Paul's Passing Thoughts

The James MacDonald White Paper: Question and Answer; Post 19 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 28, 2014

A question regarding a recent post by James MacDonald:

Do they really think this way?

Answer:

Yes, theoretically, they do. Read the Heidelberg Disputation.  ALL reality, that’s A-L-L reality is categorized in the cross story or the glory story (man’s story for his own glory). They teach and think strictly from that prism. It is why you will often notice your radar detecting a void regarding middle balance in what they teach. It’s either/or. However, this enables them to affirm that a host of metaphysical elements are “true” like the new birth, but insignificant because everything but Christ is a shadow of the only thing that can give real life–Christ’s glory. They word it like this: “True doctrine must be a matter of proper emphasis.” Everyone would agree with that, but they (everyone) really have no idea what this statement is really saying.
paul

 

 

 

 

FOUL!!! Doug Phillips: Repentance a Local Church Matter

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on November 15, 2013

Spiritual Sounding Board .com has a pretty decent piece that breaks down the literary absurdity of Doug Phillips’… “resignation update”? I am compelled to comment on this part of it which is a customary New Calvinist mantra:

The local church, not the Internet, is the proper forum for overseeing the details of a man’s repentance,

Oh really? Tell me if I am missing something here. If you get placed under church discipline in a local Reformed church, do they not state that they will inform any church of such that you try to attend? Also, in regard to New Calvinist mega church campus networks, is it not true that several instances of  church discipline have been addressed via the internet? For example, the infamous James MacDonald video. Furthermore, most New Calvinist churches announce church discipline issues in the Sunday morning service with VISITORS PRESENT.

Moreover, does not the Bible state clearly that pastors who sin are to be rebuked PUBLICLY so the others will fear?

These guys are spiritual morons and a total waste of time.  Is not the number of discernment blogs indicative of Christians trying to save something? Yes, the institutional church. The brick and mortar church. Why? We need a movement of home fellowships that will enable us to ignore these counterfeits. Trust me, the institutional church is not worth saving.

paul

The James MacDonald White Paper: James MacDonald is Just a Symptom; Post 17 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 19, 2013

tanc-vol-1

James MacDonald is a symptom of his false gospel; namely, Calvinism. The Reformed think tank that resurrected authentic Calvinism in 1970 defined it in a way that could be understood, and systematized it in a way better suited for our postmodern age. Their publication, Present Truth Magazine, was the most publicized theological journal in the English speaking world during the 1970’s. The following excerpts from their journal perfectly captures the essence of Calvin’s false gospel. Anyone familiar with biblical justification should be able to pinpoint the grievous error of this gospel:

After a man hears the conditions of acceptance with God and eternal life, and is made sensible of his inability to meet those conditions, the Word of God comes to him in the gospel. He hears that Christ stood in his place and kept the law of God for him. By dying on the cross, Christ satisfied all the law’s demands. The Holy Spirit gives the sinner faith to accept the righteousness of Jesus. Standing now before the law which says, “I demand a life of perfect conformity to the commandments,” the believing sinner cries in triumph, “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, His suffering and dying; mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, and suffered, and died as He did . . . ” (Luther). The law is well pleased with Jesus’ doing and dying, which the sinner brings in the hand of faith. Justice is fully satisfied, and God can truly say: “This man has fulfilled the law. He is justified.”

We say again, only those are justified who bring to God a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. This is what faith does—it brings to God the obedience of Jesus Christ. By faith the law is fulfilled and the sinner is justified.

On the other hand, the law is dishonored by the man who presumes to bring to it his own life of obedience. The fact that he thinks the law will be satisfied with his “rotten stubble and straw” (Luther) shows what a low estimate he has of the holiness of God and what a high estimate he has of his own righteousness. Only in Jesus Christ is there an obedience with which the law is well pleased. Because faith brings only what Jesus has done, it is the highest honor that can be paid to the law (Rom. 3:31).

~ Present Truth:  Law and Gospel ; volume 7, article 2, part 2.

The flesh, or sinful nature of the believer is no different from that of the unbeliever. “The regenerate man is no whit different in substance from what He was before his regeneration.” — Bavinck. The whole church must join the confession, “Have mercy upon us miserable sinners.” The witness of both Testaments is unmistakably clear on this point.

No work or deed of the saints in this life can meet the severity of God’s law. Apart from God’s merciful judgment, the good works of the saints would be “mortal sin” (Luther), and nothing is acceptable to God unless mediated through the covering cloud of Christ’s merits. Because of “indwelling sin,” we need mercy at the end as much as at the beginning, for the old nature is as evil then as ever. Growth in grace, therefore, does not mean becoming less and less sinful, but on the contrary, it means becoming more and more sinful in our own estimation.

It is this conviction of the wretchedness of even our sanctified state—which conviction comes by the law—that keeps sanctification from the rocks of self-righteousness. It keeps the Christian’s little bark constantly pointed toward his only star of hope—justification by faith in a righteousness that stands for him in heaven. The refuge of the sinner must ever also be the refuge of the saint.

~ Present Truth: Sanctification-Its Mainspring ; volume 16, Article 13.

Core 4

THE ORIGINAL CORE FOUR

THE ORIGINAL CORE FOUR OF THE AUSTRALIAN FORUM THINK TANK CIRCA 1970

THE REAL DREAM TEAM

THE REAL DREAM TEAM

The James MacDonald White Paper: The New Calvinist Big Fat Lie; Post 16 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 8, 2013

Vertical-Church-Logo1“How long will Christians continue to fall for this ruse? These guys have been running the show in an increased continuum for 43 years!”

New Calvinism is the Christian version of “Blame it on Bush.” People like new things, and New Calvinism is still being sold as something new. Fact is, they have been selling this “resurgence” pitch for forty-three years now. New Calvinism was hatched in 1970 and is a return to authentic Calvinism. The New Calvinism movement and its ideology have completely dominated the American church since 2008. In a 2009 Time Magazine article, New Calvinism was said to be one of the top ten ideas changing the world in our day. This ministry is constantly informed by people throughout the U.S. that the only churches in their general geographical area are New Calvinist without exception.

Nevertheless, The Neo-Calvinists continue to draw what’s left of American Christianity into their megacult by claiming that their “rediscovery” of the Reformed gospel is the answer to the carnage that they have in fact created. The New Calvinist movement is directly responsible for the mass exodus from the formal church presently taking place.

The hybrid form of this rabid mysticism (evangelicalism) that has survived its (authentic Calvinism) social deaths in church history have always been crippled with vestiges of the same ideology: primarily, weak sanctification. This has always primed future “resurgences” of the despotic original. New Calvinism is weeding out the competition and dominating the Christian landscape for the following reasons:

1. Protestantism has always disarmed its congregants theologically with its Romish-like spiritual caste system. American Christians do not have the theological wherewithal to fight this movement.

2. The mentality, again, created by Protestantism, that the laity are not responsible for the overall landscape of the church because they are the Sudra at best, and the Untouchables at least.

3. Because of number 2, alternatives are not being created and many are merely checking out of the church scene.

New Calvinism will continue to dominate Christianity unless alternatives are created along with necessary education. New Calvinism will continue to create carnage and then offer itself as the solution, leaving itself as the only alternative embodied with mindless followers. What is left of the formal church must repent of Protestantism; embrace the priesthood of believers, and the plain sense of Holy Writ. The Reformation gospel teaches that the law can give life because Christ fulfilled it for us. The result is the antinomianism that the Bible clearly states will dominate the last days. Pastors of the formal church must humble themselves and admit they didn’t know that Reformed total depravity also pertains to the saints, and sola fide also pertains to sanctification. They must also admit they didn’t know sola Christus really means Christ alone in regard to the other Trinity members, not just the way to the Father.

This is the backdrop for the “resurgence” motif constantly propagated by James MacDonald and associate Mark Driscoll. The latter is actually, and this is totally unbelievable to me, writing a book entitled, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral Or a Future? The following is stated about the book in a promo:

It’s tempting to believe that the Christian faith is alive and well in our country today. Our politicians talk about God. Our mega-churches are filled. Christian schools dot our landscape. Brace yourself. It’s an illusion. Believe it or not, only 8 percent of Americans profess and practice true evangelical Christian faith. There are more left-handed people than evangelical Christians in America.

In this book, Mark Driscoll delivers a wake-up call for every believer: We are living in a post-Christian culture—a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus. This is good and bad news. The good news is that God is still working, redeeming people from this spiritual wasteland and inspiring a resurgence of faithful believers. The bad news is that many believers just don’t get it. They continue to gather exclusively into insular tribes, lobbing e-bombs at each other in cyberspace.

Mark’s book is a clarion call for Christians. It’s time to get to work. We can only do this if we unite around Jesus and the essentials found in his Word, while at the same time, appreciating the distinctives within each Christian tribe. Mark shows us how to do just that. This isn’t the time to wait or debate. Join the resurgence.

How long will Christians continue to fall for this ruse? These guys have been running the show in an increased continuum for 43 years! They have absolutely dominated the Christian landscape since 2008. I agree that the American church is in a dark age, but it is a New Calvinist dark age. They have mocked the intelligence of Christianity by calling for Reformed resurgence in the very midst of one since 1970.

Likewise, in James MacDonald’s Vertical Church, he devotes all of chapter four to this very idea, calling the contemporary church an “epic failure.” Under said heading in that chapter, he states a list of those failures:

1. 6,000 churches close their doors every year.

2. 3,500 Americans leave the church every day.

3. Only one pastor in ten retires while still in ministry.

4. Less than 20% of Americans attend church regularly.

5. Only 15% of churches in the U.S. are growing numerically.

6. Only 2% percent of growing churches are effectively winning converts to Christ.

7. Only 9% of evangelicals tithe to their churches.

8. 800 new church plants survive each year.

9. 10,000 new churches would be needed annually to keep up with the population growth.

These are New Calvinist statistics. These are New Calvinist failures. This is their economy. And many pastors would do well to get a backbone and speak up about it.

paul

The James MacDonald White Paper: The “Vertical Church ‘Experience'”; Post 15 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 5, 2013

Vertical-Church-Logo1The New Calvinism movement is a return to the viral Gnosticism that wreaked havoc on the first century church. Gnosticism permeated Judaism as well as Gentile mystery religions. Some evidence of this can be seen in the seven letters of Revelation. The Nicolaitans were Gnostics, and the church at Laodicea at the time of those letters is a good picture of what a Gnostic church would look like. “Nicolaitan” means, power over the laity. A root of the word can also be seen in THE teacher of Israel, Nicodemus. Part and parcel with Gnosticism is antinomianism and the idea that man is part of evil matter and not changeable for the better. Hence, the reason Christ emphasized the new birth and obedience to Nicodemus. This is also why the motif that the Pharisees were “legalists” (a word that does not appear in the Bible), is a sham. Christ plainly stated that they had replaced the law of God with their traditions. The New Testament was written against the backdrop of a Gnostic tsunami. It is the doctrine that dared to confront the apostolic church; therefore, its present-day resurgence should be no surprise.

Gnosticism has the blue chip ability to deceive Biblicists because it posits a plenary justification in its pseudo Christian version. The pseudo Christian Gnostic needs to only speak of sanctification in a justification way. Of course, like Gnostics of old, they are also masters of terminology. New Calvinists sometimes refer to their doctrine as, Objective Justification, Subjective Justification, and Final Justification. Ever heard of Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics? This is trickle-down justification, and you get the trickle-down from focusing vertically on justification. You can preach wonderful sermons on justification all year long, but the big question is: “What’s missing?”

And, since matter can’t change for the better, and to attempt change in sanctification is synonymous with denying the person and salvific works of Christ, “manifesting” the glory of Christ replaces works in the Christian life. We “experience” the works of Christ, but we do not participate in the works. How this is actually said to operate in the Christian life varies among the New Gnostics. Some say that we are merely experiencing a manifestation of Christ in our realm. Others say that we are actually incited to participate bodily because Christ has filled our hearts with a desire to do said task; so, it is us doing it, but only because Christ has filled our hearts with Himself for that particular manifestation. These manifestations are a result of gospel/justification contemplationism.

Like most Eastern concepts of sanctification, EXPERIENCE is the key. The goal is spiritual wellbeing and glorifying the gods. The goal is to experience rebirth, or the true objective forms that trickle down into progressive subjectivism. It’s experiencing the pure unchanging true, good, and beautiful to the fullest extent possible in the subjective realm that we live in. We are, as the New Calvinist Justin Taylor states, “between two worlds.” As New Calvinist Chad Bresson states it, “between two spheres, gazing at Christ—our heavenly destiny.” But primarily for the New Gnostics, it enables us to eliminate our works in sanctification, and thereby maintaining our just state before God. Its goal is to manifest the objective gospel in our subjective realm. The payoff is a perpetual experience of rebirth—the same baptism that we experienced when we were saved, it is John Piper’s “treasure chest of joy.” They blatantly call it the same thing that it is called in Eastern Sufism, “vivification.” The likes of Michael Horton and Paul Washer call it a “living out of our original baptism.” It results from focusing on our miserable existence in the subjective realm (and especially our sin) as set against the glories of the objective. Therefore, suffering is good because it reminds us of the difference between the two. Suffering brings a death that will result in vivification. Those who put any stock in this life are disdained as ignorant and blind.

So, key is gospel contemplationism leading to manifestations, and resulting in experience. Vertical only =’s the baptism experience and accompanied joy. It frees the “Christian” from the experience of this horizontal life, and seeks to experience the objective. Those who “live in the shadows” are naysayers worthy of death. And that is the essence of James MacDonald’s Vertical Church. In the 320 pages of the book, MacDonald uses the word “experience” 128 times. He uses the word “manifest/manifestation” 111 times.

My advice to the congregants at Harvest is to cut your losses sooner than later. Not just because this movement is destined to crash and burn, but because it is a mystic lie and a vile affront to the gospel.

paul

NOTE FILE SHARING WIDGET FOR THIS SERIES ON BOTTOM RIGHT SIDE PANEL

The James MacDonald White Paper: To HBC Parishioners, “Does This Sound Familiar?”; Post 14 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 4, 2013

Oligarchy Logo“I paid good money for my children to be brainwashed and for my marriage to be ruined”

~Michelle Freeman

Let’s take a test: Mormonism, cult or denomination? Cult. Correct. Methodist, cult or denomination? Denomination. Correct. Jehovah’s Witnesses, cult or denomination? Cult. Correct. Pentecostalism, cult or denomination? Denomination. Correct, but like the other denominations listed here, not always. Enter Calvary Temple of Sterling, Va. Clearly a cult by anybody’s standards. You can read the newspaper article here:http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081206/FEAT04/812060412

The reality of the matter is this, any denominational church can become a cult. The following is a dictionary definition of a cult: “A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.” The article link above is a fascinating study in regard to recognizing cults who don’t identify themselves by commonly known names such as “latter Day Saints.”

1. Most of these ministries start out as solid churches that honor God: “They had joined eagerly, drawn to Scott’s energy as a new religious broadcaster and his commitment to living by the literal word of the Bible.  ‘What started out as a Christian organization  has turned into a cult where people are controlled,’ said Jonathan Ernst, a Calvary pastor until he was blacklisted by Scott in 1994.”‘

2. The church may have the appearance of vitality complete with building programs and growing numbers: “Under the leadership of longtime pastor Star R. Scott, Calvary opened a school, television and radio ministries, and satellite churches around the globe. The local congregation at one point numbered 2,000.”

3. Watch out for niche doctrines that seem to indicate that the church leaders want to stand out as unique among other Churches: “In his sermons, Scott teaches that his church is scripturally superior to others and views keeping people in the fold as a matter of their salvation.”

4. Watch out for a movement by the leaders to disassociate themselves with church organizations within the denomination that offer accountability. This is a big one: “Scott’s decision to dissociate Calvary Temple from the Assemblies of God organization removed a level of financial oversight, and he eliminated boards and public votes, former members said.”

5. Look for movements by the leaders toward control issues in two areas: administration (such as self perpetuating elder bodies) and the personal lives of members: “Former members contend that much about their lives, from how they spent their money to how they raised their children, was dictated by Scott and other church leaders.  Scott is Calvary’s ‘apostle’ and presiding elder, and in 1996, he named himself the sole trustee, putting him in charge of virtually all of the church’s operations, its theology and finances”

6. Look for the use of fear to control people, especially in the area of church discipline and excommunication. If you sense fear of the leaders among the congregation, grab your family and run for the exit doors: “Scott describes those who decide to leave the church as ‘depraved,’ and Calvary’s practice is to cut them off.”

7. Watch for aloofness among the leaders when you try to nail them down on doctrinal issues. If their answers are nebulous and have disclaimers attached, hit the road running: “Calvary leaders are careful never to explicitly tell people what to do, she said. We just say: ‘This is what the Bible says. You make a decision.’” Ya, right.

8. Watch for the division of families, especially over doctrinal issues.  This is one of the major hallmarks of a cult: “When parents have left the church, some young children have been urged to stay; a few have been taken in by pastors. Scott’s family has been divided, too: Scott is estranged from his 36-year-old son, Star Scott Jr.  After 12 years at Calvary, Freeman is furious. ‘I paid good money for my children to be brainwashed and for my marriage to be ruined,’ said Freeman, a U.S. Postal Service secretary.”

9. Watch for exaggerated or extreme confidence on the part of the leaders. Their unwavering pre-canned answers to your tuff questions does not make what they are teaching true: “Most current members declined to talk to the Washington Post, although Scott and three other leaders spoke at length. ‘I’m at perfect peace with them being gone,’ he said. ‘We’re happy with what we believe, so why aren’t they happy?”’

10. Never judge your interpretation based on the congregational following. People in today’s churches are all but completely mindless: “In 2002, three weeks after the death of his wife, Scott, who was then 55, stood before the congregation and announced that the Bible instructed him as a high priest to take a virgin bride from the faithful. A week later, he did – a pretty 20-year-old who a couple of years earlier had been a star basketball player on the church high school team.” This incident did not lead to a mass exodus in this church. Unbelievable. Remember, this is an affluent church in America full of business professionals.

11. Watch for an over emphasis on love and community at the expense of truth. This is the major mode of operation for the cults: “Kim Heglund, Scott’s daughter and the wife of a Calvary pastor, said members feel strongly loyal to Calvary because they believe they are living out the Bible. ‘This is Christianity, people being a family.  Bitter feelings and divided families are the exception and caused by people who ‘pretended to be Christians.”’

12. Watch out for counsel that undermines self confidence and encourages over dependence on the leaders or the church in all areas of life, especially discernment. This is another mark of a cult: “Former members contend that much about their lives, from how they spent their money to how they raised their children, was dictated by Scott and other church leaders.”

13. Watch out for a  we are the only sound church within a hundred square miles of here mentality. This way of thinking lays a dangerous foundation: “Scott’s followers see him as an inspiring interpreter of God’s word. Members pack the church most nights, united in their desire to live as the Bible intended and reject what they view as society’s moral ambivalence. ‘Church isn’t for everyone who wants to just show up,’ Scott said in an interview.  ‘It’s not a community club. We’re not looking to build moral, successful children. We’re looking to build Christians.”’ Sounds good, doesn’t it?

14. Watch for what looks like difficulty in leaving the church. Have persons leaving membership been put under undue stress? Do the leaders seem defensive about people leaving? This one is big. Are persons who have left the church been maligned?:  “But for hundreds of members who have left the church during the past decade, Calvary is a place of spiritual warfare, where ministers urged them to divorce spouses and shun children who resisted the teachings. ‘Scott is twisting the Bible’s message,’ they say, and members who challenged the theology were accused of hating God.”‘

Pay attention. The longer your family is in a church that ends up like this, the more trauma there will be for your family when you leave .  The most telling sign is a developing pattern among the leaders that shuns outside accountability. Another major question is this: does the teaching divide families or bring them closer together? Teach your family that this could happen to any church and agree together in regard to discerning these signs; that way, a smooth exit strategy can be planned. Your departure must not be a protracted event. Leaders of “churches” like this will use this time to drive a wedge between you and your family. Keep this in mind; more than likely, other Christians or ministries are not going to take a stand. Per the usual, it is a secular newspaper that sounds the alarm, as in this case. Try to avoid a war because you will probably fight it by yourself,  so practice preventative medicine.

Always lay the burden of scriptural correctness on the leaders regardless of the troubled people they are dealing with. As the pastor of this church said himself: “When asked about the divided families, Scott answered, ‘That happens.  They accepted Calvary’s theology until it affected them,’  he said.’They were ready to see it apply to others  lives for years and served many times in the orchestration of it.’”

Remember also, we live in a time when independent autonomous churches loosely associated with fellowship (fellowship, not accountability) groups are very popular. These churches are especially susceptible to becoming cults. Truth from scripture is the bottom line, that must guide you:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8;32

Be a good berean: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily {to see} whether these things were so”  (Acts 17:11).

Two Download locations for Harvest Bible Chapel Discipline Video; Embed Code Forthcoming

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 4, 2013

The infamous video can be downloaded at the following links. I have been informed that an embed code will be forthcoming from a published cite later today.

http://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel

http://oligarchywp.com

MacDonald White Paper Followup: Finally! The Full Dope on Counter Notification, Part 3; Post 13 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 4, 2013

NOTE: Do not delete ANYTHING from your You Tube administrator before you file your counter notification. 

For anyone who runs into this situation with You Tube, I thought documenting my journey in the procedure might be helpful. Besides, several have asked how it is going and if I am back to good standing with You Tube (not yet).  FINALLY, maybe because I am slow, the following is the full dope on the procedure:

http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/counter-notification-requirements.html

Counter Notification Requirements

If you are planning to submit a free-form copyright counter notification, it must include the following specific elements.

Please note: We are unable to take action on incomplete counter notifications.

1. Your contact information

You’ll need to provide the following information that will allow us to contact you regarding your request:

  1. Full legal name
  2. Email address
  3. Physical address
  4. Telephone number

2. Identification of the specific URL(s)

Please include the URL(s) of the exact video(s) or we will be unable to reinstate them. The URL should be in the following format: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxxxxxxxxxx. Your counter notification must include specific links to the material that has been removed or disabled. General information about the video, such as a channel URL or username, is not adequate.

3. You must agree to and include the following statement:

“I consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for the district in which my address is located, or if my address is outside of the United States, the judicial district in which YouTube is located, and will accept service of process from the claimant.”

4. And the following statement:

“I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.”

5. Your signature

Complete counter notifications require your physical or electronic signature, or the signature of a representative authorized to act on your behalf, such as an attorney. To satisfy this requirement, you may type your full legal name to act as your signature at the bottom of your request.
You may submit these requests via email, postal mail, or fax, being sure to include the requirements above.

http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/copyright-contact-info.html

Copyright Contact Information

If you prefer to contact us via email, postal mail, or fax, here is information about how to do so:

  • Email: copyright@youtube.com
  • Fax: +1 650 872 8513
  • Address
    1. DMCA Complaints
    2. YouTube, Inc.
    3. 901 Cherry Ave.
    4. Second Floor
    5. San Bruno, CA 94066
    6. USA
  • Phone: +1 650 214 6064

Please keep in mind, we can process claims submitted within the body of an email more quickly than those submitted as PDFs.

The James MacDonald White Paper: Hypocrisy on Steroids; Post 12 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 3, 2013

After pulling down the infamous elder discipline video, the video was replaced with the following notice by  Harvest Bible Chapel elders:

ReplacementSee the contradiction? Because of the situation the video was “made public.”  But, “now that the church has been informed” they now supposedly deem it appropriate to  replace the video with this notice. This is willful deception; they could have easily broadcasted the video during HBC campus services alone. Since when does “tell it to the church” mean “tell it to the world wide public at large daily”? They did what they did in order to maximize personal injury.  They also admit that this very grave situation wasn’t handled “perfectly.” In this very serious matter of publicly declaring two elders unregenerate, where did they drop the ball? And to whom do they owe an apology? Read their statement carefully, and then listen to the following video, and attempt to grasp the depth of the hypocrisy involved.

Oligarchy Logo

MacDonald White Paper Followup: HBC Attempts to Expunge Infamous Church Discipline Video, Files Complaint Against PPT, Part 2; Post 11 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 3, 2013

For anyone who runs into this situation with You Tube, I thought documenting my journey in the procedure might be helpful. Besides, several have asked how it is going and if I am back to good standing with You Tube (not yet).  Determining the procedure is not easy, but it boils down to sending the gist of your argument to You Tube via a certain email address:

copyright@youtube.com,

On 10/1/13, an invalid copyright claim was made against me concerning video xx0_94DykXw.
Hence, the one strike I have on my account is completely unwarranted for the following
reasons:

1. The complaint appears to be filed by a third party not the creator of the video.

2. The video is under Fair Use because it was a public announcement.

3. The video is under Fair Use because it was used to critique the announcement.

4. The creators of the video state in the video, that the substance of the video is not
original with them, but they are merely speaking for the Creator.

Paul Dohse.
cc. Ronald P. Keller, Attorney at law.

You Tube sent me a confirmation email with the following information 
that readers have also been asking about:

Re: [5-5592000001758] Invalid Copyright Claim

Thanks for contacting YouTube! You've reached the copyright and DMCA
compliance team. Your message has been received and is now queued for
review. Please note that general help inquiries won't be answered here. For
help with other site-related issues, please visit our Help Center at
http://help.youtube.com. If you wish to report abuse or inappropriate
content, please visit
http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/topic.py?topic=13044, or if you
feel you have a privacy request, please visit
http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=78346.

If you're requesting removal of a video that is allegedly infringing your
copyright, please make sure that you have provided us with all of the
required information in order to process your complaint. Providing
incomplete information may delay the processing of your claim. For the
requirements of DMCA notification, or if you have questions about our DMCA
policy, please see: http://www.youtube.com/t/dmca_policy

Did you know that YouTube offers copyright owners a tool for submitting
notifications more easily? If there are many videos to be removed, or you
expect to have an ongoing need to remove potentially infringing content
from YouTube, we suggest that you sign up for our Content Verification
Program, which electronically notifies us, removing any room for error, and
significantly increases the speed at which we are able to remove any
infringing content. To sign up for this tool please visit:
http://www.youtube.com/t/copyright_program

Regards,
The YouTube Team

Maybe a reader can answer a question for me. 
In the following notice, any idea who or what "WITW" represents? 

Youtube warning (2)

Oligarchy Logo

A Personal and Public Notice to Paul Inserra, Steve Houston, Randy Williams, and Jamie Harrison

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 3, 2013

Gentlemen,

I have paused in my planned schedule to write a series of posts about your “pastor” and Harvest Bible Chapel. I was incited to do so as a result of your unbiblical use of church discipline against two elders.

With me this is personal because I was also at the receiving end of church discipline used as a weapon. I too was humiliated publically before those who I had ministered to for years. I too was disciplined before those who once respected me. In my case also, the charges were deliberately ambiguous and the saints left to their own imaginations in order to maximize the character assassination that was intended.

Your shameful, despicable act was done publically on the World Wide Web. Now, for some reason, your proclamation in God’s stead is withdrawn, and you filed an anonymous and unwarranted copyright infringement complaint against me with You Tube.

Elders who sin are to be rebuked before all so that the others will fear, and as far as it depends on me, your treachery will be horizontally immortalized to the fullest extent of my technical abilities. I will not only be writing about the god you worship, James MacDonald, I will be writing extensively about the four of you individually because you are all austere examples of the despotism that I research.

This begins with the video that you want to go away. I have been supplied with a link where that video can be downloaded by the general public (http://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel). New links will be periodically published on this blog, such as this one: http://tbf.me/a/2BT8O

I pray that your false gospel and treacherous fruits will not stand.

Paul M. Dohse

The James MacDonald White Paper: HBC Attempts to Expunge Infamous Church Discipline Video, Files Complaint Against PPT; Post 10 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 2, 2013

Oligarchy LogoHarvest Bible Chapel has filed a complaint against PPT with YouTube claiming copyright infringement. The complaint concerns the infamous, and haughty video by James MacDonald and four of his elders. The Elephant’s Debt .com reported on the video here.

The validity of the complaint is very questionable, crippled PPT’s media operations yesterday (and continues to do so), and the information is being forwarded to our attorney. As far as we can ascertain at this time, the video was a public statement/announcement and not covered under copyright laws.

YouTube has a zero tolerance policy on filing false infringement complaints, but HBC uses Vimeo and would have little to lose in that regard. Furthermore, and also against civil law/You Tube policy, it would appear that the complaint was filed anonymously on behalf of HBC.

The video and the post have been pulled down from the HBC website. The complaint against PPT was filed after this took place, so it would appear that HBC wants to eliminate any documentation of the video. The question of whether or not an unpublished press release is covered under copyright laws will also be presented to our attorney. PPT has a standalone file of the video which slanders two former elders of HBC in a process that was blatantly unbiblical. Also, in the video, James MacDonald claims that the HBC elders speak for God Himself.

So, can that be copyrighted? How is that their own intellectual property? Legally, by James MacDonald’s own claims, can anything coming out of HBC be copyrighted? Are they not plainly stating that it is not their own intellectual property?

paul

The James MacDonald White Paper: Church Historian John Immel Weighs In on MacDonald’s “Vertical Church”; Post 9 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on October 1, 2013

I was recently asked to read James MacDonald’s book The Vertical Church to address his criticisms of Aristotle. I’ve known for a while that Christianity was in trouble, that the seven-headed beast of Mystic Despotism was waking from its long slumber, that the haunting moan of Medieval European Religion was desperately trying to crawl out of its bloody grave. MacDonald’s book only confirms my expectation and helps me adjust the time clock for its resurrection.

It took fifteen hundred years for men to slay the Platonist/Augustinian beast that ruled the Dark Ages, to crush the ideas that founded despotism, to unseat the handmaiden of Tyranny—the Church—from her oppressive throne. It took a thousand years for men to grasp the basics of liberty, and then another five hundred years to put those ideas into practice.

The champions of liberty were heroes that gave the world a gift. But the children that they handed unspeakable riches to have failed to understand the gift they have been given. The children were handed a wealth they did not earn, so they have treated it as a given, as a perpetual motion machine without cause as they squander the effect. But liberty is not a given, and liberty’s enemy—the seven-headed beast—was not dead, merely wounded . . . and waiting. Waiting for the day when those of weak mind and weak will would once again abandon themselves to Mystic Despots in sheep’s clothing.

The result?

The heirs of liberty are now committing treason against the ideas that set them free. They are selling their souls to modern day mystics preaching the oldest of all worldly doctrines: man’s mind, man’s ego, man’s self, man’s existence is the source of the world’s ills. For a couple of decades, American Christianity has been walking in this direction. But as their ideas started finding more converts, gaining social acceptance, the pace is turning into a sprint toward destruction with men like James MacDonald leading the charge off the cliff of existential annihilation.

Does that sound overly dramatic? Stick around and see if you think so in a minute.

I got through a few chapters of The Vertical Church and knew that MacDonald’s book needs a rebuttal, but he is probably safe from any corporate critique. Christians have shown themselves incompetent in their ability to condemn anything coming out of the Neo-Calvinist movement roaring through American Christianity, seeking whomever it may devour. It is doubtful that “national leaders” will offer an appreciable evaluation, so MacDonald will continue to speak ex cathedra as he sets himself up to rule the church like Cardinal Richelieu.

As for moi taking up the challenge . . . well . . . frankly, I’m already in the middle of two major writing projects: books due out in late 2013 (Dead Alone, J. Lorin) and early 2014 (Dead to Rights, J. Lorin). Plus, I’m working on super-secret project to acquire two or three titles for publication, so time is a bit limited. Maybe I’ll put a formal rebuttal on my Spiritual Tyranny to-do list, or maybe I won’t.

But what I will do is comment on what I was asked to address: The Vertical Church vs. Aristotle.

MacDonald’s book is not unique, nor is it timely, nor is it really about anything “vertical.” Lots of preachers have written books addressing the failures of the Christian Church, and all of them presume that the solution is “more God, less man.” The theological focus of MacDonald’s book has been written about many times from generations past: men named Tertullian, and Augustine, and Luther and many, many others. As for the vertical part, well, that is the part of the book that needs the rebuttal.

But what MacDonald’s book does offer is a splendid game of theological three card monte. Picture a street hustler with his cardboard box and three bent cards shouting “Follow the queen! Follow the queen! Follow the queen!” as he starts mixing the cards. But if you don’t understand the game, you will never notice that he takes the queen off the box in the first chapter. And by chapter two, he will brazenly defy you to show him any cards anywhere in existence.

This is all by design.

Mystic Despots have always understood that Aristotle was THE greatest threat to their power. The Catholic Church knew this and condemned Aristotle. They condemned Saint Thomas Aquinas because of his efforts to integrate Aristotelian thought with Christianity in 1250. Luther knew it and condemned Aristotle because he knew it destroyed his ability to demagogue the definition of Grace Alone. Calvin knew it because Aristotle makes it impossible to set up a despotic theocracy. The Lutheran theologians of the Weimar Republic knew because Aristotle undermined National Socialism and the rise of the Reich Church. Karl Marx knew it because Aristotle destroys Dialectic Materialism. Hegel knew it because it destroys his political ideal: the State as Prime Consciousness. John Dewey knew it because Aristotelian thought destroys the roots of Pragmatism.

And the list of tyrants who knew it and sought to destroy Aristotle and his achievement goes on and on and on. And since James MacDonald is desperately trying to resurrect the philosophy of the Dark Ages, he must go after Aristotle from the beginning of The Vertical Church.

The first reference that I found to Aristotle comes in the first chapter under the sub heading “Rationalism Versus Transcendence”:

A further description of transcendence is that which is higher or beyond the widely accepted range of human experience cataloged in Aristotle’s ten categories. Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle created a “map” that attempted to encompass the full range of human experience into one or more of ten rational categories. Somehow Aristotle suppressed the eternity in his own heart, because his system includes only what can be proven by rational means. Sadly, his thinking forms the foundation of rationalism that continues to control the mind-set of the Western World. While postmodernism may have replaced rationalism as the philosophy of choice on a given college campus, rationalism is still the prevailing presupposition that dictates expectation among churches and their leaders. Rationalism says if you can’t quantify it, if you can’t prove it, if you can’t show it to me, then it does not exist. Rationalism teaches us to deny the eternity that God has placed in our hearts. And church leaders raised on rationalism lead ministries where the supernatural, the vertical, is suppressed and where God himself is at best an observer and certainly seldom, if ever, an obvious participant in church.

One of Aristotle’s more recent offspring who wrestled with the limits of rationalism was Immanuel Kant (1724 -1804). Kant proposed a “Copernican Revolution” in philosophy, saying, “up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but . . . let us once try whether we do not get farther … by assuming that objects must conform to our cognition.”

In other words, sometimes we know that we know something, even though we are helpless to prove it rationally. Maybe the greatest rationality of all is the recognition that rationality itself is incomplete as a way of knowing.

The only true-ish part of these paragraphs is that Aristotle is the foundation of Western thought (more on this in a minute), but pretty much everything else is just wrong.

Here is a brief rebuttal: Aristotle did not reject “transcendence,” which is a MacDonald synonym for “eternity,” which in MacDonald speak means rejecting God. Like all good Platonists, Aristotle believed in God though his theology would not have been of the Christian variety. But how could it? Christianity postdates Aristotle by almost four hundred years. Leibniz was the leading advocate for Rationalism (of the Rationalism vs. Empiricism debate in the 17th century), and Rationalism is not to be confused with Aristotelian metaphysics and epistemology. Postmodernism is not a philosophy. . . . it is a symptom of intellectual and philosophical bankruptcy in western philosophy. (In the college context most readily observed as the logical conclusion to John Dewey’s Pragmatism because Dewey’s ideas dominate modern American education . . . including Christian education) And the father of Western thought bankruptcy: the leading destroyer of western philosophy is Immanuel Kant. Kant and his categorical imperatives are the antipode of Aristotelian epistemology, not his “offspring.” Kant is really Plato’s bastard son who sought to reinvigorate Calvin’s metastasized theology and then added an evil twist.

Of course most Christians are ignorant of the evolution of Western thought because preachers make it a priority to run thinkers out of their congregations the moment they hear a word that is bigger than their vocabulary. Not that it is the preacher’s fault. Pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver (Thanks, James.) got what he wanted. Joe listens to the intellectual vacant preachers because he does not want the responsibility for the content of his own mind. He doesn’t want a complex anything, so he certainly doesn’t want a complex Christianity. Therefore, the outcome is inevitable. Pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver is unequipped to identify James MacDonald’s theological shell game. Joe Screwdriver is unable to detect the “rational” atrocity committed in the name of all that is Good and Holy. The result is James MacDonald’s critique of Aristotle, and that dastardly thing called “rationalism” is accepted as the truth. And Joe Screwdriver has no clue that the Aristotelian shtick is merely bait on the hook that will make it impossible to escape James MacDonald’s “reasoning.” Once pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver accepts the premise that being “rational” is somehow incomplete . . . somehow inferior . . . somehow spiritually seditious . . . then the hook is set in his mouth like a fish. From that point forward, MacDonald can pretend that he is merely a humble fisher of men and drag Joe and his screwdrivers into philosophical disaster.

Make no mistake: James MacDonald’s singular goal is to disarm his readers by separating them from their mind and their mind from reality. And any man who exists as such a creature is by definition . . . insane.

So what did Aristotle do?

That conversation is vast because to appreciate what Aristotle did, in context to the evolution of human thought, would require a short course on the history of Philosophy. And then it would require a further discussion of metaphysics and epistemology. (I did this in the 2013 TANC conference in a six-hour lecture, but I didn’t cover Aristotle’s contribution. You can Google it.) But let me give you, dear readers, a sense of proportion. Here is James MacDonald’s summation: “Sadly, [Aristotle’s] thinking forms the foundation of rationalism that continues to control the mind-set of the Western World.”

Okay, describing Aristotle’s achievement like this is like saying: “Sadly, Copernicus forms the foundation of looking at the stars. Sadly, Louis Pasteur forms the foundation of boiling milk. Sadly, Isaac Newton taught men to watch falling apples. Sadly, Albert Einstein controls how to tell time. Sadly, Jonas Salk controlled the mindset of people on crutches. Sadly, Alexander Fleming forms the foundation of penicillin that continues to control how the Western world defies God by combating infection.”

Yeah . . . uh . . . no.

In a world of total chaos, the world of Heraclitean flux, the world of Plato’s mystic other-worldly Forms, the world of Sophist and Cynic condemnation of the sum of human existence, Aristotle stood alone.

Aristotle was the first man to formulate the essentials of human thought. Not just some good ideas, not just a school of philosophy, but THE axioms of human existence in three laws: the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of the excluded middle. The law of identity is the axiom, and the next two laws are the subsequent corollaries. It is from this foundation that EVERY cognitive human success originates, including the one or two cognitive successes James MacDonald captured in his book.

The law of identity says that Man can’t be man and NOT man, that a horse cannot be a horse and NOT horse; A cannot be A and NOT A.

In Aristotle’s words:

“If, however, [a definition .e.g. Man, Horse, A] were not limited but one were to say that the word has an infinite number of meanings, obviously reasoning would be impossible; for not to have one meaning is to have no meaning, and if words have no meaning our reasoning with one another, and indeed with ourselves, has been annihilated; for it is impossible to think of anything if we do not think of one thing; . . .”

The law of Non Contradiction says:

“It is impossible, then, that ‘being a man’ should mean precisely not being a man, [ . . .] And it will not be possible to be and not to be the same thing, [. . . ] but the point in question is not this, whether the same thing can at the same time be and not be a man in name, but whether it can be in fact.”

The law of the excluded middle says:

“But on the other hand there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate. This is clear, in the first place, if we define what the true and the false are.”

And this is exactly right. The identity of A must in fact be the identity of A. The particulars of A must never contradict. For A to maintain its identity, there can be no middle compromise on something Not A.

It is from this point that all effective human cognition flows: all laws of logic, all of man’s conceptual capacity, all of man’s reason, and—most importantly—man’s capacity to grasp the world in which he lives.

And why is this a threat to despots the world over? Why has every oppressive ideology sought to unseat Aristotle? Why do tyrants cling to Aristotle’s shoulders while trying to cut off his head?

Because Aristotelian thought means that existence is knowable, understandable, and practicable; that all men have the means to arrive at truth; that knowledge is available for all who will use the laws and the rules of logic to obtain it.

This foundational concept was revolutionary. It was the original Copernican shift from the “transcendent” world of Plato’s Forms. Indeed, without Aristotle’s foundation, Copernicus is not possible, and neither is any other advance of human knowledge possible.

And herein is Aristotle’s impact on Western thought:

When using the laws of thought, the mind of man is effective to understand man’s existence. An existence that is identifiable is an existence that is understandable. An existence that is understandable is an existence that is explorable. An existence that is explorable is an existence that is controllable. An existence that is controllable is an existence that man can master.

It took almost two thousand years for man to come to this conclusion, start to roll back the mysteries of the world, and raise his standard of living. And then came the Age of Enlightenment (inspired by Aquinas’ rediscovery of Aristotle) and man finally started to throw off the chains of tyranny. The logical conclusion of Aristotle’s implied rational equality translated into political liberty. Men like John Locke began to challenge the age-old institutions of oppression: the government bulwark of the Church. His ideas were then taken up by men named Jefferson and Franklin and Adam and Washington. For the first time in world history, individuals committed to their own reason in possession of their own liberty were empowered to live their own lives by the greatest political document ever crafted. The consequence is that the Western world has elevated the standard of human living across the globe—eliminating disease, poverty, and suffering—more than any other culture in any other time in the history of the world. . . . EVER.

The contrasting ideological picture is dismal at best. Every other culture dominated by Plato’s mysticism, Augustine’s transcendence, Calvin’s determinism, or Kant’s noumenal world have lived in darkness, barbarity, war, and tyranny.

There is no such thing as rational equality with those who chant transcendence like an incantation against reason. Augustine made a claim to Plato’s Forms and started chanting transcendence when he wanted to wipe out the Donatists. The Catholic Church chanted transcendence while persecuting Copernicus and Galileo. They chanted transcendence to condemn serfs to generations of servitude. They chanted transcendence while war waged across the face of Europe and the Inquisition wrecked Spain. Calvin chanted transcendence while ruling Geneva with bonfires. The kings of England and France, assuming the Divine Right of Kings, chanted transcendence and wrecked their countries with wars and famines and destruction. Puritan Oliver Cromwell chanted transcendence while beheading the king, abolishing Parliament, and ruling England with an iron hand. Puritans in Salem chanted transcendence as they burnt witches at the stake. The Presbyterian Church (read Calvinist Church) in the South chanted transcendence and insisted that the black man was condemned by God to slavery. Immanuel Kant chanted “noumenal world,” and it didn’t take long for people to realize that was a synonym for transcendence. The Lutheran National Socialists chanted noumenal world all the way to the gas chamber. Karl Marx heard noumenal world and came up with Dialectic Materialism. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel heard noumenal world and created the Primacy of the State. Mussolini used his ideas to justify Fascist Italy. Trotsky and Lenin heard them both and chanted transcendence in the name of the workers’ paradise until he turned Russia into a slaughterhouse. The Muslims chant transcendence and have been waging war almost nonstop since 650 AD and are determined to wage war until Allah reigns supreme.

And the list goes on and on and on.

Mystics, shamans, witch doctors, imams, preachers, and oracles have been chanting transcendence for millennia because this is how they rule men. If knowledge—True Knowledge—is reserved for some ineffable, other-worldly realm that “transcends” human reason, then no one can challenge their conclusions: They possess the revelation of the transcendent truth, so they own the definition of truth. And they NEVER have to justify ANY rational conclusion or the subsequent actions inspired by the conclusion.

And this is the real goal of James MacDonald’s book The Vertical Church. Behind all the lofty language, behind all the appeals to God’s glory, behind the invitations to meet God in a new and unique way, just like the mystic despots of old, he is really laying the foundations of religious tyranny.

If you abandon your mind to men like him . . . you will get what you deserve

The James MacDonald White Paper: Cult 101; Post 8 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 29, 2013

Oligarchy LogoAuthentic Reformed theology is always destined to bear the fruit of cultism to some degree. Ideology doesn’t always play itself out to its full potential in every person or organization, but the possibility is always there.

Moses addressed the core issue with the Israelites more than 3000 years ago:

Deuteronomy 29:29 – “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Ancient paganism was founded on the idea that the masses were unenlightened in regard to understanding reality. Only an elite few are supposedly capable of gaining true knowledge. And of course, therefore, the unenlightened should follow the elite accordingly for the betterment of mankind as a whole. This approach can be seen clearly in some of the oldest religions known to man like Hinduism which has a defined caste system. However, some variation of that caste system permeates the vast majority of religions and evangelical denominations.

Moses stated plainly that some knowledge is in fact secret, but God holds mankind responsible for a body of knowledge that is revealed. Every person born into the world is personally responsible for that knowledge. This really isn’t the norm in religion which posits the idea that EVERYTHING is secret and unknowable to the masses (Gnosis: secret knowledge). Hence, the masses need to follow the orthodoxy of the enlightened ones which is separate from the reality/truth they are unable to understand. The elite understand—we never will, so we need to trust orthodoxy. For years I could not understand my experience as a Southern Baptist until I understood this concept. A blind person can see the mentality in that denomination that the pastorate understands things that the majority of congregants will never understand.

But Moses stated….

Deuteronomy 30:11 – “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

The definition of a cult usually pertains to a charismatic leader exercising control over a group of people. Obviously, this follows the logic of spiritual elitism, and control follows the logic of orthodoxy. Every behavior pattern coming out of the New Calvinism movement is directly driven by this construct. The examples are too numerous to even catalog, but the most glaring is the idea that no matter how crazy things get, the parishioners need to “trust the elders who are responsible before God for your souls.”

Cultism is behavior. It is the fruit, not the root. The root is spiritual caste, what Moses preached against. The tree is orthodoxy, the fruit is cultism. That’s why Harvest Bible Chapel follows the insanity of James MacDonald. That is why I get emails about MacDonald’s infamous “5 Things….” sermon like, “No words,” and “Wha, wha, wha?”

Spiritual Caste (2)

Much of the present-day American church is built on spiritual caste, and the resulting cultism is leading to a mass exodus, but those fleeing must remember that we are still responsible for what God has revealed. Nobody has to obtain that knowledge for us, it is near us, and in us. All bets are not off because the spiritual elitists have failed.

It is our duty to build something new out of the rubble. We are still accountable before God.

paul

The James MacDonald White Paper: “How Would Jesus Preach?” Post 7 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 26, 2013

Though New Calvinists mock the question, what would Jesus do? they really should ask themselves that question more often. The following sermon by James MacDonald will undoubtedly go down in church history as THE  crybaby sermon of the ages. Would Jesus preach a sermon like this one? Five things he wanted us to know about how much of a burden ministry was to Him? Instructions on how to approach Him and when?  Really? What words could explain how unlike Christ this sermon is?  What is in the water in Illinois?

Voice file and transcript download are found in bottom right side panel.    

We don’t have a ton of time here, and so let me kind of jump into this. I’m starting here, five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. About as serious as I can be about this, I really, really doubt that a single pastor here would come and say, “Wow, you missed that.”

Here they are, five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. Number 1, or number 5, I’ll count it down. Number 5, preaching well is a crushing weight, and you’ll never really understand, and you can’t help me. I tried to write about this in the book Vertical Church, and I just really – the closest thing I’ve ever come to it is if you remember exam week in college, but imagine instead that the most important people in the world are coming to hear you answer the questions on the exam, and it’s gonna be a different exam every week, and none of them have to take the test; they just have to listen to you take the test. It’s only a bit like what it’s like. Then you introduce the whole element of spiritual warfare and the things that come crashing down on your house on Friday and Saturday almost every week. And if you’re one of those preachers, and I hope you are, who can’t get up in the pulpit unless things are right in his heart, in his family, in his life as much as we can make it with others, I mean, it’s just a crushing weight.

And then what makes it worse is we live in a society where consumers quickly become critics. So everybody goes to a restaurant, they have 50 thoughts on how this restaurant could do this better. All you do is eat food, man. You can’t make pancakes, and you have all these thoughts about what makes a good restaurant. It’s just that much more so in a church. Everyone receives the sermon. So after you’ve heard a couple hundred sermons, you kind of think you know a good one; you know a bad one. That’s probably true, but you couldn’t fix it. How about you’re up next week? No, no, no, I don’t want that. Or the guy who does want that is not able to maybe even understand how to do that. I just think it would create a lot of compassion for your preacher if you would just embrace preaching well as a crushing weight and you’ll never understand and you can’t really help me. Preachers can’t help preachers. But people who don’t actually make, and honestly, some of the things they say to try to be helpful are not that helpful. And it’s way, way easier said than done.

And we’re doing all weekend to help our – I’ll tell you what helps me. Encouragement helps me. Hearing some practical application of how my best effort affected your life for the good, that helps me. Praying for me helps me immensely. But if we would kind of turn down our sense of – and then it’s worth it. Listen all these guys on the radio, I hate the radio preachers. So then they’re always compared to the other guy and – I think enough said on that.

Five things your pastor would tell you, wants you to know but can’t tell you. Number 4, I’m not puffed up needing accountability. I’m way down needing support. I’m not inflated and puffed up needing accountability. I’m way down needing support. I can’t tell you how many times through the years, especially in the last ten years, I’ll get finally a conversation when someone has been attending our church for a while and they’ll say, “I’m really praying for you that you don’t get a big head.” That is such a smack down, and it shows such a completely fundamental misunderstanding of what it’s like to pastor a church. It’s related to seeing things but not feeling the weight of things.

So I walk into a worship center exactly like this on a Sunday morning like I’ll do this weekend and I feel too many heads turn and see me. I see a visitor lean to somebody and elbow them and point to him or have that crazy experience of insane people with phone cameras wanting their picture of you. That’s a – by the way, I’ve done that this week happily. That’s a complete loss, okay? I hate having my picture taken. And it goes even worse if you don’t do it. Ooh, can’t have your picture taken. Whoa, aren’t you big time. There’s just no way out of that hallway, okay? Just no way. I’d love to. Thank you. And then of course I don’t know why everyone has a camera now, but they don’t work like they used to because we’re up here like forever going like this, and the thing the pastor has to think about is not the generally wonderfully kind innocent people that want the picture taken. It’s the hundreds of people around the room that they’re oblivious to that are watching you get your picture taken and forming assumptions about your motive that couldn’t be further from reality. You watch it and you see and you think things that aren’t true.

I can just tell you from myself, and then I believe this would be true of your pastor, of course, I battle pride like everyone does. But I have found ministry and preaching to be a crushing weight driving that out of my life, not certainly some massive inflation. It never occurs to me to come to my church or to come to Harvest Bible fellowship, I’ve never had the look what I have done thought. I never have that thought. I have how much longer can I do this? This is a massive weight of responsibility to bear. I will account to Jesus Christ for all of this. As Paul said, I’ll read what Paul said. He said, “And besides all this, the care of the churches, and who is sufficient for these things?” So I think it’s hard sometimes to get that through to your own elders, and I want to be helpful on accountability. I do believe that elders should hold the senior pastor accountable. I believe that. Turn to your neighbors and say he believes that.

But elders that walk around with the capital A heavy-duty, ,”I’m there to hold you accountable, accountable, make you accountable, all right?” That’s a control move, all right? That’s a control move, and it’s rooted in pride, okay? And it’s not the senior pastor’s job. I’m sorry that you’re not happy with your career, but it’s not my job to make you feel significant by folding my full-time ministry under your ten-hour week volunteer opportunity, okay? That’s not my job. I love you and thankful for you. It goes well when we work together. And I’m willing, this is our elder board. Every month we have this book that comes out, and it says on the front, “Accounting to the Elders.” So we – let me tell you something. We account for the elders about everything that’s going on in this church, and I believe in it. I believe in it. But the pastor doesn’t need this constant referencing of we hold them accountable.

Teach the church to love the pastor and support the pastor and pray for the pastor. And like any good couple would do, one of the things that I love about my wife, Kathy, and there are many things – let me tell you something. My family knows it. Publicly, I mean, Kathy is little house on the prairie. Privately, she is a force to reckon with, okay? And my family is going, “For real. For real. For real.” That’s a great model for wives, for elders. Privately, you can lay it down as much as it’s needed, to protect him, to help him. But publicly, you don’t need to inflate your role and flex your accountability muscles in any public way of your doing your job. You can do that in private. And it’s needed. Everyone say it’s needed. But focus on the support and the encouragement and the affirmation. I was the biggest problem in this church. I did not know Kent was gonna graciously encourage and honor me in that way. But I will just say that for probably the first 15 years of our church, I led poorly. I was more concerned about the harsh person who would resent public appreciation that I was able to see that we all needed to be appreciated. Turn to your neighbor and say, “I need it.” Okay. We all needed that.

And the Scripture is very clear that the elder is worthy of honor or a double honor in the case of the one who works hard at preaching and teaching. And how many churches in America today find their pastors struggling, even failing in some regards but are not aware of how they have failed to honor him and support him and encourage him and pray for him. It isn’t just that the pastor makes the church, and he does. The pastor makes the church, but the church makes the pastor. You understand that? You are making your man of God in your church. You are making him. He is your project, to love and encourage and forebear and stand with and pray for the wisdom to mix the ingredients that are needed to keep him in balance and not so much tossed up needing accountability, as I’m weighed down needing support spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially.

Five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. Number 3, I’m not perfect. I need pastoring. But timing is everything. And loving on my wife and kids is loving me. Okay. I’m not perfect, and I do need pastoring. But timing is everything. I got home to my house last night after a second 14-hour day marathon in a row. My brother David is here. He came into my office. I was in a coma. He was like, “Hey, hey, how are you doing?” I was like, “Ugh?” He said, “Well, let’s go and talk about ministry. Tell me how you’re doing personally.” “Ugh.” I barely remember the conversation. I asked him this morning, “Did I curse at you?” I was just exhausted, and of course a good night’s sleep and the Lord is gracious.

Timing is everything. So often people burden the pastor with their needs to give him something, and they’re not sensitive to the timing, and the giving becomes another burden. Don’t talk to your preacher between his office and his first sermon of the weekend. Do not speak to him. He has to cram for a final exam. His head is about to explode. If you bump him, he’ll lose half of it, and he’s already afraid. Do not talk to him. Am I telling the truth? Here are those pastors who say amen. Furthermore, if there’s a problem that needs to be dealt with, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Not Friday, not Saturday, for sure not Sunday, and worse of all Monday, right? Mondays are the days that pastors once or twice a month write their resignation and pray for the courage to crumple it up. All right? Okay. Mondays are good days to send flowers to his wife, mail a gift card that will arrive that day when – read the life of Elijah. When you have poured it out and have nothing left, you need recovery time. And Satan will put nonsense in the head of a well-meaning elder and church member, and the poor thing, “Monday he’s got a whole week to get this figured out. Monday is the perfect day to talk to him.” Wow. That’s really, really not good thinking. And I’m trying to be – what was my word? I hope that’s helpful.

Loving on my wife and kids is loving me. And I’m so thankful that my three children and my two children-in-love, I would say. I have a son-in-love and a daughter-in-love and all five our kids love us and love the Lord. And humanly speaking, I would attribute that kindness to a loving church family. You are loving your pastor when you love his family. That’s a really, really – a great, great blessing.

Number 2, I secretly wish that these two verses were my elders’ favorite verses. They’re not my life verse, but I wish that my elders had these two verses for their favorites. One’s from the pastoral epistles where it says, “Reject a factious man after the second admonition.” I wish that that was my elders’ life verse. How much heartache is caused in a church by elders that forebear for the sake of friendship with a factious man. Reject the factious man after the second admonition. Now reject him doesn’t mean he has to sit halfway back, okay? Rejecting means you can’t come here anymore. Well, I’m sorry. Okay, that means you get to go to a different church. Reject. Do I need to spell that out? Why? Why? Why? That’s so cold. It’s so wise. How much heartache I could have saved our church over the last two decades if I had lowered my expectation, of my ability to change the behavior of others and raise my expectation that people will be as they have been? A factious man is danger to the church and you are released by Scripture to release him. And I’m releasing you to take a small portion of your church’s budget, build a catapult, put it in the church parking lot, and load it regularly. I think we can shoot this one right out of our county. All right?

Five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. I wish that my elders’ life verse was reject the factious man after the second admonition, and I wish their other life’s verse from Proverbs was “Cast out your scoffer and strife will cease.” I wish my elders loved that verse. How often I have been in the position of having to cast out the scoffer? How often I’ve had to come to staff members and say, “You haven’t dealt with this yet?” and have to push them to do the thing that should have been done earlier when less damage and collateral impact and confusion even to the person. Sometimes mercy creates a gap between the failure and the catapult and causes confusion in the heart of the person as to why they’re flying out of the church, okay? Sooner, sooner consensus among the elders, not next Thursday, today. Go over now. You can’t be here anymore. I’m sorry. You can’t be here anymore. I don’t owe you a why, but I can read a couple of verses to you that recently I attended a conference where these verses became my favorites.

I love our pastors. Amen? I love our pastors, and I want them supported and encouraged and surrounded. You make your pastor. And one of the ways that you will make him everything that God wants him to be is don’t let him waste his time and energy on draining difficult, harsh, never satisfied scoffers, factious men.

Five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. Number 1, enduring commitment and assurance – or maybe a better way to say it, assurance of enduring commitment brings peace of mind. In John chapter 6, Jesus was teaching them about this and said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” Of course you know what that means. That wasn’t easy for them to hear. “This is the bread that comes down from heaven,” he said. Interesting. When many of us disciples heard it, they said – this is when many of us disciples heard it, they were actual disciples of his, not the crowd. When do we get that food again, disciples? When many of us disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” But Jesus knowing in himself the disciples were grumbling about this and he kind of interacts with them, then the Scripture tells us that they – after this many of us disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

How many people had to happen in your church where something that needed to happen happened and people were upset about it? Put your hand up if that’s happened in your church. Right. Some of you just, what? Tired with the arm? Tired… tired ….? How many people had that happen in their church? All right. If you’ve ever wondered what your pastor’s thinking in that moment when Bill and Sheila, they don’t come to the church anymore, or did you hear about the Cartwrights, they’re not in our church anymore? Did you hear about that? Did you hear about how they left and moved back to the Ponderosa or wherever they’re from? Did you hear about how they’re gone now? Gilligan and his friends are back on the island and they’re gone. How does the pastor feel about that when that happens? Well, look at how Jesus felt after this many disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

The thing that keeps the pastor awake is not ultimately the people who left but how they’re gonna affect the people who have stayed and will they be leaving too. That’s what the pastor fears. We tried to do the right thing. We didn’t do it perfectly. We’re not Jesus. We did the best we could. Yeah, I do some things differently, but we’re learning and now some people just gave up on us and they left. What keeps him awake is the knowledge that they’re still talking to people in our church. I don’t have a relationship with them anymore, but you all seem to be able to socialize with them. I’m really the only person who’s out. Are you gonna leave too? Are you gonna leave too? We lost a couple of churches from our fellowship. I met with some of the key pastors here. Because as sad as that is, I needed to be assured that the many, many, many good men in our fellowship are still with me, are still with us. That’s what I needed to hear. I really encourage you to jot a little note to your pastor and say, “I am with you. I am with you. I’m with you heart and soul. You can count on me. We’re not going anywhere. We love you. We believe in what God’s doing in your heart.” He will become the person that you’re praying he will be through your encouragement to be that person. How many people here can honestly say the transforming influence in my life has been the people who hated me? Man, if God had just put more hateful people in my life I could have learned so much. We learn from people that love us. Sometimes they have to love us enough to tell us the truth. That’s all good. But it’s in the context of you can count on me, I’m with you, I’m not going anywhere, we’re in this together.

Five things your pastor wants you to know but can’t tell you. Number 1, assurance of enduring commitment gives the gift of peace of mind. And if you think your pastor’s not wondering about you during a tough season, trust me, he is. I hope that’s helpful.

 

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The James MacDonald White Paper: “MacDonald’s State of Mind”; Post 6 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 23, 2013

“And the results? Consider the following quote by ‘Pastor’ James MacDonald:”

Correction: The quotation is from Donn Arms, an associate of  Jay Adams at the Institute for Nouthetic Studies (INS).   

This is a post I wrote this morning, and I think it is very applicable to the folks at Harvest Bible Chapel:

I have received some significant pushback for posting the following quote by Jay Adams:

Folks let’s get this straight. The mind is not a physical organ. It cannot have a disease or illness except in a metaphorical sense as in a sick economy or a sick joke.

Typhoid fever — disease

Spring fever — not a disease

Scarlet fever — disease

Bieber fever — not a disease

Most of the pushback pertains to a rejection of the idea that the brain is not an organ, but Adams isn’t saying that the brain isn’t an organ; he is saying that the mind isn’t an organ.

I haven’t done a lot of study in this area, but I have done enough to know that some solid conclusions can be drawn from such a study because the Bible, as well as medical professionals make a distinction between the mind and the brain.

Everyone agrees that the mind, unlike the brain, is not observable; hence, the field of Psychology. This is a whole different matter than brain malfunctions that are physical. The fact that there are at least 200 different Psychology theories should speak to the fact that this enters into the realm of theory. One may also note that the most popular theory, Freudian Depth Psychology, perceives the human conscience in a very negative way. And that is very dangerous.

Here we have yet another area of wisdom where Christians are far too ignorant. It is also another fusion debate; in this case, the fusion of medical science and psychology. In other words, the fusion of science and theory. Psychology is mostly theory; psychologists barely agree on anything.

I am not going to preach out of school here, but Christians need to think carefully in regard to the idea that the mind can be sick. Certainly, the mind can be hindered by the brain, but is the mind susceptible to sickness like physical organs? Can the mind catch a cold? The reason we need to think carefully about this is because the Bible explains the mind as that part of the Christian that is redeemed.

Not only is this an area that is biblically defined with many dots that can be connected, it is a paramount consideration with vast implications for the Christian. Another huge elephant in the sanctuary is whether or not the Christian mind is actually redeemed. Our Protestant fathers said, “no.” 90% of all biblical counseling in our day is predicated on the idea that the mind cannot be renewed. Therefore, actions that please God cannot flow from the inner self to outward action.* Many pastors, while not understanding these trends and issues, attempt to counsel parishioners from a contrary mindset. The pastor speaks, and the parishioner hears something totally different because of indoctrination by parachurch organizations like NANC and CCEF with secular psychology as science to boot.  Any pastor who doesn’t deem these issues worthy of focus and understanding is functioning in ineptness.

The Bible in fact states that the “mind” of the Christian is regenerated and is the engine behind new creaturehood. Christians are promised that with proper cooperation with the Holy Spirit, the mind can be “renewed.” This is not only a biblical promise; we are commanded to renew our minds with the study and application of Scripture.  If the medical model regarding the mind is true, all bets are off—every vestige of spiritual growth is now ambiguous. And look at the contemporary church if you want to see the results of biblical ambiguity.

Christians error woefully by letting the theories of “experts” inform their lives on this issue. And the church owes Adams an immense debt of gratitude for bringing this issue to the forefront.

paul

*The fundamental thesis is that faith can only look outward to goodness outside of us, resulting in experiencing the obedience of Christ imputed to us while not being a participant in goodness that pleases God. This formula enables the Christian to live by faith alone—the same faith that saved us. So, faith is like an eye, it can only look outward to what isn’t inside of us. Any inward look is the dreaded, “existentialism” that is the unpardonable sin in our day.

And the results? Consider the following quote by “Pastor” James MacDonald:

“Why spend your life doing something neither required by the Lord, nor welcomed by others? Frankly, I gave up the job a while back, but felt constrained to make my decision known to all who read this blog. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see me at my post, I am really done this time. Yes, for me it’s over. No more fixing people—I resign ” (James MacDonald: My Resignation; April 30, 2013, The Vertical Church blog. Online source,  http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/my-resignation/).

MacDonald then goes on to explain, in essence, that it is his job to primarily show forth more Jesus, and as folks gaze on that, Christ will either change them or not change them according to His sovereign will. Like the vast majority of pastors in our day, MacDonald has merely returned to Luther’s radical construct that often brought the charge of  antinomianism from his contemporaries (Martin Luther wrote down the following disturbing sentence in one of his letters to Melancthon in 1521: “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more strongly, who triumphed over sin, death, and the world; as long as we live here, we must sin.”).

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The James MacDonald White Paper: AUTHORITY, and the New Testament Church Model; Post 5 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 21, 2013

Oligarchy Logo“This is a classic case of not having a thorough understanding of what you are following.”     

The first clue that there may be authoritarian issues at Harvest Bible Chapel is the logo for James MacDonald’s Vertical Church project and book. It is the military insignia for the rank of Sergeant with a steeple on top. The next level up in authority is First Sergeant and Master Sergeant. I asked a few folks here at the Potter’s House what this logo brings to mind when you first look at it. Without any coaching, and like my first thought, the answer was, “military.”

At some point in James MacDonald’s ministry, he converted to New Calvinism which is a return to authentic Geneva style Calvinism. This is a doctrine that teaches the absolute authority of the elders. Calvin referred to this as the “power of the keys.” Whatever the elders bind on earth, heaven will confirm it. If they “declare” you an unbeliever, you ARE an unbeliever—heaven will honor the judgment of the elders.

This is why this stripe of elder, no pun intended, is expected to be feared in circles like Harvest Bible Chapel—they can literally have you blotted out of the book of life. If you doubt this is the mentality of MacDonald and his core elders, you are naive.

They play by their own rules totally, and they at least function like their authority supersedes a literal interpretation of the Bible. All, let me repeat that, “all” New Calvinists function like that. Examples can be found wherever you point a stick. Just one example is the dissenting elders at Harvest who were disciplined. Whether or not these former elders were still members is beside the point, New Calvinist elders routinely declare people unregenerate who are not even members of their church.

But their process for disciplining these elders, protocol for New Calvinist “redemptive church discipline,” does not follow Scripture. Clearly, the matter is to be brought before the church for consideration, and if the church agrees that there has been an offence, and the offender or offenders will not “hear the church,” only then are they to be “treated like” unbelievers, not declared such. New Calvinist elders believe they have the authority to “declare” people as unbelievers.

In the case of the Harvest elders, the matter was not taken to the congregation. The congregation was informed of the elder judgment, and instructed not to associate with the former elders of Harvest. Now, many would argue in regard to the feasibility of sharing matters of dispute with a congregation of thousands. Is this to say that Christ didn’tk foresee congregations of thousands? Or is this to say that congregations of thousands are not the New Testament model? And if small groups are so important to mega churches, why not just have the small groups and be done with it? By the way, in geographies that don’t have American-like money, clusters of home fellowships that cooperate with each other are the norm. The institutional church only exists in geographies that thrive monetarily.

Also, in New Testament-like home fellowships (where sharing a matter of dispute with the whole group would be no problem at all), fellowship is the issue, not authority. Overseers lead by example and exhort the people from Scripture, and fellowship is based on likeminded agreement concerning the one mind of Christ. Unity is predicated on the authority of Scripture, not men.

These are thoughts to consider, but yes, aside from foul doctrine, the very way Harvest is organized as an institution will invariably arrive at the current circumstances. It also leads to a blind following unable to see disaster coming. Harvest is presently made up of seven campuses located, for the most part, in upper income areas around Chicago. Again, institutional churches can only operate in that venue. But note, all of the formal preaching is telecasted from one campus to all the other campuses, and is delivered by James MacDonald himself. In other words, this massive ministry is predicated on one man! Who doesn’t see disaster coming in that scenario? This builds a ministry on a personality brand-name resulting in all kinds of politics surrounding efforts  to protect the institution. “Hey, are we going to let the whole institution fall just because the guy isn’t perfect?” The answer to that question is most likely, “no.”

But let’s talk about the blindness issue, and unbiblical authority leading to people turning their brains off. Several churches have left Harvest over MacDonald’s association with TD Jakes. One of the major campuses was kicked out of the “denomination” because they dared to question MacDonald on this issue. I have no doubt that MacDonald and his inner core did the math and decided said campus was worth more to them as a manipulative statement than a future partner.

Nevertheless, has it occurred to anybody that MacDonald associates with TD Jakes because their core ideology is the same? The pastor of the church that was “catapulted” out of Harvest said that he was perplexed by the relationship. Why? Does he really think MacDonald got up one morning and decided to invite Benny Hinn to preach at Harvest, but when his line was busy, he called TD instead? Why is this so perplexing? He hangs out with people who share the same fundamentals. Why is this confusing? More on the doctrinal aspect in future posts, but people always do what they do for a reason. This is a classic case of not having a thorough understanding of what you are following.

Furthermore, the confused pastor should also understand that MacDonald, in essence, declared him and his congregation unregenerate. He should contact MacDonald and ask what the perceived ramifications are for his church—he might be in for a big surprise.

All in all, this is a huge opportunity for those leaving Harvest. They have the resources to rethink everything and set an example for many other Christians. These situations are unfortunate, but nonetheless very good teachers if we are listening and thinking.

Things happen for a reason, and people act from their beliefs.

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The James MacDonald White Paper: “Why This White Paper?” Post 4 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 21, 2013

Oligarchy Logo“The problem is not James MacDonald’s behavior; the problem is what he believes. What he believes has brought Harvest Bible Chapel to this point.”

I was originally motivated to report on the Harvest Bible Chapel controversy for the following reason: my frustration over the constant use of bogus “church discipline” by New Calvinists to silence detractors. The primary blog leading the way in exposing the tyranny of James MacDonald is The Elephants Debt .com. Without a doubt, it is one of the best, if not the best, organized and written blogs on the internet.

So: why this white paper? Because overall, the anti-spiritual tyranny/abuse movement is still characterized by the following key elements:

1. A primary focus on behavior.

2. A void in understanding that ideology drives behavior.

3. A void in understanding how these ideologies lead to theological error.

4. A void in understanding what that theological error is.

5. Hope is placed in the offenders repenting of their behavior apart from repentance of doctrinal error and theological error.

6. Hope is placed in those who share the same ideology, but not the behavior; it is hoped they will influence culprits to repent of mere behavior.

7. Hope is placed in institutions.

8. No prevention mandate to break the cycle of abuse.

9. No alternatives prescribed moving forward other than hope of people repenting of behavior rather than what they believe.

The problem is not James MacDonald’s behavior; the problem is what he believes. What he believes has brought Harvest Bible Chapel to this point. This series will expose his ideology, his theology, and suggest alternatives for prevention and ministry moving forward.

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The James MacDonald White Paper: “Why Not Name the 13 Accusations?” Post 2 of 30

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on September 20, 2013

Oligarchy LogoIn this video, Harvest elders claim transparency, but do not explain the 13 accusations brought against them by three other elders. They want the congregation to assume that none of the 13 accusations  have merit just because they say so.  This point doesn’t even scratch the surface of the treachery found in their words overall.  Moreover, in the introduction, James MacDonald makes the claim that elder majority speaks with the authority that is directly from God. My friends, the only authority that speaks directly for God is His truth found in holy writ.

Pastor James MacDonald:  I am so thankful to be a part of this church.  This church is such a great blessing to me and our family and I just want to remind you that God has entrusted a spiritual authority to the local church and every local church has an authority under God.  We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders.  And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church.  That’s about as serious as serious gets.  Here are four of the elders in our church that have a message for us that we would do well to take heed to, so listen very carefully.  These four men are speaking on behalf of the entire elder board of our church on every campus – listen now.

From Left to Right:

My name is Paul Inserra.

My name is Steve Houston

My name is Randy Williams

My name is Jamie Harrison

Paul Inserra:    All but one member meeting is successfully behind us. We come to you today further fulfilling our pledge for greater transparency with a sad but necessary message from our entire elder board of our church.  We need to communicate with you regarding the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders, all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor.

Jamie Harrison:  Three elders who broke with the rest of our 30-member elder board in June have continued to spread discord through their false and unrelenting viewpoint.  It was unanimously rejected by the elders over many months and with finality in our June meeting.  They made their point, we rejected their opinions, but they refused to submit to elder consensus, choosing instead to sew discord and create division.  This is a very, very serious sin, one that we are told in Proverbs 6 that our Lord hates.

Steve Houston:  This week, the elders received a letter with 13 accusations against our pastor and his integrity,  all of which the elders have already unanimously rejected multiple times, nothing new, just a continued refusal to accept the consensus of the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel.

If these men would express even a fraction of the constant and ongoing grace and humility that we see so frequently in our pastor, they could move beyond their bitterness to healing.  Their current refusal to do so is defiling many people and that is great sin.

Randy Williams:  Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent.  A copy of our board resolution regarding their conduct was given to them personally, and can be seen online under Elder Updates.  Please pray for their repentance and victory over persistent spirit of superiority and self-righteousness.

Paul Inserra:  Together these men continue to lead and seditiously promote an attack on the credibility of the church elders, our governance of church staff and the integrity of our pastor.

Jamie Harrison:  Their goal is to discredit our pastor and to divide this church and we call upon the people of the Harvest family to make sure this does not happen. This problem is not new.

As Paul said in 2nd Timothy 4, “Alexander, the coppersmith, did me great harm.  The Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him, yourself; for he strongly opposed our message.”

Steve Houston:  Church matters are not to be tried in the court of public opinion.  Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason,  is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly.   Those who have no standing in a local church, but continue to assault it from outside with factious messages must be rejected according to the word of God.  We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. Don’t stand in the middle, don’t seek to mediate.  Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all cost,  lest you incur great detriment to your own soul.

Randy Williams:  To be clear, the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel – 30 men – who meet frequently and closely with Pastor James and know first-hand his character and conduct, want you to hear that we the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel are completely satisfied with Pastor James’ growth and grace, including the way he responded to the three dissenting elders from January through June, and sought reconciliation with former elders as directed.  Pastor James has gone out of his way repeatedly, to seek counsel, submit to consensus, and welcome and even solicit contrary opinion for the betterment of the church.  The elders of Harvest stand behind his character and integrity without reservation or ongoing concern of any kind.  Great pains have been taken to review and learn from these accusations. But there are no ongoing issues of any kind.   We are satisfied and grateful to our pastor for his Christ-like behavior.

Steve Houston:  We call upon the people of Harvest Baptist Chapel to support these actions of the elder board as biblical.  Titus 3:10-11 says, “as for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.”

Also 1st Timothy 5:20 says, “as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, [which, is, what we are doing] so that the rest may stand in fear.”

Randy Williams:  Before honor, comes humility.  In one week, we gather in one service to celebrate God’s amazing 25-year faithfulness to this church, but God is winning a mighty victory in and around us today. Nothing is covered, nothing is unresolved, nothing is ongoing – only this attack from the enemy.  Let us examine ourselves, for unconfessed sin and seek to live in fear of the Lord,  lest bitterness overtake us.

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Pathetic

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 13, 2013

Potters House logoFollowing is a video of a sermon preached by New Calvinist James MacDonald to his congregation. I don’t understand this attitude at all. I feel so fortunate that here at the Potter’s House we have our own little routine. During the week, I study for our Romans series, eagerly anticipating what God will teach us. My applications are from other books and letters of the Bible. We are presently in chapter ten, and have arrived there by studying Romans to that point verse by verse. If I have quoted a man or another pastor to this point, I don’t remember when. I type out my whole lesson word for word, and everybody gets a copy. Its not about me, I just attempt to teach the text as closely to the truth as possible.  I don’t want it to be about me, unity comes from agreement regarding the one mind of Christ. I also try to teach hermeneutic  principles that can help people in their own private Bible study. As our congregation grows, I hope to learn from those who attend from their own personal study. More than one head is always better. Frankly, I cringed as I watched this video. It’s embarrassing. I am also very uncomfortable with his spiritual caste mentally concerning the elder/parishioner relationship. Just seek the truth of God’s word, make it about that, and the need for “catapults” should be far and few in- between. If at all.

Unbelievable: New Calvinist Anti-Trinity Heretics Dissing TD Jakes

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 26, 2012

There they go again, the supposed stalwarts of the faith attacking soft targets to prove to themselves and everyone else that they are brave defenders of the faith once delivered by Robert Brinsmead and the Australian Forum. It’s truly enough to gag a maggot. Their usual target is Joel Osteen who is at least partially created by the New Calvinists themselves—a backlash from people starving for some practical application and sick of hearing how totally depraved we are. His prosperity gospel is unacceptable, but not completely void of spiritual common sense like New Calvinism which makes him the lesser of the two evils.

Apparently, Jakes is into Oneness Pentecostalism which teaches that the Trinity primarily finds its identity in Christ and devalues the distinctions between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unnamed notable members of the heretical Gospel Coalition attempted to bully James MacDonald into cancelling an appearance by Jakes at MacDonald’s church. MacDonald refused and resigned from The Gospel Coalition board of which he was a charter member.

But what’s the difference? The Forum rejected the significance of the Trinity and emphasized Christ over the Father and Holy Spirit, and this same mentality is constantly seen among New Calvinists. John Piper often states that, “God entered history through Christ.” He also continually refers to “the imputed righteousness of Christ” as the bases of our justification. This is a blatant contradiction to Scripture which always refers to our imputed righteousness as coming from God the Father. John MacArthur is far less ambiguous, stating the following in the forward of a book written by New Calvinist Kool-aid drinker Rick Holland:

This book is an insightful, convicting reminder that no one and nothing other than Christ deserves to be the central theme of the tidings we as Christians proclaim—not only to one another and to the world, but also in the private meditations of our own hearts….They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).  That is the only blueprint for church ministry that has any sanction from Scripture….The pastor who makes anything or anyone other than Christ the focus of his message is actually hindering the sanctification of the flock.

 

paul

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