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Archive for August, 2009

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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I’ve been wanting to post on this for quite some time… I can no longer put it off.

Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?

In order to ascertain the answer to this question, I encourage you to read some of the posts on this blog, read the testimonies of the many who have been seriously wounded, and I would say spiritually and psychologically abused, in his church (Mars Hill, Seattle) and by Driscoll, do your own research, listen to Driscoll’s sermons, read some of his books… After you have done that, read the following Scriptures and check off the characteristics that do NOT fit Driscoll… let’s see how many biblically mandated qualifications remain and whether or not Driscoll truly qualifies, biblically, to be a pastor… And then, for what may feel like torture (as it was to me), read some quotes from his recent teaching (June ’09) about the necessity of having qualified leaders who are humble and do not lord it over the flock… The irony… That will be in the next post.

1 Tim 3:1-10

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, [pastor][a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be:

–above reproach, [MD has said many things which have caused legitimate reproach from other believers, and from the world alike]

–the husband of but one wife, [here’s one that appears to apply]

–temperate (pleasant, mild, moderate), [I don’t think this fits Driscoll either, based on my research and how he carries himself and communicates; he seems to be rather extreme, not moderate, I mean, biblically moderate, not liberally “moderate”]

–self-controlled, [Driscoll has lost control of his anger on many occasion, and he seems to have very little control over his tongue once he gets going—the somewhat amusing thing here is that MH has recently changed the way and the timing in which they broadcast and post his sermons: they are now postponing MD’s sermon broadcasts and posts ONE WEEK LATER after they select which service to use and after it’s been EDITED. This is true even of what the other MH church campuses have access to and watch on their mammoth video screens for their Sunday morning services—they see Driscoll preaching what he had preached in Ballard the week prior. So if you really want the scoop on EVERYTHING MD said, you’d have to go live, to Ballard… Of course when MD announced this at a church service a few months ago, every reason but the obvious was stated. The obvious being the embarrassing habit of MD spouting off something that truly comes from his heart (“Out of the heart the mouth speaks”), but which does not reflect well on him and MH. Now MD and MH can “FIX” that. More on “self-control:” MD has also described himself HITTING a congregant and/or counselee, a male who was really ticking MD off. Driscoll said he lost it so badly he couldn’t even remember the scene very well! Nice! The reference is somewhere in this blog—I’ll dig it up. He really said that!]

–respectable, [Is Driscoll respectable in the way he speaks about women? NO (just see my post #8 Christian Taliban…Spiritual Warfare Series). In the way he talks about men who are not –blue collar over-sexed, macho must drive a big truck to compensate– men? NO. Is he respectable when he tells his female congregants to give blow jobs to their husbands as a way of “serving them well”? Hell no! Is he respectable in his subjugation of women? NO. Is he respectable in his language? No. Is he respectable in his obsession with sex and crass way of “teaching” about it from the pulpit? Hell no! Is he respectable when he talks about the mother of Jesus being found pregnant outside of marriage and that the villagers probably thought she was [loosely paraphrased but close] ‘banging boots in the back of a car on prom night?’ Not even remotely!! Is he respectable when he infers that if Song of Solomon is allegorical about the Body of Christ as the Bride of Christ, and that –rough paraphrase—if tasting of ‘his fruit’ is going down when I get there, it’s like, I don’t think so. MD said, “I love you, Lord, but not in THAT way.” No! May it never be that this is considered respectable!]

–hospitable, [I don’t know regarding his home, but at his church, he doesn’t seem to be from his pulpit]

–able to teach, [There has been much discussion about the carelessness with which Driscoll plays at “exegesis.” I read one, whom I think is a theologian, state that Driscoll massacred Song of Solomon. Many very knowledgeable, biblical Christians are scratching their heads at Piper’s and Mohler’s support of such a one as MD].

3–not given to drunkenness, [MD frequently extols his “freedom” to drink his beers… Personally, I am not opposed to a Christian having a glass of wine or a beer, or Cosmo, we are simply told in Scripture to “be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” MD, however, makes a frequent and inflated issue about his freedom to drink, just as he does from the pulpit about his freedom to have sex and “lots of it” within marriage… one wonders what is behind such an emphasis and focus…]

–not violent but gentle, [Well, just watch some of his video clips… just listen to his voice when he lashes out at his congregation… violent, not gentle]

–not quarrelsome, [he argues from the pulpit with those who do not have a similar platform from which to defend their point. He’s been called the “bully from the pulpit,” and I think there is ample evidence of the truth in that.]

–not a lover of money. [I wonder what he earns?]

4–He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) [I can imagine he does this with an iron fist]

6–He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. [I believe this is part of the crux of the matter: MD was a relatively new Christian when he became a pastor at age 25. That’s awfully young developmentally, AND he apparently was not mentored, he wasn’t under the leadership of an older, wiser man or woman of God. MD, per his own admission, was never even a parishioner. He never had to submit to any leadership. In my opinion, he still doens’t. He was top dog from the beginning and so he apparently remains, unhindered, unchecked, unaccountable (carefully read the 2007 By-Laws, they too are included in this blog). And yet despite all this MD sure hammers home teachings on congregant and female submission. Submission in general, and I would say by way of inference submission to HIM as male leader/authority/pastor/elder, is one of his pet doctrines… it keeps others under his “biblical” control.]

7–He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. [MD has been incredibly and needlessly offensive, and no, not merely about preaching the truth of Jesus and the gospel, but offensive in his mannerisms and extreme, non-biblical views and the way he bandies these about. He seems to have a very BAD reputation with many in the non-believing community in Seattle, among the “outsiders,” as well as with many across the nation and even in other nations, based on discussions across the internet. There are many very biblical Christians who just cannot believe MD seems to be such a “darling” parts of the Christian community! I am one of them. The Bible says we are to season our communication with salt, to give grace to the hearers. We are not to become obnoxious to others for obnoxiousness’ sake, nor are we to use any kind of authority over anyone, Christian or not, as a means of beating them down into subservience and compliance to our wishes and our way of seeing things. Did Jesus ever do this? He did not blast people to obey Him. The only ones we see him blasting were the false teachers, the legalists, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Those who dared to misrepresent his character—these he blasted. Follow the example of Acts and what and how Paul and Peter preached… they were firm about the need to repent and believe on Jesus. They called sin, sin. But they were not obnoxious. And yes, for the gospel, offense was given, but it wasn’t Paul’s or Peter’s offensiveness, it was the “offense of the cross.” The Bible says that, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” and we are to “Speak the truth in love…”]

8–Deacons, likewise…10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. [From what I can tell, MD was never really tested, and no one seems to be testing him now, not according to these Scriptural criteria, except perhaps bloggers… If anything he is “tested” by his effectiveness in holding an audience’s attention, entertaining them, preaching the Gospel, and by the numbers of people coming into his church. None of these are the criteria we are given in Scripture by which to measure a pastor’s qualifications, no, not even his success. These are humankind’s methods of measuring “success,” (other than preaching the Gospel) but not God’s. “My ways are not your ways…”]

And finally, another Scripture (which I will not be breaking down to analyze MD in comparison; this Scripture just reinforces the prior one).

Titus 1:7-9 7Since an overseer[b] is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Please see: 43. Driscoll Teaches on Qualified Leadership (Did I Hear Laughter?)

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I’ve been busy with some other projects, but continue to think about what is going on with Driscoll and MH… I have folders of “stuff” I want to post here to perhaps shed some light on what I consider to be a big oppressive mess over there.

The other day I came across a site that I found very interesting. It is: http://www.truthguard.com . I have only read some of Howey’s posts, but the ones I have seen, I like.  The following is one of his article/posts which I just could not pass up and wanted to post it sooner than later. There are many churches, megas usually, that fit the description below, as well as fit chapter 34 of Ezekiel (portions of which I printed below Howey’s article). But right now, I am focusing on how this might fit MH and MD.

Should a Pastor Rule Over You?

Authoritarianism in the church is one of the most serious problems that Christian churches face today. Authoritarian regimes and political machines within Christian churches are not only totally unbiblical, but they empower men to take a church anywhere they wish, bypassing the normal checks and balances found in the Bible. A church that has given control to a single man (often called a Senior Pastor) or to a small group of men (often called a board of elders) is helplessly tossed about in very dangerous waves.

Suddenly churches are turned on a dime according to the whims and agendas of men. If a dictatorial pastor wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and decides to take the whole church off a cliff doctrinally, most congregations just blindly follow, thinking they are helpless to do anything about it, if they even notice or care at all. Christians have been bombarded with the lie that certain men are appointed by God to rule and reign over His people. No, the Bible forbids such things and gives us the solution.

The popular yet monumental misunderstanding of authority in the church is probably the biggest problem driving the false church system. The main problem is with the people that the Bible calls “Nicolaitans”, those who Christians allow to conquer and suppress them. (From the Greek, the word “nico” means “suppression or conquering of” and “laos” is where we get the word laity which means people). In Revelation 2:6 and 2:15, Jesus said that He hates the practices and teachings of the Nicolaitans.

Not surprisingly, most Nicolaitans refuse to acknowledge and admit that they are Nicolaitans. They make the false claim that no one can really know what a Nicolaitan is or is not. Most just quote a popular fairytale that the word means a follower of the mythical heretic Niclaus. Not so. The truth is we know quite clearly exactly what the word means and exactly who these people are. Plus, it doesn’t make any sense that Jesus would mention something that He hates and then never let us know what exactly that He was talking about.

Today there is no shortage of those who want a counterfeit Saul to be king over them and there is no shortage of Nicolaitans who want to be that king in the place of Christ. (By the way, the definition of antichrist is one who opposes Christ and/or stands in His place). At least God told Samuel to appoint Saul as king. Even though God was displeased with the fact that Israel wanted a man as king instead of Him, he still authorized Saul’s appointment. Today’s multitude of counterfeit “Sauls” have no such authorization from God. They are self-appointed and people powered. Here’s why we know that they are counterfeit leaders (they may be real Christians but they are false pastors):

  • All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18).
  • Jesus alone is the Head of the church (John 5:26-27, Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18).
  • God does not permit Christians to have controlling authority over other Christians in the church (see Matt 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, 1Pet 5:3, Matt 23:8-12, etc.).
  • We do not have multiple special high priests over us. There is only One High Priest, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 3:1, 4:14).
  • We have One Master Christ and we are all brothers (see Matt 23: 8-12).
  • You cannot obey two masters; you will love the one and hate the other (Matt 6:24, Luke 6:13). You simply cannot obey Jesus as master and a pastor as master at the same time.

There is a big difference between genuine behind-the-scenes loving elders who stand firmly for sound doctrine and admonish the Body of Christ to obey the Bible compared to a Nicolaitan one-man show who teaches his own agenda and draws men away to himself through manmade teachings and traditions. While the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to submit to governmental authorities such as to the police and obey the laws of our land (pay taxes, obey traffic laws, live peacealby, etc.), we are also commanded to not set up authoritarian systems or regimes within Christian churches.

For there to be any hope for any church to navigate through the ever worsening apostasy that is upon us, now more than ever, Jesus alone must be recognized as the One solely in charge and His Word the Bible must reign supreme. That is how it was always supposed to be, at all points in church history, but that is not how it has been, and that is certainly not how it is today.

More on this subject can be found in the Articles section.

This article was also recently titled “The Authoritarian Disaster”. A portion of this article is an updated excerpt of my article “When A Church Becomes A Business”.

By Paul Howey

http://www.truthguard.com/should-a-pastor-rule-over-you-a5.html

pulled 8/10/09

Ez 34

1Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,

2“Son of man, prophesy against the (A)shepherds of Israel Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been (B)feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds (C)feed the flock?

3“You (D)eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you (E)slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.

4“Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, (F)the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you (G)sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

… 7Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

8“As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a (M)prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;

9therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

10‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am (N)against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them (O)cease from feeding sheep So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will (P)deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”‘”

… 15“I will (Y)feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD.

16“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the (Z)fat and the strong I will destroy I will (AA)feed them with judgment.

17“As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will (AB)judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats.

18‘Is it too (AC)slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?

19‘As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!'”

20Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.

21“Because you push with side and with shoulder, and (AD)thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad,

22therefore, I will (AE)deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

27… Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have (AQ)broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

28…they will (AR)live securely, and no one will make them afraid.

… 31“As for you, My (AW)sheep, the (AX)sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord GOD.

Cross references:

  1. Ezekiel 34:2 : Jer 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10
  2. Ezekiel 34:2 : Jer 23:1; Ezek 22:25; 34:8-10; Mic 3:1-3, 11
  3. Ezekiel 34:2 : Ps 78:71, 72; Is 40:11; Ezek 34:14, 15; John 10:11; 21:15-17
  4. Ezekiel 34:3 : Zech 11:16
  5. Ezekiel 34:3 : Ezek 22:25, 27
  6. Ezekiel 34:4 : Zech 11:16
  7. Ezekiel 34:4 : Matt 9:36; 10:6; 18:12, 13; Luke 15:4
  8. Ezekiel 34:5 : Num 27:17; 2 Chr 18:16; Jer 10:21; 23:2; 50:6, 7; Matt 9:36; Mark 6:34
  9. Ezekiel 34:5 : Ezek 34:8, 28
  10. Ezekiel 34:6 : Jer 40:11, 12; Ezek 7:16; 1 Pet 2:25
  11. Ezekiel 34:6 : John 10:16
  12. Ezekiel 34:6 : Ps 142:4
  13. Ezekiel 34:8 : Acts 20:29
  14. Ezekiel 34:10 : Jer 21:13; Ezek 5:8; 13:8; 34:2; Zech 10:3
  15. Ezekiel 34:10 : 1 Sam 2:29, 30; Jer 52:24-27
  16. Ezekiel 34:10 : Ps 72:12-14; Ezek 13:23
  17. Ezekiel 34:11 : Ezek 11:17; 20:41
  18. Ezekiel 34:12 : Jer 31:10
  19. Ezekiel 34:12 : Is 40:11; 56:8; Jer 23:3; 31:8; Luke 19:10; John 10:16
  20. Ezekiel 34:12 : Jer 13:16; Ezek 30:3; Joel 2:2
  21. Ezekiel 34:13 : Ezek 34:23; 36:29, 30; Mic 7:14
  22. Ezekiel 34:13 : Is 30:25
  23. Ezekiel 34:14 : Ps 23:2; Jer 31:12-14, 25; John 10:9
  24. Ezekiel 34:14 : Ezek 28:25, 26; 36:29, 30
  25. Ezekiel 34:15 : Ps 23:1, 2; Ezek 34:23
  26. Ezekiel 34:16 : Is 10:16
  27. Ezekiel 34:16 : Is 49:26
  28. Ezekiel 34:17 : Ezek 20:38; 34:20-22; Mal 4:1; Matt 25:32
  29. Ezekiel 34:18 : Num 16:9, 13; 2 Sam 7:19; Is 7:13
  30. Ezekiel 34:21 : Deut 33:17; Dan 8:4; Luke 13:14-16
  31. Ezekiel 34:22 : Ps 72:12-14; Jer 23:3; Ezek 34:10
  32. Ezekiel 34:23 : Rev 7:17
  33. Ezekiel 34:23 : Is 40:11; John 10:11
  34. Ezekiel 34:23 : Jer 30:9; Ezek 37:24
  35. Ezekiel 34:24 : Is 55:3; Jer 30:9; Ezek 37:24, 25; Hos 3:5
  36. Ezekiel 34:25 : Ezek 16:60; 20:37; 37:26
  37. Ezekiel 34:25 : Job 5:22, 23; Is 11:6-9
  38. Ezekiel 34:25 : Jer 33:16; Ezek 28:26; 34:27, 28
  39. Ezekiel 34:26 : Gen 12:2; Ezek 34:14
  40. Ezekiel 34:26 : Deut 11:13-15; 28:12
  41. Ezekiel 34:26 : Lev 25:21; Is 44:3
  42. Ezekiel 34:27 : Ezek 38:8, 11
  43. Ezekiel 34:27 : Lev 26:13; Is 52:2, 3; Jer 30:8
  44. Ezekiel 34:28 : Jer 30:10; Ezek 39:26
  45. Ezekiel 34:29 : Is 4:2; 60:21; 61:3
  46. Ezekiel 34:29 : Ezek 34:26, 27; 36:29
  47. Ezekiel 34:29 : Ezek 36:6, 15
  48. Ezekiel 34:30 : Ps 46:7, 11; Ezek 14:11; 36:28
  49. Ezekiel 34:31 : Ps 78:52; 80:1; Ezek 36:38
  50. Ezekiel 34:31 : Ps 100:3; Jer 23:1

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I receive John Eldredge’s daily devotional electronically each morning from www. ransomedheart.com . Since freedom4captives tends to be a heavy due to the subject matter and because what I read this morning seemed to apply to the overall message here, I wanted to share some encouragement…

Those who want to be in a true love relationship with Jesus, and to pass this on to others, fight along side Christ against legalism and oppression because love can only be expressed in freedom. It is the Holy Spirit who fills us with “love, joy, peace…” and “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” Any system that feels oppressive, that kills the human spirit, any system devoid of freedom, is one where the Spirit of the Lord is not present… at least not in His fullness. Without freedom, we quench His Spirit. Without freedom, we cannot choose to love. But this does not mean we live in license to sin…

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me… if you do not love me, you will not obey me.” Obedience to Jesus and His Word comes from a heart of love, not the heavy handed control of any religious system or church leader—not from mandated giving of your time and money, not from a list of do’s and don’t’s, not from signing membership contracts, not from having every aspect of your life scrutinized and controlled, not from being yelled at from the pulpit nor being watched through one’s “community group,” not from any external control… but rather obedience to Jesus and His Word comes from His work within you and the resultant heart of love overflowing from and to Him. “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

One cannot legislate love, therefore one cannot legislate obedience. If legalism had worked, Jesus would not have come down so hard on the Pharisees. They had pride, control, oppression, legalism, and hard-heartedness nailed down like no one else… and Jesus blasted them consistently…

Counting on Our Vanity and Blindness
08/01/2009


The core of Satan’s plan for each of us is not found in tempting us with obvious sins like shoplifting or illicit sex. These things he uses more as maintenance strategies. His grand tactic in separating us from our heart is to sneak in as the Storyteller through our fears and the wounds we have received from life’s Arrows. He weaves a story that becomes our particular “Message of the Arrows.” Counting on our vanity and blindness, he seduces us to try to control life by living in the smaller stories we all construct to one degree or another. He accuses God to us and us to God. He accuses us through the words of parents and friends and God himself. He calls good evil and evil good and always helps us question whether God has anything good in mind in his plans for us. He steals our innocence as children and replaces it with a blind naïveté or cynicism as adults.

At the same time Satan is at work reinterpreting our own individual stories in order to make God our enemy, he is also at work dismantling the Sacred Romance—the Larger Story God is telling—so that there is nothing visible to take our breath away. He replaces the love affair with a religious system of dos and don’ts that parches our hearts and replaces our worship and communion services with entertainment. Our experience of life deteriorates from the passion of a grand love affair, in the midst of a life-and-death battle, to an endless series of chores and errands, a busyness that separates us from God, each other, and even from our own thirstiness.

Part of Satan’s grand strategy of separating us from our heart, once Jesus has drawn us to an awareness of being his sons and daughters through believing faith, is to convince us that our heart’s desires are at core illegitimate.

c. John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance , 107–9


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