November 25, 2009
Ah, I have been blocked again...
One more post to Josh:
"you need someone to get in your face from time to time and speak the truth in love." -- pastor Bob Halvorson
Yes on occasion these guys do say things right, but their working it out is usually not the same thing. And in addition, when we are rightly challenged, the idea of it being done 'love' is not as obvious and warm feeling as we would like it to be.
Steve Camp wrote a great article about Holding Pastors Accountable:
Here's a paragraph from that:
"Dear men of God, if you have faithful “Bereans” in your church constantly plying you with questions, constantly examining you with the Word of God, constantly offering you from the well of careful learning a word of circumspection, don’t recoil at those parishioners, but thank the Lord for them for you are blessed. You might be tempted to say to some, “lighten up…back off…give me a break.” Don’t! I know that some elders look at people like this as being a nuisance, but they are really just fulfilling their biblical duty to you—and let them do this with joy. Paul says, “And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)."
I see my posts have disappeared [from Josh's page and this one didn't go through either], probably because I noticed after I posted them that you said to lay off those specific churches. I respectfully respond No, all the same, but I won't do it here, since you won't countenance anyone speaking ill of them (i only spoke ill of the message, not the people).
In addition I might point out that you are speaking ill of people I care about, and that Jason cares about, and he has not yet told you even to lay off his wife.
At his Seeker Sensitive Cowtipping blog post, Josh -- who I will continue to characterize as seeker sensitive, until he realizes the error of his ways and the ways of Emmaus Lutheran in Bloomington MN, Living Hope Church St Michael MN, and Good Shepherd Camarillo CA (and by extension, the myriad of other churches preaching the same message), somehow managed to appreciate the excellent article "Dude, Where's My Gospel?"
Since Josh seems to have pulled my latest responses, one to 'mom' and one to him, so I will post them here:
Unedifying and slanderous? Hm.
Well, they are Scriptural and that means edifying both in the POSITIVE and the NEGATIVE – e.g. discerning truth from ALMOST true. and Slander or libel by definition must be untrue. But if a person lacks discernment, it would be hard to properly tell whether what he is saying is slanderous. It is much easier to just *slander* Chris by such accusations as have been leveled against him here by Josh and you, than to actually be a Berean and pore over the Scriptures and see if these things be so.
So, go ahead and find some quotes of his that are untrue and unscriptural please. I find some things that Josh’s pastor does to be unedifying and slanderous, or at least unedifying. In particular recently I recall hearing him mock people who make excuses — I think it was about making excuses not to tithe.
Now, that couldn’t have been very loving nor motivating and I know that such a use of sarcasm from Chris would be frowned upon.
In addition, the sermons I have listened to from Emmaus, Living Hope St Michael, and Good Shepherd Camarillo, which are pretty much the same message as the bad ones Chris reviews, are mostly law. Now, in the AFLC the seminarians are taught NEVEr to leave out the gospel once you have preached the law. And no, you don’t give law gospel to save people and then put them back under the law.
For one thing, law/guilt doesn’t work against the sin nature. It only shows us our sin. The gospel does work both to save and sanctify, for those who believe it or who are being called by God through it. But **if it is not preached, it cannot call or save anyone.**
So… re: slanderous and unedifying: Would you be offended if I say that about pastors you like with whom I disagree, since you did? I surely hope you wouldn’t be offended, and that there isn’t a double standard going on. That would be somewhat unChristian wouldn’t it?
Also, I would encourage you to take it up with Chris if you think he is being slanderous and unedifying, as well. Lovingly correct your brother Chris so that he might better serve the body of Christ. You seem to have some idea how it should be done, so do your Christian duty to sharpen your brother.
Another idea would be to listen to some of his shows where he actually reviews good sermons. Because he does that too. The difference, once you learn to see it, is pretty amazing.
Btw whose ‘mom’?I see I mentioned Emmaus and Living Hope and Good Shepherd again, though I just noticed that Josh told me to lay off them. I say, still, firmly respectfully, no. They are a problem. I won't lay off them. [although I guess I won't be doing it on Josh's blog] But it isn't just them. They are just three in a sea of seeker sensitive churches going off down unbiblical rabbit trails and neglecting the very real needs of the Lord's flock.
I tried to resend my 2nd post but it gave me a duplicate post error, so apparently it got there. I am figuring the first one might get pulled since I violated his request (which I did not read until after sending) to 'lay off' Living Hope and Emmaus etc. So I may have to repost that here too. It cements in my mind the rightness of denying his request, and the falseness of his forced cheerful attitude. If someone like me who is just a little bit abrasive can bring out this kind of pettiness in a seeker sensitive "executive pastor" what is he going to do with real challenges? This kind of thing is not a confidence builder in his Biblical leadership ability.
So Josh somehow agrees with the "Dude where's my Gospel?" article. This makes no sense and is entirely inconsistent with his approach to ministry as well as the churches he has served in. Here is what I tried to respond:
Yes, we do disagree Josh, I don't see how you can't see that your church and you are agreeing only in theory to that article, but not in practice. It is saying exactly what I am saying about the messages in the three churches mentioned above. There are innumerable others, due to the popularity of people like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and so many zillions of spin-offs.
The three mentioned above concern me here because they are closely associated with you. And because many people in the leadership are thought of quite highly, and no one wants to think people they admire are not quite on track, or going off track. I hate it as much as anyone, and believe it would be far easier for me not to think about it or deal with it.
I'm going to submit a bit I wrote on facebook that you might have seen a few days ago.
"I honestly think that this constant insistence on turning the other cheek and walking away from a theological fight is what is WRONG with the church. The false teaching is not being rooted out in our peers' hearts, and they just keep going on and on until pretty soon they are an elder/deacon/pastor and in charge of making decisions based on that bad theology."
"Then the faithful elders who just assumed their neighbors were on track or brushed something they didn't really LIKE under the rug, wonder why their fellows are going off track. Because we as Christians didn't do our job as iron sharpening iron. It was too hard to face that rejection and ruffled feathers."
"If just facing rejection and ruffled feathers is what REAL persecution is all about, SIGN ME UP!"
"The church in America is mentally lazy and cowardly, refusing to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, as commanded in Jude, (and elsewhere) refusing to divide along Gospel lines. DIVISION IS A FACT OF LIFE and MUST come, but beware if you are dividing based on something other than the truth!"
"Cursed be any love or unity for which the Word of God must be put at stake! -- Martin Luther"
In response, one lady told me a story about an elder at her church who decided The Shack would be a good book to get people to read. She mentioned to another elder that this was not good and the elder and pastor agreed, but will they do anything? No. They will allow the leaven to spread, because the first elder has lots of money and they don't want to ruffle any feathers.
I see this same thing happening in the AFLC when I write to the leadership and ask them if they plan on making any kind of statement even unofficially about seeker sensitive/purpose driven, or any of these things that are dividing church after church because of their unbiblical basis. The leadership refuses to get involved. I know, I know, we're congregational. But that doesn't mean recommendations can't be strongly made, but must be made with sound doctrinal backing, nor does it mean that opinions can't be strongly given, in writing, online, in publications. Continually being minnesota nice and avoiding confict and just letting the sheep and undershepherds wander into every new fad is not the way to preserve truth in any church or denomination. And I thought that is what the AFLC was about?
I also had asked Jason's pastor brothers Dana and Andy what the policy was on naming the names of false teachers, correcting error, etc. Apparently they let the pastors decide for themselves whether or not they want to do it. This too is unscriptural, for we Christians are COMMANDED to do it. If a pastor doesn't want to do it, he is shirking one of his main responsibilites.
Addendum suggested by Jason for clarity: While we are commanded to publicly confront error, we are not explicitly commanded to name names of false teachers although
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them
... could certainly be understood that way. "keep your eye on" or as the KJV translates it: mark them? σκοπέω, skopeō
1) to look at, observe, contemplate
2) to mark
3) to fix one's eyes upon, direct one's attention to, any one
4) to look to, take heed to thyself
Is that naming names? How else do you mark them and warn others about them? (1 Tim 4:6)
Christ and the apostles confronted error very publicly so that everyone would know the identity of the false teachers. Paul in his letters also rebuked people by name and warned others about them. I would argue that in many cases, far more than is being done, this is necessary, because as Josh illustrates, a naive believer can agree in theory to sound doctrine and yet follow a teacher who preaches a contrary message, simply because they love and admire them. Naming the name of the false teacher brings them up short and hopefully forces them to really stop and take notice of what they are promoting. The human mind has a way of blocking out anything it does not want to hear. Naming the name of someone's personal favorite false teacher has a way of pulling back the curtain from the wizard in a way that simply preaching against false doctrine or just preaching good sound doctrine cannot do.
I thought this was good: Why name names?
especially the illustration about the cyanide laced aspirin bottle.
here's another good one from Andy Neckar, Editor, Christian News and Views (I see he uses the Authorized Version... let's hope he isn't KJVO but in any case, this particular article is well supported by any good version of the Scriptures.)
"Why I Expose Error And Warn Believers"
November 24, 2009
And Al Mohler has signed it, with his explanation here.
I'm seeing this story pop up on lots of FB walls tonight.
I'm divided on this one. I see both sides, and it is nearly impossible to force someone to go against their conscience on an issue of this much import. What I don't understand however is that we cannot cooperate with leaders who have a different message but want to promote the type of society that is in more conformity with God's laws... but ... we *can* somehow (via Romans 13) cooperate with and submit to unbelievers and power grabbers and oppressors who are neither trying to promote Godly laws nor God's gospel. This is what confuses me. It seems like a choking on gnats/swallowing camels thing.
Just so you know, I tend to agree with Mohler, but it's always something I am reexamining. Because like everyone else, I don't want it to ever come to the point implied in the document.
Interestingly, Mohler didn't seem to think Obama's speech to school kids was a big deal and he made a statement about that to that effect... but we will never know what Obama would have said if no one had made a stink about it, the very stink that Mohler shrugged off as a bit of oppositional hysteria. This is the same Obama that is foisting changes that now he feels a need to align with apostates to resist, with the implication of civil disobedience.
The idea of civil disobedience is certainly not something I take lightly. I love and appreciate very much Dr Macarthur's insistence on the Gospel. But I think just as in his opposition to the Revolutionary War and his insistence that it was not Biblically justified, he hasn't really quite thought this through all the way.
If we can cooperate as police officers, firemen, doctors, EMT's, soldiers, seamen, marines, airmen, with unbelievers to defend this country, to save lives, why not in this limited endeavor? If someone was attacking my neighbor, unjustly taking his belongings or killing his children, and my other neighbor called me to help stop it, would I refuse to help because my neighbors are Catholic or unbelievers? Would I even bother to ask? Wouldn't this be the point at which a pharisee might say I can't help you pull your donkey out of the well on the Sabbath, lest I violate my God's command?
I think it is an important, nay, ESSENTIAL, thing to do to make it clear that this is NOT equivalent of the Gospel. But really at what point can we NOT cooperate with unbelievers? We have to do it every day. Even marriage to an unbeliever is advised against but not soundly condemned as sinful. 1 Cor 7 says we should not seek to leave a marriage if the unbeliever is willing to stay. I would say marriage to an unbeliever has far more potential to compromise a believer than signing a political statement about laws in this country that are unjust. 2 Cor 6 says not to be bound to an unbeliever, but that is not speaking of marriage specifically. Here is a good article (though i have issues with the mentioned 'restoration movement' theology)
Unequally Yoked: Does 2 Cor 6:14 apply to marriage?
I'm still torn. The refernces to the gospel in the declaration should be removed. While these endeavors are good things to do and definitely should be done and need to be done, none of them are the same thing as the gospel. To imply that they are makes it sound like the social gospel/social justice. The gospel is not social justice. The gospel is Christ crucified.
Still, the determining to stand against these grave injustices even with the implication of civil disobedience is something that IMO needs to be done.
November 19, 2009
I recently ran across someone (hello Josh Skogerboe) who insists they aren't seeker sensitive (well at least not in a BAD way... is there a good way?) and he was lauding Church of the Open Door. Interestingly enough in my first exchange with Josh about music and art, he made me think right off the bat, of Dan Adler, who had put on a music/worship seminar here locally about 8 years ago or so. At the time I thought Adler was wonderful, actually. I didn't attend but Jason did and what he brought back I really liked. Come to find out in the comments section Josh considers Dan his mentor. Imagine that. There was once a time when I would have agreed with him and all the snarky comments by others on that thread, about bad singing being so traumatic and distracting. I would humbly (ahem) suggest that if someone's off key singing distracts you from worship, the problem might be you. This is said from a piano tuner ear point of view.
This will be a little aside about piano tuning. If you are not interested, skip to the part about not being able to tune out a false message.
Jason once rudimentally measured the differences in pitch I can hear using a digital program. It was something like 4/1000 of a half step or .04 cents of a half step (I remember the number 4 but I'd have to go back and redo it in order to be more certain, it was very small in any case). Jason found a site saying a good tuning will be to .1-.01 cents accurate. So .04 cents sounds about right.
So if I can learn to focus on worship with all the distracting things I have bombarding me all the time, really, most anyone can. One of the things that irks me is when people tune guitars to a studio tuner and forget that they are not well tempered instruments. Then they play the guitar with a well tempered keyboard. AUGH! Clash! But you know, if the message is correct and the people up there are humbly doing their best... so what about the pitch. I might, if there arises an opportunity to show them how to tune to a well tempered instrument, try to do that. But I'm not going to make the case that if they don't, people might not come back! Souls might be LOST! Shame on the church for considering that 'good enough' for church! oh no! Mr Bill! (I'm truly sorry for that outburst... it was uncalled for and mean spirited. I will continue to do penance, as I already have been since September. I really think it is helping. I'm even losing weight! I will do it again probably this weekend by trudging across muddy plowed fields carrying a heavy load and standing outdoors in the cold and solitude, not speaking or moving much for hours at a time. In fact I will do it frequently for the next 6 weeks or so, through Dec 31.)
I recently tuned our church piano down because I was asked to-- someone had tuned it to an A440 tuner, which is natural to do... but they hadn't verified that indeed the organ was also tuned to A440. A few others could hear there was a problem. But not many. I personally don't know if the organ was at 440 exactly because I don't have a machine to measure it. I only have two other standards to measure against: I have two A440 tuners. One is digital and one is a good old trusty tuning fork. But both have different pitches. I can hear the difference but most people can't. So I said well forget that, I'll walk back and forth between the organ and piano, and put some sort of a weight on the key I am tuning to, for the center strings of the center octave (I did a few more on either end of the octave that way as well). Yeah, it was tedious, walking back and forth across the church umpty hundred times, adjusting the volume and deciding between flute, trumpet, and reed sound, so that it was just at the right level for tuning to (not overpowering nor too soft to balance out the piano string's pitch). I am not sure if my tuning will hold since I had to tune the whole piano down probably (guessing) an 8th of a half step. But last Sunday the piano and organ were pretty much in tune. That was a relief. If it doesn't hold I'll have to go back up again soon I guess. Strings have to work out their kinks when changed that much. And my actual tuning technique is probably not equal to my ability to discern pitch.
What I can't tune out is a false message. And we are commanded not to. We are commanded to correct error and be Bereans and hold our leadership accountable to preach the truth. But most pastors these days resent being challenged. Or they resent the way in which an issue was brought up and use it to dismiss what may be a very legitimate issue. This is legalism. Forcing people to comply to a standard of behavior that they may not be quite sanctified enough to attain, before you will do anything for their very possibly real concern. There is no grace for them, only demands for 'grace' for tolerating a false message. All this only serves to further alarm and agitate those of us trying to fulfill this legitimate service of the church. But we are being told by the hand "because you are not a hand I have no need of you." I mean who kicks their dog for barking at an intruder or other danger in the middle of the night and waking the master from a sound sleep? Sadly many people do. Yes many dogs bark at nothing or bark at every sound. But is kicking them or yelling at them going to help them learn only to bark at an intruder? Is their 'instinct' wrong? Is the manner in which they go about it wrong? Or do they just need a little refinement in discerning real danger? Perhaps those who have a problem with discernment ministries need to actually address the issue and figure out what is being barked at before condemning them.
When riding a horse, an inexperienced rider will not understand when a horse is just obstinate or when it is refusing to obey because the rider is trying to force it into a real danger that the rider cannot see (rattlesnake, bear, cougar, etc). In general we give animals more deference in this than fellow Christians to whom Hebrews 5:14 applies:
But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.It is shameful.
We are commanded not to cast pearls before swine or give what is holy to dogs. Just how are we to judge what 'swine' and 'dogs' are if it is not to compare their message to the truth of Scripture?
So anyway naturally, at the mention of Open Door my curiosity got the better of Obsessive Compulsive little me. And since I heard that Jan Markell had been talking about a local Maple Grove Megachurch that was emergent (did not name the name but offered to tell people privately if they would ask her) I had to check out their site and see if that was what she meant.
Among other things, I found this statement they released a while back.
Response to Emergent Church & Contemplative Movements
The leadership insists they aren't going emergent. Does the above response to questions from their members give you any assurance whatsoever?
it shouldn't, since it and the church's teaching available online is full of emergent speak. Kind of like Rick Warren starting a book all about you with "it's not about you." Well, THEN! "But he SAYS it's not about you!"
There is also some indication that there are a few who are not asking leadership for clarification but may be drawing conclusions from what they hear from sources on the internet, radio, and other media.
Translation: don't look for truth yourself. Come to us to tell you what you should think.
"Has there been an intentional or unintentional change in Open Door’s direction both in theology and ministry practice that is not being communicated to the congregation?
No. Open Door’s vision and values are clearly articulated and have not changed, and there are no plans to change them—and certainly not to become Emergent or Contemplative."
I literally had to stifle a laugh at that one. Actually, it's kind of a silly question to ask in the first place but.. perhaps with this paraphrase you'll see why: "are you trying to deceive us?" "NO! We would never do that!"
They then go on to make excuses for allowing culture to define the church... but nooo that's not emergent or seeker sensitive is it! No it's not because... we say so!
"If Open Door were to change direction, we would, in keeping with our culture of openness and authenticity, share and discern such a shift with the congregation."
translation "If we were trying to deceive you like we ourselves have been deceived, we would tell you!"
Folks, God bless you for raising the issue with your leadership. But don't listen to the answers to the QUESTIONS -- listen to what they are telling you in their classes, sermons, book promotions, etc. They are telling you! Just not in formal words.
"Being that there is no “Emergent Church” or organization as such there is no such thing as an official Emergent theology. Most churches that identify themselves as Emergent are well within the realm of Christian orthodoxy but there are some that are not. When anti-Emergent media accuse people of advocating Emergent theology they usually offer gross generalizations which sadly do not represent what most Emergents believe or are saying.
Open Door has no posture for or against the Emergent Church but,
"But we will write a paper lambasting and mischaracterizing everyone who is saying anything bad about the Emergent church." (and that's not a posture/position?)
like any voice in the church, listens for what the Spirit is doing or not doing in these movements.
Three untrue “rumors” about typical Emergents:
Rumor #1 - Emergents do not believe in absolute truth and have accepted the implications of this for the truth claims of the gospel and the truths of scripture. Rumor #2 - Emergents are practicing eastern mysticism that is unbiblical and is being offered as “ancient Christian practices”.
Rumor #3 - Emergents are compromising the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement and preaching a false gospel."
yeah...Except that most emergent churches are not within the realm of Christian orthodoxy. IN fact many evangelical churches are even drifting out of that realm far more than individuals within them realize because they are stuck in the midst of it and can't see the forest for the trees.
AND... except that all three of those so called "rumors" are in fact true. If Open Door leadership cannot see this, then they are definitely infected and part of the problem.
"They believe that in the current “post-modern” climate, arguing and proving who is right and wrong is not the best approach to sharing the life of Jesus with others. Demonstrating a life of love is more effective and then moving on to Christ’s truth claims will follow."
Soooo... it's about works, not about truth? I honestly haven't felt very loved by most emergents. So I guess that means that approach doesn't work for me. So who's going to 'love' me into the 'kingdom'? Or don't I count?
BTW it's not very loving to NOT give them the truth about how to be saved from their sins, and let them go to hell as a result. Sin has become what others do to YOU not what you do to others and the myriad ways we each daily offend a perfectly Holy God, for which we each deserve a death sentence and eternity of punishment in hell.
But God... who is rich in mercy... sent his son to pay that penalty for us. Yes this was not cosmic child abuse. It pleased God to crush him, and he agreed to be crushed, so that he might receive the ones he loves, calls, saves, and justifies, into his kingdom and back into fellowship with him forever, sparing them from their deserved punishment and causing them to be conformed to the image of his Son. Our response should be one of sorrow and gratitude and acknowledgement that we deserved that punishment, and love for his Son who showed us such self sacrificing mercy, to pay the debt we could not pay.
Unfortunately, those who believe that presenting rational arguments is the best evangelism method mistake Emergent’s emphasis on the priority of a life-witness of love as “compromising” the Gospel. This is a gross simplification and erroneous conclusion about what Emergent teachers say about biblical truth.
Ok I have heard this so many times and don't buy it but let's grant that for the sake of argument. Even so, when these SAME teachers are in an environment where this kind of 'rational' discussion/argument is WELCOMED they STILL refuse to confess Christ. What kind of witness is that? Surely then you don't expect us ignorant people to believe will freely confess the truth of Christ then in a hostile environment of unbelievers to whom they have shown this great love? I would challenge them to explain how they are more loving than the rest of us faulty humans too. "Oh, Lord, I thank thee that I am not like that smug unloving pharisee over there who knows her Bible! I thank thee that you have made me more loving than them"? When do the unbelievers ever hear it, then?
Mark Driscoll, once part of Emergent, he can see it! I have my issues with Driscoll too but I praise the LORD he is calling a spade a spade now regarding the Emergent church. But Open Door can do nothing but at the most say stuff like "no we're not going emergent" and "emergent isn't all as bad as the mean nasty alarmist naysayers make it out to be." and "we have no position on the Emergent/contemplative movement." If it's not all that bad why are they "definitely not" going emergent/contemplative?
As to rumor #2, Emergents are not embracing eastern mysticism and are truly practicing ancient Christian practices (Meditation on Scripture, Silence, Solitude), which have been used throughout Church history, including the Reformation. These practices have been lost to Evangelicals in recent history, and are now being recovered..
Oh mannnnnn! Yes, folks, that is mysticism, same as Eastern mysticism, just dressed up in apostate Christian garb.
Even while there are some false rumors or perceptions about the Emergent church, there also exist areas of concern about Emergent approaches:
1- Emergent pre-occupation with being in “conversation” with each other and the danger of ministry being an ingrown and fruitless dialogue among Christians.
2- Emergent “deconstruction” or dismantling of old ways of doing church and other methods of ministry without any constructive outcomes.
3- Emergent attempts to relate Christian truth and witness to Post-modernism and an overemphasis of relating the gospel to this philosophical approach just when the philosophy of post-modernism is becoming discarded and is disintegrating as a major force.
All of which seem to be happening quite obviously in Open Door's preaching/teaching.
That last one there is kind of making me chuckle too. It translates to "they're becoming passe! Oh no!" Any idea why they're becoming passe? Because people are seeing through the fleece to the wolf underneath, thanks to the 'alarmist' voices Open Door's leadership poo poos at the beginning of the document. But I bet they'd disagree with me on that reason. Just a hunch.
Is Open Door becoming “Emergent”?
No, Open Door is not Emergent and is not becoming Emergent nor are we in association with anything that might be the Emergent Movement.
Nope nothing to see here. We'll say it again. Nope we aren't emergent. Really. Trust us. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. There are Five lights. (a reference for you trekkies)
We do read or refer to some authors who label themselves as Emergent (such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt) and find that there are some directions in their thinking that are both causes for caution but also for our serious and healthy consideration. We do not find that there is anything close to what the others are claiming to be true of these leaders although there are things that we definitely disagree with in their positions as well as things we agree with.
OH yes eat the meat and spit out the bones. I read a few words in Velvet Elvis that I agreed with too. I think he used the word "the" a few times. And there's John Eldredge. I guess if you want to say "God as lover" and just every time they say something sensual about God being intimate with you, mentally substitute 'your spouse' in for God, then it would be OK to teach in church.
I mean really. Get serious. Let's just bring in Mein Kampf and mine it for truth. There has to be SOMETHING thought provoking in it doesn't there?
CS Lewis (with whom I have issues regarding his inclusivist hints here and there) talked about evil... evil cannot exist by itself. He uses the phrase 'good power' here to mean God from which all good gifts come. The bad power is of course the Satan enemy who corrupts what God has made. From Mere Christianity, the chapter entitled "The Invasion."
"you can be good for the sake of goodness, you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind, or when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right. But no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong. Only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even by being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. ... to be bad he must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence, and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power; even to be bad he must steal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things -- resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself."
In like manner, truth, teaching, can be bad or good. To be bad, and to be EFFECTIVE it must have enough truth in it to get people to buy it. But that still does not make it GOOD because it has good elements to it. It simply uses those elements to hide the razor blade in the candy bar. I mean really would you say that a razor blade hidden in a candy bar means the candy bar, or just a little cyanide in a bottle of tylenol means is still good and worthy of your consideration? It's amazing how people will make relatively sound judgement about things dangerous to their physical health and then greedily imbibe poison like a dog drinking antifreeze. Because it smells and tastes good. They scream and holler like a toddler who resents their parents taking the dangerous-but-pretty bottle of drain cleaner away from them because they cannot tell the difference. They think people who put the sign "bad water" on a contaminated pool in the desert are doing it just to be mean and critical, so they can die of dehydration. Or that those who tell them not to drink salt water when they are shipwrecked and they have only a bottle of water to share among them are doing it for selfish reasons. Because they're REALLY REALLY thirsty!
But the tragic thing is, we have a living spring of water in Scripture if we will only avail ourselves of it. If we are actually drinking this living water, why would we want to go back to the botulsim- / e-coli- tainted stagnant desert pool, or drink salt water? And why would we resent those who tell us to stop drinking that bad stuff?
Next post will deal with the second half of their statement, that of their position on the contemplative movement, and then after that I'll tackle their latest messages.
November 18, 2009
Tony Capoccia (associated with John Macarthur's church) answers some questions about her:
This one from Personal Freedom Outreach - looks interesting but they only give you a preview. You can get the whole set of articles for $20. I might do that just to know what they say. Therefore I can't completely vouch for it, yet. But the previews look promising from a biblical perspective.
From "Not allowed to laugh" we have "In Defense of Beth Moore" (a little satire so prepare yourself, and read between the lines. Satire only works when there is a grain of truth to it. Look for the truth that makes the satire work.)
In Defense of Beth Moore
From Speakupalittle blog
Beth Moore - Rob Bell - Judging Our Teachers
And from the same blogger a review of Moore's _Stepping Up_
Beth Moore - A Review of "Stepping Up"
From Watchman's Bagpipes:
A general call for discernment which mentions Moore among Many others you might not have thought of as being in error (I know I didn't at one time):
Where Is The Teaching About Discernment?
Also Beth Moore's Bad Teachings
Also Beth Moore Reprised
Also Beth Moore Revisited
Also Beth Moore's Breaking Free
From Theologyweb - What's Heretical about Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer? NOTE: This one is a discussion thread and complete with the internet phenomenon "the pooling of ignorance." PLEASE read with discernment.)
What's Heretical about Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer?
November 17, 2009
I have since come to realize that what Forde teaches is a form of soft antinomianism/radical grace. While he may understand the theology of the cross, he is really horrific on sin and sanctification. But I am leaving this original post up here in order to warn people. I once thought he was great on this, but not anymore. I also no longer support Chris Rosebrough since he has proven to be a part of this radical grace movement and will continue to refuse correction and hook his wagon to rock star radical grace-rs like Tullian Tchividjian and the wannabe rockstar Daniel Emery Price.
Original post follows:
Chris Rosebrough made me aware of this GEM...
"On Being a Theologian of the Cross" by Gerhardt Forde
November 11, 2009
also see "Bible Believing Liberals" which I think Jason may have mentioned in Sunday School the last Sunday.
I said this same thing about our ex pastor (whole denomination really) who was theologically liberal but, politically, fairly conservative. He didn't understand what I was talking about. Jim Fretheim, the director of the local denominational conference said "well, we ARE a conservative denomination but obviously not as conservative as you." I just sat there shaking my head, feeling I had gone Through The Looking-Glass.
also listen to an EXCELLENT audio interview with wilken here
November 8, 2009
here is his next installment.
After reading it all I can do is bang my head on the table. It seems like the ground keeps shifting away from what we're talking about. Josh seems to be unable to stay on point or avoid using fallacious reasoning and arguing out of both sides of his mouth. I dunno if I'm still banned, but my question would be, if he insists that he can be seeker sensitive without compromising the message, why is the message at both Living Hope and Emmaus where he served for ten years, including his own messages which I have listened to, already compromised? Sure, if you have the wrong message already, it's fine and dandy to say you won't compromise it. But you already have, Josh.
The same applies to Jim Johnson's church out in Camarillo, CA, 'sister' church (somehow?) to Living Hope in St Michael MN. The messages there are all pietistic legalism just like at Emmaus and Living Hope. HOW TO have a better life just follow these guidelines. HOW TO please the Lord by your works. They've got the cart before the horse in their message emphasis, and no amount of good quality music can redeem that.
October 5, 2009
this one has a 2 minute video so you can listen to the interview with upset Coral Ridge church members.
that sounds like more of the "why can't we all just get along" whining that I heard from Rick Warren when he was more under the gun than normal for his bad behavior.
and here... this is what really bugs me:
Interviewer: "If you were an unchurched person reading about dissident church members trying to oust their pastor, how open would you be to seeing Christianity as the answer for your life?"
Tchividjian: "Not very open. Francis Schaeffer once said that division inside the church gives the world the justification they're looking for not to believe.
This conflict ensued because those who had a grievance did not come to me or the leadership of the church, but they took it to the street. They did not follow Matthew 18.
As a result of not handling their grievance or their complaint biblically, conflict ensued and we gave the world the justification they're looking for not to believe the gospel."
That's raising a lot of red flags in my head. Don't you dare beat the sheep and make it their responsibility any more than yours, for anyone not believing the Gospel. That's not leadership.
Last week, singers at a choir rehearsal were told they would have to recant their opposition to Tchividjian in order to stay in the group. Many took offense at that.
``They had a big stick over our heads and said, `If you don't like it, leave,' '' said Lorna Bryan, a past president of the choir and a Coral Ridge member for 13 years. ``No pastor should scatter the people. That is what this pastor has done.''
Hmm where have we heard tactics like that before. Well, Dan- "People-Who-Disagree-With-Me-Are-Leaders-From-Hell" Southerland Church Transitions, Inc is their neighbor after all!
October 2, 2009
you can see the original here
Thanks for the time in writing a response, Josh. There’s a lot I could say to clarify what I meant or refute what I disagree with in what you wrote, but I think you’ve done a good job finding the core bone of contention between how we teach/think/believe: pragmatism within the church. I’ll stick to that; the rest (e.g. changing methodology over time or culture), however important, is secondary, and largely an application of the central issue. And I’m sorry this is still long; I’m too tired to effectively edit it down.
We may not mean exactly the same thing by “effective,” but your reply was pretty thorough, and I think we’re close. And yes, you’re correct: I disagree with you. I’d go further, and say I believe that your position is counter to Scripture, and its typical application lays the enormously heavy burden on the servant of God. (We haven’t spoken for years, but trust me when I say that I don’t use terms like this often or lightly. This is a serious subject.)
You said “Does effective = good? Maybe not all the time. But I’ll say this with conviction… INEFFECTIVE does NOT = good.” Yikes, Josh. It is a very small step from there to “INEFFECTIVE = bad.” Do you have any idea of the disastrous weight such a concept places on the believer that God, in His wisdom, has called to preach without visible result?
Effective and ineffective are moot; ONLY FAITHFULNESS = good in this mathematics. Jonah preached to the Ninevites and they repented; was his ministry better than that of Noah, who preached for a century without effect outside his own family? Or Ezekiel, who was sent to Israel to give God’s message and was actually told by God that he would be completely ineffective!? (Ez 3:4-9)
What of the missionary that faithfully labors years or decades preaching the Word and displaying God’s love in the field before seeing a convert, or the pastor of a small flock that he shepherds faithfully, but without growth in numbers? Are we to condemn their lack of “success?”
Point 1: We are called to be faithful, not effective. The results, whatever they may be, are to God’s glory, for His pleasure.
Clarifying subpoint: Part of faithfulness is to be good stewards of the gifts and talents God gives us; being lazy or half-hearted in one’s service is not being faithful.
You continued “And churches who make the case that God alone is responsible for their growth while doing nothing to try to increase their effectiveness in communicating the gospel are in sin.” There’s a lot of wiggle-room in how you’ve phrased that, so I’m going to hold back a bit. I’m concerned we’ve started talking past each other.
There may be churches that actually behave as you’ve described. But are there churches that deliberately avoid preaching on certain passages or topics because it might offend attendees or give a bad impression to “seekers”? Or that structure their worship music or other service elements to manipulate emotional responses (or even decisions for Jesus)? Which version of the error (for both are rooted in sin of elevating tradition to the level of Scriptural authority) do you think is more widespread, and thus probably needs to be fought more stridently?
Point 2: “Does it work?” is fundamentally a man-centered question, and it will inevitably shape the message to be more man-centered, regardless of the methods used. And a man-centered Gospel is another gospel; it is not the good news.
Jason said this on October 2, 2009 at 12:01 am
October 1, 2009
I am so glad Josh blessed me with Banishment from his blog. I guess people can criticize other people's talent or lack thereof, enough to go and tell them that they ought to consider serving elsewhere, but they can't take it.
Ever notice, Jesus upped the ante on the law to the proud every time. Do more. You're not perfect, do more. And they hated him for it. But to those who realize they are the poor widow with her two mites, he offered grace.
There is no grace in the seeker sensitive church, not for those who don't 'fit in' unless we can hide them off in a corner somewhere.
THANK YOU JOSH, you have proved my case yet again.
Josh you said they were unkind comments? But I only said what you say about people whose music you don't consider good enough. What's good for the goose...
September 30, 2009
What I love about these seeker sensitive guys is that if a bunch of people react 'violently' to what they said (in this case about seeker sensitive music and worship) they blame it on the people. If a shepherd gives an experimental treatment or any other kind of treatment to a sheep and it has a violent reaction... does he blame the sheep?
All these seeker sensitive guys are feeding the sheep a high copper (i.e. worldly) diet that may be fit for goats and other animals, and then blaming the sheep for being weak and sickly and unable to 'feed themselves.'
That's not leadership, that's Jeremiah 23 'shepherd' behavior, or Ezekiel 34.
Anyway, on to Jason's post:
-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 05:21:26 +0000
I'd agree completely that too often "good enough for church" is used as an excuse for doing less than our best for the Lord. I've been on the soapbox fighting against that myself; it's no different than excusing poor Bible teaching or preaching because according to Is 55:11, God's Word "will not return... empty".
Having said that, I don't believe you've made your case well.
First, while I really appreciate that you provided a definition for "redeem," yours seemed sloppy, particularly given the first use you make of the term: "Our God is a Redeemer, and He uses His people – sometimes His artists – to bring about the work of redemption."
God's work of redemption is not fundamentally a restoration of honor; it is a buying back of His chosen people, paying the debts they cannot through Christ our Redeemer's inexpressible sacrifice.
I have no quarrel with your later use of the term talking about redeeming the phrase "good enough for church." But I hesitate to frame God's redemption of the believer in terms of restoration of honor or reputation of the Christian. Our redemption is completely by God's grace, through His gift of faith, by His choosing, and to His glory. Our value, honor, worth, and reputation is only found in Christ; we should be careful to always keep that in mind, or we'll be starting down a dangerous road.
Second, you spend quite a bit of time encouraging the church to create "excellent art." I would agree, IF we share the same criteria for excellence. That's the rub within any critique of art, and I think it's even more important when evaluating anything created directly for usage in worship or other ministry.
For example, are there objective standards of beauty that can be used as criteria? If so, what are they and what is their source? Are they self-evident in the nature of created order, or are they founded in some aspect of God's character?
Here's a more difficult one: Is effectiveness a criterion? If so, where does it rank in priority? Is "Does it work?" synonymous with "Is it good?" This is not an empty philosophical question; pragmatism is a horribly seductive error. It's seductive because it's so in tune with American cultural values of hard work and success; it is a two-fold error because at its core it assumes that we can (1) by our efforts move anyone toward (2) choosing salvation, contrary to Eph 2:8-9, and Luther's useful synopsis of Scripture found in the explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle's Creed. The embrace of pragmatic methodologies is causing enormous damage within churches today.
Until one has a biblical, consistent criteria of evaluation, there is no point in "recalibrating your excellence meter." In fact, it may be harmful, if one's meter allows worldly standards to trump eternal ones.
Unfortunately, you don't develop any criteria in this regard, Josh, so the reader is forced to supply the missing context. Frankly, that is dangerous. Are you arguing that only those with as-yet-undefined-but-significant talent and training should be allowed to serve in church? That a body that's unable to develop advertising that holds its own in the local media should close the doors until it can, or hire out the expertise that God hasn't brought to the congregation? That excellence is a fluid target, depending on the size of the church and the talent and training of the people within it? Regardless of your intent, I could see all three positions claiming the support of your article, even though they're mutually exclusive!
I don't want to just throw stones, so here's what I'd argue, and I believe I can support: God has called us to be faithful, not effective (see Ezekiel and Jeremiah). A church that preaches the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:21-27), edifies the body, and practices church discipline is being faithful; any numeric growth (or lack thereof) is by God's will according to His purpose. To be blunt, there is no such thing as a "seeker" as defined by Revs Warren and Hybels (per Rom 3:10, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.")
Given that, we as believers should be good stewards of the gifts and talents that God's given us, as we are faithful in the works He has prepared for us. I would agree that Col 3:23 has implications for the believer in serving the church, and that it calls us work diligently, to the best of our ability, but always keeping in mind biblical priorities and constraints. For example, could I play piano better on Sunday if I practiced three hours a day? Yes. But should I do that if it means ignoring my family? No.
Does this mean that sometimes I have to lower my expectations a bit because I'm singing with people who are less skilled? Absolutely. And I'm sure that tomorrow or next week, another in the body will have to be patient with my clumsiness in some other way. We strive to do our best, but if we keep in mind how flawed and defective our BEST is (outside of Christ) in relation to God's perfection, I would hope we'd be better able to be patient with someone else in church who has trouble staying on pitch every now and then.
September 13, 2009
Husband was very careful to preface the whole thing with disclaimers about how sometimes it may get a little 'thick' for people who aren't used to this sort of thing but to be patient because pastor Bob DeWaay is awfully good at anticipating when people are going to be confused and to stop and explain. We went over definitions of terms that may be unfamiliar, etc. And husband pleaded with people not to just 'check out' if they hear something they disagree with or don't understand - but to please write down questions or comments, we want to discuss them!
After about 10 minutes in to your first session, one middle aged very QUIET single guy got UP and walked out, muttering "well this isn't interesting at ALL!" and my husband actually HEARD him. (So did a few others, but everyone else was very audibly and vocally enthusiastic and interested, including the pastor and his wife!)
The thing is, if it wasn't interesting, if being bored is ALL it was, would someone really risk doing something so noticeable to get out of there? Or would he just wait until the end of class and not come back? Something tells me something else is going on.
In any case, I talked to the pastor's wife about it and she was going to notifiy pastor and hopefully he will be able to check in on the guy and find out what is going on, because she agreed it was very strange. We didn't see him at all during church but I was in the nursery and husband was in the sound booth, so... hopefully he didn't go all the way home and stay there skipping church just because he was BORED! (?!)
Also was informed Chris Rosebrough will be coming in October to Twin City Fellowship where Bob DeWaay is senior pastor. EXCELLENT! I will definitely be there if it is at all possible!
August 20, 2009
I made a few videos of him
Ernie on his last legs I think
Part 1 of when to let go of your dog
Part 2 of when to let go of your dog
Jason took two days off work, and we are today trying to get back to something more like normal. The day after it happened, our dry summer turned to a long gray rain. We haven't seen this weather literally all summer. It is still raining off and on today the 20th and seems to be forecast through tomorrow morning.
I'm reading Mark Levin's "Rescuing Sprite" now. Something Jason bought for me for a gift a while ago, which I just didn't want to think about then. I have so many regrets for what I did not do for Ernie, because of cost, and because he seemed to be holding up well, at least in attitude, for so long. I stopped walking him because it was too hard... perhaps if I had given him some assistance device sooner, allowing the rest of his body to stay in shape, he would have not gone downhill so soon. I don't know. But he always forgave me for my shortcomings and just wanted to know he was loved. Sometimes I even shortchanged him on that, because it was too hard to look him in the eye, it was too hard to hear him sigh that tired old sigh that told me the time was coming. I cringe now to think of how many times I did that.
I found a great post from Lutherans and Procreation/Lutherans and Contraception blog, about how in its bondage to corruption,
All Creation Groans...
I hope it will be of some comfort to the animal lovers out there. He sees the sparrow fall, and even though animals are not people, he knows our hurts, and knows that the pain is there because of this world that fell into sin, because of us. He has compassion on us in our weakness.
Praise be to God the Father that he has provided hope, that he sent his son into the world, to be born of a virgin as prophesied, to live the sinless life in our stead, and die willingly a horrific death to propitiate our sins and avert God's just wrath against us for what we have done. He rose again three days later for our justification, conquering death and the grave. In its stead, he grants us hope for eternal life and comfort and grace in this one.
We will miss you terribly Ernie.
July 22, 2009
Congratulations Tom and Ingrid. Welcome little Emily to the world. Tom and Ingrid, your announcement is simple and beautiful, the music is perfect, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. God is so Good!
I hope and pray everyone is doing well.
April 13, 2009
We had someone show up on Wretched Radio Chat trying to tell us we had to worship Christ in the Jewish OT way in order to be correct. This is the group he's been listening to. He tries to get us all to go this route by essentially asking over and over how we know how to please God and then directing us to the Torah. He says he is pretty sure that we have all been wrong about our faith. He compared it to living in The Matrix -- and how now he thinks he has taken the Red Pill so is seeing the truth in this Harvest Messianic group. -- it was like turning the entire book of Galatians on its head. Not to mention Acts 15.
On that page there are plenty of sermons. The first one I listened to was from the series on Authority, entitled "Reversing the Curse" and it was about Family Authority.
Oh great. No gospel whatsoever. Jesus is mentioned mostly as having died to make us able to fulfill the law.
Here's a choice quote from it which embodies the entirety of the sermon, and is given at the climax after he lays out the miserable case of our fallen situation:
"So what is the answer to the fall and the curse of disobedience? What is the answer to that? If all of these things came upon us through our disobedience, then we can reverse the curse through our OBEDIENCE."
This is of course, nothing but regular old pharisaic judaism, not messianic Judaism.
Their statement of faith, while otherwise orthodox and Christian has a few things about how we need to follow the Torah too. It's 'couched' but once you listen to the message (listen to at least that podcast on 'reversing the curse' - it was all about that little nugget I posted. The Judaizers Paul condemned were otherwise Christian as well... but they had that ONE little extra requirement.
go here: http://www.graftedin.com/statementFaith.html
From #4 : Salvation is the gift of HaShem to man, separate from works and the law, and is made operative by grace through faith in Yeshua, producing works acceptable to HaShem (Eph. 2:8).
that sounds fine except...
read 7 8 and 9 in context of each other. especially #8.
We believe that the Torah (five books of Moses) is a comprehensive summary of HaShem's foundational laws and ways, as found in both the new and older covenant (Ex. 19&20; Deut. 5; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:10; Matt. 5:17-19). Therefore we encourage all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, to affirm, embrace, and practice these foundational laws and ways as clarified through the teachings of Messiah Yeshua (Matt. 5:17-19; I Cor. 7:19; Rev. 14:12).
I have to wonder if they're going to reinstitute stoning for certain sins, then? Following dietary restrictions? Not touching 'unclean' people?
March 27, 2009
Family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, Owner of the Nation's Largest Privately Owned Abortion Chain, Dies in Montana Plane Crash
Here is the LA Times version of the story:
Nine members of same family were on Montana plane
Note what is not mentioned, exactly as the ChristianNewswire story has pointed out.
However what is even more disturbing is this last paragraph (emphasis mine):
Bud Feldkamp, who is in Butte, lost a grandchild in an accident a few years earlier. “He is an incredible person who is loved by so many,” David Feldkamp said. “His businesses have brought so much good and so much joy. I can’t imagine his thoughts right now.”
JOY? They have brought death to millions, and grief to many more. One would think the tragic loss of his dear grandchild a few years ago would have served to crack through the stony heart of a man who makes money off the death of the innocent, and caused him to stop and think what he is doing. Lord have mercy on him and cause him to repent even yet.
"A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy."
February 25, 2009
A Generation Of Vipers by Albert Anderson, Drake W. Travis (Foreword by), Aimee Anderson
Before I get to the report, I might note that during this process and in the report, even this man was accused of having a bad attitude. Imagine, a 'bad' attitude/anger/hopelessness coming through in his writing after seeing his legitimate complaints of evil behavior by those claiming the title of 'pastor.' Oh the shame of it all!
On the contrary, I applaud him for having such an attitude. In fact if he didn't, I would think him to be sorely lacking in compassion for those oppressed by the false teachers he has confronted and continues to confront.
The only issue I would raise is that I think the Sinner/Saint issue is probably beside the point when things get this bad. This would be something that could be disagreed upon, depending how you define it. Definitions have gotten so confused these days. But even so, this issue is nothing compared to the blatant sinful behavior in which this pastor was regularly partaking and the blasphemous abusive way he was running the church. I think the sinner/saint issue was a confusion of definitions of terms. For example, I do sin every day, and even when I am unaware of it I am sure. But I am also one of the saints. I don't know how anyone can think they don't sin every day. Now, I don't go out speaking profanity and vulgarity and abusing my brothers and sisters in Christ as Tim Owen apparently does/did. But like all of us, I have those 'respectable' sins (worry, doubt, anger, impatience, unforgiveness, vanity, everything which makes me 'not perfect' as my father in heaven is perfect!) which also would condemn me to hell, were it not for the blood of Christ covering them. A Saint is just a forgiven sinner. However I think we had two different incorrect definitions of 'sinner' going on here and that just added to the confusion. If Owen had actually been a pastor rather than an unregenerate teenage boy, he may have actually sat down and worked this out with people so they could come to a unity in the truth on this issue.
I'm also appalled at the letter from David Wright, which ends by basically saying that the person who tried to expose evil is unsaved and needs to GET saved. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Is 5:20) Travis, Aimee, and Albert, welcome to Club 'Kicked Out Of The Camp' - the place where Jesus is.
Without any further ado, here is the testimony. I will not blockquote anything, to save space. Everything from here on out is a quote of what was sent to me:
CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE CHURCH REPORTED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF A FEMALE STAFF MEMBER
The following events and letters depict how a member and employee of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church reported human rights abuses and sexual harassment of a female staff member. This resulted in a collaboration and coverup and co-conspiracy of retaliation against the informant (Drake Travis) by Jerry Mapstone, Asst to the Vice and Donald Wiggens, President Division of Church Ministries, Kelvin Gardiner, Pacific Northwest District Superintendent, andTim Owen (the abuser), Pastor of Ellensburg, Washington Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (now promoted to DS for Rocky Mountain District of the CMA). Blame the victim(s) and promote the perpetrator!
Quotes from one of Drake Travis' , Member and Employee of Ellensburg,Washington Christian & Missionary Alliance Church
Letters as read in the book, A GENERATION OF VIPERS, by Albert E. and Aimee D. Anderson- permission given to James Sundquist to quote.
Letter from Drake Travis to Christian and Missionary Alliance Headquarters:
Date November 25, 2000:
"Things about Tim Owen that do not reflect well of a Pastor, a minister of the Gospel, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance as a whole or its leadership at any level:
~He knew Drake took a stand for abstinence preaching to the collegians of the Salt Co. Ministry. In a conversation once regarding this, Tim commented, “ah, the kids are f---ing each other anyway. They may as well put on a condom. I don’t want to pay for all the diseases they spread.”
~Tim tells us on staff about service one receives at a hair salon here in town. “They put oil on your head and massage your scalp. I usually get an er------, “ha ha ha.” . . . Speaking for myself, I never knew what to do when he carried on like this.
~Tim, in his struggle with acceptance among other people takes the “initiative” to pepper his conversation with profanity. In that way if you are going to reject him as a person this will help you hurry up and get on with it. (I’ve heard him give this explanation verbatim in 1992, 1993, 1997.) If your friendship passes this test of his, then one can be Tim’s friend. If not, then you are a prude. “Yeah, our righteousness is b---s—,” says Tim.
~1994 or ‘95 we (with Tim) are going through resumes for hiring a new secretary. In a staff meeting, he yucks it up with the guys saying, “We’ll probably hire whoever has the biggest b--bs.” [We were all supposed to laugh.]
~When we purchased a new bus ‘for a song,’ the time came for the inaugural drive around town. The staff settled in to plush seats with footrests, head-rests, etc. It was an exciting experience to buy a $120,000 bus for $4,000! Then came Tim’s comment, “Hey, does anyone have an er------?” What do we do when the Senior “pastor” talks like this regularly?
~He once went on in a Sunday sermon about a trip he took to Vegas: playing the slots, shucking quarters, blowing money, winning money. I sat there at a loss wondering what in the world his purpose was. I mean there are those in the congregation who hear one anecdote and off they go. Their defense is, “well, Pastor does it.”
~It always made me uneasy about our staff gathering each morning having nothing to do with God: nothing. I did cut in once when we were having “staff ‘prayer’ time” and suggested that we didn’t need to go on another senseless, godless, brainless escapade through idiotville talking about everything from soup to nuts to NBA egos. I drew the horse’s laugh from staff and a look from Tim that bellowed, “Gimme a break, you goody two shoes!” From then on, CMA Church always felt like an unsafe place for one’s heart, spirit, and soul to grow. Believe me, if Salt wasn’t growing 75% annually, I would have packed my things in a moment. The atmosphere with Tim behind closed doors was often tiresome, sometimes sickening. And when one crossed him, it was humiliating. Sanctification is not one of his concerns in life.
~ Drake was trying to reconcile with a top notch musician on the worship team. There was a minor tiff from an honest mistake that Drake had made. The musician’s attitude still concerned me. I don’t like provoking people and I still felt regret, even three days later. Tim tries to console me with, “Hey, don’t worry about that guy. He’s an a-- hole”. Uh, excuse me! The man donates hundreds of hours to Ellensburg CMA and I personally love him (the “a–hole”) and his family to this day.
~In nearly nine years of knowing Tim Owen, the following was the worst: Staff meeting ca. 98 Trish got a thrashing from Tim: We were circled up: Tim Owen, Greg Phelps, Dwayne Smithgall, Drake Travis, Trish Dick, and intern (I think it was Eric Byers). Trish was having some personal struggles of being devalued (so she fessed up later). But, at the time, she did not feel like talking about it. She said she just needed some time to “process” a few things and didn’t feel right about sharing it yet. They bantered a bit. Then Tim became angry at what he perceived to be insubordination. He leaned into her face and demanded, “Trish, you are going to talk and you are going to talk now! I want staff unity and openness around here. Now what’s going on with you!” She still didn’t feel it was right yet and meekly confessed, “Tim, please, I can’t talk about it yet. I need to process my feelings first.” Trish could not share and Tim was enraged. He leaned back in his chair and sighed loudly, “I am sure not glad I hired you, a woman. I am going to think real long and hard before I ever hire another woman!”
[Are you hearing this?]
The staff, myself included, sat there shocked and distressed at such abysmal treatment of our sister. I, Drake Travis, thought it was disgusting to see a colleague and dear friend treated like a worm, to be slammed and insulted like that for her feelings and her gender -- something God did, not man. It seemed equally intriguing that Trish suffered such words from someone who touts himself as a champion for women in ministry.
In retrospect, did I speak up in Trish’s defense? No, I could not; so I thought. I had been under Tim for five to six years by now and was becoming dispirited over getting reprimanded for checking him. I was not up for a squall. I regret that to this day.
TESTIMONY OF TWO ELDERS IN THE FAITH WHO CORROBORATED DRAKE TRAVIS TESTIMONY
November 25, 2000
Rev. Donald Wiggins, V. P. Division of Church Ministries
CHRISTIAN and MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
8595 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs,CO 80935-3500
Rev. Jerry Mapstone, Assistant Vice President
CHRISTIAN and MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
8595 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Greetings in the name of our Wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! With mixed emotions and heavy hearts, we are sending this communication to the respective names above. At the outset, allow us the opportunity to briefly identify ourselves. I (Albert) was a credentialed minister with the ASSEMBLIES OF GOD for more than forty-six years.
Due to our involvement in bringing to light certain illegal and unchristian activities and refusing to stop, I was dismissed from the A/G in 1996. [It should be noted that the issues just referred to are presently part of a criminal Federal Grand Jury case. Unfortunately Federal cases often do not move swiftly; thus we are still involved, though not privy to details.] Upon my dismissal from the A/G, I immediately joined another Evangelical organization of which I am presently a credentialed member.
Approximately four years ago my wife Aimee and I with our youngest son began attending the Ellensburg CMA church where Tim Owen is pastor. Shortly thereafter, our oldest daughter Deborah with her husband and their two children also began attending. My wife Aimee and I have helped with the Senior Adults, where I have ministered God’s Word and Aimee and I ministered in music. Also, both of us have periodically read the Scripture in the 11:00 a.m. service, as well as on a regular monthly basis helping serve Communion. Our youngest son, Jonathan, has also read Scripture and has helped serve Communion, as well. On occasion I (Albert) have taught an Adult Sunday School class that we regularly attend.
Though encouraged to become members, we have not done so to date. One of the reasons for membership was that this was necessary to become eligible for a possible Elder position that I was asked to consider, obviously with Pastor Tim’s approval. Our daughter and her husband are involved in the youth department, as well as she and their daughter in choir, piano, and vocal ministry. We have regularly contributed tithes and offerings.
We have learned to love many people in the church and especially those in our Sunday School class. We have taken a quiet back seat in the church, only wanting to be a blessing to Tim and those around us.
Many times we have felt inspired to write Pastor Tim an encouragement note on Sunday morning, thanking him for proclaiming the Word of God and telling him, “We are praying for you.” Also, different times in conversation, we have expressed our deep appreciation for him.
Other times we have left the church with a very disturbed and sad heart because some of what he said in his message (in our understanding) did not line up with the Word of God. A few weeks ago Tim told the congregation, “Turn to your neighbor and tell them, ‘I am a sinner.’” We took great exception to this because the Bible tells us that after we accept Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ. No longer does sin have dominion over us. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” Then again this November 19, Tim said, “ Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I am a saint.’” He told the congregation that they were sinners and saints at the same time. Also, he said, “I think we are rather mixed up.” Yes, we believe anyone who does not know the great difference between SINNER and SAINT is very mixed up. The book of Revelation tells the CHURCH that they are to be either HOT or COLD or God will spue them out of His mouth.
One time I, Aimee, phoned and asked Tim if he was going to continue having dancers perform on the platform. He answered, “I sure hope so.” On November 12, the school of dance (maybe ten or more females in bright red outfits) came in and performed before Tim brought the Sunday morning message. One Sunday morning when the female dancer came down and performed at Pastor Tim’s feet, it reminded me of the King who had the female dancers come and perform their sensual dance for the King’s pleasure. (We are not against a truly spiritual, spontaneous Holy-Spirit inspired dance unto the Lord.) One lady told Aimee that she cried on the way home and told her husband she was not going to go back into the auditorium again unless her husband forced her to. She called it a “sensuous dance.” Later she told me, “When you find a good church, let us know.”
God has given both of us a compassionate heart for the down-trodden and for years our ears and hearts have been open to their cries for help. Recently, we have had different ones come to us and share some of their heartaches and deep concerns about Pastor Tim’s conduct, including his language and how he has treated them. Thus, after counsel from Jerry Mapstone, our letter and the other letters contained herein are being sent to you for your prayerful consideration and investigation of the charges contained in each of the letters enclosed.
November 22, 2000, Pastor Tim phoned and asked Aimee if he could speak with her husband Albert. Tim told Albert that he had heard from Robert Martin that Drake Travis had told him that Tim was under investigation and that Drake gave Martin our phone number. Tim asked Albert if he had anything to say about that. Albert told him he did not know Robert Martin, but did say that Drake had come to us and talked and we had prayed with him. Albert then said, “I would like to tell you Tim that I have been thinking about writing a letter to you. About two weeks ago you said, Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I am a sinner.’ Then this last Sunday you said, Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I am a saint.’ I disagree with that. I feel sorry for the young people.”
Tim quickly responded with. “Well, maybe you should go to another church. That is why there are lots of churches in town. I’m the PASTOR and if you don’t agree, you can go to another church. He also informed Albert that he would be telling the Board. Our discussion ended.
Needless to say, after this cold conversation Albert and Aimee were devastated. Now they understood the people that have shared with them. “Tim can’t stand it when anybody disagrees with him.”
November 23, Thanksgiving morning, David Wright phoned and told Aimee that Pastor Tim asked him to phone us to see if he (David Wright and Mike Milligan - two Elders in the CMA church) could come to our (Albert and Aimee) home tomorrow and talk to us. Aimee questioned him several times about the reason or motive for Tim wanting David and Mike to talk to us. I told him I would discuss it with my husband and phone him back. David was very thoughtful, kind, and understanding as I told him that Tim phoned November 22 and asked to speak with my husband Albert. I related the details of Tim’s phone conversation to David.
After talking to Albert about Tim’s request through David for a meeting, Aimee phoned David back about an hour later and told him we needed some time to pray. Neither one of us felt up to another confrontation so soon after Tim’s unkind dismissal.
November 24, Pastor Tim phoned and asked Aimee if he could talk to Albert. Because of Albert’s health, Aimee was protective and asked, “What would you like to talk to him about?” Tim answered, I want to apologize to Albert.” Aimee said, “Tim I want you to know I am going to be on the phone.” After the conversation, we realized it wasn’t much of an apology because immediately Tim asked if we were cooperating with what Drake was doing. We were noncommittal. He told Albert and Aimee, “If you come back to church, I will take it to mean that you are not part of what Drake is doing.” We said we wanted to pray about it. We talked a little bit about the dancing and also about the “sinner and saint” issue. He indicated it would be better if we found another church if we did not agree with him but we could sit down sometime and discuss it. Aimee said, “Tim, I do not sin every day.” Tim immediately responded, “I do!” Aimee asked, “How do you sin every day?” Tim did not respond to this question. This question to Tim from Aimee was in reference to one Sunday morning in the 11:00 a.m. service Pastor Tim said in his sermon “I have never gone a day without needing to ask for forgiveness of sin” and then again when he said, “Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I am a sinner.’”
This letter is written with love and prayers for God’s very best for all concerned. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
Because of Jesus,
Albert E and Aimee D. Anderson
(street #, street name removed)
(city, state, zip removed)
Phone: ***-***-**** - Fax: ***-***-****
cc: Rev. Kelvin Gardiner, District Superintendent
December 21, 2000
Rev. Kelvin Gardiner,
CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
P.O. Box 1030
Dear Brother Gardiner:
Please find enclosed our eight-page statement that Aimee read at the Ellensburg CMA Elder’s board meeting, as well as the two page statement that Larry Fookes read at the same board meeting.
There were nine Elders present at the board meeting last night and seventeen other involved people (including both of us), a total of 26 altogether. As you will read in Larry’s statement, Larry Fookes and Bob Greene have agreed to co-chair the protest group. We are very thankful for their prayers and support in this difficult time, as well as the other people who have been praying.
Larry Fookes chaired the meeting for the protest group. Albert Anderson opened with prayer, asking God for His Divine Wisdom and help. Then Larry read his two-page enclosed statement, after which Aimee read her eight-page enclosed statement. Following the two readings Larry opened up the floor to anyone else present who wanted to express their concerns. Seven other people, besides Larry and Aimee, spoke up with heart-wrenching stories.
The Elder Board Chairman, David Wright, announced the next Board meeting for January 3, 2001. We do not know what action they will take. Hopefully, they will be contacting you as soon as possible.
Having fulfilled the requirement of meeting with the Elder board members last night as you requested, we trust that you will quickly be able to complete the process. At the appropriate time, we believe individuals with confidential letters will release their contents when they are confident you are going to enforce positive and strong disciplinary action to take care of Pastor Tim and the issues involved. Please feel free to phone Larry Fookes (Phone 509 ---—) and Bob Greene, (Phone 509 — ----), both former Elder Board Members. They are the contact persons representing the protest group. Also, we are available and can be reached at 509-962-9011.
Thank you for your prayers and support in this difficult time. Also, thanks for giving us permission by phone on Monday, December 18, 2000, for others involved to attend the meeting with us. Their presence was very helpful.
Albert E. & Aimee D. Anderson
(street #, Street name removed)
(City, state zip removed) - FAX: ***-***-****
CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ALLIANCE NATIONAL OFFICE OF VICE PRESIDENT
February 15, 2001
Mrs. Albert Anderson
(street #, street name removed)
(City, State, Zip removed)
Dear Mrs. Anderson:
Greetings from the C & MA National Office.
You discussed your concerns about Rev. Tim Owen with my assistant Mary Johnson on Monday, February 12, 2001. I have reviewed her notes and have also briefly reviewed the packet of letters and other printed documents that you sent me.
Thank you for expressing your concerns and your desire to see appropriate action taken. Matters of the kind that you reported are taken seriously and are followed up. There is no one who accepts Alliance credentials who does not come under the policies that pertain to licensed official workers.
The Elders in their letter indicated that “most of the issues that you raise are matters of personality, interpretation and perspective” and that the accusations were not brought in a scriptural manner. Nevertheless, their review found the specific charges to be unsubstantiated.
I believe that the elders of the church and the District Superintendent Rev. Kelvin Gardner have acted responsibly by listening and investigating the allegations that were presented to them. I have no basis on which to recommend that they overturn the conclusion stated in their January 7, 2001, letter to you and Albert.
If you have additional charges that have not been dealt with, the procedure is to put them in writing and submit them to the Elder Board. Be assured of my ongoing interest and prayer that all parties involved will glorify God by their actions and their attitudes.
Donald A. Wiggins
National Church Ministries
THE RETALIATION FOR EXPOSING CMA PASTOR TIM OWEN, ELLENSBURG CMA CHURCH
January 8, 2001
Drake Travis (Membership Termination)
(Street #, Street name removed)
(City, state, ZIP removed)
We have reviewed your letters –- one addressed to us, not dated but received by Committee Chairman, David Wright, on or about Friday, December 29, 2000. The letter addressed to PNW District Superintendent Kelvin Gardner, dated December 20, 2000, was enclosed with your letter to us and was also reviewed.
We are saddened that your letters have a strong tone of hopelessness in them. It sounds as though the enemy (satan) has taken you to a level where you feel that you must attack us and the district superintendent with a strong rage. Your letter and actions over the past year and a half seem to indicate that by seeking and successfully achieving revenge against us and Senior Pastor Tim Owen for all that you’ve lost in the last couple of years, all will instantly be restored to you and your control. Drake, it is not going to happen that way. You must repent!
The Apostle John records Christ’s instructions to the Church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-6: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Please use your energies to bring glory and honor to the name of Jesus Christ and his church as you did when you first entered the ministry in Ellensburg. Do not attempt to destroy the church, its leadership, nor yourself by denying the love God expresses for you, your family, and us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, for some vain perception of revenge. Your actions are against what we are commanded to do in these times.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” (Psalm l) “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 1:33) “I appeal to you, brother, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” I Corinthians l:10 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13 Recognizing the contributions that you made to this church early in your ministry here and the power of the Holy Spirit in you when you were walking in the Spirit, we are all committed to continue to love you and hold you, Marlene, and your children in prayer before God.
However, because of your actions, especially over the last six or seven months, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that, effective immediately, your membership in the Ellensburg Christian & Missionary Alliance Church is terminated. This action was unanimously approved by members of the Elders Committee, in attendance at the January 3, 2001, meeting following a presentation and discussion of your recent (and renewed) efforts to undermine the leadership and disrupt the unity of the Ellensburg Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.
This action is in accordance with church’s bylaws (revised January 2000), Article 1: Membership, Section G: Membership: Termination, Sub-section 4:
“Membership may terminate by dismissal for heresy, willful persistence in sin, or disorderly conduct: A member who avows a clearly heretical doctrine, who persists in a flagrant sin without repentance, or who flagrantly and habitually disrupts the harmony of the congregation may be dismissed from membership. (Galations 1:8-9; I Corinthians 5:9-13; II Thessalonians 3:6". (Emphasis added:)
“A dismissed member may be readmitted only upon showing satisfactory evidence of genuine repentance and amendment of life.”
We also cite the Statement of Standards for Membership drafted and adopted by the Elders’ Committee on or about May 22, 1996:
Minimum Standard for Membership: Sections 2,3, & 4.
Ideal Standard for Membership: Section 9
A copy of the statement is attached and considered a part of this notice.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus gives us very clear and direct instructions for dealing with your willful disobedience to our previous correspondence (both written and verbal) concerning your slanderous attitude towards the leadership of the church.
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Chapter 3, verses 1 & 2 - NIV) As an additional sanction to your dismissal from membership, we are directing you to not be on church property unescorted by less than two members of the Elders Committee. Should you desire to be on the property for any reason, you must notify the Committee Chairman David L. Wright with the purpose of your visit and the telephone number and mailing address where you may be reached for response to your request. Your request will be considered by a quorum of committee members and you will be notified of their decision. You should plan on a minimum of seven calendar days for a decision, but not more than fourteen calendar days.
Should you violate this sanction, we will notify the Ellensburg Police Department that you are trespassing. Ellensburg Police Captain Bob Richey has advised us that they will respond to such a complaint in the event that it becomes necessary. We have also been advised by legal counsel to prepare and provide this letter to you. We individually and corporately regret having to take this action against you. However, your continued attempts to disrupt and divide this congregation have left us no choice.
We will continue to pray for you and your salvation in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth states: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:20-21 - NIV)
Drake, we implore you, please be reconciled to God. Again, be the righteousness of God that we believe you were called to be. We desire to cancel these sanctions and welcome you back into fellowship in the strong name of Jesus. We reaffirm our love for you as a child of God.
David L. Wright Eric Anthony Bill Hunt, Sr. Chairman Vice-Chair
Gordon Kelly Mike Milligan Gary Nystedt
Secretary Member Member
Perry L. Rowe James Rowles John Simon
Member Member Member
Enclosure: Statement of Membership, May 22, 1996
Copy to: Kelvin Gardiner, District Superintendent
Jerry Mapstone, National Office C & MA
Bob Richey, Ellensburg Police Department
DRAKE TRAVIS’ - - PARTING WORDS
I have been dealing with you people on the Board for 8+ years now. This is my last correspondence. The saga between us must end.
I want you to know that:
~I have failed in my responsibility to my God to speak and be a man as He has quickened me by His Holy Spirit. This syndrome began nearly six years ago in February 1995. It won’t happen again.
~I have failed by not leaving your church, with my family, when I first realized that there is no safe place at your church.
~I failed by cooperating with the lie that working 60+ hours a week will appease Tim and bring salvation. I did that instead of ministering to my family first and then to others.
~I failed because I bowed to threats and was more concerned with what Tim demanded than what God commanded.
~I failed because I did not move through the chaos and confront as obligated by my call; I surrendered and became a victim...no more. These are my failings. I am responsible for them. I am suffering the consequences. However, you have had a responsibility in this relationship also. You affirm the resignation of Drake Travis. In rereading your firing letter from June 17, 1999, it is interesting that Drake was not allowed to speak to you –- the board. Proverbs 18:17 asserts, “The first to give his story seems right - until another comes forward and questions him.” You never heard my story, nor did you want to. Amazing that the tone from the June 17,2000, letter is so similar to the recent letters wherein Andersons were dismissed. Larry Fookes was threatened and Drake was ejected. There was no search for facts from those who’ve been injured -- only selfjustification.
The origin of the recent grievances was serendipity. It was no ones’s plan. You, an elder, don’t know the story. Though dozens of others do.
As for your pastor, he is to do as Psalm 23 says: “...to make them lie down in green pastures, to lead them beside quiet waters and restore souls.” This doesn’t happen at Ellensburg CMA.
Tim pressures the congregation to obey and behave. The elder board is so blinded (as Israel often was) that control is masqueraded as “unity,” and you affirm his version of “unity.”
As I read the Bible, persons have roles. Adam was to garden. Noah was to preserve man and animal. Abraham was to start a nation. Jacob was to name that nation. Joseph rescued it from famine. Moses liberated it. Joshua took it to The Promised Land. Samson judged. Samuel had a message to receive. David expanded borders in geography and literature. Solomon built the Temple. Jeremiah had a message to deliver. Each had a role with God as the Rule.
My experience at Ellensburg Alliance is that there are no checks and balances. Tim thinks he is the Founder and President. Tim is the CEO. Tim is Chairman of the Boards. Tim is head legislator of every committee. Tim is CFO (financial controller). Tim heads up quality control. Tim is the preacher and the teacher. Tim is head of personnel and supervisor. Tim is sergeant-of-arms. Tim is Human Resource manager. Tim is judge. Tim is the jury. And if anyone crosses him, Tim is executioner. Tim is King. And just like in the Middle Ages, there is neither freedom to petition nor assemble. And there is no freedom of speech at Ellensburg CMA either. Cyndi Hart comes to mind!
Gentlemen, the system screams for an overhaul. You are elders. Though the essence of sin is: (I am in control). You are an elder and this is OK with you.
Tim’s worst fear is being discovered. And he’s built an elaborate political system to prevent that from happening. Tim’s primary concerns are his power and his pleasure. It is fascinating that on December 20, 2000, Larry was right on every account laid before you. It is all true.
And you are an elder. I grieve for the sheep.
I am through striving with you. Farewell.
May the truth prevail,
Drake W. Travis