Feb 242016
 

ring-kissing1-croppedThe Gospel for Asia scandal has been a big story.

It’s an issue which had brought about my most active and consistent participation here at the Phoenix Preacher. This story hit home to me because I had personal connections to it. Gospel for Asia (GFA) long had a significant presence in my church. My wife and I had supported GFA for several years. I have friends who also had been supporting GFA.

Thus, when I saw Warren Throckmorton’s first posting about GFA last year, I became concerned. I researched some on my own, including speaking directly with GFA, and as time went on more and more disconcerting information about them kept coming to light. The truth became painfully obvious that GFA was a very corrupt organization, primarily, if not solely due to its top leadership, most especially K.P. Yohannan.

It has been encouraging to see some bloggers, pastors, Christian leaders, and others stand up and say this is not okay and sound the warning about GFA.

What Gayle Erwin did was especially encouraging.

On the other side of the ledger, it has been dismaying to see the response (or lack of response) from others, as has been lamented before on these pages.

The silence has been deafening from Francis Chan, board member of GFA and famous for his call to Christians to live radically for Christ and to reject comfortable Christianity. The “we don’t really know if GFA did anything wrong” response from the camp of Skip Heitzig, former longtime board member of GFA, has been documented here on this blog.

There are plenty of other pastors, Christian leaders, organizations, media outlets, etc. who have had involvement with GFA.

They implicitly support GFA by remaining silent when they know there is something wrong.

The Gospel for Asia story has gotten a good amount of play because of the mountain of incriminating evidence exposed by the relentless work of some like the GFA Diaspora and Michael and most especially, Warren Throckmorton. The proof of definitive and likely wrongdoing by GFA has become very hard to ignore, although some still hold out.

However, I believe the attention given to this story has been more exception than rule.

Maybe it’s just me, but why does it seem that we regularly get more concerned about what’s wrong in the world than we do about what’s wrong in our own house?

We seem to have much greater concern when our country is legalizing gay marriage, than we are about the significant numbers of divorces in the church or about pastors who divorce and re-marry under unbiblical circumstances yet remain in the pastorate. It often seems we’re more troubled with the shenanigans and abuses of power we believe President Obama has committed than we are with the same types of wrongs being carried out by our Christian leaders and organizations and churches. We’re more disturbed by the cultural ambition to enforce “tolerance” and political correctness than we are about the culture of keeping the victims shamed and the tolerance that exists in many situations where church and spiritual abuse occurs.

Even when the problems in our own house are spoken about, there often seems to be a bigger focus on items like theological differences or the latest thing Rick Warren is up to rather than on the gross sin that sometimes exists and is accepted in our own camp. (When I talk about “our house” or “our camp”, I am referring to Christianity in general, and more specifically at least for me, conservative evangelicalism.)

Even with the GFA case, there appeared to be some who were more disturbed by GFA’s theological changes than they were with the financial or spiritual abuses.

So while GFA may be the exception to rule to at least some degree, there are so many other misdeeds that occur in the church and Christian organizations, especially within leadership, where we convey the impression that we just don’t much care. I’m not talking about needing to nitpick at every single existent sin,but rather when a person or organization has become seriously corrupted and potentially disqualified in their behavior and actions.

If objects of our own admiration commit wrongdoing, we will find ways to look the other way.

We must keep our hallowed ones propped up and their reputations are to remain spotlessly clean (and our own by proxy).

Our love for celebrity in this culture does not help us in this matter. However, if someone on the outside, especially if they are the “enemy”, commits the same or similar transgressions – watch out!

Now, maybe I’m wrong in my perceptions that we are often more concerned with the sins outside of our house than within. Others may have different impressions. And I know not everybody is routinely guilty of acting like this.

Nevertheless, this is how I see things.

It is not wrong to be concerned about sin and wrongdoing outside of our house. Many times the misdeeds of the “outsiders” will effect us along with many others. Sometimes it has a direct effect on us.

However, it is a matter of priorities. Let us first be concerned with our own personal sins and problems. And then with those in our own house. And then finally with those who are outside of our brand of Christianity, or who aren’t Christians at all, or of our governmental leaders, or of other cultures, etc.

Let’s first worry about our own house before we worry about the houses of others.

  86 Responses to “Kevin H: Let’s Clean Our Own House First”

  1. Kevin, good article.

    Christianity really is a big tent, so I’m not even going to try to make sense of the pope vs. Trump discussion. But when you narrow the camp down to conservative evangelicalism, I’m with you that I am embarrassed. I don’t like to refer to myself as conservative or evangelical anymore. I go to my own local church and we have enough problems there to deal with. For me its becoming more clear that smaller is better in many regards and one should be concerned with their own local church more and more and probably less concerned about what is going on out in the larger context. Just my 2 cents.

  2. I mentioned to my wife the other night that it is ironic that many of the teachers who I spent a long time listening to when I first became a Christian are ones that I avoid like the plague now. In most cases it had more to do with the man than with the message (though there is some of that as well).

    That being said there is a crisis that takes place in your mind when you find out that the people who taught you about God are mean and hateful, deceitful, or straight up frauds. How much of the teaching can you take seriously when you find yourself unable to take the teacher seriously?

    I think that many of us hit that crisis, and not being able to reconcile the information, decide to discard the offending information, and hold onto what is comfortable. Too often the thing that we find comfort in is something less than God, we find ourself left with an idol in the shape of a man.

  3. Good article, Kev.

    Andrew – Lot of wisdom there.

  4. Yes, dswoager, I feel the same about many of the teachers I listened to long ago….. and yes, the man, as well as the way the Message is presented…. I am almost embarrassed that I used to spend so much time letting those thoughts into my head.

    Kevin, indeed….. clean up my own life/house.

    One of Elizabeth Elliott’s memorable sayings was “don’t go out the door with a Bible under your arm if you haven’t swept under the bed”.. indeed.

    Blessings, all

  5. (sigh) One can be concerned as an American citizen for things involving America – because they are OUR leaders (if you are an American). I imagine in Sweeden they worry about Sweeden. In America there is something one can actually do about it.

    For example, every state elects 2 Senators and the makeup of the Senate as we are seeing will determine the makeup of the Supreme Court which will determine the course of the nation in certain areas for decades if nor permanently.

    Is the argument because there are sinning pastors out there that Christians have no business speaking out for the 2nd of the Two Kindoms to which we are citizens?

    If CC pastors don’t see Bob Coy or Skip Heitzig as “our leaders” why on earth would MLD or others feel their sins should shut them up about national issues?

    If one has never given a dime or an ounce of support to GFA, why is their scandal relevant to other Christians. Just because of the evangelical tag? Does that ring true for all the TBN sorts out there too?

    If laws are broken I want them prosecuted. If disqualifying scandal has occurred, I want it exposed in truth. But the idea that somehow (to quote you)

    (When I talk about “our house” or “our camp”, I am referring to Christianity in general, and more specifically at least for me, conservative evangelicalism.)

    well…I guess this is me saying I disagree that the Church needs to be perfect first before we can focus on the moral rot in the world….history proves me right because I am pretty sure there were scandalous pastors back when Christians were still fighting for civil rights, fighting against slavery, fighting against laws that advanced sin and depravity…basically being the salt and light we are called to be.

  6. Steve,

    The church wants to speak with “moral authority’ to the world.

    If we forfeit that “moral authority” by allowing all manner of sin in our own camp we really have no moral authority to speak at all.

    We’re at a point where the world thinks us a joke…and a lot of Christians are completely tired of what passes for “leadership” these days.

    All of these scandals are relevant to all of us because they reflect on the whole family of God.

    I have never, never, ever, understood why we don’t get this…

  7. “If one has never given a dime or an ounce of support to GFA, why is their scandal relevant to other Christians. Just because of the evangelical tag? Does that ring true for all the TBN sorts out there too? ”

    I agree with Steve’s statement. I have built a wall around myself as to association so I have little to clean up after.

    Much “Christian” issues revolve around the free and willey para church – and no one can control them except through non involvement.

  8. If a pastor wants to be politically active, that’s their right.

    What I object to are pastors speaking as if their political beliefs are somehow the same as “Christian” beliefs.

    What Jack Hibbs thinks (for example) and what I think are radically different… and we both claim the same God.

  9. I’ve seen lots of CC pastors publicly deride Obama…all day every day on Facebook.

    Still waiting for that level of criticism to be publicly spoken against Heitzig or GFA… a few brave souls have tried.

  10. as i’ve been made aware of what is going on inside “churchianity” here on the PhxP, one thing is standing out glaringly, at least it is for me, too many pulpits are occupied by compromising cowardly men – no matter the denomination or the education… if cornered, they form committees to look into the matter or they chide the questioners with “shame on you for judging another man’s servant” … say what?
    guess, i’m saying the obvious, but sometimes the obvious becomes ‘old news’ and is overlooked
    may God bless the brave pastors, the God-fearing and wise ones

  11. I don’t think what Kevin H was saying was either/or. Rather, he’s saying that we as a group of people (evangelical Christians) need to be just as concerned or more concerned about what is happening in our midst as we are about the culture around us. It’s perfectly understandable that Christians are upset when the culture takes a turn they consider sinful. But then many of those of those same Christians, as Kevin put it, don’t have their own house in order. The church should be those who have their house in order so it can speak to the culture as a whole in a way that the culture might listen and take it seriously. As it stands now, conservative evangelicalism, as Michael rightly says, has become a joke to those outside.

  12. “If one has never given a dime or an ounce of support to GFA, why is their scandal relevant to other Christians.”

    Really.
    Why should anyone care if tens of thousands of large hearted people are giving Gods money to a fraud?
    Why should I care if my neighbor is being robbed?

    Why should anyone care that without bloggers this would have gone on forever because no one in the church hierarchy would speak?

    Why the hell should I love my neighbor as myself…he’s responsible for his own choices…right…

  13. Thankfully, I have a lunch time now with a dear friend who’s also a therapist…I’ll need one and a couple of drinks.

  14. #9- amen… that’s just the point IMV … what business does a pastor using his pulpit credentials to speak (privately, okay) on political matters? i am seeing too many pandering cowards prospering as they ride the wave … when they look around and find that the tide has gone out and they are beached, what will they do? … dunno … but the day is close

  15. Steve,

    I didn’t say that as Americans we shouldn’t be concerned about America. To quote myself – “It is not wrong to be concerned about sin and wrongdoing outside of our house.” – Again “our house” meaning Christianity or more specifically our brand of Christianity.

    And I also didn’t say the Church has to be perfect. Again to quote myself – “I’m not talking about needing to nitpick at every single existent sin”.

    But it is a matter of priorities as I also stated. As Christians, our greatest concern should be in-house first. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t ever be concerned with anything outside of our house.

    All it takes is one look at my Facebook feed to see many more gripes from Christians about what Obama is doing then about significant sins happening in the Church. And that’s not just one day. That’s just about every single day. Or I’ll see plenty more gripes about gay marriage or political correctness or gun control then I will about any significant problems in the Church. Or even listening on Sunday mornings, I’ll hear a heck of a lot more about specific examples of sins of “the world” or about problems with other brands of Christianity then I will about the specific examples of sins affecting ourselves.

    Why is this? I say it’s because many times we don’t have our priorities straight.

  16. If we forfeit that “moral authority” by allowing all manner of sin in our own camp we really have no moral authority to speak at all.
    —————————————————————————-
    Michael, the issue is the magisterial use of “we” and “our” as to what sin is “allowed” – not to mention “forfeit”

    I fully support blogs like yours shining the light on the darkness and telling any who listen and care, look, we DON’T allow for this – we condemn it in no uncertain terms. We urge you to avoid such leaders and may they be shamed back into the pews and humbled at the foot of the cross.

    If “our house” is very narrow in definition, like our own lives and churches have to be perfect before speaking against immorality, then we better shut all these blogs down, disconnect and not say a bloody word against anyone, ever again. But I don’t hear that being advised. We can bash on sinful Christians, but you sure can’t say a word against a politician.

    What sin is being allowed in my church at CCLE today? That forfeits the moral authority found in the Scripture we proclaim. I want to know so I can deal with it as the pastor so if anyone knows something please advise. Email me.

    Now, broaden it to speak of what is allowed in CC in general (or pick the denomination of one’s own persuasion) then once more, to the extent one can do something against it, one certainly can but if Bob Coy gets hired tomorrow somewhere, or Danny Bond teaches a class at some little Bible school, what exactly should be done. Some say “Leave the denomination” – fine. I guess one could do that. Not that it would change a thing and why should a lone wolf have moral authority if there is still sin in Christendom.

    THIS article would not find that as a solution – nor apparently would you because I would still be a Christian, and “our” camp is apparently being defined by that. I quoted Kevin verbatim above. “When I talk about “our house” or “our camp”, I am referring to Christianity in general”

    The Muslims have their way. Honor killings and other atrocities to wipe out anything put the pure strain of the religion as they want it….but I know of course that is evil, and nobody would suggest it, but in lieu of such extremes, how EXACTLY is the Christian to “clean up the camp” in churches scattered all over the nation and the people who wish to attend there. If we can’t gun down those who give Christ a bad witness, what is the solution?

    When is it acceptable to speak against sin in the world? When is it acceptable to speak of immoral laws or immoral actions of government – whether a Congress, President or SCOTUS decision – that will directly lead to the multiplication of sin? Especially as a citizen of a nation where there is in fact a separation of church and state. Jesus had it made because He spoke against leaders who were both religious and political in their positions. We have it differently in America. But for some reason, Americans never seemed to have this trouble. Nobody told the civil rights leaders to stop their message because they have no moral authority because some huckster was fooling around with a parishioner.

    I have kids. I have to worry about my little girl going to a public restroom and watching some Bruce Jenner wannabe pull out his junk in the womens room. All because very active loud people with evil agendas are pushing the envelope and there are not enough people of moral fiber (Christian or otherwise) willing to push back.

    I refuse to be guilted into silence because of the sins of others I do not even know, much less endorse or worship under, and watch God given freedom be pissed away by those who forfeit their stewardship in the name of avoiding conflict as the Christian thing to do because some pastors can’t keep it in their pants, or can’t keep their hands out of the treasury.

    Last word is the blog community’s.

  17. Cash, you’re right about the either/or. It can and in many cases should be a both/and. If we’re going to prioritize one side or the other, however, I think we should prioritize our own side first. From what I see, the other side often takes priority.

  18. Holy Smokes Michael #12 you nailed it!

  19. I see some more comments while I was typing.

    Here’s a solution. Michael, aim the flippin article at Jack Hibbs, or Skip or whoever you want to use as an example. Call them out on their priorities. More power to you.

    Better yet, for God’s sake, when you do also UNFRIEND them and don’t support them with clicks. You unfriended me months ago – why do you keep friends with people who constantly write stuff on facebook you despise is beyond me.

    This article is directed at the entire Body of Christ. The title alone says it all and backs me up.

    Now I’m out…

  20. isn’t there a difference between speaking on the politics of the nation and crying out against the sins of the nation? hmmm … thinking, thinking….

    BTW – someone mentioned Congress, the Senate in particular, those are the guys that are truly responsible for the morass we’re in, are they not?

  21. (Just a reminder, before any more fur flies) Dissenting opinions are what make this blog valuable.

  22. Steve,

    I wrote the article, not Michael. It is not meant to be aimed at any specific person or organization. I used the GFA scandal as a stepping stone example. It was not meant to say that the GFA scandal should be the top priority for every single Christian.

    But yes, it is aimed at the entire Body of Christ. A challenge to check our priorities. Some may be doing better than others in this regard. But it doesn’t hurt for us all to reflect on our priorities for a moment. None of us are perfect, myself included.

  23. “All it takes is one look at my Facebook feed”

    All I see on your facebook feed is a really skinny guy with the beginnings of a mohawk. 🙂

  24. I think groups like Promise Keepers were a psychological rip off, but no one complained. I am sure they did more harm to the body of Christ than GFA did – it’s just that GFA’s issues can be measured in dollars and cents.

    I think Cash made a telling statement, that relates to yesterday’s conversation – “Rather, he’s saying that we as a group of people (evangelical Christians) need to be just as concerned or more concerned ”

    Evangelicals do do things differently – because on the emphasis on “mass” this and “mass” that the parachurch goes nuts — and no one knows what to do but applaud them for effort.

  25. Josh, that’s because that’s the only thing you know is on my Facebook feed right now. Right, Punchy? 😉

  26. True 🙂

  27. “Evangelicals do do things differently – because on the emphasis on “mass” this and “mass” that the parachurch goes nuts — and no one knows what to do but applaud them for effort”

    For many years now evangelicals have despised the days of small things and it has stifled their collective spiritual development which in turn limits their capacity to impact other lives…… unless they drag someone to the next mass event held at a stadium near you.

  28. Well according to the polling data, evangelicals are voting for Trump at high margins so figure that one out. Why would that be?

  29. These calls to “clean up your own house first” always baffle me because I don’t know what I am expected to do. My own parish seems free of corruption. My priest gets paid a very small salary and no one seems greedy or mean-spirited or conniving that I have noticed. Just a congregation of ordinary people working out their salvation.

    So go up a level, to our hierarchs. I can’t see any corruption on that level, either. My husband recently ran into our archbishop buying socks at a discount store so he’s not getting rich. My own teacher, a VIP in Ortholandia, either lives in a converted attic over a small church or on his monastery, a very rustic property and the last time I was there, didn’t even have an indoors kitchen. The Metropolitan, who I have met, is a very humble man. So again, I can’t even catch a whiff of corruption. All of us are sinners and I am not saying anyone is perfect but I just can’t think of one thing that needs “cleaning up” by me. (There are problems in some other EO jurisdictions but I have no control over those people. I can’t think of a single thing I could do to “clean them up.”)

    I am sure the Methodists and the Calvary Chapels and the Catholics wouldn’t appreciate me poking into their business and trying to clean them up….

    All the cleaning up I can think to do is on my own self, which could certainly use some work. That is where I will concentrate my efforts.

    So rather than pointing finger at pastors in New Mexico who I have zero influence upon, I will work on myself. (And many here don’t even think this is a worthy project.)

    So…. what are you all doing to clean up your churches? (Staying away from church doesn’t count….)

  30. Xenia, the way you express the EO faith it makes it very appealing.

  31. Kevin (whose writing I like very much) also believes that we need to begin with our own selves:

    However, it is a matter of priorities. Let us first be concerned with our own personal sins and problems. And then with those in our own house. And then finally with those who are outside of our brand of Christianity, or who aren’t Christians at all, or of our governmental leaders, or of other cultures, etc.

    The problem I have with this is that how will we know when we have cleaned ourselves up enough to move on to the next level? In my case, never.

    How cleaned up do I have to be to voice a negative opinion about various politicians and leaders? (These sound like MLD questions. 🙂 )

  32. “I can’t hear what your saying because your life speaks louder than your words.”

    Spoken by Chuck Smith during one of his bible studies.

  33. If “our house” is very narrow in definition, like our own lives and churches have to be perfect before speaking against immorality, then we better shut all these blogs down, disconnect and not say a bloody word against anyone, ever again
    —————————————————————————–
    Xenia said what I tried to say (here above)…but as usual, with much more grace and class and probably clarity too. 🙂

  34. Surfer’s Chuck quote is exactly why so many evangelicals who have a commitment that not voting is not an option in any election are leaving Rubio and Cruz and going to the guy they know is the unbeliever, not the ones preaching praise the Lord and acting like one. Sure some are trying to turn him into a devout apostle, but most aren’t kidding themselves about his faith. They just are rejecting the snakes and President Hillary being coronated while they sit back and sit out is not an option to such Americans.

    It is worth noting that Chuck’s quote is personal….He did not say, I can’t hear what you are saying because Bob Coy and Gospel for Asia’s lives speak louder than your words. Thus your Bible and Christ have no moral authority.

    Making it 100% in line with the teaching of Jesus of clean up your own logs in the eyes first, which we all should seek to do, then look outward – never to a sinless perfection but never a blatant hypocrisy.

  35. I wrote the article, not Michael.
    ———————————————-
    Kevin – I know you wrote the article. My first comment was directed at you and the article.

    My 2nd (and 3rd) comment was directed at Michael’s comments (plural) in rebuttal to my remarks on your article.

  36. “I can’t hear what your saying because your life speaks louder than your words.”

    That would be true if the words were mine and counted on me to be effective. But you know what? Those words are living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart – regardless of me..

    That is just a cop outy for people denying the truth – don’t buy it if someone says that to you.

  37. Xenia,

    I would say how we apply these priciples would be different for each and every person. Everybody has different circumstances in their lives. Some may have some real big personal problems they have to seriously deal with themselves or may have serious corruption in their own home church or other organizations they are involved in. Others may not have many bad circumstances close to them.

    I gave the GFA example in this article because that was something I became active and vocal about because it was a situation I had a personal connection to.

    And I don’t think it’s a matter of completely rectifying one level before moving onto the next. I believe it is a both/and. One can be concerned and active and/or conversing about different situations on varying levels. It just comes down to priorities. If one is a member of a church or supports a Christian organization where there is known significant corruption but show little concern yet they are always talking about the corruption of President Obama, then there is a problem. This is just an example.

  38. One more time…let’s take Steve Wright’s straw man and tear and down and burn it to a crisp.

    No one…not Kevin, nor myself…has stated that the church must be in some sort of spiritual perfection before it can speak with moral authority.

    What I am saying (I’ll let Kevin speak for himself, he does it well) is that we need to be at least addressing the issues inside the church with as much vigor as we attack those outside.

    Let’s take GFA for an example.

    It is an undeniable fact that Calvary Chapels have been a cash cow for K.P. Yohannan.

    Who has led the investigations and exposure of this bunch?

    Bloggers.

    The statements from CC pastors have been few and far between and some of those who have spoken have been rebuked by others.

    That is grossly irresponsible and an abandonment of real moral authority.

    When Driscoll went down, who had to bear most of that heat for years?

    Bloggers.

    We had to fight his fellow “ministers” who worked their asses off to prop him up.

    When the Sovereign Grace sexual abuse war was waged, who waged it?

    Bloggers.

    The Gospel Coalition is still covering the perps.

    The evangelical establishment wants to police everyones morals but their own…

  39. Michael,
    I have a question – in sincerity. As an outsider, one who has never had anything to do with GFA and may have heard of them before but don’t remember — what do I do to help clean them up.

    I think 90% of the church world in the USA is like me – never heard of them and probably don’t know the issue. Do we write Skip? Who would I contact?

  40. As to why I have 500 plus friends on Facebook and follow about 1500 people on Twitter…because I see part of my responsibility in the culture is being aware of what other people are thinking and saying about things that concern me.

    The only way to test my thoughts is to compare them with those of others…and especially those that disagree with me.

    “Better yet, for God’s sake, when you do also UNFRIEND them and don’t support them with clicks. You unfriended me months ago – why do you keep friends with people who constantly write stuff on facebook you despise is beyond me.”

    I unfriended you because it’s no secret that we wouldn’t spit on each other if the other was on fire.
    There is no need for me to have unnecessary personal strife on every social media I have.

    Despite that, you’re free to post here and you do so with vigor and an obvious distaste for the host.

    I suppose that the same question you asked me could be asked of yourself…you agree with little I say and much of what I say pisses you off.

    Some of the people who post the most awful stuff are people that I actually care about…I choose not to let their rants on social media affect how I feel about them personally.

    Finally, I like to have a variety of input on all manner of things…because I might be wrong.

    It’s happened before…

  41. MLD,

    Good question.

    I would say that you have no responsibility there at all…to my knowledge the LCMS hasn’t ever been in bed with GFA.

    The part of the church with the issue needs to address the issue.

    Generally speaking the confessional churches handle their business in house in the first place and when there is an issue they deal with it.

    Every example I’ve given has been in that murky realm of broader evangelicalism…

  42. MLD,

    Here’s the problem in your rationale that we’ve argued before.
    The LCMS is tiny in this country as is Orthodoxy.

    They are exceptions to the rule.
    My guess is that many more people are aware of theses issues than you know because of the bubble you live in.

    Nothing wrong with that bubble at all, but it has a hugely different perspective.

  43. Thank you Kevin. Good answer.

  44. Michael, do you still number yourself among the Evangelicals?

  45. Xenia,

    As the definition is generally understood, no.

    There is a growing subset of people in my position who can no longer abide what we see, but have no real roots elsewhere.

    I will eventually sink mine deep in confessional Anglicanism…

    Part of why you and MLD are so valuable to this community is that you both found soul enriching alternatives that you both model well.

    We currently have a lot of people who lurk here that are investigating both of your traditions in hopes of finding a home.

  46. May it be blessed!

  47. AMEN! (In gazillion size font)

    Somebody gets it and is listening.

    Well done.

  48. Geez, I might even become a “Christian” again if this ends becoming the norm.

  49. MLD @39

    It’s not about who you write or what you do…don’t you see? Results man!

    The problem has to be removed first. Eliminated. As long as there are charlatans and wolves in pulpits around America, doing stuff and using their power and their enablers to keep their position (or new enablers to find new positions) then you have no moral authority to speak on morality in the name of the Lord as proclaimed in His word. (Well maybe you do as a Lutheran – not sure if only the evangelicals on the political right lose their authority)

    So if you were about to write your Democrat representatives to add voice that our little children are being hurt by the radical transgender and homosexual activism that is infiltrating out schools…I have to tell you to cease and desist because I saw on facebook that Mark Driscoll is starting a church in Arizona. And so the Lord wants to put the interests of small children on hold while we all think of a way and organize a movement to get Mark Driscoll out of a pulpit. It’s not enough to expose, warn, and archive Driscoll online in perpetuity and then move on to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves you see. Results man.

    Like I wrote earlier, the Muslims have their way – they just eliminate someone who is not loyal to the faith (as they see it)….a lot quicker but since calling a hit on Driscoll is not very Christlike I guess we’ll have to think of another way to remove him from the pulpit. Might take a few years…and he might come back again elsewhere and we have to do it all again.

    Or…is there some acceptable level of scoundrels we can leave to be allowed to move forward with moral authority…maybe it is not every last one that must go? If so, let us know.

    How many people know of Bruce Jenner? How many people are being swayed by Bruce Jenner and his sycophants. How many little children with so over the top PC parents are starting to be raised gender neutral because of Bruce Jenner? What will be the wreckage in about 10 years as this path just gets slippier.

    In contrast, how many people know of Skip Heitzig? How many people will be hurt by knowing Skip Heitzig? What will be the results 10 years from now if Skip is allowed to stay in a pulpit?

    I do agree with one part of the article. Priorities are definitely important and we should prayerfully make some.

  50. “The problem has to be removed first. Eliminated. As long as there are charlatans and wolves in pulpits around America, doing stuff and using their power and their enablers to keep their position (or new enablers to find new positions) then you have no moral authority to speak on morality in the name of the Lord as proclaimed in His word.”

    As per your norm on this topic, nothing but a distortion of the point.

    No one … let’s repeat…no one…has demanded purity before addressing societal woes.

    What has been promoted is having as much concern over the issues we face internally as those externally…that we might model righteousness, not just demand it from others.

    Now, that’s pretty simple and should be beyond any more twisting.

  51. “That would be true if the words were mine and counted on me to be effective. But you know what? Those words are living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart – regardless of me..”

    best comment on this whole thread

    no matter the mouth that speaks them, God’s words are still His words and are alive … i wonder how many people will stand before God and say, “yes, I heard, but I didn’t much care for the guy who told me”… 🙂

  52. Steve,

    My article was not advocating an either/or. That the Church has to have it all together before any Christian is ever allowed to say anything about anything outside the Church. Michael and no one else in the comments is advocating as such either. Please stop arguing as if we are.

  53. Steve, I know you were probably somewhat tongue in cheek at the beginning of your #49 – and I do understand that the attitude seems to run along total elimination of bad guys.

    But when we talk about wolves in the pulpit how do we define that? I had a church board meeting last night and one of the issues I brought up was I found a line item in the school budget for chapel offering for $16,000 (a collection of many years). But chapel offerings were always designated for missions and here the money just sat.

    So are we wolves? I made the case that we were as we had led the children to believe their offering were going out. I gave a directive that the money be gone by next meeting next month — to an outside mission group.

    I had another reason other than to end the deception – I told them if Jesus should return, I did not want the church to be caught with lump sum reserves – I didn’t want to explain to Jesus that we dusted off his money each month.

    I think this is the great deception of groups like GFA and Franklin Grahams organizations – they hang on to the money and dust it off each month.

    My point – we are all wolves.

  54. “it’s no secret that we wouldn’t spit on each other if the other was on fire.”

    I don’t think that’s acceptable for two men who claim Christ.

  55. MLD,

    You’re not a wolf because when you saw the problem you moved to correct it.

    That might be my favorite story you’ve ever told here, though…

  56. Josh,

    You’re probably right, but that’s the truth of the matter today.

  57. Josh,

    I agree. Maybe it’s reality, but it shouldn’t be acceptable.

  58. There are times when people can’t get along and go their separate ways.

    Paul and John Mark had some issues.

    There are many, many CC guys that despise me…this is nothing compared to some.

    In any case, it’s not going to be solved online.

  59. To clarify my thinking a little further, I have already expressed that those who have a lot of corruption near them should be more concerned about those things than those outside their camp. Of course, some Christians may not have anything big near them. But going further than that, it would seem to me that there would be some concern for situations they become aware of where there is significant wrongdoing being committed by their supposed brothers and sisters in Christ and the Church is not doing much to handle it properly. Especially if others are being harmed or taken advantage of. They wouldn’t be responsible to try to fix it, but I would think they would at least have some concern. My impression is that even in situations like these, we too often will give it skant attention. But if those on the “other side” are committing similar wrongs, we want to point out to the world just how wrong they are. It’s not always like this. By in my opinion, it happens far too much. Maybe I’m just jaded. But that’s how things appear to me.

  60. Kevin H,

    I have a phone full of text messages and emails telling me how well you did on this one.

    We all thank you…

  61. I think you are right, Kevin. And it’s a good reminder to get the log out of our own eye first.

    Of course, I think Steve, Xenia, and MLD made some good points the other way. I too never heard of GFA until I read it here. The SBC has their own mission boards, and so we train, fund, and support our own missionaries. A few thousand of them, overseas.

    I will say though, I don’t think there is much value in giving the “I’m not one of them” defense. If we are all the body of Christ, then it affects us all in some way, and we are all culpable in some way. There may be very little that I can do about things, large scale, but it is a reminder to keep an eye on things at home, and I have tendencies that I learn here to raise flags when something is off track. Every. Single. Denomination or sect has had their scandals and their villains. None of us are immune. Not the Lutherans, Orthodox, Anglicans, or even the SBC.

  62. Thanks, Michael.

  63. Josh,

    I agree Steve, Xenia, and MLD made some good points, too. Most people here usually add some good thoughts, even if I don’t agree with all of them. Who knows? Maybe they’re even right sometimes when I think they’re wrong. 🙂

  64. If you ever thought I was wrong, you were wrong.

  65. I’m curious when we talk about who is in our camp, is it helpful or not to put the following labels on folks:

    Non believers vs. believers
    Evangelicalism vs. non-evangelical
    Protestantism vs. Catholic
    Calvinism vs. Armininism
    Charismatic vs. non-charismatic
    Pentecostal vs. non-Pentecostal
    Dispensational vs. covenantual
    Denominational-ism vs. non-denominational-ism
    Presbyterian, Episcopal or congregational rule
    Conservative vs. Liberal

    I think most folks posting here would fall into one of these categories but I’m sure there are a million other ways to taxonimize the faith. Not sure this is how Jesus would view the world or his church though and that is what I am getting at.

  66. Point well made, Andrew.

  67. Andrew,

    Those are some good thoughts. I think Jesus views His Church as His Church. I wouldn’t think the delineations we make are nearly as important to Him, at least in most cases. Jesus knows with certainty each and every person who is part of his body and bride. We don’t.

    And so that is why I also spoke of Christianity in general as being part of “our house”. We migrate to certain segments of the Church that we believe have the best handle on all truths and feel most comfortable with. We see those segments as the most being part of “our house”. However, I think there is still a general sense where all of Christianity and the Church universal is part of our house, too.

  68. Josh, how do you think Jesus views the world? I think his heart just goes out to the lost. He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. This is us. This is me. I’m sure he cares about what is going on in the culture and politics but I don’t see this his top priority. I see his top priority as the individual sinner.

  69. You entertain a few folks in a crappy part of Commiefornia. Big deal. I hope they don’t learn your spinelessness from you.

    I will give you this, at least you aren’t nearly as bad as others in your Tent who get rich off of selling Jesus and the Gospel, so at least you have that one major good thing going for you.

  70. Kevin, I agree with you. All of Christianity and the church universal is part of our house but as you said, only Jesus knows for certainty each and every person. We don’t.

    As far as someone like KP is concerned, this is symptomatic of a church culture that wants to elevate a man over the brethren and in some cases to the status of a god. Of course KP took advantage of that but I think the bigger problem is really churches giving GFA the platform he had. I don’t want to speak evil of KP but rather to warn folks not to give to him. Really the same could be said of any large CC. I want to re-frame from speaking evil of any person other than I warm folks not to give to CC. CC has no membership and the money you give could go anywhere without you knowing about it. Its the same principal.

  71. “Josh, how do you think Jesus views the world?”

    Worth it.

  72. There’s a reason why we can’t have nice things…

  73. No responses to Al, please.
    I have moderated him and I don’t have the time to deal with it.

  74. OK, it was really more of a defense of Steve.

  75. I like Steve. He’s good some great stuff and I have learned from him. I still wouldn’t give a dime to CC though. Although maybe I would treat Steve to lunch if he accepted my invitation.

  76. I think Steve’s church has some financial policies in place that are above and beyond some other CC’s.

  77. Josh, I am sure Steve’s church is one of the better ones of CC. That doesn’t change a thing though for me. However, people can do what they want with their money. Some go to the casino and gamble and some give to their local church. Its a free country but I think people would have a whole lot more fun going to Las Vegas. I really don’t recommend gambling but at least its fun. Giving to any church that doesn’t have membership is like gambling to me but usually not as fun.

  78. Well, I don’t know the policies exactly, but if there are policies in place where a person can be assured of where the money is going, I don’t think formal membership would be a must. But I get what you are saying.

  79. Josh, when I asked about seeing the financials in my local CC, they replied saying that they would only make an appointment with me if I was an “active member” in good standing. I was left scratching my head. The church didn’t even have membership yet somehow they were using this “active membership” criteria before they would show you their books. Now I’m not sure if this is how Steve’s church operates but I would be really curious to know.

  80. From what I’ve heard, Steve and a couple of other pastors who used to post here make some very positive changes in their own local CC’s to be much more open about their finances.

    Which is funny. If you come to my church on a certain sunday night, you WILL see detailed financial statements. Most everybody stays home on those nights.

  81. Josh, I think its common in many churches when they have their congregational meeting for folks to stay home. Many don’t even know how to interpret a financial statement. Being transparent with finances is one thing. This is a positive thing. However being able to influence how church funds are spent is quite another. If a pastor can resign from a church and walk away with the treasury than something is desperately wrong. In my humble opinion the congregation should have a say in financial matters even if its indirectly in having a vote for those on the deacon’s board where the budget committee may reside. Grant it most may not even want to participate but putting the fox in charge of the hen house has been proven over and over again to be disastrous.

  82. Andrew, I agree. And those meetings that I am talking about are to vote on budget, expenses, etc. It is all done by the congregation. AS it works out, it is only a small handful of the congregation. Most folks just aren’t at all interested.

  83. I hear ya. The ones not interested should be the ones to complain the least when things go wrong. I believe in our church if we miss two consecutive congregational meetings in a row without cause it may put your membership status in a different state. This kind of makes sense to me.

  84. There is no doubt that one must take care of their own house first and our main responsibility is the local flock that Christ has given us. This said if a shepherd is going to correct others outside the local flock and it sometimes does happen…………….. then it is essential that we ourselves do not having anything to be ashamed of before others. If we do we become a liability to the kingdom because 1) we give the enemy a foothold to blackmail His servants and 2), we are unable to fully carry out our responsibilities as undershepherds. As shepherds we need to be careful that we don’t get into a situation where we give the enemy room to bring reproach to the church if there is unrepentant, unreconciled, and unaccountable behavior on our part. Finally repentance and pastoral accountability are the keys that allow us to truly serve God’s people freely without fear or reproach.

    At the end of the day whether we lead a large congregation or a small home church, a clean conscience is a powerful thing and it is what allows us to fully carry out “all” our responsibilities as shepherds. Finally I say this in a good way……………………….if we as shepherds are never able to or are afraid to reprove, correct, or restore others because we are afraid to offend them or others, then we show that we fear man more than Christ and we all know we can’t do that. Finally there is no such thing as perfection or “the perfect pastor” just repentant sinners saved by Grace.

  85. Well said, Francisco…

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

%d bloggers like this: