was this very same tribe that said dont be an atheist because they saw the pain it caused me.

    I wandered into this blog looking for ammo to support my rage against the Church. I stayed because I found a group of fellow travelers just as confused and messed up as I was. Now some would say that makes us compromisors etc. I envy those that have all the bases covered, all their theological ducks in a row but the world I live in that does not happen.

    My friend seek that peace that is near to you, it is in the family, friends, and the kind acts we do every day. This is played down in our community because it might be works salvation yada yada, I have never seen a more powerful force then that when people do good, when they live good, and hunger after doing good. Offered for what it is worth.

  307. Re: Universalism and forgiveness. I can forgive someone and they cannot or will not receive it ( for whatever reason). To not accept God’s grace is hell, whatever that might be.

  308. ….but God has still forgiven all people. That’s why Jesus said to the disciples just before He left, “Whoever’s sins you forgive are forgiven, whosever’s sins you do not forgive will not be forgiven”. He was giving them the keys of the kingdom, the Good News….everyone is forgiven. Seeing sin as a noun rather than a set of verbs and actions helps me never stand the importance of this. And thus, Jesus forgave without needing a response or sign of repentance from His haters. We must do the same.

  309. Understand. Not never stand.

  310. I’m changing my moniker from PTI to RowdyPiper to Neo. Chalk it up to identity crises or something. 🙂

  311. Neo…. As in a tip of the hat to Karl and Soren….and Keanu Reeves.

  312. Believe,

    “You say the person has to be baptized, take the sacraments, repent etc. All stuff that isn’t unilateral forgiveness, but requirements to get the forgiveness.”

    This just shows that you are too busy with your talking points and have never listened when someone gives you an answer. All of what you listed are not to obtain forgiveness – they are God’s means of delivering his free gift of forgiveness.

    God always uses physical means to do his work.

  313. “I’m changing my moniker from PTI to RowdyPiper to Neo. Chalk it up to identity crises or something. ”

    …still great to have you around 😉

  314. Believe,
    I am reading down your comments and and see the evidence how you like to just steamroll over everyone to make your point.

    After I showed you the scripture where God unilaterally forgave everyone of the sin, you then move over to Steve W to ask the same question

    “If God sends folks to hell without forgiving them unilaterally, why are humans held to a higher standard?”

    I pointed out to you that hell is populated with forgiven sinners – God unilaterally forgave everyone already.

    Now that I have shown you that humans are NOT held to a higher standard, does that change your thinking? Of course not.

  315. Brian – Your comment to Believe #306/307 was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  316. Here’s the deal, Jeff is right. Very few of us know much about legalities. That was made apparent with the “Huge Victory” thread, and continues every time a lawsuit or court case comes up.

    I come here to talk to others, wrangle with issues of faith and scripture, and basically to enjoy myself. I don’t enjoy talking to Alex. He is not a nice person. I tried to care about his situation years ago, but he has beaten me away from it. I couldn’t possibly claim to know what happened in his house 20-30 years ago, and the only testimony I have is Alex’s. His words have proven to not be trust worthy in every other area I have dealt with him. It’s not that I think he’s lying, it’s just that I can’t suffer through his horrid personality to figure it out.

    So that’s that. I’m done with Alex. I will not be sending him money. I will not be giving him atta-boys. I will not engage with him in any way. If I can not be here without engagin Alex, I’ll just leave. For now, I’ll do my best to ignore him.

  317. Like I said yesterday – just as Believe accuses us of believing in an imaginary, unprovable God – I say the same of him. he has wrapped his whole life’s story around this imaginary evil guy named Bob Grenier. He has told the story so often that this imaginary character has become real to Believe.

    Believe, grow up – the Bob Grenier character is just in your head.

  318. This is the cruelest thing I have ever read here on Phoenix Preacher…


    “Like I said yesterday – just as Believe accuses us of believing in an imaginary, unprovable God – I say the same of him. he has wrapped his whole life’s story around this imaginary evil guy named Bob Grenier. He has told the story so often that this imaginary character has become real to Believe.

    Believe, grow up – the Bob Grenier character is just in your head.”

  319. How would you rank that in terms of cruelty versus, say, making fun of a guy because he had an aneurysm?

  320. G,
    Not as cruel as denying God’s existence altogether and accusing believers of being irrational.

    Besides, you have no evidence Bob Grenier exists. Before Believe started passing around his illusionary story, none of us had ever head of a Bob Grenier.

    Come on G – don’t tell me you believe the fairly tale also.

    (tongue in cheek – I just want to give Believe a little does of his own “does blank exist.)

  321. About as classy as an enema, with the same results.

  322. Here MLD, http://calvarychapelvisalia.com/about-pastor-bob/

    Jesus, 4 Gospels.

    The effect of each life?

  323. “denying God’s existence altogether and accusing believers of being irrational.”
    If that’s the worst thing you encounter today? “First World Problem”

    You poor baby, what a whiny little boy you’ve become.

    If the best you can do to answer someone’s honest struggles with their faith is mock them about their abusive stepfather then you have exhausted your compassion and wisdom and have invalidated your presence and voice and lessened yourself below all you claim to represent.

    I’m ashamed of what you’ve allowed yourself to become

  324. Josh,
    Alex needs to make that right, and I believe in him enough to count on him to do so.
    I didn’t know you suffered that. I’m so glad you made a recovery. Wow, every day is a gift.

  325. Yeah, the first time he did so, I made it clear that it was very hurtful. He sort of apologized, but then brought it out several times yesterday.

    I’m fine with it. I just won’t allow people like that any influence in my life. Can’t afford to. Real things that I have to deal with.

  326. G,
    Crazed fanatics made up a web site for their imaginary Bob Grenier – so what?

    I will stick with my version. What EVIDENCE do you have that anything Believe (I protect his privacy, while you show no respect for him and call him by his real name) has said is actually true? Let me list them for you — NONE

    You have none – he only offers first hand testimony – the same thing that he denies with the writers of the NT. So, I deny him.

  327. Again, sorry, Josh.
    Have a great day

  328. “I’m ashamed of what you’ve allowed yourself to become”

    Who are you to think that you are allowed to have any input into my life?

  329. @ 329 – No need to be sorry, G. You’ve always been very kind to me.

  330. MLD,
    I stand by what I say about your behavior.
    It’s truly beneath anyone who would dare to claim a spirituality based on Jesus Christ.

  331. “who would dare to claim a spirituality based on Jesus Christ.”

    What does that mean? – is that some kind of emergent gibberish?

    I do not claim any kind of spirituality at all, let alone spirituality based on Jesus Christ. I claim the promises of Jesus Christ in their entirety.

    Good luck with that spirituality stuff.

  332. “Who are you to think that you are allowed to have any input into my life?”

    I am “allowed” by Michael, as this is his blog.
    Once you’ve read this you can’t unsee it.
    You can try to dismiss my reasonable observations of your boorish behavior but the observation remains for the readers to decide.

    Sort of like getting a negative response survey from a client after you’ve pissed on their leg…

  333. brian and G, you both give me hope and are reasons why I stick around.

    MLD, I’m going to be intentional and extend grace to you and not enter into that BG discussion with you. I understand your frustration with me and I understand why you’d want take those shots.

  334. I’ve vented enough. I am ready to, as Chuck Smith said, “just let it go”…including Fundamentalism.

  335. I am sorry, I have to speak.

    Seeing the vitriol, arguing, the attempt to get participation by posting “what is your favorite album” and seeing a Pink Floyd cover, (A reminder of my good ‘ol sinful life, and it’s celebration) the “F” bombs hurled at people, GRIEVES THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.

    This blog is a very deep, hot, steamy cesspool of bile and dung. God is grieved. This is not a place of edification and the contents of this blog defies Scripture.

    The person who is ultimately responsible is Michael Newnham.

    Any non-believer reading this would say: “Why the need for Christ with all of these things being said?” “I have no need of Jesus.”

    Jesus said: “The WORLD shall know you are my disciples if you have LOVE for one another.”

    Jesus condemns the man who stumbles another, and causes them to question the gospel because of a contrary witness, to the bottom of the sea.

    May you be ashamed for your allowance of this thread and many of these threads to be publicly posted.

    Signed,
    A Fellow (but non participating) Brother in Christ.

  336. brian and G, thank you btw. I appreciate your words and input and example.

  337. “This blog is a very deep, hot, steamy cesspool of bile and dung. God is grieved. This is not a place of edification and the contents of this blog defies Scripture.

    The person who is ultimately responsible is Michael Newnham.

    Any non-believer reading this would say: “Why the need for Christ with all of these things being said?” “I have no need of Jesus.””

    OM(little g)! 😆

    This is hilarious stuff. Mental Fundy Alert! Mental Fundy Alert! yikes!!!! 🙂

    This is called real life and raw and true and not the False Piety false gospel (if it’s all in fact real).

    I have atheist and non-believer friends who read here, and they actually ask questions and can relate much more to the realness of these discussions than any of the Tighty (or Tidy?) Whitey Fake Piety Christian sites that talk in a foreign Christianeze language and end everything with “blessings” this and “blessings” that.

    I know the truth about Fundamentalism because I was one and I had a front row seat to it. It’s largely a function of lying and pretending. It isn’t real. Give me the truth over the false Pharisetical garbage any day. Jesus came to save sinners.

    The Parable of the Publican vs. the Pharisee and the Parable of the Good Samaritan would do you well to read, but like the nature of Parables…the truth is probably hidden from you if your eyes are closed spiritually.

  338. Believe,
    Please understand that my BG comments were not at all about your personal life situation. I made it pretty clear a couple of times that I was combating your “no evidence for God” comments or defense of those who hold those comments.

    I just used a personal example.

  339. I understand that MLD and I get what you were trying to do. You’re not my enemy and I’m done with the BG stuff. I’m also done with the skeptical stuff, as much as possible. I love God, I love Jesus, even though I can’t prove their existence. It’s something innate. there are many reasons to disbelieve, but I just can’t, not all the way.

    I do reject Christian Fundamentalism, though. I will never return to that vomit.

  340. Long Time Lurker,
    You are obviously steeped in a mindset which is uncomfortable with debate, discussion and the marketplace of ideas. Here we try to deal with ideas and spirituality, and the fact is it is sometimes not pretty. I would try to use christianese but I’m not too concerned about you and I communicating as you probably need a translator but I stopped using that hyper spiritual language awhile back so I could engage a greater majority of individuals who are truly struggling with faith. Time to put on your big boy panties and work through the very real objections to our faith which all of your neighbors secretly hold and sometimes dare to speak. Most of us here were derided when we raised objections to the things within our faith, like how a good God could allow The Shoah or The Universal Flood, and how does that jive with Jesus as we understand Him in the 4 Gospels. Still we persevere. You can object or you can join.

    …and don’t ever go there about music. That is a non essential and if you are going to whine about Pink Floyd then you are making issue with the silliness of how a table is set or what colour the curtains might be and missing the intent of the community building discussions about movies, books and music.

  341. Believe,
    “I love God, I love Jesus, even though I can’t prove their existence. It’s something innate. there are many reasons to disbelieve, but I just can’t, not all the way.”

    I’m smiling. =)

  342. “This blog is a very deep, hot, steamy cesspool of bile and dung.” Priceless.

    Just hurt myself laughing so I might be offline for a while. 🙂

  343. Although I do agree with the “very deep” part. 🙂

  344. So MLD you believe everyone is forgiven (pardoned, debt cancelled) but these forgiven are going to hell?

    Does Lutheran theology teach everyone is forgiven (through Christ) but some go to hell because they reject that forgiveness? How is the debt cancelled and a person still goes to hell?

    Compared to Evangelical theology that God has provided salvation for everyone (through Christ) but must be received to be forgiven .

  345. You know, it was just a week ago that I warned everyone here that the way things were heading, there was a risk that “… this place is going to turn into just another forum for balanced, in-depth discussion of serious issues of theology, the church, and Christian living.”

    I think we dodged that bullet, people. Awesome work.

  346. Believe said, ” I love God, I love Jesus, even though I can’t prove their existence. It’s something innate. there are many reasons to disbelieve, but I just can’t, not all the way.”

    I am thrilled to hear that! He will be faithful to meet you right where you are. Still praying for you. I hope you can believe that. I am hoping for a miracle of healing in your family.

  347. “I envy those that have all the bases covered, all their theological ducks in a row but the world I live in that does not happen.”

    Perhaps you were speaking (typing) tongue in cheek, but I do not envy those people. What will they do when their ducks begin to topple over like dominoes. I have some very strong beliefs and convictions that I believe are biblical, but all my ducks in a row? No. I want to be open to growth and change. The older I get, the less I realize I know.

    “My friend seek that peace that is near to you, it is in the family, friends, and the kind acts we do every day. This is played down in our community because it might be works salvation yada yada, I have never seen a more powerful force then that when people do good, when they live good, and hunger after doing good. Offered for what it is worth.”

    Believe, both Brian and G-Man have shared some gracious counsel with you on this thread. I, on the other hand, have not. I repent of that, and ask your forgiveness for my unkind words. I will probably still get irritated with some of your postings, but that doesn’t mean that my responses have to be accompanied with barbed wire. I pray for peace and joy for you and your familly.

  348. G ~ You are plain wrong my friend. A “marketplace of ideas” can lead you to an eternal marketplace you don’t want to spend eternity in. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel. for it is the power of God unto salvation.” That wisdom does not necessarily come from God my friend.

    Believe ~ You said it right: “the real life – real world.” Satan would have you believe that. He is the god of this world. And it is the platform where you as a professing believer are fighting all your battles. We don’t war at this level. We war against Satan, in the realm of principalities, powers and darkness in high places.” When you tell Josh to “F” off then you are warring against your own. Murder is in your heart.

    Jesus wants to heal your wounds. The just shall live by their faith-not their bitter hearts and words -You can label people who claim scripture as their guide as “fundamentalists” – but your opinion does not trump the Word of God.

    You scare me as one who is unstable. Your wife is right. I would also believe Michael is beholden to you in some way, to allow you to infect and sicken this blog with your foul language and narcissistic personality.

    Respectfully, in my opinion, you are not a truth fighter. You are a revenger. Let God be God. Let it go, it is poison to your soul.

    So many times, I have just wanted to call you and chat, but if I do that, you’ll use me to your advantage and if I disagree, you’ll vilify me. You are not a safe person. Period. (Notice al all the “You, you. yous.” – whenever I say those words, I have three pointing back at me. Forgive me, but I am trying to give you some eyesight. I am praying for your peace.)

    BTW- I HAVE fought hard behind the scenes for you and stuck my neck way out there, to my own hurt and reputation, so be careful in what you say as you accuse this community of it’s supposed non-support.

  349. Believe, God bless you. Stick with Jesus and you’ll come out alright in the end.

    Love,
    Xenia

  350. Believe said, ” I love God, I love Jesus, even though I can’t prove their existence. It’s something innate. there are many reasons to disbelieve, but I just can’t, not all the way.”

    Atta boy! Can’t argue with that (although someone probably will).

  351. Lurker, I don’t doubt your sincerity, but as your moniker says, you have been a long-time lurker. You have a lot of “stuff” built up that you probably need or want to say. So to you, I say, Welcome to the blog.” But please, try not to dump it all out at one time.

  352. I said my piece. Try not to tear my words apart and argue. I’m not going there. ( I am done in other words) Pray about my words. Argue with the weapons God has equipped you (eph.6) with and NOT your tongue. That is the most hurtful weapon.

    This blog is deteriorating and hurting because so many tongues have been loosened.

    Michael, I see all of your attempts to consistently bring it back to civility. Today, those lines were allowed to be crossed and I for one am grieved. Michael, I love and respect you. Grace and peace to you my friend.

  353. Long Time Lurker,

    Yesterday was not our finest hour.
    By the time I went to bed I was very depressed and I woke up this morning feeling the way I imagine a ground out cigarette must.
    I take my responsibilities here too seriously.
    You say that you are a long time lurker yet of the thousands of articles I’ve written, this is the one you choose to comment on.
    Did I not edify you or encourage you in something I wrote or do you just read to feel better about your own spirituality?
    This morning as I’ve gone about my duties I’ve seen people repent of anger and offer love to each other in the face of offenses.
    Yes, I’m beholden to Believe…to try and extend as much grace and patience as I can to him and everyone else here in the name of Christ.
    Sometimes, I’d rather assault him with something heavy and preferably sharp.
    That’s when Jesus shows up…and we try anyway.
    Yesterday, I saw people swear that I didn’t think even knew those words.
    My guess is that they have repented and will do better today.
    There are times when this life and this blog are brutal…but for ten very long years Jesus has shown up when the dust clears.

  354. Yep. That’s why it’s called a “leap of faith”.

  355. Kevin,
    I HAVE been involved and I am not letting it “all out”, but so what if I do? I have been here as long or longer than you. (Before the Sabolick incident)

    I am hiding my identity for good reasons. Trust me, I care about everyone here.

    I am not a ‘newbie” or drive by guy.

    Today, the blog took a new (dangerous) low.

    That troubles my heart…I am praying for the success and growth of this forum. I don’t want to see Michael fail in his calling here and his mission. He is a good man with a sincere and bleeding heart. I consider him a friend and I respect him highly. He is fighting the good fight and I know he pays a high toll personally, emotionally, financially and spiritually because of it. God is keeping track and will reward him for his work one day.

  356. “There are times when this life and this blog are brutal…but for ten very long years Jesus has shown up when the dust clears.”

    Thank you, Michael. With very few exceptions, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

  357. Lurker, I’m glad you have an understanding of this blog. From some of your earlier comments, that was not clear. Thank you for your clarification.

  358. Lurker. What’s your favorite libation? You know, to relax….

  359. “I HAVE been involved and I am not letting it “all out”, but so what if I do? I have been here as long or longer than you. (Before the Sabolick incident)

    I am hiding my identity for good reasons. Trust me, I care about everyone here.

    I am not a ‘newbie” or drive by guy.”

    My bad. As you probably know then, we have had some people lurk for a very long time, then when they finally jump in, they want to get everything off their chests and call down fire. Please forgive me for lumping you in with those. I appreciate your kind words for Michael.

  360. Michael,

    You all know who I am…

    I was not watching the post times, I am not savvy in the world of blogosphere. I open it up this morning and see the bile and then I commented.

    I will say that I was deeply disappointed in that you did not moderate the profanity and ungodly, ugly words used here yesterday. I think Believe should run his own blog and be heavily moderated or blocked from this blog. The “immune system” of this blog needs “antibiotics” in my opinion.

    Sorry-it just proves my point as to why I don’t open up and blog here regularly. Reason is because this is not a safe place to dialogue. But I watch, pray and listen to you and you Michael HAVE edified me hundreds of times, so thank you brother.

    God bless you all….

  361. This blog drives me crazy sometimes and I’ve stomped off in “righteous indignation” more than once. Like Lurker, I don’t “get” the Rock and Roll threads, either. Like Lurker, that form of music takes me straight back to really bad times in my career as a sinner. I don’t find 90 percent of the lyrics to be sympathetic to my current Christian world view. So I agree with you there.

    But, this is the only pan-Christian place on the internet that I know of where I, the only non-Protestant, is not continually called a pagan, God-denying, Mary-worshipping idolizing tool of anti-Christ, as I am in other Protestant venues and in real life. Despite all the yelling and occasional foul language, there does appear to be some genuine respect for each other, most of the time. And I give Michael Newnham the credit for that.

  362. ” … pagan, God-denying, Mary-worshipping idolizing tool of anti-Christ ….”

    I never said it, but I was thinking it. 🙂

  363. I would suggest some of you “regulars” step up and help Michael out with moderating and in keeping this a clean, safe place. Michael is one man and cannot do everything himself. He DOES live with it, sleep with it and agonize over it and everyone here.

    It’s his passion.

    I hope it will become yours- and you will enter into partnership with him. I cannot, I am not called. But there are many here if you are spiritually mature enough, should pray about contacting him and labor alongside of him. He can’t do this forever on his own. He needs support. Just “food for thought…”

  364. Long Time Lurker, I think if your vision of this blog becomes reality, it will lose it’s uniqueness and effectiveness and authenticity and will no longer be a work of God.

  365. Xenia,
    I agree with you fully.

  366. there are plenty of Fundamentalists Prisons online. I don’t think we need another one.

  367. Lurker, unfortunately, partnering with Michael implies partnering with Believe.

    In the past, that would have been impossible for most of us. Let’s see what the future holds.

  368. Believe….Re: 367 and 369. True dat!

  369. If it is truly a “community” and truly a “hospital” and truly a “safe place” for sinners, those hurt by churches, those who have doubts etc, then I think Lurker’s vision is a bad idea. It will go against the things Michael has said is this blogs identity.

    I get the “no more CC bashing” and the no more BG stuff and the no posting a zillion times. I even get that it shouldn’t be the norm to cuss like a sailor. However, sometimes in the heat of the authentic moments of humanness, it is real. Peter cursed three times in denying Christ, it’s in the bible, it’s real, it’s authentic. it’s life.

  370. LTL,
    You’re about fear.
    Been there, done that, it’s about control.
    Better to be real, honest, stop putting on the mask.
    Hope you can find a way to do love with a minimum of bible verses and a maximum of transparency, you’ll find no greater group of cheerleaders

  371. LTL,

    Thank you for the kind words and it sounds like you do know me.
    I do regret how things went…and I regret that we never got into a serious discussion of the real topic.
    Blessings on you…thank you for caring…very much.

  372. Believe, you are probably right. Years ago, I was asked to take over ownership of a discussion forum that was deteriorating. I instituted draconian “purity rules,” I guess you could call it. All these people who previously hated each other with a burning passion suddenly united in their hatred of me. I never saw a group of disparate people come together so quickly.

  373. “Yesterday was not our finest hour.”

    Actually, ironically, it was.

  374. My faith is smaller than a mustard seed, yet #356 is exactly why PP is the only Xtian community I maintain any contact with at this time.

    “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce
    And the above is why most of my posts/rants are self-deleted before I hit send :mrgreen:

  375. Michael, if your goal was to help me heal, yesterday was a good day. If your goal is to present a sanitized version of life and reality, then it was a bad day.

  376. Michael said “and I regret that we never got into a serious discussion of the real topic.” As I noticed that yesterday, I thought it was because it is so painful a subject, so heinous, that it it is so hard to think about, let alone to discuss. So, IMO, instead pain and anger came out sideways -unfortunately towards each other. Glad to see peace and reconciliation today.

  377. Already breaking my #318, because all the love here is making me feel all gooey 🙂

    Believe @ 378 – With all sincerity, if blasting me on a blog helps you heal, then I’m all for it. Blessings to you and your immediate family.

  378. “Glad to see peace and reconciliation today.” Me too!

  379. Michael, there is no way you don’t care about me, most anyone else would’ve sent me packing a long time ago. You absorbed all I had and yesterday was the climactic moment for me. I learned something yesterday and it’s real to me. Thanks.

  380. Thank you Josh.

  381. If I might ask, and I will not argue, what did you learn?

  382. Believe,

    Respectfully, I don’t now how to say this – I don’t mean to dis you – it’s unavoidable – but if the blog loses you, then it will be a safer place to dialogue, and we all would not have to watch out for stepping in vomit all the time.

    You have your own blog. Please consider growing and creating an atmosphere and culture on your own site. If people are interested in you and your issues, then they will go there. My gut tells me you are here because your blog lacks the culture/community that attracts people and godly dialogue. You are here, because no one has followed you there, or you do not offer them anything except lawsuit news and hate filled comments abut your step-dad.

    I cannot ever imagine Xenia, Nonnie, brian, and others telling another brother to “F” off, or engage them in a “peeing contest” and a constant war of witty, pithy words and arguments.

    I feel “force fed” by you.

    It’s always about you and now it’s about your struggle with the Bible, yet you have, for years quoted it with the greatest authority when it suited you and your agenda. Who are you really? (please don’t respond to that- I really have read every single word you have ever written.)

    I know (now “knew) your dad and he is despicable in my eyes. I have lost respect for him.

    I say this knowing I am a sinner, but I have lost respect for your opinions and writings.

    Why you may ask? You are your step-father’s son. Your talk and walk are in conflict.

    God knows my heart, I don’t condemn you, it’s not my place.

    I am sorry. I pray for you. But, health would return to the PP if you just left and did your own thing. Please forgive me If I have offended you. I just needed to say what I think and probably others are afraid to say. You are loved and God is the only one who truly know who you are, even beyond yourself and what you think yourself to be. Fall on His cross. Fall on His grace. There is healing in His name.

    I am out for the day. I don’t even know if my words to this community mean anything, I am probably just wasting my time…..but God knows.

  383. With all sincerity, if blasting me on a blog helps you heal, then I’m all for it.
    ——————————————-
    I second the motion.

    Signed, the F’n idiot

  384. Lurker, you don’t get it. I don’t have my own blog. I am done with it. I dont’ want a following nor do I feel the conviction any longer from the Fundamentalist perspective to right the wrongs of CC. I want to be anonymous (as much as possible) and be freed from the chains of Fundamentalism and the law dynamic. I want the Gahndi Jesus of the New Testament, I think He is the Truth, not what has been constructed by Fundamentalism.

  385. Steve, just a minor correction, it was f’ing a-hole, not idiot 🙂

    I even feel peace and love toward you today. I’m going to choose to “let it go”.

  386. . I want the Gahndi Jesus of the New Testament, <<<

    You could do a lot worse. This is a good healing point, IMO. I don't think it's the fullness of the Gospel, but it's a good place to default to and take stock.

  387. X, for me, when I focus on that Jesus, I feel the “fruit of the Spirit” and want to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

    Any flavor of Fundamentalism and I want to be judge and I want justice and I want equal scales etc. The dynamic is way different.

  388. G ~ Your opinion is yours, but I disagree. I have taken off my mask here and got peed on. You do sound ‘enlightened’ though.

  389. Lurker, I appreciate what you’ve said here today, glad you spoke up!

  390. Believe,
    I don’t think you know what a ‘fundamentalist” is. (Princess Bride- “I don’t think that means what you think that means.” )

    Jesus said it very plainly: “Those who love me obey my commands.” “Come Follow Me.” “You must be born again”, “Take my yoke upon you for I am gentle and lowly in heart…you will find rest for your souls.” ” I have loved you with an everlasting love…” ” If God be for us who can be against us- who can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord?”

    Then JESUS IS A FUNDAMENTALIST. Again, who are you? Are you His follower?

    Slap a label on it (“Fundy Alert” – “Fundamentalist”) and put it down. Your opinion always must be higher than someone else’s.

    Enter into His life of self death and you will find life. Life is in Jesus. Jesus is peace. He is joy. He is Love. He is light. He is eternal. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. He loves you. Let it go and allow him to soften your heart man.

  391. I think SGM should be held accountable as an organization that is given special tax exempt status and is in essence a Government sanctioned entity. I think that the evidence presented in the lawsuit is compelling and that there seems to have been attempts to sweep stuff under the rug and to be opaque and not be transparent, which is dangerous and leads to more abuse.

    I’m glad Michael is helping get the word out.

    I do think the individual sinners, while being held accountable if they crossed criminal lines, should be considered as lost sheep who need Jesus.

    I think the greater sin is that of the Institution that would sacrifice the safety of kids for the financial security of the Institutional church.

  392. LTL, I’m not interested in continuing that discussion. We’ve beaten that horse to death.

  393. “I do think the individual sinners, while being held accountable if they crossed criminal lines, should be considered as lost sheep who need Jesus.

    I think the greater sin is that of the Institution that would sacrifice the safety of kids for the financial security of the Institutional church.”

    I can’t imagine anyone would disagree with that.

  394. LTL-
    Thanks for having the courage to say what you think. I agree with most of it, and am hesitant to trust this “new and improved” version of Believe because there’s just been too many times, that he’s changed since being here.

    Time will tell I suppose…

    I think though that yesterday, at least for me, even though there was loads of very vile things said, it needed to happen. People have been cut off from saying what they really thought too often in the heat of battle.

    For sure the F word was over the top and to say to “F off” to someone on here is way over the line, and should have been called as a foul, but, the general talking through issues like what is forgiveness really, helped me clarify my own thoughts.

  395. I love this place. I so deeply wish I had more time to engage. Every time I sit down to try to write and engage either the sink overflows because I forgot I was filling it to wash dishes, or the cat throws up, or the dog bites the cat, or the 2 year old throws the cat, or the 11 year old and the 9 year old begin a shouting match….

    Kinda hard to concentrate. 😉 And yes, all those things have actually happened.

    Still…I love this place. I love the fact that honesty was shown last night, and it reminds me of some of the discussions in my childhood. We argued loudly and vigorously and as a result we have this great dynamic in my family of laughing hard and being real. I think my husband married me more for my family than for me!

    I’m thankful that the morning has brought that reconciliation and ease that comes after the air is cleared. Doesn’t mean we all agree…but there is grace here.

    Praying for each today. Praying for God to meet us each in our needs and to be present.

  396. G- When you ask people to stop using Bible verses and start “being transparent” that is like asking me to shut off my flashlight in a cave full of rattlesnakes. You don’t want to really know what is in my heart man. It’s just plain inane and shows me your low regard for scripture. Do you treasure His words? Are they the rejoicing of your heart? Honest questions.

  397. I think at the heart of the Institutional churches issues with opacity and cover up is money. When push comes to shove, it is largely a business and bad abuse stories aren’t good for business. The knee-jerk reaction is to cover up, shuffle the priest or pastor or youth worker off to another location and hush things up, or to smear the victims and deny etc.

    “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

    I think the underlying issue is a love of money and keeping up appearances more than loving God and having mercy on the victims (like the Good Samaritan).

    I think, then, God sometimes intervenes and takes a chunk of the particular church’s precious money (see RCC, now SGM etc).

  398. Yeah, I agree with that as well, though I would make clear that child molestation goes beyond your average sin. There’s a sickness there, and forgiveness, restoration, whatever…that person can never be allowed children again.

  399. Sarah: “Doesn’t mean we all agree…but there is grace here.”

    This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    With that, I bid you all a’dieu for the day.

  400. I’ve had a little bit of issues posting here this morning. I think its my server. Anyhow, I tried to post this a few minutes ago in reference to Believe’s #400.

    I am sure in some of the cover up cases money and reputation play a great part. I have personally witnessed a few cases and I don’t think that was the issue. You had a staff who all loved each other and trusted each other. When the first accusations came out, and were refuted, of course the other staff members got his back. When it turned out he really did do these awful things, they assumed it was a one time bad decision. While they wanted to help the victims, they didn’t want their friend’s life to be ruined for one bad decision.

    AGAIN!!! This is NOT the right way to handle these things. However, in a few cases I’ve witnessed, this was the dynamic behind the cover-up, not money.

  401. Why did everybody stop posting all at once? Did I break wind?

  402. Long Time Lurker
    “G- When you ask people to stop using Bible verses and start “being transparent” that is like asking me to shut off my flashlight in a cave full of rattlesnakes. You don’t want to really know what is in my heart man. It’s just plain inane and shows me your low regard for scripture. Do you treasure His words? Are they the rejoicing of your heart? Honest questions”

    Just want to let you know, I’m glad you de-lurked and stepped into the dialog.

    “Do you treasure His Words? Are they rejoicing in your heart?”
    Hmmmm. Like I said, I don’t speak christianese anymore, but I’ll try to work with you here.
    I treasure The Living God more than His words. You need to understand that I am a recovering Bible-Idolator, so I no longer place words in a book above the God Who transcends them, or above the humans He created. Words don’t “rejoice in my heart”. I bring any real meaning to what I read, in context, observing who spoke them and who the intended hearer was. I really try to apply only what can be directly applied, and then I remain free to think, feel and imagine like any other person.

    Your poetic image is sweet and all but if we’re going to make up imagery then I prefer simple 50 billion year old carbon with God as the prime mover and creator and source of all energy and consciousness, each of us united with Him, united in creation, pulsing with creativity and wonder.

    I really DO want to know what’s in your heart, so that I can dialog with YOU, not your ability to string together bible verses to somehow anoint what you really think and feel. The only rattlesnakes are the ones in your imagination. Like I said before, you’re coming off like you’re all about fear right now. If you are free because you are a follower of Jesus than you need to relax, be a child of the kingdom and lighten up and dance with God, maybe even listen to some non-religious music and sip a dry Syrah. Let me suggest Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” or Sting’s “Dead Man’s Rope” for starters.

  403. Josh,
    Only you know for sure 😉

  404. And Lurker, so that we’re clear, most of us disagree with G’s take on Scripture. ( No disrespect G. Not everyone understands the years of conversations that have taken place here)

    And #406 – Smeller’s the feller. 🙂

  405. I thought it was because I said the 2 year old threw the cat 😉

  406. @ 408 – Ahhh, blame it on the cat! I forgot!

  407. ( |o )====::: – Then please consider when God said in the OT that He regards His Word above His own name. How does this jive with your avoidance of “Christianese”? I’m a ‘fundamentalist’ or have a platform of ‘fear’ (What the heck are trying to say? Makes no sense to me) because I believe the Bible, would die on it’s behalf and seek to live out it’s commands? Because I quote the Bible? The Bible is not a book of ‘suggestions’ or ‘keys to a better life” or “bitchin’ words from the man upstairs.” They are holy. They are all powerful and cut deeper than any knife. They are upright, and not crooked. They are straight. The are light. They are pure. They secure our salvation and they point us in a right path and direction and reveal who God is. They comfort us and they convict us all at once.

    But we don’t want to sound religious now do we? We need to stay relevant, lest we lose our ability to reach the world? or reputation. I am not about an ethereal Jesus, a baby lamb who is docile and emasculated. A flowery Jesus who wears bell bottoms and simultaneously loves the Beatles. Jesus is also a man of war and will one day will wage war again. He is God and as God He asks us to revere and to “sings psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord.” He asks us to meditate day and night on His Word. To post it on the doors of our homes and to teach it to our kids. To hide it in our hearts so we will not sin against Him. He tells us to be perfect as His Father is perfect. he says “walk in it.”

    This ‘celestial salad bar’ stuff is a lie from the pit of hell my friend. BTW- I do listen to those songs, but I do not allow them to dilute my love for Jesus. “All good gifts come from God.” But I refuse to smoke a joint with you to prove I’m ‘cool.”

    God bless you ( |o )====::: , but you make absolutely no sense to me.

  408. Long Time Lurker,
    We have a modicum, to respect each other’s screen name. I ask that you do the same.


    Moderator, please remove the name in 410 and replace it with ( |o )====:::

  409. Lurker. We all love the Bible, here. It’s incomparable in it’s mystery, poetry, and the Holy.

    But remember, when I say we all love the Bible what I really mean is we all love our own personal reading and interpretation of the Bible.

    Your statements imply your reading of it is superior to G’s but you don’t know this for sure.

  410. …or rather, you CAN’T know this for sure.

  411. And I’d also disagree with that. I believe in absolutes. Absolute right, absolute wrong. So, I do think it would possible for one person’s understanding of Scripture to be better than another person’s.

  412. Moderator, please remove the name in 410 and replace it with ( |o )====:::

  413. The absolute is an Absolute, Josh. He’s a person. Very few people read the Bible through Jesus, in my opinion.

  414. One reason I am using scripture because there is so little of it shared in many/most posts.

    “Feelings” and anger are replacing what is really needed…eternal perspective. God’s viewpoint, His opinion. Come let us reason together. I don’t remember that verse that says tell them to go “F” themselves or “Forgive your enemies but never forget their names.”
    The Bible says “A fool vents all of their feelings.”

    Isn’t this what this blog is about? Dealing with the hurts and pains of life that have been inflicted upon us? Our questions about God? The way He wants to be worshipped? Diversity and the different gifts and callings in the Body of Christ? Honest questions about ethics, relationships and the like? Who better to answer these than God Himself? How many here enjoy His Word, desire it and seek after it? How many read it regularly for just the cause of wanting to draw near to Him? How many crave it like a good meal? How many love it? I wish I were what I preached. I want to be that person. I believe the Lord wants us to be that person. He paid a dear price so we COULD BE that person.

    Oh that we would fall in love with Him again and allow Him to wash away the filth and stains of the world from our consciences. I think Jesus would be well pleased to see us impart scripture into each discussion and edify and build up each other in His Word. I think the blog would take off, grow and become what it was meant to be and would please Him.

    “That’s all fine and nice, but we need to call out CC, Sovereign Grace, Mars Hill and their sins before we can move on…..” Okay, whatever.

  415. Done, ( |o )====::: 😉

  416. Long Time Lurker,

    I don’t smoke weed, it’s a smell that I find nauseating, and I don’t get high at all, never have needed to to be able to socially interact. I’ve always found that stuff gets in the way.

    Glad you like those songs and artists.

    Would you die for a person if it meant that a bible would be burnt instead of the person being shot?

    Would you let someone rip a bible up into small pieces if it meant that a kid would avoid being abused?

  417. I’ll add…I’m sure Michael is getting ready to get Trey, and I think I’m the only moderator around at the moment. I just happened to log on for a moment. These days it usually takes us a bit to get to ‘moderating’. If we don’t respond immediately it just means we’re in the midst of other stuff…

  418. Thank you, Sarah!
    I was indeed picking up Trey.
    Now for haircuts…

  419. Neo.
    Sorry- no my comments are not to make me superior. I am a man with many faults and live with many regrets. I have to force myself to look ahead instead of behind where many failures lay.

    My point is this – why not try to bring Christ into the equasion/discussion more often than not?

  420. LTL said, “The Bible says “A fool vents all of their feelings.””

    The bible also says you have to become a fool to be wise.

    Paradox.

  421. Please delete my 423 Michael. Thank you.

    Guitar Man – I don’t know how to make a guitar with symbols-another reason I don’t usually post- sorry for the indiscretion. I meant no harm or offense.

  422. “why not try to bring Christ into the equasion/discussion more often than not?”

    I think we can agree on that. The example of Jesus in the Gospels is amazing and any focus on that Jesus, I’m with you.

  423. LTL,
    Ok, then I will simply assume that you would prefer preserving a bible over the life of a person or the physical well being of a child.

    It’s a pretty simple couple of questions, and that you tap dance around and dodge them and bail with such a weak answer while calling me “Pharisaical” is rather amusing, I mean, how can someone be both “Pharisaical” and “Emergent”? 😉

    That you deem me unworthy of receiving your answers. it tells me a lot about who you are, your lack of having thought through what you spout, a fearful person who is enslaved to a view of the bible that places a book above living persons.

    To help you with my screen name, it’s pretty simple, you just copy & paste the following to address me

    ( |o )====:::

    Or you can call me “G” if you are having a hard time copying and pasting.

  424. “a fearful person who is enslaved to a view of the bible that places a book above living persons.”

    Agreed, that is the dynamic that particular World View and philosophical belief system creates.

  425. It’s a deeply ingrained fear. It has taken me many years and much struggling and hashing out to get past. Once I became brutally honest about things, I was able to finally get over that fear and those cult-like chains.

    We do not admire anything about the Taliban or Fundamentalism in Islam today…yet we seem to tolerate a little bit of that mindset in today’s Christian Fundamentalism, especially when it comes to women and children in many circles.

  426. Lurker doesn’t strike me as a person who is afraid of anything. He’s not afraid of being politically incorrect, at least.

  427. X, I think the use of fear is in the context of fear of expressing doubt about the bible when the bible presents a flaw or something that just isn’t right.

    There is a fear of calling a spade a spade because it’s in the bible and Salvation is often equated with agreement with a Fundamentalist Position regarding the bible’s infallibility and inerrancy and deity vs. what Salvation probably really is.

    Jesus only seems to have affirmed the Law and the Prophets in the context of Love Your Neighbor and Love God…not necessarily the hacking of King Agag to pieces with a sword or stoning unruly children to death or stoning women to death etc.

  428. Xenia,
    I’m fascinated by Long Time Lurker’s views, having been a more fanatical version a few years ago. It’s like returning to the scene of a beating that I perpetuated on myself.

  429. I don’t know if Lurker is afraid of exploring outside the Fundamentalist interpretation of the bible or not, I just know I once believed Salvation and avoiding hell for eternity was partly contingent on a particular Fundamentalist interpretation of the bible regarding a long list of issues…and I just don’t think that is true or healthy as it didn’t seem to bear much “Fruit” of the Spirit that wasn’t built upon a false piety.

  430. “The absolute is an Absolute, Josh. He’s a person. Very few people read the Bible through Jesus, in my opinion.”

    Very much agree. I think you’ve hit the crux of the issue and expressed it well. Jesus is “the” Absolute. He is perfection. He is the Truth. He is the personification of God’s Truth. Not the bible, not His followers, etc. all of those are tainted and fallible and not necessarily Jesus…though sometimes His followers in the OT and NT exampled Jesus and expressed some truth, often they didn’t.

  431. Jesus never intended children to be stoned to death in such a barbaric manner for being unruly or rebellious. That is a lie from the devil. It has never been true or right that such a terrible punishment (that the Taliban practice to this day) was right and righteous. It’s always been wrong in every context. The Israelites were wrong then, the Taliban is wrong now. We must view the truth through the eyes of Jesus of the Gospels.

  432. Lurker came here and said some highly critical and unpopular things. That sounds like someone willing to call a spade a spade.

    If you want to say that people who are confirmed in their beliefs to be spreading fear, or under the thumb of fear… well, I would not agree. You may not agree with what Lurker believes but it is not fear-based.

    But that’s popular today. People (not necessary you) like to say that people they disagree with are fearful, thus, we have words like homophobe, islamophobe, etc. I think that is unfair.

  433. Believe,

    Agree completely. It’s a little hard to reconcile Jesus saying, “Suffer the little ones to come unto me…” and then seeing Jesus bean little Shlomo with a well placed agate.

  434. ( |o )====::- I would die for a human stranger quite easily than an actual physical Bible. I have already made that choice in real life and lived through it. An act of love is worth more than quoting/spouting Bible verses – I feel you missing my whole point.

    You’re not unworthy of my comments ( |o )====::, (I don’t want you to feel that way) but you are quite liberal to me and I often disagree with your viewpoints in reading them.

    BTW- I have been calling you G. (Did I slip earlier?)

    Xenia, I am not afraid of anything because I feel like a walking dead man as it is is. A lot of life has passed by and now there is no time to lose, and frankly, the only sense of identity I have is only through Jesus. I know what it’s like to have a gun to my head (attempted suicide), to be bankrupt, to have suffered great loss, to have made great gain, a great family of 6, lied about, lied to, betrayed and to suffer chronic debilitating illness. Most of my childhood was living in abandonment and fear and poverty. I stand up for the underdog and the voiceless whenever I can. I don’t know what else to say…

    Except – Jesus took away my pain, guilt, fear and the ugly sense of ego that used to dominate my life. What is ‘politically correct’ anyway? I am sick of the same things you are all sick of…but Jesus bids me to be focused on Him. Just because I voice my displeasure over ungodly things I see and hear , well, that does not diminish you or anyone else. We are all one under the Cross and His love. I certainly feel that oneness here at times but lately……

  435. X, then I’ll speak for myself and my own experience and how Fundamentalism was taught to me in the church system I grew up in: It was fear-based and I was very afraid, but not the good kind of fear.

  436. ” Jesus took away my pain, guilt, fear and the ugly sense of ego”

    Yes, I am experiencing that now, but through a rejection of the typical Fundamentalist position and world view. But, I am glad that Fundamentalism seems to have worked for you and your sense of well-being and if you are truly able to be at peace with that view and not hurt other folks and exhibit the fruits of the spirit, then I think it’s the right fit for you. I find many Fundamentalists don’t experience or example the same dynamic.

  437. Xenia,
    Read Lurker’s initial comments again, about being amongst rattlesnakes, that’s far from confident imagery. Most swaggering religious types are overcompensating for their lack of having worked through the tough and legitimate objections to faith that they suppress and deny instead of grappling with and finding peace with their position.

    The fact that Long Time Lurker was unwilling to answer a simple couple of questions about what he/she would do faced with a bible being destroyed or a person’s life being taken or a child being forever hurt is a huge tell to how much their faith is bluster and slogans instead of proven by compassion.

  438. Steve w wrote “But until then, I think we need to forgive for our benefit,”

    Steve, that is psychologically unsound advice. Clearly you posted without even reading the Psychology Today article I linked above.

    Let me give you a challenge. Put aside your preconceptions and opinions which you so quickly pull out and actually take the time to study forgiveness. All you need is a concordance and your Bible. Study and come back when you are done. I fully expect and hope you will see the answer in God’s Word. Not in one or two passages taken out of context, but in the full counsel of God.

    I don’t believe it’s possible to seriously study the Bible passages on forgiveness and teach what you teach. And if that is what you teach from the pulpit I feel sympathy for those you further victimize.

  439. “…instead of proven by compassion.”

    Yes. The parable of the Good Samaritan.

  440. Sorry G, I do not agree. Won’t be the first time.

  441. “I do not agree. ”

    You often do by your actions as I’ve found you to be very much like the Jesus of the Gospels, often.

  442. Here is the key passage on repentance in the Gospels:

    Luke 17:3-4 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    Or did Jesus have it wrong? Should He instead have said (as some claim He must have really meant):

    If your brother trespass against thee, don’t rebuke him, whether or not he repents your must forgive him for your own sake.

    Is that what Jesus SHOULD have said? It is what he would have had to have said to fit the paradigm presented by many…

  443. I find it hardest to reconcile Jesus inviting the little children to come unto him, children at extremely young ages being told that if they invite Jesus into their hearts, they will not only avoid hell, but he will always be near them, protecting and guiding them. Then experiencing the travesties detailed in the above amended lawsuit. I read a supposed encouragement such as “He asks me to trust Him because He is in charge…bigger, greater, more powerful & able/willing/ready to save!” And I weep.

  444. Tundra, why is that the “Key” passage – because it is the one that most fits with your POV?

    I already referenced the conflation you are doing here. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. And there are verses that apply to both. As a result you have people that think you can’t forgive and prosecute at the same time.

    I know this will shock you given your command for me to go study my Bible, but I actually have studied the Bible on this issue (and many others) and even used a concordance on occasion. I’ve also put it into practice in my own life and in 18 years of pastoral ministry with countless others that have confided, cried, and prayed with me. People that today do not show nearly the bitterness I see for example in you as you speak of your past church days.

    I skimmed that article and when I saw no mention of the Holy Spirit, I got disinterested. So if you want to live like a humanist who denies the power of God in these things, then let that article be your guide. But don’t then tell us to read our Bible because there we are introduced to Someone we know as our Lord Who is to be obeyed, and Someone we know as The Holy Spirit Who is to comfort, and edify.

    Forgiveness, like praying a blessing on your enemy (or does Psychology Today call that unhealthy as well?) is something done as an act of obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He will bless that act of obedience and by means of the Holy Spirit working a Supernatural work in our hearts, honor that obedience with the fruit of the Spirit. An unregenerate man can’t possibly understand the miraculous working of God. It is foolishness to such a one, especially in our age of seeking the pound of flesh

    Yes, I’m being snarky, but YOUR advice if followed, is what is dangerous. Keeping someone in prison to the bondage of their hate and bitterness, often towards someone who likely hasn’t spent five minutes thinking of them in ten years. This is not “theory” this is practicing ministry in the trenches of real life. And to be clear NO it does not involve sitting in the room with the one who molested you, or whatever other non sequitur that would involve the different act of restoration.

    So if you are right I am actually doing damage instead of offering the power of God through the Lord Jesus Christ to help someone in bondage, then I’ll wait until God corrects me on it, and not Psychology Today.

  445. I think like the parable of the Good Samaritan, that actions and compassion trump “correct doctrine” and theology.

    It seems Jesus exampled this and taught this time and again during His incarnate time on this planet.

    The Gospel didn’t seem to change to a more doctrine-centered Gospel until fallible men took over after Jesus left, IMO.

  446. MLD opined “The scriptures are clear that ALL sin has been forgiven”

    Not so much “clear” as MLD thinks. Or at least that’s what Jesus said:

    Mat 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

    Oops…

  447. “Jesus of the Gospels” You mean the one who spoke more about Hell and the consequences of sin than any other topic?

  448. “Tundra, why is that the “Key” passage – because it is the one that most fits with your POV?”

    Because the other passages fit into it.

    If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

    Secondly, because it directly contradicts your opinion. Jesus states a paradigm which is in direct contradiction to your position.

  449. “I skimmed that article and when I saw no mention of the Holy Spirit, I got disinterested.”

    Yet you offered an opinion about the psychological benefits of forgiveness which was contrary to the best psychological resources.

  450. I am NOT a fundamentalist. I am not a Democrat/Republican/Tea Partier. I am not a homophobe. I am not racist but rather abhor it. I was not referring to anyone here as a “rattlesnake.” ( I was using an analogy to paint a picture that the Word keeps me safe in a world of “trouble all around.”- so please do not play psychologist over this remark. You don’t know what you are talking about.) (I feel like a contestant on “What’s My Line) I am a follower of Jesus, I take Him at His Word – His word is absolute truth. You can criticize me for “believing as a little child”, but Jesus will take you aside and spank your little bottom for it one day 🙂 I am not a Calvinist. I am not an Armenian. I am both. I’m down the middle. I can fellowship with both persuasions no matter their opinion. I sympathize with Alex and believe his story, but I also believe he has discredited his platform with his rants and verbal abuse toward others. I have seen Michael expose himself to the point of sheer nakedness to reconcile everyone here and be transparent. I love his courage and moxie. I admire his vulnerability. I like dogs and cats. I play a 1972 Martin D-28 and a Fender Tele pretty well and have recorded music. I believe that Christians should stick out as lights in this world and I easily heap guilt on myself for not consistently living that way. I am a “dyed in the wool” Dodger fan and I am excited we signed Chis Kluwe on the Raiders today, much to Michael’s chagrin.

  451. Lurker,
    Sorry our posts crossed. Thanks for answering my questions and clarifying.

    “G” is fine. We wouldn’t want to turn my guitar into a mandolin. Now a uke…

  452. As an aside, I mentioned on facebook a couple months ago (and I think on here as well), of the recent funeral for the man I was honored to pastor the last few years of his life.

    A man who was tortured in the most cruel ways by the Nazis in a concentration camp, when he was captured in helping the Jewish people hide from the Nazis. A man who escaped from the train that was to take him to his death at Auschwitz. A man who gave Jesus ALL the glory for everything he did – including not breaking under the torture.

    A man whose last years in life was spent telling people his story of torture, telling them about Jesus and His forgiveness at the cross, even to young school children, and showing all people he shared with that he had no hate for anyone, and had forgiven his torturers – because God had taken it all away. A man whose life exuded the love of Christ.

    And you know what….those Nazis never did apologize and repent to him.

    I guess I should have mentioned somewhere along the way before he died how bad his “forgiveness theology” was….After all, the only thing he had was a Bible and God. What did he know…..

  453. This is the way I look at it from the cheap seats;

    If you do not forgive, you only hurt yourself simple point blank period. Most people have gone through some sort of travail. For me it was forgiveness that free’d me from the bondage of being obsssessed with my past. I forgave people that never once admitted they were wrong and this is family members. Now there may not be a solid relatiuonship with them now because they do the same things that made me have to forgive in the first palce but I can rest at night knowing that no bitterness is in my heart for them. I still have to work on forgiving people that are current in my life which is a daily process but if practiced it gives the forgiver true freedom. Alex owes no apology to his step father because he seems to be telling the truth. On the other hand, it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened. This can only be done through prayer and being obedient to the word. Alex may never get the earhtly victory he is looking for. Bob Grenier may prosper finacially and materially until the day he dies and it doesn’t mean for one second that God approves of him. For his kids and wifes sake Alex should work on putting this past him once the lawsuit is over win or lose. One thing that helps me is knowing that the father forgave me for Fornication, Lying, Sorcery, Drunkenness, Adultery, Unbiblical Divorce, Stealing, being a lover of myself, etc. the list goes on and on

  454. “I know this will shock you given your command for me to go study my Bible”

    I think that God gives the command to study, but it you want to blame it on me…

    “but I actually have studied the Bible on this issue (and many others) and even used a concordance on occasion”

    Pardon me if I don’t believe you have ever studied this issue. Or maybe you just brought your presumptions to all the passages and missed what they say, I know I missed them until I took the time to understand the passages.

    “Yes, I’m being snarky…”

    I don’t see your words as snarky. I see them as ignorant.

  455. Yet you offered an opinion about the psychological benefits of forgiveness which was contrary to the best psychological resources.
    —————————————
    Sorry you were confused. When I used the term “our benefit” (which is all I used as you note in your quote – I did not say “psychological”)….I was talking about our Spiritual well-being, health, and benefit. A quality of life unknown and unappreciated and not understood by the unregenerate man.

    I thought this being a Christian blog, that would be understood.

  456. Respecfully ( |o )====::
    Your comment: ” Most swaggering religious types are overcompensating for their lack of having worked through the tough and legitimate objections to faith that they suppress and deny instead of grappling with and finding peace with their position.”

    This is a pile of poo. I choose to believe God and I really don’t grapple with Him. Without faith it’s impossible to please Him. Why would I doubt Him or grapple with Him? Because some pastor injured me? (Which has happened countless times) It doesn’t change His character, His immutability or attributes. He doesn’t need to prove Himself to me. He had me when I found out that He died in my place.

  457. I can be convinced that I am wrong.

    1 – Show me a passage which shows me I need to forgive someone who refuses to repent. I’m confident you can’t find a passage which says such a thing.
    2 – Show me a passage which says “forgiveness is for me”. That’s psychological pablum.

    Either of those should be easy to produce if that’s the correct paradigm. Or maybe it’s just as simple as the words of Jesus:

    Jesus said “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

  458. Solomon @457 – I stand and applaud you. I agree 100% with every word you wrote. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you will be heard.

    (And Solomon and I disagree on many things…but I certainly have no doubt he is a brother in the Lord)

  459. LTL,
    Yep, more in common than we thought, nice to discover.

    Xenia,
    Won’t be the last, I’m sure. Why break a predictable track record?

    Believe,
    Settling into Jesus in the gospels, I could wish no greater joy for you, other than your wife and kids tackling you at the door with a massive group hug. Why am I thinking that’s gonna happen tonight 😉

  460. Steve wrote “Sorry you were confused. When I used the term “our benefit” (which is all I used as you note in your quote – I did not say “psychological”)….I was talking about our Spiritual well-being, health, and benefit. A quality of life unknown and unappreciated and not understood by the unregenerate man. I thought this being a Christian blog, that would be understood.”

    How can a person have well being without their psyche being well? Wikipedia explains it well:

    In psychology, the psyche (pron.: /ˈsaɪkiː/) is the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious. Psychology is the scientific or objective study of the psyche.

  461. I can be convinced that I am wrong.
    ————————————–
    Few probably believe that. I know I don’t. I’ve never seen it evidenced in any of your posts here or at the other blog in the years I’ve read you, so I’m not looking to spin my wheels. There are plenty of verses that command us to forgive without the conditional “if he repents” but you use the restoration passage to ignore those.

    I’ll leave you something to live by though:

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32

    If the Christian testimony of a concentration camp survivor won’t do it…..I doubt anything else I might say will. I just hope you aren’t in a position of ministry that influences too many people with that advice – there sure are a lot of people in this world that would never be allowed to forgive, eaten up by bitterness, hurt, and hate…I would shudder to think they think that’s how God wants it by listening to you.

    Maybe you’ll hear Solomon. .

  462. Jesus said “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

    Let’s work on this passage:

    “If thy brother trespass against thee”

    (English) tresspass = (greek) hamartia = (English)sin.

    So it’s possible that someone can sin against me, not just God.

    “rebuke him”

    Should I just unilaterally forgive him? Why would I rebuke him? If I rebuke him it shows that I haven’t forgiven him, right? Perfect chance for Jesus to tell us we need to just always forgive.

    Instead, Jesus calls for more conflict. Why would Jesus do that? Could it be that He wants true reconcilation? Is that His goal rather than some “feel good” forgiveness which does nothing?

    “and if he repent”

    Why would Jesus bring up repentance if it is totally unnecessary (as many here have claimed)?

    “forgive him.”

    I am obliged to forgive someone under the above conditions:
    1 – They sinned against me…
    2 – I rebuked them…
    3 – They repented.

    It’s “on me” if I don’t forgive someone at this point…

    Yes, I am to always forgive… If the other person has repented, I am obliged to forgive,

  463. ( |o )====:: You don’t know it, but we have FAR more in common than you realize. In the words of Anigo Montoya: “I know something you don’t know…”- Don’t ask and please respect my privacy for now. I probably will not be commenting again for quite a while- I am a fish out of water and time is the main problem. This blog can consume your life. It has eaten much of my day. I do not envy Michael. I would be great to meet you personally one day and I know we will be playing music together in front of Jesus in our new bodies. I am living for that day.

  464. If you do not forgive, you only hurt yourself simple point blank period. Most people have gone through some sort of travail. For me it was forgiveness that free’d me from the bondage of being obsssessed with my past. I forgave people that never once admitted they were wrong and this is family members. Now there may not be a solid relatiuonship with them now because they do the same things that made me have to forgive in the first palce but I can rest at night knowing that no bitterness is in my heart for them. I still have to work on forgiving people that are current in my life which is a daily process but if practiced it gives the forgiver true freedom. Alex owes no apology to his step father because he seems to be telling the truth. On the other hand, it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened. This can only be done through prayer and being obedient to the word. Alex may never get the earhtly victory he is looking for. Bob Grenier may prosper finacially and materially until the day he dies and it doesn’t mean for one second that God approves of him. For his kids and wifes sake Alex should work on putting this past him once the lawsuit is over win or lose. One thing that helps me is knowing that the father forgave me for Fornication, Lying, Sorcery, Drunkenness, Adultery, Unbiblical Divorce, Stealing, being a lover of myself, etc. the list goes on and on

    This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    (in honor of Solomon’s style as well as his words here…best post I have read all day here…and I’ve read them all)

  465. I am obliged to forgive someone….
    —————————————–
    Tundra….how come you change our Lord’s words about “thy brother” to just the generic “someone” in your application?

  466. Steve wrote – “Few probably believe that.”

    Why do you always take the low road and turn to personal insults?

    “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32”

    We repented, Jesus forgave… That passage doesn’t fit your paradigm at all. It fits mine perfectly. Still looking for either test cases. Should be easy to produce a passage which says either:

    1 – I need to forgive someone who refuses to repent.
    2 – Show me a passage which says “forgiveness is for me”.

    I’ll add a third.

    3 – Show me a passage where forgiveness isn’t done between two parties. This unilateral forgiveness is nonsense.

  467. “If you do not forgive, you only hurt yourself simple point blank period.”

    Bad psychology and Bad Bible.

    You can keep repeating it, but I gave the simple challenge. Should be easy to prove from the Bible if your view is correct…

    ” I forgave people that never once admitted they were wrong and this is family members. ”

    Why not follow the words of Jesus and rebuke? Don’t you want to see people repent of their evil deeds? Or are you too afraid of the consequences? I am sure you do this in your church when someone goes off the path…

  468. Steve commented on my comment – “I am obliged to forgive someone….
    —————————————–
    Tundra….how come you change our Lord’s words about “thy brother” to just the generic “someone” in your application?”

    Steve, who is my brother?

    Regardless of that question, even if an unbeliever repents of sinning against me I am to forgive him or her. I will take the command of Jesus seriously and even forgive someone who I personally question their salvation – if they repent…

  469. “If you do not forgive, you only hurt yourself simple point blank period. Most people have gone through some sort of travail. For me it was forgiveness that free’d me from the bondage of being obsssessed with my past. I forgave people that never once admitted they were wrong and this is family members. Now there may not be a solid relatiuonship with them now because they do the same things that made me have to forgive in the first palce but I can rest at night knowing that no bitterness is in my heart for them. I still have to work on forgiving people that are current in my life which is a daily process but if practiced it gives the forgiver true freedom. Alex owes no apology to his step father because he seems to be telling the truth. On the other hand, it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened. This can only be done through prayer and being obedient to the word. Alex may never get the earhtly victory he is looking for. Bob Grenier may prosper finacially and materially until the day he dies and it doesn’t mean for one second that God approves of him. For his kids and wifes sake Alex should work on putting this past him once the lawsuit is over win or lose. One thing that helps me is knowing that the father forgave me for Fornication, Lying, Sorcery, Drunkenness, Adultery, Unbiblical Divorce, Stealing, being a lover of myself, etc. the list goes on and on

    This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    (in honor of Solomon’s style as well as his words here…best post I have read all day here…and I’ve read them all)”

    Thank you Steve

  470. “Alex owes no apology to his step father because he seems to be telling the truth. On the other hand, it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened.”

    Is that psychological advise? I can’t read “moving on emotionally” in any other way than psychological advice. And it’s REALLY BAD advise. Take the time to try and understand how you repeatedly continue to abuse the sinned against with this advice.

    Seriously, Steve. If you care at all about the souls in your care, take the time to read the Augsburger (theological side) and Psychology Today (pyschology side) articles. You are doing more damage with your bad psychology than you are helping. And I am sure that God has put people in your care that really need it.

    When I was a pastor for some reason the church attracted a far disproportionate number of people with mental health issues. I took the time to study and understand them and that’s why they were attracted. It freaked out the church who had people who didn’t understand and didn’t want “those people” (as the Church Chairman put it) in THEIR church. I would NEVER marginalize the sinned against by telling them that they need to forgive for their own sakes. That’s psychological garbage.

  471. Steve wrote “Alex owes no apology to his step father because he seems to be telling the truth. On the other hand, it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened.”

    And how should someone who has been seriously abused “move on emotionally”?

    How could they do better than to follow the words of their Lord who said to rebuke someone who sinned against us. Alex is doing this rebuking in a very public way, but he is rebuking nevertheless. He is calling for Bob to repent. As well he should. As well Jesus would encourage him to do.

    If Bob repents then Alex is obliged to forgive. But I’m pretty sure we’ll all know if that happens.

    The evidence is Bob isn’t repenting, he’s digging in his heels.

  472. “Is that psychological advise? I can’t read “moving on emotionally” in any other way than psychological advice. And it’s REALLY BAD advise. Take the time to try and understand how you repeatedly continue to abuse the sinned against with this advice.”

    No it’s just practical advise. I don’t do Psychology. Listen many have been hurt and absued by the ones they love and I’m not saying Alex has to go and reconcile with Bob due to the latters unrepentance but he should still forgive from his heart. I as many others have been thru our own pain but nevertheless carrying unforgiveness is a weight that become heavy.

  473. Why do you always take the low road and turn to personal insults?
    ————————————————-
    Well, if your opinion is that I am unstudied and ignorant as you posted (and apparently somehow not be making a personal insult), my opinion is that few here believe you will change your mind on this topic. Selective outrage much?

    Care to have a poll on those two questions. How many agree with you that I am unstudied and ignorant on the topic of forgiveness (and thus giving hurtful pastoral counsel all these years as you also wrote)

    And how many agree with me that you won’t change your mind in this thread. We already saw you explain away Jesus’ words “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” – You wrote ” I think he said ‘for they know not what they do’ because he recognized that they were not responsible for their actions.” – So I doubt there is a verse that you can’t twist to fit your view.

    So I’ll just agree with you here that just as those Romans crucifying the Lord, everyone else who hurts us is really not responsible for their actions. They’re the product of something else and that leads to their ignorance/accidental hurting us.

    And so let’s make THAT why we have to forgive them. As long as we get to the same place and we forgive, like Jesus did.

    The only reason I possibly care to engage you to this extent is because this topic far too important in the lives of people and the advice you are giving, though finding agreement with Psychology Today, denies the power of God to work His work in obedience to His commands.

    And I would hate for someone to stumble upon this thread and read you, unopposed, and think God wants them to swim in their bitterness and bile, being destroyed a little more each day.

    But I’m done now. Our theology should affect our behavior. I have watched the fruit of your teaching show itself in out-and-out hatred of brothers and sisters in Christ you’ve never met, because of your bad experiences in prior churches.

    Or I can remember my friend the concentration camp survivor, and the fruit of his life from his understanding of forgiveness

    Maybe Michael will have a special article one day where we all can vote as to what we think the Bible teaches on forgiveness…not reconciliation/restoration…but forgiveness.

  474. MTM.
    Do you see any difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
    On a plane, can’t read through all the posts. Hope you didn’t already post about that.

  475. Mat. ch 18 takes this whole thing up a notch. It lays out the process which should be followed if we are sinned against. It prescribes the steps:

    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

    Same as the Luk. ch 17 passage. Go privately. What if that fails?

    But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

    So take a couple of witnesses along with you. What if that fails?

    And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    So we are to take it to the church and if the person still doesn’t repent we are to treat the other person as an outcast (1 Cor has an example of Paul doing this).

    What is missing from that whole section of Scripture? The command to forgive someone who refuses to repent. In fact, we are to treat the person (after the process is completed) as a pariah and cast them out…

  476. “How could they do better than to follow the words of their Lord who said to rebuke someone who sinned against us. Alex is doing this rebuking in a very public way, but he is rebuking nevertheless. He is calling for Bob to repent. As well he should. As well Jesus would encourage him to do.

    If Bob repents then Alex is obliged to forgive. But I’m pretty sure we’ll all know if that happens.

    The evidence is Bob isn’t repenting, he’s digging in his heels.”

    Okay so the rebuke has been made and now the case is in court, So what’s next? What happens win or lose? At some point, moving on is best for the victim. We all have been victims at some point in our lives and you either live in that past and let it consume you or you practice Philippians 3:12-15 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

  477. Steve, Hilarious… I bet you’d win on a vote, but do you believe that is how truth is determined? If so, your issues are much deeper than what I’ve seen so far.

    “So I’ll just agree with you here that just as those Romans crucifying the Lord, everyone else who hurts us is really not responsible for their actions. They’re the product of something else and that leads to their ignorance/accidental hurting us.”

    So when Jesus said to rebuke those who sin against us, he’s not talking about anyone since everyone is a victim of their circumstances? Even Hitler (I hate pulling that card, but you said everyone) was a victim of his background and there’s no such thing as actual evil? Sorry, I don’t buy it and neither does Scripture.

    But I presented three really simple test cases to validate your view and refute mine. Since you can’t meet any of those I can see how you’d need to step away now…

  478. An addendum to those reading:

    When talking to someone who is abused, before ever getting to the point of even talking about forgiving their abuser, much less actually doing so, is a PROCESS. Not some blunt hammer wielded in the first three minutes.

    And by all means we should know as much about the human mind and body as possible, and not be opposed to medication as appropriate, and not just simply offer the “Jesus cure” as some sort of magic formula. For example, I have studied addictions and addictive behavior for longer than I have studied the Bible, and am married to a professional expert in the field, and so I am grieved at some of the stuff I hear from pulpits aimed at addicts.

    But the world always must stop short of the power of God in its advice. The world is doing the best it can while leaving out the Most Important “Factor” for recovery and healing there is.

    As Christians, we can’t make that mistake…the mistake of leaving God out.

    (Offered because stereotyping is common around here, usually at the expense of actual discussion with the individual)

  479. “We all have been victims at some point in our lives and you either live in that past and let it consume you or you practice Phil. ch 3:12-15 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.”

    Has nothing to do with the question at hand…

    What are the things which were behind for Paul? He explained it clearly earlier in the chapter:

    Phl 3:4-
    Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

    Nothing to do with forgiveness, but what Paul formerly trusted in for his “salvation” (HIs Jewish faith).

  480. By the way, Steve, with regards to the poll (a technique I’ve seen you use previously on this BLOG)…

    Do you realize that an appeal to popular opinion is a well known fallacy? Ad populum:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

    ‘In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it. In other words, the basic idea of the argument is: “If many believe so, it is so.”‘

    Not that I think pointing out to you that your argument style is riddled with logical fallacies would do anything, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway…

  481. “(Offered because stereotyping is common around here, usually at the expense of actual discussion with the individual)”

    Ironically, that’s an actual example of a stereotype….

  482. If Paul’s advice was to unilaterally forgive regardless of whether a person repents, then why did he write this???

    1Cr 5:2-5
    And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
    In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Shouldn’t he have just told them to unilaterally forgive this poor person? Rather he tells them to deliver the person over to Satan…

    When the person repented (presumably the same person) then Paul tells the church in 2Cor. to take the person back in…

    Seems like he missed a great chance to tell people just to forgive…

  483. London asked – “Do you see any difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?”

    The goal of the process is always reconciliation. That’s why forgiveness isn’t unilateral. It’s can’t be. It is intended as an exchange between two parties. It is only one part of reconciliation. We can’t be really reconciled without dealing with the issues between us.

    God’s forgiveness results in our salvation. His salvation is always offered as a free gift but only to “as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become children of God:.

  484. I wonder if Steve didn’t drop the discussion because it’s 5 PM and his work shift is over at the church. I do remember how boring it was sitting in the church office alone for hours…

  485. I think that the 70 times 7 passage fits well here. We have a hard time forgiving a person who repeatedly does the same thing. Jesus tells us that it’s hard to change and that a person who comes back repenting is to be forgiven. We are tempted to say how many times do I have to be repeatedly hurt? Jesus puts a limit on it, either 77 times or 490 times depending upon your math. It’s a bigger number either way than I am prepared to deal with. But think about us and God. We repeatedly come to Him asking for Him to forgive us the same sins. We need to deal with others in the same manner. We need to forgive as God forgives…

  486. Believe.

    Reading the Bible through Jesus. This is my “Road to Emmaus” (Luke 24). It has greatly helped me work through tough Biblical passages such as Abraham’s sacrifice and Canannite genocide. For example, Joshua is greeted by the Angel of The Lord just prior to the conquest of Jericho. Joshua asks the Angel,”Are you for us or our enemies?”. To that the Angel replies, “No”. I love it! As far as the Angel was concerned, the issue wasnt about race, land, and nationality. The Angel is Christology at it’s finest. A symbol of Jesus, God’s redemptive centerpiece, walking with us amongst all the rubble, grime, sweat, and odor of the OT. The overtone of his grace whispered, shouted, and sung in even the most horrific Mosaic and nationalistic texts of old.

    Here’s how I see it: I don’t give a rip one way or another if I’m to take Genesis 1-3 literally. If it was good enough for Jesus, scientifically and/or poetically, it’s good for me. I can’t explain the commands of Yahweh to destroy entire civilizations in airtight arguments that shut down all doubts and question. Nor can I claim to never scratch my head to the seeming scribal errors and diverse translations of the Septuagint. But if they were good enough for His first century, fairly well educated, middle class, steeped in Monotheistic mindset, then, well, it is going to have to be good enough for me.

    Absolutes? Absolutely! I just see Absolute Truth as a Person and not just a presupposition.

  487. SOS. Stuck in moderation! Thanks in advance….

  488. Sol wrote “Okay so the rebuke has been made and now the case is in court, So what’s next?”

    Do you think that Bob’s lawsuit against Alex is just another step of continuing Bob’s abuse of Alex?

    Clearly, Bob doesn’t care if his continuing abuse destroys Alex’s faith in Christ. This lawsuit may turn out to be the millstone around Bob’s neck…

  489. What if we don’t forgive unilaterally? Do we continue to hate or resent someone all the days of our lives? Hold a grudge forever? Launch a vendetta? Simmer? Seethe? I don’t like these options, personally. Or just forget about the person in lieu of actively holding a grudge? Yet we are to pray for our enemies, so we can’t just forget about them. I think if we do pray for an enemy we might naturally (or supernaturally) find ourselves forgiving them.

  490. X great questions. We are told to not seek vengeance ourselves but to leave that to God. Matt 18 presents the idea process for dealing with these things. In the end we may have to just walk away and leave it to God to deal with the other person.

  491. Hey Fundie Drive By. Jesus talked about a garbage dump that was once used for child sacrifices to heathen gods. Like, a literal place. And the New Testament talks about the condition of sin (noun) ten times more than an action (verb). So yeah, that Jesus.

  492. Do you pray FOR your enemies. Blessings, goodness, prosperity and health? Not just walk away. Jesus commands us to be proactive, even as we leave vengeance to Him.

    For example relevant to our community here, I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for Alex. And I don’t consider him even an enemy (and I don’t think he does me – adversary, maybe 😉 )

    I’m praying for you too Tundra…make your own application 🙂

  493. I don’t pray for my enemies. That falls under Law.

  494. Sorry to interrupt the threat, but I just posted an urgent prayer request on the prayer thread:
    Please pray for Dave, whose 21 year old son shot himself last night. The son had a fatal illness which he’s survived since 15 years old after many experimental treatments at universities across the world.
    The family suffered another great loss 6 years ago when the mother/wife left the family. Please pray that God would sustain and send His angels to comfort Dave, his younger daughter and his older daughter and the mother. The family are believers.

  495. I am praying…so sad.

  496. I think peoe are not operating with the same definitions of words here.
    Having said that, if course I can choose not to harbor ill will or vengeance or speak ill against someone that hasn’t repented.
    I can let them go their own way, pray sincerely for the best for them, take action towards them that helps them etc. all that stuff I, and I’d venture to guess 90+ % of people on here call forgiveness.

    If we both agree to meet up or otherwise communicate they repent and ask forgiveness (or we do) then we can have a mutual agreement to let bygones be bygones. That is what I use as an ecame of reconciliation. At least two parties in mutual honest agreement to try.

    Neither is abusive.
    It’s only abusive is someone tries to force another party to agree to one of those things against their will

  497. “I think people are not operating with the same definitions of words here.”

    Agreed some have a strange idea of what constitutes forgiveness. They have taken their understanding from pop psychology rather than the Bible…

  498. Q @ 299

    “Your posts seem to protect you and your “partners” (affiliates) positions.”

    Steve Wright @ 304

    “As I said, my specialty for over 20 years was insuring people and businesses (and their assets) from civil litigation. Protecting people from the lawyers.”

  499. Steve does have a certain skill set.

  500. Ah Tundra, the king of word twisters.

  501. “Your posts seem to protect you and your “partners” (affiliates) positions.”
    ———————————————
    Ask Michael how many CC pastors post on here by name, and then how many post criticisms when called for….

    It’s not exactly the path to getting a speaking engagement at the SPC.

  502. mrtundraman, You are speaking much regarding forgiveness. As you lambasted Michael so many times on a blog that used to be linked from believe’s site which seems to no longer be available I have a few questions that I’ve posted before. As you are now integrating into this community maybe you can now answer.

    1. The things you said about Michael….. do you think they were fair?

    2. If they weren’t fair (which is my position) explain how you and Michael reconciled. Did he just allow you back on this blog with no strings attached or did you offer up an apology or ask forgiveness?

    3. As you save everything are you willing to post what you had posted and let others read it so they can see what I’m speaking of?

  503. erunner,

    I’d really prefer not to revisit that stuff.
    I made a decision to lift the moderation on everybody and I’ll deal with the consequences of that, be they good or not so good.

  504. If I waited for everyone who ever offended or sinned against me to repent, I’d never forgive anyone.

  505. Mark 11:25

  506. Passing By. Like I said, that’s under the Law. Grace now says forgive because you are forgiven.

  507. Someone asked me the other day what my paradigm was worth, I said about twenty cents.

    Sorry

  508. Although I would have liked to see the SGM atrocity gain more traction here, this thread has been fascinating.

    When I was a new Christian, I read a Glen Kaiser quote that changed me forever. “We judge the “success” of our ministry by the number of puke stains on our carpet.”

    Make your own application, Michael…

  509. From OUaT website
    “Say something and discontinue the invites.”

    This seems reasonable, and it would really help for healing repentance, restoration and all that God nonsense, but I am a hell bound apostate that hates God and Jesus and worships Satan, so what do I know. What a strange religion it really is. I mean that.

  510. that was somewhat tongue and cheek but I have been told that on many occasions.

  511. Steve W., Solomon, Xenia and some others. THANK YOU! You are expressing truth in this conversation about forgiveness.

    I can’t add anything to other than the testimony of knowing without forgiveness, from God and me forgiving others, AND myself, I would be eaten alive with guilt, bitterness and wrath. I shudder sometimes to think of what mean, angry, and bitter old woman I would have become.

    Forgiveness does not mean trust and forget and be reconciled to an unrepentant perpetrator. Forgiveness brings freedom and does not allow the perpetrator’s sin to continue to bind up the victim in what is in the past.

    Steve, the story of man who forgave the Nazis is such a beautiful example! Thank you.

  512. On this issue of unconditional, unilateral forgiveness (for your own benefit) I think someones’s been reading too much Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul.

    Three options as I see it:
    1. Either you are all Universalists…
    2. Or you are holding mankind to a Higher standard of forgiving others without their repentance that God hold’s to…
    3. Or you are Wrong in your interpretation of scripture on our responsibility to forgive regardless of the other persons honest, heart felt and ‘not to be repented of’ repentance.

    I think it’s number three myself, but who am I?
    -MIC

  513. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

    “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

    “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

    It is my job to forgive. That is all I can control.

    It is the other person’s job to repent. That is totally up to them. I will not be slave to their lack of obedience to God.

  514. Josh, your 518. Absolutely! Excellent word. Jesus sets us free and doesn’t want us to be enslaved by another’s sin and lack of repentance.

  515. Oh dear, oh dear; what shall I doo?
    I stepped into a pile of poo.
    With doctrines, creeds, and verses too.
    I’m slogging through opinion slough.
    (I write this as I sip my brew.)

  516. “(I write this as I sip my brew.)”

    Pretty obvious. 🙂

  517. Josh,
    what do you sip while you’re posting?

  518. Excommunication is an extreme command for an extreme offense. The scriptural example has to be taken in context.

  519. Oops,
    right discussion, wrong thread.

  520. Neo. Your #490, thanks. It makes sense to me.

  521. “But if they were good enough for His first century, fairly well educated, middle class, steeped in Monotheistic mindset, then, well, it is going to have to be good enough for me.”

    Thank you, Neo! That is the best laugh I’ve had in a long time! That it struck my funny bone so hard probably not a good sign. Best twist on “the bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” mantra I have ever heard in my entire life. Wholely moley!

  522. “Josh,
    what do you sip while you’re posting?”

    Mostly Hater-aide. 🙂

  523. Way to almost make coffee come out my nose, Josh :mrgreen: Too much mirth all at once for me :mrgreen:

  524. That was cute Josh but I don’t believe it.

  525. Mike wrote “Three options as I see it:
    1. Either you are all Universalists…”

    MLD has even stated that everyone is forgiven of all sins, but I think he forgot about the words of Jesus with respect to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which isn’t forgiven in this life or the life to come…

    “2. Or you are holding mankind to a Higher standard of forgiving others without their repentance that God hold’s to…”

    Yes. God forgives people who repent. The unrepentant go to Hell. So clearly God doesn’t stand up to their ideals.

    “3. Or you are Wrong in your interpretation of scripture on our responsibility to forgive regardless of the other persons honest, heart felt and ‘not to be repented of’ repentance. ”

    Yep, that’s the case.

  526. Someone quoted some Scriptures as if they make a case for unilateral forgiveness…

    ““And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

    Does not speak to the question of unilateral or bilateral directly… But it does give the contrast to God. Our Heavenly father forgives us when we repent. So are we to forgive others who repent.

    “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

    God in Christ forgave us when we repented. So are we to forgive others who repent. We are to follow the example of Christ.

    “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

    The Lord forgave us when we repented. So are we to forgive others who repent. We are to follow the example of the Lord.

    They all fit into the context of:

    “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

  527. Ah, but see..it doesn’t say

    “…..but if he doesn’t, then hold on to that anger, hatred and desire for revenge for the rest of your life”

    That’s the part that’s missing in your equation. The way those things, anger, hatred, revenge, slander, gossip etc…all grow out of lack of forgiveness and how they can do just as much, if not more, damage to a person’s soul (psyche, spirit, attitude whatever term you choose) as the original offense did.

  528. I hadn’t checked this article in a couple of days – wow! I wanted to send an update on the SGM case. http://goo.gl/tsdN1 Sad news for the plaintiffs 🙁

  529. “The way those things, anger, hatred, revenge, slander, gossip etc…all grow out of lack of forgiveness”

    Not necessarily, Often not forgiving is the healthiest thing to do. Read the Psychology Today article I linked. It explains why your position isn’t psychologically sound.

  530. How can you forgive someone who thinks they’ve done nothing wrong? Try it. Go to someone who hurt you and tell them you forgive them. They will laugh in your face. So you have to do it in your imagination. Who are you doing the forgiving with? Only your imagination in that case.

  531. “desire for revenge”

    Again, that has nothing to do with the subject of forgiveness.

    Don’t take vengeance yourself. Leave room for God. He’s much better at doing it.

    “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

    The substitute for vengeance isn’t forgiveness, it’s handing the situation over to God. He’s the God of Justice!

    God does the best job at vengeance:

    “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

  532. “Forgiveness” as commonly used means the release of any negative intent toward the person based on a perceived wrong.

    Perhaps you could come up with another word for that, if you have concluded the word “forgiveness” does not apply.

  533. Telling victims of abuse that they just need to forgive and forget is telling them that God isn’t the God of Justice and that He doesn’t care about how they were hurt. That is a misrepresentation of the God of the Bible who stands up for victim. No wonder they reject a God like that. One that tells them to take their lumps and just sit down and shut up.

    I reject that as well. It’s unsound.

  534. Well you have certainly succeeded in irritating all of us by harping on this. Can you summarize your point concisely and we can go on?

  535. PPV with that sort of an invitation, no thanks.

  536. Here’s the deal. We are all broken. We need to generously (even promiscuously) extend grace and mercy to all who have offended us, whether intentionally or not and whether there is remorse or there is not.

  537. Neo – and be like Jesus in the process. Jesus offers reconciliation to all persons even the ungrateful and the profane. And who, in the end saves those who believe in Him and sends to Hell for eternal torment those who reject Him.

    “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

    Or don’t be reconciled to God. Our choice…

  538. Oh no Neo. You just don’t get it. Hang around a couple more hrs and MrTundraMan will prove to you why.

  539. Passing By – why the snarky?

  540. We have to always be willing to forgive but we should NEVER short circuit the cry for justice in the human heart. We were made in the Image of God and that’s why we call out for justice.

  541. Telling victims of abuse that they just need to forgive and forget is telling them that God isn’t the God of Justice and that He doesn’t care about how they were hurt
    ——————————————————-
    We could burn all the straw found in this strawman and light a small town tomorrow evening.

    Then we could harness the backpedaling seen in posts like @546 and light that same town through Sunday.

  542. Steve do you ever give a substantive response to anything?

  543. Steve, I am pretty sure you don’t know what a strawman argument is. I don’t mean that you don’t make strawman arguments yourself, but clearly you can’t recognize them in someone else’s arguments.

    As to backpedaling. Not, Being willing to forgive as a response to repentance is how we should always be. That’s how God is and we need to be the same. Being willing to forgive isn’t the same as being promiscuous in our forgiveness. Clearly you don’t believe in or practice unilateral forgiveness in your dealings with others.

  544. There seems to be a semantics issue going on here. What most are calling “forgiveness”, mtm is calling “being willing to forgive”. So if everyone will just admit that their examples of “forgiveness” are really just examples of being “willing to forgive” when there is repentance, we may have unity. I think mtm has made a good scriptural case for his assertion.

  545. Following the flow of mtm and agreeing.
    A forgiving person is ready to forgive and desires that the scenario for forgiveness to take place will develop in time.
    One who has been wronged can learn to still be considerate and compassionate ( that is the fruit of love) when true repentance has not taken place .

    However, we need to affirm to the one wronged that they were wronged and seek to help them communicate to the wrongdoer that repentance is the only acceptable response when it comes to the specifics of what took place.

    Repentance and forgiveness takes place before God and openly between the human parties.

    Without such a process we demean the righteousness of Christ and undermine the redemption He has effected and open the gates wide open for narcissism to prevail within the company of saints.

  546. Thanks for the update re: the SGM lawsuit, JA. It is discouraging. However, I don’t think it will take the decades it took for victims abused in the RCC, before the tide turns against all those who have perpetrated and covered up abuse in all denominations. I am grateful for the attorney in this case, those working on the Grenier case, and so many that are popping up almost daily. I am grateful for your work in keeping these cases on everyone’s efforts through blogs, twitter etc. It is appreciated!

  547. I still think you guys are mixing restoration/reconciliation with forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience.

    I repeat, by the standard held here, there is no forgiveness possible if the person is already dead. How can someone be “willing to forgive” a person who already died in their sins. Which is very often the case when older people are still dealing with childhood issues.

    And this ‘willing to forgive’ also runs into trouble when both parties share some blame – What you are establishing above is a “you go first” mentality. Two people, both hurt to some degree, waiting for the other guy to repent first?

    And I also do not think there is any Biblical requirement to “desire” restoration with a horrible abuser – like the SGM examples detailed here.

  548. When a person has been wronged to the point of abuse we often may an embattled person who is embittered or struggling to not fall into bitterness. In our endeavors,to help them escape bitterness we encourage them or lead them towards forgiveness.

    We could deal with and help remedy their bitterness by persuading them to,remember that God agrees they have been wronged and that God will indeed bring forth justice appropriately as the situation merits and in the right time.

    We can help them recover a thankful disposition and practice when we remind them that justice has been committed to the Lord and that God does desire the conditions for real repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation to take place without denying justice in Himself or among those who bear His image.

    We can help them grow in love often encouraging them to look to the Holy Spirit to produce, the loving fruit of long suffering especially when repentance or even recognition of wrong has not taken place.

    All this spiritual development and conformity to the image of Christ without forcing someone to forgive according to our man made traditions and cheapening the real deal.

  549. PP Vet…
    Yeah, that’s what I said at the beginning. He’s using his own deviation of the word then using “nope, that’s not right” whenever someone offers up their opinion.
    It’s like playing guess what number I’m thinking over between 1 and infinity with a kid. Can never win.

  550. I have been deeply wronged along the path of my life. People typically just moved on while I was left to process what happened and how I as a believer should respond.

    I can’t forgive someone in the technical sense if they don’t recognize their sin and never seek any type of reconciliation.

    What has happened to me in these instances is a seed was planted. The seed of being unfairly treated. Through my thought life I’ve watered the seed until it grew into anger, bitterness, wanting revenge, etc.

    As a result I found myself in sin. What I did is sought out each person and told them I had sinned against them in my heart. I didn’t mention anything about their actions. This led to honest conversation and the restoration of at least three relationships.

    One person went ballistic and did some ugly stuff when I sought reconciliation. This person despises me to the nth degree and wants nothing to do with me. Their actions have impacted my wife and children in a negative way. In this case this person is out of my life for good and I ask God to give me a desire to pray for this person. There are times when it’s best to cut ties until the other person shows something positive otherwise you risk them further being out of control.

    There comes a time when you become tired from the drama and the pain. You desire to live a peaceful life. Yet how often have we (ME) said things off the cuff to others to make points about others faults with the intent of building ourselves up? Being wronged is no treat and making good decisions and drawing lines doesn’t come easily in seeking to resolve things. Being a doormat is not what God has in mind for us. It’s at these times when we need one another for examples and encouragement.

  551. When we do not force the issue of forgiveness we set the stage to help someone grow into a truly forgiving person. I am not talking about dealing with a vengeful person who sidesteps forgiveness completely and ignores the cross as a regular practice,and pattern.

  552. But, your 538 isn’t correct.
    I’m not irritated by the conversation.

  553. When I sin as a Christian, I am immediately forgiven. Unconditionally. The blood of Jesus is a cleansing flow 24/7. What I mean is that If I get hit by a truck, I will not end up in hell because of some random unconfessed sin. If I have a heart attack typing angry words in the flesh on this blog, I’m not damned to hell.

    That does not mean sin is no big deal, or grace is a license

    However, to restore the fullness of the fellowship I enjoy with God, walking with Him on a daily basis, I must confess my sin to Him in repentance and receive the forgiveness which brings that restoration. Part of that confession of course involves seeking out others I have harmed too. That’s all part of living the Christian life. And if I refuse to repent, God will discipline me as His child, but that does not mean He will damn me!

    Now, I guess there are those who disagree with the above, and see our salvation as not secure, and our walk in this world in a different manner. Well, if one sees the Bible in that fashion, one will obviously see our relationship with Christ on this whole forgiveness issue in a different manner.

    But grace somehow needs to enter the picture. Giving someone what they don’t deserve just as Christ does.

  554. Victorious, your post 554, that is a longer detailed version of what I wrote last night way back there somewhere to counter Tundra’s strawmen.

  555. Telling victims of abuse that they just need to forgive and forget is telling them that God isn’t the God of Justice and that He doesn’t care about how they were hurt.
    —————————————
    Tundra, not only do I understand ‘strawman’ arguments the specific example I posted is textbook of one.

    1) Adding the word “just” – I didn’t say that .
    2) using the phrase “forgive and forget” – I didn’t say that.
    3) Concluding by using words that I did not say to then argue God does not care about justice or how they were hurt.

    Hope that is specific and substantive enough for you.

    I made it very clear that this is a process, not a hammer – and you refuse to deal with what I actually wrote…and after 2 days of it, one tends to tire.

  556. @552

    I was addressing forgiveness not reconciliation/restoration. Specifically the bible verses that mtm referenced to make his point.

  557. This one post I copied and pasted below helped me more than all the others, especially more than the one guy who is so bogged down in his own details that he doesn’t get it when others react to him. Thanks erunner. I have gone to people and confessed my part in their sin without impugning them and I got mixed reactions.

    erunner says:

    May 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm
    .
    I have been deeply wronged along the path of my life. People typically just moved on while I was left to process what happened and how I as a believer should respond.

    I can’t forgive someone in the technical sense if they don’t recognize their sin and never seek any type of reconciliation.

    What has happened to me in these instances is a seed was planted. The seed of being unfairly treated. Through my thought life I’ve watered the seed until it grew into anger, bitterness, wanting revenge, etc.

    As a result I found myself in sin. What I did is sought out each person and told them I had sinned against them in my heart. I didn’t mention anything about their actions. This led to honest conversation and the restoration of at least three relationships.

    One person went ballistic and did some ugly stuff when I sought reconciliation. This person despises me to the nth degree and wants nothing to do with me. Their actions have impacted my wife and children in a negative way. In this case this person is out of my life for good and I ask God to give me a desire to pray for this person. There are times when it’s best to cut ties until the other person shows something positive otherwise you risk them further being out of control.

    There comes a time when you become tired from the drama and the pain. You desire to live a peaceful life. Yet how often have we (ME) said things off the cuff to others to make points about others faults with the intent of building ourselves up? Being wronged is no treat and making good decisions and drawing lines doesn’t come easily in seeking to resolve things. Being a doormat is not what God has in mind for us. It’s at these times when we need one another for examples and encouragement.

  558. “I still think you guys are mixing restoration/reconciliation with forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience.”

    I think you are making up “forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience”. At least in the way you are using “forgiveness”.

    “I repeat, by the standard held here, there is no forgiveness possible if the person is already dead.”

    That is correct. Now you are getting it. You can have imaginary forgiveness just like you can talk with your imaginary friend, but you can’t actually have the exchange of forgiveness without another actual entity in the deal.

    “How can someone be “willing to forgive” a person who already died in their sins.”

    Totally true and there no Scripture which tells us anything about that other than we are not to talk to the dead. That’s necromancy.

    “Which is very often the case when older people are still dealing with childhood issues.
    And this ‘willing to forgive’ also runs into trouble when both parties share some blame – ”

    That’s the truth. That is why we need to be quick to repent ourselves of our part in the wrong.

    If the sin happens, it’s one person sinning against another. Praying to God or doing some other act other than dealing directly with that person isn’t forgiveness.

    If someone is dead all you can do is trust the justice of God to take care of the situation. That is what your survivor friend had to do. That’s not forgiveness, but it is leaving the situation up to God.

    “What you are establishing above is a “you go first” mentality. Two people, both hurt to some degree, waiting for the other guy to repent first?”

    We should confess our part in any division, and shouldn’t hold stupid minor things against other people. I know people who think they have to forgive someone because they bought brown carpet instead of the green carpet they wanted. That’s just ridiculous.

    Take a look at the subject of this thread. It’s about some pretty abusive stuff where there weren’t “two people, both hurt to some degree…”

    “And I also do not think there is any Biblical requirement to “desire” restoration with a horrible abuser – like the SGM examples detailed here.”

    And the award for the least Christian response from a pastor goes to….

    Even the worst abuser deserves forgiveness if they really repent. And if they repent there can be reconciliation. Not the sort of reconciliation which equates to close friendship or anything of the sort, but no more emnity between the two.

    That’s the radical sort of forgiveness which Jesus teaches. If someone repents and comes to you over and over repenting you are still to forgive them – remember the 70 times 7? If you don’t forgive them then your Heavenly Father won’t forgive you.

    What if they really, really hurt me? That’s the essence of the response of the disciples to the 70 times 7 comment Christ made.

    My view is much more difficult on the abused but it actually brings closure whereas imaginary forgiveness doesn’t.

  559. When someone says “I rest my case” I truly wish they would.

  560. Steve wrote “Tundra, not only do I understand ‘strawman’ arguments the specific example I posted is textbook of one.
    1) Adding the word “just” – I didn’t say that .
    2) using the phrase “forgive and forget” – I didn’t say that.
    3) Concluding by using words that I did not say to then argue God does not care about justice or how they were hurt.”

    #1 and #2 are possible example of misquoting, but not strawmen. Since I wasn’t quoting, they can’t be misquotes.

    More than that, the post I made wasn’t directed at anyone in particular but to the general twist of the argument. Now if you are claiming that NOBODY is saying we what I claim that’s another thing, but making this about what you said is pretty vain, Steve.

    On the other hand you have made comments about Alex like ” it would serve him well to start moving on emotionally from what happened.” Sounds like the same approach….

    Steve, I conclude that you don’t care about justice for the abused when you give the sort of pastoral advice that you espouse here when you say something like “forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience” to someone who has been abused… They just can’t get there yet.

  561. I am of the opinion that the best way to have a thread on one thing is to post on another subject entirely. I doubt that Michael would have less than a hundred posts on a thread that was started on this subject….

  562. They just can’t get there yet.<<<<

    "Yet" is the operative word. Work towards it. I don't think for a minute that if someone came to Pastor Steve and told him a horrific tale of abuse that Pastor Steve would say, first thing, to the victim: "Ok, forgive and forget." I believe if, in time, the person was building up layer of resentment, anger and bitterness and had pretty much lost the joy of living because of obsessing on memories, most pastors would tell them for their own spiritual health, "Time to forgive." I don't think "forget" is reasonable but I have found that with forgiveness, forgetfulness follows.

  563. rec·on·cile verb \ˈre-kən-ˌsī(-ə)l\
    transitive verb
    1
    a : to restore to friendship or harmony
    b : settle, resolve

  564. Definition of FORGIVE

    transitive verb
    1
    a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
    b : to grant relief from payment of
    2
    : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon
    intransitive verb
    : to grant forgiveness
    — for·giv·able adjective
    — for·giv·ably adverb
    — for·giv·er noun

  565. Definition of JUSTICE

    1
    a : the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
    b : judge
    c : the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
    2
    a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
    b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness
    c : the quality of conforming to law
    3
    : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : correctness
    See justice defined for English-language learners »
    See justice defined for kids »

  566. Even the dictionary knows reconciliation, like the tango, takes two.

    Forgiveness can be a solitary act.

    Now, if we are going to argue that the dictionary is wrong and Tundra has the knowledge and authority to change the meaning of words, then that’s a whole other thread

  567. Forgiveness – “b : to grant relief from payment of”

    How do we know which of the dictionary definitions is the right one? We use Scripture:

    Mat 18:23-35
    Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

    But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

    So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

    So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses”

    Each of those examples of forgiveness involved an exchange between two persons. The one who was owed the debt gave up the debt because the other person repented. When it turned out that the repentant really wasn’t the first one withdrew the forgiveness of the debt.

    Nothing about secret forgiveness in the heart without any external interaction. That’s pure imagination and foreign to the Scriptural idea of forgiveness.

  568. Having pondered and prayed on this, here are my thoughts:

    1. MTM has a valid implicit point that in teaching on forgiveness, perhaps “getting over it and leaving it to God” needs to be distinguished from forgiving.

    2. Forgiving is more than that, and implies a commitment to not only get over it but also to personally be part of the redemptive operation of God’s forgiveness in that person’s life.

    3. MTM is a thin-skinned, lacking in grace, and no fun, and needs to “get over it”. 🙂

  569. Ok Tundra.
    Totally not convinced ok your argument although I understand what you are saying.
    Tired of going round and round bout it.
    I’ll stick with the dictionary version of the two words.

  570. “Even the dictionary knows reconciliation, like the tango, takes two.”

    Sure of course.

    “Forgiveness can be a solitary act.”

    I wonder if the dictionary speaks to that issue at all? I doubt it says that forgiveness is completely unilateral…

    “Now, if we are going to argue that the dictionary is wrong and Tundra has the knowledge and authority to change the meaning of words, then that’s a whole other thread”

    Let’s really look at the dictionary for “forgiving” and see…

    “for·giv·ing.
    verb (used with object):”

    We can only forgive a person (the object above). Not something in our imagination. Not done for us but to release the other person. Odd since that’s the exact opposite of what some claim here.

    “1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.”

    Jesus gives the primary example (see above) which was in response to the 70 times 7 passage just preceeding. It’s the fundamental teaching on forgiveness. IN the story there is a debt which is forgiven when the person that owed the debt went to the person he owed and asked for relief.

    “2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.)”

    Nothing unilateral in this last definition either. Fits 100% with the parable Jesus gave. The person is unable to pay, and asks for relief (repents). We then forgive.
    .
    “3. to grant pardon to (a person).”

    Same. Maybe the example of a governor releasing a prisoner who was remorseful fits with that definition. Again, an exchange. No governor would ever release a prisoner who didn’t show remorse would he?

    “4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.”

    Same as the parable too.

    “5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.

    Nothing unilateral in that one… Same as the parable…

    Not that I agree with the principle of understanding the Bible by a dictionary but if you are going to read a dictionary at least take the time to understand the dictionary first.

  571. Matt. ch 18 really explains it well. If the red letters in chapter 18 and the red letters in Luk. chapt 17 don’t help someone to understand how it works what can anyone do?

    It’s a pretty basic hermeneutical principle to start with the red letters and then interpret the other things in that light.

    Someone rudely asked me to put forth my position.

    See Matt 18 above.

    Master was owed a debt
    Master demanded payment of the debt.
    Man could not pay and begged patience.
    Master had compassion and forgave the debt.

    That’s the basic paradigm. The Master is God. The man is us. If we don’t forgive as we have been forgiven we are in trouble. But what about the actions of the Master? He demanded payment and forced the man to beg for forgiveness.

  572. As with so many issues, this isn’t an “either/or” it’s a “both/and”.

    I do believe forgiveness can be unilateral, for the sake of the forgiver.
    No one should be “forced” to forgive horrific offense…but the ability to do so at some point can help facilitate healing and closure.

  573. I think it will be a relief to many people to understand that God doesn’t ask them to forgive those who have abused them. It’s good news.

    Of course it’s bad news to the dispensers of religious tradition who think they can control people by keeping them under a guilt trip telling them that about ”forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience.”

  574. To summarize the Biblical teaching on forgiveness:

    • We need to forgive people who are truly ignorant of their sins.
    • If someone repents we are obligated to forgive them.
    • Repentance includes sorrow, restoration, recompense.
    • If someone does not repent, we are obliged to confront and rebuke them.
    • If someone refuses to repent after confrontation, there is a process that needs to be followed through until the end.
    • If someone does not repent at the end of the process, they are handed over to God. for vengeance, we are forbidden to take vengeance ourselves on the unrepentant.
    • God stands with the victim, not the perpetrator of the offense.
    • God’s goal is reconciliation of persons but this reconciliation can not happen without repentance.

  575. If you are to always forgiven then why does the Scripture say:

    John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

    That doesn’t fit at all with the unilateral forgiveness paradigm. Why doesn’t the church just always forgive if that’s really the right thing?

  576. You have some good points, MTM, your thoughts are appreciated.

    As it is with MLD’s Lutheranism, please be patient, it may take us all a while to convert.

  577. I don’t think for a minute that if someone came to Pastor Steve and told him a horrific tale of abuse that Pastor Steve would say, first thing, to the victim: “Ok, forgive and forget.”
    ———————————————————-
    Xenia, not only are you correct here of course, but I said this earlier very clearly.

    Some people want to pick and choose what words they discuss, and ignore the rest of the evidence and views the other person has also made .

    Sort of like the sort of guy who would take one sentence out of one old message where a preacher expresses himself poorly and then use that like a stick to argue that the preacher is a heretic – despite numerous other messages and written statements that make clear what he believes about the doctrine at hand.

  578. “Sort of like the sort of guy who would take one sentence out of one old message where a preacher expresses himself poorly and then use that like a stick to argue that the preacher is a heretic – despite numerous other messages and written statements that make clear what he believes about the doctrine at hand.”

    What about the guy who will defend his leader no matter how heretical a statement that leader makes?

    I reached my conclusions about Smith by examining all of the evidence. I wanted to find out what he believes and I did. Unfortunately, what he said that was “expressed poorly” is part of the standard curriculum which makes up the core of the Bible program at CCBC and without much of anything to clarify or correct it, I am left worrying about the future. Especially when I see some people…

  579. On discerning fruitful teachers:
    1. Whatever they say they believe, their life shows what they really believe. How is that working for them?
    2. How does their teaching impact the lives of people?

    My experience with CC is that CC teaching works well for certain stages of the Christian life.

    Some people really think that Jesus said, By their doctrine you shall know them. That always baffles me.

  580. Really?!
    This is about CC?
    I thought we were having a theoretical discussion about forgiveness

  581. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

  582. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

    Why stay away from Chuck Smith and his disciples?

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

  583. Once upon a time. You dare slap on me the label, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it” . Hahaha, that’s true but HOW I believe it may or may not be different than how you do.

  584. Neo, no label slapping was intended. And in the light of a new day, I would be hard pressed to explain why it cracked me up so much yesterday. As “how I believe it” is different than the majority of posters here, and I know your identity from the early days of PP, at this stage of the game I think it plausible that we would have pretty big differences of opinion. I also know you to be gracious, committed to the Law of Love and apologise if my comment seemed insulting or condescending. It is good to have you hangin’ around PP!

    I would also like to say to all that I feel bad that I have changed my moniker over the years almost as often as I change my socks. Thankfully my shrink assures me it is not due to multiple personality disorder :-D.

  585. I hope you don’t mind me bringing this back to the original topic. I don’t see an update on the SGM case posted. Yesterday, the judge dismissed all but 2 of the plaintiffs from the case because of a technicality – statute of limitations -because the cases were not reported within 3 yrs of turning 18. (Don’t get me going.) Today I posted a recap of the week (http://goo.gl/mHrOx). Today I spoke with one of the plaintiff’s moms. This stuff is tough. It is a big setback for them. However, their attorney, Susan Burke, will be appealing and criminal investigations are continuing. This is far from over.

  586. Julie Ann,

    Thanks…I did see that and I’m still trying to process the whole mess.
    We’ll talk more about it next week.

  587. Once. Your monikers get longer and mine keep getting shorter.

    Anyway, I’ve settled into “my Gospel”, as Paul calls it. Something that buoyed my soul when I nearly was a goner a few months ago. Basically, it’s whittled down to, “I’m a really good sinner but Jesus is an even better Savior”. 🙂 God said it, I believe it….

  588. Since this is comment #593 (a new personal record!), Isaiah 59:3:

    For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
    Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.

  589. I noticed the good Samaritan mentioned here several times.

    Did anyone else catch that the good Samaritan ministered to the injured man, but did not pursue the robbers who beat him? The good Samaritan only helped with healing, not pursuing the robbers or bringing about justice.

    Interesting…

  590. “Did anyone else catch that the good Samaritan ministered to the injured man, but did not pursue the robbers who beat him? The good Samaritan only helped with healing, not pursuing the robbers or bringing about justice. ”

    I guess you are right Shaun. We should ignore the other red letters about justice and only read the ones that are about mercy. After all, we wouldn’t want the full counsel of God, would we? And we know that God really doesn’t care much for justice, right? And why don’t we just scratch out this passage from the Bible while we are at it:

    Psa 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

    I do love a bad argument from silence, though.

    I hope that wasn’t your Sunday Sermon today, Shaun.

  591. Tundy. You’re operating under the principle of Law, “Forgive or you will not be forgiven” , Jesus says preaching Law. That’s works based religion. Now under the New Covenant it is, “Forgive because you are forgiven” Eph 4:32.

    Quit trying to earn your justification!

  592. Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    Yes, I agree 100% with what Eph. ch 4:32 says. Do you see what it says?

    If we refused to repent would we be saved? Nope. God forgave us because we repented, ie, we changed our mind about who Jesus is. We are to forgive others who repent as well.

  593. I was forgiven BEFORE I repented. The penalty/debt was paid and justice was met at the Cross. I simply need to receive that forgiveness.

    We forgive others. It is up to them whether they receive it or not.

    “While we were yet sinners…”.

  594. Julie Ann, I wish I could help, the statute of limitations card is a tough obstacle. But, I can’t go there, I’ve got to accept defeat and try to move on or I’ll be angry and distracted the rest of my life. Hopefully the victims get justice, but some or all probably won’t and unfortunately the church isn’t in the justice business, just the business business.

  595. Hopefully Susan Burke makes a dent, I think it will take some very tough, very persistent, very passionate attorneys to ever make the churches make some real changes. We’ve seen some positive things happen in the RCC and Mormon church and Boy Scouts due to some tough, smart, dedicated attorneys…maybe Susan Burke can be that Champion for victims of the smaller church Systems like SGM, CC, SBC.

  596. “I was forgiven BEFORE I repented.”

    Not exactly. If you were, then you would not need to receive it.

    “The penalty/debt was paid and justice was met at the Cross.”

    True.

    “I simply need to receive that forgiveness.”

    If I offer you a dollar and you refuse to take the dollar, who has the dollar? Same with forgiveness. We can offer the gift of forgiveness but it the other person hasn’t taken it there’s been no forgiveness – at least not as used/defined in the Bible. Forgiveness has to be received as exemplified here:

    Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

    Unilateral forgiveness is imaginary forgiveness.

  597. If we are already forgiven before we repent, or if the act of God is all that is required for forgiveness and no repentance is needed on our side to receive forgiveness, then why do we read things like this in Scripture?

    Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

    Conversion precedes forgiveness. The act of God is prior to that, He sent HIs Son, He came running towards us, He did all the work and covered it all, but we still need to be converted to be forgiven.

  598. No. We are already forgiven. Now we choose to receive that forgiveness. It’s much like when you (hypothetically) owe someone money….until that debt is paid you are conscious of that debt and it may cause you to feel awkward or even avoid that person until the debt is paid.

    Now, say someone liked you (hypothetically) and paid the debt on your behalf. Better yet, overpaid it to your creditor. Now, you no longer feel awkward around the person you were indebted to, you feel “righteous”.

    Christ not only paid our debt when it comes to Justice, He overpaid it, His blood is even more precious than my sin is vile.

    Those in Hell, however that might look like, simply cannot or will not receive their debt is paid and thus they avoid God. That is Hell.

    So God forgives but repentance only receives it….it is the goodness of God that leads us to repent, not His wrath.

  599. “We are already forgiven.”

    Unfortunately what you say doesn’t match up with Scripture.

    1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  600. To tell people they can not forgive someone unless the other person repents or receives their forgiveness is dangerous to the truly abused.
    It keeps all the power in the hand of the perpetrator who can then choose to withhold that, and keep the abused forever tied to them. Waiting around for them to take action instead of taking action themselves to heal and move on.
    It’s a horrible thing to tell someone.

  601. I think Tundra has the scriptural argument in his favor (or there’s another example of paradox and contradiction in the bible).

    I think, however, that Neo. may be right on the issue, it feels that way spiritually. I hope it’s Neo.’s version.

  602. “To tell people they can not forgive someone unless the other person repents or receives their forgiveness is dangerous to the truly abused. It keeps all the power in the hand of the perpetrator who can then choose to withhold that, and keep the abused forever tied to them. Waiting around for them to take action instead of taking action themselves to heal and move on. It’s a horrible thing to tell someone.”

    The victim doesn’t have to wait around for anyone or anything. Why do false forgiveness? Imaginary forgiveness is an illusion. It is no solution.

    When a victim is at the point where they are strong enough to pursue the Matt 18 approach they can finally achieve relief and vindication regardless of the end. The perp has no power when the victim hands the situation to God.

    So, you have it exactly wrong. To tell someone that they have to forgive is to revictimize them since they can’t forgive. Telling them to forgive offends their God given sense of justice.

  603. 1 John 1:9. Just note that “sin” is a noun and not verb. Confess I’m a sinner and not various sins. So He forgives the fact that I was a Sinner when I admit it. That doesn’t necessitate the opposite, that if I do not confess then He does not forgive.

    John 20. ” If you forgive anyone’s sins they are forgiven, if you do not forgive they are not forgiven”. Jesus spoke that to the Disciples upon His resurrection. So, does that mean He was giving them the power o forgive sin. No, was giving them the power to announce the fact sin is forgiven.

  604. If we were already forgiven, then this passage makes no sense:

    1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  605. Comment awaiting moderation….

  606. :I think, however, that Neo. may be right on the issue, it feels that way spiritually. I hope it’s Neo.’s version.”

    I wish it was Neo’s way too. But the Scripture (as you noted) says something to the contrary and I choose to be guided by the Word of God which says the opposite of what we wish it said.

    It’s a lot harder to tell a victim that they are to confront their abuser (when they are strong enough to). We’d all rather just walk away and not confront our abusers. It’s hard to tell someone that they need to go through the Matt 18 process. I’d much rather tell them that they can forgive them in their imagination and not do Matt 18 or rebuke their abuser.

    Again, too bad that’s not God’s way.

  607. “I think, however, that Neo. may be right on the issue, it feels that way spiritually. I hope it’s Neo.’s version.”

    I wish it was Neo’s way too. But the Scripture (as you noted) says something to the contrary and I choose to be guided by the Word of God which says the opposite of what we wish it said.

    It’s a lot harder to tell a victim that they are to confront their abuser (when they are strong enough to). We’d all rather just walk away and not confront our abusers. It’s hard to tell someone that they need to go through the Mat. ch18 process. I’d much rather tell them that they can forgive them in their imagination and not do Mat. ch 18 or rebuke their abuser.

    Again, too bad that’s not God’s way.

  608. @594 Uhhh, what’s so interesting about the good samaritan not pursuing the criminals in a storyy about an ancient highway robbery where the victim probably did not know his attackers and they were most likely long gone by the time his rescuer came along? Indeed if the robbers were ever apprehended during their life of crime, the laws existing at the time would have resulted in some handless or dead dudes. So in the context of this thread, what is so interesting about the lack of focus on the criminals? Where is the relevance in the story not including pursuing perps that applies to victims of sexual abuse and their advocates?

  609. “1 John 1:9. Just note that “sin” is a noun and not verb. Confess I’m a sinner and not various sins.”

    Red herring. It is plural in the English text, “sins” but singular in the Greek. Not at all relevant, though.

    It actually doesn’t specify “confess that I’m a sinner”. Nowhere near it.

    “So He forgives the fact that I was a Sinner when I admit it.

    Let’s start there. We confess then he forgives, not the other way around. That was my point and I think you now concede it?

    “That doesn’t necessitate the opposite, that if I do not confess then He does not forgive.”

    Does the rooster crowing cause the sun to come up or does a rooster crow when the sun comes up?

  610. once – Shaun’s position seems to be that he only has an obligation to help the victim not one to pursue the victimizer. He is saying that “justice is not my calling”.

    I think it’s a grossly defective view of the Gospel but it’s pretty consistent with what we see in certain evangelical circles today.

  611. The passage says confess our sins, not confess that we are sinners.

  612. I hope that if there’s anyone reading who has been a victim of domestic violence, rape or human trafficking, that they NEVER believe they have to wait around for the perpetrator to repent, or to have hope they ate “strong enough” to “confront their accusers” before they heal and move on with their lives.
    What you are suggesting is harmful to people and is not just theory from the bible.
    Matthew 18 days is not about every possible relationship and to apply that across the board is so harmful.
    You are playing a potentially dangerous game.

  613. I think Tundra is just expressing his take on what the bible says. He presents a glaring contradiction in the bible.

    The bible does present unilateral forgiveness on one hand and then takes it away on another hand. it is what it is.

    I give up trying to figure out why. i don’t think the bible is God.

  614. The Jesus of the Gospels forgives unilaterally, the rest of the bible really doesn’t. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. It is fact that both angles appear in the bible and theologians will argue to the death over trying to resolve the contradiction. I’m going to accept it for what it is and leave the arguing and attempts to rationalize the paradox to others.

  615. “John 20. ” If you forgive anyone’s sins they are forgiven, if you do not forgive they are not forgiven”. Jesus spoke that to the Disciples upon His resurrection. So, does that mean He was giving them the power to forgive sin. No, was giving them the power to announce the fact sin is forgiven.”

    That is creative for sure. It’s not what the text says, but what you think it should say.

    The text says that they can forgive or not forgive people. By the unilateral view Jesus should have said “You must tell people that God has already forgiven all sins on the cross”. That is your position, right?

    Imaginary… Not faithful to the text, but imaginary.

    Not all sin is against God. Much if not most sin is man against man.

    The sin against God is largely unbelief. The sins against other men are legion.

  616. “The Jesus of the Gospels forgives unilaterally, the rest of the bible really doesn’t.”

    The Jesus of the Gospels tells parables about forgiveness which aren’t unilateral at all. In fact, the first guy who the debt was owed to seems pretty tough. He took back his forgiveness based on what the guy didn’t do (when he didn’t forgive the guy below him).

    The Jesus of the Bible threatens vengeance on women and children for rejecting Him:

    Luk 23:28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.”

  617. #615 I get into way too much trouble here and in the f2f world assuming and guessing what someone seems to be saying. Trying to improve my communication skills by asking for clarification more, rather than knee jerk reacting to what it “seems” someone means. Blogs and the internet in general, sure aren’t the easiest venues for avoiding knee jerk reactions 😉

  618. “Matthew 18 days is not about every possible relationship and to apply that across the board is so harmful.”

    Odd since it does seem to have the red letters which usually brings along some authority…

    But let’s look and see if there’s an escape clause in Matt 18 which says it only applies to some things?

    “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee”

    Hmmm… I don’t see an escape clause there.

    I just re-read the whole thing and it’s nowhere… No escape. No saying “But I just want to forgive someone in my imagination and pretend like I did something”.

    OK, let’s try the parallel passage in Luke 17 to see if it only applies to some things…

    Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    No escape clause there either. No “just forgive him in your imagination” there either. We are told it is up to us to rebuke the person who offended us.

    I think it sucks that Jesus doesn’t give us the easy way out….

  619. “Matt/ ch 18 days is not about every possible relationship and to apply that across the board is so harmful.”

    Odd since it does seem to have the red letters which usually brings along some authority…

    But let’s look and see if there’s an escape clause in Mat. ch 18 which says it only applies to some things?

    “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee”

    Hmmm… I don’t see an escape clause there.

    I just re-read the whole thing and it’s nowhere… No escape. No saying “But I just want to forgive someone in my imagination and pretend like I did something”.

    OK, let’s try the parallel passage in Luk. ch 17 to see if it only applies to some things…

    Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    No escape clause there either. No “just forgive him in your imagination” there either. We are told it is up to us to rebuke the person who offended us.

    I think it sucks that Jesus doesn’t give us the easy way out…

  620. “#615 I get into way too much trouble here and in the f2f world assuming and guessing what someone seems to be saying. Trying to improve my communication skills by asking for clarification more, rather than knee jerk reacting to what it “seems” someone means. Blogs and the internet in general, sure aren’t the easiest venues for avoiding knee jerk reactions ;-)”

    It could be that he said something that just came out horribly insensitively and didn’t realize how bad it would look when he put it down on paper. My reading of what Shaun wrote may be uncharitable but it is consistent with what we see from others in his position.

  621. It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance, not His wrath. It is Good News, period. Not Good News….and Bad News.

    No contradiction here.

    John, as the New Testament nearly always does, speaks of sin as a noun, not a verb,in John 1:9. A verb is a set or series of actions. The Bible virtually ignores sin in that light. It refers to sin as a noun, state of being, not a set of actions. Yet, religion is keen on referring to sin as a verb, a set of actions we need to confess.

    FYI. The ratio is 10 to 1 noun to verb when NT speaks of sin. In other words, just admit you are broken….or in my case, a hot mess!

  622. Correction: a verb is a single or series of actions.

  623. “John, as the New Testament nearly always does, speaks of sin as a noun, not a verb,in John 1:9. A verb is a set or series of actions. The Bible virtually ignores sin in that light. It refers to sin as a noun, state of being, not a set of actions.”

    At its most basic a noun is a person, place or thing. It also CAN be a state of being but to say that because “sin” is a noun means it is a state of being is to presume more than the word itself contains.

    Sin is an abstract thing which has real manifestations. It is a description of what we do or don’t do that falls short of the mark of goodness of God. That is the category of actions (verbs) which are called sin (noun)

    1Jo 1:8-9

    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Regardless of all of that.. to be forgiven we need to first repent.

    The Bible speaks of forgiveness as something which we have to receive instead of something we already had:

    To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

  624. “John, as the New Testament nearly always does, speaks of sin as a noun, not a verb,in 1Jn. ch 1:9. A verb is a set or series of actions. The Bible virtually ignores sin in that light. It refers to sin as a noun, state of being, not a set of actions.”

    At its most basic a noun is a person, place or thing. It also CAN be a state of being but to say that because “sin” is a noun means it is a state of being is to presume more than the word itself contains.

    Sin is an abstract thing which has real manifestations. It is a description of what we do or don’t do that falls short of the mark of goodness of God. That is the category of actions (verbs) which are called sin (noun)

    1Jn. ch 1:8-9

    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Regardless of all of that.. to be forgiven we need to first repent.

    The Bible speaks of forgiveness as something which we have to receive instead of something we already had:

    To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

  625. Correct. I was wrong. I just doubled checked the greek for 1Jn. ch 1:9 and it uses the plural in both places for sin. If we confess our SINS….

  626. So then, will there be anyone in heaven who has never heard of the requirements for forgiveness as prescribed by MTM? I’m positive there are millions who have died without having ever heard the gospel.

  627. Sin. “harmatia” is a noun in 1 John 1:9. Since when has a noun been a verb?

  628. Same word used for John 1, “Behold Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.

    The collective plurality of sins making it a noun, a state of being.

  629. Suppose I was to tell you that “I walk for a half hour in the afternoon”. In that sentence, “walk” is a verb. Now if I tell you about “my walks”, then the word “walks” is a noun. Both uses describe exactly the same thing. The noun use doesn’t describe my state of being (I am not a walk).

  630. “Same word used for John 1, “Behold Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
    The collective plurality of sins making it a noun, a state of being.”

    I go for walks. Collective and plural. Doesn’t make me into a walk.

  631. Regardless, none of this bears on the passage where it says we repent and then are forgiven. The order is plain.

  632. “If your brother”
    That does not include every person on the planet.
    Jesus himself even says so when he tells the disciplies that those that believe in him, follow him, whatever are his true brothers and sisters (my paraphrase)

    He also says the pharasees true father is the devil so that’s clear they aren’t included in the brotherhood. So, clearly there are those not included in Matthew 18.

    Again, dangerous and potentially deadly to tell a victim of any of the above to get strong enough( how that’s possible without forgiveness makes no sense, but will skip that for now)
    To confront their abuser.

    That keeps the perpetrator in focus and in control.

    Not part of the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

    Forgiveness does not negate consequences for the perpetrator.
    That is a false connection.

  633. London, Your argument proves more than you intend. If we are to only call our Christian brother to repentance then we are only to forgive our Christian brother. Surely that is not what you intend, is it?

  634. “I go or walks. It doesn’t make me into a walk”.

    It makes you into a walker.

    I sin and that makes me a sinner.

    And not te other way around.

  635. Nope. And thats why I didn’t say it that way.

  636. Neo, I think you believe you are making some point. Not sure what it is. You have already conceded my point but you keep on…

  637. So let’s see;
    1.) Steve W. said that MTM misquotes him by adding words like “just” and then turns it around on Steve.
    2.) Erunner said that MTM misrepresented his statements made over at the CCA blog
    3.) Now London is challenging MTM on his wording revision of her statements.

    Either MTM has a reading problem, a reading comprehension problem or he is just plain dishonest. I have my own thoughts, but I will leave it to others to make their own application.

    I wonder if he “rewords” Chuck Smith?

    He may call me a pigeon, but at least I am not a vulture.

  638. You have this conversation like its some debate to win when it could actually cause someone to be further hurt, perhaps killed to confront their abuser and certainly cause a delay in healing by waiting for the abuser to repent.

  639. “Either MTM has a reading problem, a reading comprehension problem or he is just plain dishonest. I have my own thoughts, but I will leave it to others to make their own application.”

    Trying to knock over the pieces again, MLD?

  640. “You have this conversation like its some debate to win when it could actually cause someone to be further hurt, perhaps killed to confront their abuser and certainly cause a delay in healing by waiting for the abuser to repent.”

    Imaginary forgiveness doesn’t contribute to healing. It stunts healing. But don’t believe me, the Bible, or the best of Psychology…

    Stick with the pop psychology…

  641. This has become an exercise in semantics with the points often being missed.
    We can say that the biblical norm is for repentance to precede forgiveness.
    We can also say that there are times when unilateral forgiveness is both healthy and necessary.
    We can cite biblical examples of both.
    Again, it’s a “both/and” not an “either/or”.

    For example…

    “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
    (Acts 7:54–60 ESV)

    Stephen asked here for forgiveness of those who are unrepentantly stoning him.

    For me, the Sermon On the Mount implicitly speaks to those who choose to forgive unilaterally;

    ““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
    (Matthew 5:38–47 ESV)

    We are dealing with an attitude of the heart, not a law of forgiveness.
    Grace is always wholly undeserved…

  642. MTM, the same same can be said about your relentless postings on this subject. For the life of me I don’t understand the ultimate point you are trying to make. You appear to be nitpicking and making an argument and defense for something that noone is really making here.

    If it is a you put, “Forgiveness does not negate consequences for the perpetrator.” my perspective is yes and no.

    The ultimate wage of sin is death, that is the penalty we all will ultimately pay for our human condition as sinners, not because we sin.

    However, we know (you know) that Jesus Christ tasted death for all of humanity and has conquered death by virtue of the resurrection, that is the hope and cornerstone of the gospel for us, that we being corruptible will be raised on the last day incorruptible.

  643. Joseph and his brothers…

    “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’” And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
    (Genesis 50:15–21 ESV)

  644. The stoning of Stephen was a long way from normative. Certainly being stoned to death short circuits what would normally happen in confrontation and forgiveness process. If we are being stoned to death that’s the only response available. Interestingly, that event had no immediate effect on Saul and it wasn’t till he got knocked to the ground on the road to Damascus that he repented and was saved. I hesitate to say that Stephen also didn’t say anything about his own forgiveness of those who killed him. If we put the words “I forgive you into his mouth” we can see it would be nonsense since those doing the act thought they were doing no wrong.

    The sermon on the mount in Mat. ch 5 doesn’t speak directly to forgiveness which is I suppose why you used the word “implicitly”. It does speak to forbearance and many other wonderful virtues, but not forgiveness. And it would have been a great place to speak about forgiveness.

    Interestingly God’s forgiveness in the next chapter (the sermon on the mount continued) is conditional:

    For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

    If God’s forgiveness is conditional then why not ours?

  645. Passing by wrote “If it is a you put, “Forgiveness does not negate consequences for the perpetrator.” my perspective is yes and no. ”

    I didn’t write that. London did.

  646. “I didn’t write that. London did.”

    Thanks, and sorry for inferring that’s what you wrote or meant 😉

  647. So Stephen was asking God to do something he himself wasn’t willing to do?
    Nonsense.
    His words reflected the attitude of his heart.

    “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.””
    (Mark 11:25 ESV)

    This passage does not say quit praying, go and demand repentance, then come back having forgiven the person,… and continue praying.

    It says if you need to forgive someone, forgive them.

    That does not mean that we cannot seek repentance from someone who has offended us…but forgiveness is necessary for the spiritual health of the one forgiving.

  648. “The ultimate wage of sin is death, that is the penalty we all will ultimately pay for our human condition as sinners, not because we sin. ”

    I am not sure I follow. We are sinners because we sin.

  649. MTM, what is the point you are trying to make about forgiveness?

    Just summarize it for me in one sentence (preferably short) if you can.

  650. Neo. @ 596 said…

    “Tundy. You’re operating under the principle of Law, “Forgive or you will not be forgiven” , Jesus says preaching Law. That’s works based religion. Now under the New Covenant it is, “Forgive because you are forgiven” Eph 4:32.

    Quit trying to earn your justification!”

    Neo. – your Law/New Covenant comments intrigue me….what are the best passages in Scripture dealing with the New Covenant?

  651. “I am not sure I follow. We are sinners because we sin.” This is like the what came first argument, the chicken or the egg.

    The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  652. “forgiveness is necessary for the spiritual health of the one forgiving.”

    Where is that in the Bible? Is God spiritually healthy? Does God forgive everyone for everything? How about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    If your argument is correct, God would not be spiritually healthy.

  653. I wrote that as a way to say I do not believe that unilateral forgiveness means the perpetrator (sinner) does not have to deal with consequences of their behavior
    Forgiveness doesn’t erase the consequences in every instance.

  654. “Trying to knock over the pieces again, MLD?”

    Nope, just pointing out that it is impossible to have and honest discussion with the “reworder”. Your favorite phrase is “if you are saying…”

    And everyone has had to come back and say “no, that is not what I said” and then you continue on ignoring what people really said – and you do it for one reason – to make your false point.

    But that’s OK, carry on in your dream world.

  655. ““Tundy. You’re operating under the principle of Law, “Forgive or you will not be forgiven” , Jesus says preaching Law. That’s works based religion. Now under the New Covenant it is, “Forgive because you are forgiven” Eph ch 4:32.”

    Unfortunately that was a misquote of Eph. ch 4:32. The passage says something quite different –

    “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  656. MLD wrote “Your favorite phrase is “if you are saying…”

    That is how honest people as for clarification. They restate back what they heard and ask if they have it right. They don’t call the other person a liar and they try to understand the other person’s position.

  657. MTM,

    Your comments are becoming increasingly inane.
    God is His perfection doesn’t need to worry about his spiritual health.
    We must forgive that we may be forgiven…living in a state of unforgiveness is spiritually unhealthy.

  658. “I wrote that as a way to say I do not believe that unilateral forgiveness means the perpetrator (sinner) does not have to deal with consequences of their behavior
    Forgiveness doesn’t erase the consequences in every instance.”

    Imaginary forgiveness doesn’t erase anything.

  659. “living in a state of unforgiveness is spiritually unhealthy.”

    Michael, please answer my two questions –

    Does God forgive everyone for everything?
    How about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

  660. MTM,
    Its all kinds of Ironic that you call my (and others) points that disagree with you “pop psychology” in a degraugatory manner, and then point us all to Psychology Today as your source of evidence that unilateral forgiveness is unhealthy.

    Psychology Today is all about “pop psychology”

  661. Both your questions are irrelevant to this discussion.
    The questions are simple.
    Is repentance before forgiveness a biblical norm?
    The answer is yes.
    Are there times when unilateral forgiveness is practiced in Scripture and advisable in life?
    The answer is also yes.
    That pretty much clears up the issue for me.

  662. London, would you respect a peer reviewed journal or the DSM-IV if I quoted them on the subject? I can if you would.

  663. Michael provided some clear examples from the scriptures that extending forgiveness isn’t always predicated upon the perpetrator asking for or even acknowledging their need for forgiveness.

    I was reading from Acts 10:42-48. Peter declares that believing in him (Jesus Christ) leads to a remission of sins. Of course we know that Paul declared to the jailer, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

    In the passage from Acts I listed above, it records that the Holy Spirit filled those who were standing there listening to Peter’s presentation of the word. So much so they began to speak in other tongues and to magnify God. This was obviously a result of them believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t say that the repented of their sins or even asked for forgiveness of their sins, and yet they were filled the Holy Spirit.

  664. Michael the two questions are the core of the issue. Not sure why you won’t address them.

    If God is our example and the highest standard then how He handles forgiveness is central to the issue. If He doesn’t forgive some people but asks us to forgive all people then He is asking us to do something He doesn’t do. I don’t accept that God is like that.

    Since you are a Calvinist can I safely assume that there are plenty of people God doesn’t forgive? In particular, those vessels who were fitted for destruction, right?

  665. “Michael provided some clear examples from the scriptures that extending forgiveness isn’t always predicated upon the perpetrator asking for or even acknowledging their need for forgiveness. ”

    I counted one (the stoning of Stephen) which I responded to. The example of Joseph was an example of the other side. The sermon on the mount (next chapter from the section quoted) supported my view.

    So I’m not sure where you came up with “several examples”.

  666. So can I.

    Been in healthcare (sometimes in the mental health area) for years.
    The point is, you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth when you elevate pop psychology when making your points and denigrating it when disagreeing with others.

  667. MTM,

    I’ve presented my position and some of the Scriptures that support it.
    I’m not going to spend any more time engaging in sophistry with you on the matter.

  668. “If God is our example and the highest standard ”

    God is not my example – God is my savior. Those who think Jesus walked this earth to be our life coach and to show us the way to live have missed the mark entirely.

    For those like MTM who want THE example, then I suggest you follow Matt 5:48 – that is God’s example for those who signed up for his Life Coaching Class.

  669. There is something powerful and healing about having the courage to tell someone who has wounded you that they wronged you and stand by that conviction no matter what their response.
    But, that healing comes from speaking the truth of your own life and experience, not from their response or admission of guilt.

    And it is certainly not a requirement of forgiveness.

  670. Oh well, back to the cave 😉

    Guys like MTM are professional online debaters who focus on every jot & tittle to underscore their point and completely miss the forest for the trees.

    Of course, that’s my personal and most humble opinion.

  671. “Revolted by the fantasy of revenge, some survivors attempt to bypass their outrage altogether through a fantasy of forgiveness. This fantasy, like its polar opposite, is an attempt at empowerment. The survivor imagines that she can transcend her rage and erase the impact of the trauma through a willed, defiant act of love. But it is not possible to exercise the trauma, through either hatred or love. Like revenge, the fantasy of forgiveness often becomes a cruel torture, because it remains out of reach for most ordinary human beings. Folk wisdom recognizes that to forgive is divine. And even divine forgiveness, in most religious systems, is not unconditional. True forgiveness cannot be granted until the perpetrator has sought and earned it through confession, repentance and restitution.”
    – “Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of Violence – from domestic abuse to political terror”, pp 189-190.

  672. “There is something powerful and healing about having the courage to tell someone who has wounded you that they wronged you and stand by that conviction no matter what their response. But, that healing comes from speaking the truth of your own life and experience, not from their response or admission of guilt. And it is certainly not a requirement of forgiveness.”

    It certainly is a precondition for forgiveness.

  673. “God is not my example”

    Too hard not to just quote that part…

    Jesus is my example. I look to Him as the author and finisher of my faith.

  674. It certainly is not. (I can do that too)

  675. Jesus is my savior because he is the author and finisher of my faith.

    Hop up on the cross – I want to see how you do it.

    So, how are you doing following that example. Any answer other than “I totally fail” is a lie.

  676. Goose.

    Romans, Hebrews, Galatians… In that order. 🙂

  677. If there are any SGM folks who are reading here and want some help, there is a great book on some of the subjects. The book is “Victims No Longer: Men Recovering from Incest and Other Sexual Child Abuse”. The author is Mike Lew.

  678. “Any answer other than “I totally fail” is a lie.”

    Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

  679. Tundra. So Mike Lew is your pen name?

  680. MLD. “Any answer but ‘I totally fail’ is a lie”

    Damn straight.

  681. I don’t understand how your #684 addresses my comment – but I will just assume that it means you have found the path to your own moral perfection and can’t figure out why the rest of us can’t.

    Perhaps i will look to you as my example.

  682. “Perhaps i will look to you as my example.”

    Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

  683. Neo. @ 682 said…

    “Goose.

    Romans, Hebrews, Galatians… In that order.”

    Thanks Neo.! You didn’t mention Jeremiah.

    Read the Jeremiah passage and the Hebrews passage again, as they are the premier new covenant passages.

    The Law(Torah) is very much a part of the new covenant.

  684. For the record that book is for a specific group. Men recovering from sexual abuse.
    That explains a lot.
    I’ve been purposefully leaving gender out of the equation into posts, but can no longer do so.
    For a woman to be to to wait for their a user to repent or to confront them after they themselves feel stronger, could be literally deadly advice.

    There is a world of difference between how men and women process things, deal with power in relationships and move forward after abuse.

    Your book is not good for “everyone” as you claim.

  685. “Your book is not good for “everyone” as you claim.”

    Have you read the book? It was the textbook for the seminary class I took on counseling victims of sexual abuse. The PhD instructor recommended it for all and it was required reading in the class.

    It talks about how to confront safely.

  686. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

  687. The exact same quote above from Mike Lew’s book is quoted in: “Woman-battering”, by Carol J. Adams, p 82.

  688. Here is another resource on the subject, again focused on women which quotes the reference I included above. “Forgiveness and the Healing Process: A Central Therapeutic Concern”
    – edited by Cynthia Ransley, Terri Spy

    The portion of Judith Herman’s book on Trauma and Recovery is free on google books:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=3cn2R0KenN0C&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=%22fantasy+of+forgiveness%22&source=bl&ots=-ZrZIXgrNw&sig=UsCt1NM0JrQw7d23MjGLypv9HaI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6GuZUZHMHYbJ0QHo-4DwDw&ved=0CFwQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=%22fantasy%20of%20forgiveness%22&f=false

  689. You have this conversation like its some debate to win when it could actually cause someone to be further hurt, perhaps killed to confront their abuser and certainly cause a delay in healing by waiting for the abuser to repent.
    ————————————————————
    Amen, London. (That’s my substantive part)

    Remember when Tundra said about 250 posts ago “I can be convinced I am wrong”…and I said few believe that..and somehow THAT was in insult? (That’s my nonsubstantive part) 🙂

  690. MTM – thanks for pointing out the shortcoming of my previous post on the good shepherd. In my haste I wrote a sloppy incomplete comment concerning the Good Samaritan. The point I was trying to make is that there is more than one way to help. Justice isn’t the only help Alex or others need.

    Some help with prayer.
    Some help with cathartic conversation.
    Some helped financially.
    Some defended Alex’s tactics.
    Some posted things on there blog, facebook or Twitter drawing attention to the fight.
    Some help by challenging Alex and others poor behavior.
    Some have changed how there local church works.

    All those things are examples of how folks on this blog have been good Samaritans, and I am sure there are more.

    I took what I learned from Alex and changed the by laws and child abuse reporting rules for our congregation after speaking offline with Alex. A minor thing in his world, but his story has made some Calvary Chapels and other churches safer places.

    I guess my point with the previous post was some did what we thought was beneficial from our distant locations – we didn’t just walk away.

    I believe no outside Visalia would know about Alex if not for Phoenix Preacher, this blog and the people here were the platform that launched Alex and his brothers onto a more national stage.

  691. This conversation wasn’t about Alex.

  692. In this conversation it seems to me many are mixing up forgiveness and consequences. In the case of sin Jesus paid the consequences which separate creation from God. But, these evil men who abuse children do what God calls an “abomination” and commit what some accounts in the scriptures appears to bring total destruction to them.

    Attacking the innocent is never acceptable, but can they be forgiven? Yes, but there still are consequence in a society for their actions. If these men are truly guilty then regardless of the court dismissal they should be shaking in their proverbial boots. But we’re all sinners, right? You know muderers at heart but not in action?

    Thank God He is justice ultimately in these matters.

  693. Bob, I can forgive an unrepentant murderer of someone in my family (and must) and at the same time seek to see them prosecuted and (in the case of murder) would testify for the death penalty to be applied as well.

    (And the above is not entirely hypothetical in my life)

    No contradiction at all in that in my beliefs – but I imagine some would disagree.

  694. Bob, the above was me basically agreeing with you by the way… 🙂

  695. “I can forgive an unrepentant murderer of someone in my family (and must)”

    garbage

  696. Yeah…I don’t buy that one either. Don’t say you could do something like that if you’ve never been in that situation.
    That kind of flippancy makes both murder and forgiveness too shallow.

  697. and yeah, i know you weren’t intending it to be flip.

    It’s too easy to say you’d forgive someone for something you’ve never lived through (and I hope none of us ever does)

    You might actually just want to kill the bastard and never ever forgive them…you just don’t know how you’d react.

  698. What part of not entirely hypothetical do you not understand?

    And, no, I’m not going to give all the details of the murder in our family just to be believed by the two of you…..

  699. “What part of not entirely hypothetical do you not understand?”

    And where in the bible can I find one of the qualifications to be a pastor as “must be snarky”?

  700. The part where you didn’t say it was hypothetical

  701. Oh never mind.

  702. I am not responding garbage to “the murder”, but to the comment “and must”. That’s pure garbage.

  703. I don’t have any need to create a strawman when Steve argues. His arguments are unparalleled…

  704. Honestly Steve I totally missed that line. Just didn’t see it.
    Sorry about that.
    I thought you were justaking up an extreme example to make a point.

  705. I believe you, London.

    Just thought a personal example of how wanting earthly justice in the courts is not contradictory to forgiving someone….with Tundra floating around here I should have known better than to pick at my old scab…wouldn’t have either if I knew my beloved Oklahoma was going to have such a day. My university (and some old friends) are minutes from Moore, as are my parents.

    I better shut it down for the day….

  706. Just an observation, but when you use Stewie Griffin as your avatar I can only hear your posts in his condescending voice.

  707. Derek, ya, I know. People do anyway so I thought I’d just go with it 🙂

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