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Some Interesting Videos

There are some interesting Sovereign Grace Ministries videos floating around out there in cyberspace.  The following is from Covenant Life Church’s 2004 “Milestone Weekend,” a celebration of C.J. Mahaney as he bestowed the job of senior pastor upon Joshua Harris:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im_cwlWqOd4

The same evening, Bob Kauflin performed a very special song for his dear friend:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ayGCk2V_mY

Many thanks to reader and commenter MagruderHighDays for posting these!  (Although the Youtube account says “SGM Survivors channel,” please note that this site, SGM Survivors, has no connection to that channel.)

556 comments to Some Interesting Videos

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  1. Mole
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Relative and Muckraker,
    Your post #491 and #497 make it all worth it.

  2. Fried Fish
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Nickname #492 -

    This is a lazy way of counseling that ignores issues and elevates them into character sins. It’s the new version of ‘the devil made you do it’, just worded differently so the counselee is essentially demonized, called names, and heaped with unmerited guilt. It’s a graceless way of skirting real issues and ignoring the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and their relationships.

    Great point. Explains how SGM can crank out practically-perfect pastors in 9 months. All they need to do is learn to point fingers and play word games.

    5years #479 – what’s wrong with chocolate cake for breakfast?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRmN4KnfPxQ

  3. Mommy2boo
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    SGM uses James 4:1-2 to answer almost all counseling issues between two people:

    “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it.”

    Surely every quarrel between two people must stem from something that one person wants but is not getting. Every. Single. One.

    There is no righteous anger. There is no legitimate upset when someone feels wronged by another person. If you are upset at another person, it is because you want something but don’t get it. And even if that thing you want is valid (I want you to stop treating me poorly), they will twist it into an ‘unbiblical’ want that you must be having (you have an idol of wanting to cherished or wanting others to think about your feelings…or pride).

    It is making me nauseous even to type it. But that’s what it boils down to 90% of the time.

  4. Former CLC'er
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Good news from relative and CLCya (love the name!) As far as counseling, if I had a dollar for everytime a care group leader or pastor told me that I was “self-focused” when I was clinically depressed, I would be rich.

    I have a few friends who used to attend CLC. Sometimes if one of us is down, we’ll amuse ourselves by shouting CLC phrases at them “Just repent!”, “You’re too self-centered”, etc. etc. Inevitably it makes us all dissolve into laughter.

  5. Lynn
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I hate what sgm does and did to me. I hate the person they made me be. It should not be, “well yes I’m sorry your dad did that to you, but you are a sinner just like him”. Oh and one more thing is how with Jared’s past sermons on judgement and slandering. I love the fact they love to talk about Joel Osteen about how he doesnt focus on sin. I understand his books don’t do that and you don’t hear him talk about it on tv. However, they have no idea about what he may talk about in private conversations with people. For all we know he may be talking to them about sin, but we don’t know.

  6. intheNickoftime
    February 21st, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Kris in #495 –
    :goodpost

    This is a great explanation of Biblical Category. And at the same time is also explains why CJ, when faced with his many sins of abuse of power and lack of compassion and lording, etc, etc, etc, would make the comment, “I don’t have a category for that”.

    You can see some of CJ’s twisted reasoning. Yes, there might not be that specific word for all of his sins in the bible but those sins are certainly included in a “category” when you read “do unto others”, or “consider others above yourselves”, etc.

  7. QE2
    February 21st, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Former CLCer-

    We also amuse ourselves that way.

    A few weeks ago, a friend told me in a very stuffy voice how sick he was. I replied, as self-righteously as possible, “Well, that’s better than you deserve” at which we both howled with laughter.

    We have also been known to reassure each other that “you’re the worst sinner I know”.

  8. Lynn
    February 21st, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    QE2- ha ha. Yeah, I tend to say that all the time when I’m sick or when something bad happens. Well, thats better than i deserve. lol.

  9. A Kindred Spirit
    February 21st, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    One historically Reformed concept is that of “common grace” – the idea that Christian or not, humanity is made in the image of God and, despite our sinful condition, continues to have the ability to do good deeds and arrive at a measure of truth. “Common grace” would allow for accepting that barring any conflicts with what scripture would tell us, we can learn from the research and observations of mental health professionals. We can use their “categories” and their terms and look at them as helpful tools for understanding more about the human condition.

    That is so true, Kris.

    John Calvin makes a strong case for the doctrine of common grace in his Institutes (Beveridge ed.), 2.2.15–16:

    Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears…. If the Lord has been pleased to assist us by the work and ministry of the ungodly in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other similar sciences, let us avail ourselves of it.

    Sadly, even our non-SGM reformed friends have adopted a similar attitude towards counseling.

  10. A Kindred Spirit
    February 21st, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    This is off-topic, but I’d really love it if somebody would “categorize” the various “reformed camps” for me, with a list of the the “top dogs” in each camp.

  11. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 21st, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    From the CLC Quick Read……….

    “If you have a burden to be trained to minister to those struggling against same-sex attraction, contact Braden Greer for more information.”

    Ouchie ouchie! From the above postings about CLC/SGM’s counseling techniques, CLC can’t even properly handle counseling issues like marital abuse. What in God’s green earth do they think they can contribute to same sex issues? Looking at their track record, what can they possibly say that is different from their party line?

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat…………more gnashing of teeth and beating oneself, searching for sin……. Good luck with that one, Braden! It’s working so well! :)

    :barf:

  12. Ozymandias
    February 21st, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    A Kindred Spirit #510 –

    I’ll give it a really quick shot (and this is, by no means, comprehensive):

    (1) Al Mohler and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) — Southern Baptist w/ “Reformed” tendencies (but with the understanding that the whole “Calvinist thing” in the SBC is a hotly debated topic. Russell Moore is SBTS Dean of Students and teaches ethics at the seminary. Others associated with SBTS and its undergraduate institution, Boyce College, who post in the blogosphere — Denny Burk, Owen Strachan

    (2) Darryl G. [DG] Hart and others at the Old Life Theological Society — conservative, Reformed Presbyterian (Orthodox Presbyterian Church); would be positive towards Westminster Theological Seminary/West Coast (Escondido) and scholars like David VanDrunen, Michael Horton (of White Horse Inn, Modern Reformation)

    (3) John Piper — Jonathan Edwards-inspired Baptist; Bethlehem Baptist Church in MN; Desiring God ministries (named after his 1986 book); folks in (2) category would debate whether Piper is really “Reformed” or not.

    (4) Ligon Duncan — conservative, southern Presbyterian; First Presbyterian, Jackson, MS; tied with Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (see Reformation 21 website), along with others like Westminster Theological Seminary/East Coast (Philadelphia) professor Carl Trueman (who is also conservative Presbyterian)

    (5) Mark Dever — Reformed Baptist associated with SBC; Capitol Hill Baptist Church; 9 Marks (a ministry associated with Capitol Hill Baptist; close ties with many of the folks listed above, as well as close ties to the “Sydney Anglicans” — the conservative Anglican diocese in Sydney, Australia (Peter and Philip Jensen; Moore Theological College; Matthias Media)

    (6) Mark Driscoll — Mars Hill Church (Seattle); Acts 29 church planting ministry (other leaders in Acts 29 include: Matt Chandler, Darrin Patrick and Ray Ortland); some have argued that Driscoll is really more “Reformed Baptist” than anything else, but that is up for debate

    (7) Douglas Wilson — Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho; New Saint Andrews College; Canon Press; denomination is Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC); Wilson has close relationships with conservative Presbyterians who have been associated with a movement/controversy known as “Federal Vision” or “Auburn Avenue” theology (named after Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, LA) — many of whom were associated back in the 1980s and 1990s with theonomy and Christian Reconstructionist thought. Wilson and others in his “camp” (Peter Leithart, Steve Wilkins, James B. Jordan) have been taken to task by folks in the (2) category.

  13. A Kindred Spirit
    February 21st, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Ozymandias,

    Thank you for that information. I sincerely appreciate it.

    Interesting that you said Doug Wilson had been taken to task by the folks in “category 2.” One of the OPC churches in my neck of the woods cross-pollinated with Wilson. A few PCA churches have, as well.

    So what camp would John MacArthur, Tim Keller, and Kevin DeYoung be in?

    Theonomy and Christian Reconstructionism are pretty prevalent among homeschoolers and various reformed groups here in the south.

  14. Ozymandias
    February 21st, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    A Kindred Spirit #513 –

    Glad it was helpful. Intriguingly, Wilson is even cross-pollinating with John Piper; see his participation at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors a couple of weeks ago. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/the-supremacy-of-christ-in-all-of-life-the-pastor-and-his-worldview

    I completely forgot to mention the three you list –

    (1) John MacArthur — Grace Community Church in Simi Valley, CA; has been pastor there for quite a long time; the church has its own indigenous seminary (The Masters College); founded as a non-denominational church; has been very involved in addressing a myriad of controversies in American evangelicalism; well-known Cessasionist; others associated in the blogosphere include the guys over at Team Pyro (Phil Johnson edits many of MacArthur’s books)

    (2) Tim Keller — Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City; more “moderate” Presbyterian (but if you read strongly conservative folks like the Bayly brothers @ Baylyblog, you’d think that Keller was as theologically liberal as they come); together with DA (“Don”) Carson, established the Gospel Coalition

    (3) Kevin DeYoung — University Reformed Church in Lansing, MI; denomination is Reformed Church of America (RCA); has published himself, but really hit the scene with a critique of the “emerging church” movement with co-author (with Ted Kluck); wrote another book with Kluck on loving the institutional/local church; really took off in the blogosphere circa 2007-2008

  15. A Kindred Spirit
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Ozymandias,

    Yes, it is indeed interesting to observe the various circles Doug Wilson is running in these days. I found his interviews with Mark Driscoll intriguing, as well.

    “Wilsonites” have been starting up some RCA churches in the area – not sure why they didn’t want to be CREC.

  16. Persona
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I am so encouraged to hear the stories of the departure of others from sgm churches. My heart rejoices with them. May they all find healthier churches soon!

    Has anyone else listened to Josh’s second message in his series on ‘The Church?’ I couldn’t believe his timing in chastising an unnamed church for treating their pastor like royalty, especially so soon after the release of the videos that reveal his blatant CJ worship. Josh is clever; attempting to absolve himself without having to go through the inconvenience of public repentance for organizing the weekend extravaganza for his old boss. Is he really fooling anyone?

  17. A Kindred Spirit
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Ozymandias,

    My momma always said, “Be careful who you associate with…”.

  18. 5yearsinPDI
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Ozy…very nice job.

    I will add that with the recent publication of John Frame’s book “The Escondido Theology” we have an open articulated split between Westminster California and their heavy (Meredith)Kline-ian two kingdoms theology that opposes traditional Kuyper/Bavinck/Van-Til, as well as their far right confessionalism that Frame charges puts the confessions on par with the bible, and, the more common confessional Reformed crowd.

    I don’t know that any of them influence SGM a bit though. Harvey did go to WTS but except for Trueman you don’t see much outward influence. Horton maybe.

    Vern Poythress of WTS seems to be leading the way as a traditional cessationist affirming extraordinary works of the Holy Spirit that we would call charismatic gifts, not sure of his influence. Not a speaker on the big scene. Not aware that he influences SGM at all. A pity, the man is a godly gentleman who advocates that Baptists baptize children as soon as they show evidence of haveing a tender born again heart for the Lord and a desire to be baptized….age 6,5,4, even 3 or 2….young kids can walk with God.

    You can’t leave out Grudem. While not on the big dog circuit his ST is enormously popular even in circles that affirm infant baptism and the gifts ceasing. I would say he carries great influence.

    Some folks dismiss MacArthur as not Reformed due to his dispensationalism, arguing that Covenantal theology is Reformed theology and dispys are in error.

    The main thing about SGM is that they have cornered the national label as to what it means to be Reformed and charismatic. Tell somebody at any seminary that you are Reformed and Charismatic and they say “oh, SGM, CJ Mahaney”. So annoying. One can only hope and pray the Lord brings it into the dust and does something fresh.

  19. MAK
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Yellow…yes I read that on the way home…I almost hit the floor on the Marc train!!! I’m getting off here to type out my email to the guys…I have a lot of things to say regarding this issue.

  20. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Persona———–so true. How can anyone take Josh Harris seriously (ie trust him) when he doesn’t seem to truly own up to his own sin and his own involvement?

    I find this completely unnerving to be under the ‘authority’ of pastors that I don’t trust in the least!

    Persona, any chance that you might leave? Or are you sticking around? You contribute so much here in bloggo land, and I bet you contribute a lot in CLC land too….

  21. 5yearsinPDI
    February 21st, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    What in God’s green earth do they think they can contribute to same sex issues?

    I will refrain from certain snarky remarks on this one…but if they ever repent of emotional homosexuality they could contribute a lot :P

  22. Oswald
    February 21st, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Yellow #520 — I think Persona indicated that he had left CLC a couple of weeks ago, or so.

  23. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Oswald, Thanks for the clarification.

  24. Kris
    February 22nd, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Ozymandias -

    Thanks for the great overview of the various names in the Reformed world today. That was helpful.

    ————-

    Yellow -

    RE your #511, all I can say is, WHAT????

    I don’t want to get into any sort of discussion where people start pontificating about homosexuality…but no matter what one’s views might be, it’s not difficult to imagine a thousand pitfalls in the kind of “support” that SGM might offer to those facing this issue.

    For that matter, I can see some clear pitfalls in even responding to that announcement. Can you imagine the sorts of conversations that that Braden guy would have with people who volunteered for this new ministry? Who is in charge of determining whether or not such volunteers have successfully mortified their own sins, to the point where they could be vetted, SGM-style, as able to minister to others? And what would that process even look like?

    Boy, my head is spinning over this one…

    You’d think that a ministry with a proven track record of botching the most über-obvious counseling situations (those involving child sex abuse) would not be deliberately wading into this kind of territory right now.

  25. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I was raised in an arminian church and married a presbyterian. It never caused us division – we both loved Jesus.

    In the 70′s & 80′s I began to realize that “loving Jesus” was no longer enough to maintain unity within the body of Christ – “nonessentials” were causing divisions. It has been hard to watch and it breaks my heart. I can’t imagine how it must break our Lord’s.

    Forgive the length of this but I felt led to post it…

    Reformed Reflections
    What Is Fundamental and What Is Nonessential in the Church?

    Anyone, who follows the current trends within the church, knows that there is a drift toward polarization. There is controversy over women in ecclesiastical office, and whether children may partake of the Lord’s Supper. Questions are raised about the relevancy of the views of the Reformers and alleged cultural and temporal conditioning of the Scriptures. As the world watches us embroiled in conflict, they don’t understand what the disagreements are about, but they will judge on the basis of how we approach our differences and how we deal with one another.

    Ought we to allow differences? Should we be tolerant and cover up our differences in order to keep the peace? How can we stay together while there is such a diversity of opinions? Where do we draw the line and say, we can’t go any further? What are the fundamental and what are the nonessential articles of the faith? This last question has been on the minds of many theologians.

    1. John Calvin (1509-1564)

    John Calvin was deeply concerned about doctrinal unity. In the interest of harmony within the churches of the Reformation he was ready to moderate his position, without compromising his convictions. His outlook was ecumenical. Tolerance was shown in his exchange of correspondence with the Lutherans. He also corresponded with the British Archbishop Cranmer concerning the latter’s project for the convening of an international congress of Reformed churchmen “As nothing tends more injuriously to the separation of the churches than heresies and disputes respecting the doctrine of religion,” wrote Cranmer on March 20. 1552, “so nothing tends more effectually to unite the churches of God and more powerfully to defend the fold of Christ, than the pure teaching of the Gospel and harmony of doctrine.” Calvin replied that it was “to be reckoned among the greatest evils of our time that the churches are so estranged from each other that scarcely the common intercourse of society has place among them. Much less that holy communion of the members of Christ which all persons profess with their lips, though few sincerely honor it with their practice.” He added the famous comment that, “if he could be of any service, he would not shrink from crossing ten seas, should that be necessary for the purpose of attending such a gathering.”

    In his Institutes Calvin wrote that not all doctrines are of equal importance. But some are essential for salvation. Such doctrines are: “God is One; Christ is God and the Son of God; our salvation rests in God’s mercy; and the like. Among the churches there are other articles of doctrine disputed which still do not break the unity of the faith … Since all men are somewhat beclouded with ignorance, either we must leave no church remaining, or we must condone delusion in those matters which can go unknown without harm to the sum of religion and without loss of salvation” (IV1.12).

    Calvin also wrote that differences of opinion over nonessential matters should in no ways be the basis of schism among Christians. He warned against leaving the church because of any petty dissension. We must try to correct what displeases us. When a believer voluntarily deserts the outward communion of the church where the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are administered he is without excuse. Must the believers stay in the church at all cost? Is there no threshold to cross? Yes, there is. Calvin says, “The errors which ought to be pardoned are those which do not harm the chief doctrine of religion, which do not destroy the articles of religion, on which all believers ought to agree…But as soon as falsehood breaks into the citadel of religion and the sum of necessary doctrine is overturned and the use of the sacraments is destroyed, surely the death of the church follows –Just as a man’s life is ended when his throat is pierced or his heart morally wounded” (IV.2.1).

    2. Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921)

    Dr. Herman Bavinck was another Reformed theologian who wrote and spoke extensively about unity and diversity in the church. In 1888 he delivered address entitled “The Catholicity of Christendom and Church.” Bavinck was a true son of the 1834 Secession, but his interests and study led him beyond this circle. He was a man of noble character, walked humbly before God and was courteous towards his fellowman. He had the rare ability to appreciate his opponent’s opinions, and tried to fully understand his thought so that he could do justice to what was written or said. He was a brilliant scholar and able theologian. He deplored the divisions within the Church of Christ, but believed that the unity of the church, so gloriously depicted in the Scriptures, will never be regained. In a brochure published in 1912, he wrote. “The unity of the church and Christian Christendom is gone forever: the differentiation is on the increase in every area also in religion.” Bavinck was well acquainted with the issues within his denomination. Some members were isolationists, who opposed anyone not belonging to their camp. And there was the more broadminded Brummelka who kept in touch with Groen Van Prinsteren.

    Bavinck saw his world increasing in godlessness: the secular spirit was taking hold. He understood that Christians needed each other in the battle against unbelief. He was convinced that Christians, instead of battling each other should stand together in their opposition to the encroachment secularism, evolutionism and liberalism. Yet Bavinck refused to compromise the Savior. whose voice he heard in the Scriptures. He had a true catholicity of spirit as well as an unswerving loyalty to the Truth. He was thoroughly Reformed and worked along confessional lines. For Bavinck, the Gospel went beyond the personal salvation of the individual soul. “The gospel,” he wrote, “is a message of good tidings not only for each individual, but also for all of humanity, for the family and society and government, for art and science. for the whole cosmos, for the groaning creature.” Bavinck was convinced that this message must be proclaimed by the church. The New Testament paints a beautiful picture of the unity and catholicity of this church. This unity is described by Jesus and His apostles as the vine and the branches, the bridegroom and the bride, the temple and the home. Jesus prayed for the unity of the church and is still praying.

    The first century churches were different in origin, in culture, in nationality and different in historical background, but in Christ there was unity. Bavinck wrote, “This catholicity of the church, as the Scriptures portray to us and the first congregations show us, is of gripping beauty. Whoever shuts himself up in the narrow circle of his own little church or group (conventikel) does not know her and has never experienced in his life her power and comfort” (De Kalholiticiteit van Christendom en Kerk). No wonder that the apostles warned against schism. Already in the first century the glorious unity of the church was endangered. Judaistic and gnostic heresies arose and found acceptance in congregations. Yet Bavinck said that in the light of the catholicity of the church, discipline was applied by the early church leaders in order to bring the errant sinner back to the fold of Christ.

    What is the divided church today? Especially since the sixteenth century Reformation, the trend has been in the direction of constant secession and division. Dr. Bavinck was convinced that these divisions are a sin before God. Therefore, Reformed Christians never made secession a matter of historic principle. In 1834 they were forced into secession.

    Bavinck was convinced that unity and catholicity can only be realized in this present world on the basis of the truth of God as revealed in Scripture. To be a real church of Jesus Christ, as far as this is possible in this sinful world, the church ought to show the three marks of the church. The church must be a place where the Gospel is preached, the sacraments administered and discipline applied. But her separation from the world and unto Christ may never lead to isolation from the world. She must stand in the midst of life.

    Bavinck emphasized that believers are duty bound to remain in their own church as long as she does not hinder them in being true to the confessions, and if she does not force them to obey men more than God. He writes that one of the problems we face is the lack of understanding of what the church really ought to be. Says he, “One leaves a church as easy as one joins it. If something does not suit a certain church, one searches without a pinch of conscience for another. It is the taste that ultimately decides. The exercise of discipline becomes impossible this way, she completely loses her character: which minister still dares in good conscience, except in very, very few cases, to make use of the form of excommunication.”

    Bavinck urges believers to be very careful with the way the term schism and heresy are handled. We should never forget that these evils are great sins. Schismatics are those people who without having any objections to the fundamental teaching of their church separate from her because of some minor point of worship or church government. Heretics are those people who err in the substance of doctrine. Schismatics break the fellowship of the church. Heretics break the unity of doctrine. In this discussion we must keep in mind the Reformed principle of differentiation not only between faith and theology, but also between fundamental and nonessential articles of faith. If these distinctions are not made there will be no end to church divisions.

    Bavinck warns those who lightly talk about seceding from a church, “Every sect which holds its own circle for the only church of Christ and believes to be the only one in the possession of truth languishes and dies off, like a branch that is torn from its stem.”

    As we experience increasing polarization and tensions within our denominations, and show an apparent lack of understanding of the nature of the church, we do well to discuss John Calvin’s and Herman Bavinck’s thought-provoking arguments on what is fundamental and what is nonessential to the faith.

    Johan D. Tangelder April, 1985

  26. Luna Moth
    February 22nd, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Bavinck emphasized that believers are duty bound to remain in their own church as long as she does not hinder them in being true to the confessions, and if she does not force them to obey men more than God.

    I’m sorry but this is a red flag for me. Wartburg Watch had a post about a 9Marks post urging pastors not to allow their people to “leave into thin air.”

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/02/02/mark-dever-9-marks-edict-you-cannot-resign-wo-permission/

    After twenty-plus years in SGM I am really questioning what duty a Christian has to the organized “local” church.

    I longed, earnestly longed for a church I could believe in, and be happy to build. PDI/SGM wasn’t it. I asked God to please put me in a church I could believe in. What He did was to give me Himself–apart from the church.

    I can’t give you a thought-out theology. All I know is that after Jesus, the church is a very distant second.

    Apart from Him, apart from His real and loving presence with me, the church is just a bunch of nice people.

    I can’t be obligated to a bunch of nice people. I will not be duty bound to remain in any church.

  27. Luna Moth
    February 22nd, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Also, for me, the variety of churches is a source of safety and freedom. I would dread having only one juggernaut church which claims to be the right one. We have the freedom to seek Him with like-minded people in a way that is most helpful to us.

    First Baptist Church is not in rebellion against First Methodist or Walnut Street Church of Christ. They just understand differently. They don’t have to be in enmity.

    If I walk past the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to go to the Baptist Church, I’m not in sin.

    Maybe it does seem to me that the Baptist Church brings me closer to what I understand as the truth of God revealed in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean I need to lead a crusade against the other churches to get them in line. I can entrust them to God.

    (Okay, I know this is a bit of a tangent…)

  28. Steve240
    February 22nd, 2012 at 11:59 am

    AKS

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in what Calvin supposedly believed about tolerance of different views. Maybe that was something he came to later in life. Here is one web page I found when I Googled Calvin:

    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/michael-servetus.htm

    Part of what is stated:

    On October 27, 1553 John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, had Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, burned at the stake just outside of Geneva for his doctrinal beliefs!(1) Hence, the originator of the popular doctrine of “once saved, always saved” (known in certain circles as “the perseverance of the saints”) violated the cry of the Reformation — “Sola Scriptura” — by murdering a doctrinal heretic without Scriptural justification. This event was something John Calvin had considered long before Michael Servetus was even captured, for John Calvin wrote his friend, Farel, on February 13, 1546 (seven years prior to Michael Servetus’ arrest) and went on record as saying:

    “If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight.”(2)
    Evidently, in that day John Calvin’s authority in Geneva, Switzerland had ultimate “weight.” This is why some referred to Geneva as the “Rome of Protestantism”(3) and to John Calvin as the “Protestant ‘Pope’ of Geneva.”(4),

    Sadly this isn’t one fact about Calvin that many who promote Calvin and Calvinism openly discuss.

  29. Fried Fish
    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The spiritual life is meant to refashion the natural and moral life in its full depth and scope according to the laws of God. Along this organic path Christian truth and the Christian life are introduced into all the circles of the natural life, so that life in the household and the extended family is restored to honor, the wife (woman) is again viewed as the equal of the husband (man), the sciences and arts are Christianized, the level of the moral life is elevated, society and state are reformed, laws and institutions, morals and customs are made Christian.

    From Bavinck’s “Reformed Dogmatics”…. Dang, where’s the extreme complementarianism and indwelling sin? That’s no fun! :)

  30. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Luna, I agree with you.

    I felt like the article covered the fact that you don’t stay in a church “at all cost.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the reasons for leaving SGM -they’re obvious.

    I can’t give you a thought-out theology. All I know is that after Jesus, the church is a very distant second.

    Apart from Him, apart from His real and loving presence with me, the church is just a bunch of nice people.

    I can’t be obligated to a bunch of nice people. I will not be duty bound to remain in any church.

    :amen

    I’m right there with you.

  31. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Steve240,

    I’m not promoting Calvinism…never have. Just quoting the old dead guy because I liked what he said.

    I don’t call myself arminian or calvinist…don’t really care about that stuff. I’ve had folks jokingly call me a “calminian.” Just call me a christian…with a LOT of emphasis on the root word. :wink:

  32. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve yet to find a human that I agree with 100 percent of the time.

    There’s very few that I would say I agree with even 50 percent of the time.

    The Holy Spirit is the only one I agree with 100 percent of the time.

  33. Steve240
    February 22nd, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    AKS said:

    I’m not promoting Calvinism…never have. Just quoting the old dead guy because I liked what he said.

    I was just pointing out the contradiction between what Calvin is quoted as saying and thus supposedly believing and at least one of his practices. It is quite a contradiction. It kind of reminds me of C.J. Mahaney writing a book on “humility” or if Mahaney was to write about being a leader of “integrity.” ;-)

    There just is a disparity between what was written and what was practiced.

  34. PhillyInDC
    February 22nd, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Anyone heard about how CLC’s possible secession from SGM is going? I happened to be perusing their website and noticed that they removed all of the women from their staff page. At one point, they had listed (and pics) of the women who worked there, mostly as assistants and secretaries, but now it has been changed to an all boys club.

  35. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    To add to and wrap up my earlier posts (and obviously, I’ve been ranting to the choir)…

    God wants us to come together with other believers for the reasons He’s given us in the bible. That could take place on a mountaintop, an island, in a cave, or in someone’s home. For me, personally, I prefer a church. A group of believers at a church once hurt me so badly that I didn’t set foot in one for over a year. God understood. My husband and I will also take periods where we visit various churches from time to time and worship with folks we’ve never worshiped with before. And the ULTIMATE for us…short term mission trips – in this country and worldwide (although, really, I’ve shared and cared for hurting neighbors where the experience was just as meaningful).

  36. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 22nd, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    A Kindred Spirit———-you said…..

    “I’ve yet to find a human that I agree with 100 percent of the time.

    There’s very few that I would say I agree with even 50 percent of the time.

    The Holy Spirit is the only one I agree with 100 percent of the time.”

    :clap I love this! It sounds so healthy, like you could mingle with a variety of Christians and not get your knickers in a twist. How cool is that?! :clap It is soooooo opposite of SGM! Kudos, AKS!

    Regarding CLC’s latest interest in ‘ministering’ to homosexuals————The fact that CLC is pursuing this right now shows what could be a real *arrogance*. Perhaps they think that they do marriage counseling so amazingly well that they need to branch out now…

    Strike up the band, because yet again, CLC just seems to be so friggin’ proud of itself,
    and so busy gazing at its “humility”-filled navel,
    foolishly thinking they have anything substantive and Biblical to offer…….

    Tell that to the lady who keeps getting beaten by her husband and then is told by current CLC pastors that she needs to look at her own sin….. :barf:

  37. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 22nd, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    A huge sigh of relief from Yellow here……

    Here’s the scoop on Braden Greer’s homosexuality ministry…….Braden is looking for folks who would be trained by HarvestUSA, a ministry that focuses on same sex issues. HarvestUSA is solid, founded by 10th Presbyterian folks in Philly in the 80′s. They work with all denominations, including the Amish and Mennonites. Their work is thoughtful,Biblical to the core. They even host debates on collega campuses. Check out their literature, it’s the best out there, IMHO. Hubby and I have supported them in the past.

    I am sooooooooo relieved that CLC is NOT doing it’s typical lone ranger ‘product placement’ here. Gosh, I love being wrong sometimes!

    http://harvestusa.org/

  38. Ellie
    February 22nd, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I don’t call myself arminian or calvinist…don’t really care about that stuff

    AKS – I agree with you 100% on this!

  39. Epaphras
    February 22nd, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    “Bavinck emphasized that believers are duty bound to remain in their own church as long as she does not hinder them in being true to the confessions, and if she does not force them to obey men more than God.”

    I understand how SGM has made everyone ‘gun’-shy, but Bavinck gave here a sane criterion which is under the spiritual responsibility of each believer before their Master. The reason why leaving SGM is gradually becoming a requirement, not an option, is because of the demand to obey men more than God.

    @Kris – I think it would make a useful separate post to ask the question, “is it possible to remain in (my) SGM church and yet obey God rather than men”?

  40. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Epaphras,

    If I knew how to put things in bold print, I would have put that in bold when I posted it.

  41. Bridget
    February 22nd, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Epaphras -

    Good question –
    “Is it possible to remain in (my) SGM church and yet obey God rather than men?”

    Or

    Questions for me and SGM LEADERS -
    “Is it possible to obey God rather than men in my current SGM church without being asked to leave, or treated as an outcast by the leaders of my current SGM church? Will they trust and support the Holy Spirit speaking to me?” THESE are questions for me AND SGM LEADERS!

  42. A Kindred Spirit
    February 22nd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I was still thinking about all the different “reformed camps” when I came across the article.

    I am currently a member of a reformed church. Many of my relatives and friends are reformed. Annndddd…(you guessed it)…everyone is divided up into different camps. I can no longer even keep up with all the different camps. Needless to say, at times the discussion can get pretty intense, even ugly. (And I’m not picking on the reformed folks. Arminians and all the other “breeds” are just as guilty.)

    I can tolerate the “nonessential” stuff. It doesn’t bother me. But when one of them comes across like they’re the ONLY ONE that’s got it “right,” I take issue with that. SGMers are some of the WORST! (Not sure what “category” or “camp” to put them in…not even sure what “breed” they are…but, hey…the Reformed Big Dogs don’t seem to mind.)

  43. Epaphras
    February 22nd, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    @Bridget … well-stated. Though it is ‘on us’ ultimately to do what is right, even under pressure, in fact the process of leaving honorably should involve fellowship with leaders. But if that becomes a double-bind or a black hole, well? We should obey God so much the more rather than such leaders and get the heck out, but it doesn’t make our decisions on the ground any easier – especially for single women/moms.

    So, yeah, if SGM leaders truly want brothers and sisters to obey God first (as they profess), it is on them to create an atmosphere in which leave-taking is drastically more grace-filled than it has been. That alone, if words were backed up by actions, would revolutionize SGM.

    Not. Holding. My. Breath. Because. I. Want. To. Live.

  44. Luna Moth
    February 22nd, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Kindred, thanks for your affirming answer! :) I like the thought of gathering by twos and threes and sevens and eights…

    Since Epaphras quoted Bavinck’s assertion that “believers are duty bound to remain in their own church,” I will say it again– I do not agree with the imposition of any duty toward a particular “local” church upon the believer. I just don’t.

    I’m not talking only about SGM churches (though it was my long weary time in PDI/SGM that undermined my unquestioning belief that to make God happy we are supposed to participate in church the way I was taught). I am talking about any church. Even the really good ones. To say “you are duty bound to remain” is the first step toward bondage.

    I realize I will sound like a radical. Maybe I am.

  45. Bridget
    February 22nd, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Luna -

    I don’t think we would find that quote by Bavnick in scripture either. We find encouragement to gather with believers – but many want to dictate what this should look like. Many people througout history, and currently, appear to want the reigns on what “gathering” should look like.

  46. Muckraker
    February 22nd, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Luna:

    To say “you are duty bound to remain” is the first step toward bondage.

    :word
    Like James, I want to be only a “bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”. I will never be a sign-on-the-dotted-line member of a church again. We are members of one another, and of Christ, and of the Church Universal–and we worship in fellowship somewhere specific, but no where in scripture is it written, that you must “bond” yourself to a specific locale. If anything, we see ministers of the gospel (ahem, us, any christian) being led by the Holy Spirit to change locales as HE sees fit! (Not according to the dictates of a man or a group of men!!)

  47. Yellow is a Happy Color
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I once met a vibrant Christian who was part of the underground church in China. Sure, he could obey his government and join the government-bound church and have his name in all sorts of government files, but here was his rationale:

    “My name is written in the Book of Life. It doesn’t need to be written anywhere else.”

    Muckracker, your comment in #446 reminds me of our brother…

  48. B.R. Clifton
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Concerning Bavnick’s quote about being duty bound —-.:
    That would depend on what Bavnick’s definition of church was. There’s the church of Jesus Christ, and then there’s a miriad of little demon-nations (denominations) comprised of many institutions erroneously called churches. Mr. Bavnick was obviously referring to the latter and was more concerned with the “integrety” of the institution. If one is in Christ, one cannot “leave the church” since he/she is an integral part of the living church no matter where one goes.

    Anyone teaching the Bavnick drivel is barking up his/her shirtsleeve.
    :beat

  49. Ozymandias
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    More sermons of interest:

    Sovereign Grace Church, Aurora, CO
    12 February 2012
    Words that Bring Life and Death
    http://www.sgcco.org/media.php?pageID=14
    Mark Alderton

    Sovereign Grace Church, Apex, NC
    19 February 2012
    Preserving Our Unity
    http://sovgracenc.org/teachings/?sermon_id=453
    Phil Sasser
    See 36:00 – 45:00 — godly speech, being bitter, forgiving if they haven’t said sorry, not waiting until people have repented

  50. Epaphras
    February 22nd, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    @Luna .. I have problems with the use of the word ‘duty’ as well.

    Again, I feel the main point was simply that the scriptures don’t favor a lawless congregational spirit based on the self anymore than lawless authoritarianism by leaders. The book of Judges, despite its lessons having been abused, does remain instructive. That said, I have no axe to grind on this so far as I know – SGM’s need is overwhelmingly on behalf of spiritual liberty.

    If we were offline, I would have fun brainstorming with you about other biblical words that we might (I hope) agree are more helpful than ‘duty’, but not here. The larger question about obeying God rather than man is vastly more spot-on.

    (Though the Dutch would be furious at me, I did live there and they are more, say, German than French :wink: so ‘duty’ conveys, for them, a most positive ‘vibe’).

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