Things I Think…
1. Yesterday we noted the return of Ben Courson to the spotlight and saw this utterly gruesome story about how John MacArthur treats abused women.
What you need to understand is that the churches that spawned these creeps train others to do likewise…perpetuating abuse and spreading abusers far and wide. They only are able to do so through your tithes and offerings…
2. If there were any Christians in attendance at Applegate Christian Fellowship or Grace Community Church they would all be in different churches this weekend…no real follower of Jesus would support the use and abuse of women. Period…
3. I have been critiqued for using strong language when speaking of these matters…if it were my mother, sister, daughter, or wife being abused…language would be the least of your worries…
4. There were some big names cheering the return of Courson on social media…these abusers have no fear of exposure because their tribe will cover for them…and demonize the ones who expose them…
5. We had someone on a group I moderate discount the stories Julie Roys does because she “leans left”… as if abuse were a political matter. My first thought was the person was in the grip of early insanity or dementia, then I realized that we did the same thing with a virus…
6. Here’s my theological take on abuse in marriage. Marriage is a covenant between a man, woman, and God. Abuse is a breaking of that covenant and the abused is no longer held to the covenant demands. In other words…if he hits you or the kids, leave in Jesus name and find a real man…
7. Let me say this again so I’m clear…if you continue to attend a church where there is any form of documented, unrepentant abuse…you are complicit in that abuse…
8. Trying to figure out how to dispose of the stack of MacArthur Study Bibles I’ve had for years…I’m too superstitious just to trash them…but I don’t want to see them in my house, either…
9. There has been a tremendous display of the church being the church during the invasion of Ukraine…mostly by people you’ve never heard of…support them with what you can whether it be through prayer or financial support...or both…
10. Always remember….the devil was a great teacher too…
I have a serious thing about do’s and don’ts about Scripture. Disposal of a translation I don’t want, worn out or acquired in a collection of junk, is problematic. Burning would be one way. Would not want to put in trash. Book aren’t really meant for recycling either.
Theological books that are garbage, are definitely something I would not donate to thrift store. Don’t want the responsibility of somebody being influenced by bad doctrine.
Wife and I have a friend who is into John Macarthur. Really into John Macarthur. It worries us how much stock he puts into John. Now this. I don’t even think I can bear to read about the deal, but I may have to. Keep doing what your doing Michael, and good words here, especially number 3!
Brother, I think you are better served ignoring and forgetting what goes on the these ‘churches’. They are not real churches anyway, and your mental and emotional health deserve more than beating your head against that brick wall of ignorance and wickedness. I have forsaken the entire church except my home congregation. Canceled my ‘Christian magazine’ subscriptions, left ALL theological groups on Social Media, and only speak to those issues if they come up in conversation or in my home parish. My life is 100% better. I trust the Lord to run His Church as he sees fit. I can’t change anything except a little bit in my home congregation. People outside are not interested in my dire warnings of shit theology or cult like organizations.
Only one problem with your choice…..it is not biblical
I have tried to withdraw some from the on-going abuse that is all too common within church circles that I have some type of connection to. It works out well until someone decides to drop one of their names in either a discussion or in a group Bible Study. It is at those times where these things need to be addressed. . People need to be aware of the injustice and inconsistencies of their favorite “awesome teacher.” Perhaps what they are hearing is not the carefully considered exegetical work of engaging with the Word of God, but well crafted messages that entice people to think that they have some vicarious form of attachment to the pastor/teacher. We need to give care and thought into what it is we are following and whose disciple we really are. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are very clear in describing the qualifications of those who lead. In this day, those who teach are in fact leading others, even if they are not actively pastoring a church.
Michael I am a bit perplexed. I don’t follow BC on social media but based on your post I went to IG to see who was commenting and liking. To my surprise there were a few names there of CC pastors I would think would have better discernment, one of which is a respected contributor here on the PP. What gives?
Sorry all…been a busy morning.
I’ll answer more when I get back.
Cleansing by fire, yep that would be the thing for the McArthur books…I have a few…and I will practice what I just preached…does anyone have a burn barrel?
I rejoice that Christ is preached even though from impure motives, although it seems odd when Jesus himself appears to be lacking.
A sign of the times perhaps?
People don’t know the scriptures and that is tragic.
There’s no excuse for it either.
“ I rejoice that Christ is preached even though from impure motives…”
Whole heatedly agree…except when the Jesus preached is not the Jesus of scripture. We preacher types—especially the untrained—have a tendency to import our own imagination into the Jesus of history and create a Jesus that is palatable but, unfortunately, never existed.
And that does more harm than good—IMO
That is so right on Steve. We see it all the time in this current culture….unfortunately. In a ministry I serve in, I have the opportunity to ask people all the time what they believe. A high percentage of them will say, “yes I believe in Jesus.” When you ask them to tell you about the Jesus they believe in…..you realize they have the wrong Jesus.
Michael, I agree on all 10 points, but #9 is definitely the best.
I see what you see. Sad and disheartening for me.
Some people are enamored with mere words and live within the realm of mere marketing.
Jesus embeds himself within the actual operations of life and invites us to engage transformationally with Him and others from that point of reference.
“ I know your works”.
Thank you, Dan!
There are not many days that go by when I don’t think about shutting all this down and doing full time cat rescues or something else that would be fulfilling and make a difference.
Not many days at all…
However…after over 20 years, I’ve resigned to myself that this is a calling…and I haven’t been given leave from it yet.
Between Russia and the USA I am at a complete loss as to who are the good guys. No! I’m not. There’s not a choice so we pray for the kingdom and help Ukrainians. But marking evil doers in Oregon – like Alexander the coppersmith is good work too. Meanwhile I’m joining the people smugglers.
Babylon must fall.
I saw what you saw…and my heart dropped into my guts.
Good to see you!
The reality is that MacArthur and Courson will continue to flourish…abuse is an accepted cost to “success”…but if they were found to be “woke”…then the fire would fall…
Everything is surreal. I think it was just last year that John Macarthur was in a video talking about Ravi Z. probably not being a Christian and probably in hell. He seems so sure about other people’s salvation but will he confess his own sin in trashing a lady 20 years ago in his church that was abused? Is he better than Ravi? Is he better than this lady? I certainly don’t know what happened here but MacArthur owes the church and this lady an apology and explanation.
That is a truth, sadly, that we have to resign our selves to. The wicked have, and always will, prosper.
Yet we must expose it to those who will hear.
Greg, suuure. I am not a Pastor or a prophet. I am not a theologian or professor. I am a father, husband and elder in my congregation. There is no biblical mandate for me to publicly and constantly muck rake and meddle in the business of pretend or false churches.
Next measure of our standing will be whether we hang left or right. Sheesh.
Ben Courson is a tool. Those who follow him are mistaken. They are likely well-meaning, desire to be spiritual & pleasing to God, probably generally goodish. But they’ve been taught poorly & deceptively and react predictably when their hero is maligned or ‘smeared.’ They can’t reckon with the ‘news’ and their personal experience. So sad. So preventable. So likely to repeat.
Yes, Hoppy, the wicked can, do, and will prosper, but we so stubbornly refuse to call out the wicked within the church–and those who do sound the warning get treated as anathema.
There. Got my yearly quota of “anathema” out of the way. 🙂
#6 Definitely re: abuse
How do the leaders involved in this story not either know personally someone whose been in an abusive relationship or at least read enough to know how frequent (and wicked) the problem is!
And it was the early 2000s, not the 1800s!
Within these “pretend and false churches are many people who love and walk closely with God. These people are precious to God. In 1 Tim 1:19-20 Paul is instructing Timothy in the way in which to handle those in the fellowship at Ephesus who were teaching blaspheme in the church….that is that there was no such thing as a resurrection. Notice Paul names them publicly in his letter. Hymeneaus and Alexander, whom he delivered to Satan for the destruction of their flesh….not unto condemnation but rather unto restoration . 1 Cor 1 5:4-5 confirms
the same thing regarding the man in the body who was having a sexual relationship with his step mother. Paul says to deliver him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that in the day of the Lord his spirit might be saved. James 3:1 makes clear that the standards for senior pastors from the pulpit are held to an even higher standard. For me there is a clear mandate for exposing sin (not sin sniffing) in the camp or rotten fruit so that God’s sheep might not be devoured by ravenous wolves Matt 7: 15-20. We must not sit on our hands and act like nothing happened but rather expose the sin, from in this case, the pulpit. A little leaven will leaven the entire flock if not dealt with
Just curious your thoughts. Is there a way back into ministry for guys like Ben, Jon and others who have committed sexual sin/ What do think that looks like or are they permanently “anathema” (to quote my buddy Fil 🙂
BD. I was getting worried.
The older I get the more I believe that the issue is not the sin, but the lack of repentence.
The refusal to repent leads to other sin…such as abuse of those who were involved in the sin and those who witness to it.
There are ways back for the repentant…but they take time…
As you know, I was a police officer for several years before becoming a pastor (always protecting and serving!).I was trained in and investigated several sexual offenses. I’ve learned that sex offenders a have two characteristics: Manipulate and deny.
That is what is so maddening about these guys. To protect their ministry or brand, they manipulate the situation there find themselves in, rather than, as you say repent. Then they deny of “spin” the accusation and vilify the accuser.
Is there a way back for these guys? Yes but it takes an intentional strategy. But most successful pastors of large churches (this is my opinion) are narcissistic to one degree or another and are content to manipulate and deny. And a narcissist knows only two kinds of people—those who are beneath them or those who are a threat to them.
Massaging the situation is consistent with their narcissistic tendencies and does them the least amount of damage.
Do you rot anyone else know of a pastor who has successfully been restored to ministry? Still curious what that path may look like.
Bob Sweat…after a long break.
I think if they are immediately concerned about their path back to ministry, that is a red flag. A repentant person will be more concerned about the damage they have caused than their career in ministry.
Meanwhile, they can continue to serve God however he leads without a title and without a paycheck.
At this point, the system is broken and anti-christ.
What people believe about the very nature of the church and ministry is far afield from the New Testament and early church history.
Only one gift is recognized and the body of Christ are spectators and consumers.
We have to start over from the ground up…which means the old edifice has to be taken down.
I don’t disagree with that.
J the B
The church in America needs a swift kick in the KJV donkey. I don’t know what it will take to turn things around to where it represents what Jesus had in mind for the church.
Our consumer mentality has trumped any sense of pursuit of holiness. Most don’t care about it as long as their felt needs are met
The entire system is broken? Michael, you don’t believe YOUR individual local church is, do you?
Am I merely naive?
My group will end when I do…it’s not a traditional church.
Yes, I think the whole system is broken and pretty much beyond repair. What we define as “church” and theology behind the leadership system no longer looks anything like the first couple hundred years of church history.
Churches are now franchises run by entrepreneurs with success measured in numbers and cash flow.
In CC’s, many churches have become the family business
And yet in the midst of all this carnage the mighty work of God continues. People are united with Christ by the Spirit, lives are transformed and God’s good restoration of mankind goes on.
The wineskin may not be glorious… as indeed this free market system is of the world… and yet the new wine of God is poured into his true temple. So we wonder… we yearn … we ache … and we complain to heaven (most of our groaning prayers) and God does not fail.
Like the whorish system of indulgences this system will collapse. And like the fruitful flower of reformation new life will flow. Today’s traditionalism is tomorrows forsaken vessel.
I do not understand the ways of God nor do I qualify as his counselor but as a product of that wind of the Spirit that blew across America from CA eastward I was one who tasted the heavenly gift outside the old wineskin of Lutheranism.
Now we are living with the broken vessels of a church that has become an income stream for modern day indulgence sellers. And we are seeing the discipline of heaven chase it away with the hornets of culture.
Nevertheless his kingdom cannot fail. The King gets his reward. When the last things crown the first things we will be awestruck as surely as we are anger-filled. Like a construction site we only see the rubble but the architect sees the house. Anyway this is my hope and the perspective that lets me rise from the bitter taste of babylonian christianity.
I don’t think you “permanently ‘anathematize’” anyone. However, two issues here are of concern to me.
First, is this quick return to ministry. I think it takes years to unwind those things in our souls that caused us to go to such lengths of deceit—both of themselves and to those they victimized. They—and we—have to break free of system that has said it is ok to victimize others and because they are a less honorable part of the Body, that they are really at the disposal to be used by the more honorable vessels. Many Evangelicals have such issue with Roman Catholic Hierarchy, and yet they do not see their own hierarchical structures that are firmly intrenched in churches and extend into their personal relationships. Who has committed the great sin?
Secondly, and it is attached to a mistaken construct of “the gifts and callings are irrevocable” (which I think is taken out of context) , there is this sense that the Body of Christ cannot do without them. Compounding this problem is that there are too many who are of the “I’m of Apollos” mentality that affirm that the are needed. Along with that is a mistaken notion of grace.
As Michael said, the system is broken—I doubt it’s repairable.
AS to restoring fallen pastors, I think it takes years to reset their perspectives in their walk with Christ. From what I have seen from most of these guys that I know personally, they never really get off the thrown of their own lives. I do recognize there are exceptions to that. I personally know of two men who have fallen and I would affirm any opportunity they might have to return to pastoral ministry. They put the work in and have continued to be spiritually formed.
Well said…I am only documenting the collapse …
Well done…there’s some strong content here this morning…
Thanks for the response to my question. Certainly, your post has a lot of merit.
I wonder though, if there shouldn’t be some standards set, and a governing body of independent people who, shall i say, “certify” that one has had enough time, counseling and met the standards.
Without out that there will always be some questions
Know what i mean ?
That last was for pastor mike not Patrick Miguel—damn spell check!
Religious Jewish people bury Torah scrolls that have been used to point of disrepair. I’ve used this method over the years…feels
right to me personally
That might work. But I would ask, who would serve on such a board? What would qualify or disqualify them? Perhaps the board as you described should consist of victims of abuse…….. that’s something I think I could get behind.
The problem with any type of board is that it rarely has the ability to cross denominational lines. Each denomination would need its own governing authority, which in some groups, are already in place. Then you have the issue of non-denominational churches, most of whom are hyper-independent, and rarely give much authority beyond their own echo chamber. The problem has always been the burden of proof for victims which is next to impossible to bear. Many abusers have quite the treasure chest at their disposal both in terms of cash and community/social capital. It is in many circumstances a David vs. Goliath comparison, except too often, Goliath appears to win the battle.
If you would graciously share more about the two you know who qualify for restoration sometime, publicly or privately, I would love to hear it.
I’ve wondered if *I* would ever approve someone who failed sexually, in an instance of real world fornication/adultery.
pstrmike @ 10:06 AM – I am in full agreement here. I don’t believe a man goes to sleep one night in love with God and with his wife and then commits adultery the next day. Touching a woman not your wife takes, I believe, years of internal compromise. Thinking through the ‘what ifs’ and mentally crossing lines you swore you would never cross takes a long time to germinate before fruition. When sin manifests itself in the flesh, know that it’s been festering a long, long time in the soul. Adultery is not spontaneous.
Therefore, restoration should take just as long or longer than did the deterioration process. I do not think that a repentant man would think first of all about restoration to the pulpit and public ministry, but would first turn his efforts to the restoration of his soul. Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions. With your mind you think, with your emotions you desire, and with your will you choose. All these capacities of the soul have been compromised and disease ridden. The soul needs to turn in its fullness to God and be restored in its fullness to God. Only then can any thought of restoration to ministry become something feasible. When I read of or hear of a time limit placed upon a period of ‘restoration’, I am always wary. This only means that the man has been taken from the front burner of ministry and placed on the back burner, on low heat. The man needs to be taken completely off the stove, find other employment, and seek God’s face. Restoration to the pulpit should never be a ‘managed’ affair.
Tim Brown, Pastor
Calvary Chapel Fremont
Tim, I think you you nailed it.
Haven’t you all figured out yet that fraternity & church do not mix? Freemasons & Jesuits always hide their sins and protect each other. It’s really not that complicated, you scratch my back and I scratch yours.
Jesuits and Freemasons?