Saving The Book, Losing the Reader…

You may also like...

26 Responses

  1. Em says:

    Wow, the truth is sobering here…
    Found myself lately wondering the same thing, when Jesus comes, will He find faith on this earth and therefore…. Just where are we on the timeline of history?

  2. Bride of Christ says:

    Exactly why I left Calvary Chapel after attending their churches for over 35 years. Keep up the good fight, Michael. Your blog helped me to make sense of my conflicted feelings about leaving Calvary years before I ever heard of The Phoenix Preacher. I , too, came to the simple conclusion that Calvary Chapel was a terrible witness for Christ, and that they did not reflect the true nature of Christ. Ironically, the Calvary Chapel of the 1970 s taught me to read the Bible with the illumination of the Holy Spirit guiding me, and because I read my Bible so often it was very obvious to me that Calvary Chapel was misrepresenting Jesus Christ. I had to leave Calvary because of my abiding love for Jesus and for God’s truth.

  3. JesusFreak says:

    “ The “church” has done little in the aftermath and has decided that their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures precludes taking any action to defend those (allegedly) abused by this couple, nor does it allow for any actions to protect the next crop of young people who love Jesus from them.”

    I can’t help but feel like this might be pointed at me because I shared scripture in an attempt to explain why the hurt people aren’t suing.

    If so, you’ve taken my words gravely out of context and engaged in some rather passive aggressive behavior.

    But don’t worry. I won’t sue you. ?

  4. Michael says:

    Passive aggressive is one thing I’m not.
    You aren’t the only one who advocates this…

  5. MM says:


    Our faith in Jesus should also give room for others understanding and interpretation of those same scriptures.

  6. JesusFreak says:


    I never said otherwise.

    Michael’s post doesn’t seem to leave much grace for those who disagree with his interpretation.

  7. Michael says:


    I’ve already stated that there is much grace for those who for reasons of conscience decide that they should not pursue justice.

    What I have a huge problem with is that for twenty years I’ve heard all about how the victims of abuse should act while the abusers take notes and use them against the next set of victims.

    There is a love of authoritarianism in modern Christianity that allows evil to go unchecked while watching sheep bleed to death.

    All PFM has to do is withstand this site for a while longer and they’re home free…

  8. Em says:

    “There is a love of authoritarianism in modern Christianity that allows evil to go unchecked while watching sheep bleed to death “. Worth repeating…
    Don’t do this or the last words you will hear from our God begin with “Depart from me……”

  9. JesusFreak says:


    What concerned me most is this:

    “ The biggest enemy of the church in the “culture wars” is in its pulpits and equipped by the enablers in the pews.

    They are the ones who have destroyed the validity of a “biblical worldview” by allowing rampant abuse and corruption to flourish and treating victims like so much cordwood.”

    That feels like caustic hyperbole to me. It doesn’t give any wiggle room to those who may want to choose grace over legal justice, or who support one’s right to do so.

    Let me be clear in one thing: every fiber of my flesh wants justice for those hurt by authoritarians. That is still my flesh. I also hope that if I understand the choice of grace, I won’t be lumped into name calling like “enabler” or an allower of “abuse and corruption”.

  10. Michael says:

    Sorry you feel that way.
    I stand behind that, in front of that, and I’ll keep on saying it until I have no breath left.
    Wolves flourish because they are allowed to and are rewarded for their behaviors.
    If you think seeking justice is an act if the flesh, you disagree with God, not me.

  11. Michael says:

    Justice does not negate the possibility of grace, it shows the nature of grace in truth.
    Vengeance and justice are two different beasts…

  12. MM says:


    “It doesn’t give any wiggle room to those who may want to choose grace over legal justice, or who support one’s right to do so.”

    It is my impression the problem with some definitions of “grace” seems to be a blanket forgiveness of bad behaviors while ignoring the consequences of such actions. To me forgiving someone “70 x 7” does not mean ignoring justice, it means changing my heart towards that person or subject and not demanding vengeance. However, it still could require a process of justice to prevent that sinning party from repeating the same on others.

    Let’s say we witness a murder (okay at least two of us) are we to extend “grace” and not report the perpetrator? What about the person who was murdered? That person cannot forgive the murderer because they are dead, but the family can forgive the murderer for taking that person from their fellowship (family and friends).

    These things seem so simple at first glance and it is really easy, as a by-stander (not a witness), to throw out scripture bytes and make proclamations about what should have been done.

    In this Michael provides an on-line place where the abused and witnesses to the abuse can make it known publicly about the sin against them. But, what Michael can’t do is be an actual witness, he can only be an advocate on behalf of the abused or even possibly the accused.

    In the end it is up to the one sinned against or the one accused of the sin to either show grace to or seek forgiveness. We, the readers of PP can only voice our opinions and give advice based on our understanding of scripture.

    For me I find no higher or lower ground in the abused forgiving the sinner without due process nor in seeking justice for their suffering. I believe both are allowable and bring a smile to the face of God; when done with an appropriate heart.

    Rambling again on the keyboard.

  13. bob1 says:


    I agree with your POV.

    In fact, I wonder if grace is sometimes mistaken for “cheap grace,” what Bonhoeffer IDed. Justice
    is important to God, IMHO — it’s all through Scripture! Just giving someone a cheap, blanket
    pardon might be seen as antinomian, not grace.

  14. pstrmike says:

    “To me forgiving someone “70 x 7” does not mean ignoring justice, it means changing my heart towards that person or subject and not demanding vengeance.”

    Great point. Forgiveness does not mean you continue to give license for the offender to sin, nor does it mean you do not seek restitution for the offender. Torah is rather clear on this.

  15. JesusFreak says:

    Luke 6. The words of Jesus.

    27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    Judging Others
    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

  16. Michael says:

    So…if I post the passage where Paul commands us to judge in the church and then the one where he demands that the wicked man be cast out… do we flip a coin?

  17. MM says:


    Good scriptures and I believe most of us know them. But, you are posting bytes and not considered the book as a whole.

    Jesus lived and taught people who would shame our knowledge of scripture. He never contradicted what God already taught and was recorded, rather He affirmed and clarified it.

    We have the obligation to know, interpret and apply those instructions. I also believe we can’t separate where, when, how or to whom we apply them. Therefore our approach to justice has to be consistent, within scriptural limits and applicable to all. Which to me means even to the non-believers and in all situations.

    Pretty big ticket to punch. But with God nothing is impossible.

    It’s a life.

  18. JesusFreak says:


    I absolutely love that you brought up 1Co 5, thank you!!

    The “punishment” there is, essentially, shunning not suing. And the fitting irony in our discussion is what scripturally comes immediately after your scripture example:

    1Co 6. Don’t sue the brother.

    God is awesome. Have a blessed day!!

  19. Michael says:


    This is becoming fruitless.
    You posted two Scriptures as if they applied here.
    As is usual in these fundy Bible sword drills, they omit contradicting Scriptures.

    No one disputes that all Christians are obligated to forgive those who offend them.
    Forgiving another party does not mean there or no consequences for sin or that the church should not be protected from those who defile her.

    Paul is clear… we are to judge those within the church.
    We are to rid the church of defilement not by “shunning”, but by excommunication after the Matthew 18 process.
    Excommunication declares the person no longer a member of the church, thus no longer Christian.

    Hillbilly non denoms have no ecclesiology, so they just stop inviting the former brother or sister over for grits.

    The purpose of excommunication or “turning someone over to Satan” is that the the sinner would repent and return to Christ, then be returned to the church.

    What we have in PFM are unrepentant sinners who went through the whole Matt 18 process, but there is no ecclesiastical body able to excommunicate them as they should be.
    Thus, the church remains defiled, the sinners keep on in their sin, and more victims will come.

    If your conscience says that they are believers in good standing with the church,don’t sue them.
    If they are outside the church as they should be, prosecute the case.

  20. Michael says:

    Shunning without the whole Matt 18 process is grievous sin, by the way…

  21. Em says:

    FWIW (my opinion, that is)
    Michael @ 6:30 & 6:36 post script….. Very sound reasoning… good teaching, too

  22. JesusFreak says:

    Agree it is fruitless. Even in “enlightened” circles the internet disagreements devolve into ad hominem name calling. (“Fundy”).

    So I will leave you with this, Michael, right from your 1Co5 choice:

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

    So we appear to have two choices. Either we accept PFM as fellow Christians and go through the scriptural judgment cycle (not secular lawsuits) or we judge them as non-Christians and accept that it is not your business to judge them (which assumes not secular lawsuits).

    See you next thread, brother in Christ.

  23. Jean says:


    “So we appear to have two choices. Either we accept PFM as fellow Christians and go through the scriptural judgment cycle (not secular lawsuits) or we judge them as non-Christians and accept that it is not your business to judge them (which assumes not secular lawsuits).”

    You are missing Paul’s point altogether. The church is given the keys to bind and loose, that is to declare within the church what is and is not permitted. However, the church is not given that authority over those outside the church, nor over matters outside the church.

    For those outside the church, and for matters outside the church, God has instituted government institutions, including prosecutors and judges. So, God does judge those outside the church, just as He does those inside the church, but in each case through different people.

    The secular government should not be running the church, nor should the church be running the secular government. They are different institutions, with their own lanes, in God’s created order.

    Paul does suggest that Christians attempt informal dispute resolution, among themselves, in 1Cor6, for grievances and trivial cases.

  24. Ms. Spotlight says:

    What many church members, congregations and fellow bloggers don’t seem to understand that in many cases the scripture was practiced. In fact the abused went privately to the person and an agreement was reached. Furthermore many church’s-ministries have awarded large settlements to the injured in confidential settlements. There in lies the
    rub…because of the confidential and private nature of a matter attorneys unwittingly (or purposely) allow the abuser to potential strike again. Attorneys and “not an attorney,” please correct and or expand on this, but understand that if the abused discloses the matter publicly they may jeopardize any recovery realized by a confidential settlement, correct? The movie “Spotlight,” (a true account) exposes the Catholic church and their cover up(s) of sexually abused children. It details the church, attorneys, newspapers, police departments and others engaged in allowing priests to continue their perversions.

  25. Michael says:

    Ms. Spotlight,

    You are correct in that settlements are usually accompanied by non disclosure agreements to keep the sin in house…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading