Things I Think

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111 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Brother, one of your best. Dead-on, and completely applicable across the board.

  2. Michael says:


    Thank you, my friend…I’m a tad upset…

  3. Josh says:

    But this is productive. I suspect many, self-included, are upset by the abuses, but this goes further and points to a real diagnosis and possible solution. Well done.

  4. Donner says:

    Please don’t lump Patmos in with PFM.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I blame the parents 100% – who puts their kids through anything described as “intense”?

    What parent after sending the kids off to a foreign country and don’t hear from them in a week are not on a plane with a gun to rescue them?

    The ministry may be sick, but the parents are worse and more harmful.

  6. Michael says:


    I have reports of the same kind of problems with Patmos as PFM and the programs are based on the same sort of unbiblical precepts.

  7. Em says:

    Grifters – best definition i’ve heard

  8. Michael says:


    I agree…and if someone decided to cut my godson off from me they better bring a lunch and friends with higher caliber weapons.
    The problem is this horrible theology of discipleship is sold to the parents first…and they are subject to the same recriminations if they reject it.

  9. Michael says:


    I’ve been saving it for a special occasion like this…

  10. Michael says:

    Patmos and PFM are actually the brainchild of the same guy…but that’s a story for down the road…

  11. Donner says:

    Perhaps you refer to a different Patmos than the one I know.

    I mean the Patmos founded by Chet Lowe, the pastor who dared to speak the truth about Bob Coy.

  12. Michael says:


    I mean the exact same Patmos.
    Chet Lowe was not the one who blew the whistle on Coy.

    I’ll be blunt…this is my shot across the bow of all these programs…and I’m stacking up evidence and will be relentless in showing how harmful and unbiblical they are.

    What is happening to many of these young people is tragic and I’ll use the platform God gave me to fight for them and against this false teaching.

  13. Josh says:

    The real shame is that we know our churches are deficient in discipleship…and we try to sub-contract it.

  14. Em says:

    #3 – reminds me of the woman who rang our doorbell and told my husband that “God told her that she was to have our little RV parked in the driveway.” Without blinking, he answered her that he was sorry, but God hadn’t said anything to him about it
    If God is going to tell you to do something, does He need another person to get the message to you? No!

  15. Em says:

    Josh @9:59… Amen ! ! !

  16. Donner says:

    Michael, thanks for the reply. Chet dared to stand up against other CCFTL pastors and told the truth about Coy to the congregation.

    I am intimately acquainted with the Lowes, and I can tell you they are as different from the Rozells as light is from dark.

    I trust the Lord that you will do your routinely excellent investigative work and due diligence to ferret out wrongdoing and bring it to light.

    Please feel free to reach out to me via email.

  17. I’m sure most have heard the expression about “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” I’ve heard more than a few pastors employ this phrase in trying to justify intense discipleship. Comforting others is found all over scripture. Afflicting others is not.

  18. Dan from Georgia says:

    It seems like these “militant, gung-ho” ministries are fairly common and popular with young people and their parents in evangelical circles. I was fortunate not to be involved in any of them, but I was part of an “every man’s battle” ministry for a few years (open to all ages), a ministry based on the book of the same name.

    The kids (and adults) who go through these ministries….I kind of wonder just how long the change indeed continues. Most of these ministries have one night, usually a Saturday night, where they are challenged to make a physical sign of their landmark decision…coming forward, tossing records, magazines, and other paraphernalia of the world into a large dumpster, etc etc etc (I know of one ministry where they literally did this).

    I honestly wonder too just how effective these gung-ho, boot camp things can be. Do many of the people go back to their vices a week later?

  19. Keith says:

    It would beneficial to post some content about what folks see as healthy discipleship. Forms and content. Would be good. Good post!

  20. Michael says:

    Sometimes these programs work for people who badly need a structure to work in…but as PH said there is little biblical warrant for them.
    Keith, I’m going to enlist the team here to talk about discipleship and spiritual formation as we go.

  21. JoelG says:


    IMO living life with a simple faith in Christ is a good program. He will put stuff in front of you. You don’t have to go looking…

  22. Michael says:

    Joel just nailed my next article…

  23. Babylon’s Dread says:

    Anything that coercively demands from us that which is intended by God to be freely given is to be challenged and refused.

    Anything which takes away our voice is a denial of the new creation glory of our redemption.

    You have done a powerful work to expose this caricature of true devotion.

  24. Michael says:

    Thank you, BD….

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    As a slightly different point of view – For much of the Church’s history we have recognized that there are those who are called to a particularly rigorous religious life. From the fourth century on monastic communities existed for both men and women. Some monastic communities were active – teaching, health care, preaching, missions, etc. Other monastic communities were contemplative or devoted to prayer and spiritual direction. Such communities still exist. They are voluntary. They are not coercive. While there is genuine sacrifice, they are not “boot camps”. The organizations referenced by Michael prey on the good intentions (or fears) of vulnerable people. I sometimes wonder if part of the problem is that we have not provided alternatives that encourage genuine spiritual formation along with a sense of real community…

  26. Michael says:

    You just nailed it….now I’ll want you to expand on it… 🙂

  27. richard says:

    with all the comments about these “christian” youth discipleship camps or programs, i feel led to speak as to experiences with some secular programs for “at risk” or “troubled” youth. Sunburst Youth Academy and Grizzly Youth Academy are two programs in socal that have benefitted two of my family. Recommended by their school counselors, they are 1 semester live-in programs with limited family contact that are run by our military, I believe. for some teens that are rebellious, confused, or run with bad company, the programs can straighten out those that want to and help them get their lives on track.
    And – no abuse. (although my daughter says they did yell at you).

    my point being that there are programs out there that do good.

  28. Jean says:

    As I have reviewed and given some thought to Michael’s thoughts, I am sorrowful for the youth who were abused and even some (or most?) of the parents who meant well but were ignorant or deceived. In addition to justice and any restitution that is appropriate, one good outcome could be that the PFM scandal be preserved as a negative case study for both scholarly research as well as seminary training in field work.

    I see at least four major theological issues involved in this scandal:

    (1) How did PFM leadership and the churches that supported it view science? Is psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and related health science fields legitimate God-given vocations and gifts given by God to those called into those fields? Or, is science intrinsically evil or at least frowned upon or highly suspect?

    (2) What role does the Gospel and grace play in the lives of believers in the theology of the leadership of PFM and the churches that supported it? Is conversion one and done and then the law predominates the life of a believer, or is believer converted daily as he or she repents of his or her sins under the mirror of the law and rises to new life by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do PFM and its supporting churches believe that good works flow from a good conscience or do they even acknowledge, much less care, about the state of a believer’s conscience?

    (3) What role does synergism play in the sanctification of believers under PFM leadership and its supporting churches? Do believers make the tree good? Does the voice of the law make the tree good or produce fruit? What role if any does the Gospel, the Holy Spirit and forgiveness play in sanctification?

    (4) Has PFM and its supporting churches imported Aristotelian virtue ethics into their discipleship programs?

  29. I had this blog post brewing in my mind over the weekend:

    I’ve seen my share who think discipleship is found in making things uber-difficult people. Yeah, life’s tough enough.

  30. Xenia says:

    Some people do have a God-given desire to leave the world and concentrate entirely on prayer and service, away from the hub-bub of modern life. Such people might join a monastery, if their church tradition supports monasticism. Life at a monastery might seem extreme to outsiders, but in fact it’s a gentle, disciplined way of life, certainly not for the majority of Christians but important to the church as a whole. This has been the case for nearly 1700 years.

    A monastery is ruled by an abbot, who in turn is under the authority of his bishop. Generally, these are well-educated older men with years of experience in the monastic life. In Orthodoxy, a bishop is always chosen from the ranks of the monastics.

    What do monastics do. Well, they pray a lot. A LOT. They participate in a lot of church services. They council people who come to the monastery for advice. Some are pastors of nearby parishes. They work… gardening, cooking, book publishing, etc. A lot of very beneficial Christian literature comes from monasteries. Many great Saints of the Church were monastics, both male and female.

    Unlike Roman Catholic monastics, Orthodox monastics are not divided up into orders, like the Franciscans or the Dominicans. There’s only one kind; all basically follow the ancient Rule of St. Basil. In Orthodoxy, monastics are the most conservative. No feminist nuns in Orthodoxy.

    I’ve visited several monasteries in California and Arizona. I always come home blessed, like I got a big dose of spiritual vitamins. My favorite is St. Herman of Alaska in Platina, California, up in the Siskyou Mountains. It was founded by Fr. Seraphim Rose, my personal hero. They publish a very edifying magazine, The Orthodox Word, as well as numerous books, mostly Saints’ lives. My husband and I are reading together a book they published about the Saints of northern Russia. This is one of the great benefits we get from monasteries, the production of good Christian books.

    It’s not all that easy to become a monk or a nun. There’s a longish period of being a novice, and if and when the abbot thinks the candidate is ready, he’ or she is tonsured a monk. Novices are given every chance to return to the world, with no shame. Once you are tonsured, you are expected to stay but of course, no one can be forced to stay against their will.

    I have never heard a monastic use the words “extreme” or “radical” when talking about their lives. Such talk is prideful.

    The false idea that some have that God will love a person better if they become a monk or a nun completely misses the point of monasticism. A person becomes a monastic so they can learn to love God better. Completely different focus. Of course, a person can learn to love God just a much without joining a monastery. God calls people to different kinds of lives. He calls very few to monasticism, but He does call some.

    I often wonder if I was Orthodox as a young person if I would have joined a monastery…. Maybe!

  31. Xenia says:

    The false idea that some have that God will love a person better if they become a monk or a nun completely misses the point of monasticism. <<<

    I should have said: "Some people have the false idea that people become monastics because they think God will love them better…"

  32. Josh says:

    If baptists had monasteries I would have gladly joined at one point.

  33. Michael says:


    There’s profound difference between these programs and what you’re describing.
    I think it’s a reflection of a completely different definition of spirituality.
    I greatly prefer the Orthodox way of being “radical”…

  34. Donner says:

    Fascinating, Xenia!

  35. Xenia says:

    Michael, I think probably every serious Orthodox teenager goes through a spell when they think they’d like to become a monk or a nun. They usually visit a few monasteries and most decide the life isn’t really for them. This is because God hasn’t called them to this life. I think these evangelical teenagers have the same impulse, a desire to give up their lives to God in a non-worldly setting. Trouble is, they have no place to go. The closest thing for them are these extreme boot-camp places. The leaders of these places have no experience with this kind of life and resort to authoritarianism. Plus, they seem to tell the kids that if they really love God, they should join up. So there’s no idea of a special, rather rare, calling to the life. It’s chaos.

    So… the impulse of the evangelical teenager to give up everything to live in a community that concentrates on prayer and service is not a bad impulse. But there’s no place for them to go and discover that the life is probably not really for them, that they are really called to get married and have a family, like most of us. Seriously, just living a quiet, humble Christian life of prayer, generosity and compassion is already pretty radical and extreme.

  36. Michael says:


    That was better than my whole article…thank you!

  37. Xenia says:

    I remember once a really wild looking woman came to church. She was the abbess of a remote monastery up near Kodiak Island (or someplace like that) and she and the sisters needed some help drying the salmon catch and would anyone like to come help? She looked like she just hiked out of Siberia! She was great!

  38. Xenia says:

    1700 years of experience is nothing to sneeze at! After all those centuries, the church knows what works and what doesn’t work, how far you can relax the Rule without falling into laziness or licentiousness; how strict you can be without causing despair or rebellion. For example, if the Rule says everyone has to get up at 2 AM for liturgy, you have to allow them a nap after lunch.

  39. JoelG says:

    “I have never heard a monastic use the words “extreme” or “radical” when talking about their lives. Such talk is prideful.”

    Is this a relatively new phenomenon in the history of the church? It almost seems like an “American” ideal where the only the upwardly mobile “True Believers” can call themselves disciples, when, in fact, the way up is the way down (to paraphrase Fr Stephen Freeman).

  40. Jessica says:

    I will chime in, as a parent whose child attended a mini-discipleship program for 8th graders frm CCftl that modeled Patmos to some degree. Let me say, it was marketed towards Survivor the reality tv show back in the day which was all the rage. As we know Calvary tries hard to simulate to the youth ie pastor dress and music etc. So I know to keep the teens engaged ” the pull” was to challenge them in ways that aligned with the “persecuted church” meets Survivor and Navy Seals, Chet’s brother was a Lt aviator in the Navy and his plane went down, he passed away. Idk if this is relevent to this topic regarding the Navy Seal toughness of these programs but it is a point. If anyone has teens you would know they need to keep them engaged. CCftl did a excellent job with teen ministry and I can personally tell you kids from all over would come and have a place to have a safe, drugfree, christian fun evening. This was the one thing I can tell you was amazing about CCftl. My kids brought many other kids to youth nights that had no where to go and found hope. Patmos to me was marketed as a discipleship/humanitarian program when we attended CCftl. I do know some 19 year olds back then, who went to it that did need help from a trouble past and turned their lives around and have done great things. I do not claim to know the inner workings of Patmos, but did personally know people who came out of that program and made a huge difference in our community. Back to the subject of the militant style out of PFM and it model from Patmos. 5 years ago the world was different, although there were still school shootings it has gotten much worse. Why do I bring this up? Bc some of the tactics in these programs were waking teens up at 3am, screaming at them, blind folding them, moving them to another place and possibly some form of a gun fake or real as in PFM Rozell walking around etc. I do not agree or believe these ideas to be good today. However, the smaller groups that modeled these programs, We knew every pastor and youth assisting in the program to the point the kids all had movie night lock ins, fed the poor, volunteered, Bible studies etc growing up. Some of the older youth were mentors for the kids in our community. I believe the mini programs modeled after Patmos were supervised appropriately and were just once a week. I do not promote them today, but want to make clear, we were marketed as a Survivor Reality Tv stint. Also Chet was known as the pastor who went to Africa with his stories of Liberia dangers he experienced. So if you put some of these facts together you can see how this could be plausible. Now, Chet was an assistant pastor but then was not at CCftl, never really understood that. But what it showed me was there was some reason why. I did not know he worked on PFM. I do know in the end I was not pleased with Chets handling of the Coy debacle. As Michael has written here, using the “I prayed and the Lord told me you should be here” doesnt float with me either. I still remember the Wed night he told the church about Coy, that we should all write down what the Holy Spirit tells us which way CCftl should go, and he will tabulate them after service. I knew right then things were going from bad to worse, bc no one tells CCftl how to run its church except the Pastor. Chet Lowe was giving us “the business Wally”. I also agree withyour posts that the pastors are not qualified to run these programs especially with trouble or abused teens. I do understand how these tactics are 100 percent wrong and damaging to all especially ones in need. I no longer attend CC and would not ever suggest anyone send their kids to any program like these again. Thank you for getting the word out and continuing to educate people on these topics bc if I would have known all this I would have thought twice.

  41. Pineapple Head says:

    I have a friend who designed and ran a month “gap” school (typically aimed at 19-22 year olds) in Northern Utah. A focus on worship, learning and service all built on a foundation of grace. No crazy hours or dangerous challenges, just the challenge to read some great books and gain a heart for the weak, poor and broken. Great leadership that is tied to the local churches.

  42. JoelG says:

    If God uses these programs then all glory to God. All it took for me was reading a book about being “radical” to drive me into deep despair. But God keeps pulling me along and meets me in my weakness and failure. And it’s the healing found there that pulls me along. No programs. No books. But that’s just me.

  43. Jessica. This is a very interesting bio. Liberia was not exactly a tourist destination for boys entering high school. The war started in 1989, and moving there, with/Fam, would raise eyebrows.

    Was Liberia experiences a frequent topic at CCft? West Africa was a very interesting place. It tended to attract very interesting men from all sorts of origins.

  44. Pineapple Head says:

    That should read 9 month gap school.

  45. filbertz says:

    when a ministry’s adjectives outweigh its product, it is a joke. So much hype, so little delivery.

  46. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Per Xenia’s comments about radicalism and youth, it probably helps not a whit that in evangelical and many a conservative Protestant context you get the Doug Wilson style commandment to be married by 23, especially if you’re male. Be radical for the heavenly kingdom but if you’re not paired off in marriage by 23 you’re also disobeying God’s plan for your life. That the apostle Paul suggested that you could freely choose one or the other has been transformed in American youth camp culture into YOU HAVE TO DO ALL OF IT!!! RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW OR YOU DON’T LOVE JESUS!!!

    The double bind doesn’t get examined. Another variation of the double bind is more specifically dispensationalist. The Rapture could happen any month now … but you should get married. I quickly transformed that scenario into a defense of why celibacy makes more sense than marriage if the Rapture is happening in just a few short years. Why get married when none of us will be married in the age to come? All of a sudden certain folks began to say “Well, if you meet the right person … . ”

    The countervailing urge to conform to the world as much as possible can just be the moment when the flip is switched for folks who were on fire to change the world for Jesus. As Dostoevsky had someone put it in a book, a young man finds it easier to die for a cause than to spend five years of his ardent, burning youth reading a mountain of books.

  47. Jessica says:

    NathanPriddis No Liberia or anywhere Chet lived was not a main focus at the church, it was Chet’s story and his ministry. When he preached it was always tied into his message, not the church. Patmos on the other hand was spoken about alot and marketed as a mission group. What Michael wrote here on this topic nailed the issue on the head. And again I thank this blog for helping people navigate through what is truth, what is marketing, deception by blurring lines and what is lies. I came to realize the pastors are not qualified by any means to run a program and worse they”invented” these programs which is where it is really a problem, bc the reality is they are little mini spin offs with no accountability. All roads lead back to CCftl and with that I can see Coy was a master marketing guy, really he ran it like a mini music industry in which he came from. Prior to his fall I began to see we were being marketed and it sickened me on that level, we started stepping away. What I take out of this is exactly what Michael wrote glad the word is getting out, sad so many are hurt.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Patmos – it is very telling of the evangelical mind that you live strictly under the law as you work on your sanctification instead of under God’s grace.
    Naming a ministry after a prison says it all. 🙂

  49. Steve says:

    MLD,. Is this even the law or is it made up stuff? Confusing law and gospel is bad enough but when you add to God’s law it gets even uglier.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, evangelicals are only comfortable living under law – it doesn’t matter if it’s God’s law or man’s law.
    To live under God’s grace is a foreign concept to today’s evangelical — it first hurts their ears then it hurts their mind.

  51. Steve says:

    MLD,. You are broad brushing. I call myself evangelical and I am very sensitive to the mixing of law and gospel. God’s law is good to the believer but I live under the power of Grace.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, perhaps you are some old fashioned evangelical – but I narrowed my comment to “today’s evangelical”.
    It is a broad swath of today’s American religious scene – very broad – and very wrong.

  53. Steve says:

    MLD,. I agree but one factor that seems to be hindering the message is folks like Tulluan Tchivijian that seem to understand Grace but can’t keep there pants on. So it’s tempting for some to emphasize the law even more to combat this sin. It becomes a vicious circle.

  54. Jean says:


    “For we who have believed enter that rest,”

    In your experience, is it common practice for evangelical preachers to give rest to their members?

    To live under the power of grace would, in my thinking, mean that a preacher would proclaim to me that God is well please with me because Jesus Christ fulfilled the law for me, took my sins upon the cross and procured my forgiveness, life and salvation. Because of Jesus’ obedience, I enjoy peace with God. Is that what you hear regularly, or are you urged to get on the treadmill of sanctification where it is (never) finished. That wouldn’t sound like rest or peace to me.

  55. Jessie says:

    I think one of the major issues is that these programs make it sound SO spiritual. And it’s SO deceiving.

  56. Steve says:

    Jean,. It’s a mixed tradition where I am at. Some more than others understand God’s rest. My expectation is that I will hear the gospel proclaimed every week and I let the elders know that. I know some in our church are probably caught up in performance Christianity and when I see it I do get sad but I don’t let that affect me.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you still don’t get it. Even Tullian is a typical “today’s evangelical” that even though he demands to live under grace, he puts everyone else under law to accept him and his behavior.
    For him to live under grace would be for him to not talk about it.

  58. Dan from Georgia says:

    I agree with this string of comments here! As an evangelical who spent most of my Sundays since I was a puffy 20-something newbie in the faith in E-Free churches, along with a couple of Pentacostal, Baptist, and non-denom churches, I can attest that there is such a “DO DO DO….GO GO GO…” mentality preached, not only during the message/sermon/what-have-you, but also in the requisite announcements…everything seems to be oriented around the concept of you have to be active and doing stuff to be accepted.

    The older I get the more exhausted I feel at these churches. You can’t just “be” or “rest” in his presence…unless of course you are encouraged to be in his presence during the almost rock-like concert atmosphere of worship time.

    I think this is why I have had such trouble wanting to even go to church anymore. To much emphasis on “do this, volunteer for that.” It was worse at the first church I attended when I came to Christ…you were basically not doing enough, or you were not good enough. You didn’t have your act together.

  59. Dan from Georgia says:

    As an aside…

    Hey, I like my rock music in the privacy of my home or car, or in a concert hall. Doesn’t do me a bit of good during Communion.

  60. JoelG says:

    “Doesn’t do me a bit of good during Communion.”

    Amen Dan

  61. Steve says:

    MLD, doesn’t Tulluan have Lutheran connections? Did he demand anything from the Lutheran Church?

  62. Michael says:

    TT is a chameleon who basically “borrowed’ all of Steve Browns material, spun it and ran with it.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve – Tullian was a straight evangelical who became a pastor of a Presbyterian church. He took over from James Kennedy who had turned his church into “Americanism”.
    After his fall he would affiliate onto any church who would take him. One stop was an off shoot independent Lutheran church – now he is starting his own.

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, back to my original point – what the heck is an evangelical? Today, anyone from Benny Him to RC Sproul call themselves evangelical. What is their connecting point?

    Since there is nothing that connects them, I identify them as today’s evangelical – a blob of (fill in the blank).

  65. Steve says:

    MLD,. I agree that the term evangelical is vague. I don’t particularly care for the term. However it still has some positive meaning behind it and we still choose to identify with this terminology loosely. Of course it needs more definition. You may be proud of the label Lutheran but to some folks that maybe synonymous with liberalism and Nafia Boltz Weber, etc.. So you may further refine your label and say you are LCMS Lutheran. Honestly I don’t like labels that much because what people tend to do is summerize and judge ones entire doctrine and life in a single word. However given all it’s bagage if there can only be one word to summerize our church it would be Evangelical or possibly reformed depending on who you asked. I like evangelical better. What one word if you had to choose would you use for your church? Choose only one word and let’s talk.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Except around here, I always self identify as a confessional Lutheran and I can always point folks to the Book of Concord so they will know exactly what I mean.

    Can you point to the evangelical confession so I know what you mean?

  67. Josh says:

    LCMS is evangelical.

    We’ve tread this tired street soooo many times.

  68. Jean says:

    But, Josh, confessional Lutherans mean something completely different in emphasis by the word “evangelical,” than today’s evangelical Christian. Therefore, we have typically given up self-identifying with that word.

  69. Steve says:

    Actually my church follows the Westminster confession. Or at least the elders and pastors are supposed to. The members are not held to the same confession which gives my church a bit more diversity if you can positively spin it that way.

  70. Josh says:

    Point being, evangelical is such a broad word that there is now way to talk about “Evangelicals” as a whole. I’m Southern Baptist. Some of our churches would be on the negative end of what you call evangelical, and some would deride that label harder than anyone here. It is simply useless as an identifier.

  71. Josh says:

    And I would offer the Baptist Faith and Message as summary of my beliefs.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So Josh, I take by your statement that you would not identify as an evangelical.
    The Lutherans were the original protestants and the original evangelicals, but the terms have been so bastardized that we now run from them.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, how can you say LCMS is evangelical when you cannot even define the word?

  74. Josh says:

    No, I’ve never self-identified as an evangelical. I am realistic that everyone sees SBC as evangelical. If it includes non-denom smoke machines, and liturgical baby-baptizers, the term is too broad too have any real use. If you define evangelical as it has been historically defined, then yes, I am.

  75. Josh says:

    “how can you say LCMS is evangelical when you cannot even define the word?”

    The same way everyone says SBC is evangelical. It is what it is. Google “evangelical denominations” and see if LCMS doesn’t come up on every list.

  76. Josh says:

    BUt a conversation about the word “evangelical” bores me. However, I saw mention of sanctification earlier, and that dopes interest me. I’d like to give the definition from the BF&M, and you guys can agree or disagree as you like. Should be interesting:

    “Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.”

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, that is someone making a list – I doubt that it is the denominations reporting.

    So, back to my original comment on this earlier, I was accurate and not broad brushing when I accused ‘today’s evangelicals’ of causing harm.

  78. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I can agree with your definition of sanctification as stated – if… the term enabled doesn’t mean some synergistic cooperative partnership to accomplish this sanctification.

  79. Josh says:

    I don’t want this to be just a Josh and MLD conversation, but I will ask: Does your idea of sanctification require any human effort?

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In John 15 when Jesus speaks of the tree producing fruit, does it require “tree effort” or is all the fruit generation coming from the outside?
    The vine produces everything – and the farmer produces everything (remember the story where the farmer said let me work the soil arounfd the tree for a year before you destroy it.?)
    So, I don’t know what the human effort would be – Christians produce good fruit for no other reason than they are connected to the vine.
    What do you think?

  81. Josh says:

    I would probably agree with you theoretically, but also admit that sometimes it feels like I’m trying really hard.

  82. Jean says:


    I will comment on your proposed definition, but before I do, we need to discuss two preliminary points:

    (1) Sanctification is spoken of in Scripture in both an objective sense and a subjective sense. Objectively, Christ is our sanctification, complete and perfect, imputed to us through faith. Do you agree?

    (2) Sanctification is a Latinized form of basically, “to make holy.” Do you agree?

  83. Josh says:

    Jean – yes to both. Make holy or “set apart”.

    And I can’t help just say Amen! to the first. IF that sentence doesn’t give you great joy and appreciation, well it should.

  84. Jean says:

    So, “make holy” and “set apart” are two senses of the same thing and are both helpful to understanding. God is holy or apart from the fallen world and sin. Thus, fallen man cannot see His face and live.

    God is the only holy being. However, He can share His holiness with created beings (the priesthood of believers) and things (e.g., the altar of burnt offering at the Temple) or even times (e.g., the Sabbath).

    But created beings cannot create holiness or even posses it the way you or I may possess a coin. We can, on the other hand, defile our holiness (i.e., pollute it). For example, in Hebrews, the teacher writes: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled”. The teacher assumes that marriage is a holy estate among Christians.

    Are we still tracking?

  85. Josh says:

    Not sure. How does the last comment account for imputed righteousness?

  86. Jean says:

    Imputed sanctification is “objective.” It is declared from the outside. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ ”

    Scripture also speaks of the subjective experience of sanctification: “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

  87. Josh says:

    OK. Still with you.

  88. Jean says:

    I like the analogy of how the sun works towards us. If you want its light or warmth, you go outside and expose yourself to the sun. If you close your eyes or go in doors, you can avoid the sun, its light and its warmth. You never possess the light; try trapping it in a box. But you can receive it by going outside and standing under it.

    Jesus is the light of the world. Can we cooperate in our sanctification? Well, I cooperate by going to church to hear the law and gospel proclaimed for me. I go to Holy Communion to receive His holy body and blood. Holy Communion is the pinnacle of the Divine Service, because it is there where Jesus shares His holiness most directly, sanctifying us.

    I like one particular sentence in the Baptist definition:

    “Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.”

    A Lutheran experiences this growth by becoming ever more aware of the depths of his sin and the extravagance of God’s mercy and grace. It makes him ever more thankful! It makes him ever more trusting and dependent on God for his life.

    Christian maturity is to have a good conscience before God and man, which is true freedom. It does not come from looking inside for moral progress, but looking outside to Jesus who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    It all begins with the tree. Give it Light and give it (living) water. It’s leaf will not whither and it will produce an abundance of fruit. You may not ever notice the fruit (hopefully you won’t obsess about your fruit); we live by faith, not by sight.

  89. Josh says:

    That is beautiful, Jean. Theoretically, again, I agree. But practically, do you ever find yourself in a real struggle against sin in your own life? Is that struggle sinful because I am not resting in Christ’s finished work? Is the struggle itself GOd’s chosen means of delivering sanctification?

  90. Steve says:

    Jean, you are sounding just like an evangelical. ? I mean that in a good sense of the word from the evangelicals I know at my church.

  91. Jean says:

    The struggle against sin is the result of your sanctification. it is the struggle of the Spirit in you against the flesh: “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life.” You have the Spirit, because God has sanctified you.

    This struggle exercises your faith, drives you to prayer, and teaches you that you always need Christ, your Savior. Notice what the Word promises when we confess our sins:

    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The cleansing from unrighteousness is the language of sanctification. Isn’t that cool?

  92. Jean says:

    Thank you, Steve.

  93. Josh says:

    It is super cool. Nice answer, Jean. Thanks!

  94. @MLD
    Regarding Patmos:
    I am a huge believer in omens, but have no recollection of meeting other Christians who do. Your notice of Patmos, is as close I can recall anyone referencing a ministry name, even if it’s only a reference to irony.

  95. directambiguity says:


    Evangelical now = Trump Voter.

    Try to keep up.

  96. Toni Frallicciardi says:

    Thank you for standing up for these kids. It is time that leaders like this are put in the light. We suffered greatly under the abuse and it was difficult, almost destroy our faith and family, and took years to recover from. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  97. Michael says:

    Thank you, Toni…it will take all of us together to see this through…

  98. thatsenoughcrazy says:

    I hope that this opens the door for those young people that have been abused under Chet and Patmos to find their voice and tell their story..

  99. ShortPolock says:

    Steve said, “Honestly I don’t like labels that much because what people tend to do is summerize and judge ones entire doctrine and life in a single word.”

    Then he said,
    “Evangelical now= Trump voter
    Try to keep up.”

    I can’t keep up. You keep running bass ackwards.

  100. ShortPolock says:

    Aawwww, NO!
    That wasn’t Steve!!
    That was some other person,
    awww, hell…

    Steve made a great point.
    directambiguity made Steve’s point.

  101. ShortPolock says:

    Jus tryin to keep up, lmao!

  102. B says:

    Seems like most of these things listed apply the house of prayer movement as well.

    Thank you for boldly speaking these truths.

  103. Anna says:

    Same thing done at Teen Mania with Ron Luce, who ended up bankrupting that ministry & is now rebranding as Generation Next.

  104. Nina says:

    Spot on, Michael. Numbers four and five knocked my socks off! How true!

  105. Cometothealter says:

    I just finished reading through the PFM posts and comments and this thread. I attended Patmos under Chet Lowe and my experience was very similar to many of the testimonies I read. I have often asked God over the years when there would be accountability for what I endured and I have silently prayed for the victims that I knew must have come after me. I need some time to write about the details of my experience as I feel compelled to do now so those who still have wounds that need healing will know they are not alone. For the person on this thread who is attempting to invalidate my truth and the truth of others who tell their stories…..because you feel you know the Lowe’s better than those of us who suffered under his leadership…….Consider yourself spared from the very real torment he is capable of.

  106. Michael says:


    I’d like to know more…

  107. RexHendricks says:

    I’m so thankful for this. How can I contact the writer of this article?

  108. Anna says:

    I wrote a blog post about Teen Mania & Ron Luce.

    My son went to TM Honor Academy, albeit briefly, thank goodness. Anyway I completely concur with this post. This militant-style gung-ho form of discipleship is nothing more than a hyped up summer camp. And it costs THOUSANDS of dollars. Like you said in the post, “Do not expect to learn discipleship from people who sell it for a living…” There may be some good intentioned people behind it, but in the end it’s a money making machine, plain and simple.

  109. Michael says:


    That’s excellent work…well done!

  110. Em says:

    Anna @ 3:10 … ? ?

  111. Baxter says:

    As an individual who went to both PFM and Patmos, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed here. I have been desperately trying to find other people who went to Patmos who can relate to what I went to, but I’m to afraid of what they will attack me with if I ask my classmates about it. These people do operate as cults. And I cant stand their tactics.

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