Things I Think

You may also like...

123 Responses

  1. “Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute”?

    Yes, yes it can.

    In fact, instead there is a buttressing, a rally of out of town big-wigs who show up to support the brand.

    Thus is The Vatican.

    …this IS what we’re talking about, right?

  2. Nonnie says:

    I always look forward to what you have thunk on Mondays.

    Packer’s book sounds great!

  3. Shaun Sells says:

    1. We see a board member as a deacon/deaconess, so we require they meet those standards. Our little way of making the state requirements match the Biblical example.

    5. I’m sick of hearing about the problems with the church instead of what is great about the church, that is probably why I don’t come here very often. Maybe the great thing about the church is that Jesus Christ is the head and all us pastors, parishioners and even bloggers who think we can do it better than him are the real problem. That goes for Calvary Chapel as well as the Phoenix Preacher.

  4. Michael says:


    Yes, the similarities are amazing and documented.

  5. Hello, any “devil-loving liberals” loving those comments on the article?


    When my lady-friend is accused of being a “devil-loving liberal”, I stand with her in amazement that such a personal slur be slung her way.

    Off to take care of my dear wife today. Medical stuff.
    Glad to be able to be there for her.

    Pray for good outcomes for our friend AG

  6. Michael says:


    I’m sure many share your sentiments.
    As a lover of the church and a follower of it’s Head, I believe I should be concerned when it doesn’t seem to reflect either Him or His ways.
    When my son is sick, I don’t wait for him to get pneumonia to act…and I think the American church has a real bad cough.
    Love demands thoughtful action…

  7. Michael says:


    Thank you…and thank you for being here.

  8. I agree with Shaun and his comment about the continual drumming of the problems in the church. The problems mentioned are included in such a miniscule % of churches it is ridiculous.
    Something was mentioned the other day about money in the church, and I sat and thought, 80% of churches probably struggle to pay the bills , another 10% probably pay and have something left over and another 5-7% use the leftover in extra benevolence.

    The mega church world is probably 2% of the American Church scene and most run on the up and up. Because some scoundrels have come on the scene is no reason for statements like “The problem with the church is that,…”

  9. On the Packer issue, can you shed some light and name a few of the people who will criticize his new publication? What I am asking is – are they scholars and theolgians, or are they bloggers?

  10. 1.) I believe the requirements are the same for bloggers, right?
    2.) I think Vision Casting has now run its course. It was the hot thing 3-5 years ago, which probably means those folks have moved onto to something new.
    3.) I don’t know. I think those inside the church look so much like culture, it would be hard to tell the difference. Plus, our culture has now come up with a few things that we are not allowed to disagree with, no matter how nice we try to be while doing so.

    5.) True. This can probably be seen better more locally. Any time God does something, it loses its power as soon as it gets a name. You can’t institutionalize the Holy Spirit.

    8 – That’s probably true in the same way that #5 is true.

  11. Michael says:


    Scholars from the Reformed tradition have been beating the drum for years for Packer to write a systematic theology.
    The usually wonderful Carl Trueman went as far as to call him a failure for not doing so, and he was joined by others.

  12. 1. Most church board members are usually elders or deacons, so I fail to see the point.
    2. When I hear “vision caster”, I imagine someone in a backroom casting bones and reading the future from them. Not any kind of mental image i want from a church leader.
    7. I wouldn’t mind reading that book. I know that other baptists would probably disagree, but I have started to think recently, that lack of catechism has led to normal christians (not leaders) with a lack of knowing what they believe in reality. I have heard some of the most outrageous things from christians due to lack of this.
    9. Set up a feeder that isn’t on tree and rearrange the flight path. My parents love birds and my dad is trying to get a picture of a gyr falcon that shouldn’t be in MS. But, much like the internet, in the birding community, “Picture, or it didn’t happen!”

    I agree, with Shaun somewhat, what about what is good with the church.I agree there is much wrong with the church but, If I read this blog exclusively, I would be depressed about the state of the church constantly.

  13. Michael says:


    The last time I checked, bloggers have no control over any churches where they don’t hold an office…

  14. Michael,
    That’s funny about the Packer books – Lutherans don’t write Systematics. We prefer Dogmatics, which is a much more broad discipline.

  15. Michael says:


    Your #7 pegged why Packer is so passionate about this.
    The blog can depress us as we talk about these issues, but I believe they need to be discussed and thought about.
    The other side of the coin is that we have lots of different traditions learning to live together under one blog roof and one can find prayer and support here.
    So…while we are dark at times, we’re also trying to model some light.

  16. Michael says:


    Lutherans can call there books anything they want…but Lutheran scholars I just Googled called a number of volumes “systematics”. The Reformed write a lot of dogmatics as well…but at the end of the day they are expositions of our traditions systematic theology.

  17. @13 – Michael – That’s not what you said when I told you Ken Silva was harmless.

  18. Michael says:


    I see a difference between control and influence…

  19. Well the google people can call them what they want but, as I am sure that you know, systematics and dogmatics are 2 completely different disciplines.

  20. Shaun Sells says:

    Video of Carl Trueman calling Packer a failure:

    It is important to hear the end though (4:30 on to the end) as Trueman says that Packers failure to write a systematic theology is actually his greatest success (his final conclusion).

  21. Ehhh, maybe. My church doesn’t have board members and that type of things, but I would assume an autonomous church who does have those things would be holding them to the biblical standards of leadership. Maybe, maybe not, but that’s the nature of the beast in a free country and a free church.

  22. Michael says:


    While I bow before your knowledge of Packers writings and writings about him, though Trueman softened his criticism somewhat, he still called him a failure for having not written the systematic theology expected and that criticism was echoed by others after the publication of the volume in question.

  23. jlo says:

    If it hadn’t been for this blog I doubt I would have been able to find a healthy church. I would have just wallowed in what I already knew. It was through the discussion of what was wrong, that I was taught about what is right.

    Might I suggest for those that are tired of hearing what is wrong with the church, submit an article about what is right about the church.

  24. Shaun Sells says:

    #22 – Agreed. I wasn’t arguing, I was adding to the conversation – that Trueman has softened his criticism is a great way to put it.

  25. Michael says:


    Thank you…and I’ll be very happy to print those articles when they come.

  26. Michael says:


    Packer fascinates me for all the reasons Trueman criticized him.
    He could have made himself a fortune and an even bigger name with minimal effort, yet he has been completely true to his calling as he understood it.
    I love him for all the theology he has taught me…I love him more because when I observe his behavior I’m shamed into humility.
    Lest anyone think otherwise, I’m a big fan of Trueman as well…and I think he has learned some of the same things I have from Packer.

  27. jlo,
    Obviously you have found a healthy church, so you should be able to do the same. I am just saying that sometimes everyone comes here to find all that they can to find wrong with the church and when anyone mentions anything that might be right with it they are immediately met with “But, my experience is….(insert bad experience here)” Not saying that the bad experience did not happen, but just that there are a lot of churches out there and the same bad things don’t happen at them all. In fact I would bet that MLD is correct and the majority of churches in the US aren’t as flawed as the “high profile because of scandal” churches. Again not saying they aren’t flawed, cause the church will only be made perfect when He returns, but I just think it isn’t healthy to focus only on the bad and not add an emphasis on what the church gets right.

  28. Scott Barber says:

    Success in theology should obviously be measured by whether you have published a great leathered and dusty systematic tome. I mean…Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Ireneaus, Justin Martyr, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Bernard of Clairvaux…all utter failures. Sarcasm over. I am sure Packer is happy to join the ranks of those who served the church with their intellect, rather than their own systematic egos.

    I have always liked Barth’s joke that the angels see him approaching heaven, pushing around his mountainous dogmatics in a wheelbarrow. “The angels laugh,” Barth says. “Here comes old Karl with his wheelbarrow full of dogmatics. He thinks he knows. The angels laugh.”

  29. Shaun Sells says:

    What is right with the church, 10 things I think edition (at jlo’s request):

    1. Gods love – preached to me, my personal salvation.
    2. Teaching and teachers – we are not alone in our understanding of Jesus.
    3. Fellowship – millions of people have new friends and family who love them and they love.
    4. Family meals – potlucks are powerful when it comes to sharing lives
    5. Prayer – an audience with God, but friends to pray with you.
    6. Gods leadership – God is a leader we should trust exclusively.
    7. Gods gift Salvation – the gospel is still good news.
    8. Holiness – both granted and lived out in changed lives.
    9. Sincerity – rarely do you see people as sincere as you see in the church.
    10. Grace – not just from God, but granted to each other.

    Now, I know a list of ten things is not powerful, but here is the deal…each one of those things is being played out in the lives of millions of people everyday! I know names that match those realities and so do all of you.

    “Finally, brethren,
    whatever is true,
    whatever is honorable,
    whatever is right,
    whatever is pure,
    whatever is lovely,
    whatever is of good repute,
    if there is any excellence
    and if anything worthy of praise,
    dwell on these things.”

    Philippians 4:8

  30. Michael says:


    Great quote from Barth!
    He would need a big wheelbarrow to contain his magnum opus…

  31. Here’s a good story on a church:

    Yesterday afternoon a few people from my church went to the local jail (I was unable to go yesterday). They prayed with the prisoners, shared the Gospel, and in general just brought a little hope to some very downcast souls.

    And that’s why more stories aren’t posted about positive church things. Doesn’t move the meter. Nobody cares. We like to get mad.

  32. jlo says:

    Shaun, 🙂

  33. jlo says:

    Derek, funny thing is as I was posting my comment, that little voice in the back of my head kept saying, why don’t you write an article. I’ve been arguing with myself since then.

  34. Michael says:


    I think all of us would say amen to your list and affirm the Scripture you quoted.
    The question is what do we do with the things in the church that are unlovely and that mar the image of God in His body?

  35. Shaun Sells says:

    Michael –

    Confront and wait.
    – wait for repentance.
    – wait for justice.
    – wait for God.

    As you wait you minister to those who are hurt.

    I don’t think what you do here is bad, but I worry that it has consumed your joy and others. I worry that it has tainted your view of the glorious body of Christ. Occasionally saying good things about the church does not negate the bad in the church or the work that you do.

  36. Alex says:

    Agreed, net/net the church is great. Just like net/net our govt. is great, our justice system is great, our educational system is great, the DMV is great etc. OK, maybe not the DMV, but all the others…

  37. Things that go right and things that go wrong in a church are what makes the church.

    My church is not flawed… but it is filled with flawed people. People who are at different maturity levels in their faith, people who are at different needs levels in their life – and the difference could be listed on and on.

    But church yesterday –
    1.) all showed up who were called
    2.) confession of sin was verbalized as was the absolution from that sin.
    3.) The word was preached clearly in both it’s forms
    4.) The sacraments administered
    5.) Prayer was plenty
    6.) and worship was loud.
    7.) The food collection was taken up – we try for 1000 lbs a month for the food bank
    8.) During the 2nd service, half of the elders went out for homebound visitation, a little of the word and the administering of the Lord’s Supper.

    With all of that, the people, the differences etc, we all got out of the parking lot without flipping each other off. I would say that is pretty healthy.

  38. Alex says:

    I take my daughter to Father/Daughter Ball at our church every year. It is THE highlight of our year and we treat it like a prom. She glows with excitement and joy. It is an awesome event and facilitated by our church and done very well. The church is in fact awesome for many things and many times over.

    I love our local church, very much. I’ve watched my wife and kids grow and learn and enjoy and make relationships and help others etc. As cynical as I am, I still recognize the good that church brings to a family and a community.

    (caveat: we have membership, open finances, vetted sunday school workers, shared power, elected elders, venue for members to air grievances etc etc).

  39. Alex says:

    I think when church is good, it is very very good. Calvary Chapel Boise in our area runs a Thrift Store and the profits go to help the needy. Great thing they’re doing. Our church runs a coffee shop, “Mission Mojo” and all the proceeds fund missions and support and help for China. Our churches in the area support the local food banks (as do we) and many folks are helped in a practical manner vs. “be warm and be filled”.

    Lots and lots and lots of good stuff. I read about all the good stuff all the time in our local newspapers, in fact I read about all the good stuff churches do in pretty much any local newspaper I pick up and any local news station I watch.

    I think net/net the church gets a ton of good press and sends out of a ton of good PR etc. I think the vast majority of headlines are “good” in nature vs. critical…especially at the local levels which make up the vast majority of press coverage in this nation.

  40. Alex says:

    I just got off the Calvary Chapel websites, WOW what a ton of good stuff they are doing. Really good stuff, all the stuff they report is very positive. I just reviewed some other churches websites as well, seems everyone in the church does so many good things. They have all sorts of things they promote and publicize and it’s all very good stuff.

    In fact, I can’t find one bad thing on any of those websites. I’d say that by far the church is really good at being good and telling the story about the good they do.

  41. Michael says:


    I think you make a good point, maybe unintentionally. 🙂
    The church is to be a beautiful and holy thing, an organism that we are both a part of and an observer of.
    When it is at it’s best, it is a living picture of Jesus…and when it isn’t doing that, then that picture must be protected and restored.

  42. Teaching through Jonah right now.

    The call to preach AGAINST Ninevah, the violent storm, and the big fish were all acts of Grace though they were awful to those too close to the situation.

    Jesus’ situation got pretty ugly. God’s love in action.

    He’s still at work. This is all part of the process. When we can get away from the immediate pain of it all, we will be amazed.

  43. Chile says:

    I always loved the church, even though none were perfect and at times dealt with serious issues. It was there that I saw Jesus shining through people, it was the authentic sacrificial love and generosity of both emotional and physical, that taught me what Jesus “with skin on” looks like. I felt safe. I was able to learn both Scripture and how to live that Scripture out.

    BUT when the “church” allows sin to live inside the ranks, habitually, and even sometimes hailed as “good” (most especially within leadership -see Jesus and the Pharisees,) is when this story begins to change. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

    I think the same can be said of Denoms/Movements/Affiliations that ignore the habitual sin of a church within their ranks. Love would not leave the innocent members/attenders at the mercy of a leader -who has the power- in sin. Love would not leave the leader alone, in his sin, while in power, either. We even have Scripture that tells us to approach our “brother”, to call him to account, and to publicly rebuke and warn others if he does not repent. It does not tell us to just wait … pass the buck back to God, even after He’s told us in written form that we have a responsibility to deal with it.

    I think of Eli ignoring his sons’ poor behavior and the ensuing result. It was disastrous. He was waiting, prolly hoping the boys would just get it, or God would do something in their hearts; YET, God -instead- held both the boys and their father/religious leader to account. I believe the overall picture in Scripture paints a scary picture of what happens when we just wait … in the face of clear, unrepentant sin in our brother … especially in leadership.

  44. Michael says:


    Well said as usual…I was just teaching through 1 Cor 5 and your application is dead on.

  45. Anne Kohut says:

    Thank you Chile! I wrote a response re: leaven that disappeared into cyberspace. The cyber-angels must have known you were coming along with a more well stated post.


  46. Chile says:

    The positive aspects I’ve seen this year, alone, have been lots of personal exchanges of the body using their gifts one to another. It’s been refreshing and invigorating!

    I love watching a church take a monthly offering where 100% of it is used for those in need. When someone is unemployed there is up to $6,000 available … with some oversight, and accountability for those dispensing.

    Too many more good things to name them all here.

    But I find it hard to take the word of a leader/pastor about what great things they are doing in and through the church. I think we have a tendency to think of ourselves much better than we really are, especially when our reputation is linked to our income and pride.

    However, when someone else sees the good points and values them, it’s easier to hear.

    I could take all 10 points that Shaun made in #29 and show how my former pastor would say those too, only each of those points were tainted by the habitual, unrepentant sin going on in the pastor/leaders.

    Because there was no mechanism by which to deal with that pastor, and many around who saw the wrong were just “waiting” for God to do something, and they were negligent in their responsibility, the rest of us suffered. Many who had to endure the worst of what happened in that church, now cannot read Shaun’s 10 points without thinking of how our former pastor applied them in real life. Let’s just say it was sick.

  47. Chile says:

    Thanks, Michael & Anne!

    I feel like a broken record, but the concept is apparently hard to grasp when one has not see it from the underbelly.

  48. London says:

    This coming weekend is The Justice Congference, this time in Philly. That conference, it’s speakers and attendees are all part of what I see as the church doing some thing right.
    This year, they’ve made it possible to attend live streams of the conference at local churches so more people can participate.
    Exciting stuff

  49. Michael says:


    You beat me to it! 🙂
    I’m reading Ken Wytsmas book while multitasking and it’s wonderful…

  50. London says:

    Me too!!
    I’m getting a lot out of it so far

  51. Chile says:

    Bear with me as I illustrate my point, as I think it may help in the understanding why for many of us it is a tainted subject to just look at the bright side and talk about the good being done churches. (Not that we can’t talk about good, but without the acknowledgement of bad and actions to back up what we say we believe, then the subject rings hollow.)

    Here’s how many who have experienced the underbelly of my former tribe read what Shaun wrote (this is not an attempt at describing Shaun’s church, as I do not know Shaun or his church):

    1. God’s love … the main reason why one should sacrifice all of one’s time and resources to serve the pastor’s goals and needs.
    2. Teaching and teachers … are only of value if it comes from the pastor. All others are suspect and really unnecessary. Absolutely no one is to have any questions or ideas that are in conflict with the pastor’s.
    3. Fellowship … for the inner circle, and subject to change the moment the pastor decides someone should be shunned. Close friends have to part in order to stay employed or in the good graces of the pastor and his devotees.
    4. Family meals … are good if you are bringing enough food, and helping enough. Otherwise, you might as well not come unless you want to face the look of reprimand from the pastor or a backhanded compliment meant to point out your lacking to others.
    5. Prayer… just so long as you don’t share anything personal, or pray for anyone the pastor doesn’t like. The personal stuff will be used against you, at some point.
    6. God’s leadership … means that God leads the pastor, regardless of what he’s doing and so whatever the pastor says is what God is saying.
    7. God’s gift salvation… YES! AMEN! The Gospel is still GOOD NEWS even if someone preaches it for personal gain! This is TRUE! Thank God!
    8. Holiness … That was missing.
    9. Sincerity … well, in our church that was more of a well-rehearsed act. The hundreds of us who left found more sincerity outside of the church.
    10. Grace … this is a wonderful concept, but only available to the pastor, or to leaders in sin that he wanted to protect, but not to the “attenders.”

  52. Chile says:

    Oops, sorry, I meant to say this is what many from my former “church” would read into Shaun’s list of good in the church.

    Our CC pastor said all those same things about his church. He told other pastors in town about his successes and how we had the best church model which was why we grew so large. The devotees repeated the same mantra dutifully to neighbors.

    Unfortunately, these things were not true in that church. The fact that there were serious issues was less of a concern to me, than the fact that we had no meaningful way to call the pastor (and leaders) in sin to account. We had no oversight or pastors within the affiliation to call him to account. We were called divisive if we tried to figure out what on earth was wrong as the evidence became glaring in our eyes. We were thrown out being called gossips and slanderers because we asked questions.

    I like talking about the good in churches, in the Body of Christ Universal, but only after the wrongs have been acknowledged can I even begin to trust the good reports.

    Okay, I’ve said enough. Thanks for the chance.

  53. Just like I said “But, my experience is….(insert bad experience here)”

  54. Shaun Sells says:

    For the benefit of Alex, Chile, and others I will add another to my list of 10 great things about the church.

    11. The evil experienced in one fellowship can lead/drive us to a better fellowship where we can experience God’s grace.

    I would add this caveat though – the place where you saw and experienced evil has been the place that dripped with grace and healing for others, which I will add as #12.

  55. jlo says:

    Absolutely we have seen this today “Just like I said “But, my experience is….(insert bad experience here)””

    But we have also seen “But, my experience is….(insert GOOD experience here)”

    And that is the balance a good discussion should have.

  56. Steve Wright says:

    (this is not an attempt at describing Shaun’s church, as I do not know Shaun or his church):

    A Moses Model Pastor is not a servant leader by definition. He’s a despot, as Moses was
    Chile, was this comment one week ago about Shaun?

    Or just about the 1000+ other guys whom you do not know (or their churches).

  57. Lutheran says:

    I’ve also been reading Wytsma’s book. Excellent,and inspiring, very practical and readable.

    London or Michael, any idea how many people have attended, or will attend the Conference in Philly?

  58. Michael says:


    There were about 4000 of us in Portland…I don’t know how many have registered for Philly.

  59. Lutheran says:

    That’s inspiring!

  60. Michael says:


    The inspiring part to me was that I ran into people I would have never expected to see at such a gathering…and they came home and put what they learned into practice.

  61. Shaun Sells says:

    #13 – the justice conference.

  62. Alex says:

    BTW, this is for Bob G: I didn’t get kicked off the blog a-hat. I agreed to tone it down and take a break. Misinfo from you as usual in the Fresno Bee article.. Hope you do the perp walk soon a-hole.

  63. London says:

    I’ll bet there’s at least 4,000 in Philly. Eugene Cho is speaking and he has a pretty big following with his One Day’s Wages.
    Also, there’s a dozen or more churches, in the west mostly, live streaming the speakers.
    Heard there’s a Justice Conference Asia in Hong Kong coming up.
    All amazing that people are wanting to be involved in being the church.

  64. London says:

    And here we go again…

  65. Chile says:

    Steve, my comments are about true Moses Model Pastors and anyone else running a church with all the control in the Pastor’s hands and no real meaningful accountability. Is that a description of Shaun?

  66. Chile says:

    Shaun, saying the evil we experience in a church can be good because it can drive us to a good church seems much like saying the Holocost was good because it relocated the Jews who survived to safer places to live.

    That comment seems to miss the point and be a bit calloused.

  67. jlo
    Wasn’t trying to offend it is just that Chile’s #51 response to Shaun’s #29 illustrated perfectly what I said. An (almost) point by point refutation based on someone’s experience and against someone else’s experience. I just don’t see it as healthy.
    But, you are correct, I am glad to have seen some showing a good side to the Bride today. 🙂

  68. *correction
    healthy to the one who seems to find no good in the church.

  69. Shaun Sells says:

    Chile – evil things happening are by definition not good. The good part is that God has used what evil has happened for your benefit.

    “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

    Obviously Paul is not talking about finding the right church, but the whole journey of our Christian walk; both good and evil; are going to lead us to be overwhelming conquerors. Would I prefer that you never had to go through bad stuff – yes. But, knowing that you have and are in a good place now is also a gift from God worth celebrating.

    Sorry if that feels calloused.

    Concerning accountability I am accountable to the board of directors, and the elders. Anyone can bring complaints about me to the elders. All our finances are recorded in a public file as well as our board meeting minutes. If there is a dispute between me and the leadership then an outside arbitrator has final say (chosen in advance already in our minutes and agreed to by the arbitrator – a non-Calvary guy). Some of those accountability changes happened because of my time here at the PP, some because of some bad things that happened here before I was the senior pastor.

  70. Reuben says:

    If you have not read that, you should.

    Shaun is a guy I know personally. He is super. His family is precious. I will say this of Shaun. When I started leaking things about Chad Myhre, there were a number of pastors who filled my inbox with, “Don’t do that, bro…” and then never spoke to me again. Shaun was not one of them. He even let me into his church, post my fallout with the great Simpleminded Preacher. That says something…

    Packer has made available every single one of his systematic theology lectures in mp3 format, and on iTunes U. They are priceless. They transformed me deeply. I don’t care if he never writes a Systematics book. He was busy teaching class.

    Packers lectures on the Call to Catechize (also available) is the very reason I will go through Catechism to be “confirmed” into the Anglican Church. Who knows, I may study beyond that, thanks to Packer, and become a priest some day.

  71. Packer a failure…uh…sure…in what universe?

  72. London says:

    Unless Paul gave you permission to post that and asked you to, I think it should not be posted.

  73. Starting a new nonprofit called Grenades for Greniers … Sad story that has to end sadly.

    In scripture there is no sadder story than the case of the Levite and the unnamed concubine… that story advances to a gruesome ending with this admonition

    Judges 19:30 (ESV)30 And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.”

    Speak out Alex and Paul

  74. Michael says:

    We both have permission to post it.

  75. London says:

    Good to know Michael.

    Since it looks like this blog is going back to be about Alex and his story again, I’m bailing for the duration


  76. Michael says:

    It is one of the topics we cover.
    After reading that declaration it would be immoral to not speak to it in some measure.
    We will continue to speak of other things as well, as we have today.

  77. Jim Jr. says:

    There’s some beachfront property in Visalia I’d like to sell you.

  78. Chile says:

    Shaun, I like the changes you made. I respect you seeing problems with the system and making changes to try and avoid the issues associated with that flawed system.

    I am unfamiliar with your story. All I know about you is the dismissive tone I’ve heard you use on ocassion on PhxP, and the wonderful endorsement Reuben has given you. Steve tried to link you to my Moses Model comments so it made me wonder if you are a MM pastor?

    It may be that you are still a Moses Model with adjustments. If you are, then I still respect the changes made, though I still warn about the remaining issues.

    The way I read it, Michael brought up current legitimate issues, but the reaction was to redirect the conversation to the opposite of what he brought up. In context, it seemed like turning a blind eye and forcing a conversation about positives; whereas, it would seem more appropriate to acknowledge the negative first, so that the positives can be heard.

    I do maintain that if you are a pastor in the tribe that has in its distinctives the Moses Model (that enabled my former paster to leave a wide path of destruction in his wake,) then it does sound calloused for you to be the one calling me to speak of my experience as positive. I can speak to positives, but it’s appropriate that it be on my terms; while it really is inappropriate for you to force the issue.

    I don’t tell survivors of anything that they should speak of their ordeal in a positive light. It’s their story to tell their way, in their time.

    But the point I was making wasn’t about where I am today, it was explaining how your words could be true about your church, while your words have already been redefined by other pastors thus making it nearly impossible to hear your “good report.” It’s still a valid point, and one that can be very beneficial if you can hear the insight it offers.

  79. Dedicated to Alex, his brother Paul, Tim, and others seeking justice, Michael in this business challenge, and anyone else who is in a little need of encouragement:

    Alabama Shakes’ “Hold On”

    Bless my heart.
    Bless my soul.
    Didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old.
    There must be someone up above sayin’
    “Come on Brittany, you got to come on up.”
    “You got to hold on…”
    “Hey, you got to hold on…”

    So, bless my heart and bless yours too.
    I don’t know where I’m gonna go
    Don’t what what I’m gonna do.
    Well, must be somebody up above sayin’
    “Come on Brittany, you got to come on up!”
    “You got to hold on…”
    “Hey, you got to hold on…”

    “Yeah! You got to wait!”
    “Yeah! You got to wait!”
    But I don’t wanna wait!
    No, I don’t wanna wait…

    So, bless my heart and Bless my mind.
    I got so much to do, I ain’t got much time
    So, must be someone up above saying
    “Come on girl! You got to get back up!”
    “You got to hold on…”
    “Hey, you got to hold on…”

    “Yeah! You got to wait!”
    “Yeah! You got to wait!”
    But I don’t wanna wait!
    No, I don’t wanna wait!

    “You got to hold on…”
    “You got to hold on…”
    “Got to hold on…”
    “You got to hold on…”

  80. Shaun Sells says:

    Lesson learned Chile, I won’t bother you anymore.

    You’d think after 6 years interacting here I would realize I have nothing to add. Talk about a slow learner.

  81. Shaun,
    Don’t be bullied. Stand your ground and let your voice be heard. Chile and some others are just repetitive white noise.

  82. No offense meant to Chile – but some here are like the culture political correctness police. If you are from CC your are not allowed to voice anything and will be shouted down.

  83. Shaun Sells says:

    MLD – I don’t feel bullied, I just don’t want to invest my time and emotions into the constant disagreement.

  84. Shaun Sells says:

    Good night and be blessed all.

  85. Steve Wright says:

    I think all of us would say amen to your list
    Of course that was not the case. Someone did not ‘amen’ but had to dissect it point by point, which would not have happened if the list was written by Josh, Dread, or just about most anyone else.

    Hey, even MLD wrote out a list that nobody argued with. And MLD usually is begging for disagreement. 🙂

    Shaun’s right. And #84 is right on by me too.

    Good night and be blessed all.

  86. Ixtlan says:

    “If you are from CC your are not allowed to voice anything and will be shouted down.”

    Can’t believe that came from mld’s fingertips. I would have to agree with his observation; it is largely the case.

    However, Paul has testified via a deposition under risk of perjury. It is time, no, it is past time for the new Calvary Chapel Association to investigate this matter.

  87. Chile says:

    Shaun, your response catches me by surprise, which leads me to think I have not communicated clearly. Offense to you was not intended.

    I apologize if my explanation of how your words could be redefined by other affiliates (who use them differently than how the words were intended) came across somehow as an attack on you. That was not my intent.

    If I was then too sensitive to your saying that people should rejoice over the bad because it caused good later, then I’m sorry. I may be guilty of that.

    I do not expect political correctness, nor all posts to be sanitized and perfectly sensitive. Though we all need some, whether we like it or not. We can give out more than we can take, and I suppose we all underestimate how our words affect others negatively.

    Judging by your response, it sounds like you may need some sensitivity, too?

  88. Holy shnikies, Shaun & Steve, as the friendly neighborhood Emergent I think you boys need to chill and be willing to answer for what you post, just like I do when I risk something outside of the PreTripDispensationalPauline world view.

    I know the risks of my musings but I really want to hear objections and debate so I can continue with my searching and outworking of my faith.

    C’mon, guys, really?

  89. Chile says:

    MLD, you know better than to call me political correctness police. I’m the one who doesn’t react negatively to your lively exchanges. 😉

    I don’t think I was shouting down anything a CC guy has to say. But I do have a valid difference of opinion with Moses Model proponents, the same as you do with some of your preferred topics. Though I’m less prolific than you or MM proponents.

    I’m an outsider who has rarely posted. Seems from my limited perspective that these days that those with opinions in the ballpark of mine are the ones that are less welcome.

    But when Michael posts the current CC issues, relevant topics, it seems fair game for me to post my perspective, without anyone policing me. Once they do, then is turnaround not fair play? 😉

  90. Chile says:

    Thanks, G.

    “Holy schnikies” is a new one!

  91. annonymousincogneto says:

    I share this as I hope it helps, it wont but I do hope it helps. I was 12 or 13 when I stopped by a family friends house. I was in the house when an ambulance showed up though I do not remember the exact order. The sister mentioned something happened to the young man and told me to tell my mom. So I walked home and said what I saw, it turned out I was in the house when the young man committed suicide in the car in the garage . My brother came to me and said “you are not going to the funeral because all you want to do is get out of going to school”. Now I admit trying to get out of school was a constant theme because being tormented by many people was a constant theme as a kid in my life. Trust me I loath myself for this I should have done a Jack Bower on them and nuked everyone to show what a man I was and how big a pair I had (sorry for the offense) but that was and still is a constant theme.

    Well that night I was relegated to the room my recently dead brother lived in with the cats and the nightmares. I had many nightmares in that room to my shame, true Christians should never have nightmares, even before they have nightmares unless they have apologetic value. I did not attend the memorial service, I wish I could have and if that does not show what a piece of human filth I am I do not know what could. I get my brother he was ticked and I was an annoying piece of crap and he hurt and lashed out. It was the logical systematic approach to dealing (not dealing) with grief. That was not the first nor last time I witnessed an attempted / completed suicide. I remember several other times this happened some succeeded others did not. What I do understand as a follower of the Prince of Peace, it should have never ever not one time ever had an effect on me. That is my sin, trust me it is a sin. We should always move on, go forward and so on.

    An aside, a dear friend of mine died in my senior year of high school died a tragic death, not many knew of actually how he died. While I was working on my car my brother mentioned it to me, laughing because the cop that responded shared what he actually did. This person was popular and was nice to me and it hurt to see people laughing and mocking his death. Again this should have never had an effect on me, I count that a personal failing on my part. A real man would have moved on, at that moment. Not counting the others that died from suicide, (going up to the hill and putting a hose from the car tail pipe to the inside of the car) and so on. Between the drugs, violence, and other issues it was the killing fields and it hurt. These people were good people they tried so hard. It effected me, it should not of but it did. I wont go into the young man that was rapped and abused and eventually died of aids from the pervert that lived a fine life until he died as well. It was not easy growing up with such issues, it made me run to a fantasy world just to avoid the pain. I count that another personal failing, one should deal with pain, right there and right now. That is what a real man would do. I do not count myself a “man” and never will, all I know is that it hurt so badly. I post under an assumed name out of respect for some and for self preservation. But most of you know who I am.

  92. Shaun Sells says:

    G – I having been answering all day, first to Michael, then Jlo who challenged me to bring something positive so I brought a op ten list, then several times to Chile who thinks I am dismisive but ended it by saying my good report is “nearly impossible to receive”, and now I am answering you.

    I am out of answers.

    All I wanted to say today is Gods church is beautiful, it seems I lost that argument.

  93. Steve Wright says:

    G – I answer for what I post. Today I sat as an interested observer throughout this thread – as another brother entered the fray and by the end of the day left feeling (it seems) like I usually do.

    Poked my head up just twice…well third time now. And what’s the old saying about three strikes (MLD can remind me 🙂 )

    I’ll Amen that God’s church is beautiful….and add that bigotry sucks.

  94. Shaun,
    You know that I generally, and maybe over-optimistically, believe that God’s mercy and goodness and grace is the absolute motivator for the fruit in our lives, and in the lives of anyone who believes that The Creator delights in each of us, so, please don’t be weary in your well-doing. Yeah, this is a tough crowd sometimes, and the newer folk are still working through their “stuff” (are are we all), so please don’t bail, except for a small breather. You and Steve are totally valued here, even if some folk turn up the heat.

    Thanks for popping back in, so late. =)

  95. Steve,
    “I’ll Amen that God’s church is beautiful….and add that bigotry sucks.”

    Yep, and as many of us who spent much time immersed in our respective Calvary Chapels will tell you, we had to detox from our very own unique and specific brand bigotry we all held, that our Movement was “anointed”, that no one else taught the Word of God as effectively and simply, and that all others were coming up short.

    Now that some of us are exploring other gatherings we are still processing the fact that God is awesome and at work in every spiritual gathering that wants to know God and do love. That sometimes will appear like you are being attacked, and maybe you are, just like I get attacked for being “Emergent”, but you know what, it’s fine, we’re all fine, even when we are still “in process”.

    And, thank you too for popping back in during the night watch.

  96. Chile,
    Here is the point. We were challenged to say what is good about the church – so we did. But as soon as a CC guy made his list, you went to work. You didn’t do the full frontal attack, but in essence said “but CC words have double meaning and you are a CC guy so let’s decode this list”… which you did point by point.

    Don’t you find it odd that you made no comment about anyone else’s list?

    ” But I do have a valid difference of opinion with Moses Model proponents,”

    and Shaun told you he wasn’t and again in a backhanded way you offered “It may be that you are still a Moses Model with adjustments.”

  97. When G talks of people being “in process” I wonder what that process is? I have seen some folks here be “in process” for the 7 yrs I have been here – what’s that all about?

    I think it’s the theology that keeps you all in process – most have still maintained the basics of American POP Evangelicalism and don’t see that it contains all that you identify as bad with CC. It’s your theology, not your former church association that is suffocating you.

    American Evangelicalism holds it’s adherents prisoners to it’s unattainable pietism and false holiness standards. So you feel uncomfortable and blame your previous situations.

    Join the Orthodox Church and get away from it all (I say that so you won’t think I am recruiting) 😉

  98. Nonnie says:

    Amen to G’s 93. Shaun and Steve, you are valued and respected here!

  99. We probably got a little off track from my comment #8 where I agreed with Shaun’s comment #3.

    When the comments begin “The problem with the church is that,..” it sets up a false view of the Church. There is no problem with the Church – there may be problems with people and there may be scoundrels in the Church, but… and this is the main point – THEY ARE NOT THE CHURCH.

    I refuse to indict The Church as a PROBLEM because of people like Bob G. – Chuck Smith or even the recently added dastardly person of Carl Trueman.

  100. Oh No says:

    “However, Paul has testified via a deposition under risk of perjury. It is time, no, it is past time for the new Calvary Chapel Association to investigate this matter.”


  101. MLD,
    You said,
    “There is no problem with the Church – there may be problems with people and there may be scoundrels in the Church, but… and this is the main point – THEY ARE NOT THE CHURCH.”

    I think you are more wistful than I have ever been.

    “They” are indeed “the church”, a church, at any given moment’s snapshot, that is “in process”. To miss that we are all “in process”, and shall ever be until the day that we die and go on to eternal life, to deny that or scoff at that reality is to seek to apply a veneer of gold over a herd of living sheep… I ain’t gonna stick in reality. Besides, gold veneer is for dead mummies, not living sheep.

    Jesus’ church is beloved by Him in her imperfection. All metaphors aside, we see Him with people, engaged in moment by moment teaching and example setting, using the failures of those around Him as object lessons to illustrate that we are capable of better choices. Those who recorded the Gospels show Him dealing with very fallable followers who were often scoundrels as they walked with Him, vying for power, position and authority, some guys were even goaded on by their mommy.

    The heartening thing I gain from the narrative is that He refuses to give up on them, even when the most trusted among them deny and betray Him, and He will also remain faithful to me so that I can choose to continue with Him, even when I am most unlovely because I keep scratching off someone else’s misapplied gold veneer.

  102. Ixtlan says:


    There are times that all we can do is survive. I feel bad for you for what you have experienced, but even worse for the fact that you have internalized all this upon you and seem to be unable to let go of your own shortcomings. Those are the things that Christ died for, which for me is the only reason why my life isn’t completely dominated by my own skeletons in my closet. I have to decide daily whether to walk in the light of life or hide in the closet of my past.

  103. Chile says:


    Please accept my apology for not being much more careful and thoughtful in making my point. I read the blog wrong. I did not see very careful presentations of people’s perspectives and mistakenly thought I was posting in kind. My bad.

    My way of communicating did not convey what I intended, instead it hurt you. That was not my intention, but I’m still sorry I came across that way.

    I did not single your list out because you are a CC pastor. I just related to having heard your list before. I did not say you use those words inappropriately, for I don’t know you, but I was making the point that it’s hard for anyone, in any church, where good words about the church have been twisted so much by any pastor, in any denim/association, that the meanings are significantly changed so that it’s hard to hear the good after that. I realize I was not as careful as was needed to have made my point in a more winsome and less offensive way.

    I was not saying I could not hear good about the church. In one of my posts I had several things to say what’s good about the church. I could go on, but that was not the point I was making.

    I’m sorry I mentioned the dismissive part. I think many on here have made dismissive posts, and it seems to often been an accepted communication style. It was a comment that did not need to have been made. I was just stating what I had seen, but I guess it came across as how I define you, which I don’t.

    You said, “All I wanted to say today is Gods church is beautiful, it seems I lost that argument.” I wasn’t arguing against that. I was pointing out how it can be hard for some to be told they must speak in positive terms about the church by others. I was making a different point than you were.

    Again, I’m sorry I hurt you, Shaun. I poorly communicated.

  104. Shaun Sells says:

    Chile, I took no personal offense. I just felt like there was a lot of miscommunication. Be blessed today.

  105. Chile says:

    MLD said, “Don’t you find it odd that you made no comment about anyone else’s list?”

    No, I related to Shaun’s list because I’ve heard it before. Can’t respond to everyone, it would take too many posts, too many words and way too much time.

    MLD – ”But I do have a valid difference of opinion with Moses Model proponents,”

    I do, and you have a lots of subjects that you differ on from others, as well.

    MLD – “…and Shaun told you he wasn’t and again in a backhanded way you offered “It may be that you are still a Moses Model with adjustments.”

    That’s not a problem. I have no idea how much of the Moses Model Shaun accepts or rejects. Some have changed some of their by-laws and added some accountability (please note I praise that move greatly!) yet other parts of the Moses Model that I think are misguided and damaging remain in place. I don’t know Shaun’s position. Because he is an CC pastor, it leads me to not assume he agrees with my perspective. I would apply the same to any authoritarian pastor … and have.

    MLD, you are not one who posts carefully, thoughtfully, and sensitively. I don’t begrudge your “bull in a china closet approach,” like others do, so why would you reprimand me for how I posted? That would be a little like the pot calling the kettle black, except I’m not sure I even rise to your level of your bullish style communication. 😉

  106. Chile says:

    Thanks, Shaun.

  107. Chile says:


    Am I reading you correctly? It seems you may be making the point about how the hurt get reprimanded for actually feeling hurt?

    If so, I concur. To the degree I experienced, personally, the destruction of an unloving despot, and to the degree I feel pain for the many others who were destroyed far more than I ever was, we are often given the message (whether overtly or covertly) that it’s wrong of us to feel such pain. We are told to suck it up, get over it yesterday so I don’t have to be bothered by the fact that you have been harmed. It’s a way of inflicting more damage on the already hurt, though maybe not intended by the perpetrator.

    I’ve had time to process, work through, and better understand what happened. The fact that my experience was so much less than many others who are still ship-wrecked to this day, may have helped in my being able to get to where I am now. But because of the experience, I can better grasp what others are going through and my heart breaks much easier when I hear of their pain. This pegs out my justice meter! It moves me to action on behalf of those still in the midst of being damaged, when something can be done about it.

    It’s not that we don’t have to accept that pain happens, it’s that we are not to just accept it sitting down. We actually have biblical responsibilities to act, to respond, to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. And sometimes that includes feeling the pain and not pretending we don’t feel it.

  108. Bob Sweat says:


    MLD gets this way every baseball season. He bleeds Dodger Blue! Being optimistic is difficult, so he takes it out on people like you. 😉

  109. Chile says:

    Re: Nonnie @99

    Is there a room for me at this table, along with Shaun and Steve, too?

    I’m wondering because each time there is a “discussion” with them you point out that they are respected and valued, but don’t say that to the person with whom they were engaged. I’m honestly just wondering, because I simply don’t know the intent behind your statement. I do hope my asking is not offensive.

  110. Chile says:

    Bob, if I wore blue would that open his eyes to his double standard? 😉

  111. Chile says:

    Okay, I’ve posted too much. I buried this post and wanted to resurface it out of fairness. It’s a good one.

    Oh No says:
    February 19, 2013 at 7:05 am
    “However, Paul has testified via a deposition under risk of perjury. It is time, no, it is past time for the new Calvary Chapel Association to investigate this matter.”


  112. Nonnie says:

    Sorry, Chile! Of course!! Did not intentionally leave you out!! I said that to them as they seemed to be “bowing out” of the discussion, whereas you had not. There was no double meaning, no offence meant to you at all!

  113. Chile says:

    Thanks, Nonnie! Just needed the clarification so I didn’t read you wrong.

  114. Fly on a Wall says:

    Lively conversation here. Glad i stopped by.

    Ok, I’ll stop denying it. I’m going to openly admit it, maybe even embrace it. I’m a church-hater. I don’t want to be, but the bells that resound most loudly to me are the ones that have a problem with church.

    Maybe we can congregate and start our own movement?

    Chile, I haven’t read through all the comments, but I agree with your #51. And I want you to know you’re not alone. I’m glad you’ve moved on and found a better place. Thanks for sharing.

  115. Fly on a Wall says:

    annonymousincogneto: I’m going to assume this is Brian?

    I had to comment on your comment. Firstly I’m sorry for the grief this world has brought you (whatever it’s worth). I’ve felt a lesser version of your story, but the pain was very real and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to overcome in my life.

    There’s no answer. It’s like I told my Brian when he had cancer, you have to go through it, you have to move on. Is there hope on the other side? I don’t know. But you’d be letting everyone around you down if you didn’t try.

    I think we’re the everyday hero just for making it through the day. I think of Michael still trudging to work to provide for his son. I think of the exhausted single mom, getting ready for another 25 hour day. I think of us little people making it a point to brighten someone’s day even though our lives need brightening ourselves. We are the true heroes of the faith.

    Just a bit of wisdom I want to pass off: I think people like annonymousincogneto and I are vulnerable to abusive churches. We’re hurt, we’re looking for answers, we want a cure. We’ll believe/do anything! We would NEVER believe something as good/pure as the church was created to swindle us. Because now we got God on our side! That makes everything right!

    Uh… no. Unfortunately this ignorance is what gets people really hurt, lives ruined, money swindled. Maybe that’s why I’m so vocal (or God has put upon my heart) about church abuse. Because I KNOW why these people come to church, I know what they’re looking for, and sadly, they’re not going to find it. Jesus isn’t some cosmic genie in the sky. Having faith isn’t going to be cure. People are jerks, before/after they accepted Christ.

    But we keep moving forward. Because as Peter cried out to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
    This was Jesus reply, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

  116. Fly on a Wall,
    I think that you love people and hate the human institution that defines itself as “the church”.

    This might resonate with you as it does me,

    “Men go crazy in congregations
    But they only get better
    One by one
    One by one…”
    ~Sting, “All This Time”

  117. Fly on a Wall says:

    Thanks G. I love that.

  118. Chile says:

    Thanks, Fly! You get it.

    I know that not all pastors twist the meanings like mine did, but I was shocked to find there were many consistencies with how my pastor twisted the meanings and how many others claimed their CC pastor did, as well. I had enough experience in another authoritarian group to know that they often had word twisting, too, just a somewhat different set than CC’s.

    Since “a word to the wise is sufficient,” I imagine simply bringing this issue to the attention of any pastor, of any authoritarian group, would result in their taking a serious look to see if any of that twisting is occurring in their actions, unknowingly. That would require asking honest questions about it to people who are given the real freedom to respond truthfully, without repercussion, if they say yes to anything of the sort.

    I think we all have to ask these sorts of questions to people who will tell us the truth regularly.

  119. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    This song is dedicated to Alex and his case against CC

  120. Chile says:


  121. Alex says:

    Thanks SolRod! 🙂

  122. PP Vet says:

    “People don’t go to heaven or hell in a group; we go one by one based on our personal relationship to Christ.” Robert Jeffress

    Sort of another way of saying what Sting said in the comment by ( in 117.

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