Sometimes Satan Comes LIke a Man of Peace:* The Death of Creation Festival’s Harry Thomas

“Look out your window, baby, there’s a scene you’d like to catch
The band is playing “Dixie,” a man got his hand outstretched
Could be the Führer
Could be the local priest
You know sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace” Bob Dylan


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I want to thank Jeffrey Chalmers for directing my attention to this story.

Special thanks to Bob Dylan* for the title of this post.


Harry Thomas, Christian pastor, and Christian famous music festival founder, was also a child molester.

On 12/8/17, Religion News Services posted Founder of nation’s largest Christian music festival charged with child molestation. It was subtitled: Harry Thomas, founder of the Creation Festival, has been ‘indefinitely suspended’ from leadership of the festival and his church after he was arrested Wednesday (Dec. 6) on charges of child molestation.

Harry L. Thomas, 74, was charged Wednesday (Dec. 6) with sexually assaulting four minors “over a lengthy period of time ending two years ago,” according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. The charges include one count of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of sexual assault and four counts of endangering the welfare of children.

Those alleged assaults occurred over a 16-year period between 1999 and 2015 in Medford Township, N.J., where Thomas lives, according to the prosecutor’s office. His church — Come Alive New Testament Church, which has been described as charismatic — also is in Medford Township.

Thomas helped start this festival in 1979 and watched it grow to over 100,000 attendees. It took place outside a park in Lancaster, PA, and was very well known on the eastern seaboard. It featured the well-known CCM performers such as Amy Grant, For King and Country, Casting Crowns, etc.

Thomas invited a number of “notable evangelical speakers” like CJ Mahaney.

The next year, for Creation ’80, Thomas booked Barry McGuire and Phil Keaggy, as well as a line of notable evangelical preachers, including pastor C. J. Mahaney, Eastern University professor Tony Campolo, and “700 Club” cohost Ben Kinchlow.

More than 8,000 people showed up and many teenagers committed their lives to Christ, some getting baptized right there in rural Pennsylvania.

NJ.Com 12/13/17 added more information in What we know about pastor, founder of Christian rock festival accused of sexual assault.

  • He pled “not guilty.”
  • (The assaults) occurred between 1999 and 2015
  • The pastor entered the courtroom with a walker. He was receiving medical treatment prior to the court appearance, with an officer guarding him in a medical facility following his arrest last Wednesday, authorities said. (Dee says this reminds her of a number of folks entering courtrooms like Michael Jackson, Harvey Weinstein, and Mafia kingpins)
  • Burlington County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly called the situation “complicated,” noting “there’s relationships involved,” and “not just one alleged victim, but a multitude of four” alleging crimes that carry “serious criminal charges.”

According to Come Alive Church/NJ.Com

  • The Come Alive Church in Medford was founded in 1983 by Thomas, and held its first services in a local school building.
  • The website said Thomas has a masters in divinity from Eastern Seminary. He graduated from Houghton College in New York in 1965, with a bachelor of arts in sociology.
  • The church, located on Old Marlton Pike, draws speakers from around the country for various events, including former Cleveland Browns player William Green, who came to the church in July.

The church appeared to be dependent on Thomas’s fame. It has since closed.

In July 2018, The Courier Post wrote Medford pastor gets ‘death sentence’ in child sex assault case. Well, actually, he didn’t, but he got a sentence that would most likely see him dying in prison. During the previous months, Thomas had entered a guilty plea. Then he attempted to withdraw it. But the judge was having none of it.

  • received an 18-year prison term for sexual offenses against five young girls. (Ed: Note there was one more child discoverd.)r
  • Thomas was 75, meaning he would be 93 when released which means he would most likey die in prison.

The victims and family members were allowed to speak after the sentencing.

“I hate you,” said one victim, who detailed emotional torment in a statement read on her behalf.

And while one victim’s relative quoted Scripture, another called the pastor a “scumbag” and angrily snapped, “Harry Thomas, you surely will rot in hell.”

“This person is a ravenous wolf,” the father of one girl said of Thomas, a silver-haired grandfather who played Santa Claus. “He is one of the greatest hypocrites — a child molester masquerading as a pastor.”

…What fools we all were,” said the aunt of one girl. “You used the fact that these kids loved you. You groomed them all and us, too.

The prosecutors and lawyers for the family agreed.

Assistant Burlington County Prosecutor Stephen Eife said in arguing for a 20-year sentence.

“He’s the devil incarnate,” Eife said.

…An attorney representing the victims, Craig Hubert of Lawrenceville, described Thomas’ actions as “a horrific tragedy” that will persist through the victims’ lives.

Thomas tried to get out of his guilty plea, and his reasoning nauseated me.

I went back to see why Thomas tried to withdraw his guilty plea. What I found made me sick. I found this article in The Courier Post. Harry Thomas, former Medford pastor, loses bid to withdraw guilty plea.

But in arguments before an appeals court, Thomas contended his plea was invalid because his testimony had not established an adequate factual basis for four charges against him.

For instance, the ruling noted, the pastor had admitted at his plea hearing to “committing an act of digital penetration” against a 9-year-old girl, identified as K.V., in August 2014.

…But Thomas argued on appeal that his testimony “did not reflect where on the victim’s body he digitally penetrated her,” it said.

…He asserted on appeal, however, that his plea hearing had not established he touched the girls “for the purpose of degrading or humiliating his victims or for his sexual arousal or gratification.”

Thankfully, his appeal to withdraw his plea was denied. This action led me to believe that Thomas was not at all repentant for his actions. For some reason, it reminded me of Ravi Zacharias at the end of his life, still contacting women on his phone.

Thomas died in prison in June 2022.

Christianity Today posted Died: Harry Thomas, Cofounder of Creation Festival and Child Rapist

Another, looking across a New Jersey courtroom at the pastor and one-time Christian radio DJ, said, “Harry Thomas, you will surely rot in hell.”

Thomas wept as he was sentenced to 18 years in prison and said he was sorry for the pain he’d caused.

“I agree with the Scriptures,” he said. “It would be better for a millstone to be hung around my neck and be cast into the sea. That’s what I deserve.”

Before his arrest, Thomas was an ordained Baptist pastor with charismatic leanings and the man behind one of the largest evangelical youth gatherings in the country. It started, as he regularly the story, with a vision he had in 1971.

However, there were some questions about his festival.

The festival wasn’t all emotional connections to God and river baptisms, of course. Visiting reporters were fond of taking note of the undecipherable lyrics of some of the songs and the too-decipherable slogans on some of the merchandise, with T-shirts that said things like “My friends went to Hell and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

…The journalist John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote a long first-person account for GQ in 2004. He drove to the festival in a 29-foot RV, fell in with a bunch of young Pentecostals and one Baptist who were volunteering at Creation, and before long started to revisit his own history of belief and how he’d drifted away.

“One has doubts about one’s doubts,” Sullivan wrote.

He couldn’t stand most of the music—though he thought Pedro the Lion was alright—and the adults at the festival come across in the article as shouting, sweaty monstrosities. But Sullivan was nonetheless moved by the teenagers.

It appears Thomas also had a history of controversy beyond his molestation of children.

Thomas was criticized previously at a 2014 congressional hearing for his advocacy on behalf of a couple from his church who were accused of starving four foster children, according to New Jersey’s Courier Post.

Did he fail his God?

“Harry Thomas failed,” said Craig Hubert, an attorney for one of the victims, at the time of sentencing. “He failed himself, he failed his family, he failed his community, which includes his church … and he failed his God.”

I don’t know. Did he really care about God in the first place? Was his faith merely a passport to getting close to well-known people and little children? I would tend to lean in this direction. He knew how to quote Scripture, but so did Satan. But who really knows what goes on in a man’s soul but God?

To the victims and their families:

Our hearts go out to those children and their families who Thomas victimized. He was a skilled predator who used the church and CCM to get close to his prey. I believe that it is likely he could have molested more children who did not come forward. I stopped and prayed for them to find the peace that passes all understanding. Thomas, by now,  has stood before the Ultimate Judge. Jesus gave us a clue about how that might go. Perhaps Thomas had an inkling of his future since he quoted this at the trial. Mark 9:42 NIV

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.


* Man of Peace\The Official Bob Dylan Site link

Here are the first three verses.

Look out your window, baby, there’s a scene you’d like to catch
The band is playing “Dixie,” a man got his hand outstretched
Could be the Führer
Could be the local priest
You know sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace

He got a sweet gift of gab, he got a harmonious tongue
He knows every song of love that ever has been sung
Good intentions can be evil
Both hands can be full of grease
You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace

Well, first he’s in the background, then he’s in the front
Both eyes are looking like they’re on a rabbit hunt
Nobody can see through him
No, not even the Chief of Police
You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.


Comments

Sometimes Satan Comes LIke a Man of Peace:* The Death of Creation Festival’s Harry Thomas — 80 Comments

  1. I went to the Creation Festival back in 1991 or 1992, I cannot remember now, while on a youth mission trip to PA with the Notorious P.B.C. I also cannot remember much about it, who played or spoke. But I do remember being hot, not enjoying the crowds, and being glad when we left.

    Ironically, when I went on that mission trip, I gave up 4th row tickets to see Metallica at Walnut Creek. It was their Black Album tour. That was probably a much better concert.

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  2. Burwell Stark: Ironically, when I went on that mission trip, I gave up 4th row tickets to see Metallica at Walnut Creek.

    Because Creation Festival was CHRISTIAN(TM), as well as truly forgettable?
    Sounds like CHRISTIAN(TM) to me; seen it so many times – third-rate knockoffs with Bible verses inscribed.

    “Oh sure, you used to like listening to Christina Aguilera, but now you are a Christian, so you listen to BarlowGirl, not because you like their sound or their lyrics, but you would feel guilty listening to and enjoying Christina Aguilera now that you have been saved.” — Internet Monk, “Selling Jesus by the Pound”

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  3. Harry Thomas, Christian pastor, and Christian famous music festival founder, was also a child molester.

    “Christian Pastor”…
    “Christian famous fill-in-the-blank”…
    “Child Molester”.

    Don’t those three go together a lot these days?
    To the point it’s news when you DON’T hear the third?
    I suspect “Christian + FAMOUS” has something to do with it.

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  4. Max: At least Dylan had the nerve to call it what it is. When abuse allegations are made against pastors, the usual response is that it is an attack from Satan.

    Or an attack by worldly powers. I note the recent guilty plea and sentencing to nearly 17 years of Naasón Joaquín García head of the La Luz del Mundo. His followers (at least a million in number) are painting his guilty plea as a ploy to prevent the world from giving him a much longer sentence because of all the fake evidence and to ensure he gets back to the church asap. He as seen as a martyr suffering for the sake of the church.

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  5. “The Courier Post wrote Medford pastor gets ‘death sentence’ in child sex assault case. Well, actually, he didn’t, but he got a sentence that would most likely see him dying in prison … Thomas died in prison in June 2022.”

    And after that, the “second death” …

    “But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 AMP)

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  6. Max: Scripture speaks about three enemies of the soul: the world, the flesh and the devil.IMO, all three are giving the American church quite a run for its soul these days.

    Looks like flesh is the biggest problem in American churches. Seems that anywhere there is access to children and/or women is considered to be a free meat market.

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  7. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): Looks like flesh is the biggest problem in American churches.

    Indeed! No use blaming the devil … the lust of the flesh is tripping most of these bad-boy “pastors.” It’s a problem in both pulpit and pew, the result of church folks choosing to live in the flesh rather than the Spirit. The flesh-driven American church doesn’t have enough spiritual power to blow the dust off a peanut. The average churchgoer succumbs so easily to temptation.

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  8. Max: The average churchgoer succumbs so easily to temptation

    Maybe there’s folks out there receiving regular messages from the Almighty. Most of us don’t. In my 38 years as a Christian, there was nothing.

    If the message has been corrupted to the point the followers have no clue what’s right and wrong, then the Christian enterprise is a failure.

    It’s more nuanced than that. If there is a god then they work through our hands, our conscience and our actions.

    There’s a lot of church goers who do critically think.

    They just need to be empowered.

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  9. Max: “But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    Apparently me, along with my Muslim and Hindu coworkers are lumped into the same category as this most unfunny clown.

    And yet we still pay our taxes, give to charity and are generally good citizens.

    And I do it knowing I’m going to H E double hockey sticks.

    Imagine that.,.

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  10. Jack,

    “If the message has been corrupted to the point the followers have no clue what’s right and wrong, then the Christian enterprise is a failure.”
    ++++++++++++

    to the degree christians’ moral compass no longer works, i’d agree the christian enterprise is a failure.

    as wholly separate and distinct from Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ.

    i’m not interested in a system that turns people into unethical jerks and nincompoops. (totally inadequate words)
    ————

    “They [church goers who think critically] just need to be empowered.”
    ++++++++

    empowered how?

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  11. And so another malignant narcissist wolf has found his way into the cell I once saw that is reserved for false believers. There is no getting out, no hope, only despair. It was the most real place I ever experienced. Faith in Christ is so simple. But the way that leads to destruction is wide and many, even some religious looking people, end up there. I recently met one of my neighbors, an 83 year old woman. She once died on an operating table and had to be revived. She experienced hell as well during that brief minute before she was brought back. She describes it as a place without time and where there is wave after wave of despair and only that. We had an interesting discussion for sure…

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  12. Jack: And I do it knowing I’m going to H E double hockey sticks.

    Imagine that.,.

    It isn’t fair, is it?
    Even though I subscribe to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed and do the best I can to be a good man, I’m told that it’s not good enough, and that I’m goin’ to HE double hockey sticks too, because I don’t believe this, that, and the other, beyond the Creed.

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  13. elastigirl:

    to the degree christians’ moral compass no longer works, i’d agree the christian enterprise is a failure.
    as wholly separate and distinct from Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ.

    And so, it’s just an enterprise ——- with the focus on prestige, power, popularity, and money. I think that’s exactly what some of these so-called “Christian” leaders want.
    Too many just want to be kings and couldn’t care less about the King of Kings.

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  14. elastigirl: empowered how?

    Many churches (not just evangelical ones) have a strong culture of compliance. The programming can be very strong.

    There’s a real “us vs them” mindset.

    I didn’t understand that compliance culture until I stepped out of religion completely.

    I don’t believe many christians are empowered to challenge the nastier tenets of the bible. Often they just pretend it isn’t there or do all sorts of mental gymnastics to rationalize it.

    This us vs them belief can turn very toxic when one of “us” turns out to be a monster.

    Ideas of forgiveness and tolerance become weaponized.

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  15. Muff Potter: It isn’t fair, is it?
    Even though I subscribe to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed and do the best I can to be a good man, I’m told that it’s not good enough, and that I’m goin’ to HE double hockey sticks too, because I don’t believe this, that, and the other, beyond the Creed.

    At this point, I’ve made my peace with it. Sometimes my christian programming makes me wonder but what happens after the million year nap isn’t something I can control.

    What happens in this reality, in my sphere of influence then yes, I’m accountable.

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  16. Jonathan: Dylan admits to having gotten where he was by having made a bargain with “the Prince of this world.”

    The “Prince of this world” also tried to bargain with Jesus:

    “The devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory [splendor, magnificence, and excellence] of them; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and angels came and ministered to Him [bringing Him food and serving Him].” (Matthew 4:1-11)

    Woe to those who accept the devil’s bargain … it ain’t a bargain in the end.

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  17. dee: Lots of hypocrites in this world.Ravi Z comes to mind. Think about all of his books, talks, etc. It was all a sham.

    Merchandising the gospel, while bowing to “the Prince of this world.” RZ was a great deceiver because the master of deception guided his steps. Unfortunately, there are many more in American pulpits who came from the same place and headed to the same place.

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  18. Jack: What happens in this reality, in my sphere of influence then yes, I’m accountable.

    good to realize that we are accountable for that which is within our ‘willing’ sphere of influence, yes . . . . sometimes people do that which they are unwilling to do

    ‘choice’ and ‘free will’ are important factors in accountability, yes

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  19. dee: I’m curious. What did your Christian programming say about life after death? This is not meant as an argument. I’m truly curious

    No worries – everyone comes from different traditions.

    I was raised Anglican so as a child there wasn’t much focus on the hereafter. When I started attending a Pentecostal church, it was all about personal salvation.

    I suppose my christian programming can be summed up in John 3:18

    “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

    As to what heaven is actually like, no descriptions – apparently we’re supposed to be happy. If I’m allowed in, I suppose for me, that means every meal will free from Brussels Sprouts.

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  20. Jack: As to what heaven is actually like, no descriptions – apparently we’re supposed to be happy.

    Sure about that?
    I’ve heard fundagelicals who claim they know exactly what heaven will be like.
    And who’ll be there and who won’t.
    If you’ve ever noticed though, Christian ‘heaven’ is always someplace other, with little or no connection to this here and now.
    I have no desire to go to their ‘heaven’.
    The Jewish concept of Olam Ha-Ba is much more appealing to me.
    All the fleshly delights of this life, on a very real and restored Earth but without the drawbacks.

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  21. Muff Potter: Jack: As to what heaven is actually like, no descriptions – apparently we’re supposed to be happy.

    Sure about that?
    I’ve heard fundagelicals who claim they know exactly what heaven will be like.

    To that End-of-the-World Fellowship(TM) I was mixed up with in the Seventies, Heaven was going to be a Never-Ending Compulsory Bible Study.

    In Left Behind: Volume 16, we accompany the Raptured into Heaven, and it’s a Never-Ending Testimony Night where everybody constantly tells everybody else about Jesus.

    Both of these seem to be variations on the Never-Ending Compulsory Church Service.

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  22. Friend: Jonathan: Dylan admits to having gotten where he was by having made a bargain with “the Prince of this world.”

    I can’t find the link. Will you please be so kind as to share?

    This claim requires some solid Evidence.
    This has all the aroma of a Christian Urban Legend.
    With the purpose/effect of discrediting/othering the subject as Satanic.

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  23. Max:
    “You know sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace” Bob Dylan

    Like that Rabbi from Tarsus with his “Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light”, another idiom for how successful Predators and Sociopaths are masters of camouflage, experts at hiding what they are.

    At least Dylan had the nerve to call it what it is.When abuse allegations are made against pastors, the usual response is that it is an attack from Satan.

    Christianese DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

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  24. Jonathan,

    Thank you.

    Ed Bradley (not Morrissey) asks Dylan why he is still a touring artist.

    Dylan: “Well, it goes back to that destiny thing. I made a bargain with it, you know, a long time ago, and I’m holding up my end.”

    Bradley: “What was your bargain?”

    Dylan: “To get rare. Uh, I am now.”

    Bradley: “Should I ask who you made the bargain with?”

    Dylan: [laughs] “You know, with the chief, with the chief commander.”

    Bradley: [laughs] “On this earth?”

    Dylan: [laughs] “On this earth, and in the world we can’t see.”

    ____

    Nothing here says “bargain with the devil.” Dylan does mention destiny. He and the interviewer are chuckling awkwardly. Notice that Ed Bradley is leading with the “who” question.

    I won’t paste the link here, but in 2021, a UK writer called Mick McStarkey wrote a piece in Far Out about the way Dylan’s words in this interview were turned into allegations that he sold his soul. It’s easily found online if anyone is interested.

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  25. Muff Potter: Sure about that?
    I’ve heard fundagelicals who claim they know exactly what heaven will be like.
    And who’ll be there and who won’t.
    If you’ve ever noticed though, Christian ‘heaven’ is always someplace other, with little or no connection to this here and now.
    I have no desire to go to their ‘heaven’.
    The Jewish concept of Olam Ha-Ba is much more appealing to me.
    All the fleshly delights of this life, on a very real and restored Earth but without the drawbacks.

    I have no idea what (if any) afterlife exists.

    But if you need a stick like heck to keep you moral then you have bigger issues.

    A lot of these clowns also believe “forgiveness” is a right, not a privilege and it erases any crimes they commit.

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  26. Jack,

    “n Left Behind: Volume 16, we accompany the Raptured into Heaven, and it’s a Never-Ending Testimony Night where everybody constantly tells everybody else about Jesus.”

    “Maybe I will take the Brussels sprouts….”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i’ll save you a cigar — Jesus and I will be enjoying ours in a quiet corner, away from the racket.

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  27. Jack,

    “I don’t believe many christians are empowered to challenge the nastier tenets of the bible. Often they just pretend it isn’t there or do all sorts of mental gymnastics to rationalize it.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I chalk up such nastier parts in the bible to compliance to the immediate culture(s) from whence they were written. and to politics, editorial news, hyperbole,… i expect scribal liberties, error, stupidity and missing the point factor in, as well.

    which is no reflection on the big picture, the greater message, nor creator of the universe.
    ———————-

    “This us vs them belief can turn very toxic when one of “us” turns out to be a monster.

    Ideas of forgiveness and tolerance become weaponized.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i’m slow tonight – I’m well aware of christians turning elements of their faith system into weapons, but how are ideas of forgiveness and tolerance weaponized? defensive? offensive? against whom?

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  28. elastigirl:
    Jack,

    “I don’t believe many christians are empowered to challenge the nastier tenets of the bible. Often they just pretend it isn’t there or do all sorts of mental gymnastics to rationalize it.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I chalk up such nastier parts in the bible to compliance to the immediate culture(s) from whence they were written.and to politics, editorial news, hyperbole,…i expect scribal liberties, error, stupidity and missing the point factor in, as well.

    which is no reflection on the big picture, the greater message, nor creator of the universe.
    ———————-

    “This us vs them belief can turn very toxic when one of “us” turns out to be a monster.

    Ideas of forgiveness and tolerance become weaponized.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i’m slow tonight – I’m well aware of christians turning elements of their faith system into weapons, but how are ideas of forgiveness and tolerance weaponized?defensive? offensive?against whom?

    That believe that forgiveness is mandatory. It’s not about the victim, it’s about the perpetrators.

    It’s up to the victim to forgive or not. And in some cases the perpetrators need to realize that even if forgiveness is granted, it is not ok

    The victims need to realize that they are under no obligation to forgive. The perpetrators may repent, that’s between them and their god. But the victim doesn’t need to give anything.

    The focus is so much about personal salvation that it becomes a desperate race to be absolved of everything ever done.

    It’s about the victim, always. And if they don’t want to forgive then the perpetrators needs to live with that.

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  29. Harry Thomas married my wife and I. We went to his church for a good 5-6 years. Bring a part of Creation was exciting, but there always seemed to be something missing from him that we couldn’t put our fingers on. We left his church almost 30 years ago. Family and friends were there up until he was arrested. I had questions about his accountability (no one) and how much time he put into being a true pastor, but we never suspected this. Creation was his passion. Being a pastor seemed like an afterthought. Over the years I’ve come to realize that nobody but the Lord knows the heart and sins of us all. He deserved what he got. He lost his wife (divorced him after conviction) and his girls truly hate him ( understandably). He was thrown into prison and left to rot. Rightfully so. What he did was sickening. All that said, I truly believe that he and every one of us on earth can truly repent and be forgiven of our sins. My wife and I have had lots of discussions about Harry and if he will be in heaven. He doesn’t deserve to be, but neither do we. Only God knows his heart. My prayers are for his family and those whose lives he destroyed. May God have mercy on his soul.

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  30. Muff Potter:
    Jack,

    The way I understand forgiveness, is that it only means that I am not going to respond in kind to a trespasser with armed warheads so to speak.
    IT DOES NOT MEAN holding hands and walking on moonlit beaches with the trespasser.

    I’m not sure I completely agree. Defending yourself or others is ok. And this is where some in some authoritarian Christianities forgiveness becomes a weapon. Parents are convinced not to press charges = forgiveness, victims told not to come forward= forgiveness.

    This is so toxic. A parents core instinct should be protect your children. The pain parents are put through must be horrible, the wrecked relationship when victims are abandoned.

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  31. Somewhereintime: I truly believe that he and every one of us on earth can truly repent and be forgiven of our sins.

    No doubt about it.

    “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

    Mr. Thomas paid a price on earth for the consequences of his sins. Will he be in heaven? … only God knows the sincerity of the heart when it comes to repentance, only He can purify us from unrighteousness, only He can separate the saved from the damned when we stand before Him.

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  32. Jack: In Left Behind: Volume 16, we accompany the Raptured into Heaven, and it’s a Never-Ending Testimony Night where everybody constantly tells everybody else about Jesus.

    Maybe I will take the Brussels sprouts….

    Well, in Left Behind: Volume 13 we find out what the Resurrected Saved (including the Author Self-Inserts) eat in the New Earth:
    “Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce, Drenched in Butter!”

    (For months afterwards, every time I went into a supermarket produce section…)

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  33. My Christian walk with man has been painful. When we went to Harry Thomas’ church ( Come Alive), we’d barely get enough spiritual feeding . We would supplement it with Charles Stanley or other spirit-led pastors. After we left Come Alive, we bolted for … get this … Sovereign Grace. People of Destiny (PDI) back then. Started off great. Then men turned their backs on the Lord and followed other men. Almost 25 years there trying to change it from within. Finally realized that it was impossible and left for a non-denomination church with Baptist cores. It’s been good, but the senior pastor is retiring next year and they are trying to fill his shoes with younger pastors that literally are not gifted to teach and lead. So now, we start a search again for another church. We do love Calvary Chapel churches so maybe we end up there. I guess I’m looking back on where we’ve been in our Christian pilgrimage, I never thought that church would be so difficult. I naively thought that Christian leaders were sold out to Jesus! Boy was I mistaken. Quite sad. However, reading church history and the Bible, this seems to be a repeating pattern with Kings, prophets, lay leaders, popes, preachers and the flock. Heck, one of the original apostles who walked with Jesus, sat with Jesus and saw first hand miracles, had a devil himself (John 6:70). This is why we all need a Savior. I’ll plod asking looking for a home to fellowship, but being honest, it’s getting harder and harder.

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  34. Somewhereintime: I never thought that church would be so difficult

    Church (capital “C”) is not … church (little “c”) is. The genuine Church is a refreshing place … the counterfeit church is exhausting. The genuine Church is led by the Spirit … the counterfeit follows the flesh. The genuine Church preaches the Gospel … the counterfeit preaches another gospel, which is not ‘the’ Gospel at all. The genuine Church is under the authority and influence of Jesus … the counterfeit is ruled by men and Jesus will have no part of it!

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  35. Somewhereintime: it’s getting harder and harder

    When enough of us shout “Enough is enough!” … when we start agonizing over the condition of the institutional church and pray as we ought … when we stop propping up celebrity pastors … when we stop going to church to be entertained … when we stop surrendering so easily to aberrant teachings and false teachers … when we humble ourselves, repent, and seek God’s face for the days ahead … perhaps things will get better.

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  36. Max: When enough of us shout “Enough is enough!” … when we start agonizing over the condition of the institutional church and pray as we ought … when we stop propping up celebrity pastors …

    “BUT WHATABOUT THE POTLUCKS? WHATABOUT OUR CHICKEN DINNERS/GOSSIP SESSIONS AT THE CHURCH?”

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  37. Muff Potter: Headless Unicorn Guy: In Left Behind: Volume 16, we accompany the Raptured into Heaven, and it’s a Never-Ending Testimony Night where everybody constantly tells everybody else about Jesus.

    Do they ever find time to just live and enjoy life?

    Not that I know of.
    Looks like part of Resurrection/Rapture was a Holy Spirit Lobotomy into a mindless Worship Bot, endlessly Praising The LOOOOOORD on MP3 loop.

    But then, Left Behind is written like Bad Wish-Fulfillment Fanfic, including having Everything revolve around the Mary Sue Author Self-Inserts. (Subordinate of course to the main Chrsitian Apocalyptic trope that The Plot Runs on Rails and characters are nothing more than mobile Points of View to witness everything on the End Times Checklist going down Chapter-and-Verse. So the Author Self-Insert Mary Sues NEVER actually do anything.)

    I understand Atlas Shrugged and The Turner Diaries also follow these exact same tropes of Bad Fanfic.

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  38. Somewhereintime: Harry Thomas married my wife and I. We went to his church for a good 5-6 years. Bring a part of Creation was exciting, but there always seemed to be something missing from him that we couldn’t put our fingers on.

    In his autobiography Inside the Third Reich, Reichsminster Speer made the exact same observation about the Fuehrer. That he was the only man Speer had known who had this “feel” of “something missing” from his personality.

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  39. Somewhereintime: When we went to Harry Thomas’ church ( Come Alive), we’d barely get enough spiritual feeding . We would supplement it with Charles Stanley or other spirit-led pastors. After we left Come Alive, we bolted for … get this … Sovereign Grace. People of Destiny (PDI) back then

    I went from a Baptist church that had misshandler, IMO, the molestation of probably over 20 teen boys.I then went to a ‘nondenominational church that was taken over by a calvinista. Onto another nondenominational church whose pastor had an affair.Finally, I found a wonderful home in an LCMS church.
    Todd went from Sovereign Grace to 9Marx which retrodsicplined him.
    Lots of us have “histories.” Welcome to the crowd.

    PS Protip: Do some reading on Calcary Chapel before committing.

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  40. Muff Potter: I’ve heard fundagelicals who claim they know exactly what heaven will be like.

    Some even claim that God has given them a guided tour via Private Revelation/Visions – Google “Percy Collet” for one of the most BIZARRE ones.
    (That one dates from the mid-Eighties, and still up there as one of the Most Bizarre.)

    And who’ll be there and who won’t.

    Some years ago on one of the blogs I frequented (might even have been this one), there was this one commenter who claimed that particular Knowledge was his Spiritual Gift. I think he went to funerals to tell the mourners The TRVTH.

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  41. dee: PS Protip: Do some reading on Calcary Chapel before committing.

    I second that.
    Muff Potter is a Calvary Chapel Casualty, and in my experience Papa Chuck’s not-a-denomination distills down and concentrates all the ways a church can go sour.

    Calvary Chapel had so much influence where I live (almost as many CCs here as Starbucks) that “non-denominational” came to mean “Calvary Chapel Clone” instead of “Baptist with the labels painted over”.

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  42. Friend: “We used to be in a denomination,” she answered, her eyes suddenly looking very glassy. “Now we are an anointed ministry.”

    Sounds a lot like “I used to be a Fill-in-the-Blank, now I’m a CHRISTIAN(TM)!”
    Or “You have a (sneer) ‘Religion’; I have a (stepford smile) RELATIONSHIP(TM)!”
    With the addition of “Anointed” as in “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”
    Standard MP3 playback thoughtstoppers, never engaging any neuron above the brainstem.

    Cultists NEVER call themselves a “Cult”, only The One True Way/Only True Church. Everybody Else is the CULT CULT CULT. (I don’t even think they do the “Parse Theology under an Electron Microscope” definition of CULT any more.)

    Gulfstream III? As my old Dungeonmaster put it, “Most Cults are started so the Cult Leader can (a) Get Rich, (b) Get Laid, or (c) Both.”

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  43. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    And if it’s any consolation, that “Anointed Ministry” mega will probably not outlive its Anointed Leader.

    Anointed Leader doesn’t even need to die, only retire. Like the Crystal Cathedral Guy. He was around to watch his heirs to his Ministry run it into the ground playing their Game of Thrones against each other. (There Can Be Only One…)

    Crystal Cathedral is now Christ Cathedral, Diocese of Orange, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, RCC. They were the ones with the high bid at the bankruptcy fire sale. And got denounced by Crystal Cathedral faithful as a Godless CULT CULT CULT usurping CC’s (Anointed?) Ministry.

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  44. Former CLC’er,

    “Most days I wonder who am I and what I believe.”
    ++++++++++++++

    i imagine you know, deep inside. i imagine it goes against the christian system(s).

    so what?
    .
    .
    we can reclaim ownership of our own faith and make decisions for ourselves on what we believe, based on our deepest held values. we don’t need a system, much less a man in a suit (or dockers or tight jeans), approving them for us. ridiculous.

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