Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why Home Fellowships Can Help Abused Women and the Institutional Church Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 15, 2017

HF Potters House (2)

Originally published March 31, 2015

In our vision for a return to the way Judeo-Christian assemblies were done for about the first 300 years, let’s look at why home fellowships can help abused women and the institutional church cannot.

I would like to use this article as a catalyst for argumentation. The article was posted (author is not clearly stated) by Anna Wood who co-authored a book with Jeff Crippen, a Reformed pastor. The book can be found here.

The post is titled, What domestic abuse victims need from the church. My contention is that abused women cannot get what they need from “the church” as demonstrated over and over and over again. In fact, clearly, as also demonstrated over and over and over again as well, the institutional church adds to the abuse and becomes a co-abuser.

Why is this? The article offers a perspective from which to answer. This issue also speaks to the differences between home fellowships and the institutional church, hereafter “the church.” In an institution, it is easy to sign on the dotted line, give at the office, and pretend. Pastors can bark from Calvin’s Geneva pulpit all they want to; all folks have to say is, “Hey, I am a member in good standing, and as often heard, humble and incompetent—it’s not my gift and I am not qualified.” Likewise, in said article, the author’s call to “get involved” is going nowhere in the church in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

To the contrary, home fellowships are comprised of people who are sick of playing church, are weary of being mere spectators, and are not looking to walk into an arena with hungry lions, but know it could lead to that. They are also confident in the Spirit-filled laity and recognize where 500 years of academic popeism has brought us. In addition, they have a literal view of reality versus the functional dualism that drives orthodoxy. What am I saying? I am saying that home fellowships have a radically different worldview than orthodoxy and this will lead to aggressive participation in all kinds of needs.

Let me further this point by using the article at hand:

Statistics say that one out of four women in the United States experience domestic abuse of some form in their lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic abuse. When those who have suffered are members of the Lord’s church, the faithful among them have an obligation to help them. And, if we know of someone in the community who is being abused, I also believe we have an obligation to help if we can. When, for whatever reason, we shy away from this obligation, either through ignorance or willful refusal to get involved, we lay waste to the Gospel we claim to believe. Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.

What abuse victims need from their fellow Christians is pretty simple and straightforward. We need you to be Jesus to us. Do what He would do, say what He would say, were He the One ministering to us. Isn’t that what we all need from each other, anyway? Christians are called to stand in the place of Christ here on the earth and be His representative and do the works He would do. To fail in this is to fail in serving Christ.

Whoa, what a minute here! This is entirely unrealistic because of the message constantly drilled into the heads of Protestants. We are “all just sinners saved by grace.” We are, according to one prominent evangelical, “enemies of God.” According to yet another, “we hate God.” On the one hand, it is constantly drilled into the heads of those in the church that “when you are dead, you can do nothing,” but on the other hand we really think that parishioners shouldn’t think twice about getting involved in a domestic abuse situation?

First of all, getting involved in domestic violence is not “pretty simple.” Actually, it can get you killed by someone who doesn’t much appreciate your intervention. Moreover, getting the facts and evaluating the situation biblically is far from simple. Now couple that with the constant total depravity of the saints mantra heard in the church and it is little wonder that few will get involved in domestic abuse needs. The completely upside down worldview of the church makes laity involvement in domestic abuse nothing more than a pipe dream.

And, “Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.” This complaint is not only a mere symptom, but is not even a symptom of the real problem. Congregants not only fail to defend the oppressed, they either turn a blind eye or defend the defender of the abusers—the church. Ever heard of SGM? Ever heard of ABWE? Ever heard of the SBC? In case you haven’t noticed, they are not only still in business, but business is booming! Why? Because regardless of what happens in the church, it is the only ticket to heaven. “What? so billions of people should go to hell because some bad things happen in the church that is made up of sinners? Well, get a grip—where there are people, there is sin!” That is in quotations because this is exactly what we hear in response to a “cry for justice.”

So far, if you are keeping notes, we have two reasons the church cannot help abused women: 1. The total depravity of the saints resulting in a few “experts” attempting to minister to a massive throng 2. Salvation is found in the institution, and therefore the institution will be defended at all cost. Better that a few suffer by themselves rather than all of humanity being sent to hell.

Before we move on to the next points, a little more clarification: why does the church defend abusers? It starts with its worldview. Without going into a lot of detail, we must first recognize that Calvin and Luther are the church’s heroes, and then recognize what their “theology of the cross” was all about. This is a philosophy that interprets all reality via the suffering of the cross. As Luther stated, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” Luther, as well as Calvin, split reality into two epistemologies: the cross story and the glory story. Only preordained leaders can lead the great unwashed masses in the cross story—only the preordained can save humanity from the story of man, or the glory story. As Al Mohler once said, “pastors are preordained to save God’s people from ignorance.”

fake-church-sign-first-baptistHowever, theologians of the cross and the spiritual peasantry have something in common: we are all just sinners saved by grace. So, everything going on in the material realm is fairly insignificant—it’s just the same old sin and dance anyway. But by the same token, theologians of the cross are preordained of God and invaluable. And besides, many are icons of the institution that keep the money rolling in. Sure, you can reject this theory and opt for another one, but in the process you will drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why ABWE defended and protected Donn Ketcham until the bitter end.

Need another example among myriads? What about Jack Hyles? The guy was a mafia don dressed in Bible verses and is still a spiritual hero among many Baptists. David Hyles, Jack’s son, was also a well-respected pastor in the church who had affairs with at least 19 women and is a suspect in an unsolved murder. Yet, to the best of my knowledge to date, David Hyles is still invited to speak at Baptist conferences/churches and receives robust ovations. Jack Hyles remained in the pulpit until his death in 2001 and was succeeded by his son in law Jack Schaap who is presently in prison for statutory rape. Jack Hyles is notorious for his quip, “If you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen” and is still revered among many Baptists as the best preacher since the apostle Paul.

The article continues with its list of things abuse victims need from “the church.” But the thesis of this article is that the church is not only unable to supply these things, but becomes a co-abuser. In contrast, the original Christian model for fellowship is well able to help and more likely to do just that.

First on the list is “The Pure Gospel.”

The church long ago got away from the pure gospel. We water it down, mix it up and serve it with a side of fun. No wonder it doesn’t save. It can’t save. It’s poison. We need preachers dedicated to the truth of God’s Word who are willing to stand up and preach that truth without changing it one iota. We need Christians who long after righteousness. When we have that–the pure Gospel preached and lived–we’ll see more Christians helping abuse victims and we’ll see less abusers masquerading as Christians.

Uh, ok, not sure how to add to this. It’s a stunning admission while calling on the same church to do something about the problem it has created. We don’t need “preachers” to do anything. Preachers have been preaching long and hard for thousands of years and the results are evident. We need God’s people to stand up and get back to the first works of home fellowship. The laity waiting on the experts is long traveled and worthless. More of what is beginning to happen needs to happen more and more. Ordinary Spirit-filled Christians are meeting together around the word and fellowship, and seeking God’s face in this whole matter about how church is traditionally practiced. And the fact that the church is grounded in a false gospel is something I addressed in another article posted today and Friday.

Without addressing every single point in the article other than those mentioned already, let me move on to this one:

Someone to care for their needs

Do you know what keeps a lot of abused women and children with their abusers? The lack of money to leave. If a woman is trying to get herself and her children to safety, don’t spend time telling her why she’s wrong, what you think about her decision or trying to talk her out of it. She knows what it’s like to live in abuse and you don’t. Even if she stays, chances are great that she and her children need something or maybe a lot of things. Financial abuse often accompanies other types of abuse. Instead of lecturing, get busy serving and help them.

According to the first-century model, a home fellowship network would be several small groups meeting in several homes in the same geographical area. And because of freedom from massive infrastructure cost and “tithing” versus New Testament giving based on NEED only funds and resources to help the abused would be ample. In fact, I could share an example from our very own home fellowship. We have a young lady living with us, and other people connected to our fellowship contribute financially to her needs. She is fully supported independently from anybody who might be a problem in her life. And when people live with you, trust me, you know the facts and you do a lot of listening. She will be completely self-reliant this month after living with us for about two years.

In regard to a different kind of abuse, a home fellowship network that I know of in Africa operates in the following way: the network assimilates street orphans from Nairobi into their fellowships. There is a leader from the network, equipped with the latest information about funds and availability that goes into Nairobi searching for orphans, and upon finding some, brings them back to the fellowship network where they will have a home, food, protection, and education. Let’s say that our home fellowships are connected with theirs; many of these children could be brought stateside and assimilated into fellowship here as well.

In addition to being freed from the bondage of infrastructure expense, the authority of the church’s clergy is suffocating. Clergy, more times than not, are control freaks obsessed with keeping the herd calm. They are spiritual cowboys constantly concerned with the herd being spooked. This speaks to the rest of the concerns in the post being considered here. More times than not, the laity are kept in the dark concerning the needs of those abused. There is a wall of confidentiality between the church’s “trained” counselors and the parishioners who fund the whole mess. When red flags are raised in regard to how certain situations are handled, we are told that “we should trust the elders who are closest to the situation and know all of the details.” This continually proves to be a recipe for disaster, and elders are granted NO such authority via the Scriptures.

Small groups in private homes offer intimate support and confidentiality from the other home fellowships. It is a perfect balance of intimate care and financial support if needed. All of the different gifts and experiences of Christ’s body are brought to bear on the situation.

Also, we must remember that the home fellowship movement is comprised of people from all walks of life: policemen, mental health professionals, etc., etc. These people or their areas of expertise are not separated from any situation by the professional clergy for inappropriate reasons.

paul

ABWE Missionary Kids Recap

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 13, 2016

ppt-jpeg4“In all of this, the MKs have dragged ABWE’s dead corpse to a decrepit alter of repentance, but thereby preventing untold additional sorrow.”

“For starters in a long list of healing remedies, ABWE could create an oversight department and appoint the MKs to operate it…Instead, they are offering the same counseling that couldn’t cure Donn Ketcham; for free in a pathetic attempt to feign some semblance of the Spirit’s presence.”    

As human beings living this life, we do what we can to heal after tragedy. Time heals, obtaining justice heals, and lessons learned resulting in good coming out of the tragedy definitely heals. But when tragedy occurs, parts of us die that we will never get back until redemption. That’s when Christ will make us whole and dry every tear from our eyes. Having that hope also aids present healing.

This week, ABWE released what would appear to be a final report on its longstanding culture of child rape among its missionaries. Like the GRACE unpublished report (because Boz Tchividjian capitulated to ABWE criminals), the Pii 280 page report reveals little more than what the Missionary Kids revealed on their blog in 2011. One wonders how much GRACE and Pii were paid to do little more than follow-up on the legwork already accomplished by the victims. At any rate, CT has a pretty decent post on the report HERE.

Oh, and in regard to healing, the MKs have dragged ABWE kicking and screaming for more than 20 years towards whatever confession they could get out of them and thereby, more than likely, preventing the rape of other children. Just this week, 20+ years later, ABWE is going to put new procedures in place. Whatever. It’s nothing more than window dressing; all changes and rape prevention will always come from outside of ABWE. Perhaps the MK’s work has just begun.

Additionally, all repercussions thus far have been the direct result of MK tenacity—nothing more, or nothing less. In all of this, the MKs have dragged ABWE’s dead corpse to a decrepit alter of repentance, but thereby preventing untold additional sorrow. Read the CT story for yourself and remember that a tree is known by its fruit. ABWE is a classic example of an organization that travels land, sea, and air to make others three times the children of hell that they are.

But if ABWE had a soul, they could affect real healing in this situation, but no black heart has knowledge of such. As you will read in the CT post, ABWE has never repented of the 40-year cover-up that led to additional child rape for years after the fact. Again, a tree is known by its fruit. For starters in a long list of healing remedies, ABWE could create an oversight department and appoint the MKs to operate it, and pay them at least as much as they paid Boz Tchividjian who had his homework done for him. Instead, they are offering the same counseling that couldn’t cure Donn Ketcham; for free in a pathetic attempt to feign some semblance of the Spirit’s presence.

All ABWE/MK posts are archived below:

paul


Articles Referencing ABWE/Bangladesh MKs

Too Bad About the “Kids,” But Like GM, ABWE is Just Too Big to Fail – 4/18/2011
Former Abused Missionary Children Are Loving ABWE God’s Way – 5/8/2011
Donn Ketcham, ABWE & the GARBC – 10/30/2011
A Slow GRACE for the Former Missionary Children: Part One – 11/12/2011
Two Latest Posts From The Former ABWE Missionary Children – 11/13/2011
Our Daily Dose of the Former ABWE Missionary Children (FAMC not “MKs”) – 11/15/2011
ABWE Scandal Has Too Much Gospel – 11/16/2011
Your Daily Dose of the Former ABWE Bangladesh Missionary Children – 11/17/2011
When Gospel Seperated From Law Becomes Bad News For Our Children – 3/20/2012
ABWE Bangladesh MK’s Fighting On for Allusive Justice and Protection of Others – 4/27/2012
OUTRAGE!!! Michael Loftis Appointed to Board of Trustees at Cedarville University – 5/28/2012
Some Hope in GRACE, and ABWE’s Position on the MKs via the Michael Loftis Letter – 5/31/2012
With Permission: The David C. Bennett ABWE Exposé – 6/6/2012
Spiritual and Sexual Abuse in the Church: I Can See Clearly Now – 7/23/2012
ABWE Scandal: Commentary on Dr. David Bennet’s “Remember Paterno’s Statue” – 7/30/2012
The Philosopher King Wars – 8/6/2012
New Finding: Truth the Root Cause of the Isolation Plague – 8/20/2012
David C. Bennett, D. Min.: ANOTHER INVESTIGATION INTO CHILD ABUSE BY ABWE MISSIONARIES – 8/23/2012
ABWE Edits Us from their Facebook Page – 8/24/2012
An Open Letter to ABWE-Supporting Churches – 8/28/2012
Another High-Profile ABWE Missionary Disciplined for Child Sexual Abuse – 8/31/2012
ABWE Fires GRACE: GARB Can No Longer Be Taken Seriously as a Denomination – 2/11/2013
A.B.W.E and the Missionary Kids Back in the News: A Call for Action – 11/27/2013
It’s Official: The World Knows More About Justice Than Calvinists – 12/5/2013

Articles Referencing G.R.A.C.E./Boz Tchividjian/Spiritual Abuse in the Church

The “Cross Story” and Sanctified Rape in the Church – 1/31/2013
DisG.R.A.C.E: The Boz Tchividjian Fraud; Gracing the Victims into Obscurity – 9/25/2013
The “Discernment” Blogosphere’s Celebration of Boz Tchividjian’s Hollywood Gospel – 5/8/2014
The Protestant Culture of Death and the Folly of Discernment Blogging  – 7/31/2014
The Bob Jones DisG.R.A.C.E. Report: Hope for Change if God Cooperates – 12/11/2014
Why Home Fellowships Can Help Abused Women and the Institutional Church Cannot – 3/31/2015

Deb and Dee of Wartburg Watch .com: Gossip, Not Gospel; Hobby, Not Hope

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 3, 2015

There is a huge problem with the Christian blogosphere; it is very comfortable with hopelessness. In fact, hopelessness has become a hobby. The real world simply can’t function without solutions, but the Christian e-world seems to be exempt from that reality.

I started this blog when most blogs that address trends in Neo-Calvinism started, circa 2009. The goal was to find answers and an eventual solution to the New Calvinist movement that continues to turn the church upside down. Perhaps my solution-oriented bent comes from my entrepreneurial background; without solutions—you don’t make payroll. I never had to face any of my employees and say, “I can’t pay you this week” because the possibility was too terrifying. Trust me, it was all about solutions for many years.

The problem is simple: the recent and ongoing tsunami of spiritual abuse is due to a false gospel which shouldn’t surprise us. That was my first goal; to find the “why.” Then I found the solution.

What is more obvious than the fact that the institutional church which some call, “the evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors” makes the ongoing abuse possible? What is more obvious than the fact that institutions cannot function without money? Take ABWE of the missionary kids infamy. GARB churches could have brought ABWE to its knees inside of a week; yet, even in light of unspeakable atrocities against children, not one congregation pulled support.  Hence, the situation dragged on and on for roughly twenty years with little or no justice brought to bear. Why? Where are the missionary kids today? Does anybody even remember them? Oh, I forgot, their situation isn’t trending right now; that would be the latest drama everyone is feeding on: Jordan Root and Matt Chandler’s Village Church.

The discernment blogosphere could stop spiritual abuse dead in its tracks. We are talking about huge numbers and people who have immense influence.  Why would you continue to give any credence whatsoever to an institution that makes abuse possible? Churches are either directly involved in abuse, or turn a blind eye to it. Pastors who dwell in the institutional church could indeed put a stop to it as well. For example, a handful of IFB pastors could have stopped the Jack Hyles cartel from wreaking havoc on innocent lives, but they didn’t. Why?

Obviously, it’s a preservation issue of some sort at the expense of innocents who are attending church and trying to do what’s right. Instead, they fall prey to tyranny and pedophiles. There is a reason why the Protestant church now bears the same fruit of the Catholic Church while both continue to thrive. How can this be?

Let’s pause for clarification of points:

  1. The Protestant/Catholic/evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors is predicated on a false gospel, specifically, the false gospel of progressive justification. Protestants and Catholics merely disagree on man’s role in the progression. False gospels bear bad fruit—this should be evident.
  1. Catholic/Protestant hierarchies both claim God’s authority on earth to oversee the progression of salvation. The Catholics are more upfront about the idea, Protestants less so; nevertheless, this ministry has a cache of quotations from leading evangelicals that make the same claim. And they get that directly from Calvin and Luther.
  1. Participants of the evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors knowingly profess progressive justification, or unwittingly function by it.
  1. Progressive justification calls for an institution vested with God’s authority to oversee salvation. We hear all of the time that formal church membership is synonymous with being in the “body of Christ.”
  1. Progressive justification, theologically, allows for any and every kind of sin under the auspices of authority. We simply must not question God’s anointed who “stand in the gap” and “stand in our stead” before God. Our role is “humble submission” before God. If those who stand in the stead have wronged us—they will answer to God, not us. Our role is to “forgive the way we have been forgiven.”

Break point: most discernment blogs are pundits of this system. Their only hope is in the system itself. This is why they refuse to associate ideology with behavior. Regardless of what’s going on in the “church,” the goal is to somehow fix the church. Since 2009, they continue to whine, cry, and beg the institutional church to behave itself. They gather together, moaning and licking each other’s wounds, crying out to the institutional church as god rather than the Prince of Peace.  Really, it’s pathetic.

The paramount example of this sad scene is Deb and Dee’s Wartburg Watch .com. In their attempt to save the institutional church, they have become a celebrity subculture that mediates between the hierarchy and Churchianity’s sheeple herd. They are also a model for most of the other discernment blogs.

Listen, when the focus of salvation is a system, people will cling to that system at all cost. It is NEVER the ideological foundations of the system; it is ALWAYS a few bad apples that are to blame. If you suggest that it is the system itself that is the problem, you better go to that conversation in full riot gear.

And yesterday was a good example. It’s an amazing scene. In the same way that celebrity pastors get a pass from their followers, Deb and Dee not only get a pass for their illogical ways and steroidal hypocrisy, but also, as I found out yesterday, a vibrant defense from their faithful followers. Dee, and probably Deb as well, stood by while I apparently got what was coming to me. And cursory observations of their comment streams reveal that they are selective in regard to who receives this verbal abuse.

There is no room here by any means to document the full brunt of their ideological disconnects and hypocrisy, but I will touch on the basics. Let me start with explaining their intolerance of me regardless of the following: the price I paid for asking New Calvinists too many questions rates near the top of the abuse scale, so why did Deb and Dee stand by while I received my verbal beating which included blatant false accusations and baseless name calling? Because like black conservatives who are not black because they are conservatives, I am not a fellow victim because I offer an articulation of the problem and a solution.

Besides the fact that Deb and Dee are not victims of the institutional church, an articulation of the abuse problem and a solution threatens their hobby; ie., gossip mongering. For years, they have held an endless recycling of trending drama in the institutional church with spotlighted victims coming and going. They have their own Top 40 hits of the trending victims that eventually drop down to number 200 or lower. The discussion held on their blog is the musical hit of the week until people get tired of it and wait at the doors of their Wartburg castle with bated breath for whatever is trending next.

But here is the bottom line: Karen Hinkley will not find justice any more than the missionary kids, and that’s NOT ok with me. Karen Hinkley is at the top of the chart right now, and the missionary kids are not even on the chart. Deb and Dee are comfortable with that because trending victims come and go feeding their hobby and celebrity status as hopeless gossip peddlers. Their gargantuan pooling of opinions has not solved anything and has actually enabled the institutional church to continue in tyranny and abuse. They are facilitators—not advocates. They only have talk and have no solutions. In other words, they offer no hope.

Let’s put feet on this a little more. Deb and Dee see no real power in the truth or a connection between ideology and behavior. The latter has been my primary problem with them for several months. In a venture to keep people connected with the institutional church in some way, shape, or form, they offer an e-church hosted by none other than Wade Burleson who is a consummate Neo-Calvinist.

Let that sink in a little. While supposedly taking up the cause of those abused by the New Calvinists, they endorse a New Calvinist, and make it a point to expose others to his teachings.

Really? Do I really have to expound on this further? Look, I could cite the lame excuse they present for doing this on their blog, but I can’t really muster up a mental incentive to do so. This comfort with metaphysical contradictions is post-modernesque in the extreme.

Now, regardless of the fact that I rarely, actually, VERY rarely visit other blogs, and the subsequent accusation by Dee’s minions yesterday that I am a “low grade troll,” I was beckoned to Wartburg yesterday in regard to a statement that she made which leads me to the next point. Since the obvious must be discussed in our day, it stands to reason that the obvious must also have need of being articulated. This speaks to the other problem I have with Wartburg: they do not see truth as efficacious to healing.

Let me be clear and make a statement that I fully intend to stand by: Deb and Dee believe a false gospel. How do I know this? Dee said so. The statement that was brought to my attention follows:

Remember, we are all positionally holy but we are all functional sinners.

This is clearly a false gospel that denies the new birth. In fact, it is a return to the same authentic Protestant gospel that New Calvinism is predicated on. Deb and Dee cannot help people victimized by New Calvinism because they are functioning New Calvinists and that’s exactly why they are hooked up with Wade Burleson which should be more than obvious, but anyway, it is what it is.

Sigh. Ok, let’s start with the fact that the biblical definition of a “sinner” is someone who is unregenerate. Really? Do I have to explain this? Do I have to point out that Dee called “believers” functioning unregenerates? Are evangelicals that far gone? This is the exact same gospel that John Piper et al hold to. He states it plainly all of the time: Christians still need ongoing salvation that can only be found in the institutional church. Furthermore, that also comes directly from Calvin and Luther both in no uncertain terms. Deb and Dee, as well as many of their minions, are well aware of this ministry’s numerous citations that establish this as fact, but…

…they simply don’t care about the truth nor do they see it as relevant, except for the fact that it threatens their hobby and celebrity status. Clearly, their problem with John Piper is primarily his tweets, not his gospel, and they have as much said so in the past. Why? Because they believe the same false gospel.

Christians, if they are really Christians, are not merely “positionally” righteous, they are in fact righteous beings because they have been literally born again of God. In the gospel according to Deb and Dee, there is no understanding of sin in regard to justification and sin under grace. UNDER LAW (the biblical definition of a lost person) and UNDER GRACE (the biblical definition of a saved person) are not separate—“Christians” remain under law and under grace is merely a covering supplied by a perpetual imputation of Christ’s righteousness. This is the New Calvinist false gospel that Deb and Dee buy into while claiming to be champions for those abused by the “Calvinistas.” It’s otherworldly ironic.

So in the final analysis, the Wartburg Watch offers no one hope—victims are only fodder for their hobby, regardless of their motives, and they offer no true good news, but rather replace the gospel with gossip.

paul

Why Home Fellowships Can Help Abused Women and the Institutional Church Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 31, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

In our vision for a return to the way Judeo-Christian assemblies were done for about the first 300 years, let’s look at why home fellowships can help abused women and the institutional church cannot.

I would like to use this article as a catalyst for argumentation. The article was posted (author is not clearly stated) by Anna Wood who co-authored a book with Jeff Crippen, a Reformed pastor. The book can be found here.

The post is titled, What domestic abuse victims need from the church. My contention is that abused women cannot get what they need from “the church” as demonstrated over and over and over again. In fact, clearly, as also demonstrated over and over and over again as well, the institutional church adds to the abuse and becomes a co-abuser.

Why is this? The article offers a perspective from which to answer. This issue also speaks to the differences between home fellowships and the institutional church, hereafter “the church.” In an institution, it is easy to sign on the dotted line, give at the office, and pretend. Pastors can bark from Calvin’s Geneva pulpit all they want to; all folks have to say is, “Hey, I am a member in good standing, and as often heard, humble and incompetent—it’s not my gift and I am not qualified.” Likewise, in said article, the author’s call to “get involved” is going nowhere in the church in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

To the contrary, home fellowships are comprised of people who are sick of playing church, are weary of being mere spectators, and are not looking to walk into an arena with hungry lions, but know it could lead to that. They are also confident in the Spirit-filled laity and recognize where 500 years of academic popeism has brought us. In addition, they have a literal view of reality versus the functional dualism that drives orthodoxy. What am I saying? I am saying that home fellowships have a radically different worldview than orthodoxy and this will lead to aggressive participation in all kinds of needs.

Let me further this point by using the article at hand:

Statistics say that one out of four women in the United States experience domestic abuse of some form in their lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic abuse. When those who have suffered are members of the Lord’s church, the faithful among them have an obligation to help them. And, if we know of someone in the community who is being abused, I also believe we have an obligation to help if we can. When, for whatever reason, we shy away from this obligation, either through ignorance or willful refusal to get involved, we lay waste to the Gospel we claim to believe. Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.

What abuse victims need from their fellow Christians is pretty simple and straightforward. We need you to be Jesus to us. Do what He would do, say what He would say, were He the One ministering to us. Isn’t that what we all need from each other, anyway? Christians are called to stand in the place of Christ here on the earth and be His representative and do the works He would do. To fail in this is to fail in serving Christ.

Whoa, what a minute here! This is entirely unrealistic because of the message constantly drilled into the heads of Protestants. We are “all just sinners saved by grace.” We are, according to one prominent evangelical, “enemies of God.” According to yet another, “we hate God.” On the one hand, it is constantly drilled into the heads of those in the church that “when you are dead, you can do nothing,” but on the other hand we really think that parishioners shouldn’t think twice about getting involved in a domestic abuse situation?

First of all, getting involved in domestic violence is not “pretty simple.” Actually, it can get you killed by someone who doesn’t much appreciate your intervention. Moreover, getting the facts and evaluating the situation biblically is far from simple. Now couple that with the constant total depravity of the saints mantra heard in the church and it is little wonder that few will get involved in domestic abuse needs. The completely upside down worldview of the church makes laity involvement in domestic abuse nothing more than a pipe dream.

And, “Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.” This complaint is not only a mere symptom, but is not even a symptom of the real problem. Congregants not only fail to defend the oppressed, they either turn a blind eye or defend the defender of the abusers—the church. Ever heard of SGM? Ever heard of ABWE? Ever heard of the SBC? In case you haven’t noticed, they are not only still in business, but business is booming! Why? Because regardless of what happens in the church, it is the only ticket to heaven. “What? so billions of people should go to hell because some bad things happen in the church that is made up of sinners? Well, get a grip—where there are people, there is sin!” That is in quotations because this is exactly what we hear in response to a “cry for justice.”

So far, if you are keeping notes, we have two reasons the church cannot help abused women: 1. The total depravity of the saints resulting in a few “experts” attempting to minister to a massive throng 2. Salvation is found in the institution, and therefore the institution will be defended at all cost. Better that a few suffer by themselves rather than all of humanity being sent to hell.

Before we move on to the next points, a little more clarification: why does the church defend abusers? It starts with its worldview. Without going into a lot of detail, we must first recognize that Calvin and Luther are the church’s heroes, and then recognize what their “theology of the cross” was all about. This is a philosophy that interprets all reality via the suffering of the cross. As Luther stated, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” Luther, as well as Calvin, split reality into two epistemologies: the cross story and the glory story. Only preordained leaders can lead the great unwashed masses in the cross story—only the preordained can save humanity from the story of man, or the glory story. As Al Mohler once said, “pastors are preordained to save God’s people from ignorance.”

fake-church-sign-first-baptistHowever, theologians of the cross and the spiritual peasantry have something in common: we are all just sinners saved by grace. So, everything going on in the material realm is fairly insignificant—it’s just the same old sin and dance anyway. But by the same token, theologians of the cross are preordained of God and invaluable. And besides, many are icons of the institution that keep the money rolling in. Sure, you can reject this theory and opt for another one, but in the process you will drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why ABWE defended and protected Donn Ketcham until the bitter end.

Need another example among myriads? What about Jack Hyles? The guy was a mafia don dressed in Bible verses and is still a spiritual hero among many Baptists. David Hyles, Jack’s son, was also a well-respected pastor in the church who had affairs with at least 19 women and is a suspect in an unsolved murder. Yet, to the best of my knowledge to date, David Hyles is still invited to speak at Baptist conferences/churches and receives robust ovations. Jack Hyles remained in the pulpit until his death in 2001 and was succeeded by his son in law Jack Schaap who is presently in prison for statutory rape. Jack Hyles is notorious for his quip, “If you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen” and is still revered among many Baptists as the best preacher since the apostle Paul.

The article continues with its list of things abuse victims need from “the church.” But the thesis of this article is that the church is not only unable to supply these things, but becomes a co-abuser. In contrast, the original Christian model for fellowship is well able to help and more likely to do just that.

First on the list is “The Pure Gospel.”

The church long ago got away from the pure gospel. We water it down, mix it up and serve it with a side of fun. No wonder it doesn’t save. It can’t save. It’s poison. We need preachers dedicated to the truth of God’s Word who are willing to stand up and preach that truth without changing it one iota. We need Christians who long after righteousness. When we have that–the pure Gospel preached and lived–we’ll see more Christians helping abuse victims and we’ll see less abusers masquerading as Christians.

Uh, ok, not sure how to add to this. It’s a stunning admission while calling on the same church to do something about the problem it has created. We don’t need “preachers” to do anything. Preachers have been preaching long and hard for thousands of years and the results are evident. We need God’s people to stand up and get back to the first works of home fellowship. The laity waiting on the experts is long traveled and worthless. More of what is beginning to happen needs to happen more and more. Ordinary Spirit-filled Christians are meeting together around the word and fellowship, and seeking God’s face in this whole matter about how church is traditionally practiced. And the fact that the church is grounded in a false gospel is something I addressed in another article posted today and Friday.

Without addressing every single point in the article other than those mentioned already, let me move on to this one:

Someone to care for their needs

Do you know what keeps a lot of abused women and children with their abusers? The lack of money to leave. If a woman is trying to get herself and her children to safety, don’t spend time telling her why she’s wrong, what you think about her decision or trying to talk her out of it. She knows what it’s like to live in abuse and you don’t. Even if she stays, chances are great that she and her children need something or maybe a lot of things. Financial abuse often accompanies other types of abuse. Instead of lecturing, get busy serving and help them.

According to the first-century model, a home fellowship network would be several small groups meeting in several homes in the same geographical area. And because of freedom from massive infrastructure cost and “tithing” versus New Testament giving based on NEED only funds and resources to help the abused would be ample. In fact, I could share an example from our very own home fellowship. We have a young lady living with us, and other people connected to our fellowship contribute financially to her needs. She is fully supported independently from anybody who might be a problem in her life. And when people live with you, trust me, you know the facts and you do a lot of listening. She will be completely self-reliant this month after living with us for about two years.

In regard to a different kind of abuse, a home fellowship network that I know of in Africa operates in the following way: the network assimilates street orphans from Nairobi into their fellowships. There is a leader from the network, equipped with the latest information about funds and availability that goes into Nairobi searching for orphans, and upon finding some, brings them back to the fellowship network where they will have a home, food, protection, and education. Let’s say that our home fellowships are connected with theirs; many of these children could be brought stateside and assimilated into fellowship here as well.

In addition to being freed from the bondage of infrastructure expense, the authority of the church’s clergy is suffocating. Clergy, more times than not, are control freaks obsessed with keeping the herd calm. They are spiritual cowboys constantly concerned with the herd being spooked. This speaks to the rest of the concerns in the post being considered here. More times than not, the laity are kept in the dark concerning the needs of those abused. There is a wall of confidentiality between the church’s “trained” counselors and the parishioners who fund the whole mess. When red flags are raised in regard to how certain situations are handled, we are told that “we should trust the elders who are closest to the situation and know all of the details.” This continually proves to be a recipe for disaster, and elders are granted NO such authority via the Scriptures.

Small groups in private homes offer intimate support and confidentiality from the other home fellowships. It is a perfect balance of intimate care and financial support if needed. All of the different gifts and experiences of Christ’s body are brought to bear on the situation.

Also, we must remember that the home fellowship movement is comprised of people from all walks of life: policemen, mental health professionals, etc., etc. These people or their areas of expertise are not separated from any situation by the professional clergy for inappropriate reasons.

paul

Victims and Discernment Bloggers: Let’s Ask the Right Questions

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 30, 2014

“So, they would say to the young ladies and boys who have been molested in the church, ‘So what?’ The same sin that indwells the pedophile is in the victim as well. Can we not survey the past and present abuse and see this worldview plainly?”       

Even though we hate to think commonsense is important in understanding spiritual issues, the fact remains that such is the case. We struggle with this because of our notion that material is evil and spiritual is good. This notion is deep-seated in the Western psyche. Consequently, we are often willing to throw math out the window for something spiritual. Also, the spiritual get out of commonsense free card comes in handy when we have invested too much of our own self-esteem in a bad idea. If we humble ourselves and admit we were wrong, our intellect labeled as “humbleness” (lest it have no credibility) seems to lose its credibility.

Frankly, I find admission of wrong freeing. Yes, it may make you feel stupid for a while, but the problem with being wrong is that you can’t get anything done with bad information, and not getting anything done leads to hopelessness. Ultimately, even if you are stupid, people will judge you by what you get done, and even if they don’t, God will. Christ is documented throughout the New Testament as being annoyed by verbal assent to righteousness rather than actual doing, and bad information does not lead to right doing. This would seem evident.

But what if you can’t really know anything? And what if you can’t really do anything good? What would the results of that be? Well, look at the blogosphere spiritual discernment and victim “healing” ministries. In full force since 2009, matters continue to get worse, not better, and to date, justice for the victims is found nowhere. Why? Why doesn’t discernment ministry work? In the analysis of Herman Cain’s acronym, W-A-R, discernment bloggers are not working on the right problem, asking the right questions, nor removing the necessary obstacles.

What is the right question? It follows: “Why doesn’t discernment ministry accomplish anything?” Need proof? Anybody remember the outrageous ABWE scandal? Thought so. A secular media producer just cancelled “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” because of the mere potential of a smidgen element of the ABWE scandal, yet, ABWE continues to thrive unabated. How can this be? is another right question.

No, that is THE right question. And what is the obvious answer? It follows: people keep supporting ABWE financially. In case it escapes anyone, ABWE cannot continue unless it receives money. That raises another question: “Why do people keep sending such an organization money despite their deplorable behavior?”

Um, I can only tell you why the people who keep sending ABWE money say they keep sending ABWE money. Would that suffice? The reasons follow:

  1. Because ABWE, and institutions like it are God’s anointed, preordained vessels to take the gospel to a dying world, they are the only ones qualified to do so. If ABWE fails, thousands and thousands of souls will go to hell for eternity. ABWE must survive.
  1. ABWE must operate with people, and where there are people, there is sin, this is unavoidable.
  1. ABWE should be forgiven as Christ forgave us.

These are the reasons that no justice can be found in the institutional church. These are the reasons that religious institutions continue to spiritually abuse unabated. That’s the problem that must be worked on. Those answers assume the following: spiritual hierarchy, moral equivalency, and individual value defined by contribution to the group; i.e., no justice for the individual is what’s best for the many.

Note: the institution in and of itself is not the problem, people in and of themselves within the institution are not the problem, and money in and of itself is not the problem: the logic is the problem. The threefold logic clearly gives license to the behavior. The threefold logic insists that nothing can be done, or that nothing should be done. In fact, the threefold logic insists that there really isn’t a problem to be worked on in the first place—this is clearly ascertained by the normative results of all of these scandals.

So, how do discernment blogs work on the problem? By exposing the problem, “properly” identifying the problem, and assuming that the institutions will respond and seek justice for the victims. How’s that working for us so far?

So let’s ask another right question: “Why isn’t that approach working?” One reason is the identification of a particular problem that discernment bloggers like to call “cognitive dissonance.” This is the study of how people believe contradictory propositions and their attempts to reconcile the contradictions. But this is where discernment bloggers totally miss it: spiritual hierarchy is more times than not predicated on the idea that the masses cannot properly interpret reality itself. How many times have we heard the following?

No matter what it looks like, you need to trust the leaders who have been working close to the situation and know all of the details.

Though we would not agree with a naked verbalization of the idea that only spiritual leaders can properly interpret reality, we by all means function that way. However, more and more in Reformed circles, this concept is being openly stated in the following way:

All of reality, or what is truly reality, is interpreted through redemption, and only the gifted are able to do so. Meanwhile, it is acceptable to obtain worldly knowledge, and some of it is good, but a good thing is not always the best thing.

Elder AuthorityTherefore, when it comes to spiritual matters, trust God’s anointed regardless of the obvious. In cognitive dissonance, the thing used in an attempt to reconcile two contradictions as much as possible is called the “buffer.” In this case, the buffer is the belief that spiritual leaders must be obeyed because they are the ones who can see reality and we can’t. Sure, we can understand worldly things that have no eternal value, but when it comes to eternal matters the leaders must be trusted at all cost. The right problem to address is the buffer, not the symptom of being comfortable with contradictions. Discernment bloggers wrongly identify the real problem and work on the wrong one. They fail completely on Cain’s “W.”

And by the way, if you want to read a sermon by a conservative evangelical that exemplifies this dualist approach to reality, you can read it here, and listen to it here.

In addition, this author can give firsthand evidence of this mentality via  correspondence from someone upset by what this ministry publishes.

Deep down you know that it is true.  Turning logic on its head, twisting words, pseudo-scholarship, and outright attacking people for things that both you and I know they do not believe does no one any good.

Another misunderstanding is that I somehow knew and stood behind any improper things you may have experienced at Clear Creek.

These statements were made in light of the fact that citations/quotations make-up approximately 30% of what our ministry writes, and improper things “you may have” experienced is set against a website that thoroughly documents what exactly happened. The individual wrote these statements in the face of undeniable documentation. How can he do that? Because only those with authority can properly interpret reality despite the evidence presented to the contrary. That’s why. The individual also accused our ministry of “pseudo-scholarship.” Why is it such according to him? Because it doesn’t have the authority of Reformed institutional scholarship—they are the ones who really know the truth. Discernment bloggers seem to miss the point that institutional tyrants do not interpret reality in the normative sense.

Another point missed by discernment bloggers is: tyrants who interpret reality differently will not always act out in the same way. However, if the same ideology does not produce shameful behavior, it will at least produce tolerance for it. And the right question here is, “why is this so?” Answer: moral equivalence. If everyone is Adolf Hitler at heart, who is anyone to judge anybody for anything? We are ALL just sinners saved by grace after all. “Justice,” you say? What justice? We ALL deserve hell! Again, this is also seen in the aforementioned correspondence:

I truly grieve for the things that you have shared have happened with your family, but all either of us can do from here is look to faithful God and away from the sin that is in our heart and other men who will always ultimately disappoint because none of us are sinless.

Notice that he grieves for the things “that you have shared happened with your family,” i.e., how I interpret their actions, not what they actually did. And notice that the sin these men may have committed against me is also in my heart as well. So, they would say to the young ladies and boys who have been molested in the church, “So what?” The same sin that indwells the pedophile is in the victim as well. Can we not survey the past and present abuse and see this worldview plainly?

So, if there is no moral unequivalence necessitating a need for justice, all that is left is unity and peace for the sake of unity and peace which can only be obtained by blindly following those preordained to lead the great unwashed masses. We must also understand that this logic gave rise to institutions in general and the institutional church in particular.

Let’s work on the right problem: the worldview of the institutional church. Let’s ask the right question: “What should we do about it?” And finally, let’s remove obstacles to what works.

The obstacle that needs to be removed is fellowship with the institutional church. Again, the institution in and of itself is not the problem, but its caste worldview is the problem. Christians en masse must stop giving their money to the institutional church and must warn all people that they involve themselves with the institutional church at their own risk. It looks something like this:

Mark, likewise, I don’t care to debate with you because we see reality differently. I interpret reality grammatically, and you interpret reality redemptively like the Neo-Platonist “Christians” that you follow. Even John Street has bought into this latter-day antinomian nonsense. All I want to hear is that you stay clear of my family, and let’s be clear, it is not a wish—it is a demand, and I will protect my family at all cost—be sure of it.

Keep your family away from the institutional church. What else needs to happen in order to demonstrate that its fundamental worldview is horribly distorted? Husbands need to step up and take over their responsibility before Christ to lead their own families spiritually. You need to join a fellowship and be encouraged by men of God who can think for themselves and fear the Holy Spirit more than puffed-up control freaks. If you cannot find such a fellowship, do so in your own home.

paul

Related articles:

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/01/22/calvinism-ufo-cults-and-the-vital-union/

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/10/29/love-your-local-institutional-church/

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