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A Word From “Praise Warrior”

Kris says:  I received the following today via email from “Praise Warrior,” who posted it as  a comment over at SGM Refuge.  “Praise Warrior” asked that I consider posting it here – and I am more than happy to do so.  Once again, please note:  I am NOT the author of this particular post, although I think the sentiments it contains are very good.

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Submitted by “Praise Warrior” –

Enough is enough.  

God, while ever patient, will not be mocked. There is a time for everything and perhaps it is time for some righteous anger. There seems to be an unrelenting stubbornness and resistance from somewhere within SGM leadership that is repelling numerous true attempts at repentance and restitution. Some have had grace to stay. Others have had grace to leave. This is not just “our perspective” – these are our experiences. We don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing them with a reconciliation group like AOR with whom we have no relationship.  

Ideal SGM review panel: Peter, Paul, James and John.  

A few questions here – all, we pray, asked in the atmosphere of “breathing grace” (as Ken Sande would say) and Christian love and concern: 

Would Peter find historical issues of some in SGM leadership lording it over the flock? Maybe he would speak to the instances of some being compulsive, shameful, blackmailing and domineering and urge humility and leadership by willing example. 

Might Paul admonish that there has been some partiality and it would stand to reason that the charges brought against some elders have been by more than the required 2-3 witnesses? 

Could James call for a council of all the elders to come together and decide whether too great a yoke has been placed on our necks  that neither we nor our fathers can bear? 

Is it possible that the disciple Jesus loved would recall the letter of Christ to the Ephesians who had abandoned their first love? Maybe he would encourage you to remember from where you had fallen and do the works you did at first. Perhaps he would warn you that unless you repent, Jesus will come to you and remove the lampstand from its place. Yep – those are strong words but they are not ours neither are they our opinion. 

CJ has proclaimed the hills on which you will die. There are many things you stand for that you hate, but what do you love? 

Analogies always break down somewhere but you get the point. Is there hope for SGM? Always, if your hope is in God alone. He alone is the Chief Shepherd of the church. Pastors are undershepherds. SGM members/leaders consider this: have there been ethical leadership violations during this whole debacle? If so, where is your voice? Is it confined to the forum of one brave pastoral team sending a letter on behalf of some churches or is there a way through the wilderness here that would bring good to all? 

Reality check: if you are an SGM member or pastor and you find out what is going on in SGM from these blogs, you might want to grab another cup of coffee.  

If anyone would find it difficult in good conscience to invite an unbelieving neighbor to attend your local SGM congregation with you because you might have to eventually try and explain this mess, it might be time to make your departure. Talk with the Good Shepherd about it. Maybe He will have you stay. Would He want to attend with you? When God comes to church, there is no mistake He is there. 

There is a pain associated with exiting – believe us, we know; but there is also the issue of integrity and honor. The fires of First Love have dimmed and in some cases appear to have been quenched. Have the once passionate and zealous group of pioneers  in large part become settlers? 

Some leaders appear to be content with putting Band-aids on festering wounds. Dressing up a situation with new board members and changing your polity will not be the end all move without fundamental repentance and heart change. We submit that this would involve all three of these: confession, repentance and restitution. 

Confession. Repentance. Restitution. Those seem to be the forgotten life-blood. It is not okay for a perfunctory report to come out and say “Oops – sorry – we really missed it there.” Peoples lives have been affected. Eldership that goes un-checked and unbalanced is unwise and can violate people. 

SGM, return to your First Love. We are not arm-chair theologians who have vengefully conjured up the notion that we are self-appointed judges and prophets. We are brothers and sisters in Christ who cannot stand for the few leaders driving things at the top of the organization that was once an organism. Then there are some leaders who seem to just be “yes men.” We believe in telling the truth in love and many of you have not listened. 

Thank you to those of you who are listening. 

Please, we appeal to you. Do not harden your hearts and instruct your flocks to not read the blogs. We are not hate-mongers and malicious gossips. We are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater nor are we painting you all with broad brush strokes. We are deeply concerned for you. We pray for you. Many of us stayed until it became an issue of conscience and we felt forced to leave. May of us had our loyalty called into question. Our departures do not equal disloyalty. Our loyalty is to Christ. 

So we are watching – some from a distance and others from within. We long for our remnant to have a voice. 

There are some statements coming from current leaders that are encouraging. We are listening but words without accompanying change will be meaningless. Glad you are re-wording your polity but it is true: actions will indeed speak louder than words. 

Example: where is the AOR report and why does it need to be discussed in Louisville before we ever see it? What is there to hide? 

Some have suggested that we are just a bunch of bitter and resentful people. Maybe some of us are. Perhaps we aren’t. Maybe we have been exasperated. We might just be sad and if you will permit a category of hurting. People who are sad and hurting yet full of love for you. Why sad and hurting? 

It would appear to us that the once dearest places on earth are slowly becoming a desert. Where have all the soldiers gone? Is there anyone out there who is not just hearing us but perhaps may be listening too? Post here, please. Engage us in the dialogue.

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Kris says:  Once again, although I think this is a very good message, I am NOT its author.  “Praise Warrior” is.

215 comments to A Word From “Praise Warrior”

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  1. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Defender – I’m Lutheran by upbringing, too, and I agree that context is vitally important.

    Does historical context (including the political upheavals that were occurring in Luther’s day) excuse his anti-semitism? I don’t think so. Nor does it excuse his callousness toward those involved in the Peasants’ Revolt.

    But it *does* explain a lot.

    Luther was a deeply flawed and (I think) troubled man, and yet… there is that which is very good about his work and his life.

    I think it’s kind of hard to find balanced bios of Luther, in English, at least. (My guess is that there is more available in German, on Luther himself and on the history of the Lutheran church… would be great if someone would translate it.)

  2. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Stunned – yes, the Nazis took Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies and ran with it.

    But you might want to check my link (in graph above), which contains some specifically Jewish perspectives on that horrible screed of Luther’s and how it was used by the Nazis.

  3. 2+2=4 again
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Defender, I downloaded the article about a year ago, but I found it pretty easily just by googling, “Were the Reformers anti-Semitic?” There are many scholarly articles out there. That’s certainly not to say that all Reformed folks, then or now, feel this way! I hadn’t heard of Calvin being so, either, but it’s common knowledge for most Jews, because of all the persecution they’ve endured in the name of Christ. It is easy for Jews to think of Hitler, the Catholic inquisitions, the Crusades, Constantine, and thousands of pograms, when they see a cross or hear Jesus’ name. Yes, they need to recognize and receive their Jewish Messiah, which Scripture tells us someday they will, as a nation, but the messages they’ve heard from many Christians for almost 2000 years have been distorted with judgment and hatred. I’ll try to locate the one I downloaded and list it.

  4. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    2+ – Yes, the reformers *were* antisemitic, and I so wish that wasn’t the case.

    All of Western society (as well as the “eastern” churches, in Greece, Russia, Constantinople etc.) was anti-semitic.

    I believe anti-semitism to be a virulently evil thing.

    But… as pointed out on some Jewish websites, Nazi anti-semitism has somewhat different causes. That they had historical documents (well, anti-semitic screeds) near at hand to make use of is a horrible thing – but it does not *quite* mean that Luther himself was directly responsible for the Holocaust, the Spanish Inquisition, etc.

  5. Stunned
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Defender, I still like a LOT about the guy. Once we get to heaven, we will all see our many wrongs. I am guessing the deaths of so many caused many tears for him once he realized how wrong he was and I am also guessing that Jesus wiped all those tears away, just as he wiped away the tears of those who were murdered.

  6. Unassimilated
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Plenty of free resources here – http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/bibanti.html

    Luther may not be responsible for the Holocaust, but seeds of hate always flourish in this fallen world.

  7. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Un – Dude! I guess great minds think alike, because I linked to that site a few posts up. ; )

  8. 2+2=4 again
    April 4th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Defender, this is one of the articles, by John J. Parsons, at Hebrew4Christians’ website, entitled, Is Christianity anti-Jewish? A Brief Look at Interpretive Factors There are other articles from that and the home page you can link to, as well.

    numo, I didn’t say that Luther was directly responsible for the Holocaust, and as you know, the Catholic church was responsible for the Spanish Inquisition, but agree with your comment, thanks.

    Stunned, I like a LOT of what Luther said, too, and Calvin, and yes, all believers’ tears wiped away, all wrongs forgotten. Thanks for mentioning that!

    Boiled down, we all are responsible for Jesus’ death, but ultimately, God had prepared Himself as the sacrifice for all our sins from before the foundation of the world, as is carefully stated in Scripture.

  9. Defender
    April 4th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks all.
    I’ll add those resources to my study list.

    AND, yes, I look forward to lifting a glass of New Wine and fellowship with Luther. (And maybe C.J. too, but I’m not that hopeful for him. :( )

  10. ExClcer'sMom
    April 4th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Luther,Calvin, Piper, CJ, Wigglesworth, Wesley..Peter, Paul, James, even the Pope..They are all but mere men..Men who have been used by God, and men who have made mistakes. It doesn’t even matter if we know what their mistakes were/are..they are human-we know they made mistakes. Ultimately, it is Jesus we look to. We take what any man or woman says, and prayerfully consider what we hear God Himself speaking to us, and shape our lives according to His will for us, not following ALL of what any man says or does. It is for none of us to judge whether anyone is in heaven, really, is it? People we think are following God are secretly doing horrible things..people we talk about ‘in sin’-do we really know their heart before God? We can truly only be assured of our own salvation. beyond that, the command given to us is to love, but to also speak the truth in love, and to judge so as not to cast our pearls before swine, not to judge for salvation, correct? We study our past, and the past mistakes of others, in order to learn, but we really cant say who is in Heaven, can we? Just my thought here, I would love to hear others opinions (unless that might be off topic, then I understand.)

  11. 2+2=4 again
    April 4th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    ExClcer’s Mom, totally agree!!!

  12. 5yearsinPDI
    April 4th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Brent’s new post is something. Whew. I can’t get into the joyful exile site, wonder if it is overloaded right now. Probably good, I need to clean the kitchen.

  13. His Name is Jesus
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Numo – I have a book on Luther, to my knowledge it is considered the authoritative work. It’s called, “Luther and His Times” by E. G. Schwiebert It was written in the 50′s I believe.
    My father-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. It is very detailed…anyway just a thought if you like.

  14. Oswald
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    5years #112 — Yes, please get those countertops cleaned up. And organize the drawers while your at it.

  15. B.R. Clifton
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    :beat Stunned #105:
    Our wrongs will not follow us to Heaven. They will be left behind. In fact we leave them behind continually as we confess them to the Lord and repent right here on Earth. We will be so full of joy at being in the presence of God and His Son for all eternity that nothing that happened back here on Earth will matter at all. God certainly won’t remember the wrongs. He forgets our sin (wrongs) as He forgives them. That’s certainly a whole lot different than we operate isn’t it!

    Just think of it, You’re no longer the worst sinner you know. Jesus has made you (each of us) free from the law of sin and death so that we are no longer “totally depraved” but have been made Holy in Him and fit as a dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Nice things to think about. (and live up to)

  16. B.R. Clifton
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I didn’t realize I was placing the “dead hors” in the wrong place. Slip of the mouse. :D

  17. Oswald
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    BRC #115 — Thanks so much for the appropriate reminder. Praise God!

  18. Unassimilated
    April 4th, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Numo – Guess we do! I missed yours, worth repeating though.

  19. Stunned
    April 4th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Numo, I never mentioned anti-semitism. Maybe you meant that for someone else?

  20. Stunned
    April 4th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    numo said, “I think it’s kind of hard to find balanced bios of Luther, in English, at least. (My guess is that there is more available in German, on Luther himself and on the history of the Lutheran church… would be great if someone would translate it.)”

    Funnily enough (or unfunnily, I guess), I learned about Luther’s less stellar views first when I was in Germany. (My family lived there for a time and I loved getting to visit.)

  21. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Stunned – my apologies! I clearly misread something on page 2 of the comments.

    His Name – thanks muchly for the suggestion! I’ll check that out.

    Hope I didn’t muddy the waters here… history (and us humans) can be quite confounding and confusing, no?

    Wishing all a blessed Easter season! :)

  22. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Stunned, you wrote

    Funnily enough (or unfunnily, I guess), I learned about Luther’s less stellar views first when I was in Germany. (My family lived there for a time and I loved getting to visit.)

    I hear you. I don’t recall anyone actively suppressing the bad parts of Luther’s writing and legacy in the church where i grew up – if anything, I think people were all too aware of that aspect of his life and character. (This was in the 60s; WWII and the Holocaust were very recent history.)

    When I did find out about his virulent anti-semitism, it helped me make some sense out of how German society became so ugly during the 30s and 40s. (Putting it mildly – fwiw, I grew up in a partly Jewish neighborhood and became aware of the Holocaust when I was very young.)

    I don’t think I can personally let Luther off the hook on this one, and have never bought the “he was a man of his time” arguments. yes, he was, but he took anti-semitism to a level that I wish it had never reached.

    I can’t really explain how I feel except to say that he was innately flawed (as are we all), coupled with an awareness that even the best of us are potentially capable of horrific things. That’s said in light of all the “good” Germans who did nothing, you know? Could have been me, or you, or the folks next door, no?

  23. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Un – yes, *definitely* worth repeating! That site is a terrific resource.

  24. Stunned
    April 4th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    One of the things I like about Luther is that parts of his story remind me that none of us (well, mostly none) are static human beings. We all change and our views change throughout our lives.

    I remember this story about how he once fetl a demon show up in his presence and he was so terrified he picked up a candle and threw it. Many years later, once he got to know himself more, God more and life more, he was in his room, writing. He once again felt an evil presence in the room with him. Did he throw a candlestick in fear? No, he just turned around and said, ‘Oh, it’s you’ then he went back to his writing.

    We change.

    Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worst.

    Yet me favorite story about Luther is one that someone needs to tell all these people who think it’s worth storing the writings of other dead Christians. (That would be a Driscoll reference.) Before Luther died, after having published gazillion books (that is the official number), he said something to the effect that it was his wish that after he died, they burned all of his books. He realized that some people would read his work and look to him. He said that all we ever needed was the bible and God.

    Smart man. (At the least, on that point.)

  25. Praise Warrior
    April 4th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Lost #86 – don’t mind at all.

    Church history shows how one remnant after another was born in the midst of denominational difficulties. Some groups chose to separate from the establishment (Separatists) and others chose to remain within and attempt to “purify” what had become tainted (Puritans).

    Many were persecuted for living according to their conscience.

    SO much can be learned from both groups and both groups can be respected or critiqued for a variety of reasons.

    One thing is clear – ignoring history is unwise.

  26. Stunned
    April 4th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    numo, i like hearing about how different people learn about life and the experiences that add to how they see the world. thank you for sharing yours.

  27. 5yearsinPDI
    April 4th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Oswald…..haha.

    I have a true confession to make. I put all the big utensils like serving and slotted spoons and spatulas and big knives and wire whisks in two ceramic crocks on the counter by the stove. And I put most of the eating utensils in a holder with sections, on the kitchen table for easy access. And the steak knives and paring knives are in another small round thingey on the counter.

    So now I have four junk drawers. FOUR. IV. Quatro. Can you believe it? All sorts of lids and junk in there. Matches and toothpicks and blender bottoms and peelers and plastic tops for shaker bottles. String and tape and screwdrivers. All four drawers are stuffed. I bet half the lids don’t fit anything but I haven’t organized those drawers in years. I actually decided I want to clean them up and organize them and wipe them out. Maybe Carolyn is on to something? :D

  28. numo
    April 4th, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Stunned, re. your #126:

    I feel the same way as far as hearing peoples’ stories and all.

    Love the Luther anecdote you mentioned earlier, though I *think* it was an inkwell that he threw – at least, that’s how I remember it.

    The “Oh, it’s you” part of that story is priceless!

  29. 2+2=4 again
    April 4th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    We have one hidden area in every room that houses nothing but, except I don’t call it junk. It is all most useful, and even though I’m unorganized, I know exactly where each plastic, metal or wood g’adjitzus is.

  30. Oswald
    April 4th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Stunned #124 — Thanks for the Luther stories. I love hearing these. Luther seems like he was a high- maintenance guy.

  31. Oswald
    April 4th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    5years #127 — Counter clearing and drawer organizing are conducive to prayer time. We need to do all we can.

  32. Defender
    April 5th, 2012 at 2:58 am

    B.R. Clifton #115,
    On the memory of sin, post arrival in “eternity”…..
    I heard a rather profound argument that, quite frankly changed my thinking ever since.
    It went like this:
    At the final Judgement, everyone will be judged for every word and deed, etc. (Even Christians.) Some have postulated that this is a kind of “last dig” for our sin before we get “in”. That would be wrong.
    What the last judgement for believers is about, is to identify just exactly what Jesus covered for us. We will not be embarrassed, because shame will be removed, it is not about US. It’s all about JESUS! and what He did!
    This will actually be a time of rejoicing as we realize the full measure of the Grace God has given us through the covering of the Blood of Jesus.
    I think we will remember our sins, but as reference to the full Glory of God, not in shame.

    Also, I have heard preached about God no longer remembering our sins. It’s not about God getting a case of amnesia so much, but rather it is actually meant to say more precisely, “He holds our sins against us no longer.” (Holding sin against = remembering.)

    I picture myself being in eternity and praising God daily because I would KNOW how I had no way of getting there except for the work of Christ on the cross. I would also remember in doing daily work for God, how I used to do that task so “stupidly”, but now I know a better way, untainted by sin.
    PRAISE GOD!

    I think ignorance is not really bliss. It’s just ignorance. I think we will be far more intelligent, and without corruption.
    No shame.

    That’s just my 2 cents. I saw what you said and it got me thinking again.
    FWIW

  33. B.R. Clifton
    April 5th, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Defender #132: Good Words! :goodpost :clap :D

    However we describe what will happen then, it will not be a time of God’s retribution toward us.

  34. Stunned
    April 5th, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Defender, that is how I picture it. Thank you for putting into words what I could not.

    I figure, heaven is going to be such an awesome place. (Mostly because I’ll be carried around in God’s breast pocket. Yes, God will be wearing a 1950′s dress shirt with a pocket for pens and the like. That is where I will be living.)

    But scripture does say that He will wipe away every tear. Now, I am one to cry tears of joy, but I don’t get the feeling that He’ll need to be wiping away tears of joy. (I hope everyone recognizes that this whole post is pure speculation.) I think that there will be SOMETHING to cause us tears but I have a feeling that will just be at the beginning and after He wipes them away, they will no longer ever exist. I am guessing that it will be like you described, Defender, and that we will have momentary tears when we see either what others suffered or what we would have done to cause Him or others pain. But that is just so we can see how amazing and wonderful and full of love and grace He is. No shame, just truth. Everlasting, wonderful truth. How can we NOT skip down those streets of gold after that? (Again, I will be in His breastpocket so I won’t be skipping so much as riding along as He skips.) How can we not spend at least the first trillion years saying one long, “Whooaaa” at how magnificent He is? How can we NOT rejoice over his goodness for another bazillion years? I think we will be outside of time but however long that first “Whoooaaa” is and how ever long the first rejoicing is, it will be just the start of an eternal “whoa”, “wheeeee” and “woo hoo”.

  35. Stunned
    April 5th, 2012 at 6:38 am

    numo, yes, you’re right about the inkwell.

    then again, for all I know, these are made up “Christian” stories that preachers like to repeat, thinking they are true. either way, i like the story. still makes me see that i can grow and change.

  36. ExClcer'sMom
    April 5th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I had a girlfriend over the other night, and the subject came up of ‘a junk drawer’. She asked me what was the whole issue/joke about a junk drawer. I tried to explain to her how it is based on the premise of “a place for everything, and everything in it’s place”, and her response was, That fits exactly-it is a junk drawer, and junk goes in it-there is no better place”! LOL! Almsot every house I have ever been in, where they were ‘ready’ to deal with the most unexpected of things, they went to the junk drawer! Just saying.. :spin

  37. 5yearsinPDI
    April 5th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Oswald….. :D

    Mom…….trying to use logic, eh? Forget it, you are a woman. Give up and try to be more sanctified by obeying humbly.

    Hey, you think Kris is really a guy? Can all that intelligent logic really come from a -gack- woman? Nah, not possible.

  38. Stunned
    April 5th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    5 Year, heee heee heee

  39. numo
    April 5th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Stunned – I’m inclined to think that the Luther and the devil stories are folklore, but factual or not, they’re pretty cool>

    otoh, Luther did believe in devils (see the text to A Mighty Fortress is Our God) and I’d venture to guess that he could have had some experiences like the ones in the story…

    As for him being high-maintenance, yep! I sometimes wonder how his wife coped. ;)

  40. Defender
    April 5th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Having not been there in person, I cannot say with authority, but the inkwell story is by all accounts I have ever heard true. I am told bu people (whom I trust and have no reason to lie about it) that you can tour the place where the inkwell event happened and the ink stain (although faded) is still on the wooden door.

    I got a funny little demon story of my own, (as if demon stories can be funny…)
    I got this part time gig working nights as a janitor in a local mega church. HUGE building, and spooky late at night… (once I came around a corner in a dark passage and nearly bumped into a woman dressed all in black. almost could not see her. She was blasted drunk and could hardly slur words to understand. She was looking for the AA meeting. She missed it by several hours, and had crawled into a corner of the Prayer Room and was sleeping till late that night, when I found her.)
    I told you that story to tell you THIS story.

    The teenage son of the Sr. Pastor was working with us one night and he was cleaning the Sunday school rooms. Dark & spooky rooms late at night…especially when the HVAC system kicks in. He came down stairs with his eyes big as dinner plates, and asked me “Do you believe in Demons?”
    Yes
    “Do you believe they could be in churches?”
    Oh yes! I’ve met several.
    “I saw a demon up in the 3rd – 4th grade room!”
    Yeah, probably. Listen, you are a believer, right? You are covered in the blood of Jesus, right? That demon can’t touch you. Now get back to work.
    I added, “Just leave the lights on and I’ll shut them off later.”

    The boy quit a few weeks later…..(He wasn’t a very good worker anyhow.)

    :>}

  41. ExClcer'sMom
    April 5th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    5 years, LOL!

  42. Steve240
    April 5th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Brent has a new post up:

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2012/4/5/cj-like-a-sheep-without-a-shepherd.html

    Brent discusses C.J. Mahaney’s last 3 messages at Solid Rock.

  43. Lost in (cyber) Space
    April 6th, 2012 at 2:08 am

    In his most recent post Brent wrote this regarding CJ:

    “Darkness and misery are his constant companions but he does not know why. He lives in a pit of despair but cannot get out.”

    Do you think Brent is just making an inference from CJ’s last 3 messages at Solid Rock or does he know from those closest to CJ that he is not doing well? I hope it is not just presumption on Brent’s part, but that this statement can be substantiated. It makes sense to me that this would be the state of CJ’s heart, but I think it is important that Brent (and all of us) is careful about making claims to know another person’s heart.

  44. ATC
    April 6th, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I’m sorry to go off-topic from Praise Warrior’s prophetic heart but this site is usually kind to off-topic stuff!

    Yesterday I came across the ‘Joyful Exiles’ website of the dismembered, abused and shunned ex-elder of Mars Hill Church, Seattle. I read Jonna’s story and then spent several hours going through the documents yesterday. I was saddened and angry. I’d always been a BIT of a fan of Driscoll and think of myself as a Reformed Charismatic. Well, it was an eye opener. I was shocked at his behaviour and the behaviour of the other elders. The only light is that Driscoll resigned a while ago from several ministries, didn’t he, and now I understand why he is referring to it as a ‘season of pruning’.

    What is the Lord doing in the Western Church, particularly in America? It seems with its huge number of Christians (ever visited the UK??) massive conferences, the kudos of Reformed theology and the pride this has led to, things are being shaken. I now see the Scriptures through a whole new light. At first I thought this ‘whole new light’ was me throwing out the baby with the bathwater due to my bad experience of church leadership, but four years on I’m moving more and more to a simple church / organic church belief. I’m still working out my polity (‘leaders’ are mentioned in the NT and I think the heart issue is greater than the importance of a particular polity) but it’s like seeing the New Testament ‘one anothering’ verses afresh, and the number of scriptures that deal with this as opposed to the whole congregation – EVERYONE included. Whatever is the ‘true’ polity I know it’s nothing that enforces a ‘clergy/laity’ divide, an ‘us/them’ mentality, a ‘leader/non-leader’ ethos. We’re all in this together. Elders will arise naturally through the Spirit’s gifting (and they’ll be ELDER men rather than the late 20s to late 30s model of the nuclear/trendy family we often see) and they’re the ones, of course, closer to the floor as they wash the feet of the saints. I briefly saw a clip of the Mars Hill pastors being introduced on stage during some massive stadium bash they all had recently. Cheers, and applause, and big smiles, and sharp suits. God may be very pleased with their hearts, as He alone can see them, but the temptations and dangers to fallen man for this sort of public prominence is yet again seen in Driscoll.

    I was thinking last night about the amazing power of the internet. People can’t get away with this now. In this day of scanners in living rooms to copy emails and word processing our testimonies to publish them on our blogs and websites, things can’t be done in the dark. It’s like the reinvention of the printing press which poured out the Scriptures and tracts and blew apart the might of Rome.

    Well, just felt like sharing that. And praise warrior, your post was spot on.

    God is doing an amazing thing in His Church. The only name that can be lifted high is JESUS!

    ATC, Bristol, UK.

  45. B.R. Clifton
    April 6th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Lost #143:
    Brent is merely calling a spade a spade. AS long as CJ continues to refuse to address and confess his sin and involvement in the SGM tragedy, he will be in darkness and misery will follow him wherever he goes. David’s Psalm describing his troubles before he finally confessed his sin in having Urriah murdered is a good description of what CJ will undergo until he confronts his problem.
    :beat

  46. Uriah
    April 6th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    ATC
    Driscoll is being corrected not pruned. I’ve heard that word so much during the course of the big shake up God is doing. Pruning is the politically correct word in SGM for correction/discipline of the Lord. As you know, they cannot bring themselves to admit that God has taken them to the woodshed.

  47. Kris
    April 6th, 2012 at 9:35 am

    It’s funny that the word “pruning” is being used. Pruning implies too much growth too quickly…so that the cutting back is only happening because the overgrowth is unsustainable.

    On a lot of levels, pruning is a terrible analogy. What is happening to these leaders has less to do with getting too big or overextending themselves and more to do with isolating themselves at crucial points from serious and real accountability.

  48. Beautiful Lies
    April 6th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Hi,

    This gang here seems to know a lot about Acts 29, Mark Driscoll, etc. Could I get advice on whether to be suspect or trusting of an Acts 29 church that is also PCA? (Presbyterian Church of America). I like the PCA part, but the Acts 29 part makes me nervous. We haven’t been to visit yet, but it was recommended. It seems to be another contemporary, we don’t-need -to-do-things-the-traditional-way incarnation. I don’t think those churches realize they alienation everyone over about 35.

  49. Oswald
    April 6th, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Kris #147 — I think pruning is a good analogy in the church(es) today. In addition to your explanation of the use of pruning, I would say pruning allows greater growth on the branches left after pruning off the useless overgrowth. Another way of pruning is fire, as in a forest where there is too much growth and God is the pruner. Some have said that SGM needs to be done away with and newness will grow, that is how fire works in a forest. ‘Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new’. I think we can see God at work in the church, pruning and shaking what is shakable, in order to allow the unshakable to be known.
    Blessed Good Friday to everyone.

  50. intheNickoftime
    April 6th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Uriah & Kris –

    I like the word SPANKED over pruned!
    :clap

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