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40 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Just for my clarity and sanity. Did you think the same about Beth Moore before she clapped back over Trump? I’m pretty sure you changed your mind about her when you moved the wall against female ordination. She was a hero at my house even when my
    mind was muddled over that question. But it seems to me that your delight in her corresponded to her MAGA-nausea. Don’t really care but I think of it when you praise her.

  2. Alan says:

    Mohler personally superintended Warren’s excommunication. It fascinates me because my pastor/mentor warned that these guys would never satiate their desire to purge. He said they’ed turn on each other way back in ‘84. He was dead right.

  3. Michael says:


    When I was among the Reformed it was a merit badge to despise her.
    I really paid no mind to her at all.

    My love for her wasn’t when she clapped back against Trump…it was that she put everything she had gathered after a long, successful career on the line for what she believed…and left the place where she had dwelled without knowing where she was headed.

    That was pure, godly, courage that I’ve seen from few men.

    I started following her on Twitter…and find her to be a wonderful example of what a Christian should look like…an utterly delightful person.

  4. Alan says:

    She truly is.

    Her birthday is Friday.

  5. pstrmike says:

    Very disappointed by the SBC messenger’s overwhelming decision to reject both Saddleback’s and Fern Creek’s appeal. One of the things about the SBC that I valued was the respect toward others with different interpretations of Scripture. I rejoined this group about 4-5 years ago, and will be looking for my off ramp.

    And you’re right Alan, Mohler superintended Warren’s excommunication. The worse part of this morning’s session was after they announced the results of the vote, they went into a brief time of worship followed by some guy from North Carolina speaking about doing the mission together, and then another song of worship. They couldn’t have scripted their mix message and blindness any clearer if they tried.

  6. Steve Codling says:

    Michael, what would you say was most influential in persuading you to change your position on women being ordained to any role in the church? Any particular books or arguments?

    I appreciate your even-handedness with this. On Twitter, people are either women-haters or liberals out to destroy the church, at least from what I’ve read…

  7. Michael says:

    Steve Codling,

    I did a three part posting on this a few years back called “Why I Changed Lanes On Women In the Pastorate” that you can access in the search bar.

    I would add to those articles now a few more things, but primarily it’s a kingdom issue…we are the heralds of a kingdom that has arrived, but not in its fullness…and in that kingdom there is “neither male nor female”…etc.

    I think we have to be even handed on this…there is adequate support for complementarianism both in Scripture and the tradition of the church…and we cannot dismiss those things lightly.

  8. Michael says:

    As far as the SBC goes…I think what is really being said by those who voted to expel churches on the basis of women in ministry is that most in this sect want to defend their traditions, and more importantly, the way they exegete Scripture to come to conclusions to support that tradition.

    Their version of “inerrancy” demands a certain wooden literalism that is applied across the board to almost every issue…and they like it that way.

  9. Michael says:

    I forgot the books…everything by Carolyn Custis James and the John Stackhouse book I reference in the other articles.

    James husband is Frank James who is one of, if not the best, church history teacher around…

  10. Officerhoppy says:

    “ If you don’t have a Bible, you can look in your pants…”

    I laughed my KJV donkey off at that line.

    Good one!

  11. Michael says:


    I probably shouldn’t have said that…but I did. Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. bob1 says:

    From my POV, anything by Stackhouse is gold.

  13. Michael says:


    I concur…

  14. Alan says:

    I shall have to give a listen to Seven Psalms

  15. Officerhoppy says:

    The question I am about to ask may make no sense or seem like it’s coming out of left field. But the thought occurred to me after reading the link “God’s Peace is nit Constrained by my Imagination”, and “I’ve glimpsed One of the Monsters”.

    Does one have to love Jesus to be a Christian? Being a product of the Jesus Movement, I came to Christ at a Pentecostal revival, in a little chapel in Oct. Of 1969. It seemed logical to me. I recognized I was a sinner and my only means of rescue was the substitutionary death of Christ. I understood, that thru one man came sin and thru one man redemption was possible. In other words, my decision to receive His salvivic work was more based on reason than emotion.

    But every Sunday and Wednesday, the unspoken goal of the service and especially the worship, was to whip up the people’s emotions and get them excited about God.

    There was a time when I bought into the idea of being excited about God and that that emotion was a characteristic of all true believers.

    But I don’t necessarily believe that. I don’t really experience the peace of God as spoken about in the above article. I hear of God wanting a relationship with me but If he does, it seems to me to be a long distance relationship.

    I have a cousin I haven’t really spoken to for about 10 years. There are no issues, we just walk different paths, but we’re still related.

    Do I need God for anything more than Salvation? Does he owes us peace? Does he really want a relationship with me or anyone else. I wonder if we put responsibilities upon God that are really, up to us?

    For instance, when I pastored, the CC way was to preach the word and trust God for growth. The idea of promoting or “marketing” the church was considered by most as “of the flesh”. But what’s wrong with making your church known in the community? I think that it is my responsibility to let people know my church was here rather than simply rely on some mystical force.

    If not taught, it was implied that to talk about church finances or take an offering was a sign of not trusting God. But I don’t believe that.

    My point is, it seems to me there is a lot of stuff that takes place in church the world that is based more on tradition more than being biblical

    I am a Christian, but after 30 plus years of pastoring, I don’t go to church
    I feel like prayers may encourage me but has little effect on the out some
    People talk about God being in the middle our suffering but that brings me little comfort
    When good things happen we say God is blessing. When things are confusing or uncertain, we say he’s mystical
    We talk about the peace of God that passes understanding but yet it takes a lot of work to experience.

    I dunno. I know what the scriptures say. But my experience with this “relation wanting God”, is that he is not really that involved with my life.

    But he has given me salvation. And for that I am thankful. But every other aspect doesn’t happen mysteriously, but by my own effort,

    I’d love to hear others thoughts on this and their experience. Am I making any sense?

    Don’t condemn me! 🙂 I’m Just being honest

  16. Michael says:


    I love the questions and I’m highly suspicious of those who’ve never asked them.

    I used to fret about the fact that I never felt this rapturous love of God that worship songs sing of.
    Matter of fact, I loathe most “worship” music.

    For me, the answer to an emotional connection with God had everything to do with gratitude.

    As most people are aware of by now, I love my cats.

    It was revealed to me one day that “every good and perfect gift comes from above”…and that includes cats.

    So…when I would tell my cat how much I loved him, I would thank God for the gift of the cat.

    I started doing that with everything that made my life better…I thanked God for a new hot water heater, for fixing the dishwasher, for living a few blocks away from the best Chinese food in the valley…for the friends I have, for the church I pastor…on and on…believing these were all gifts from God with my name on them.

    When my cats died I thanked God that He was keeping them safe for me until I get home.

    That’s how I developed a “personal” relationship with Him…though it’s hard to keep a relationship with a person who often seems mute.

    I envy those who have a hands raised, tears streaming ,relationship with God…but I have enough to get me home…

  17. Officerhoppy says:

    Great response. Again, you’ve given me some things to think about

  18. Michael says:

    I think that for me the most difficult issue is surrounding prayer and healing.

    I’ve been online a lot today because I can’t walk more than a couple of steps without having to hit the ground.

    It’s not because I haven’t been prayed for.

    For some reason lost in my social media travels, I’ve followed the story of a small child with cancer on Facebook…its been a couple of years.

    Thousands have prayed for this little girl over that time…through all the ups and downs of treatments and hopes raised.

    Tomorrow, she goes on hospice care…and it shouldn’t be this way.

    My hope is in His coming and a new heaven and a new earth where all cancers have been killed…but that doesn’t help much today…

  19. Michael says:

    The” peace of God” is an interesting one to me.

    When I was going in for heart surgery, I was at peace…truly supernatural peace.

    Sine the death of Smokey and this crippling back issue…peace is far from me.

    I’m afraid I’m going to end up in a wheel chair…afraid that I’m probably already addicted to pain killers, afraid I won’t be able to take care of myself…cats can only carry so much.

    My prayer life is better than ever, but many of those I pray for aren’t getting better.

    There is much I don’t understand, but I’m too tired to care…

  20. Officerhoppy says:

    “ There is much I don’t understand, ”

    After 53 years of following Christ, 30 plus in the pulpit, I am amazed at what little about God that I understand…especially prayer

  21. Officerhoppy says:

    But I’ve said that before

  22. Bob Sweat says:


    Your questions are many of the same questions that I have struggled with for the past 6 years. Thank for sharing them.

  23. Michael says:

    People get irritated that I have threads like this, but I think they are both healthy and necessary.

    We all have doubts and questions…and those are best dealt with in community.

  24. Officerhoppy says:

    Love to hear of your struggles

    You are right. Appreciate the fact that this is a community where I feel safe to bring up these kind of subjects. And, the truth is, many believers (like Bob) wrestle with similar issues yet don’t feel free to talk about them for fear of being judged.

  25. Alan says:


    Why were you a pastor? Honest question. It’s hard for me to fathom your honesty here in light of 30 years as a pastor. I mean in my world as a Baptist there were at least two clear God encounters that had to be testified about; an experiential salvation and likewise a call.

    In my world the experience factor is limitless. We expect to actually interact with God via the Spirit daily. Yes the frauds abound however a simple word about prayer.

    In my life prayer is not looking for answers to requests. Prayer is engaging the Father in his presence. It is engagement. “Come boldly …” as per Hebrews. “And find…”

    For me sermon prep itself is experiencing God. And yet my world is – like yours- ambiguity filled. But also certainty filled.

  26. Alan says:

    *In my world as a charismatic. (Second paragraph)

  27. Officerhoppy says:

    Why was I a pastor? Good question. I appreciate the push back. I’ve thought about it and here are a few reasons:

    I have always had a poor self image. It was bolstered when I have a blue uniform and a badge to hide behind. Being a pastor and loved and approved by many was very attractive to me.

    I sat under and later worked for a very charismatic pastor who taught and modeled that any individual, could launch out and teach-trained or not. The idea was if God can use a donkey (Balaam’s) he can use you. I bought into it

    I didn’t know, clearly, what “calling” was. The word got thrown around a lot but I’ve never understood or was confident enough in it to know if I was “called”.

    The church I was apart of placed a high value on the pastorate. I was a musician and a pretty good and innovative worship leader. But musicians we’re considered “a dime a dozen”.

    I was offered a position on full time staff at this church, I was young and took it.

    After 7 years the pastor “reassigned” our positions and job descriptions. Because I had published two children’s books and musical dramas (one is on Kindal), I was assigned the position of children’s pastor. I didn’t want it and was advised to “take it or leave it”

    I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to change careers again. And the pastor offered to support a church plant in a small community up in the mountains of Ashland. He promised financing for 6 months. With nothing else on my plate, I took it. They were a delightful group of people. But a very small community.

    After a year, I was asked to consider assuming a pastoral role in Salem. I prayed, about it, consulted others, and then, moved 3/4th’s of my family up there.

    We ended up building the church body to about 325 or so, purchased a piece of property with a building on it.

    But I never experienced God like you described. I felt pretty much alone in my efforts to pastor. Preaching was tough. I’d study and study hard in sermon prep. But HS inspiration was hard to come by. So, I started to beg, borrowing and stealing from any source possible. Usually someone else’s idea or thought. I didn’t like doing that but I had no choice.

    Ultimately, Faith said God was moving—if he wasn’t he was sovereign. But fact said, I didn’t have the ability the ability to preach, or the personality to build a church of any significance.

    So in the end, my experience didn’t match my hopes, and what I was led to believe about the pastorate (preach it and they will come). I never saw the miraculous, or even a healing. My sermons we stoic, wooden. So in the end the only thing that kept me going was hard work—all, I convinced myself, for the glory of god. It was exhausting

    I am still a follower of Christ, but I am not very passionate toward him. Felt abandoned by him.

    The bottom line is I was falsely led to believe that I would see god moving if in miraculous ways if I just launched out. That God didn’t show up in my ministry.

    And I realize that I may not have been “called”. My motivation, I am ashamed to say, was probably my need for acceptance.

    I’m licking my wounds. Hoping to right this shipwrecked boat

  28. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ve wanted to write more books. Maybe my experience and the lessons learned in the pastorate would help some one. Still trying to find where God was in my journey. I thought I was acting in faith when in reality, it was my own need for acceptance.

    Still processing that. But the first thing is to admit it. Which I what I’ve done here

  29. Michael says:


    I’m in pretty dismal shape this morning, but I want to say that I believe what you’ve written in these last two comments are among the most important things ever written on this site.

    I commend you for speaking your truth out loud…as I believe it is a truth shared by many.

    There is much worth thinking on in this thread…I hope to contribute when the pain is down to a dull roar.

  30. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks friend

    As a fellow pain sufferer I have great empathy for your situation.

    Hang in there.

  31. JD says:

    Thank you pastors for your honesty.

  32. Alan says:


    I love your response. Been out all day. Returning to such honest fresh expression was powerful. I will think on it a lot. Given what you describe you did better than you realize. Much!

    Proud to have this online acquaintance. I’d misread you. Now I get it.

  33. Alan says:


    You are in a better position to hear His voice now than you ever were trying to wear a mantle he had not laid upon you. But nevertheless you attempted a noble task.

    A church of 325 was larger than 80% of all churches. So you gave them something of value.

  34. Josh says:

    Wanna agree on with all appreciating Hoppy’s words. I see so much of my own journey in that 10:28 post.

    Also, yeah…300 is a big church.

  35. Captain Kevin says:

    The honesty and encouragement of community in this thread is so refreshing.

  36. Officerhoppy says:

    The sad truth is, while I loved those 350 people, I wanted more. I wasn’t satisfied.


  37. Josh says:

    Ah, give yourself some grace. You had good reasons in your head then for needing to reach more people. Looking back, you have more wisdom, and that’s good.

  38. Captain Kevin says:

    Hoppy, what Josh said!

  39. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks, pal. And to everyone. Very cathartic to hang yourself out there and be honest without fear of retribution.

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