January 31, 2012

Mark Driscoll's idea of Church Discipline (spiritual abuse/coercion)

This is a two parter. The second part is linked at the bottom of this article:
MARK DRISCOLL’S CHURCH DISCIPLINE CONTRACT: LOOKING FOR TRUE REPENTANCE AT MARS HILL CHURCH? SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE

The church discipline contract alone (outside of the browbeating behavior of the leaders) is alarming enough:
Plan of Discipline:
Andrew will attend XXX's CG and meet with XXX on a regular basis (define)
Andrew will not be involved in serving at MH
Andrew will not pursue or date any woman inside or outside of MH
Andrew will write out in detail his sexual and emotional attachment history with women and share it with XXX.
Andrew will write out in detail the chronology of events and sexual/emotional sin with K and share it with XXX and Pastor X.
Andrew will write out a list of all people he has sinned against during this timeframe, either by sexual/emotional sin, lying or deceiving, share it with XXX and develop a plan to confess sin and ask for forgiveness.
i.e. YOU are going to entrust me with your deepest darkest emotional and sexual secrets right NOW, and write it down for record keeping, or you are being unsubmissive and you are OUT of here.

That's very trust-inspiring isn't it?

January 28, 2012

The Amazing Disappearing Dr Voddie Baucham (UPDATE 1-30-2012)

James Macdonald's Harvest Bible Fellowship Men's conference ran into a little glitch today.

VODDIE BAUCHAM’S SCHEDULED APPEARANCE AT HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL MEN’S CONFERENCE CANCELED DUE TO “DIFFERENCES REGARDING ER2″

Lord, thank you for men willing to take a stand against heresy even while face to face with their friends.

(UPDATE 1-30-2012 10:14 am CT)

Voddie has given his account of the controversy:
The Elephant in the Room

This was probably the harshest paragraph:

Passover

Something I thought of after hearing some news or maybe rumors tonight that I desperately hope are not true:

Sometimes I feel like it's the long night of Passover and I'm huddled in my house, hearing the wailing from outside and wondering if I put enough blood on the doorposts and lintel for the Angel to see.

Lord have mercy, if you removed your hand of grace and protection from our lives for a moment, we would be lost!

January 27, 2012

So did T D Jakes disavow modalism or not? No, he did not.

Daniel at Better Than Sacrifice has put together a string of Tweets from James White
ELEPHANT ROOM 2: JAMES WHITE ON T.D. JAKES AND ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

Macdonald already says he has responded:

Bishop Jakes, 2nd Decisions and Coming Home

"But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:21
I was initially planning to publish the transcript of session #4 between Mark Driscoll and Bishop Jakes, where Bishop Jakes confirmed his Trinitarian belief and affirmed “God in three persons, eternally existing.” He disavowed modalism, while expressing his great love and appreciation for his spiritual heritage including Baptist, Methodist, and Oneness. I wanted to publish the conversation word-for-word to keep people from distorting it, but on our staff we talk about the importance of the ‘second decision.’ The second decision is where you admit that the first decision was a bad one. I have decided not to publish the transcripts of any conversations from Elephant Room.

A Model of Spiritually Abusive Language (provender)

I was recently alerted to this interesting post on spiritually abusive techniques and language. I don't know much about this site, so I can't vouch for it entirely. I just found the post interesting, AND convicting, as I am surely guilty of using some of these behaviors on occasion out of exasperation and anger.

A Model of Spiritually Abusive Language
If you could watch in slow motion and analyze how abusers manipulate, it would be enlightening. But when you are smack dab in a spiritually manipulative situation, sometimes the abuse happens so quickly that you don’t know what hit you. Every once in a while you catch a frozen glimpse of spiritual abuse in action. When it's in writing, it's easier to analyze. When it's in writing, it is inscribed in cement. You can take your time and actually see how the abuser is abusing.
read more at Provender

Please cross reference the techniques highlighted there with the information in Do Not Be Surprised's blog posts highlighting Steven Furtick and James Macdonald's tweeting behavior (and remember that innumerable examples of their followers mimicking this circle-the-wagons, assault the-messenger-behavior can be supplied).

Do Not Be Surprised - "We Can Work It Out:" Is Steven Furtick Qualified to Have this Conversation?

Do Not Be Surprised - "We Can Work It Out:" Is James MacDonald Qualified to Have this Conversation?

Essentially, if a person is not using physical force on you, they are simply resorting to fallacious reasoning to manipulate you into a position of submission. It's psychological warfare, based on deception. Ungodly.

January 25, 2012

The Juvenile online behavior of mega pastors (Furtick and Macdonald)

Do Not Be Surprised has some excellent write ups of the order of events that happened on twitter over the course of the last few days.

While in some ways I am shocked, in other ways I am... well... "not surprised." I always hope these guys will grow up and learn to handle criticism, what since they are supposed to be leading large numbers of Christians. But... "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Prov 13:12a) If this is what the church's leadership is like is it any wonder our society is seemingly overrun with "carnal Christians?"

"We Can Work It Out:" Is James MacDonald Qualified to Have this Conversation?

"We Can Work It Out:" Is Steven Furtick Qualified to Have this Conversation?

The behavior there really is shocking. These are pastors being paid a lot more than I can imagine and a whole lot more than their preaching and teaching is worth.

It's a bit like that scene from the Wizard of Oz where they bring the broom of the Wicked Witch back to the big scary wizard who likes to do nothing more than jerk their chain, intimidate them, and boss them around. So the little dog Toto finally figures out something isn't right and goes over and pulls the curtain away from the little man behind the workings of the giant scary wizard. But instead of realizing he's busted and giving up the charade, the little white haired guy symbolizing Furtick/Macdonald turns and kicks the dog. Classy.

I'm torn. Is the church more at fault when juvenile boys, playing church, are promoted to positions of national prominence, or is it the leaders' fault? I think, both. Immature people and immature leaders feed off of each other. And of course, we were told this would happen.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,


Maranatha, Lord, come quickly...

There's more to James Macdonald's resignation than meets the eye

Apprising has a piece of email that details more about why James Macdonald left TGC

I found this bit interesting:
They were asking that he "pull the plug" on Bishop Jakes coming to the Elephant Room (ER) conference. Their reasons are rooted in weak evidence of Jakes' current doctrine and infighting among the black members of the Gospel Coalition who have deep seeded resentments. Crawford Loritts is the black pastor who spoke at James' 50th birthday and is also a council member of the Gospel Coalition. Crawford is participating in this ER conference because he believes in what James is doing and has stepped forward to help. All that to say, not even Gospel Coalition members are unanimous in the opposition, but certain influential men have rallied to pressure James to cancel Bishop Jakes.

Now, are they going to do anything about Crawford Loritts? What about the others who think James is on the right track? TGC needs to man up and take a stand. Choose ye this day whom you will serve. This pussyfooting around with heresy is doing nothing for their original cause of the clarity of the gospel NOR for the idea of how Christians ought to handle disagreement. We don't sit around and let our group get used to promote heresy and error without saying anything until the straying person is so far gone as to be closing the barn door (very quietly and politely) long after the horse escapes.
After prayer and counsel with other Christian Leaders and some of our Elders, James believes it is best to simply resign from the Gospel Coalition and continue to pursue his vision of gracious conversation, face to face, as a model for how to handle disagreement in the church.
He MUST be joking. He doesn't even want to have to have those who disagree IN THE AUDIENCE and threatens them with arrest if they dare to enter. James Macdonald is now officially a liar.

The Elephant Room Closes Its Doors to Bereans - or, the "Let's Not Talk About The Elephant In The Room Conference."

Turned Away at the Door of the Elephant Room (Do Not Be Surprised)

Daniel at Better Than Sacrifice has also blogged about this latest development:
RUNNING SCARED: WHY IS THE ELEPHANT ROOM AFRAID OF SCRUTINY?

It's amazing that James Macdonald can happily consort with and promote heretics of all shapes and sizes in the 'broader church' (because God told him to, unlike us poor schlubs with no direct line to God other than that old dusty Bible) but you can't have a real Christian Berean or two attend your conference about being 'open minded' and discussing prickly issues.

Apparently they're really not interested in discussing the real elephant in the room or even risking the possibility of having someone in the audience who they know can see it.

How are those new clothes fitting, pastor Macdonald?

January 24, 2012

James Macdonald resigns from The Gospel Coalition after preaching again at Furtick's church

James Macdonald Resigns from TGC

Something very important is not being said here... in either this or the original blog post by Macdonald: It's that big elephant still sitting in the middle of the room.

I know, that's how these things are handled, and I think it creates and perpetuates the cycle of cowardly leaders, and people who have no idea how to deal with real controversy. This only makes things worse because it teaches people to stifle everything until it gets so bad that things MUST blow apart. I think it is extremely negligent.

They should not be wishing James Macdonald well in his endeavors when he is clearly going astray. They don't need to regret his leaving when he is going astray. They need to express sorrow over what caused him to leave in the first place, that is, his blatant man-centered error.

I just started listening to Macdonald's sermon at Code Orange from a few days ago... I got about 15 minutes in and I am totally appalled already. How is it that this guy was ever on The Gospel Coalition? Has he changed THAT much? Or perhaps TGC is lacking in discernment regarding its associations. Wait... I don't' want to be guilty of guilt by association now, do I? Ok forget I said anything about it.

Daniel over at Better Than Sacrifice has pointed this excellent article by Dan Phillips out to me, for further reading:
Even better than The Race Card{tm}

January 22, 2012

A Review of T D Jakes' Code Orange revival Sermon (Better Than Sacrifice)

Daniel has a very LONG (but good) review of T D Jakes' sermon at Steven Furtick's Code Orange Revival.
A REVIEW OF T.D. JAKES’ CODE ORANGE REVIVAL SERMON

It does amaze me that people can spend so much energy worrying about Jakes's anti-trinitarian heresy, which is worth worrying about -- but there is plenty of blatant Word-Faith Pelagian man-centered heresy in his message even when he doesn't talk about the Trinity at all.

January 20, 2012

Refreshing people's memory on Rick Santorum's pro life record

Let me take a moment to talk about the pro life issue and how it comes to bear on the upcoming election. Since South Carolina Republicans can't seem to get their acts together and seem to be more interested in Gingrich beating up the media, which the media do as a whole deserve, but which Gingrich isn't qualified to do without hypocrisy, Let me refresh people's memory on how Santorum is definitely capable of pressing an issue and thinking rationally on his feet.

Rick Santorum debates Partial Birth Abortion with Barbara Boxer (1999) (video and transcript)


Please take the time to listen to this. The audio is a little fuzzy and low in volume. But there is a transcript. PLEASE take the time to consider Rick Santorum's passion and directness on this important issue. He is no slouch. He is not likely to wilt under pressure.

January 19, 2012

White Horse Inn blog "Making Necessary Distinctions - the Call to Discernment"


NOTE 3-14-2016

I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

Original post follows:

The White Horse Inn blog has a great entry by Michael Horton on Making Necessary Distinctions
A superb article.

In particular I found this "distinction" of "passive vs active" far more Scriptural and helpful  than "passive vs cooperative" or "monergistic vs synergistic." I find this is a much better way to explain it. "Passive vs active" rather than "passive vs cooperative."

Faith receives Christ for everything: not only for salvation from judgment, but for the fruit of good works. However, in justification faith is passive: receiving, resting, clinging to Christ alone for an imputed righteousness even while we are still ungodly. This same faith, in sanctification, is active in good works. Having received everything in Christ, faith goes to work in love and service to our neighbors. There is no justification by works. However, there is no genuine faith (and therefore justification) that fails to bear the fruit of good works. Faith is passive with respect to God (receiving rather than giving), but active toward our neighbors (giving without demanding anything in return).

John Piper equating Allah with God?


What is wrong with this man?  Are we allowed to criticize and mock such traitorous stupidity yet, Pope Phil Johnson?  Maybe if you'd been as forceful toward Piper as you are toward 'angry women bloggers' when he slobbered all over Rick Warren, we would not having him speaking/tweeting blasphemy today. (added 3:00pm 1-19-2012 - This is the same approach his new buddy Rick took with MPAC and ISNA when he allowed himself to be used there.)


But what do I know, I'm just a woman.  If you're angered by that, get a spine* and get angry when YOU are supposed to, so the women don't have to.

*the turn of phrase I originally used there was improper.  I realized that after it had been up a while.  My apologies.

How to speak of a false teacher's hospitality

I remember when Bob DeWaay and Chris Rosebrough were invited into Rick Warren's church to listen and to talk to Rick about what their issues with him were.  There was also the incident where Michael Horton was at Saddleback and attempted in a very very gentle way to present some truth. It was so gentle that it was in fact, ineffective and only caused people to wonder what he was talking about.  I have always appreciated DeWaay's and Horton's ministry especially, and I don't doubt that Chris and Bob told him the truth in private as they reported, even though Chris has always refused for some mysterious reason to release the audio they gave him of that discussion. But I was always concerned with their generous thank-you's for his gracious hospitality afterward.  Everyone was totally confused and alarmed by that.

Here's how you handle hospitality shown to you by a false teacher when they invite you into their den:
30:32 "If pastoring this church, proclaiming the gospel's about him then I'm free. So I don't -- If I come into a place like -- Elevation's just ridiculous, man I just feel like, since I landed people are like rubbing my shoulders, (building applause and excitement from crowd) and carrying my bags and it's like 'put me down I can walk!' right? (applause) I mean it's just ridiculous! All right? But here's the thing ... I'll sleep on your couch, I mean I'm not going to, but I would! All right? Got me a nice room, I'm staying in that room tonight, pastor, but... um ultimately I don't *need* that. I'm not in it for that! I'm not the point. That's why I get uncomfortable with some of the "aw man you changed my life!" Man, I didn't do anything! Tell you what, I studied some stuff and I yelled at you. And you're a bit masochistic, cuz you wanted me to do that. You're "call me a moron again!" "OK! Moron!" all right?" -- Matt Chandler at Elevation Church 1-13-12

Christian Post picks up on Elevation's Censorship (UPDATE)

(aside: for an update on the Ingrid/ChrisR situation please go here: http://www.purposedrivel.com/2013/09/a-great-announcement.html  Ingrid and Chris had reconciled.  This was a good thing.  We were all friends again.)

(2-25-2015 Further update here:
http://www.purposedrivel.com/2015/02/tullian-and-nadia-birds-of-feather.html
I am no longer a Pirate Christian supporter.  Too much hypocrisy, too many double standards, too many false accusations. I apologize for all the confusion.  I pray it won't happen again.)



Well this seems to have gotten some national attention...
UPDATED:1-26-2012 they HAVE uploaded Chandler's sermon to the podcast.  I don't know how long it is or if anything is edited out.  It seems pretty long (54 minutes or so, while Matt spoke for about 48 minutes) so I doubt it.

Elevation Church Accused of Censoring Reformed Pastor's Sermon
At the beginning of his talk at the revival, Chandler, who leads The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, told crowds, “We’ve got to get past Elevation and Pastor Furtick. We’ve got to get underneath all that so we can gaze upon what is actually going on and what God is about.”

In Rosebrough’s view, the talk was a “boxing match theologically; if you watched Furtick’s body language he was pissed. He wasn’t clapping, he was shaking his head.”

Chandler, who was one of 11 “world-class” speakers invited to the 12-night revival, preached about the law and about sinfulness, which Rosebrough said is “considered negative preaching” in Furtick’s book. Furtick has told his congregation that he doesn’t like negative preaching.
read more at Christian Post

The same author has been doing articles on all the speakers. I haven't looked at the rest and haven't watched the other speakers to compare either -  but here is her article summarizing Chandler's message and it seems pretty accurate:
'The Bible Is Not About You,' Says Young Evangelical

This is what Furtick said last night after Perry Noble and he had a love fest on stage.  I was told Groeschel also did something similar.  Make no mistake, this is a 12 day adoration campaign for a very small man who is trying to remake himself into something he is not):

January 17, 2012

Elevation Censorship? (Agent Orange...er Code Orange "revival")

Somehow Matt Chandler's sermon was pulled from the rebroadcast of the Code Orange "revival." Many who saw the original airing seemed to think Charles Grandison Furtick was a bit tight lipped after Chandler was done.  Chandler's message just doesn't go very well with Finneyesque "new" (old) measures.  I have seen the video myself, but it ended right after Matt was done and before Furtick took the mic again, but he didn't even thank Chandler or make eye contact with him.

There are certainly some odd mixed messages being sent. First it was 'technical issues' and then it was their Motion Graphic Designer Geoff Schultz saying it was pulled because "the team wanted to focus more on Jesus"  and we all know Matt Chandler never preaches about Jesus.  (?!  I have some issues with Chandler but that is not one of them!  So Schultz is lying or has been lied to and/or he has no idea which way is up.

Then just  a bit ago I got this tweet while I forced myself to listen to Perry Noble preach about Steven.

https://twitter.com/#!/ElevationNet/status/159444829082882049

(UPDATE - 1-26-2012  they did finally reupload Matt Chandler's sermon YAY!)

If anyone happened to catch the original airing including Furtick's intro and especially including his outtro after Matt, or even just the outtro, please let me know.  I really want to see it.

Perry Noble's whole message was about how wonderful Finney is and how bad normal church is.  It turned into a big emotional Bro-mance moment at the end and Finney er... Furtick got all his fake tears on.  Good grief, this is TBN at its worst.  But now TBN has become mainstream evangellyfishism.

What is WITH the "Code Orange" name anyway? Is Furtick releasing some virulent contagion into the church? Oh wait... silly question...

Agent Orange or Code Orange, both are very appropriate names for this rally, with the exception of Matt Chandler's message.

Ok, time for some more Tullian to clean my ears out after that horrible experience.

January 15, 2012

To Foster Better Christian Living

I've been going back through Pastor Matt Richards' blog posts on Sanctification and been greatly blessed by them.  Here's another very timely one, though it's a year old:

In Order To Foster Better Christian Living, Shouldn't Sermons & Teachings Focus More on the Fruit of the Spirit... the Living Out of the Christian Life?
Why would we focus on the Fruit of the Spirit when we aren’t the one’s producing it in the first place? We don’t produce spiritual fruit we simply ‘bear’ the fruit. Rather than looking to the result of fruit, we look to the source of the fruit… Jesus the author and ‘perfector’ of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2). We look to Christ and His Word knowing that the ‘grace’ of God trains us to renounce ungodliness, to live self-controlled upright godly lives (see Titus 2:11-12)
Read more at PMNotes

Gerhardt Forde on Sanctification

NOTE 3-14-2016
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.  I am leaving this up here in order to warn people. I once thought he was great on this, but not anymore.

Original post follows:

Searching through pastor Matt Richard's blog PMNotes for articles on Sanctification I found this wonderful gem:
A Lutheran View of Sanctification by Gerhardt Forde

Simply breathtaking. I tried to read this passage to my husband and ended up choking it out through tears.
Now, living morally is indeed an important, wise and good thing. There is no need to knock it. But it should not be equated with sanctification, being made holy. The moral life is the business of the old being in this world. The Reformers called it “civil righteousness.” Sanctification is the result of the dying of the old and the rising of the new. The moral life is the result of the old being‟s struggle to climb to the heights of the law. Sanctification has to do with the descent of the new being into humanity, becoming a neighbor, freely, spontaneously, giving of the self in self-forgetful and uncalculating ways. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4). Sanctification is God‟s secret, hidden (perhaps especially!) even from the “sanctified.” The last thing the sanctified would do would be to talk about it or make claims about achieving it. One would be more likely, with Paul, to talk about one‟s weaknesses.

No, sanctification is not the kind of thing we would seek. I expect we don‟t really want it, and perhaps rarely know when it is happening to us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life. It is given to us in the buffeting about, the sorrows, the joys, the sufferings and the tasks of daily life.

January 14, 2012

Some Preliminary Musings on Sanctification (Better Than Sacrifice)

It looks as though Daniel has gotten back to blogging and started off with a wonderful post

Some Preliminary Musings on Sanctification


WHOSE WORK IS SANCTIFICATION?
Pieper and the Lutheran Confessions affirm that it is God who works sanctification in us. However, they both also affirm that we cooperate with this work. Yet, certainly we do not participate in our sanctification as an equal or even junior partner. Rather, God works in us to cause us to cooperate with Him in His work of sanctification within us. In other words, the entire work of sanctification, including our cooperative part in it, is utterly and entirely dependent upon God and His work. Here is Pieper, again:
However—and let this be dearly understood—the working of God and the working of the new man are not co-ordinate, “as when two horses draw a wagon,” but the activity of the new man is always and fully subordinated to God’s activity; it always takes place dependenter a Deo [dependent upon God]. In other words: it is the Holy Ghost who produces the activity of the new man; the new man remains the organ of the Holy Ghost.

Read more at Better Than Sacrifice

January 12, 2012

Spiritual Breathing?

This is a superb article on "Spiritual Breathing" and other techniques and disciplines used to further one's sanctification. All these Lectio Divina and 'silence' and sitting silently to let God speak to you fall into this category. As I was reading it I could not help but exclaim aloud every few minutes, "this is just so good!" and read another truth packed line to my husband. It touches on the difference between a Theology of Glory vs a Theology of the Cross, as well, though he doesn't actually use either phrase. It does seem to be exactly what he is describing.

It is from a Lutheran perspective but if you aren't Lutheran don't let that stop you. It is primarily Reformational. And at the very least it will help you understand those annoyingly uninhibited Lutherans you run into have this habit of complaining "that's law!" when you exhort them to 'walk worthy' and behave themselves.

From Arrowhead to Augsburg: Bill Bright in the Light of the Lutheran Confessions
"Sanctification (or the "Spirit-filled life") is not a process whereby the sinner peers into his spiritual navel and concludes that he's "improving" since he is committing fewer sins and feels more zealous for God. Such an approach always leads to hypocrisy ("I am better than Christian Slob 'X'") or despair ("Oh no, look at glowing Christian 'Y' and her obedient life"). Sanctification is recognizing sin daily in your own life and letting it drive you to Christ rather than to spiritual aerobics. A victorious Christian life which does not take one back to the Cross in regular repentance is not a Christian life at all, it is deceit at the most insidious level (1 John 1:8). It is only when our sins confront us regularly through the law that they force us to the Cross where God declares us forgiven for Christ's sake and imputes His Son's alien righteousness to us based on Christ's merit. "
read more at Issues Etc. Archive

Are John Piper and Beth Moore Mormon? (and Louis Giglio too?) (UPDATE)

UPDATE : (added Jan 12)

Desiring God has issued a semi-mea culpa way down at the bottom of this article.
"Update: Formerly I listed Lectio Divina as a third system for prayer. I've since removed it for the confusion it has caused. We do not endorse contemplative spirituality. The main point I'd like to recommend is using the text of Scripture as an organizer for our prayers — prayers that are exegetically faithful and gospel rich. I'm sorry for introducing the category."

If only he were that quick to respond to everyone's concerns about Rick Warren.

Still, it seems somewhat incomplete. Why does he participate with those who DO promote lectio and continually dance around the "hearing from God" stuff. This is not the first time he's made these sorts of 'continuing revelation' noises. In the same Ask Pastor John episode where he answers questions about why he is OK with Rick Warren, he spent some time endorsing people 'bringing words from the Lord' - the context of which was clearly not Scripture but more like "What has the Lord been teaching you this week?" Sort of stuff. SO while this is a small step in the right direction, it is not enough to convince me that he knows what is really wrong.

END UPDATE

Original post from 1-8-12 4:05pm
Two articles that ought to be read in light of each other:

BETH MOORE AND JOHN PIPER LEAD LECTIO DIVINA-LITE AT PASSION 2012
By Ken Silva

Are Christians Mormon?
by Truman G. Madsen, Edited by Kerry A. Shirts

In particular contrast these two ideas observed in Christianity these days, first from Ken and then from Mormon Truman Madsden:

January 9, 2012

Christian & Missionary Alliance church members fighting back

World Net Daily reports that the C&MA church which had their property seized by the denomination is now fighting back

CONGREGATION DUMPED ON STREET FIGHTS BACK
Battle between church, district ratchets up

WND reported earlier on the battle in which Metropolitan District Supt. Bruce Terpstra has worked through the district’s legal counsel to evict the Paramus congregation. The district has concluded that the church is dying, and so ownership of the property and all of the congregation’s assets must be turned over to the denomination.

January 2, 2012

More about the Christian & Missionary Alliance confiscating property

Yet another story about Christian And Missionary Alliance leaders confiscating church property that doesn't belong to them:
Court case determines church must shut down

I have been hearing from James Sundquist about this happening to numerous Christian & Missionary Alliance churches (many of which are being pushed to go seeker sensitive) over the last few years. I thought the C&MA claim to be congregational in polity, but as I understand it, the denomination MAKES them include a clause in their constitution that says if they don't grow in size, or shrink below some numerical threshold, or the denomination is otherwise unpleased with them, they forfeit their property. (source: Suing for Reconciliation: Struggling congregation alleges the denomination sold its sanctuary unlawfully.) This doesn't make sense to me, even if the church goes apostate, the most they should be able to do is make them forfeit the denomination's mortgage assistance (if any) and membership in the denomination.

A friend of mine commented, since she used to belong to a denomination that has a similar clause:
This goes on in the United Methodist Church too. It's the 'trust clause'. When a church joins a denomination, the building is held in trust by the Trustees. The people think it is held in trust for the congregation, but the purpose of the Trust Clause is that the property is held in trust for the denomination. Then the church wants to change affiliations, or the attendance dwindles and the church is closed and the denomination comes along and announces that it's their property and the people have nothing. And the people say, 'But we paid for it and refurbished it and added to it and cared for it." And the denomination whips out the paperwork and shows them the trust clause. In the case of the United Methodist Church, Methodist Episcopal churches joined because, "They will send us a preacher." So basically they got lousy preaching for the privilege of giving away their buildings and property and autonomy. But I thought courts were siding more with churches than with denominations, when these cases made it to court.
This is completely unbiblical. The Christian & Missionary Alliance ought to be ashamed. But I won't hold my breath. God will judge them, if they do not repent.