Church of Wells/YMBBA Ministries



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3/02/2014 1:32 pm  #61


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

http://i58.tinypic.com/262we1d.jpg

In case anyone still doubts whether the Church of Wells teaches unorthodox and heretical doctrine, I just spent the last couple hours reading through their self-published, 700+ page book, "The Condescension of God" by Sean Morris. In chapter 19 (yes, I made it to chapter 19) of this book, Sean explicitly says that Christians are saved by works righteousness. Here's the quote: 

"The Church, upon regeneration, is initially saved, and to be initially saved, then you have undergone the gospel experience called 'imputed righteousness'. If you have imputed righteousness, then, lawfully speaking, you have the righteousness of Christ covering you. Therefore at this point, you are savingly in perfection/completion; you are savingly, perfectly, and completely joined to Christ! If a man has imputed righteousness, but then fails to maintain his saving faith, this is a failure to maintain unity with the life of the righteous Christ which indwells him; therefore he will not produce Christ’s works righteousness (called “My works” [Rev. 2:26]). If a man does not have works righteousness, then he has dead faith, and if it is not revived or made alive again, then he too will be judged dead, without God, Christ, and imputed righteousness – thus he has fallen from perfection into blame. If a man falls from a saving relationship with Christ, which is by saving faith apart from works, and then those inward, immediate, and empowering qualities of the gospel are not walked out, which means that the powers of initial salvation are not presently and progressively experienced by the individual, then there is no present progressive works righteousness. If a man falls from works righteousness and yet pleads for salvation because he once had imputed righteousness, he is arguing for mercy because he once believed the gospel which he no longer believes at present. Scripture overwhelmingly declares that such a man will not be saved except by the restoration of faith and repentance."

The Church of Wells confuses sanctification with justification and creates their own categories of salvation in two stages: initial salvation and works righteousness salvation. This is a gross misunderstanding of scripture and goes against 2000 years of accepted orthodox teaching of the church. It puts the burden of salvation on human effort rather than on the work of Christ, and it kills grace. The practical result of holding to such a doctrine is what you see lived out daily among members of the Church of Wells.

libertyforcaptives.com
Stephen Smith graduated with distinction from Taylor University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in History. He graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2012 with a Master of Theology (Th.M.), majoring in Media Arts in Ministry. He writes succinct interesting pieces on spiritual abuse and controlling behavior in churches.

 

3/03/2014 5:13 am  #62


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

Many of the Church of Wells group are children of preachers and ecumenical professionals. Sean Morris' new wife, Preethi, comes from a rigid evangelical Christian family and her father and brother are preachers and evangelizers.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e392/FaithForum/moses_zps823ae9a6.jpg


He's offered an opinion by way of addressing the Groves; delivered on a commercial radio show's promotional Facebook and can be taken as a public statement. 

...I am confident that the real breakthroughs will come when we all humble ourselves and come under the hand of Almighty God. May the work of Christ be perfected in us through obedience, submitting to His Spirit and following the narrow way unto life. Whom He calls, He also justifies, and whom He justifies, He also sanctifies, and whom He sanctifies, He also glorifies. May Christ's righteous work be completed in us as we humbly submit to His will to come out of darkness into His marvelous Light. This is Christ's work of salvation from the corrupt world, whose prince is the power of the air, the spirit who lives in the sons of disobedience. I am praying that Catherine's family will be restored to her through peace in Christ. In Christ alone is hope found. Love in Christ, Moses, formerly prince of Egypt [sic]
Moses M. David

A few details for clarity. Moses David's theological foundation is essentially the same as Church of Wells. He established his own local church that looks and sounds like CoW. In fact, one of the Welldurs is his deacon, Chris Faulkner. Which is how his daughter Preethi ultimately ran off and eloped with CoW in the first place. 
He and his son are on good terms with Sean, Ryan and Jake, and earned the five-star peaceful rating as persons "right with God" or at least "regenerate." One of these:

"Remember, we cannot have fellowship with anyone who is not 'in the light'..."  Sean Morris, Doctrine of Judgement.

1)  The 1st and most peaceful familial life - All persons in the family are regenerate & right with God. 
2)  2nd Most peaceful – All persons in the family are regenerate but not all are right with God; however, the principles of fellowship, judgment, reproof, and repentance are understood and accepted by all persons to be the inevitable devotion and obligation for all professing Christians.

Like the Church of Wells, David adopts stylizied 18th-century-English-preacher speech and has the same propensity to speak in a tone of bible verse and scripture, even when he isn't quoting actual scripture. 

This style of speech gives the impression of extra Godliness. King James Version purity. It's a psychological tool. Specialness. Something better and finer, but also difficult to understand. A special uncommon language; a vernacular unique to special Godly people. It's hard to know exactly what they mean. The subtle inference is that if one doesn't understand, one is inferior. Less Godly. Perhaps not one of the elite righteous, 'The Chosen'.

But it's a bit pretentious. 
First of all, that now-archaic English was contemporary speech for English and Scottish Reformation preachers. That's how everyone spoke at the time and quite easily understood by listeners. They all spoke that way. The "King James" version of the bible was an English translation commissioned by - guess who - King James. That's how King James spoke.

Second, that "biblical-sounding" affectation isn't historical or culturally accurate in the first place. Anthropologically inconsistent with reality. That may have been common speech during the time of King James, but that's not how Moses and Abraham spoke and sounded. In the first century, they didn't speak English. And all those Bible characters weren't European. They were Middle Eastern. Hebrew. Egyptian. Jordanian. What we know now as Arabic. You get the picture. They spoke Middle Eastern languages; they certainly did not have knights of the Crusades' English accents and speech patterns.

Third, who really speaks that way? Seriously. Mr. David has a job. Does he interact with his coworkers like that? Does he go into Human Resources to resolve his parking issues and use that vernacular? Do these people go to the auto repair shop and use 17th-century English with the repairman? At the bank?
The Church of Wells "elders," Preethi David, Moses and Arnand David; they've all attended university and have degrees. Did they do their papers in Renaissance English? How did any of them get through school?

Here's the thing - if you do that, you're dishonest. The inferrence isn't superiority; it's a suggestion of fraud.

In the bigger picture, why would any real man of God want to make sharing that message more complicated and less accessible?

 

3/10/2014 10:43 am  #63


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

From TexasMonthly
http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/younger-years-church-elders

On first sight, many would be of the opinion that they are orthodox, as they list some fine doctrinal distinctions that even I hold. But as you look just a bit closer, they hold contradictory doctrines that bring the first glance into some disrepute. For instance, one of the first things I noticed is that they take the "King James Version-only" viewpoint. Red flags go up for me on that alone. Only a few crazies hold that the English version called the King James version is "preserved by God" for English speaking people. That is a bizarre view on the authenticity and inspiration of the biblical text. Most orthodox Christian churches hold that the *original manuscripts" were rendered infallible, and a measure of the quality of a translation is just how close their text is the the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text in which the Bible was written. Much scholarship has gone into that work of determining the actual texts from the first century. We have not one single original manuscripts of the actual biblical books.

Most of us associate KJV-onlyism as radical and evidence of the lack of learning of the proponents of such view. They are so Anglo-centric as to think that God gave special attention to the King James version. In fact, the KJV was revised soon after its first publication because of translation errors. There have been multiple revisions of the KJV, but some people seem naively ignorant of that fact.

Also, I see a suspicious title of a certain "sermon" on the site that gives me huge concerns. But I cannot judge the matter until I have spent a lot more time on the site and perhaps even contacting them directly to inquire about some of their doctrines. Even across the top of one of the blogs on the site they have drawing of the great saints across the centuries, apparently to impress us that they are in harmony with all those men. But even that is a bit askance, as some of the names and faces across their page actually held opposite views!

I hope they are not being purposely deceptive. I will give them the benefit of the doubt right now, but I can assure you, if they go off on this isolation business, I will immediately reject them as heretical and heterodox. Our Christian faith is nothing if not transparent. We do not isolate ourselves from anyone, including the wicked culture in which we live. We do "separate" ourselves from it, but only in the behavioral way, not the proximity way. If we are not in the culture, how can be be salt and light FOR that culture, as Jesus said we were.

The issues are more complicated than I imagined at my first look. Their statement of faith could be characterized as mostly orthodox Baptist stuff [I am a Baptist pastor]. But as I told another person here, what is written on paper is not at all what is true, but the behavior of the people is what counts. That is difficult for me to discern clearly from my outside viewpoint. So I have resolved to investigate this matter for myself for what might be considered by some as selfish: I don't want some jackleg wing nuts to represent the faith if they are going to behave like cults. At this point in time, I really don't know that...for the moment I am continuing to peruse the materials that they themselves have posted on their website and blogs.

Though it is too early for me to judge the matter, I must admit that there are for me a few red flags that make me uneasy. One of those red flags is the King-James-Only-ism. I am thoroughly familiar with this viewpoint and have argued for years with those who hold this strange view. I cannot describe the intricacies of that debate, but suffice it to say that I personally have found those who hold this view to be quite radical and militant in their beliefs. I hold that view to be evidence that the group or persons are ignorant of the doctrine of inspiration of the Scriptures. They use the term "preserved," meaning some special care by God to preserve an English version of the Scriptures that only appeared in history in 1611 and has been revised and amended so many times due to translation errors that it is impossible for me to even entertain the notion that the KJV has been miraculously preserved by God.

But that one heterodox viewpoint is not enough for me to consign anyone to the dung heap. That view can be handled by learning the history and doctrine of inspiration. All I know is that which I have experienced myself when dealing with those folks, and this group seems to be in the same vein. But as I said, too early for me to judge.

My hermeneutical radar has locked on a suspicious blip, though. It has to do with their interpretation of a passage in Luke 12 and Matthew 10 in which Jesus speaks some strong words about the way in which He will cause division and conflict among many, including families. I sense that this "church" has chosen a particular interpretation of these two passages that may be far more radical than the way that I and most conservative exegetes might see them. Taken wrongly, those texts could easily morph into behaviors that are unintended by the text and even sinful if abused by wrong interpretation. At this point in time, that is what my radar sees out there, but as I said earlier I cannot in good conscience make that judgment on the little I know about this group. I share this so that people know something about how I am approaching this matter.

Just as an observation, I listened to a couple of "sermons" from the site. I considered, upon hearing them, more rants than sermons and was put off by the long and drawn out "sermons" that said little other than the preachers complaints about others. I would find it wearisome to listen very long to them, and wish that they would publish the manuscripts on the website so I could edit out the meaningless blather that I detect. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would endure 75, even 90 minute sermons that are confusing, go no where and leave the listener saying, what in the world was his point?

But that doesn't make them heretical or even heterodox, for I know a lot of preachers who bore the socks off people with rants and stories that seem not to have a biblical purpose but which seem to be personal harangues. For me, those are less than edifying.

Pastor Victor Edwards
 

 

3/25/2014 4:38 pm  #64


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

Another take on CoW from a pastor.

http://clocktower74taketwo.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-church-of-wells-beginning-middle.html

The Church of Wells: Beginning, Middle and End. Part I...

I caught wind of the Church of Wells story last fall when East Texas news outlets began to report on the Catherine Groves controversy, as well as the tragic story of details surrounding the death of baby Faith Pursley.  Being interested in cults and other marginal religious communities, I began digging and quickly started connecting some dots concerning the three main "elders" and Waco.  I recalled stories and videos of a guy preaching with a bullhorn as students exited chapel services at Baylor.  Of someone being kicked out of a local church known (sometimes fairly, sometimes not) for its religious zealots, for being too religiously zealous.  Of a guy who carried a cross around town. (The latter is not an anomaly here in Waco, as we have had several "cross-bearers" over the years.)

Then the excellent Texas Monthly article was released, and the story spread like wildfire.  The recent skirmish and arrest of one of the elders at Sabine High School is certain to bring even further attention to the group.  I think it has left a lot of people wondering how something like this can happen.

                                                  Beginning: A Recipe

There's really nothing out of the ordinary that is necessary for a group like the Church of Wells to spring up.  In fact, one of the most interesting statements about groups like this was made in the Texas Monthly piece by Philip Jenkins, a religion professor at Baylor.  He noted how many American religious groups-- among them Mormons, Quakers and Pentecostals-- began their stories with details very similar to those surrounding the Church of Wells.  As I see it, there are a few ingredients that go into making something like the church of Wells, many of which are present in evangelical churches across the board and fall well within the range of orthodoxy, or what is generally considered to be "right belief" about our faith. 

A belief that the Bible has one, and only one, meaning.
The Bible, given to us by a perfect God, has one message.  That message is consistent and can be seen on every page. 

A belief that the one message of the Bible can be known.
God is not hiding this message and has made it available to at least a portion of humanity. 

A belief that a relative small few actually understand this message.
The majority of Christians get the Bible wrong. 

I am one of the small few.
You are one of the many who don't "get it." 

An articulate, charismatic leader (or leaders) who can communicate the above ingredients.
Not everyone can "get it" without someone who is capable of explaining "it." 

People who can be convinced that above ingredients are true and worthy of being pursued.
"If you want to be one of the few who 'Get God right,' then you can join us." 

I am friends with many people who belong to churches who have all the above elements. If you whisk all these together, you may not get The Church of Wells, but you might.  It helps if throw in a handful of Calvinism (interpreted through Jonathan Edwards,) a disappointment with what you perceive to be the moral decline of your generation, and a propensity to respond well to the verbosity and thoroughness of people like Spurgeon.    

Here's what I find interesting: Tomorrow morning in Sunday School classes around East Texas, there will be prayers for Catherine Groves and all the "poor souls" in Wells who have been deceived. There'll be wringing of hands about how this could happen.  And they'll worry about their own children, praying that they don't fall into deception as well. 

And then, in some of those churches, they will walk in o worship to hear an articulate, charismatic person give a sermon about the Bible and what it really means.  This charismatic person will either flatly state or subtly imply that most churches are wrong about whatever it is they are preaching about.  It's possible they may feign some sense of humility by saying something like "But don't take MY word for it, just read the Bible," but the understanding is clear. Some of the people in some of these pews will listen to these sermons and nod and "Amen," proud that they are part of a church that actually "gets it."

I am not suggesting there is an equivalence between churches that have strong convictions about the Bible and the Church of Wells. I'm simply saying that maybe we should bring some humility in our critiques.  I also think we need to remember that our children in church don't just listen to what we say, they listen to how we say it. And it forms them in the ways they receive information and relate to God.  In my researching the Church of Wells (i.e., Facebook stalking its members,) I have discovered that many of them grew up churches around East Texas, much like the churches my friends and I grew up in.  It's a short drive from "other churches just don't 'get it'," to the Church of Wells. 

At the risk of self-aggrandizement, I'd like to offer an alternative from my own congregation.   

Because we have no women in full-time pastoral roles (though we do have an excellent part-time children's pastor who is a female,) we probably spend more time than normal explaining our position supporting women in all facets of ministry, including preaching and leadership.  We think it is important to have a competent female preach to our community (and to actually call it "preaching,") as often as possible to send a statement to people (among them, the little girls in our community,) that God calls all kinds of people to all kinds of roles.   

It's something we care deeply about.  But we also recognize that there are thoughtful, Christ-like disciples that disagree with us on this.  And in his recent weekly newsletter, our pastor didn't just give a nod to those disagreements.  He stated that there are actually Scriptural passages that are problematic to our view.  

I think on this, and a number of other subjects, (including the BIG ones that we feel are essential,) the most Christlike thing we can do is admit truthfully, "I may be wrong."  It is vital to the future spiritual lives of our children and youth that they hear us say those words and live into that spirit.  Because if they don't have that spirit instilled within them, they will probably either leave the church because of our arrogance, or they will discover that maybe we were wrong and they'll seek out those who are "right."  And they may find those people between Rusk and Lufkin, with open arms. 

This isn't to say we shouldn't be bold about what we are confident about.  And we can't remain silent about God and God's work in our lives.  It just means that while we are persuaded by the Spirit to follow Jesus, we are equally sober about our ability to understand everything that means.  If we can't bring ourselves to say "I may be wrong," then I think we need to ask ourselves if our faith is in God, or in ourselves.


                                                     ~~~~ 


The Church of Wells: Beginning, Middle and End. Part I(b).

I didn't plan on extending this to part 1(b,) but I left out an important thought from my previous post.

                                        "Just give me the Bible." 

If you, like me, grew up in a conservative, evangelical church, you heard some variation of this quite often... 

"God said it, I believe it, that settles it!"
"Don't give me the words of man, give me God's word!"
"Just read the Bible and it'll tell you everything you need to know!" 

Honestly, this can be a very helpful attitude to have.  I've sat through many sermons and Bible studies in my life where people tried to dig so deep into the Bible, searching hard for the "hidden secrets" of Scripture, that they miss what isclearly being said in a particular passage.  You listen to these folks and scratch your head wondering how they've missed what is plain and evident.  A "forest for the trees" type affair.

--more--


                                                    ~~~~ 



The Church of Wells: Beginning, Middle and End. Part 2...

Here's the short of it: Groups like the Church of Wells maintain themselves on opposition.  

One of my favorite courses in college was a Sociology class called "Minority Groups."  In it we studied, among other groups, religious minorities-- groups whose relative status and power in relation to other groups were small or nonexistent.  (One of the things that stuck with me was the fact that the term "minority" doesn't refer to a numerical value, but to stratification.) I was fascinated with these groups, and particularly with the ways they somehow clung to existence against all odds. 

There were many of these communities that sprang up within the American experience, some doomed from the beginning because of celibacy.  One such group was the Shakers, who currently have four remaining members living in the Sabbathday Lake village in Maine.  Other groups, like the Oneida community in New York, (whose legacy now lives on in their silverware,) went in the other direction and explored what was known as "complex marriages," which basically meant everyone was married to everyone else, and any male could have sex with any female. (This was, no joke, after their coitus was pre-approved by a committee. Baptist influence everywhere!) 

The latter group, the Oneidans, diminished after its founder died and there was a succession controversy.  Its last member passed away in 1950. 

Then there were the Mormons who survived by adaptation and the Amish who live on by refusing to adapt. 

Who really knows why one group thrives and another dies?  Beginning a new religious movement can be a gamble.  But there appears to be something that can tip the odds in favor of success-- Persecution.  And where persecution isn't present, never doubt the power of perceived persecution. 

Christians are, after all, formed in a faith that was founded on persecution and suffering.  Our history has been cyclical-- When we have been persecuted (or when we have believed ourselves to have been,) we thrive. When we have been accepted by society-at-large, we decline.  I don't think it's a fluke that over the past few years we have seen report after report come out about how people are leaving churches in droves, and at the same time it is demanded of every presidential candidate that he or she gives a "born again" story.  And in countries where the leaders are avowed atheists, the church is exploding.  In the Christian story, it seems that the outsiders ALWAYS win. 

The elders of the Church of Wells instinctively know this.  They know that 2 Timothy 3:12 says that "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL be persecuted." They know that if they can convince their followers that the discomfort they feel is persecution, then they can convince them that this way of life is the godly life.  

If you are truly following Jesus, they will hate you.
Guess what, they hate you, which means you are truly following Jesus. 

Call it Westboro 101. 

And where persecution isn't present, they know some good ways to drum it up. 

The difficult truth is that groups like Church of Wells will continue to maintain themselves until the outside world becomes indifferent.  This sucks for the parents of Catherine Groves and others who have been lured into the community.  But all the rallies outside the church house and aggressive retorts to the street preaching of the elders only serve to inflate the tires on which they are rolling. 

Obviously, where crimes have been committed (as in the case of the criminal trespassing of Jake Gardner,) justice needs to be done in order to protect the proselytizing of children.  But where adults are concerned, the best recourse is to take a page out of the townspeople in this, one of my all-time favorite The Onion articles...
_____________

Edit: The following thoughts came to me after I posted this last night...

There seems to be another practical reason why the Church of Wells, and churches like it, survive. 

Money.

I've heard it said recently that if you read a headline about a mass shooting somewhere, more often than not, once all the facts get sorted out, there will be a wealthy white male of privilege at the center of the story.  This seems to also be a pretty safe bet when you hear stories of small religious communities that exhibit cultish behavior.

This isn't to suggest that the parents of Ryan Ringnald, Jake Gardner, Sean Morris and the rest of the church are somehow funding this operation.  It's also not to suggest that there's anything inherently wrong with being wealthy, white, male, or privilege, or that being any of those things leads to cult starting.  (For the record, I don't believe the Church of Wells is a "Cult," in the generally recognized understanding of the word.) 

But one of the interesting things about the stories of the three leaders as narrated in the Texas Monthly article is how after graduating from Baylor they "fanned out from Waco, Bibles in hand, to preach on campuses throughout Texas, on the streets of Philadelphia and New York, and on the beaches of Florida and South Africa."  My first thought was, "Really?  I guess sweet little Sallie Mae didn't need to follow them around the globe like they did me after graduation."

Volumes could be (and have been) written about this phenomenon, but I think speaks a lot to the spiritual emptiness that can sometimes accompany growing up in privilege. (Again, growing up in privilege by no means guarantees spiritual emptiness, any more than growing up in poverty guarantees spiritual blessedness.) With money, time, and an absence of bills, people sometimes go looking for the "more" of the Christian life that wasn't found in suburbia, but was found in a mixture of extreme Calvinism, Puritanism and communal living.

Go here for the rest


                                                     ~~~~ 


The Church of Wells: Beginning, Middle and End, Part 3. How it all ends...

When I began working at UBC, we operated under a "flat leadership" model where there was no "senior" or "lead" pastor.  The entire pastoral staff shared leadership equally.  Some liked this, some hated it, some wanted it trashed and some wished we could have found a way to make it work better than what it did. (I fell in the last category.) The disagreement about this model of leadership led to a period of discernment, which led us to transition to another model.  I'm not sure I can say much about our new model, other than this:  It didn't destroy the spirit of UBC the way many in my "camp" feared, and it didn't bring about the utopian dream of church the way others probably hoped.  We have, more or less, made it work and are walking in a new reality with, I suppose, the same mixture of hope and disappointment that most pastoral staffs of any "model" deal with.

I've reduced what could be a novella into the previous paragraph, seven sentences, to address what may be the elephant in the room for this post.  When I thought through this series of reflections on the Church of Wells, I knew what I'd say about how I believe all of this ends.  It was only later that I realized people may read too much of my own situation into what I have to say about them.  But UBC and the Church of Wells are two completely different animals.  One values authenticity, being able to admit when you are wrong, and being open to a wide range of understandings regarding things of faith.  And the other one is the Church of Wells. 

So here's how the Church of Wells will end:  In a power struggle between Jake Gardner, Ryan Ringnald and Sean Morris.  How do I know?  Well, I don't. But I know fundamentalists, and I know their fascination with power.  And I know that most fundamentalists, especially those who yell at people on street corners telling them they are going to hell, don't share power very easily.  And when they see themselves as leaders, appointed by God, there isn't much room for being wrong. 

I suspect the three elders of the Church of Wells found each other after their faith communities (wisely) deemed them unfit to serve.  
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This works well for a while, being around a small group of people who "get it" they way you do.  But decisions have to be made.  Judgements about what should and shouldn't happen are required.  And no two people who are being completely honest and authentic ever "get it" in the exact same way for too terribly wrong.  This is just normal.  But when "getting it" is associated with heaven and hell, celestial glory and eternal fire, "getting it" takes on epic proportions.

And the weight of others not "getting it" begins to crush the dynamics of the group.  One gets it more than another gets it.  The third will side with the one who gets it, pushing out the one who doesn't get it.  Then there will be two who get it, until one deems the other not to get it.  In the middle of this people follow each of those who "get it" most to them, and the Church of Wells becomes three, until it becomes none.

I suspect it is already happening.  I'll start writing the story to pitch to Texas Monthly before it happens.

Read the whole thing here


                                                     ~~~~ 


Turning on the Lights...

Mark Driscoll has apologized, promising to be a kinder, gentler, more "shepherding," less "celebrity pastor" pastor.

Fred Phelps is on his death bed after (supposedly) being excommunicated from Westboro Baptist Church for suggesting a more "loving and thoughtful" anti-gay message. 

And it feels there may be a small window opening for the possibility of grace, peace and forgiveness to shine into the dusty rooms of this contentious house that we, North American Christians, live in.  If that light is going to get in, we will have to roll back the curtains on our judgmental and snarky blogs, Facebook posts, tweets and personal comments.

I may not be the chief-of-all-sinners in this regards, but I have certainly at times been the vice-chief. Many of us cut our teeth on writing about how other Christians who live in our house (or hang out on the front porch) can be bat-shit crazy.  For a handful of Christian authors and bloggers, it is their bread-and-butter, and I wonder what they would write or talk about if there weren't crazy Christians around. 

I sometimes wonder what I will write and talk about.

This is not to say there isn't a place for prophetic pointing-of-the-pen in the direction of those whose teachings and practices are harmful to people and detrimental to the message and kingdom of Jesus.  Driscoll and Phelps, the Church of Wells, and other people and movements represented on the American Jesus Madness bracket, have all left casualties (some spiritual, some literal) behind them wherever they have trod.

It is simply to say that snark, a language many of us are dangerously fluent in, can no longer be the default setting for our dialogue about faith.  Especially if we want to be people "after the way of Jesus."  It has its place in our postmodern milieu, to be sure, and can be a powerful tool when used sparingly and thoughtfully.  But when it becomes our diet, we get sick on it, and the gritty sweetness of that bag of cotton candy we consumed at the carnival always comes back to haunt us when we are lying in bed at night.

Read the rest here

 

3/26/2014 2:52 am  #65


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e392/FaithForum/corn_zps544684c3.jpg
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e392/FaithForum/corn2_zps4f261d47.jpg

 

3/26/2014 3:01 am  #66


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

The Australians apparently are not in agreement. Go here for background: http://faith.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=218
I am flat-out impressed. Men who are not afraid to do a little critical thinking and take the time to do a little work. Men who are not afraid to call it as they see it, directly and clearly, and not afraid of the other preachers not liking them. Men who have the courage to say straight out that the Emperor is indeed butt-nekked. In plain English that can be easily understood. You have my respect. People are indeed listening.

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3/26/2014 3:33 am  #67


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

I hope that someone will offer to host them in Texas. Very valuable.

 

3/27/2014 12:19 pm  #68


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/t1.0-9/10153720_1406100326323952_842008845_n.jpg
https://scontent-a-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/10152632_1406100806323904_724677235_n.jpg

Alan Luther, Australia

 

3/31/2014 12:41 pm  #69


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

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3/31/2014 1:18 pm  #70


Re: What other spiritual leaders/pastors have to say

This is specific to Catherine Grove. Relevant here because it clearly outlines what these preachers think of Church of Wells conduct and philosophy.
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