Final Statement Concerning Controversy at Bellefontaine, Ohio “Men of God” Conference
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Things have taken a dramatic turn in the past 24 hours concerning the controversy surrounding an article I wrote about my experience at the conference. I wanted to pull down the original post, and take some time to prepare a big picture perspective/statement. The original post was 1,575 words dealing mostly with doctrinal concerns. The firestorm was over 297 words about what I experienced at the conference. There has not been one peep over doctrine in this issue. This has been glaring at me throughout the controversy.
Susan has been helping me put the statement together. The goal was to read two books, and listen to all of the mp3’s from the conference. Part of Susan’s task was to read a copy of “Family Shepherds” written by Voddie Baucham and obtained at the conference. At the end of chapter four, she approached me with a legal pad and what she shared was rather shocking. Almost immediately, when adding the other things I have learned this week, I began to look at this issue in a whole new way. That I will now share.
God has blessed Paul’s Passing Thoughts (PPT) since its conception in 2009 despite the pettiness that often occurs here. Susan has helped with that problem, but I think recent events have helped to jettison that element of the blog much further. That’s good, and here is only one reason among many: one of the pastors I talked to this week is bi-vocational, and yes, a follower of Voddie Baucham. But New Calvinism is very subtle, and there probably isn’t any way a working pastor is able to stay on top of this stuff. For crying out loud, the brain trust of John MacArthur’s church is not even on top of it! But in the post that I pulled down, I call followers of Baucham “koolaid drinkers.” This bi-vocational pastor loves the word and the truth, and I called him a koolaid drinker. Furthermore, he shared that he equated that term with people who died at Jonestown under the leadership of cultist Jim Jones. Ouch. Not fair. That’s one of many reasons that the post is down.
Secondly, five years of research on this subject has yielded a vivid picture of this movement, and such pettiness is not necessary for the cause. A complete picture of this doctrine will bring it down, I’m confident of that. And along with it, the rampant spiritual abuse. That needs to be exposed to draw attention to what will ultimately destroy it—its doctrine found wanting, and the fact that the doctrine leads to indifference, spiritual abuse, and cult-like churches. But episodes like the one that came out on March 3rd will not get the job done. In fact, it will hinder the cause.
Therefore, PPT is getting back to its roots of being doctrine focused. We will be undergoing a remodeling, so if you like anything that’s up, you had better copy it just in case. The posts will be edited and placed in the new format of a newsletter. That way, PPT’s newsletter, Truth About New Calvinism can be read online or received in the mail. The newsletter will be distributed by a nonprofit organization and will be available for free at several locations. We start a new life on Monday with an in-depth series and the new format.
In my reconciliation with the church’s pastor, we reconciled on the 297 words, but he wouldn’t discuss the 1575 which involved my contentions. Even though you don’t discuss that which is reconciled with others, I think part of the interim statement needs to remain on the record:
Also, let me state clearly that there is no way I can know the motives behind what I saw. At the very most, the only thing I can determine [definitively] is a disregard for others by SOME who attended the conference.
The “Lydia” comment will remain because it is a balanced opinion in my estimation. The fact of the matter is that I had no plans for writing anything more than the one, controversial post. But what Susan has pointed out in Baucham’s book, and what I heard at the conference, is vital and formidable information in the quest to expose the errors of New Calvinism and the Patriarchy movement. The series will be in-depth, lengthy, and will include materials taught at the conference and the general teachings of the host church. This is because the teachings at the conference, the host church, and Baucham’s writings are presented in a way that make them easily presented. It’s an extremely rich resource. Much is also at stake in regard to youth ministry as well which was represented at the conference in a significant way. The pastor of the host church was apprised of the fact that doctrinal offences were not resolved and open for discussion. An endeavor to expose New Calvinism to relevant groups can be greatly served by this series that will be, Lord willing, several parts.
I will conclude with an example of what has inspired me to proceed in this direction. Baucham, in his book on family shepherds, attests to the centrality of the gospel outside of us, denial of the new birth, and the total depravity of the saints. The results of this doctrine can be seen in his assertion that the family is a mere “delivery mechanism for the gospel.” I will demonstrate throughout the series how this central doctrine desensitizes Christians, especially in the area of justice and righteous indignation, mercy, and compassion. This is more than speculation; the coldblooded mercenary mindset of this movement is well documented.