In Honor of the SBC Convention: More on Johnny Hunt and Some Concerns about Rick Warren’s Successor

Andromeda Galaxy- NASA-  When I was a kid, I told my parents I would visit there one day.

“Lies are like cockroaches. For every one you discover, there are many more that are hidden.” ― Gary Hopkins.


The SBC Convention is in process. I will be reporting the inevitable fights. Today, Jack Graham of Prestonwood endorsed Tom Ascol. These two guys are like night and day when it comes to theology. However, grasping for power makes strange bedfellows.


Johnny Hunt’s Victim Ain’t Backing Down, and Neither is He.

Robert Downen from the Houston Chronicle continues to expose the mess in the SBC. He wrote an: Explosive report alleged sex abuse by SBC leader Johnny Hunt. His accuser still waits for justice.

This gets messier and messier as his victim seeks justice after being played by Hunt and his “biblical counselor.” Let me speak bluntly about this incident. Hunt has not had any other abuse allegations lodged against him. After reading the first account of what the victim reported in that hotel room, it impressed me that he appeared to know what he was doing.He didn’t seem awkward in the least  Johnny Hunt Who Allegedly Molested a Pastor’s Wife and Who Prayed at the Opening of Ravi Zacharia’s Massage Parlor Is Losing His Chair at Southeastern Seminary.

I believe he may have done this before. He is a much-admired (probably even now) leader in the SBC, and people might not expect such behavior from him. In other words, he could take them by surprise. Victims tend to freeze in such instances as they cannot process how this could be happening. Oddly, Johnny Hunt didn’t freeze at all. He seemed prestty comfortable with what he was doing.

In the linked article, you can read Robert Downen’s report’s complete account of the molestation.

I guess he could be experiencing some form of dementia, a disability that should be considered. If that is ruled out, then, as far as I’m concerned, Johnny Hunt is a predator and acted like one.

Let’s get back to Downen’s recent post. He makes some further points about this issue.

  • She saw him as a father figure.
  • She remained quiet in the months after, still confused and intimidated by warnings that coming forward would harm Southern Baptist churches, she said.
  • The counselor focused on the woman’s mental health and what he said were marital issues, which they said made them internalize that they were to blame for Hunt’s behavior.
  • It took more than a decade — and extensive expert therapy — for the couple to begin to articulate what occurred.
  • (The victim) “I didn’t have any proper language or labels,”
  • (The victim)“I was living with false blame and guilt.”
  • Sixty-plus pages of documents she and her husband provided shed light on Hunt’s desire to suppress the incident,
  • (Hunt) He did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story
  • The couple spoke to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity in hopes that their story could educate others about the manipulation and abuse tactics that they say were so effective on them.
  • They said they wanted to guard against potential retaliation while still drawing attention to the parts of their story that Guidepost could not publish because the firm was limited to the actions of the executive committee, which Hunt left around the time of the alleged assault.
  • Like so many abuse survivors, they say the trauma of physical violation has paled in comparison to being ignored, silenced, or vilified by those they once thought were shepherds.
  • The woman’s mental health declined to the point of having suicidal ideation,
  • The husband said he felt like he had to choose between his marriage and ministry. There were only three possible outcomes, he wrote: “Physical suicide. Emotional suicide — by staying together in ministry. Ministerial suicide.”
  • The husband resigned from the ministry.
  • Hunt returned to the ministry after a “sabbatical.”
  • The husband called Hunt in April 2011 to “reconcile” what happened, he said. Hunt interjected by asking, “Did she say we had sex?” He then allegedly accused the husband of threatening him and then said he was sorry that the husband was having “trouble forgiving.” Hunt then offered prayers and then hung up, the husband said.
  • By 2018, the husband had a new church job; he became enraged, he said, when he heard that Hunt was leaving First Baptist to take a top position at the SBC’s North American Mission Board.
  • Through counseling with experts, including with the firm of renowned religious trauma scholar Diane Langberg, the couple said they came to understand what they could not quite articulate for a decade.

Hunt’s church is supposedly trying to get to the bottom of the incident and claims they want justice and “restoration” for all involved.

There is no need for “restoration” for the victim and her husband. They need justice. As for Johnny…restoration? Restoration to what, exactly? Do they want to get him back in the pulpit and schmoozing on the national stage? If so, this is despicable. Johnny should never be in a pulpit again. After proper repentance, he should be allowed to attend church and that is it. There should be no leading, no pastoring, and no fancy pants appointments to lucrative SBC committees. No one should publish his books.  He needs to collect all the money he made off the church, the SBC, etc., and go away. However, he’s not the type to do so, IMO. I bet Jack Graham and Robert Jeffress would give him a shot at their pulpits

Rick Warren’s supposed successor, Andy Wood, apparently has “leadership issues. He also has a Mark Driscoll issue.

Bob Smietana of RNS wrote Saddleback Church backs Rick Warren successor despite allegations. This article also appeared in the Roys Report.

The subtitle sums it up.

Questions have been raised about the leadership style of Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church in San Francisco, days after he was announced as Warren’s successor.

A former staffer from Echo church was talking about Wood’s leadership style on social media. So they decided to investigate with a third-party group.

“Our elders have now received a preliminary second report from The Vanderbloemen Search Group, clearing Pastor Wood from all allegations,” the church said in a letter to the congregation Sunday (June 12), which was also sent to Religion News Service.

The search company was provided video footage, emails, text records and interviews that Echo gathered in its own review of Wood’s actions. Echo had conducted its own interviews, as well, according to Saddleback’s letter. “Finally, they tried to reach out to the former staff member and have yet to receive communication back,” the church said.

This is one more church that uses the clichéd meme: One Church in Multiple Locations.

“Church mergers have become one of the most effective strategies for struggling churches to thrive again, for growing churches to amplify their reach, and for church facilities to be better utilized to advance the Gospel in a region,” according to a section of the Echo Church website.

This church looks at mergers like a marriage. Given my experience, the minute you hear the church claim this, you need to run. That church is stuck in the marriage, and you know how these churches feel about divorce.

That merger is billed as a “marriage merger” on Echo’s website, where “two growing churches realign with each other under a unified vision and new leadership.”

Whenever I see that meme, I know I’m dealing with a massive church whose lead pastor may have “control” issues. It appears that Scot McKnight shares my feelings.

Scot McKnight, co-author of “A Church Called Tov,” which advocates for building healthy church leadership, said the culture of large churches can create celebrity pastors who lead in problematic ways.

McKnight has some concerns with Wood.

McKnight said he has heard concerning things about Wood’s leadership. “Big churches attract big egos,” he said.

It appears some members of this marriage-merger had issues as well. Have you ever been to a church that demands “unswerving loyalty?”

Lance Hough, a former staff member at Echo’s Fremont campus, left the church last year citing an “unhealthy culture” in which, he alleged, Wood demanded unswerving loyalty.

…Hough said Wood was personable and friendly as a leader but dismissed out of hand any questioning of the Echo way of operating. He worried that Wood may use the goodwill created by Saddleback and Warren to impose his own approach to ministry, which Hough believes is inherently unhealthy.

Warren obviously disagrees. He believes that Wood exhibits the character qualities found in the Bible in the books of Timothy and Titus.

He cited Wood’s experience in church planting, saying he had “already built a church in a very difficult place” and had the skills to manage a complex megachurch like Saddleback, which holds services in about a dozen locations.

Wood likes Mark Driscoll. This causes me to wave a red flag. We all know Driscoll’s history of abusive leadership and his run from Seattle to Scottsdale when things got too hot. Why in the world would Wood invite him to speak?

Wood also runs an annual leadership conference, which last year included Mark Driscoll, the disgraced pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

Wood loves to merge churches. It will be interesting to see what he does with a behemoth like Saddleback. I predict that there will be mergers to come. Closely watch the Driscoll connection. If Wood likes him, Saddleback better get ready for a ride. I expect some rough days to come and to come rather quickly.


Comments

In Honor of the SBC Convention: More on Johnny Hunt and Some Concerns about Rick Warren’s Successor — 146 Comments

  1. “She remained quiet in the months after, still confused and intimidated by warnings that coming forward would harm Southern Baptist churches, she said.”

    Of course Predator Johnny Hunt intimidates his victims with projection on them of the evil he himself causes, “If you tell, you’ll ruin the church, you’ll wreck a man’s career, and you’ll do harm to yourself.”

    Predator Johnny Hunt damaged the church, wrecked his own career, and did harm to his victims.

    Duh…

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  2. The Ascol clan, on deacons criticizing Daddy: it’s “the devil attacking the ministry”

    “The Family Business” World Magazine, 2015

    https://wng.org/articles/the-family-business-1620620389

    [scroll down halfway]

    “The Ascols, a pastor’s family in Cape Coral, Fla., had…a particularly tumultuous season in their church in 2010. A team of deacons…ganged up against the senior pastor with the explicit goal of firing him. They called the pastor a liar, accused him of gossip and bad temper”.

    “the six Ascol children had grown up, but they still attended the same Baptist church their father pastored….they concluded, ‘The devil is attacking the ministry’.”

    “After all the rabble-rousers rolled out, every PK jumped in to fill the gaps left in various ministries”.

    “Joel Ascol, one of the PKs: “we’ve gone to war to fight for this church”.

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  3. Next year’s SBC Annual Meeting was coming to North Carolina, no more:

    https://christianindex.org/stories/its-official-charlotte-is-out-as-host-of-next-years-sbc-annual-meeting,21158

    May 1, 2022
    “Charlotte out as host of next year’s SBC annual meeting”, SBC Executive Committee decided “to change the location of the 2023 meeting” to New Orleans.

    “Charlotte was initially selected in 2016”

    “The Executive Committee’s vice president for communications, Jonathan Howe, said the decision was ‘simply a matter of math’. The Charlotte Convention Center isn’t large enough…Howe noted that remaining in Charlotte could have cost the Convention more than $900,000 in lost revenues and sponsorships due to space constraints”.

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  4. Jerome,

    This is kind of weird, why were they even looking at Charlotte in the first place? The SBC is in Anaheim this year, it’s 1.8 million square feet. New Orleans is 1.1 million square feet. Charlotte only has 600,000 square feet.

    The question I have is whether the SBC will have to pay Charlotte a cancellation fee. You’d think they would have figured this out in 2016. Weird.

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  5. Speaking of abuse cases, Religion News Service reported Monday that the Meeting House churches, located in the Toronto area and formerly headed up by teaching pastor Bruxy Cavey, have had 38 incidents, by four pastors, including Cavey, accused of sexual abuse. Two of those pastors have been convicted. Details in the article:

    https://religionnews.com/2022/06/13/canadian-megachurch-discloses-38-reports-of-sexual-misconduct-by-4-pastors/

    I have to be honest, this is very disheartening.

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  6. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: have had 38 incidents, by four pastors, including Cavey, accused of sexual abuse.

    Networking. They find each other.

    “I get a pass, you get a pass, all God’s churchmen get a pass…” Tra-la-la… hallelujah, bruhs…

    One of the church abuse victims, a minor, said she imagined Heaven as the Grand Orgy in the Sky and declared to beeline it to the other place in the Afterlife.

    What church teaches youth.

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  7. Ava Aaronson,
    It seems distasteful to write about this stuff except it is REAL, in churches.

    Who needs porn and XXX-rated movies when you can just participate in church and do it/see it live … like that old guy pastor who smack down assaulted a young girl right there on the floor in his office!? Statutory rape in the pastor’s office. That probably doesn’t even happen in the porn films, it’s so off-the-charts repulsive. He claimed “Oops”, then the congregation applauded. A brave soul shouted, “She was 16!” One guy. The group clapped their hands.

    It’s all so disgusting. But evil prevails when good men or women do nothing. There’s a whole lot of do-nothing-about-it going on in churches.

    @RobDownenChron notes that Predation Prince Patterson is at the convention (to network?). Business as usual? While good men do nothing?

    Religion News necessitates a shower after reading to get rid of the filth, rinse out the eyes.

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  8. Every article I’ve read has portrayed the Saddleback process as Rick Warren searching for and picking his own replacement. This is a huge red flag for me. Why does he have that level of power when picking his successor? There is no place for a king/kingmaker in the church of Christ.

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  9. > After proper repentance

    I’ve known people who said that they “repented” but afterward their conduct was not changed. I’ve known people for whom “repentance” is simply another means by which they manipulate those around them. It’s a tool in the toolkit for getting what they want.

    “repentance” IMO needs to be carefully thought out in terms of what it would mean for a person’s claim to have “repented” to be credible and to warrant “reconciliation.” If the transgressor has a sociopathic personality type, change may be extremely difficult (from the little I have read in secular psych literature, I think it is thought to be essentially ‘impossible’). The concept, from Reformed theology, of ‘reprobation’ is not popular among Wartburgers, but the phenomenon of sociopathy might be empirical evidence that there is something to it.

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  10. The ‘Conservative Baptist Network’ faction’s candidates were defeated yesterday when the SBC Executive Committee elected a new president and other leaders:

    https://baptistnews.com/article/in-early-contests-conservative-baptist-network-loses-sbc-leadership-posts/#.Yqh-iP2ZOpo

    “In the preliminaries to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, candidates backed by the Conservative Baptist Network June 13 were turned back in every attempt to gain leadership”.

    “Whether that trend will continue on the opening day of the SBC meeting June 14 is the question of the hour, as there is a heated three-way race for the SBC presidency”.

    “The biggest test of the Conservative Baptist Network’s pull will come Tuesday afternoon when the first balloting happens in the SBC’s presidential race. The network-backed candidate is Florida pastor Tom Ascol, who also leads Founders Ministries, a group for Southern Baptist Calvinists. He faces Texas pastor Bart Barber and California missiologist Robin Hadaway”.

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  11. Voddie Baucham, candidate of the ‘Conservative Baptist Network’ faction, also failed yesterday in his bid for the presidency of the SBC Pastors’ Conference:

    https://religionnews.com/2022/06/14/sbc-pastors-conference-ends-in-late-night-election-as-anti-crt-preacher-voddie-baucham-loses/

    “Though as president Baucham would officially only choose speakers and set the agenda for next year’s event, his candidacy became a way to capture a bully pulpit for the conservative cause”.

    “They were turned away. At the end of the evening session, it was announced that Baucham’s opponent, Daniel Dickard, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, had received 690 votes to 608 votes for Baucham”.

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  12. HereIStand,

    Exactly!! And, any “candidate” that had ran a “leadership conference” that had a unrepentant “deep throat” Driscoll as a speaker should be IMMEDIATELY disqualified…. I have NO respect for this “Wood” guy, and now, by default, NO respect for Warren. Gee, Warren is generally regarded as a “leading evangelical”, and I have NO respect for him now…
    Well, I am just a heathen anyway, as those of you regularly read know already..

    I also might add for those you that think I am to “in the gutter” in my language…. Just go to YouTube and look up Driscoll and sex, and watch some of videos!! And, look up Piper and masterbation….
    Apparently, it is OK for our “dear leaders” to talk “crudely” to get attention ( or as they might say, being led) but not us pew peons to repeat what they say….

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  13. Jerome:
    Voddie Baucham, candidate of the ‘Conservative Baptist Network’ faction, also failed yesterday in his bid for the presidency of the SBC Pastors’ Conference:

    https://religionnews.com/2022/06/14/sbc-pastors-conference-ends-in-late-night-election-as-anti-crt-preacher-voddie-baucham-loses/

    “Though as president Baucham would officially only choose speakers and set the agenda for next year’s event, his candidacy became a way to capture a bully pulpit for the conservative cause”.

    “They were turned away. At the end of the evening session, it was announced that Baucham’s opponent, Daniel Dickard, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, had received 690 votes to 608 votes for Baucham”.

    IMO that vote was too close.

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  14. YIES!!! All I can say right now is that I read your post, Dee, and appreciate it beyond words that you are on top of things and are somehow trying to expose as much possible all the sex abuse and dishonesty in the SBC and other churches.

    Your first quote was right on: “Lies are like cockroaches. For every one you discover, there are many more that are hidden.” ― Gary Hopkins.

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  15. HereIStand: Every article I’ve read has portrayed the Saddleback process as Rick Warren searching for and picking his own replacement. This is a huge red flag for me. Why does he have that level of power when picking his successor?

    “Touch Not Mine Anointed”, remember.

    Incidentally, Saddleback was on one of my alternate routes home from work. It’s the size of a large Wal-Mart, in the middle of a parking lot the size of Disneyland’s, with a dedicated four-lane driveway on a bridge over the (dry) watercourse between them and El Toro Blvd/Santiago Canyon Road.

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  16. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    The devil will is exactly the message good old Johnny Mac said in his address to the SBC during the opening days…
    Growing up in fundamentalist world, then Evangelical world, I can not count how many times I was taught the message of “Us righteous, Literal Bible believers against THEM”!! Not unlike current US politics, which while always tending toward being “binary”, now says there IS NO MIDDLE ground..

    The most recently revelations ( Guidepost report) is exposing how depraved SBC leadership is…. So, the answer? TO THE KEEP! TO THE KEEP! Satan is coming, Satan is coming!
    AND bring the compliant “damsels” to nurture our wounds!!

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  17. Ruth Tucker: Your first quote was right on: “Lies are like cockroaches. For every one you discover, there are many more that are hidden.” ― Gary Hopkins.

    “What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all. What can we do then?”
    — Opening monologue, Chernobyl (HBO Miniseries)

    And it’s not “lies”: It’s “Alternative Facts”, “Alternative Truth”.

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  18. The other interesting news coming from the SBC Pastor’s Conference. Daniel Dickard elected president and an interesting comment from Baptist Press:

    “Dickard won the election by a ballot vote, defeating African Christian University’s dean of theology Voddie Baucham by a vote of 690 (50.85 percent) to 608 (44.8 percent). Fifty-nine ballots (4.35 percent), were disallowed. Next year’s pastors’ conference will precede the SBC annual meeting to be held in New Orleans.”

    And then:
    “Addressing the chaotic nature of the night’s vote, Dickard said, “Putting together some bylaws will be one of the first things I work towards,” adding that he will involve the speaker selection council to help him think through better organizing the conference.”

    The fight between the Conservatives and Calvinists comes down to the “vote” and then even further down to writing by-laws.

    When you resort to by-laws to provide structure, it suggests that trust and relationship have gone out the window . . .

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  19. I’ve suspected the SBC is slowly headed for a split in two: conservatives and moderates.

    Or maybe they’re headed for a split in three. Once the conservatives and hyper-Calvinist conservatives rid themselves of the danger of moderates, they may find they don’t care much for each other.

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  20. marco:
    I’ve suspected the SBC is slowly headed for a split in two: conservatives and moderates.

    Or maybe they’re headed for a split in three. Once the conservatives and hyper-Calvinist conservatives rid themselves of the danger of moderates, they may find they don’t care much for each other.

    The “Moderates” were removed with the Conservative Resurgence. The “Moderates” left are not ‘Moderates.”

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  21. Tom Parker: The “Moderates” were removed with the Conservative Resurgence. The “Moderates” left are not ‘Moderates.”

    CORRECT!

    I was a “Moderate” forced out in 2001. The only people left are “Conservatives” and “Calvinists.”

    Oddly enough, after the Convention in San Antonio (I don’t remember the year) but it was the convention that showed the SBC had been won by the conservatives, many of us speculated on what it would look like when the conservatives went after each other.

    Now we know.

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  22. Luckyforward: CORRECT!

    I was a “Moderate” forced out in 2001.The only people left are “Conservatives” and “Calvinists.”

    Oddly enough, after the Convention in San Antonio (I don’t remember the year) but it was the convention that showed the SBC had been won by the conservatives, many of us speculated on what it would look like when the conservatives went after each other.

    Now we know.

    Yes, I am also a Moderate that the SBC does not want. I think some of us knew the FUNDAMENTALIST would fight each other, and that is exactly what has happened and is happening. The first FUNDAMENTALISTS stole what they had not invested in.

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  23. “Today, Jack Graham of Prestonwood endorsed Tom Ascol. These two guys are like night and day when it comes to theology. However, grasping for power makes strange bedfellows.”

    Graham’s support of Ascol, as well as the theo-mix of non-Calvinists and Calvinists in Patterson’s Conservative Baptist Network, signals that theological compromise has settled over the SBC. Southern Baptist identity for 150 years following the Civil War was distinctly non-Calvinist in evangelism and mission … Al Mohler’s New Calvinist movement changed all that. Actually, all that’s left are a bunch of strange bedfellows!

    In its push to get along to go along, agree to disagree, and make room under the big SBC tent for diverse theologies, the SBC is done but not quit yet. “Whosoever will may come” will never again be on the lips of Southern Baptists in their outreach to every tribe, tongue and nation. A sad ending to a once-great evangelistic denomination.

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  24. Max: Graham’s support of Ascol, as well as the theo-mix of non-Calvinists and Calvinists in Patterson’s Conservative Baptist Network, signals that theological compromise has settled over the SBC.

    I wonder if what is taking place is actually theological compromise or a slick way for Ascol to get into power while somehow benefitting Jack Graham, as well.

    In an earlier post I alluded to the Convention that was held in San Antonio. I looked it up; the year was 1988. I was there with a number of folks from SEBTS trying to save our seminary. It was during that convention at the SBTS alumni luncheon that President Roy Honeycutt stated that it was possible for both moderates and conservatives to coexist at Southern; that one would support the other.

    We all know how that turned out . . .

    I wonder if something like that is taking place again with Ascol and Graham.

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  25. “The husband called Hunt in April 2011 to “reconcile” what happened, he said. Hunt interjected by asking, “Did she say we had sex?” He then allegedly accused the husband of threatening him and then said he was sorry that the husband was having “trouble forgiving.” Hunt then offered prayers and then hung up, the husband said.”

    Typical narcissistic behavior: manipulation, intimidation, domination.

    Appears to me that Hunt has trouble confessing and repenting.

    I bet the wives of other associate pastors during Hunt’s ministry could give you an earful about Pastor Johnny.

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  26. “Hunt’s church is supposedly trying to get to the bottom of the incident and claims they want justice and “restoration” for all involved.”

    Hunt should be permanently disqualified from ministry. There are no examples in the New Testament of pastors who failed morally being restored to ministry. Hunt has forfeited the sacred office of pastor. Any “restoration” brokered by Hunt’s church for him would be a slap in the face of all SBC sex abuse victims/survivors. Forgive him “if” he genuinely repents? Certainly. Restore him to ministry? Absolutely not!

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  27. Jerome: The Ascol clan, on deacons criticizing Daddy: it’s “the devil attacking the ministry”

    Why would the devil attack Ascol?! He preaches another gospel which is not the Gospel. His legalistic jot & tittle preaching, authoritarian-patriarchal leadership, and put-women-in-their-place ministry is no threat to the devil. Ascol doesn’t scare the devil when he gets up in the morning.

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  28. HereIStand: Why does he have that level of power when picking his successor? There is no place for a king/kingmaker in the church of Christ.

    This is an inherent problem with elder-rule polity. The Biblical model for doing church is congregational governance, where the Body of Christ picks their leaders.

    Whoever succeeds Warren will fail. Saddleback is a personality-driven ministry built around the celebrity of Warren … when he goes, a great multitude of Saddlebackers will look for another personality cult in the area.

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  29. Max: Whoever succeeds Warren will fail. Saddleback is a personality-driven ministry built around the celebrity of Warren … when he goes, a great multitude of Saddlebackers will look for another personality cult in the area.

    Correct. Most church members want to “feel” a particular way about their church, pastoral staff, etc. There is the strong sense of wanting the familiar in the midst of change, which is difficult to attain, thus members come and members go when pastors change.

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  30. Luckyforward: There is the strong sense of wanting the familiar in the midst of change, which is difficult to attain, thus members come and members go when pastors change.

    Mega-mania is always built around the personality of the celebrity, not Jesus. When the celebrity leaves, mega becomes more mini … the fans look for another performer on another stage.

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  31. HereIStand: Why does he have that level of power when picking his successor? There is no place for a king/kingmaker in the church of Christ.

    This is a strength of having a denomination, or at least looking at established ways of doing things. In many denominations, when a pastor moves on, there’s a complete and deliberate break. The congregation chooses an interim while a search committee prayerfully and methodically identifies needs and goals. There’s time for members to move beyond missing the previous pastor, and to identify what wasn’t so great. (Ideally the not-so-great stuff was not criminal!) The process takes about two years. The congregation also assents to the successor.

    When the new pastor comes in, there’s less risk that people will rush to undermine the new ministry simply because it’s not like the old one. This process also prevents dynasties from taking shape.

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  32. Luckyforward: There is the strong sense of wanting the familiar in the midst of change, which is difficult to attain, thus members come and members go when pastors change.

    Good point. After a pastor leaves, the lay folks and any associate pastors should focus even more strongly on the congregation.

    That’s assuming that the congregation was always the focus. A group that has never been cared for, and never learned to care for one another, might just feel abandoned and respond accordingly.

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  33. Friend: The congregation chooses an interim while a search committee prayerfully and methodically identifies needs and goals.

    During my 70+ year tenure in SBC, this was the process of congregational search for a new pastor. It was a healthy exercise, as the congregation prayerfully sought God’s will for new leadership. That changed when the New Calvinists took over and established elder rule polity, replacing congregational governance. The congregation has little say in selection of a new pastor in NeoCal churches – the elders take care of that.

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  34. Max: That changed when the New Calvinists took over and established elder rule polity, replacing congregational governance. The congregation has little say in selection of a new pastor in NeoCal churches – the elders take care of that.

    Yes it did change when the NeoCals took over. I pastored four churches and in all I dealt with pastor search committees and the entire church voted on me.

    It is interesting now for NeoCals how the “elders” or some other body within the church will select a pastor and introduce them to the congregation. Congregational polity has died for the SBC when this occurs.

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  35. From the OP: Wood loves to merge churches. It will be interesting to see what he does with a behemoth like Saddleback. I predict that there will be mergers to come.

    This reminds me of the time when Tullian “Billy Graham’s grandson” Tchividjian was voted in as pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian after the death of D. James Kennedy. What would have been difficult circumstances under normal circumstances, given Kennedy’s tenure and national exposure, was made impossible by TT’s desire to “merge” Coral Ridge with the church he was already pastoring. That didn’t work out well for anyone and was the catalyst that led to his being exposed as a serial adulterer and abuser.

    If Wood has any wisdom, he will arrive at Saddleback with a desire to learn and listen, and the humility to admit he is not nor should he try to be Rick Warren, before he considers making any changes.

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  36. What has been observed about these Saddleback-type of transitions?

    What have we learned?

    Shall we all watch the HBO series “Succession”?

    Our local story about a new pastor taking over a mega for a name brand who retired: Exactly one year to the date, new guy began his major changes. Rebranding. Lay low, and then whoosh! Couldn’t leave well enough alone.

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  37. Ava Aaronson,

    Happened two months after the new senior pastor was hired at our last church. “I’m going to talk this Sunday about something not a lot of you have heard about – covenant membership.” I turned to my husband and said, “Here we go, again.” He thought I was overreacting.

    Seven months after that, the worship pastor had been fired, pastoral staff was “reorganized” literally the week after the congregation voted to approve the annual budget, a man who’d already left the church was retroactively “disciplined” from the pulpit, the pastor passed covid misinformation from the pulpit, and I was told that I needed to be “more in the Word and less in the world” lest my emails become “a wedge for the devil.”

    Oh, and this is the pastor who had been hand-picked and groomed for the position by the former senior pastor, who’d just retired. When he got the permanent position, the real personality was let loose.

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  38. Max: Whoever succeeds Warren will fail. Saddleback is a personality-driven ministry built around the celebrity of Warren … when he goes, a great multitude of Saddlebackers will look for another personality cult in the area.

    Very few Joseph Smiths are succeeded by a Brigham Young who can turn a personality cult into a self-sustaining religious establishment.

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  39. Wild Honey: Oh, and this is the pastor who had been hand-picked and groomed for the position by the former senior pastor, who’d just retired. When he got the permanent position, the real personality was let loose.

    Similar to what happened with George Lucas’s successor at Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy (when Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney).

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  40. Max: “Slick” is an appropriate word when talking about either of these guys.

    Before the 20th Century, there were two main archetypes of The Antichrist: The Fanatic Persecutor and the Slick Deceiver. (Who function very well together as a tag team.)

    Now the Slick Deceiver archetype is all but forgotten, and only the Fanatic Persecutor is hyped from every pulpit. Probably the Slick Deceiver hit a little too close to home.

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  41. Max: “The husband called Hunt in April 2011 to “reconcile” what happened, he said. Hunt interjected by asking, “Did she say we had sex?” He then allegedly accused the husband of threatening him and then said he was sorry that the husband was having “trouble forgiving.” Hunt then offered prayers and then hung up, the husband said.”

    Standard Sociopath DARVO response: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.
    Only difference is all the Godspeak and Long Prayers for Justification.

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  42. Max: “Today, Jack Graham of Prestonwood endorsed Tom Ascol. These two guys are like night and day when it comes to theology. However, grasping for power makes strange bedfellows.”

    Like Bosom Buddies Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas.
    Or Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin slightly over 1900 years later.

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  43. Jeffrey Chalmers: “Us righteous, Literal Bible believers against THEM”!! Not unlike current US politics, which while always tending toward being “binary”, now says there IS NO MIDDLE ground..

    The most recently revelations ( Guidepost report) is exposing how depraved SBC leadership is…. So, the answer? TO THE KEEP! TO THE KEEP! Satan is coming, Satan is coming!

    See my comment above about the two archetypes of Antichrist, the Fanatic Persecutor and the Slick Deceiver. The two work together very well as a tag team. And the Slick Deceiver’s M.O. is to keep pointing fingers at The Fanatic Persecutor and offering Protection. “TO THE KEEP! TO THE KEEP!” includes “TAKE MY MARK! TAKE MY MARK!”

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  44. Jerome,

    “Voddie Baucham, candidate of the ‘Conservative Baptist Network’ faction, also failed yesterday in his bid for the presidency of the SBC Pastors’ Conference:”
    +++++++++++++++

    a conference needs a presidency?? ridiculous.

    guess they love lofty titles so much they have to create them. There’s no end to the possibilities!

    Presidency of CAC (Chair Arranging Committee)

    Presidency of the Control Women Now Task Force

    Presidency of the Bathroom Senate, with special powers to appoint a Secretary Of The Urinal to oversee the counseling of pastors to foster an understanding on why they spray.

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  45. Max: Jerome,

    Barber will get it, unless a significant number of messengers went to Disneyland after they cast their ballots – unaware of the runoff.

    Back in the late 80’s when there were record numbers of attendees at the SBC Tuesday would be the day with HUGE attendance because everyone would come in to vote for the new President (who would save us from those liberals!) and immediately after the vote people would leave by the droves. Wednesday sessions would be so small.

    Today will be interesting.

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  46. elastigirl: a conference needs a presidency?? ridiculous

    Nah, it’s a big todo about nothing. The SBC President is just a figurehead for a year or so, while he (never a she) travels and speaks at other SBC gatherings and promotes the SBC brand to media outlets. The only “power” he (never a she) has is to appoint folks from his theological flavor to committees. The real SBC power to move and shake SBC rests with the President/CEO of the Executive Committee (think Ronnie Floyd).

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  47. Luckyforward: Rick Warren begging the SBC to let Saddleback alone:

    https://religionnews.com/2022/06/14/saddleback-remains-southern-baptist-for-now-after-surprise-appeal-by-rick-warren/

    From the SBC convention floor, Warren said “Are we to keep bickering over secondary issues? Or are we going to keep the main thing the main thing?”

    To some in that hall, keeping women in their place is not a secondary issue! Nor, is the Main Thing the main thing in their preaching … attend a NeoCal church plant near you this Sunday and you’ll see what I mean.

    Saddleback will most likely pull out of SBC when Warren retires and passes the mantle to Andy Wood. The SBC elite have let Warren do whatever he wants to because Saddleback contributes mega bucks annually to SBC’s Cooperative Program. In the past, Warren was viewed as “America’s Pastor” … how could you disfellowship America’s Pastor?!

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  48. Max,

    IMHO, not so much a fan of Warren.

    However, considering the pedos in the SBC pulpits and admin, the shade about Warren by SBCers (Warren called “theologically incorrect”) seems a bit ridiculous.

    “Theology” doesn’t take a girl down a dirt road into a dark forest and stick his junk into her mouth. An evil monster does that. He’s never admitted and done restitution, so still an evil monster.

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  49. Warren’s desire for his church to remain in the SBC sets up the very dynamic the convention is fighting over: “moderates” vs. “conservatives (NeoCals)”.

    Keeping Saddleback is “proof” of the “liberalism” that the NeoCals say is creeping into the SBC.

    I don’t know if Warren presented his thoughts before or after the presidential vote, but would some have some messengers voted for Ascol to battle keeping churches with ordained women?

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  50. Luckyforward: Keeping Saddleback is “proof” of the “liberalism” that the NeoCals say is creeping into the SBC.

    Warren presents a particular problem to the new reformers since he is a Calvinist … what does he see in the Word to defend women in leadership roles that they don’t? During the Conservative (aka Calvinist) Resurgence, Saddleback & Warren would have been purged from the SBC.

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  51. Next up Wednesday morning: the “Convention Sermon” preached by TGC Council Member Juan Sanchez (he was elected to do so at last year’s Annual Meeting).

    I found this comment on TWW from ‘Augustine’ reporting on Sanchez’s antics in 2018:

    “And the first speaker at the Pastors Conference, that preceded the Annual Conference agenda, said, ‘This is a pastor’s conference and while there are women in the audience this is not for you. I’m speaking only to pastors.’ Or something close to that. Then he precedes to make sure that any woman attending was not to mistake ONE word of the golden words falling from his tongue as remotely applicable to them, by way of making continual reference to, ‘BROTHER-Pastors’…Juan Sanchez, Sr. Pastor of High Point Baptist Church | Austin, TX. You were HEARD loud and clear.”

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  52. Julie:
    Jerome,

    These guys have incredible egos and so much pride. Not exactly Christ-like attributes. And they sure despise women, don’t they.

    All of their actions show they hate women. They make it a hill to die on about women pastors. How many churches in the SBC other than Saddleback have women pastors. A church where I live called a woman pastor in 2011 and in two weeks they were disfellowshipped by the Association.

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  53. It’s been a few years since I have been done with the SBC. I am wondering if being this done requires modifiers such as more than done, or completely done, or so done. Or is this like saying “more unique.” An ad for a new local church keeps showing up on my FB feed. They refuse to answer whether or not they are SBC even though they were planted by the NAMB and are listed in the SBC church directory. Everything I read about the SBC makes me want to take being done to the next level.

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  54. I heard Bruce Ashford is raising money for his speaking and writing career—$185,000 is the goal. If anyone is interested in supporting, he will mail you the newsletter via his Facebook page or email.

    He responded to an email that was sent to him, mentioned he resigned as provost because he “suddenly” had full custody of his kids. What was going on with his wife that made her lose custody? The fact that he used those words seems like court language, not the kind of language you would use if someone got sick and you had to take care of the fam.

    Then he said he quit as professor because he had a drinking problem, and he mentioned that all of that was public on his Facebook page. I couldn’t find a drop of any of that info. Did anyone else see it when they looked at his Facebook?

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  55. what is it about ‘women pastors’ that OFFENDS males who say they ‘follow’ the Christ Who called on Mary Magdalen to go to His Disciples and announce the Good News of the Resurrection?

    something doesn’t fit here . . . maybe it’s a fear of LOSS of POWER over women that has previously cleared the way for predator behavior on the parts of powerful male leaders ?????

    my goodness, if Lord Christ asked a woman to ‘go and tell the boyz’ He had risen,
    I’m wondering just WHO it is that the men who speak against women are truly following?

    too long misogyny got the green light among them what worships at the altar of male idolatry

    If Our Lord had no problem with women as having the dignity of persons made in the image of God,
    then what or whom justifies males who have a ‘problem’ with women in the Church????

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  56. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    It’s been a few years since I have been done with the SBC. I am wondering if being this done requires modifiers such as more than done, or completely done, or so done. Or is this like saying “more unique.” An ad for a new local church keeps showing up on my FB feed.They refuse to answer whether or not they are SBC even though they were planted by the NAMB and are listed in the SBC church directory.Everything I read about the SBC makes me want to take being done to the next level.

    I would like the SBC to give me back my 44 years that I was a part of it. I have many regrets.

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  57. Tom Parker: I would like the SBC to give me back my 44 years that I was a part of it.I have many regrets.

    I would let go of the bitterness over my 39 years if I could figure out how to deprogram my husband. My being a “rebellious” woman is a necessity from time to time. Oh, well. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

    I have trouble wrapping my head around why women stay, too. From what I’ve experienced/seen ……….. they believe it; they don’t know of any where else to go that believes as close as to what they believe; they don’t want to embarrass their families; they feel trapped or pressured ………….

    I had had all I could stand (and then some) 2 1/2 years before all of the scandals broke, and the SBC has dropped a few more levels since then IMO.

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  58. “Southern Baptists overwhelmingly approve abuse reforms”

    https://religionnews.com/2022/06/14/southern-baptists-overwhelmingly-approve-abuse-reforms-amid-contentious-first-day-of-meetings/

    Good Lord! What else would they do?! When the media and watchblogs caught many of the brethren with their pants down, the rest of them shaped up … but hid darkness in their ranks when no one was looking for decades. Yeah, they are taking the high road now after a long journey on the low road.

    Praise God that SBC appears poised to do something worthwhile about sin in the camp … we’ll see if it lasts after the last Kumbaya is sung in Anaheim.

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  59. For one, Echo church, the one that Warren’s successor is coming from has a woman pastor according to their website. A “Teaching Pastor”.

    Tom Parker: How many churches in the SBC other than Saddleback have women pastors.A church where I live called a woman pastor in 2011 and in two weeks they were disfellowshipped by the Association.

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  60. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I have trouble wrapping my head around why women stay, too. From what I’ve experienced/seen ………..they believe it; they don’t know of any where else to go that believes as close as to what they believe;they don’t want to embarrass their families; they feel trapped or pressured………….

    This has been my experience, too. Others simply don’t know any differently because they’ve lived in a bubble their whole lives.

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  61. I just keep thinking that annually is way too frequent for whole church conventions in a place the size of the US. It suggests the convention is being over emphasized to the loss of something else. Surely every 3 to 4 years would be enough and urgent business in between can be dealt with in other ways.

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  62. I saw on Twitter how some Southern Baptist pastor types went up to Sun Valley, CA, on Sunday to pay court to John MacArthur at his independent Baptist church. Two I noted were Tom Buck and Dwight McKissic.

    As for me, I will be going to the Los Angeles area to stand on the sidewalk outside Grace Community Church next Sunday. I would like to remind everyone that Sunday is Juneteenth (with the official Federal holiday offset to Monday). It is also John MacArthur’s birthday. It’s *also* my birthday and this is my gift to myself, to drive out from Phoenix to Los Angeles so I can let John MacArthur know that women shouldn’t have to “GO HOME.” I even have a little pamphlet (you might even call it a tract) called “Bible Women Who Didn’t GO HOME” and lists a number of women, with Bible verses. I never thought I would write something with Bible verses that I’d offer to give people. I guess it really is a tract.

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  63. 20John: They show up on the SBC’s “find a church”.

    It looks like the original Echo Church in Sunnyvale is not listed as an SBC church. However, the two other sites, one in North San Jose and the other, in Fremont, are listed as SBC congregations. (The North San Jose congregation is under Echo.Church and the Fremont congregation is under Crossroad Church.) I believe that Sunnyvale is the original location and the other two locations have been *cough* assimilated *cough*.

    I guess Andy Wood is a graduate of SWBTS, even though there’s nothing on the Echo Church website to indicate that (I got it from a Religion News Service article.) I’m curious if Andy went to SWBTS while Paige Patterson was there (2003-2018).

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  64. Original name, ‘South Bay Church’:

    2010, J. Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index, interview with Bryant Wright:

    http://m.bpnews.net/32875/bryant-wright-discusses-his-sbc-candidacy

    Wright: “Johnson Ferry and other SBC churches…started a new congregation, South Bay Church in San Jose, Calif. South Bay has just celebrated its first anniversary and is averaging 278 people weekly.”

    Index: “Two weeks ago the South Bay Church website identified themselves as ‘an interdenominational Christian church’. They have changed that terminology, but do they have an interdenominational mindset?”

    Wright: “The term ‘interdenominational’ was taken down to avoid any further misconceptions of the nature of the church. But know that South Bay Church was launched by 14 Southern Baptist churches from across the country. It both receives and gives money to its local association, as well as the California Southern Baptist Convention. Andy Wood and his team have a focused, Kingdom–minded approach to ministry that seeks to reach people and young families for Christ in the Silicon Valley who are far from the cultural and religious traditions and norms of the Bible Belt.”

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  65. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I have trouble wrapping my head around why women stay, too.

    I think a lot of it is fear generated. Fear that they are not pleasing God if they don’t buckle down and hoe the rows the way they’re told they must. All sanctioned of course by what they’re told the Bible ‘teaches’.
    By extension, if they’re not pleasing the LORD, it probably means that they’re raisin’ eyebrows in their respective church cultures too.
    And who wants to go against the Bible and stand out in an unapproved way in any culture, secular or religious?

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  66. Muff Potter: When all of your social capital and virtually everything you are is tied up in a church culture.

    Note to self: Don’t do that to yourself. That is: Do not establish all your social capital and virtually everything you are in your church culture.

    A church’s schedule can create that, but telling myself, just don’t go there. Don’t let it happen. Never seek to be in the inner circle.

    Maintain a safe boundary with church. Follow Jesus as Shepherd and allow no middleman.

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  67. They like to “Merge” churches , in my humble opinion, for sone reason. See, at the core of Conservative Evangelicalism is the notion of evengelism, or what more rightwingers call soul-winning. Sharing the gospel personally, or in a group setting, and seeing people make professions of faith, join the church, get baptized (Believer’s baptism)

    So, I think that they measure this by numerical growth, and even though I doubt Rick Warren or Mark Driscoll, or any other Mega church pastor, is personally doing what DL Moody called personal work, they “merge” with another church, and they can show a numerical increase in membership. Just an opinion.

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  68. Ava Aaronson,

    When I returned to church after a 5-year hiatus, one of my rules was to make No my default answer.

    Another: Don’t expect to find best friends, or even close friends.

    Another: If someone ignores you (or worse), just remember they will need your help someday.

    Pleased to report I haven’t had to make much use of these rules, but they help me feel protected. This church did not damage me… I was wounded long ago and brought my own baggage.

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  69. Muff Potter: I think a lot of it is fear generated. Fear that they are not pleasing God if they don’t buckle down and hoe the rows the way they’re told they must. All sanctioned of course by what they’re told the Bible ‘teaches’.

    ‘by what they’re told’ are the red-light words, Muff

    men’s interpretations of ‘what the bible says’ have led to much mischief and deceit, AND sadly also to predation on innocent people

    so much for ‘inerrant’ . . . . we just look at the rotten fruit and we know the truth’

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  70. Muff Potter:
    Muff Potter,

    Leave?Leave and go where? When all of your social capital and virtually everything you are is tied up in a church culture.

    FEATURE, NOT BUG.
    That’s why so many High Commitment Churches schedule mandatory Church activities 24/7/365 and preach fear about Heathen Contamination. Why Christianese Culture has all these Christianese Knockoffs of everything on the Outside.

    So EVERYTHING of you WILL be tied up in their Church Culture.
    With NOTHING on the Outside, only the Church.
    You leave, you lose EVERYTHING and EVERYONE Forever, both in the Here-and-Now and the Hereafter.

    The only reason I escaped that Not-a-Cult in ’75-76 was that in late ’75 I had attended my first SF convention, discovered Dungeons & Dragons, and through that created links to others like me on the Outside. Those Outside connections were what pulled me out.

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  71. Muff Potter: All sanctioned of course by what they’re told the Bible ‘teaches’.

    i.e. “THE!!! WORD!!! OF!!! GAWD!!!”

    “Plain readings of SCRIPTURE(TM)” like how the Demon Locusts of Revelation are “Plainly” helicopter gunships armed with chemical-weapon “stingers” and piloted by long-haired bearded Hippies. And how the entire Book of Revelation is describing Global Thermonuclear War as best John could understand the movie God was showing him.

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  72. Headless Unicorn Guy: So EVERYTHING of you WILL be tied up in their Church Culture.
    With NOTHING on the Outside, only the Church.

    Scientology?
    Keith Raniere, NXIVM?
    Bob Jones?
    Weinstein etc in entertainment?
    athletes subjected to Nassar?

    Autocrats come in all shapes and sizes, across multiple disciplines. They rule not to serve higher ground and Higher Power for the welfare of Jesus’ community following Jesus, but for the community to serve the Dear Leader’s own most base personal perversions.

    Litmus test for a Christian leader: does this leader acknowledge, nurture, and support all 18 gifts of the HS to the Body of Christ? Or, is the leader the middleman, the autocrat, & at the apex of his/her hierarchy?

    The 18 gifts as described in Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4, safeguard the Body of Christ from being hijacked in the community by an autocrat with his/her BFF network of select autocrats.

    The sooner followers of Jesus get a handle on this, the better for all in the Body of Christ.

    Furthermore, until seminaries*, theologians*, teachers*, writers*, and conferencers* unpack the Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, & Eph 4 facts, they also fail. They are simply feeding the autocrat machine. Watch closely whom these types* BFF with their platforms.

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  73. what the ‘inerrant’ folk who claim they are able to interpret Scripture NEVER understood:

    FROM the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 24, this:
    “THEN HE OPENED THEIR MINDS TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES.”

    “44Jesus said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
    (St. Luke, chapt. 24)

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  74. christiane: what the ‘inerrant’ folk who claim they are able to interpret Scripture NEVER understood:

    FROM the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 24, this:
    “THEN HE OPENED THEIR MINDS TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES.”

    You must have the Holy Spirit in order for the Spirit to teach you Truth. Inerrant folk are errant to supplant their version of truth for Truth. Their minds have not been opened to understand the Scriptures.

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  75. Ava Aaronson: Note to self: Don’t do that to yourself. That is: Do not establish all your social capital and virtually everything you are in your church culture.

    A church’s schedule can create that, but telling myself, just don’t go there. Don’t let it happen. Never seek to be in the inner circle.

    Maintain a safe boundary with church. Follow Jesus as Shepherd and allow no middleman.

    I became a believer at 20. I had not had much community, nor much acceptance with large groups of friends. That changed. within 2 years, I could teach Sunday School, lead prayer, sing in the choir, lead a youth group, mow the 4 acres of church lawn, do visitation (taking visitor cards and visiting people in their homes to try and “win” them to Christ) attend 4 services a week, and generally schedule my whole life around this group of people who seemingly loved me, and more importantly, to get publicly recognized by the pastor, the managawd as they called him. Now, I believe I was genuinely converted, and our pastor was a pretty faithful exegete of the Bible. That was not the issue. I grew to love the bible, and my commitment to Jesus grew. It was just that I became so busy that I never took my wife on dates anymore. I barely spent time with my kids. And I was tired all the time. My work suffered. But man was I “Serving Jesus!!” It almost ruined me. It took me years to recognize that my motivation was not really to please the Lord, nor to love him. It was to get Kudos, get acceptance, find my satisfaction in the praise and recognition of people.

    That is typical. Young men pour themselves into church work and lose everything.

    I finally learned to say no. And I learned, after 23 years of this ruination, to not try and make anyone on the church staff my close friend. It had become a kind of “Inner circle” desire that was overwhelming. I no longer care. And I could tell you how God finally started using me to encourage the least of these, in my own community, in my workplace, my family. Not as much recognition, and I was not as “driven to excellence,” as they say (which is a false way to say give your all, burn yourself out, not for Jesus, but to make this pastor’s little fiefdom bigger.) I was there, I did that. Never again. It has been really hard to find a church where it was not the pastor’s, or the elders’ little kingdom that you were building. Even in a very sincere church, it pervaded everything. I pray to be genuinely concerned, love and serve people for his name, not mine or some “managawd.”

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  76. Bob M:It was just that I became so busy that I never took my wife on dates anymore. I barely spent time with my kids. And I was tired all the time. My work suffered. But man was I “Serving Jesus!!” It almost ruined me.

    Not as much recognition, and I was not as “driven to excellence,” as they say (which is a false way to say give your all, burn yourself out, not for Jesus, but to make this pastor’s little fiefdom bigger.)

    In the words of the prophet Internet Monk:
    https://imonk.blog/2016/04/07/64264/

    Never mind Fear (of which you find a lot of in church cultures), Perfectionism is the Mind-Killer.
    I know this from experience. I always tended towards Perfectionism, and the initial church culture I got mixed up with supercharged that Perfectionism to literally Cosmic levels. Remember the folk proverb “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good”?

    And the Planck’s Wall they put between the Spiritusl (GOOD!) and Physical (BAAAAAAAAAD!”) doesn’t help.

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  77. Bob M: I became so busy that I never took my wife on dates anymore. I barely spent time with my kids. And I was tired all the time. My work suffered. But man was I “Serving Jesus!!” It almost ruined me … Young men pour themselves into church work and lose everything.

    The Church of the Living God is to be a refreshing experience, not an exhausting one. Your testimony is familiar to a lot of folks who comment on this blog. Pursuit of the “inner ring” is a tiring journey. Doing church without God will burn you out. Praise God you finally figured that out … I pray that you find a sanctuary where you can truly worship Jesus in His presence, whether it be in the institution we call church or elsewhere … it’s possible to be the Church and not go to church.

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  78. Jerome: “…a focused, Kingdom–minded approach to ministry that seeks to reach people and young families for Christ in the Silicon Valley who are far from the cultural and religious traditions and norms of the Bible Belt.”

    And make them twice the Child of Hell as themselves and the Bible Belt?

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