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Posts Tagged ‘dysfunctional churches’

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.

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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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It appears to me that Driscoll exhibits many of these manipulation and control characteristics in his words and behaviors (see list below). If this is, as CD Host claims in the comments under

14. Cult-Like Spiritual Abuse Issues & By Laws In a Nutshell

merely a reflection of  Driscoll’s Reformed Theology and that all my issues with Driscoll amount to my issues with Reformed Theology (didn’t know I had the latter), then one can expect to receive much, if not all, of the abuse described in this blog as well as in the following list of manipulative tactics from those who are reformed theologians, pastors, believers… That is not my opinion, that is reflecting CD Host’s opinion (so please respond to him on that, not me). Not only that, but everything in this blog as to what I consider the abusive nature of Driscoll’s words and behavior can be attributed to his reformed theology, and hence, according to CD Host, of reformed believers, pastors, churches. I can imagine that many of you would highly disagree with those conclusions… but then again, for those of you who have found yourself in a legalistic setting which happened to be a group of reformers, one might heartily agree with CD Host.

Regardless, you might want to take this list with you–and others provided in this blog regarding traits of abusive churches and pastors and symptoms of spiritual abuse– and compare these with what you see and hear as you read Driscoll’s books, read my posts, watch his podcasts, and listen to people who have fallen out of his good graces (that is, DISSENTERS who–gasp–dared to have their own opinions, dared to question him,–which is a sin according to MD– and dared to disagree on any of his Bible interpretations).

(And, by the way, I’d summarized this prior to my knowledge about Driscoll–so I was not writing this “to him” or even with him in mind. Rather, I was thinking of those who exploit, abuse, manipulate and control in general).

Tactics of Manipulation & Control

From  Simon’s Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

As Summarized by Freedom

Minimizing: Turning mountains into molehills (the character disordered and/or perpetrators do this; neurotics do the opposite). He trivializes the nature of his wrong doing. He tries to convince you that you would be wrong to conclude that his behavior is as wrong as he knows you suspect.

Lying: Omission, distortion. Your abuser/manipulator will stop at nothing to get what he wants; therefore, you can and should expect him to lie. They have refined lying to an art. He will withhold a significant amount of the truth from you, or distort essential elements of the truth, to keep you in the dark. He uses smooth, calculated omissions to deceive you.

Denial: “Who Me?” He poses as the humble servant. Your aggressor refuses to admit he’s done something harmful or hurtful when he clearly has. This “Who Me?” tactic invites the victim, you, to feel unjustified in confronting the aggressor about the inappropriateness of a behavior. It’s also a way for him to give himself permission to keep right on doing what he wants to do. He uses this maneuver to get you to back off, back down or maybe even feel guilty for insinuating he’s doing something wrong.

Selective Inattention: Refusal to pay attention to anything that might distract him from pursuing his agenda. He actively ignores your warnings, pleas or wishes and refuses to pay attention to everything or anything that might distract him from going after what he wants.

Rationalization: Excuses. Justifications. A rationalization is an excuse your aggressor/abuser makes for engaging in what he knows is an inappropriate or harmful behavior. This can be very effective, especially when he makes just enough sense that any reasonably conscientious person is likely to fall for it. If he can convince you he is justified in whatever he’s doing, then he is freer to pursue his goals without interference. He will often use shame and guilt to coerce you into buying his rationalizations / excuses / justifications.

Diversion: Distraction. Changing the subject. Dodging the issue. Throw you a curve ball. A moving target is hard to hit. When you try to pin your manipulator down or keep a discussion focused on a single issue or behavior you don’t like, he is expert at changing the subject, distracting, dodging and throwing curves. He utilizes this maneuver to keep the focus off his behavior, move you off track, keep you off balance and maintain his freedom to promote his self-serving hidden agenda. Confronting a manipulator is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

Evasion: Your manipulator uses vagueness to avoid being cornered on an issue by giving rambling, irrelevant responses to a direct question. He deliberately uses vagueness to confuse you, to make you think you have an answer when you don’t. When he is not responding directly to an issue, you can safely assume he is trying to give you the slip.

Covert Intimidation: This is your abuser’s use of veiled threats to keep you, his victim, anxious, apprehensive and one down. The abuser is adept at countering arguments with such passion and intensity that he effectively throws you on the defensive. A manipulator primarily intimidates you by making veiled threats. This way he can threaten you without appearing overtly hostile and aggressive.

Guilt Tripping: “How could you think that of me??!” “How could you doubt me?!” Your manipulator keeps you self-doubting, anxious and submissive. This is one of your aggressor’s two favorite weapons, the other is shaming. Aggressive personalities know that others have very different consciences than they have. They also know that the hallmark qualities of a sound conscience are the capacities for guilt and shame. Your manipulator is skilled at using what he knows to be a greater conscientiousness in you, his victim, as a means of keeping you in that anxious, submissive state where you doubt yourself and your perceptions. All your manipulator has to do is suggest to you that you don’t care or that you’re being selfish or cruel [in finally calling them on their abuse] and you immediately start to feel bad. Whereas you can try until you’re blue in the face to get your manipulator to feel remorse for his hurtful behavior, acknowledge responsibility and admit wrong doing, to absolutely no avail.

Shaming: Your abuser uses subtle sarcasm and put downs as a means of increasing fear and self-doubt in you. He shames you to make you feel inadequate and unworthy so you will defer to his dominant position.

Victim Stancing: He plays the victim role to gain sympathy, evoke compassion in order to get something from you. He also uses this to play a false one down position to you in order to disarm you. If your manipulator can convince you that he’s suffering, then you, being a caring, sensitive soul, will want to relieve his distress.

Vilifying the Victim: Your abuser makes it appear that he is merely responding to and defending himself against YOUR aggression, making you, the victim, feel like the villain while he masks his aggressive intent and behavior.

Servant Role: Your manipulator cloaks his self-serving agendas in the guise of service to a noble cause; he pretends to work nobly on your behalf while concealing his own desire for power and dominance. One hallmark of a covert aggressive personality is he will loudly profess his subservience while fighting for dominance.

Seduction: He charms, praises, flatters you and overtly supports you to get you to lower your defenses and surrender your trust and loyalty. Your manipulator is particularly aware that to the extent you are emotionally needy or dependent (that is, vulnerable, which everyone is to some extent), you will desire approval and reassurance and a sense of being valued and needed above anything. Appearing to be attentive to these needs can be his ticket to incredible power over you. He melts any resistance you might have to giving him your loyalty and confidence. He does this by giving you what he knows you need most. You don’t find out how important you really are to him until you turn out to be in his way.

Blame Shifting (Projecting the blame onto you): Your aggressor is always looking for ways to shift the blame for his abusive behavior away from himself. He is expert at finding scapegoats in subtle, hard to detect ways. His willingness to blame you for his abusive behavior is in itself an abusive act. At the very moment he is engaging in the use of this tactic or any other he is in the act of aggressing.

Feigning Innocence: He attempts to convince you that any harm he may have caused you was unintentional or that he really didn’t do what he’s being accused of. This makes you question your judgment and sanity and to doubt your right to call him on his abusive behavior. He adroitly uses the look of surprise or indignation, or the sudden gasp at being so accused.

Feigning Confusion: Your abuser acts like he doesn’t know what you’re talking about or is confused about the issue you’re bringing. Plays ‘dumb’ to get you to question your perceptions, sanity, etc…

Brandishing Anger: Calculated, deliberate display of anger he may or may not feel in order to intimidate, coerce and manipulate.

When somebody uses these tactics frequently, you not only know what kind of character you’re dealing with (covert aggressors, manipulators, abusers, Narcissists, Anti-Socials, Borderline Personalities, etc…) but precisely because the tactics are both tools of manipulation as well as manifestations of resistance to change, you also know that he will engage in his problematic behaviors again. You can give up your fantasy that in time he will change and things will be different. Nothing will change until he decides to stop fighting and start accepting. As long as he’s engaged in utilizing these tactics, it’s clear he doesn’t intend to change.

In Sheep’s Clothing, by George K. Simon, p. 96-112

Freedom’s NOTE: And of course, with an abuser, especially a “professional” abuser, it is never appropriate to hang around in the abusive relationship hoping he will change. The point in the paragraph above is that as long as he’s aggressing, he has no intent to change. Realizing this could prove helpful to us in letting go of more denial about the abusiveness in the relationship and any hope we may have of reconciling with the abuser and picking up where we left off: namely, being abused by him again but calling it ‘love.’

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Note: This is in response to “Fundy’s” comment under my ‘About’ page and to his two posts on his site, dated 4/20/09, and 7/17/09.

Will,

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your apology and new tone (I hope it sticks), and at the same time, I am curious about your motives… You had been exceptionally harsh, as you mention in the above, in your original post on your site:

“My Former Church Is A Cult” Blogging
http://www.reformedfundamentalist.com/blog/?p=224

And I am wondering what brought about the change of heart so to speak. Exposure? Embarrassment? Social pressure? Conviction? …just curious.

For me to engage in conversation with you, I need to firstly cover some ground regarding some of the things you had written in your two posts. Much of this will answer or respond to your comment here. And after reading the following, if you remain unsure as to my “gender equality” beliefs, you seem to have access to EC (Equality Central)

http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php

so I would invite you to further explore those conversations in that forum as well as to look up Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE)

http://www.cbeinternational.org/index.php

First, my response to some of the content in your blog post, dated 4/20/09:

“My Former Church Is A Cult” Blogging

http://www.reformedfundamentalist.com/blog/?p=224

You wrote about my site and others like it, “…However, these blogs that I’m talking about, see no good in their former church.”

I’ve stated several times throughout this blog that I have appreciated SOME of Driscoll’s messages when they are truly accurately from Scripture and when God’s heart is revealed therein. It is only recently when I’ve come to the conclusion that Driscoll is a “package deal,” meaning that since there is so much poison interspersed with his overall teaching and domineering, flip attitudes, I cannot embrace any of his teaching, and am now against “all things Driscoll and MH.” Currently, I think there is too high a price to pay in spiritual and psychological health in trying to glean any “good stuff” from MD. For me, to try to remain open to some of Driscoll’s teachings amounts to remaining open to any aberrant church’s or cult’s messenger’s, it is just too harmful overall.

And yes, you were extremely harsh in that first post, stunningly so. You stated that since I am in the mental health field I was “highly unethical” and open “for a lawsuit” based on the content of my blog in which I am pretty consistently stating, “It would appear, it seems to be” and inviting others to compare MD’s actual words and behaviors to various descriptions of dysfunction. Contrary to your assertions, I have not attempted to diagnose Driscoll. You also seemed to mock or dismiss the list of symptoms of church abuse posted in my ‘About’ page which is based on experts in the field as I compared these to MH and MD (comparing and considering possibilities does not a diagnosis make).

Additionally, you seem to have some reactivity toward a person (especially a woman?) who holds a Scriptural Egalitarian view… You named a woman who had been tormented by an abusive husband “incredibly selfish” for sharing her hurts and the terror of that situation and her way out. You came across as so heartless and closed minded, I had no desire to converse with you. So now, I would ask, what are your motives in communicating here? If it is truly to understand Egalitarianism, which you state that I nowhere define (see post #29, it is defined there), I welcome you. If you want to tell me how wrong I am and try to “reform” me, save your time and effort.

I used to be a Traditionalist (call it Complementarianism if you wish) and I’ve done my research. Having looked into some of the original Greek, I’ve come to understand that many of the interpretations of key, cherry picked verses about women being silent in the church and not teaching men were actually mistranslated and usually misinterpreted.

Here is some more information for you if you are truly wanting to understand my stance (and other egals’) on biblical gender equality:

Fleming’s “Familiar Leadership Heresies Uncovered”

http://www.amazon.com/Familiar-Leadership-Heresies-Uncovered-Fleming/dp/1597520381/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243731918&sr=8-1

and “Why Not Women?” by David Joel Hamilton.

I have also been told that a very good read on Biblical Equality would be:

“Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry”
Stanley J. Grenz

Another recommendation was:

“The best and most thorough teaching I have seen on this is Cheryl Schatz’ DVD Women in Ministry. You can watch some clips on

youtube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e9TL5TWdac

“Her blog is a big help, too. Here are some posts on 1 Corin 11

http://strivetoenter.com/wim/category/1-corinthians-11/
Cheryl covers everything from Genesis to the NT scriptures that the comps use to restrict women.”

On the scholarly breakdown of 1 Tim 2:12, I was directed here:

http://www.geocities.com/about_biblical_equality/1stTimothy212.htm

When you had stated you had not seen “sufficient reason to accuse Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll of being ‘spiritual abusers’,” this tells me you have not looked at the information presented throughout my blog, information which had largely been available in my former blog site– posts 1-16 were there, and I think these alone substantiated many of my claims.

You ended your original post (4/20/09) with:
“Much of this ‘My former church is a cult’ blogging is done by persons who fixate on a handful of issues that they believe their former church is wrong about teaching. Some of the people who do this have little to no understanding of the theological issues that they are handling, and attack the issues from their cultural point of view, rather than a Christian point of view. I’ll have to look in this particular blog more, and look into Mark Driscoll’s teachings as well, but so far, I haven’t seen sufficient reason with evidence to come to the conclusion that Mark Driscoll is a cult leader.”

I appreciate your stated willingness to look into this more. As to the first part of the above paragraph, if you had considered what the experts define as church abuse and if you had read more thoroughly the many accounts and specific quotes of Driscoll’s in my blog, then, by way of using your analytical skills you would have seen that A aligns with B in many ways. And, from an egalitarian standpoint I could say that you, a Traditionalist “have little to no understanding of the theological issues that they are handling, and attack the issues from their cultural point of view, rather than a Christian point of view,” your cultural view being patriarchy, male chauvinism, and misogyny.

YOUR RECENT POST ON YOUR SITE:

My Former Church Is A Cult Blogging Pt 2
http://www.reformedfundamentalist.com/blog/

Regarding me you stated very firmly in bold, “I would like for her to make a response, because I sincerely want to know what exactly her position on ‘gender equality’ is, because she never made it clear on her blog, only that she wanted gender equality.”

Again, please see my post:

29. Men, Women & Biblical Equality

which begins with:

“I am posting this to provide biblical reasoning as to why I believe Driscoll’s views, sermons and treatment of women are oppressive, anti-biblical, and appear to cross over into abuse as well. The following in its entirety is copied by permission from CBE (for more info go to bottom of page) and captures my understanding of Scripture regarding…”

Also, for other issues you touch on, please see:

My ‘Mars Hill’ page, asking readers to compare MH and MD to what the experts have written about church/spiritual abuse, please see ‘Misogyny’ sub page under ‘Mars Hill’ page to read MD’s quotes about women and try, if you are able, to tell me how any of these are at all Christ-like and truly Biblical (in the whole scope of the Bible).

I appreciate your efforts in your paragraph saying that physical abuse “may be cause for biblical divorce…” but then you go on to drastically minimize emotional abuse, saying it is a “fuzzy area” and “not clear.” Well, as a woman who has been severely psychologically, emotionally and verbally abused by a predator who never physically abused me, a trusted ‘professional’ no less, allow me to set you straight a bit: TO THE WOMAN BEING THUS ABUSED, THIS KIND OF ABUSE IS NOT FUZZY OR IN ANY WAY LESS REAL THAN PHYSICAL ABUSE. To the one being tormented by a controlling, manipulative and cruel abuser, such abuse is, well, abusive! In fact, when a woman suffers abuse wherein there is no black eye or bruises or cuts on her physical body, the world and the church brush it off as not really being abuse—see Danni Moss’s site on Domestic Violence in Christian homes and Sexual abuse by clergy.

http://dannimoss.wordpress.com/

Also, cult leaders and controlling pastors of aberrational churches often do not beat their parishioners (although several do and have). The scars on the spirit are probably even more damaging than the physical scars. Domestic Violence victims will tell you that the actual hitting is not where the deepest agony came from, but rather, it was the gradual soul murder, bondage and terror which they consider to have cause the most damage. The same holds true about a sexual predator in the helping professions (clergy, therapist), in that the final act of sexual assault, intercourse, isn’t usually what causes the greatest damage, but rather, the calculated grooming, the insidious descent down the slope of boundary violations where trust is betrayed and the soul is so deeply scarred. Again, I know this one by experience.

So, in re: to the woman I’d written about who was abused by her husband and left him, whom you referred to harshly and called her “incredibly selfish,” would you continue then to do the same if she had not been punched in the face by her husband but had instead been demeaned, manipulated, shamed, confused, controlled, made to think she’s the crazy one, enslaved, terrorized, intimidated, isolated from others, oppressed…?

In this second post you wrote regarding me, “I would like to say to this woman, whom I know only as “freedom4captives”, that I do apologize if my tone seemed overly harsh, or if I was incorrect in my account of things. I came to my conclusions about her blog at a time when she was evidently in the process of moving posts over to her new blog.”

Again, I do appreciate your apology, Will, and your new tone. I accept your apology.
Freedom

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