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Hi there folks,

Just a quick note to let you know I do actually read all the comments when they plop into my email. It just takes me quite awhile to come back and ‘visit’ this blog to approve and post the comments. Please be patient with me, and your comment will eventually be posted… that is, if you are behaving… even if you do make statements which reveal you have most likely not read much of this blog and are perhaps grabbing one or two Scriptures either out of context or exclusive to the whole of Scripture.

Due to time constraints and other priorities, I will not usually be responding, but I do hope and pray God will continue to use this blog to educate the uninformed and to bring… FREEDOM TO THE CAPTIVES! :)

Freedom!

[1/28/12  NOTE:  Since writing this post on Jan 20, I have received an email from NLM's President, Larry Sonnenburg. Please see this within the comments below.]

Well, it’s come to my attention that New Life Ministries, a ministry I’ve endorsed and still endorse, has, via their New Life Live radio program (NLL), aired a show on Jan 11, 2012 with… you guessed it, Mark Driscoll as Steven Arterburn’s guest! Steve had invited him to highlight Driscoll’s new book on marriage! I have not yet read the book, but my immediate response was a heart sick, “Oh no!” and then a very confused, “What the heck??!!”

I just listened to the 10 or so minutes Driscoll was on air. What he said sounded right-on, but from what I recall, he does that. He can sound really good about a lot of things, I guess even about marriage some times, or at least he did on Jan 11.

But there is simply too much I do not know at this point to make any kind of assumption. But here are some things I do know and some things I hope for.

Arterburn and NLL (New Life Live) have been notified regarding some of the concerns many of us on this blog share.

I hope NLL and Steven Arterburn will do some research regarding MH and Driscoll.

I know from decades of reading and exposure to NLL and the wonderful co-hosts on the program that they are not at all about what Driscoll and MH have appeared to me to be about as covered in this blog. That is so NOT New Life Ministries!

As I’ve stated throughout this blog, my take on MH and Driscoll is solely based on reports from survivors of MH, my brief experience of the church, reading Driscoll’s book, Vintage Church, research on MH, and listening to many of Driscoll’s sermons in the past.

What I don’t know is if Driscoll has had a heart-change over the past couple of years since I last looked into MH… and as stated I have not read his new book on marriage which NLL is apparently promoting.

But another thing I do know beyond any doubt is that everything I have ever heard come out of NLL, from Arterburn, Dr. Townsend, Dr. Cloud, Milan Yerkovich, Dr. Sherri Denim, Dr. Jill Hubbard, and Dr. Stoop, and from their books–over the 25 years I’ve been reading them–have all been life-giving, woman-honoring, and the most healthy, balanced view of psychologically and spiritually healthy and sane living that I have ever come across… and I read voraciously! And I generally make a conscious effort to not say words like “everything” “ever” “all” and “the most,” in other words, those always/never type words, but it’s true here, really! I still trust NLL very much. I think Arterburn’s invitation to Driscoll is more indicative of a lack of awareness of Driscoll’s and MH’s history than any corroboration with Driscoll’s and MH’s apparent abusive tendencies…

I hope and trust that if Driscoll’s recent book promotes those same harmful attitudes toward women and general controlling/abusive tactics that we’ve seen or heard about, and if the co-hosts read the book, that they will talk to Steve about this. They would in all likelihood be as appalled as we have been. I would also be surprised Steve would endorse Driscoll’s book if in it Driscoll was spouting what we have seen highlighted in this blog (unless he gave the book only a cursory and brief read), since Arterburn is the author of Every Man’s Battle (about porn addiction and how to break free), as well as a book on spiritual abuse (which I have not read).

I, personally, would also continue to trust NLL’s recommendations for therapists on their referral list. From what I understand they have a pretty thorough screening process… but of course this does not guarantee the particular skill-level of each therapist nor the fit for any particular person. What I suggest is if one is an MH victim/survivor, one could simply ask what the therapist thinks of MH and Driscoll before proceeding to set that first appointment. It’s unfathomable to me that a therapist who is immersed in Cloud/Townsend materials and Yerkovich’s HWL could ever embrace much of Driscoll’s (at least former, if not current) stance regarding sex, male-female relationships and authority/submission. In fact, Dr. Cloud has recently over the past couple of months on NLL adamantly renounced the kind of sick thinking insecure/controlling “Christian” men spout at their wives, “woman, you have to submit to me because I’m the man!” When/if I locate that exact broadcast date, I’ll post it here.

In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for all involved, and let’s continue to walk in…

Grace and Truth, and…

Freedom!

Hey there friendly– and not so friendly– readers and posters!

I am still around… still kicking… but I haven’t even looked at this blog for over a year! However, I do see the comments that come in via my email. I just posted many, many of these comments, positive and negative, some from many months ago, some from as recent as today (see pages: Misogyny?, Mars Hill, Discoveries; and posts: 15, 21, 33, 42, 44). If you were ranting and don’t see your comment, it’s probably because of just that: you were ranting without saying anything substantial. Some comments I did post were borderline… uh, not the personality disorder, but I posted them anyway. I’m hoping that those of you who understand cult like tendencies and unhealthy control within the church will respond to those who are less informed in such matters as I simply do not have the time.

And as to those of you who have shared heart wrenching stories of your experiences of church abuse, including at MH, my heart and prayers go out to you. If/when I can manage it, I will try to post in response to your stories. All I can say for now though is seek healing! Get counseling from a healthy, balanced biblically based counselor (not a Bible Thwacker, my phrase for Bible Thumper who thinks he/she is a counselor, but really only damages people further by throwing a Scripture on every problem the injured person presents). You might want to call New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE. They will direct you to a good Christian counselor in your area, one whom they have thoroughly screened.

Again, I really recommend doing an Amazon search for books on spiritual abuse, especially for those of you who are so closed-minded and want to put on a Polyanna mindset that as Christians we are called to always be accepting, validating and loving without ever calling anyone out for harmful, unbiblical behavior. I’ve written a post on this blog, using an author’s outline for his wonderful book about spiritual abuse, I think his last name is Martin, but it’s been so long, not sure. I’ll look it up and find it on here later, anyhow, he wisely differentiated between: gossip, slander and warning.

Gossip: telling the truth about someone else with dysfunctional, hurtful motives–oftentimes to trash the other and make oneself look better

Slander: telling a lie about someone else with the purpose of trashing them

Warning: telling the truth about someone else with the purpose of warning and protecting others from their damaging behavior

Even Paul the Apostle warned folks in his pastoral letters about “Alexander the metalworker” who “did [Paul] much harm.” He tells people to stay away from folks like him. But I suppose from some of the detractor’s comments here, Paul should have perhaps only focussed on and written about “Jesus’ love” rather than saying anything negative about Alexander, hence, allowing Alexander to spread his poison and to continue harming others… all in the name of “Christian Love.” (What if parents behaved this way in re to their children??!! Unfortunately, some do… it’s called negligence and abuse!)

In addition to Christian books about spiritual abuse (Johnson & VanVonderen’s, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church, is a classic!)  some of you might want to consider reading  Boundaries and Changes That Heal, by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. You might also look at Leslie Varnick’s The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. I’m recommending these books for both the wounded survivors out there and the Pharisees (who call me a Pharisee for warning others) and for the blind and devoted defenders of Driscoll’s. The latter probably won’t check into these wonderful resources though… too bad, so sad.

I’m slightly, only slightly, apologetic for my apparent attitude in that last bit… but I am tired… major surgery 2 months ago, and having recently found myself in the position of needing to leave a church I had begun to grow fond of, not because of spiritual abuse, but because of spiritual stupidity. People were encouraged over and over again to just “let go and let God,” to “leave it in the Lord’s hands,” to “Leave your past behind you, you’re a new creature…”  to “keep hoping, praying for that miracle” to “Let God break depression off of you” and to “Let God deliver you from addiction,” meanwhile, from what I could hear, these people were not being encouraged to be responsible and to take the steps toward their own healing process,  to work with God (“Work out your own salvation/sanctification/healing with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure…”). These people were not encouraged to seek counseling, and to join 12 step or Celebrate Recovery groups… After a time it was so clear to me that most of these people were not just getting “zapped” by God, despite “holding on to the promises,” but were remaining stuck in their woundedness and their sinful/dysfunctional patterns. I saw aspects of this bizarre behavior/belief system even from the beginning of my sojourn there, but it took awhile to see how pervasive this was and how entrenched that church culture is in “Bible Only” theology, Bible Only for everything.

I need to emphasize here that I love God’s Word, and I believe everything must submit to God’s word (including philosophies, ideologies, psychological theories, etc), nevertheless, Bible Only does not work for many things in life, including but not limited to:  brain surgery, fixing your leaky roof,  developing good nutrition and exercise plans,  healing from adultery, attaching well with our spouse and children,  healing from trauma, recovering from depression and/or anxiety disorders, etc… The Bible simply does not have everything we now know about physiology, stress, brain research and healthy psychology. The Bible does not even contain everything the apostles and disciples knew and experienced of Jesus (see gospel of John, last chapter).

Sigh… Ah well, I need to get going… see, this is why I stay away from this site, it’s time consuimg and then I get going on all this and the ideas flow as I type along.

Thanks for reading and posting. May Gal 5:1 be yours!!

“It was for FREEDOM that Christ set you FREE! Therefore stand fast! And do NOT be subject again to a yoke of bondage!!”

Freedom!! :)

Freedom 4 Captives is taking a new turn…

I’m in the middle of launching my own business, and so I do not have much time and energy for this. But more importantly, I feel that I’ve been obedient to the Lord in speaking out the truth about that which was presented to me regarding apparent church/spiritual abuse at Mars Hill, mostly at the hands of the lead pastor, Mark Driscoll. I was responsible for the information given to me. I have made that known to you here on this blog. For me to go further would entail my policing Driscoll–which I’m really not interested in doing.

Driscoll will continue to be Driscoll, meaning, he will continue to be the Driscoll who–until I am informed otherwise–appears to be abusing God’s flock and setting up a system over which he can rule as supreme. That is my take. Based on my perceptions of Driscoll’s behaviors, his words and apparent attitudes toward women and people in general, until Driscoll falls on his knees, weeping and repenting before the throne of grace, and until he allows  (the biblical) Jesus, our only true healer of our broken hearts, to reach down and do a deep healing within him, he will continue to act out of his own pain, his own suppressed and repressed traumas. I pray for that day! I pray for Mark.

Dan. 12:10 reads, “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”

When we are ruling over a church in the spirit of those false shepherds whom God condemned in Ez 34, we are not pleasing God, we are not evidencing Christ nor His Spirit in our lives, we are not leading as Jesus leads and instructs us to lead, but rather we have become like the gentiles, lording it over one another, seating ourselves in “Moses’ seat.” This kind of dictatorship, similar to that which I perceive in Driscoll and in Mars Hill, is flat out condemned by God in Scripture over and over again! My point is that there are many Driscolls in the world as well as many of those who are on the polar opposite of Driscoll’s legalism, preaching liberal heresies– and all of these will continue doing what they’re doing… but those who submit to the Lord and to His Word, living by His Spirit, must continue doing so, following and obeying the Lord in true holiness despite what others are choosing to do.

2 Tim 3:13-14 “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of…”

I invite any of you who happen upon or who have been tracking this site to please keep me informed if you know of any new important issues or spiritual/church abuse or false teaching at Mars Hill. Make a comment here or anywhere else in this blog, and please cite the source of your information. I’d like to keep this blog up to date so people can be informed, but I no longer feel the call nor the need for me personally to keep track on Mark. This blog, as it stands, is enough I would hope for the wise and wary to do their own research and think twice about committing themselves to what looks to be a very controlling and cult-like church system led by what seems to be a spiritually immature despot (compare Driscoll to 1 Tim 3, and, well, to Jesus!).

Rev 22:11-12 “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

In Christ and in His Glorious Truth and Love!

FREEDOM!!!

45. Mind Control

Steve Martin has written a fascinating book, The Heresy of Mind Control, for those in the helping fields and for all of us who have been or are being traumatized and enslaved by an abusive person (pastor, therapist, priest, husband, boyfriend, doctor, lawyer, employer, etc…) or an abusive system/group (totalitarian government, terrorists, church, employment…). Eventually I will post on this when I have my notes completed. For now though, here is Steve’s outline he sent me. You may purchase his book at his website: www.recognizeheresy.com

Freedom

PS. There seems to be a problem with the formatting from the document Steve sent me to transferring it into this post. Please understand Steve had logical formatting and will tend to this little quirk when he has time. In the meantime, the info is there and one can learn more about his book by going to his site and better yet, by ordering it…

………………..

THE  HERESY

of

MIND  CONTROL

Recognizing Con Artists, Tyrants, and Spiritual Abusers

in Leadership

by

Stephen Martin

________________________________________________________________________
Introduction

Just Suppose

Taken in Unawares

What is a Cult?

Terrorist Groups, Cults, and Abusive Relationships

In Unexpected Places

The Meeting Ground of Psychology, Sociology, and Theology

The Focus of this book: characteristics, not certain groups

Format: summary and paraphrase of criteria, various examples, Scripture passages that address and oppose these cultic practices.

Chapter 1

Thinking Inside the Box

(Milieu Control)

The Need for Outside Input – Overcoming Hindrances

Cunning Disregard

Have Nothing to Do With Them

“Don’t Listen”

Overcome Closed-Mindedness

 

 

Chapter 2

Illusion to Disillusion
(Mystical Manipulation)

Visions and Revelations

Stories

Euphoria-inducing Techniques

Power and the sense of Higher Purpose

Misguided Devotion

Submitting to Abuse

Submitting to Exploitation

Chapter 3

Getting Nowhere Fast

(The Demand for Purity)

Amount of Work and Commitment

Amount of your Ability – Works vs. Grace

Attributing Sin

“Reach Maturity Now”

Man-Made Rules for Escaping Impurity

Chapter 4

Vocal Self-Degradation

(The Cult of Confession)

A Misused Bible Verse

“Everyone Else is Doing It”

No-win Situations

No  Privacy

No Restoration

No Encouragement

Demon Labels

Misplaced  Accountability

Restoring Self-Esteem

Chapter 5

Thou Shalt Not Question
(The “Sacred Science”)

The Fear to Disagree and to Criticize

The Power of Charisma

Freedom to Doubt

Consequences of Differing

Fear to Speak Out

The Slant on Slander

Dealing with the Wrongs of Leaders

What about Obedience and Respect?

Why Question and Doubt?

Chapter 6

The Language of Nonthought

(Loading the Language)

Shut out the Truth & Alienate from Outsiders

Create Guilt to Suppress Thought

Create Guilt to produce Dependence

Emphasize Agreement & Unity more than Truth

Control of Behavior

To Label, Hurt, Judge and Condemn

Manipulating the Bible

The Remaining Wounds from Loaded Language

Chapter 7

Fitting the Rigid Mold

(Doctrine Over Person)

Freedom to Be Ourselves

The Remolding Process

Your Feelings

Your History

Your Health

Your Experiences and Circumstances

Predictions that Fail

Denial and Suppression

Narrowing the Playing Field

Different Needs, Different Treatments

Leading by Gentleness

The Priority of Human Well-Being

Chapter 8

The Elitists

(The Dispensing of Existence)

What About Christianity Itself?

We vs. They

Is Salvation Found in a Group?

The Same Claims of the “Only Ones”

Epilogue

From Control to Freedom

 

 

APPENDIX 1

Comments on Visions

 

 

Appendix 2

Therapeutic Confessions

 

Appendix 3

Pros and Cons of an Accountability Partner

Pros

Cons

Other comments:

Appendix 4

What Is Faith?

 

 

Appendix 5

How will God deal with those who have never heard about Jesus?

I received the following comment under #43. My response became quite involved so I wanted to create a new post covering some of “Mr Nater’s” challenges and opinions. His comment is in italics. My response follows.

A lot of beef seems to be over Marks complimentarianism and your (apparent) egalitarianism…

Isn’t there room for humility over such a difficult issue? Do we really need to fight dirty over the complimentarian vs. egalitarian debate?…Reality is that each side is deeply emotionally intrenched on the issue. And so are you.

I say this because this article is very much antithesis. You do a thoughogh job at Marks statements but you do not substantiate your own perspective. Your perspective is only painfully obvious to people to those who already believe what you do. In this case you are not changing anyones mind, you are just flaming the fires of hate between disciples of Jesus .

Sure i understand criticism is ok, but when it is everything then its slavery. Why don’t you build a case for egalitarianism. Why not treat the discussion fairly and intelligently. Why don’t you build a case for your view instead of polarizing, bullying and fear mongering… ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being right?

Sure you can get a lot of web traffic by tearing down a popular church… but its no better than those awful youtube conspiracy video’s.

God has used both egalitarian and complimentarian churches to advance his kingdom. By all means we have a right to this important internal debate. But if it consumes us, and consumes this website, what do you have? Disciples fighting disciples.

Mr. Nater,

If I understand you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that I, and others like me, need to have “Humility over a difficult issue.” By “humility,” in this context, I am wondering if you might mean something like being quiet and gentle, non-assertive, non-challenging, non-confronting…This, along with other things you have written, informs me that you are perhaps a bit confused as to the “issue” here. We are talking about what looks like very serious abuse at Mars Hill Church, abuse of God’s people (see Post #14 Cult-Like Spiritual Abuse Issues & By Laws In a Nutshell, and #30 Driscoll’s Questionable Words & Behaviors, and #34 Is Mark Driscoll Verbally and Emotionally Abusive?)

…and abuse of God’s precious daughters especially… Have you not read, Mr. Nater, the crude, derogatory and disdainful things Driscoll has said about women which I’ve posted here on this blog? See post #8 Christian Taliban & Christian Women Donning Berkas: Spiritual Warfare Series, wherein Driscoll states that “women are the weaker vessel” and are therefore “the more easily deceived” that women are “busybodies and gossipers,” that ministry goal-oriented women are “manipulators” “controlling” and “drama queens” and that they are influenced by Satan if they want to marry a pastor and that women’s ministries are “cesspools” of gossip. Also, see Post #37 Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified to Lead? Wherein he is quoted, “Most people thought [Mary, mother of Jesus] concocted the crazy story [of her pregnancy] to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car at the prom,” and “…a naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead,” and Driscoll described a young man in his church as “a chronic masturbator, a porn addict, banging weak-willed girls like a screen door in a stiff breeze.”

Am I to have “humility” about this while thousands of young twenties are being deceived, demeaned, and held in bondage? Driscoll does not keep his apparent abuse directed at the women in his congregation only, he lashes out at the men “under his care” as well (see # 33. Driscoll Rants at Abusers… Abusively?) In my opinion Driscoll is behaving like an immature dictator. The more I learn of what he is up to, the more disgusted I become. There is no other word for it. Disgusted. Well, and deeply grieved. Driscoll has taken on a role never assigned to anyone in the New Testament, and he is abusing God’s children in that man-made role.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:25-28). Even Paul said he only wanted Christ’s disciples to follow him AS he followed and modeled Christ. Where Christian leaders fail to model Christ, we are under absolutely no obligation to follow their lead.

But it appears to me that Driscoll on the other hand, and contrary to this passage, has become a ruler of his own little kingdom, a despot with dangerous levels of power… and no one in a power position is confronting him on his abuse… go figure. They’re in those same high-powered man-designed, pride-catering positions themselves. If they rock Mark’s world, they have to rock their own little worlds. It’s the good ol’ boys club on a grand scale, and pathetically, supposedly in the Christian world.

This blog is not about gender per se, but about spiritual/church abuse. It might be helpful for you to read testimonies of those who allege abuse by Driscoll through his teaching and by his MH system. See posts #17, #20, #24, #25. Read Molly Warthen’s New York Times article, posted here in #21. To the extent that Driscoll’s prescribed treatment and beliefs about women are abusive and within the context of his being their “spiritual authority,” that too comprises spiritual/church abuse. Since there is so much of what appears to be abuse of women at MH as seen in their oppressing, demeaning, domineering over, and placing legalistic constraints upon women, gender inequality will continue to be a major issue I have with MH and will continue to be a major aspect of that system’s abusive tendencies and/or characteristics.

You write that I have not substantiated my opinions in post #43. You might want to look at #42 and other posts for the vast amount of substantiation I have provided. Based on Scriptural qualifications (1 Tim 3, Tit 1, see #42 Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?) Driscoll does NOT qualify to be a pastor nor even any kind of church leader when one carefully weighs his character, his actions, and his words. Also see #15 The Characteristics of a Controlling Personality—in my opinion heaps more of these descriptors fit Driscoll than the character qualities of a leader listed in Scripture! It appears, Mr. Nater, that you have misunderstood “the issue” on freedom4captives to be solely about Driscoll’s oppression of women. This is a weighty and grave part of the issue, but not all of it. Apparently you have missed much of what has been written here. I repeat, this is about spiritual abuse. This is about church abuse. This is about gross power abuse in the role of “Elder” in Scripture (which we now call pastor). Driscoll has apparently repeatedly lied to his congregation, he robs them of the freedom Christ died to give them, and he seeks to rule over them autocratically. See #13 Shocking Sections of MHC By-Laws, with Neilson’s Notes and #41 Should A Pastor Rule Over You?

Matt 23 comes to mind:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2″The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. …they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them…8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ [my Great One, Teacher] for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to…16″Woe to you, blind guides! … 23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness… 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel… 29″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … 33″You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

As to the effects my blog might have on others, I  do not think that you, Mr. Nater, are in a position to read every reader’s mind and to prognosticate what conclusions they will or will not come to having read parts of this blog.

If any “fires of hate” are being flamed about on this end, it is the fire of hate we as Christians are called to: namely, we are called to hate oppression and injustice, to hate hypocrisy, to hate false authority and those who in the name of God seek to “lord it over” GOD’s flock… We are told to “HATE evil, love good” (Amos 5:15) and to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,” (Ro 12:9) and that “To fear the LORD is to hate evil,” (Pr 8:13)… Also, See #9. Christians Criticizing Christians Can It Be Biblical?

By stating facts and quoting Driscoll and comparing that to Scripture, how is this “polarizing, bullying and fear mongering” on my part? This seems to me that you have resorted to a pseudo polite form of name calling, rather than dealing with the issues at hand. You are not dealing with any of the issues I call Driscoll on in post #42 or #43, or anywhere else in this blog actually. You are participating in the logical fallacy ad hominem (“argument against the person”– an argument which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of a person advocating the premise.” Wikepedia.).

You charge me with “ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being.” I find this rather amusing (and disturbing at the same time) in that I am not in a position of abusing thousands of people by laying down legalistic rules and “laws” which Scripture never even commands–in fact, laying down “laws” which Scripture commands against. I am not blaspheming my Lord by inferring that I love him but not in a way that I would want to perform oral sex on him when I get to heaven! Yes! Driscoll said this, see # 35 Driscoll: “Your husbands appreciate oral sex…So serve them well…” I am not claiming the first seat for myself as the Pharisees loved to do, etc.

If you think “web traffic” is what I’m after, you have 1) not read much of anything in this blog, and 2) know nothing of what it means to be abused by those in power, especially those claiming “God’s authority” as their right to having power over you. These types of abusers are usually men, and they are those who have not the heart of God and therefore abuse any authority he may have given. I think it comes down to your throwing accusations without anything to substantiate them.

The primary issue here is not gender equality, however I freely admit that gender equality has become a passion of mine, more so now than ever since running into Driscoll’s cult-like system (yes, in my opinion cult-LIKE). Gal 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Certain men–who seem to me to be quite insecure in themselves–are the only people so desperately concerned with coercing women to “obey” the few Scriptures which seem to imply total subjection to husbands (which contradicts 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5:21) and seem to imply women can never teach men or speak in church (which contradicts the Holy Spirit’s giving all gifts to all people, male and female, in the body of Christ, such as speaking words of knowledge and wisdom, speaking in tongues, and prophesying IN CHURCH among men! There are also the gifts of preaching and teaching, given by the Holy Spirit, to all who call on the name of the Lord, male or female, it does not matter to God… Acts 2, 1 Cor 12; 1 Cor 14).

I was reading several of the articles on cultwatch.com , such as, Church Authoritarianism; Church Leadership; and How Do Cults Work. This material contained some very helpful analysis of the original Greek word meanings and usage in the NT. Of interest is that the Greek words used for “submission” between husbands and wives and between elders and Christians are words indicating the choice of the one who might do the submitting. It is never about the other forcing the one into submission and condemning her to hell if she does not submit. This would be tantamount to women making a big hoopla about men not obeying a certain aspect of Scripture.

When Peter became overly concerned with John’s walk with Jesus and whether or not he would remain alive until the Lord’s return, Jesus told Peter to never mind about John, “you follow me.” Why is it that certain anxious men must so vehemently demand that women submit to them? Why don’t they leave that “command,” if it is such, up to the women to fulfill or not, just as we are all called to choose whether or not to obey the Lord on many various issues. This is harmful enough when male laity behave in such a manner, but it is exceptionally abusive when men use their church positions (and usually false authority) to coerce women into obedience to their desire to rule and reign (all in the guise of obeying Scripture, of course).

I find it awfully suspicious that some “Christian” men are so extremely invested in ensuring that women “obey” a few cherry picked Scriptures! This is very cult like. This is what cults do. That is why MH’s stance on women and the testimonies of those harmed by this caught my attention, along with other aspects which match up with VanVonderen’s and Dr. Enroths descriptions of church abuse. Cults use various Scriptures out of context also in order to control the cult members. Driscoll, and others like him, use Scripture passages which are difficult to translate, to understand and to apply correctly partly due to one glaring reason: they seem to contradict the gender equality Jesus teaches, Paul teaches and Gen 1-3 teaches and which many other Bible passages exemplify. Conversely, you do not find women in an uproar about husbands not loving their wives properly and not giving their lives up for them, now do you? You don’t find women teaching on this and making bogus principals out of this (like the men’s “headship principle” and “prophet, priest & king of the home principle”) and hounding the men with this every chance they get, now do you?

If you would like or need more scholarly information about Christian Biblical Equality see my posts #29 and #28 and/or go directly to Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) at  http://www.cbeinternational.org/  .

As much of  a passion as gender equality in the Body of Christ has now become to me, still that is not primarily what this site is about, although at times it will take the pre-eminence because of the spiritually violent aspects of Driscoll’s false theology and spiritual abuse which violates women.

Freedom4Captives is about analyzing and highlighting what appears to be CHURCH ABUSE at Mars Hill. The more I read of mind control, aberrational “Christian” churches and of cults, the more I see similarities in Driscoll’s style of “leadership” (control) and the Mars Hill system. I urge you, Mr. Nater, to go do some research on the issues at hand, to spend some time studying what Driscoll is actually preaching, writing and how he is behaving, and then feel free to come back and address the complexity of the issues here if you’d like.

To get the full scope of this post, please read or peruse Post #42  Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor? wherein I compare Driscoll’s words and apparent characteristics to Pastor/Elder qualifications in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

Now, let’s look at some things MD has recently said… I found this at kateschosen:

http://kateschosen.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/what-do-you-think-about-mark-driscolls-preaching-on-the-eternal-subordination-of-jesus-the-son-to-the-father/

Kateschosen wrote that she found the following from a link to a conference that Mark Driscoll spoke at recently (June 2009). She said the speakers were John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, and Ed Stetzer, and that the audio link of Mark Driscoll’s teaching was “ provided by Desiring God Ministries (Piper’s ministry) is here. ”

The following is quoted directly from Driscoll with my comments in [brackets ] :

“Qualified leadership: All right … There are leaders here even in the early chapters of Acts. The Apostles and who stands up? Peter. And why? Because he’s first among equals. His name is always listed first in the list of Apostles.

[But MD and others like him forget that in the case of Priscilla & Aquilla, Priscilla the wife of Aquilla is always mentioned FIRST and they are saluted for the work they are doing and the church in THEIR house. Is she then the FIRST AMONG EQUALS in that partnership, since her name is always mentioned first in the pair, first among equals as MD says males are?]

MD goes into detail about his theory that since Jesus, God the Son, submitted to God, the Father, there’s “equality and there’s functional subordination.”

[He uses this idea to further his favorite theme, SUBMISSION TO ONE’S LEADERS, MEANING HIM if one attends MH. He states this, while having first thrown the doggy bone to we little people, that we are, after all, equals, there are just those other “equals” who are in authority over the rest. Now I know the Bible teaches on submitting to authority, but not in what I perceive as this skewed way in which MD teaches on it.]

“… There are those who have greater responsibility for the oversight. 1 Peter 5 says, “of the flock, the shepherding of God’s people”. Our “day” hates that. “We’re all the same”, well in one sense, because of God’s grace, we are all equally saved. But in another sense, dad’s need to take responsibility

[What about mom's responsibility?]

“for their families and pastors have to take responsibility for their flocks and leaders have to give an account for those who are in their oversight. That’s what the Bible says.

[Mhm. Yes. MD and others like him, will “give an account,” all pastors, good and bad, obedient to and in love with Jesus, and those who are disobedient to and not really in love with Jesus]

“Some of you, particularly those of you who are young, either because of worldliness from the culture, or cowardice, will not want to be in authority.

[So now it’s “cowardly” to "not want to be in authority"? Perhaps. It really depends upon what kind of authority we're talking about: true, God given authority (where others recognize the qualities of Christ in the person and also that God has placed upon her or him HIS own authority) versus that which is grasped for by human beings, wherein the person becomes a little despot over his/her own little human-made kingdom... It can also be an act of great courage to withstand false "authority" which is oppressive and selfish.]

“ Or you’ll want to diminish and not USE your authority.

[Oh yes, MD encourages “his men” to USE their authority, because that’s what the Christian life is all about, right? …exercising your authority over others and getting others to submit to you. Yeah, that’s what Jesus taught… I don’t think so. Quite the opposite.]

“Some of you will wrongly use your authority; you’ll become dictatorial and you’ll become autocratic. 1st Peter 5 says to use your authority but not lording it over people; not being harsh, mean-spirited and a dictator. And so qualified leadership is ultimately humble leadership.

[I can hardly believe these words are coming out of Driscoll’s mouth. But I’ve seen it too many times to be completely shocked. Those who are abusive, those who are controllers, those who manipulate, those who have Narcissist tendencies (and I’m not saying MD is or has all of these… but he might), ubiquitously uphold the opposite of what they are doing, they claim to have ethics while they are violating them, they claim to qualify as biblical leaders while their own words condemn them as absolutely UN qualified, and they teach on that which they disobey… God have mercy!

[The examples provided in this blog-- these alone reveal that MD “wrongly uses his authority” in “dictatorial and autocratic” fashion, and that he “lords it over people,” much of the time. We have seen in his sermons and in his written words characteristics which appear to align with a “harsh and mean spirited… dictator.” And as to humility… Oh my! He has even admitted, in a proud way, that he is not humble… but then unlike a truly repentant humble person, he turns it around as an opportunity for launching into his church for not being humble! “Humble leadership--” I don’t think MD knows what that means; he certainly seems largely to be incapable of living it. I wouldn’t normally be this sharp, I mean, how many of us can claim humility, right? But as a leader, and one who is teaching on this as if he qualifies, one who has made false public confessions of his lack of humility, he is under greater scrutiny and stricter judgment. Plus, it’s a bit much to stomach his words here. I am really, really getting sick of BS from those in power, especially those proclaiming themselves to be Christians.]

“Qualified leadership is male elders: 1 Timothy, Titus 1, as well as deacons.

[This whole “male” only leadership is based on mistranslating the original Greek texts, misinterpreting and misapplying Scripture. It is predicated on the refusal of taking ALL of Scripture into consideration as well as millennia of male dominance and abuse of women. See CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality http://www.cbeinternational.org/ ]

“Some of you will have woman deacons; some of you will have men and women deacons. We have men and women deacons; some of you will fight on that point. Qualified leadership 1 timothy, titus 1 — meeting certain criteria of character and competency and courage and Christlikeness.

[This really makes me wonder if Driscoll is incapable of self-reflection and applying Scripture to himself and his own life. Does he ever ask himself, “Do I meet some, most or all, or any of this criteria? Am I living as an example of good character? Do I manifest Christ-likeness (as in the fruit of the Spirit for example): Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control”]

“Let me say this: the big problems that you’re having in your church probably start with the fact that you may not have qualified leadership and regenerated members. If the people don’t know Jesus and the leaders are not qualified, you have to start there. You have to evangelize your people and get rid of those leaders who are not qualified. Not qualified.

[Wow. Again, I want to laugh at the absurdity but it’s so sad. First of all, is there anyone in power who would a) discern that Driscoll does not measure up to most of the biblical criteria for pastor, and b) confront him with the truth? And then secondly, if confronted, even by a powerful mega church pastor or famous “theologian” (I don’t know to whom else Driscoll would give audience) would Driscoll even be willing to be “got rid of” for his failure to measure up to 1 Tim 3 and Tit 1? I rather doubt it. In fact, when he has been questioned by his “equal fellow elders” to whom he was supposedly “accountable,” he fired their butts, according to the testimony of many who were in the know and personally acquainted with the unfortunate Petry and Meyer. See the By-Laws here in #13 post and Nielson’s notes regarding them.]

“…Unified by the Spirit … this means that we agree to disagree agreeably.

[I’m sorry, but this is a joke… Again, how can he say this?! MD notoriously allows for no dissent, and that has been repeatedly testified to by those who’ve had the “pleasure” of serving under MD’s rule and reign, and by those who DARED to question him, of whom MD said, “their hearts are not right. It’s the sin of questioning.” Hahahaha. This would really be funny if it wasn’t so tragic because of the enormous impact he has on thousands of lives, and young lives at that. Lord have mercy!]

“cause your unity is around the person of Jesus and the proclamation of the gospel.”

[The Jesus of Scripture is very different from the Jesus MD seems to have created: a macho, tough, un-sissified, jock Jesus. I would not and could not fellowship with MD around HIS Jesus, and a Jesus who would purportedly encourage the permanent subjugation of the female gender, because THAT Jesus would be contradicting Gen 1-3 and the rest of the Bible taken as a whole. Jesus warned there would be many “false Christs” and “false teachers.” If we as Christians do not utilize critical thinking skills and if we are not serious students of God’s Word, we are doomed to follow the voices of misguided oppressors or worse, “hirelings” who care not for the sheep but only care for their own agenda and profit, rather than heeding the voice of the one True Shepherd (John 10).]

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