Reap What You Sow

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

Hosea 8:7

English Standard Version

"God's Face"

“God’s Face”

“The white race, our culture, our values, our religion, our homelands are under constant attack from anti-whites and people like you keep ignoring the obvious truth. Die-versity simply means less white people, the word racist is only used to punish and silence whites. White genocide is real.”

“The more diverse we get, the less free we are. I believe in the separation of race, let each race police itself and we won’t have to put up with the “race card”. The white race is always the one getting the blame. I want to live in a world where you don’t have to lock your car and house. Where you can walk through the city at night and your children can play at the park without worrying about getting mugged or raped. The more diverse we get, the less likely that world will ever happen. Values are nice, but they don’t share our values. They live in mansions and rule the country but, it is not getting any better. They want a certain lifestyle that no amount of money will cure. I am not a racist, I am just calling it like it is.”

These quotes came from the Facebook page of a prominent Christian actor. I am withholding their name because I do not feel called by God to reveal it, but I do feel called to write about these comments which are neither edifying nor glorifying of the Kingdom. When I see things like this written by brothers and sisters on Christian forums or fan pages I am left wondering why the administrators do not take them down? After all, one does not need to have a degree in theology to know that these antics are not of God, and one also does not need to be an expert on the Old and New Testament to know that we Christians are in no way, shape, or form supposed to condone or promote such worldly philosophies because they are diametrically opposed to those of the Kingdom.

Yet, they persist with seeming impunity which leads me to wonder if they are indeed being condoned or promoted? What stands out to me is the fact that this actor and their admins opted to leave these comments up as opposed to taking them down. Now, for better or for worse I am somewhat of a public figure in that I am teaching the Word of God here on a blog to brothers and sisters who are seeking whatever it is God has here for them find. That also means that, for better or for worse, I need to execute a decent example of living out the Word as opposed to just espousing it. After all I have readers who are not yet brothers and sisters, but are seeking in order to find whether or not the God of the Galilean is indeed good per Psalm 34:8 (ESV) which reads -

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

If I engage in worldly practices such as condoning unrighteous and demonic commentary then I have basically given the whole lot a stone for bread. The first will think it is okay to say or believe such things while the second will leave because they have found my writings to be erroneous and sinful which would be exactly true. These comments indicate that the commentators are in error and in bondage to demonic philosophies that are wholly incompatible with the Kingdom of God.

None of what was said on this actor’s website is glorifying to God. Every single bit of it comes solely from The Enemy. Now, said actor might argue that they are respecting their fans’ rights to free speech as they identify with one of the two popular flavors of the civil version of our religion. In the human world they would be absolutely correct since that is the law of the land. However, as Christians we are called to obey a higher law, and thus when reading statements such as this I have to ask myself, “Does this reflect the culture and practices of the Kingdom of God? Will these posts become a means of encouragement or a stumbling block to other brothers and sisters in the faith? Am I promoting messages of the Kingdom by enabling the publication of these statements or promoting messages of The Establishment? Am I setting a good example as a Christian?”

The answer to all of the above would be ‘no’. After all, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) that a Christian must -

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

Enabling the spread of demonic fear and hyperbole about ethnic cleansing in a first world country does not count as such. It allows The Enemy to work in the minds and hearts of less discerning men and women in both secular and religious society to either cast aspersions on the character of God, or seduce His children into thinking these foreign qualities are somehow ‘pleasing’ and ‘good’. As I have said before we are in an at-all-cost war with this entity. We cannot afford to cede any ground to him, consciously or unconsciously, because they cost of unrighteousness and sin is far higher than that of following God.

Therefore, when you see posts or comments such as this call them out. Do not come into agreement with their heresy and do it with mercy, forgiveness, and grace. If necessary do not support the organization or individual in question who has enabled these kinds of posts, and if you do pull out e-mail or write a post explaining that you are unwilling to fellow with them because they are unwilling to take a stand against amoral conduct on their respective pages or forum boards. If they continue to be stiff-necked then shake the dust from your feet.

We serve God not The Enemy.

– RJK

800: That Man Has a Hoo-Hoo Dilly, and the Lady Has a Cha-Cha

“Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

New International Version

(Note: As of October 12, 2104 certain lesson series on Barefoot Christian Faith will use a specific numerical code. 200-400 concerns prophecy and spiritual warfare, 500-600 is reserved for controversial issues within Christendom, and 800 focuses solely on human sexuality.)

adam-and-eve-no-clothes“This could really be abusive to expose a child that early to such sexually explicit (for that age range) material – especially a boy.”

“You have destroyed my daughter’s innocence!”

“How would YOU feel if I told YOUR child that garbage?”

The listed quotes were taken from the comment boards on websites I have been frequenting in order to do research for a project I am working on. Specifically, a series discussing human sexuality from a Christian perspective. If you have been paying attention to our ever-present pop and church culture you might have noticed that we Christians are woefully inequipped when it comes to teaching others how to properly steward their sexuality in a world chock-full of immorality. Either we err on the side of fear-mongering piggybacked on the virtues of abstinence (more about that in a minute), or we err on the side of total misinformation under the assumption that if children know absolutely nothing about their sex organs they won’t do anything with them.

In the meantime in states where abstinence-only is the sole form of sexual education the teen pregnancy rates are through the roof.

I realize that some of you might assume that my next statement is going to be some sort of fist-pump for comprehensive sexual education, and you would be…wrong. Just like its abstinence-only counterpart comprehensive sex-ed has drawbacks of its own, and in the meantime our children are fornicating right along with the adults who have their own host of issues. Homosexuality, abortion, masturbation, adultery, pornography, incest, and the like are just some of the issues where the church has scored a bad track record. We Christians have a long history of mishandling human sexuality and my latest foray into the Christian blog-o-sphere has confirmed that we still are. The quotes I listed were from Christian websites and the cause of the hub-hub?

Essays advocating for the practice of teaching young children the proper names of their genitals instead of using cutesy nicknames.

Apparently telling your child they have a penis instead of a hoo-hoo dilly is a form of psychological abuse that will scar said child for life by exposing them to “vulgar” language and “sexually explicit” imagery. If you can tell by the tone of my writing I disagree with these assertions since every single time a child uses the bathroom they are already seeing their genitals and if it is attached to their body they have the right to know the proper name of said appendage.

Penis is no more a dirty word than vagina, vulva, nipple, breast, anus, buttocks, scrotum, testicles, glans, or clitoris.

If you are still reading at this point take a deep breath. You will be fine.

I actually understand your discomfort with these terms because I used to have them until I spent almost ten years (2004-2011) as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist. I too was raised with the belief that such terms were somehow inappropriate when describing those aspects of human anatomy, and I am here to tell you that those beliefs are patently false. My mother – like many Christian parents – was afraid of the wrongheaded teachings of the world about human sexuality. Although she was a lapsed Catholic she was concerned about the social and moral ramifications of my having premarital sex as either an adolescent or adult.

She had your fears through and through.

Unfortunately, the means she went about addressing them actually created a whole host of problems that I understand intimately as someone who was on the receiving end of them. In all fairness my mother did not start out this way. The woman was a proponent of sex-positive parenting before it was cool. If you are wondering what that is (or think it is something else entirely) it is what we are discussing here today which is giving our children the proper names of their reproductive organs and teaching them their function and purpose. This includes providing information that will – hopefully – lead them to the proper stewardship of their sexuality.

However, as I drew closer to puberty her fears and insecurities – which were exacerbated by the 90s exposes on underage sex – eventually took control. The result was a five-year nightmare filled with misinformation geared towards keeping me ‘modest’ and ‘chaste’. I would like to argue that my experience was an isolated case, but after two years of reviewing both religious and secular sex education the opposite is true. There are a lot of kids out there having their heads filled full of nonsense by both factions due to the insecurities and fears of their elders who themselves are operating on faulty premises about human sexuality.

This is what happens when we let The Enemy teach us about our sexuality instead of God.

Nowhere in the Bible is it advocated for us to keep our children ignorant as an attempt to keep them ‘pure’ from the corruption of the world. In fact we are told the exact opposite. We are also told in the opening scripture that if we lay a good foundation of wisdom and knowledge for a child to build upon they will not detract from it in their later years when those preconceptions are challenged. In the two years I have been researching sex-ed curriculum(s) I have found that the offerings from both secular and religious society have a lot of good information for youth to draw from.

Seriously.

In all of my studies I have seen a lot of positive data for Christian youth regarding human sexuality from both camps. Unfortunately, most parents don’t take the time to separate out the wheat from the chaff which is why I am writing a series that will be a much-needed bridge between abstinence-only and comprehensive sex-ed. In a later series of posts I will discuss their respective pros and cons. Today, we are going to focus on the basics which is that children are entitled to know the proper names and corresponding functions of their genitalia through age-appropriate information. Just like you tell a child that their ear is for hearing the same is true for their penises and vulvas which – for the young child – are for going potty.

It is only in the latter years that children will begin displaying  a readiness that goes beyond the basics, and in that time there is opportunity to lay groundwork for proper stewardship of their sexuality. Yet, if that groundwork includes messages that are incomplete or messages of fear and shame then it is akin to building a house on a foundation of sand. Withholding information in an effort to avoid ‘corruption’ or ‘preserve innocence’ does neither since we are simply operating out of the wrongheaded teachings regarding children and sexuality.

The first reality that we adults need to face is that children are also sexual beings who are capable – as they develop – of feeling the same emotions and sensations as adults. The second reality we need to face is that children – like adults – are made in the image of God and nowhere does God say that the body is shameful. In fact He called it good after creating Adam and Eve who were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25, ESV). Unfortunately, that damnable Curse befell all of humanity post-Garden, and one of the many consequences was shame upon the human body and the view that human sexuality is inherently amoral.

Wrong.

In the Bible we are told by God that not only does He believe the body is good since He created it, He also gives us a short list of the sexual behaviors that are forbidden in His Kingdom:

  • Adultery – Sex with another partner outside of marriage
  • Bestiality – Sex with animals
  • Fornication – Sex with multiple partners in multiple relationships (promiscuity) outside of marriage
  • Homosexuality – Sex between partners of the same gender
  • Incest – Sex between siblings or sex between children and parents
  • Molestation – Sex with any individual under the established Age of Consent (in the United States this is 18)
  • Occult Sex – Sex performed as part of a ritual geared towards the worship of a pagan deity or the invocation of occult forces
  • Pedophilia – Sexual attraction to young children; becomes molestation when acted upon
  • Prostitution – Sex in exchange for money/paying money in exchange for sexual favors
    • Pornography – This is a form of prostitution since porn actors and actresses are paid to perform sexual acts on film or in photographs, and in exchange people pay to witness these acts
  • Rape – Sex without consent

Nowhere on that list is the naming of body parts listed and nowhere in scripture does it claim that telling your children said information is going to corrupt them in the ways of the world. However, we have been led to believe the exact opposite because we have been operating out of fear instead of the common sense wisdom promoted by our faith. As Yoda observed in Star Wars -

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

This quote sums up a number of scriptures from the Bible that specifically apply to the psychology of this situation. We are afraid of the sexual immorality that is rampant in the world because it is powerful and appears to gain ground in leaps and bounds. It makes us angry when we feel powerless and therefore it is only natural that we would grow to hate that which is claiming our children by luring them into amoral conduct. Naturally, this invites in The Enemy who offers us half-truths as a means for regaining power and control by giving us tools that we believe will stop the world from teaching our children that sexual immorality is a-okay. In reality we are causing the very things we are trying to prevent and all the while The Enemy laughs because now he is gaining ground ten times faster than he was before.

As I mentioned earlier my mother used to be quite progressive in her views until started nearing puberty. I grew up knowing that I had a vagina and my father – as a male – had a penis. I was quite comfortable with my body and felt no shame or awkwardness about naming its various parts or knowing their function – until I started interacting with other kids. The first time I heard other children referring to their body parts with cutesy names I thought there was something wrong with them. When I corrected a boy that I did not have a ‘foo-foo patch’ but a vulva and to otherwise leave me alone since he was bullying me you would think I had slapped him in the face.

In no short amount of time I was in trouble simply for using the actual name of my anatomy, and for ‘sassing’ even though the cause of the whole problem was the playground bully. It was my first taste of gender discrimination, (I was told I shouldn’t have reacted to a ‘boy being a boy’ and that teasing and bullying meant he ‘liked’ me and I shouldn’t ‘talk back’ if I wanted boys to like me), and exposure to the idea that there was something shameful and bad about what was between my legs (I was told I had a ‘potty mouth’ which would also make me undesirable to boys). It also opened my parents to judgment and criticism for ‘using that kind of language’ around a child, and ‘destroying’ my ‘innocence’.

At that time my parents handled the situation correctly by affirming that I did not need to tolerate someone disrespecting me, and that there there was nothing wrong with using the proper names of my body parts. This sort of instruction was the norm until I turned thirteen and my mother did a one-eighty on everything. Not only did she start observing more conservative teachings about human sexuality, but put a ban on the use of any ‘sexual language’ which included anatomical nomenclature. I was fourteen and now having to refer to anything below my belt as my ‘bottom’.

In no short order everything became sexual. I went from rarely thinking about the sex to having it on my mind all the time because according to my mother sexual immorality was everywhere and I was constantly on the watch for temptation and situations that could lead to compromise. I had a body that was now shameful because it had curves where there weren’t any before and was now a sexual target for everyone from adolescent boys to pedophiles. This worked to dehumanize the men around me because instead of fellow human beings I saw predators who were incapable of controlling their sexual urges. I was also taught that I would be less valuable if I lost my virginity or ’caused’ a teenage boy to have sex with me.

Yes, consensual (and immoral) sex between adolescents suddenly became a novel concept.

I was also taught that women were solely at fault for the sexual immorality of men and in turn men were exonerated from their culpability because…well…they were men and it just turned into a vicious cycle. It was my first exposure to the false teachings regarding human sexuality within the Christian faith. It laid the groundwork for experiences that God has since redeemed which includes the wisdom to realize that fear and ignorance does not safeguard one from sexual sin.

It promotes it.

I also learned that the hyper-sexualization of youth that is decried by secular and religious society alike is actually promoted by both factions due to the fact that they spend no small amount of time fixating on the subject. They also set their children up for failure by teaching them that they no longer have free-will or self-control because of their hormones. In essence they are teaching them that the bestial (sin) nature is more powerful than the one of Christ, and that they are no better than animals since they too can be controlled by their reproductive urges. Never mind the fact that sex of any stripe is a choice and requires a series of conscious actions in order to arrive at that conclusion.

It isn’t pretty when you strip those teachings down to what they actually promote is it? Yet, that is what we are dealing with. How did we reach this point? Fear. As I said before my mother had a number of insecurities and doubts that most parents from a Christian background possess regarding human sexuality. Unfortunately, when we operate out of fear – which is the spirit that most fundamentalist or conservative families operate from – it opens the door for The Enemy to walk in and create the very things they are trying to prevent. Before you start e-mailing me this includes the progressive or liberal families who operate out of fear as well since – having seen the fruit of the extreme – have now swung to the opposite end of the spectrum where opposition to sexual immorality is seen as a fist-pump for the wrongheaded thinking promoted by their contemporaries.

In reality they are duking out their philosophical differences through their children who are still engaging in sexual immorality.

In all honesty the groundwork my parents initially laid regarding human sexuality was the one more in line with that of the Bible. Their refusal to promote worldly concepts of sexual morality – secular and religious – has borne out far longer than any of the nonsense I was exposed to when I was in my teens since they provided the most wisdom and guidance in regards to avoiding sexual immorality as an adult. Did I do a perfect job at it?

No.

I have sinned and struggled with sexual immorality, but at no point has it become a means for The Enemy to shame or condemn me because that groundwork also enabled me to be open to the correction of God who has since redeemed a pretty good chunk of my life. That cannot happen if children are given a faulty groundwork. We have been convinced that keeping a child ‘innocent’ and otherwise ignorant of their own sexuality means we can keep them safe from immorality. In reality we have created the perfect psychological breeding ground for eventual failure because as Jesus observed no one can fulfill the law.

Modern legalism regarding human sexuality (ex. purity balls, virginity pledges, etc…) is a perfect example of an attempt to use worldly solutions to solve spiritual problems. Telling a child that they cannot know what their body parts are called because it will corrupt them gives those parts of their anatomy a power they wouldn’t otherwise possess. Suddenly, they become more powerful than the child themselves which opens them to the belief that experimentation or immorality is inevitable because their body has more power than God. It teaches them that they have no choice but to obey their bestial (sin) nature.

This is patently untrue. We are told in Galatians 5:16-24 (ESV) to -

“…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

All of those things in that list – both good and bad – are the result of choice. You must choose to behave in an immoral manner just like you must choose to behave in a righteous one, and while the former is indeed harder than the latter it is not impossible. Nor is the former so damnably powerful that you are just ‘helpless’ to sin. After all we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) -

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

This does not mean that God is tempting us (a common misinterpretation), but that God is aware that The Enemy pursues us with temptation the way an animal pursues prey and will provide a means for us to escape these traps. A good example of this comes from the natural world. When held in certain types of captivity the prisoners will be subjected to physical or psychological torture in order to get them to say or do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. We also see in the natural world that if the captives believe that their captors are more powerful than they then compromise happens much faster with far less resistance. Without a means of escape they eventually succumb and compromise in order to make the discomfort stop. While this isn’t a perfect analogy it works because it explains this scripture. The Enemy will tempt and tempt and tempt away but if one is able to escape that situation than in time those tricks will no longer have an effect and – unfortunately – The Enemy will move on to something else to bother a person with. In the meantime said target will develop wisdom and strength that will further insulate them against that specific temptation and allow them to equip others to do the same.

To that end there is no empirical evidence either in the spiritual or natural world(s) to support the notion that telling your children how their body works or the names of various parts leads to fornication. If that were so then simply telling a child that their finger is a finger and its purpose is to pick things would cause them to automatically start picking at their nose. In reality infants pick their nose and they have no concept of what a finger even is much less its myriad of functions and purposes. It is a straw-man argument.

As theologian Gerald Mann observed in his book Common Sense Religion there is a noticeable lack of adequate and factual Christian literature geared towards preparing children for “wholesome sexual experiences later in life.” Adults have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that their children are also sexual beings, and as a result sex tends to be “caught not taught.” We get squeamish when faced with the reality that children are sexual and that the minute they leave the womb they start receiving their education on such matters. It flies in the face of our idea of childhood “innocence” which is a social construct if there ever was one.

Therefore, we believe that if children know about the joys of sex or even what sex is then they will be stimulated to try it early and often. Wrong. When parents err on the side of fear-mongering and purposeful ignorance then they have created sure-fire candidates for experimentation. This might not happen 100% of the time, but it is happening on a significant enough scale to blow every teaching along these lines straight out of the water. Laying the proper groundwork for proper stewardship of sexuality and reproductive health starts at a young age, and it begins by teaching children the names of their body parts and their function.

Plus you don’t need to go into graphic detail since when children are young the only real purpose for their genitals is going potty. Teaching them more intimate functions does not come until later and at a time when the child is demonstrating readiness for additional information. I know this after spending almost a decade as an educator of young children. It is only when adults go into shock and start making a big deal or talking nonsense about sex does a child start getting the notion that there is either 1) something wrong with normal sexual development or 2) something to be found in amoral sexual activities.

Teaching young children the proper names of all of their body parts is the job of teachers and parents alike since children are a significant and important part of adult communities. Telling your son that they have a penis, scrotum and testicles or your daughter that she has a vulva and vagina is not going to trigger some liberal-secular-humanist plot to turn your children into rabid fornicators and homosexuals. Seriously. It will not happen. If you are teaching your children how to wisely steward their sexuality and maintain their reproductive health then there is no reason to needlessly worry over something so trivial as the proper name of genitalia.

In fact teaching your children the proper name and function of their genitals is a necessary part of the process of imparting said wisdom regarding the stewardship of their sexuality and maintenance of their reproductive health. Like adults, young children are susceptible to urogenital infections and reproductive dysfunction. Although the former can happen at any time during development the latter will not occur until puberty. In the meantime children might incur infections due to improper wiping, injury from inserting objects into their genitals (yes, that can happen), or dysfunction due to complications from routine procedures like circumcision.

Just like I would prefer to have my child tell me they have a cut on their finger, I would also prefer that they are able to articulate that their penis hurts because they stuck a pebble in their urethra. Honestly, I would prefer that last one to never happen to any child, but if it were I would want to know exactly where they put it instead of trying to decipher cutesy names for the doctor. Nor would I want to find out about it later when the injury is far worse because they initially hid it out of shame. This leads to another reason it is important for children to know the proper names of their reproductive organs – the ability to accurately describe any sexual abuse they might have suffered at the hands of a stranger, relative, or caregiver.

It is a reality that we all hope will never happen to our children, but sometimes it does. We live in a fallen world where adults sexually sin against young children, and we need our children to be aware of what is and is not appropriate behavior between a child and an adult. This is not corruption by any means. Instead, it is training them with wisdom that will also allow them to protect themselves from sexual deviants. A child needs to be able to articulate who, what, when, where, how, and why in these situations. I realize that for some of you this might sound like ‘fear-mongering’, but I assure you that it is wise counsel since there are defense attorneys who will rely on the inarticulate expressions of a young child to create arguments that will exonerate their client.

They can argue that the provision of the correct terms by an adult after the fact counts as ‘leading’ or ‘coercion’ since the child didn’t know the meanings of the terms until that point. Sad, but true. In Matthew 10:16 we are told to be as “wise as a serpent and yet as harmless as a dove.” Equipping your child with the proper names for their genitals falls into that category, and the same for their function as age appropriate. We live in a world where knowledge is indeed power so long as it is the correct knowledge. It is only when that information has been corrupted by half-truths, agendas, and biases that it becomes a means for destruction.

Now quit telling your child they have a hoo-hoo dilly.

- RJK

HSLDA’s Michael Farris to Heidi St. John: “We Are Standing With You”

Ryan J. Knight:

Actually Michael Farris and Heidi St. John are the ones watering down the gospel because they are grinding the faces of their victims, and accusing them of being demonic for speaking out against the abuses committed against them that were subsequently covered up. In reality, that makes the conspirators not the victims the one who are demonic. Only the Devil tries to cast doubt on the righteous speaking against his machinations – not God.

Originally posted on Homeschoolers Anonymous:

farris

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Several days ago, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) issued a statement on their involvement (or lack thereof) in allegations about a widespread cover-up of physical and sexual child abuse in the Christian homeschooling community. The child abuse is alleged to have involved the children and a relative of Paul and Gena Suarez, owners of the popular homeschool magazine The Old Schoolhouse.

HSLDA’s statement, which you can view in entirety here, was that “HSLDA does not get involved in conflicts between families or individuals” and their mission is “not to be the police force of the homeschooling movement.” In response, I pointed out that not only does The Old Schoolhouse remain an HSLDA-suggested resource promoted to HSLDA members at a special discounted rate, but HSLDA is currently sponsoring The Old Schoolhouse. In terms of finances, therefore, it’s not difficult…

View original 319 more words

201: The Bronze God Pt. 1 – The Idolatry of Politics

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

English Standard Version

(Note: Information supporting the arguments and counterarguments contained in the following post was drawn from chapters 1-2 of Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd. Quotes that appear in quotations without a corresponding Bible verse are excerpts taken from the text. This information is being used purely for educational purposes by the authors of this blog and not for compensation.)

Harrison Ford as "Indiana Jones"

Harrison Ford as “Indiana Jones”

In 2013, I walked away from the world of politics after spending almost four years laying the groundwork for a career in it. While that decision might not sound dramatic in and of itself, when you add in the fact that I am a Christian it strikes a large percentage of brothers and sisters as odd. Specifically, I get asked why I would do such a thing when it is obvious – at least to the inquisitor – that America needs more men and women of God in elected office. After all America is a Christian nation and therefore we Christians need to take our country back for God! My inquisitor will then argue that even if I am not on the ballot then I need to fulfill my “duty” as a follower of Christ and vote for the Christian candidate who will -

  • Outlaw abortion and gay marriage
  • Win the culture wars
  • Defend political freedom both nationally and internationally
  • Keep the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Have prayer at public schools and events
  • Fight tooth and nail to make sure that the Ten Commandments are displayed in public buildings

I am then asked which candidate I plan on voting for in the upcoming election. Typically, there is only one right answer in this scenario which is the Republican candidate who parrots buzzwords like “conservative” and “traditional American and Christian values.” When I respond that I am only going to vote for the candidate who I believe is most qualified based on their previous experience the conversation takes a negative turn. Especially when I add in that their religious affiliation will have zero effect on my decision. Immediately I am treated as suspect because if I was a “real” Christian then I would parrot the expected answer without batting an eye. Except I don’t which leads back to the original question, “Why did you walk away from a career in politics?”

The answer is twofold. For one, I am unwilling to compromise my ethics and morals. For two, there is my tangible disgust with the behaviors I have observed in both the Democratic and Republican parties and their respective followers – secular and religious. In the months leading up to the 2012 re-election of Barack Obama I watched both left and right-wing lobbyists urge leaders within the Christian faith to pressure their congregations into voting for “the correct candidate.” I also watched both parties hand out leaflets, advertise political events in lobbies and sanctuaries, and otherwise strong-arm churches into falling in line with their agendas.

The separation of church and state is a separation in name only when you have pastors like Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple instructing parishioners which conservative candidate to vote for. The same goes for the leadership at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Church who does the exact same thing insofar as their liberal electorate is concerned. Both parties argue that hot-button issues on the ballot are important to God, and the position a congregant takes on said issues becomes a litmus test for the validity of their faith.

Mudslinging is viewed as both a time-honored tradition of the electoral process and a means for informing voters as to just how bad said candidate is for their interests. I would know because even I used to participate in this particular form of trash talking until God opened my eyes, and I realized that I too would be subject to character assassination and hyperbole. Even worse, constituents would believe those lies even in the absence of objective evidence to support the claims of my opponent. All they would need to hear is my name in connection with whatever political party I chose to run with, and that would be it. Once that happened everything from my character to my credibility would be suspect, and when examined in the context of my Christian faith I would be labeled either a Bible-thumping hypocrite or a Christian In Name Only. It was a sobering revelation and one that led me to repent of engaging in those same behaviors in my youth. This revelation also led me to start asking God why this was so.

The simplest answer lies in the late 70s early 80s when the Moral Majority, a prominent American political organization, was formed by the late Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich. This cadre of religious activists were intimately associated with the Christian right, and played a major role in mobilizing Christians as a political force. The latter campaigned and lobbied for key Republican candidates who were then elected into positions of power, and now forty years later we have an entire generation of Christians who believe that conservative political ideologies are synonymous with religious ones. The same holds true for Christians who believe liberal political ideologies are more in line with scripture, and the results have been discord and infighting amongst brothers and sisters whenever election season draws near.

We are a divided people who can now barely even agree on the basic tenets of our faith, and when placed in a world where we are touted as guides to a transformational relationship with God we fare no better than our secular counterparts in the court of public opinion. The only difference is that we claim Jesus as the reason for our actions and use him as a means of justification for our engagement in worldly attitudes and practices. This places us in direct disobedience to the scripture in Hebrews 12:14 (ESV) which tells us -

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

It is hard to see the Lord when Christians have based their identities on either liberal or conservative politics, and thus start arguing with one another that their respective positions are biblical and thus correct. It is also hard to discern the ways in which The Enemy has deceived us into following a civil religion akin to that of Rome instead of the transformational one of the Galilean. The again, how can we when we are busy pointing out the immorality of our opponents while touting our own righteousness based on whether there is a donkey or elephant on the bumper of our car?

It is a situation that has led me to abandon any and all affiliation with politics insofar as my Christian identity is concerned. I do not call myself a liberal anymore than I call myself a conservative, and when it comes to the voting booth I support legislation that is reflective of the Kingdom of God. My political party is not of this world and I avoid placing my allegiance with any governing authority since they are all suspect per scripture. It has been a freeing and educational experience which is why I am writing this post today.

It is time we slaughter the sacred cow of political idolatry in the Christian faith.

I realize that for some of you reading this you might conclude that I am referring to either liberal or conservative philosophies, and to an extent you are right – I am. You would be incorrect in assuming that I am championing one over the other which is only natural if you have been led to believe that one is superior and more godly than the other. In reality, I am arguing against the practice of associating our faith too closely with any political worldview regardless of whether that perspective is liberal or conservative. Instead, I am arguing that we need to critically examine the ideologies we have accepted as being integral to our Christian identities – political ones included.

What most brothers and sisters fail to appreciate is the scope of authority that Satan has over our world. Admittedly, the entire planet is owned by God who created it and thus His sovereignty includes all who dwell in, on, or around it. However, whereas the workings of man are concerned Satan has the free reign to do as he pleases since he has been given a place through our sinful desires. This interpretation is supported by scripture. When Jesus is fasting in the desert Satan comes to him and attempts to seduce him into serving his agendas in Luke 4:5-7 (ESV) -

“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

The authority of all kingdoms of the world have been given over to Satan, and before you start e-mailing me I am not advocating for a Christian version of anarchy. God tells us that He uses governments in order to further His own agendas through Paul in Romans 13 (ESV) -

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

So, not only are we supposed to pay those pesky taxes for the upkeep of government we are also supposed to obey government since God uses them to exact some measure of law and order in a world cursed by lawlessness and chaos. However, whenever The Enemy is afoot we can automatically guarantee he will work to corrupt that which is good in order to maintain power and control. To that end our obedience is conditional in that while we are to respect our leaders (1 Peter 2:17, ESV) we should be leery of any version of government this world has to offer since where there is power there is The Enemy.

Unfortunately, many brothers and sisters ignore this fact and instead opt to associate their faith with either liberal or conservative philosophies. Subsequently, there is a large segment of the Christian population who is following a civil religion not dissimilar to any other government sanctioned belief system. Part of this stems from the fact that we have been led to believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. It was not. Our country has never recognized Christianity as its official religion and nor was it founded upon Christian principles. Yet, because of both liberal and conservative pundits we believe otherwise.

I can go to any Christian forum board and read posts by brothers and sisters who are guilty of some form of nationalistic and political idolatry based on these teachings. I can also find brothers and sisters engaging in practices and beliefs that they believe are indicative of godliness when in truth said teachings directly contradict scripture. They have been given a stone for bread and the exchange is so common within the faith that its absence is viewed as an aberrance.

Even before I became a Christian in 2005 I knew that Christianity was synonymous with certain sociopolitical principles because I had spent most of my life mired in conservative philosophy. This was how I was able to transition into that environment with relative ease – I already knew the political buzzwords and jargon tossed around in Christian circles. Therefore, when God started to lead me out of that culture the following passage from the book Myth of a Christian Nation hit particularly close to home (10):

“Many [Christians] believe there is little ambiguity in how true Christian faith translates into politics. Since God is against abortion, Christians should vote for the pro-life candidate, they believe – and the pastor should say so. Since God is against homosexuality, Christians should vote for the candidate who supports the marriage amendment act – and a Bible-believing pastor should proclaim this. Since God is for personal freedom, Christians should vote for the candidate who will fulfill “America’s mission” to bring freedom to the world – and any American pastor, like myself, should use his “God-given authority and responsibility” to make this known.”

The book was quickened to me by the Lord when I started coming out of politics and shedding my identity as a “future politician,” and as He renewed my mind I started to realize that the liberal branch of the Christian faith is no different from the conservative one. Just like our secular counterparts we followers of Christ have no qualms when it comes to arguing who is more Christian and a true American based on whether or not there is a donkey or elephant on the back of our car.

It explains why I have been told by numerous brothers and sisters that the more I read my Bible the more likely I am to become either a liberal or conservative based on whatever bias they are carrying into the conversation. In reality if we read our Bibles and practice what Jesus preached we are supposed to become more like Jesus – not the next incarnation of Ronald Regan or Barack Obama. Being a liberal is no more a natural conclusion of following Jesus anymore than being a conservative. If a brother or sister believes that then they are following the civil religion, not the one found in the Bible.

I realize that this might cause some of you to stop reading at this point because I am coming against a teaching that has likely been a core principle of your identity as a Christian. I would know because I felt that exact same outrage when brothers or sisters said these things to me. I was angry because I felt they were un-American liberal sympathizers who had been brainwashed and corrupted by liberal humanist teachings. In some cases I even believed they were agents of Satan himself. I know what you are feeling because I have been there. Therefore I understand just how angry this post might make some of you who are reading it.

Yet, it needs to be said.

In this age of confusion we currently have The Enemy using sociopolitical opposition as an opportunity to brand certain Christian principles as either “liberal” or “conservative” in order to deceive brothers and sisters into turning against their adoption, observation, or practice. Disinformation is a part of any war campaign. Per Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” If that is so then it stands to reason that we are indeed being lied to through the blind nationalism and political idolatry that has been enshrined by the church starting all the way back when Constantine made Christianity cool.

To that end we have 2,000 years’ worth of history where Christians have engaged in customs that are diametrically opposed to the Kingdom of God and its culture as taught by Jesus and his disciples. According to the latter the Kingdom of God is always “simple, straightforward, and uncompromising.” The Establishment (aka the Kingdom of the World or Kingdom of The Enemy) is the complete opposite in that it is “complex, ambiguous, and inevitably full of compromises.” One need only look at the political processes of the world in order to see that this is true.

Politicians of all stripes make a number of promises while on the campaign trail in order to win the support of their constituents, but when they obtain that position of power they readily compromise in favor of the agendas of their lobbyists which in turn leads to an aggrandization of self. This is why I no longer vote for a candidate – liberal or conservative – simply because they claim to be a member of my religion because 99.9% of the time they are simply using the Christian faith to buy credibility and character that they otherwise lack. One need only to look at the fruits borne out during their tenure in a position of power to see this is true, and yet because of their affiliation with the Christian faith they are readily re-elected even when caught engaging in practices that are contradictory to the Bible.

This is why believers must never forget that “even the best political ideology lies under the influence of a “power over” cosmic ruler who is working at cross-purposes to God.” What this means is that all governments – even ours – uses fear and intimidation in order to exert power over others as a means for maintaining control over their populations. This is confirmed in Luke 22:25-26 (ESV) which reads -

“And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”

The first part of that verse refers to The Establishment which is the top form of governance in our world. People who are in positions of power love to lord it over those who are subject to them. A glance through our recorded history of corrupt leadership and violent revolutions against them is a quick testament to this fact. The same holds true for their subjects whom they have given a measure of authority to perpetuate the subjugation of the general populace. Since they have been given power over others they are willing to support whatever regime they find themselves in because they are profiting from it. This creates a ripe and fertile spiritual and psychological field for The Enemy to sow his seeds of corruption and greed, and when you really look at what is going on here you begin to realize that those leaders at the very top of the ruling hierarchy are actually subject to him because now they are his benefactors in that they profit from his governance over the Earth.

It is why said authorities are always entertaining some sort of scandal because their power comes not from God but Satan. Even though God indeed uses governments to manage humans there is always the shadowy presence of The Enemy. This explains why there are so many humans who are dedicated towards working against our Creator since without a place for Satan to operate he loses power, and one thing Satan fears more than anything else – God included – is losing his power which is why we have two forms of Christianity vying for the minds and hearts of earnest brothers and sisters.

The best way to tell them apart is by determining which one is most popular with those who are in positions of power who then perpetuate it in order to maintain that authority – liberal and conservative. Therefore, on top of having a good grounding in the historical and sociocultural contexts of scripture one also needs the ability to properly discern between counterfeit and legitimate Christianity. After all both parties engage in the following arguments -

  • Both argue that their sociopolitical and/or religious interpretation is the correct one
  • Both argue that nationalism and political involvement are central to the Christian faith
  • Both argue that the opposite party is amoral, hyper-religious, intolerant, legalistic, and playing fast and loose with their theology
  • Both engage in slander, name-calling, and sociopolitical and/or religious prejudice
  • Both use worldly and pseudo-religious means for determining the validity of the faith of their opposition
  • Both lack wisdom and the fruits of the spirit but excel in the counterfeit wisdom and bestial nature of the world
  • Both are incorrect in their interpretation of scripture and engage in religiosity/legalism
  • Both argue that a “true” Christian is a liberal or conservative due to their reading of scripture

Honestly, what we are looking at here is a Christian version of tribalism which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “loyalty to a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group.”

At this time the Christian family is divided into tribes based on denomination, political affiliation, or both. None of which is what God had in mind when He sent His only begotten son to redeem humanity through his death on the cross (John 3:16, ESV). Our God is a community builder and organizer. If He had intended for humanity to live in the manner that Satan has us living, which is at each others’ throats based on whether or not we belong to a particular tribe, He never would have had His son issue the great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) -

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Notice how Jesus did not say, “go therefore and make disciples who are Democrat, Republican, or what-have-you.” No, Jesus instead told them to go forth and make disciples of all nations which means we are supposed to be a united people who live as resident aliens with citizenship that belongs to the Kingdom of God. Not living as a divided people who embrace their heritage as citizens of The Establishment and spend no small amount of time warring with one another for failing to toe a conservative or liberal party line.

This is why we here are Barefoot Christian Faith do not pander to certain political or special interest groups because doing so would be aiding the agenda of The Enemy which is division and chaos. If we made BCF into a liberal or conservative blog I can almost guarantee that we would be wildly popular amongst those who would feel bolstered by having have another spokesman for their particular “team”. However, by doing so we would be glorifying fallen human ideologies and not the life-giving culture and practices of the Kingdom of God.

To that end I encourage you brothers and sisters to strongly consider what it means to identify as a liberal or conservative, and what sort of ideologies you have accepted into your concept of what it means to be a follower of Christ. We do indeed become what we say we are, and since words have power – both spoken and internalized – what sort of concepts have infiltrated our minds and spirits under the guise of being righteous or integral to our Christian walk? Are you a citizen of The Establishment or are you a resident alien whose citizenship and political party is not of this world? Remember what the old crusader said in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade -

“Choose wisely.”

Otherwise, you might end up like that one guy who drank from the wrong grail (Google it).

- RJK

 

About Mark

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

James 3:1

English Standard Version

Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll

The essay you are about to read is probably one of the most difficult ones I have ever had to write. I do not always call out prominent men and women who are leaders in the faith, but when I do it is because God has placed a specific call on my spirit in order to do so. If you have been watching the news then you are probably aware of recent scandals surrounding Mars Hill Church in Seattle and its pastor Mark Driscoll.

For the last twenty years the latter has made a name for himself by using unconventional rhetoric to address controversial topics from the pulpit. On the surface it doesn’t seem like a big deal until one looks deeper. Just within the last five years Mark has asked followers to describe the most “effeminate anatomically male worship leader” and claimed that women who “let themselves go” are the reason for their husbands committing adultery.

Just this year it was revealed that Driscoll used church funds to promote his book Real Marriage to the top spot of the New York Times bestseller list. Although many readers were shocked at some of the sexually explicit material found in the later chapters a simple Google search reveals that this sort of language is the norm for Mark. In 2007, he gave a sermon in Scotland where he claimed that the Song of Solomon was little more than a Biblical sex manual, and has crafted sermons that were so explicit that he was banned from GodTube which is the Christian version of YouTube.

Unfortunately, these are just a handful of the disqualifying behaviors Mark has engaged in over the last two decades. Actions that have culminated in the implosion of the church he founded and a series of black marks on his character and his credibility. Not only that, but the church planting organization he helped found – Acts 29 Network – removed his church Mars Hill from its roster as a consequence of his continued unrighteous behavior. It is in light of these events that I am writing this essay because they are an important lesson for both lay and clergymen alike.

There is a cost for everything that we do in this world whether we are following God or Satan. While we are told in scripture that the price we pay for following the former is indeed steep, it is nowhere near as high as the one we and the world at large pays when we follow the latter. When that sin is committed by one who is charged with training others in spiritual truth the results are absolutely devastating. To that end twenty-four former elders have bought charges against Mark Driscoll, and have called for him to step down from ministry.

For those of you who are outside of the church bringing charges against an elder is a serious undertaking. A number of Mars Hill defenders have argued that the allegations are little more than a smear campaign being conducted by hateful accusers. Although, for that counter-argument to be true it would require a vast interstate conspiracy. Never mind the fact that Mark himself has admitted to engaging in these behaviors, and has continued to either defend or engage in them unless doing so has negatively affected the Mars Hill brand.

The allegations that the elders have made towards Mark have been documented in all three major media formats (film, radio, and literature), and have been corroborated through the testimonies of independent witnesses and Driscoll himself. This is all in line with the procedure outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV) for confronting a questionable elder -

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

At this time there are hundreds of witnesses ranging from parishioners to former elders who have provided concrete evidence that Mark has engaged in disqualifying behaviors. In a perfect world this should have led Mark to a season of repentance and restoration. Instead, he fired or shunned those who bought their concerns before him as part of his interpretation of “church discipline”. If their accusations were false then these actions would have been just per scripture. However, there are numerous blogs, essays, books, videos, and op-ed columns written or recorded by Mark where he confirms that he did the things he has been accused of doing and claims it was the will of God.

Spiritual and psychological abuse of elders and parishioners is not the will of God.

Therefore, I am not surprised that Mars Hill is experiencing a season of turmoil because Mark has continued to be stiff-necked and rebellious towards the men and women of God who have tried to lead him out of error. It is a turn of events that has left me saddened and disheartened since through my gift of Discernment I can see how this situation has had a negative effect on both the congregants of Mars Hill and the world we are supposed to be witnessing to. Basically, we Christians have lost more ground to The Enemy insofar as credibility is concerned which brings us back to my original point that the cost of serving The Adversary – either consciously or unconsciously – is far greater than the price we pay serving God.

To that end even though I know there are many who will likely disagree with this post I am writing this entry on Barefoot Christian Faith because God has called me to do so. I do not know why this is my particular lot to occasionally call out high-profile brothers and sisters who have erred, but at the end of the day I have two choices – obey God or obey man. Since you are reading this post I think it is pretty obvious which one I am going with on this one.

When God calls me to write posts such as this I usually spend weeks or even months poring over the evidence bought to my attention while soaking in the spirit. Why? To make sure that whatever I write is of God and not The Enemy, and that my hermeneutics are in order. With that said I would like to be absolutely clear in my intentions for writing this blog -

I do not hold any malice or hatred towards Mark Driscoll whatsoever. Having searched my heart and humbled myself before the Lord in the months leading up to this post I can say with absolute honesty and conviction that my desire is for Mark to be restored and redeemed by our Creator who tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) -

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Therefore I ask each and every one of you to keep Mark Driscoll and his family in intercessory prayer as you feel led by the Holy Spirit per the directive that God has placed in my spirit. For all his flaws and imperfections Mark is still a brother in Christ, and while we cannot and should not enable the disqualifying behaviors listed in this essay we also cannot damn him in order to satisfy the desires of our worldly natures. To that end I ask you to pray for a change in his mind and heart in accordance to however God would will that transformation to occur.

Now that I have clarified my intentions it is time to address the reasons why Mark Driscoll is an example that should be heeded by both clergy and laymen alike. Admittedly, others brothers and sisters have written far more on Mark than we will today, but to put things in perspective we need to travel five years into the past when God first bought Mark to my attention.

In 2009 I had just started on the first leg of my healing journey after being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). To say that I was in need of spiritual support is an understatement. As part of my treatment my therapist had suggested I reconnect with my faith, and so I spent no small amount of time researching uplifting websites and blogs. Eventually I found myself greeted with numerous articles about Mark Driscoll who on the surface appeared to be a great source of spiritual renewal and growth. After all, he was a strong proponent of many of the things I believed as a Christian, and in no small amount of time I was patronizing the YouTube videos of his sermons on a weekly basis.

Yet, as I sat through his teachings I kept getting an odd feeling in my spirit that something was not quite right. At first I thought it was whatever spirit of rebellion that was still within me after having spent more than a year trying to get as far away from God as humanly possible. Prophesying the death of a close family member atop the loss of my career and a highly-public crap storm was enough to put me through a season of apathy and atheism. I had turned my back on God at a time when I was emotionally and spiritually unstable. Therefore, I was exceedingly vulnerable.

That awareness led to my asking God whether or not the uneasiness I felt was the result of my own restless spirit or something more. After all my main gift is Discernment and there are times where God will not shout but whisper when trying to get my attention. With that in mind I opted to humble myself and see what God would bring my way. Namely, whether or not Mark was someone whom I could entrust with aiding in my spiritual renewal. Within an hour of that prayer this came across my computer screen via a link in one of my news feeds -

“…the mainstream church has turned Jesus into a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ…a neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell.”

Shocked does not even come close to describing how I felt, but the minute those words sank in I heard the word ‘blasphemy’ loud and clear in my spirit. I also felt an anger I have not felt since the time when I was a kid and my father unwisely decided to curse God. While working on his truck a cloudburst moved in interrupting his work, and being the hot head that he was my father decided to start swearing at God. If that wasn’t bad enough he even went so far as to flip Him off while spewing vitriol. The result was a hail and rainstorm that hammered the neighborhood for more than five hours, and even though I had some sketchy beliefs at the time I knew that what my father had done had angered God. I knew because I felt it, and actually prayed for God to forgive my father for his previous actions which included his refusal to repent for what he had said and done.

The rain stopped less than an hour later, and when I told my father what I had done he turned pale and was quiet for a long time after that. It was one of the few times that I know of where he repented to God for a wrong that he had done. Not only that, it was an experience that left me with a number of unanswered questions atop the ability to discern the righteous and holy anger of the Lord. When I read those words I felt that anger and yet despite that anger I could feel God calling to me pray for Mark while encouraging others to do so.

That was more than five years ago, and during that time I have encouraged people to pray for Driscoll on numerous forums and message boards. I have also watched how God has continued to try to reach Mark over and over again only to be rebuffed. Whenever I have prayed for Mark I have felt in my spirit that whatever has taken a grip on him is part of a deeper stronghold that is firmly entrenched in his identity. It explains why he has continued to engage in disqualifying behaviors, and why God has started exposing them for all the world to see since Mark has been operating in the capacity of a pastor during this time. After all we are told in John 3:20 (ESV) -

“…the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

What this means is that when people are engaged in unrighteous behavior they try to conceal those actions either through purposeful misinformation or the disparagement of their critics.  Unfortunately, when said individual is operating in the capacity of a teacher the wicked thinks they do will be exposed by God through His righteous people since we are told in Mark 9:42 (ESV) -

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

When praying to God on this matter what was communicated to me in my spirit was that the cries of the children had reached the point where direct intervention was no longer an option it was mandatory.

Per that word from God I am certain that what little we do know is likely only the tip of the iceberg, and that whatever it is that we don’t know was enough for God to take drastic action since His other attempts at intercession had been ignored. In the days following the removal of Mars Hill from the roster of the Acts 29 Network, Mark announced he was taking a six-week sabbatical from teaching while the Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) reviewed the allegations bought forth by the twenty-four elders. During his speech Mark claimed that the events that led to the Acts 29 decision had not been a part of his character for some time, a sentiment echoed by one of the BOAA chairmen.

Unfortunately, this is not true.

Bloggers like Warren Thockmorton have done an excellent job covering the scandals and abuses perpetuated at Mars Hill over the years, and to that end I do not wish to try to write up the entire back story. However, I will provide evidence of some of the actions Mark has engaged in while operating in the capacity of a pastor in order to demonstrate that for the last fourteen years Driscoll has consistently engaged in disqualifying behaviors:

2000 – While operating under the pseudonym William Wallace II on a forum board for his church Driscoll stated:

“We live in a completely pussified nation. We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic worship loving mama’s boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish, and have a conference in a phone booth. It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet. As a result, he was cursed for listening to his wife and every man since has been his pussified sit quietly by and watch a nation of men be raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee.”

“One day Johnny finally gives in to the pressure of his pre-humpers singles ministry and gets stuck with some gal left on the shelf long after her expiration date that is just like dear old mom who wants him to shut up like Adam, take his beating, and join a church men’s group that is really a woman’s group in disguise complete with cookies and crying and antidepressants to cope with the insanity. Poor Johnny is by now so completely whacked that he’s afraid of having kids and hold off his taking on any more responsibility as long as he can because Johnny is a boy trapped in a man’s body walking around in a world of other boys all trying to keep their pee pee behind their zipper and do just like their momma told them and be good women.” 

2005 – Out of growing concern for Driscoll fellow pastor and friend Ron Wheeler attempted to address some of the allegations of disqualifying behavior that was being observed by parishioners and staff. According to Wheeler the following day he was treated to verbal and psychological abuse documented in the following account:

“…a phone call from Mark where he used the most obscene vulgar language that I can remember someone using with me.  The next day, he sent an e-mail to the other elders, that I had no knowledge about until recently, that can only be defined as wildly inaccurate and slanderous.  The current leadership of The Gathering considers much of where things currently stand in leadership to be directly related to Mark’s influence and conduct in the process.

Over the past many years, I have identified and struggled with issues in Mark such as:  pride, speech (lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidential issues either about others to me, or about myself with others. Confidentiality issues carry legal implications for the church), and an impulsive/reactive spirit. It is because of the confidentiality and distortion of the facts, that I distrust individual communication with Mark, and need the involvement of the Board in these issues.

My frustration is that I have never been silent with Mark or with anyone else about where I stand.  It is no secret to the past Acts29 leadership board that I have had frustration in many of these areas, and it ought to be noted by the existing board members that the two former board members have pulled out of leadership, one out of frustration with the conflict between Mark and David, one largely through dealing with conflict brought on by some of these same issues. This is now the second time that issues have gone on record with Mark regarding areas of character in speech and conduct.  The fact that Mark is an incredibly talented leader and speaker, cannot in any way substitute for the simple Biblical requirements of being Christ-like, much less the qualifications of being an Elder.  I can make a Biblical case from Titus regarding being overbearing, quick-tempered, self-controlled, upright, and holy, as well as 1 Timothy regarding above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not quarrelsome, and reputation with outsiders.”

Ron Wheeler was fired and then subjected to church discipline through shunning by parishioners and staff.

2007 – Gives a sermon in Scotland where he describes the Song of Solomon as a “sex manual” and recounts the following exchange with a female parishioner:

She [the female parishioner] says, “I’ve never performed oral sex on my husband. I’ve refused to.” I said, “You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.” She says, “Really?” I said, “Yeah. First Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness.” How many men would agree, that is a deed of kindness. He doesn’t want tracts. Those won’t do anything. What we’re talking about here could really help.”

2008 – These excerpts are taken from his book “Vintage Jesus”:

“Jesus’ mom was a poor, unwed teenage girl who was mocked for claiming she conceived via the Holy Spirit. Most people thought she concocted a crazy story to cover the ‘fact’ she was knocking boots with some guy in the backseat of a car at the prom.” (p.11)

“Jesus’ humor was often biting and harsh, particularly when directed at the Pharisees. For example, he called them a bag of snakes, said that their moms shagged the Devil, and mocked them for tithing out of their spice racks.” (pp. 40-41)

“Joining them later at the party at Matthew’s house was nothing short of a very bad hip-hop video, complete with women in clear heels, dudes with their pants around their ankles and handguns in their underwear strap, lots of gold teeth, bling, spinners on camels, cheap liquor, and grinding to really loud music with a lot of bass. When word got out to the religious folks, they were perplexed as to how Jesus could roll with such a jacked-up posse. Jesus’ answer was purely priestly. Jesus said that they were sick and needed mercy.” (p.77)

“On the cross as our substitute, Jesus was made to be the worst of what we are. This does not mean that Jesus ever sinned. Rather, it means that he was made sin. As a result, in that moment when Jesus cried out that he had been forsaken by God the Father, Jesus became the most ugly, wicked, defiled, evil, corrupt, rebellious, and hideous thing in all creation. In that moment, Jesus became a homosexual, alcoholic, thief, glutton, addict, pervert, adulterer, coveter, idol worshiper, whore, pedophile, self-righteous religious prig—and whatever else we are.” (p. 114)

2012 – Berated the wife of UK radio host Justin Brierley for operating in the capacity of a pastor and stated:

“I’m not shocked by the answer, by the questions you ask. I love you, but you’re annoying. ‘Cause you’re picking on all the same issues that those who are classically evangelical, kind of liberal, kind of feminist do.”

Driscoll then called Brierley a “coward”, told him to stop “drinking decaf” and get “more courage”.

2013 – Used church funds to have his book Real Marriage promoted to the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

2014Arrived uninvited at the Strange Fire conference hosted by John MacArthur where he attempted to give out books and other information contradictory to the information being presented. Mark then claimed they were “confiscated” by security who then refuted his statement by citing that no such thing had occurred.

These comments and behaviors are just the tip of the Mark Driscoll iceberg, and they have left me both angered and saddened because of the effect his unrighteous conduct has had on both the church and the people were are called to reach out to. When one considers the cult-like atmosphere of Mars Hill, the first-hand accounts of spiritual manipulation and abuse, and the twisting of scripture to suit unrighteous agendas the cost is staggering. The only thing Mark has done at this point is further the agendas of The Enemy by discrediting God and driving people away from the Kingdom. The Bible tells us in Titus 1:9 (ESV) -

“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

How can this be possible when the pastor in question is playing fast and loose with their theology, while teaching their parishioners that it is okay to visit unrighteous judgment and condemnation on other brothers and sisters who are not in error? God makes it abundantly clear in His scriptures that He holds teachers to a higher standard because they have been charged with the guidance of others who are seeking spiritual truth. In Ephesians 5:1-21 (ESV) we are told that we must be -

“…imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

It is not glorifying nor representative of God for a pastor to engage in any of the actions Mark has participated in. The opening scripture of this essay is one I live my life by as a teacher of the word here on this blog because I know that God will hold me to a higher standard and a higher level of accountability because I am operating in the capacity of a guide for brothers and sisters who are seeking Him along with sound instruction on the correct way to conduct themselves as followers of Christ.

That. Is. Huge.

2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) tells me that all scripture is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. Therefore as a teacher of the word it is imperative that I build my teachings on a foundation of stone which is the Word instead of one of sand which is what has happened at Mars Hill. It is imperative that I obey the directive of 2 Titus 1-8 (NIV) -

“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

God can and will hold me accountable for anything I teach on this blog. Especially, if said teachings are contrary to His holy Kingdom and lead brothers and sisters astray by giving them a stone for bread. Therefore, before anything is posted here on BCF I make sure it is right with God because I could think it all right, but if I ignore that check in my spirit or sense of uneasiness then I have written something that is both contradictory and in direct disobedience to God who willed for something entirely different to hit the internet. That is not a position I ever want to find myself in. Yet, if the Bible is so clear on how we who teach the Word should conduct ourselves then how did we get to this point in the first place?

Earlier, I stated that God has tried repeatedly to stop Mark before things got further out of hand and that is true. Nearly a year ago when discussing the antics of Mark with my brother-in-law Phil, (a very wise brother in the Lord I might add), he commented that it was the job of the elders who were in a relationship with Mark, to come alongside and correct him if he was in error which is true. Per the guidelines of Matthew 18:15-20, before it reaches the point to where the church (parishioners) have to speak out against a questionable leader the elders are the ones who are supposed to do that first.

This occurred in 2007 when the elders of Mars Hill began to notice that Mark was engaging in more and more ungodly behaviors that were affecting the atmosphere and overall mission of the church. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that teachers are to present themselves to God as “one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” When it became clear that Mark was being stiff-necked and resistant to the cloak of humility that teachers must don while guiding others Paul Petry, Leif Moi, Ron Wheeler, and others came alongside and tried to guide and counsel Mark who at that time had consolidated all executive power to himself in such a way as to remove himself from the authority of the governing board through a revision of the bylaws.

Yes, that happened.

(Note: I would like to mention that I as of August of 2014 I have become acquainted with Paul Petry via Facebook and have found him to be of good character per 1 Timothy 5:17 which states that elders who rule well should be “considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching”. I have observed no disqualifying behaviors from Paul and like myself he has called for prayer and restoration for Mark, not condemnation or persecution. This observation holds true for the other elders as well.)

Concerned, the elders tried to address this matter with Mark. The result was the termination and shunning of said elders. Rather than submit himself to their guidance he instead launched on a campaign of slander and bullying that it still coming to light as more and more former staff members break their silence. Recently, in light of the latest scandals nine more elders came forward and through a letter requested that Mark step down from leadership, and submit himself to a season of repentance and restoration as overseen by the governing body.

Those elders have since been either laid off or fired.

Given the numerous testimonies that have been coming to light it is safe to say that there are more than three witnesses to the unrighteous conduct of Mark and his supporters at Mars Hill. When considering all of this information from the last several months I now understand something God quickened to me last year when was revealed that Mark had used church funds to pay a marketing company $200,000 to get his book Real Marriage into the top spot of the New York Times best seller list.

Back then supporters spurned the revelation claiming it was simply “judgment” and “slander”, and to that end I realize that some of you might not agree with this post because you either identify or agree with Mark. Yet, if that favor leads you to ignore the wise counsel of brothers and sisters who are citing objective evidence that is doubly backed by biblical precedent then that favor has evolved into idolatry which is a disservice to both you the follower and the leader in error. Enabling a leader who is in sin is to give both them and their followers a stone for bread. It protects them from the consequences of their actions while opening them and their congregation to further use and abuse by The Enemy. This in turn discredits the church and drives people away from the Kingdom of God.

In the last month it has been revealed that Mars Hill has been disingenuous about its profits and their use by the governing board. In August when the Acts 29 Network, the organization Mark originally founded to plant churches, removed Mars Hill from their network they issued a memo stating -

“Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior. In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming.

We now have to take another course of action. Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.”

Mars Hill chairman Larry Osborne responded to this decision by issuing a memo that contradicted the claims laid out in the letter sent by Acts 29 regarding their decision to remove them from their roster -

“I told the lead pastors at the recent annual retreat that we are making real progress in addressing the serious reconciliation and unhealthy culture issues that have been a part of Mars Hill Church for way too long. And we are. I also told them that more opposition would undoubtedly be coming, and it has. Friendly fire always hurts the most.

I have never in my life spoken with Matt Chandler or any of the A29 board members for that matter (except Darrin Patrick, once about 4 years ago as part of Pastor Mark’s employment review process which he used to be a part of). In addition, no one from Acts 29 contacted Larry Osborne of our board prior to this decision. And perhaps most significantly, Pastor Mark was not personally contacted by the A29 board prior to receiving this announcement.

So I am not quite sure what Matt means by “leaning on the board to take the lead in dealing with this matter.”

Be assured of this, the formal charges that were filed were serious, were taken seriously and were not dismissed by the board lightly. There is clear evidence that the attitudes and behaviors attributed to Mark in the charges are not a part and have not been a part of Mark’s life for some time now.”

Unfortunately, this has been revealed to be untrue since Ron Wheeler was in contact with Acts 29 as early as 2005 when he was being assailed by Mark for addressing the same concerns the other elders have had about his conduct. Plus, there is contradictory evidence from the last fourteen years where Driscoll has engaged in unrighteous conduct atop using perverse and crude language in his sermons. I have personally watched or read the transcripts for the videos where he mocks scripture and the men and women of God therein. In one he referred to Noah as -

“…a guy with blue tarbs, a guy in swim trunks and cowboy boots, drunk on moonshine with a John Deer cap, sitting around playing Texas Hold ‘Em with his uncle daddy, eating hot pockets.”

According to Driscoll the man who found favor in the eyes of a God who was ready to destroy all of humanity was part of a “redneck hillbilly saga”. This rhetoric is not an anomaly since Driscoll has also referred to Gideon as a “coward with an empty colon”, made pornographic comments based on his interpretation of the Song of Solomon, and told women to perform sexual acts on their husbands as a form of “worship”. While Mark has tried to downplay these antics as being part of his “younger” days the problem with that claim is that some of these behaviors have been a large part of his older ones as well.

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) tells us that the word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” While we do not know whether or not Mark is a deceiver or deceived we do know that he is a brother in the Lord, and in is desperate need of restoration and intercessory prayer for both himself and his family. We also know that he is not qualified, per scripture, to teach the word of God. Referring back to the opening scripture for this essay we are told in  James 3:1-2 (ESV) -

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

Mark has been stumbling for over twenty years. Although he has stated that he felt God call him to be a pastor and plant churches that does not necessarily mean He meant for him to do it from the pulpit. God called me many years ago through prophecy that I would be a teacher “not just in the classroom but of the word.” Back then I had NO idea what that would even look like other than the obvious which was me behind a podium with a collar on my neck. Hence the reason I laughed a number of very patient brothers and sisters right out-of-town because if there was anyone who was aware of their lack of qualifications for such a calling it was me.

Ten years later I am teaching the word on a Christian blog in fulfillment of that prophecy.

Mark may have been called to do the things he claims that God called him to do, but given the outcome one must ask was this the method in which he was supposed to do it? We just don’t know. However, it is a prime example of the reason why we need to let God lead us on these matters instead of assuming we know what God wants us to do. Hagar and Ishmael is a testament to what happens when we do the latter, and if I had opted to go into seminary I do not believe I would have been doing so in accordance with how God would have willed me to teach. I would have been trying to do His will, but I would have been trying to fulfill it on my terms instead of His. It also means I would be opening myself to situations that would leave me vulnerable both spiritually and psychologically. This might be what is happening with Mark who appears to have issues with power, control, insecurity, and a host other frailties that we can only guess at.

Another lesson we can take from the situation involving Mars Hill is the importance of basing our identities on Christ and not on the person leading us to him. This is why the implosion at Mars Hill is so devastating because followers have tied up their concept of who they are as a Christian in the organization. One of the things I am grateful for at Riverside Community Church is a body of leaders who get this oft-overlooked principle. Pastor Ed has no qualms about telling people to look to Jesus instead of him just as Jesus used to tell his followers in John 5:19 (NIV) -

“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

If we are made in the image of the living God then it stands to reason that we should compare ourselves to Jesus who was the perfect incarnation and image of that God, and lived out the culture, practices, and customs of the holy Kingdom of that God. Therefore, we should strive to be more like Jesus in order to better fulfill that image and not more like Joel Osteen or Mark Driscoll. I even say this to you as a reader of this blog. I am not a great person. I have flaws and will likely get things wrong and make mistakes just like any human being. Thus, my instruction to you is not to try to be like me but like Jesus.

If I am indeed operating under the will and providence of my father then He should be able to use me to properly instruct you on how to become more and more like Christ who was the perfect incarnation of Him and His image. That is who you should try to be like more than anything else. I am just a guide. No more and no less. Paul echoes this sentiment while warning us of the dangers of throwing our loyalties and identities in with a particular leader in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 (NLT) -

“Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,

“He traps the wise
    in the snare of their own cleverness.”

And again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
    he knows they are worthless.”

So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”

 Another lesson we can take from this is the importance of community when addressing a disqualified leader. While we do indeed need to call Mark out and use this experience to train other brothers and sisters to recognize this particular trap we must also pray for the entrapped. As I said before we do not know if Mark is a deceiver or deceived. We only know that he was and is wrong and that God is personally addressing the matter due to how outlandish his actions have become. God is ultimately our provider and protector and while this season of turmoil is unpleasant for Mars Hill we can take comfort in the fact that God is intervening ultimately for the benefit of both Mark and those who follow him.

God does not wish for any of us – secular or religious – to perish and in hindsight has been trying to reach Mark. He first tried through strong brothers and sisters who were ostracized and shunned. The collapse of Mars Hill is God again trying to reach Mark while protecting His children who do not know they are being given stones for bread, and if God is calling for prayer for Mark then clearly despite all Mark has done does not wish him to be eternal kindling. Whatever God is doing we do not know the whole extent, but if He wants us to pray then we should pray. Hardening our own hearts and giving in to the ways of anger and retribution – while satisfying to the sinful sides of our human natures – will only make us vulnerable to The Enemy. For better or for worse Mark is one of our brothers and given his antics he is in desperate need of God. After all Jesus himself said he came for the sick not the healthy folk.

This then leads us to the third lesson which is best summarized in the scripture I mentioned earlier from 2 Timothy 3:16 which states that “all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The reason why Mark is so popular is because the congregants are simply hearing what they want to hear not what they need to hear, and to add insult to injury they are being kept in a state of immature faith which prevents them (for the most part) from discerning between the two. For those who are able to grow and see courtesy of the Holy Spirit the consequence of such wisdom is being shunned and ostracized by the very church they once considered their spiritual home.

This is right in line with scripture which tells us that the Kingdom of God and The Establishment* are natural enemies of one another. Excessive swearing, perverse and licentious speech, and everything else Mark has done is popular with the world because it comes from – you guessed it – the world. The issue is that God never tells anyone what they want to hear. Rather, He tells them what they need to hear and sometimes those things are not pleasant. I know this from first-hand experience where I have had to get down on either my literal or metaphorical knees and submit myself to the instruction and correction of God. Not only that I had to consciously choose to be open to that information because there was a large part of me that did NOT want to hear anything except that which would agree with what I already believed.

Honestly, it was a hardcore experience, but as much as it troubled me to willingly abandon my desire to simply seek out information that would reinforce what I already thought I knew in hindsight I would do it all over again and continue to do so because it has led me to a stronger faith atop a deeper and more intimate relationship with God that is backed with actual knowledge and truth instead of the counterfeit version so popular with The Enemy. It also means that I now understand that when one engages in the actions that Mark has used in order to become so wildly popular they have effectively compromised the gospel.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that this blog will reach whomever God wishes it to reach. I don’t need the bells and whistles and all the ricketa-racketa that comes with your typical online personality. I am perfectly okay with hits and followers in the hundreds because if God wills for Barefoot Christian Faith to become more popular or reach a wider audience then He will open the doors to do so. In the meantime, I am not going to stoop to using worldly means in order to open those doors because the one rewarding those efforts will not be God but The Enemy. We Christians need to get the thought out of our minds that simply because someone is a “celebrity” within the faith that they are somehow blessed by God.

While that is indeed possible one must test those fruits far more stringently than they would otherwise because we know from scripture that The Enemy can elevate people within the faith as well in order to lead brothers and sisters astray. There are reasons we are told to guard our minds and hearts while testing everything, and the blowup at Mars Hill is one of them. Admittedly, there are Christians who are “popular” or “famous” but they are popular and famous in a way that is different from that of the world. Some of these folks aren’t even widely known.

Given the fact that God has began speaking through His prophets that we are living in an Age of Confusion the need for proper Discernment regarding leaders in the church is at an all time high. Long before the Mars Hill debacle I began hearing God speak that He was withdrawing His intercessory spirit insofar as it relates to redeeming heretical doctrines and tolerating their carnal perpetrators. When I questioned further what was communicated into my spirit was anger. Not the human anger that I or any other being would expect, but a long-simmering anger unlike anything that I have ever felt before. It is quickly reaching the point where God will no longer sit back and tolerate polluted teachings and heresies within His church. I have no qualms or checks in my spirit when I write that God is no longer in the mood for these shenanigans and it is starting to show with the deposition of these charlatans. People whom the rest of us have cried out to God for years on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have become drunk on their teachings unaware that they have been given a stone for bread.

Therefore, I ask you to please test everything to make sure it is good and true. Make sure that the leader you have submitted yourself to is of good character and teaching sound doctrine, and if they are not find a good church that is while keeping your previous pastor and fellow congregants in prayer. I sincerely hope that Mark comes through this season of turmoil repentant and restored to the narrow path laid out before us by God. We serve a merciful Lord who wishes that none of us should perish and as one who is created in that image my wish is the same.

Peace be with you.

*The Establishment is the Kingdom of Satan as it manifests in our world.

- RJK

The One Where Ryan Gave Her $0.02 About Christian Art

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Philippians 4:8

English Standard Version

 

 

Russell Crowe in "Noah"

Russell Crowe in “Noah”

Normally, I would write an educational post about something near and dear to my heart courtesy of one of my many long and philosophical conversations with God. Instead, I am breaking from the norm here at Barefoot Christian Faith because I want to talk about something else that is near and dear to my heart as a Christian and a writer. Tonight, we are going to talk about Christian-themed films, literature, and artwork. Why? Because in the real world when I am not pounding away on a thesis, (which is now the length of a small novel), I am a writer of fiction for children and adults.

Madeline L’Engle is one of many sources of inspiration when it comes to my forays into the land of professional storytelling, and yet the high-quality work that is synonymous with her Christ-centric book A Wind In the Door is noticeably lacking in modern fare. Instead of reading texts or watching movies that are deep and thought-provoking like the film Calvary, most Christians find themselves subject to media that is sub-par at best. Given some of the strong opinions I have on this subject, before we go any further I want to make it clear that my intent is not to attack the Christians behind some of these programs.

As an artist in the real world I have a lot of respect for anyone who manages to get their idea out of their heads and into the real world. Only a scant ten percent of artists ever make their living solely from their craft whereas the rest of us work a day job in between schlepping our creations to potential buyers. That said, I understand that there are probably a lot of financial limitations placed on Christians who try to write books or direct films of substance. If it doesn’t look like the investors are going to get a return on their investment if said investment is more “daring” than what most Christians are used to there is a good chance that the money will go to someone more “safe”.

Therefore, the intent of this post is to express my frustration with such a system that limits Christian artists to the point where all they can produce are substandard books and films. Given what I just subjected myself to in the movie A New Hope I am just going to come out and say what needs to be said -

The vast majority of Christian media is substandard.

Why?

Because at some point it was decided that Christian books and films needed to be so sanitized and safe that now all we have are glorified after-school specials with some prayer tacked on to make it all Jesus-y. I have read and watched a lot of Christian entertainment and each time came away disappointed due to the poor quality. In both books and films the characters are underdeveloped and the acting abysmal. Most of the time I don’t even need to read or watch the entire book or program because the writing is hackneyed and predictable. If I want to watch a film that deals with actual sin and immorality with protagonists trying to be upright and moral in a broken world then I watch a secular movie by a secular producer penned by a secular writer.

Ironically, this wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time the church was the main sponsor of some of the most amazing artists our world has ever seen. Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Rembrandt are all the products of Christians who once felt it was their responsibility to set the tone for the art of their respective cultures. Unfortunately, the days of Michelangelo and C.S. Lewis are long past. Modern Christians seem to have a real hard time telling story that will be heard beyond the parishioners of the local church.

How did this happen?

In the 1960s this country witnessed major sociocultural changes that are still being felt to this day. Unfortunately, for a lot of Christians who were staunch traditionalists this was seen as an assault on their very identities as followers of Christ. Subsequently, they built a cultural wall around themselves complete with content filters atop an isolationist attitude that turned into a tangible time capsule. It was as if they wanted the pleasures and conveniences of modern culture yet feared being tainted by amoral content and questionable philosophies. Instead of confronting said fears they enabled them by creating a fantasy world reflective of what they wished the world to be as opposed to dealing with things as they are. As a result they created a system rife with poorly trained artists who pander to an audience that has been taught to accept substandard art instead of quality. Sadly, even with successes like God Is Not Dead where you can have a decent budget, skilled and experienced staff, and a workable marketing plan the genre is still pockmarked with pedantic scripts and agenda-driven plots and dialogue.

Earlier I mentioned the film Calvary. Personally, I would describe this little indie film as a perfect example of what Christian storytelling could be if artists were given the freedom to take risks. (Warning: Contains spoilers) In it we see the protagonist – a Catholic priest – confronted with an anonymous antagonist who tells him in confession that in seven days he is going to kill the main character. The murder is retribution for sexual abuse he endured as a youth at the hands of another priest, and reasons that it will hurt the Catholic church more if he kills a good priest instead of a bad one. While on the surface this film appears to be a commentary on the current scandals affecting the papacy, in reality it showcases what it means to live as a Christian in a broken and fallen world that includes people who have been hurt in the name of said faith.

Themes of forgiveness and bitterness are thoroughly explored until the anticlimactic finish where the antagonist and priest have their final encounter. The movie concludes in a manner that leaves a Christian viewer re-examining their position on what it means to show mercy, grace, and forgiveness to a person who has gone so far as to take the life of someone you love. It doesn’t end predictably with easy answers anymore than it features safe characters free of immorality and salty language. Instead, it takes a hard look at the human condition and through the lens of a Christian living in the real world.

All one has to do is walk out their front door in order to see that there is violence and vulgarity alongside sexual immorality and every kind of evil. As my pastor once observed in reference to the consequence of Adam and Eve obeying the snake – when you look at the Earth it is as if they released Hell itself. I couldn’t agree more which is why it doesn’t help to have books and films that are little more than an after-school special with some prayer thrown in. While discussing this post my husband Evan pointed out that our writings and films are a form of ministry, and if that ministry is sub-par then we really aren’t going to reach people with the gospel. Specifically, we are not going to reach people with a real and relevant gospel in the manner that Jesus did.

In theory, the restrictions on content are there because people think they are biblical. FYI, before you start e-mailing me I am not saying we should produce stuff you would see at 2 AM on Cinemax or HBO. In reality we need to produce movies that are accurate to scripture itself. I find it real hard to believe that modern Christians cannot handle a simple kiss or rough language since the Bible itself would get an R-rating if it were made into a movie based on the subject matter alone.

This is the same book where David bought Saul one-hundred Philistine foreskins as a ‘gift’ in exchange for the hand of his daughter Michal in 1 Samuel 18:25 (NLT), and Lot had drunken sex with his own daughters following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:31-32, NIV). Speaking of said ill-fated cities we have a crowd of men trying to gang-rape the two visitors who stayed with Lot prior to their destruction, and Lot offering said daughters in place of the guests. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself in Genesis 19:1-8 (NLT). We also have a human sacrifice in Judges 11:29-40 (NLT), a concubine who was raped to death after her husband turned her over to an angry mob that originally wanted to rape him (Judges 19, NLT), and what about the guy having sex with his own mother in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1, NIV)?

I kid you not.

To that end I am a Christian who writes science fiction featuring characters and situations you would find in the real world. Currently, I am working on a project that features a protagonist I have been writing for the better part of almost five years. A U.S. Marshall coming off of a severe downturn in both his career and life we meet Leland (the main character) at a profound low point that works to further his belief in atheism.

You read that correctly.

Leland starts out as your typical, red-blooded atheist who returns home on the heels of tragedy to a family that represents your typical southwestern upper middle-class brood. His uncle is a respected businessman and academic who is the quintessential American Joe complete with football in college and church on Sunday. A life not dissimilar to his own father who is a respected physician who married the predictable hot blonde with a background in entertainment. It is perfection personified – except it isn’t. Neither Leland nor his family is human. Instead they are shape-shifters who live alongside humanity right along with three billion other non-human residents.

Yep, he is an alien. However, the universe Leland lives in is not that different from our own. Life is not perfect. In his line of work Leland sees the worst that both humanity and his own species has to offer in regards to immorality. To him there is no God given what sentient beings are capable of doing to one another. It puts him at odds with his family leaving him in the company of his younger cousin Braden who on the surface looks like the guy you don’t want giving out spiritual advice. He smokes weed and does tattoos for a living despite going to an Ivy League college. Subsequently, he is the black sheep of the family. The cousins are surrounded by a motley crew of oddball characters and situations of moral complexity.

There are no easy answers in the world they live in anymore than there are ones in ours. Leland reflects members of my own family who worked in law enforcement, and went through seasons of atheism and doubt after reporting to scenes of total depravity. Braden and the others are examples of what it looks like to try to respond to a world where those realities exist. A response born out of their acute awareness of their own capabilities and shortcomings when trying to wrap their minds around situations that can’t be wrapped up in ten chapters or less.

Which means there is salty language and actual sin that people deal with when living on a broken planet. Instead of nice safe characters that are predictable I write characters that you would find in your day-to-day life. I have endings that don’t wrap up with neat little bows. I write about hard questions that philosophers of all stripes have struggled to figure out. I write because readers want to see characters that actually struggle with issues of morality and faith because for many of them it is a struggle they can relate to regardless of whether they are secular or religious.

Even if it is in the context of a shape-shifting U.S. Marshall.

- RJK

Why We Don’t Support The Prosperity Gospel

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:3-10

English Standard Version

"Creflo Dollar"

“Creflo Dollar”

“Name it, and claim it.”

“Believe it, and receive it.”

“What I confess, I possess.”

The above quotes are a sampling of some of the phrases that used to pepper my private Facebook page before I shut it down earlier this summer. These soundbites used to regularly appear in my news feeds courtesy of well-meaning friends and family. Every week, I would get to hear how God wants people to be healthy and wealthy while the fingers of prosperity proselytizers would eagerly point to some ‘biblical’ formula designed to create ‘financial blessings’. To put it simply all Christians are entitled to wealth and notoriety so long as they put their faith in God – and tithe. The giving of money touted as symbolic in that it demonstrates faith that will lead to an automatic blessing from God.

Yet, is this actually so?

I admit, when I first became a Christian I used to think that Prosperity Gospel was no different from any other subculture of the Christian faith in that it was based on a different interpretation of the word not dissimilar to Lutheranism or Episcopalian doctrine. However, whenever I would try to read through one of the books by Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer I would always feel that something was not quite right in my spirit and would put it back on the shelf. Back then I chalked it up to not being very strong or far along in my walk. After all I had just converted and was still learning the ins-and-outs of my new faith. Yet, as time went on it became clear that God was trying to show me that there was something about their teachings that was not quite right.

Finally, I began to ask God what it was about the whole Prosperity Gospel movement that was so detrimental since – at the time – it looked as if it was a good thing. Whenever I watched the Trinity Broadcasting Network, back when I had cable, I thought I was watching Him move powerfully through His people who were blessed with health and financial wealth. However, when I humbled myself and began to ask for clarity on the matter God began to show me how while on the surface this heterodoxy might seem sound, when held up to scripture (orthodoxy) one begins to notice some odd parallels. Namely, with the New Age schools of thought.

What most Christians fail to realize is that the Prosperity Gospel or Word of Faith teachings are the Christian equivalent of the Law of Attraction. If you do not know what that is, in a nutshell the Law of Attraction claims that positive thinking and verbal affirmations can create life-changing results like wealth, happiness, and health. Our very thoughts have the ability to both influence and create reality and when we pair them with certain actions or rites. It is the same kind of ideology you will find in the writings of Eckhart Tolle and they are entrenched in the philosophies of Word of Faith.

The Prosperity Gospel movement got its start in the 1970s at the hands of Paul and Jan Crouch with their Trinity Broadcasting Network. Over the decades this school of thought has gone by many names including New Thought, Religious Science, Christian Science, and others. The origins of these philosophies came from the Spiritualism movement in the 1800s when the occult went mainstream. During this era a number of heresies were conceived such the Rapture and Mormonism which infiltrated Christianity laying the groundwork for the hot mess we are in today. The Word of Faith movement teaches there are four “principles” which govern the physical and natural world:

  1. Revelation Knowledge
  2. Positive Confession
  3. Principle of Divine Healing
  4. Principle of Material Prosperity

These precepts are identical to the ones in the Law of Attraction and is based in what is called Revelation Knowledge. Basically it asserts that we can not know God from any of our five senses because He is immaterial, and thus incapable of communicating with man through the physical world. Instead God has to rely on our thought processes which in turn changes the material realm as a result of our experiencing His presence in the mental one. It is a form of magical and slavish thinking that sprang up around 1919 during the height of Spiritualism which claims that thoughts not only manifest events, but that God can become a power within our own minds which enables us to become what we believe. To that end let us examine some of the claims made by the Prosperity Gospel.

CLAIM ONE: GOD IS AN IMPERSONAL AND NON-RELATIONAL ENTITY WHO CHRISTIANS CAN TAP INTO TO CHANGE THEIR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ENVIRONMENT.

Translation: You are your own god.

The best acid test of one’s success at becoming “god-like” is how wealthy and successful they are after adopting a life of extreme individualism and self-determination (Objectivism) because God is an impersonal and non-relational entity. This breeds some of the foul fruit seen in the Word of Thought movement such as the judgment of people who experience misfortune atop the wrong-headed idea that some sort of “sin” caused it to happen. This was the main theme in the argument Job had with his three friends around the campfire, and it is one that is constantly repeated in the Prosperity Gospel.

If bad things happen to you then it is because God is condemning and punishing you for your individual intentional or inadvertent thoughts, words, or deeds. This line of thinking, (which also appears in the heretical doctrines of Calvinism), leaves no room for grace because of the underlying legalism that reduces God to a cosmic principle. Per the Word of Thought God becomes a universal law of reciprocity where you get what you deserve. Health, wealth, and happiness become based on your own abilities, your own thought processes, and your own religious efforts to tap into “the divine”.

CLAIM TWO: HUMAN BEINGS HAVE THE ABILITY TO COMMAND GOD TO MATERIALIZE WHAT THEY WANT BY CLAIMING IT.

Seriously?

This is the second principle of the Word of Faith which teaches that Christians have the ability to use verbal affirmation to change reality. “What I confess, I possess,” is one of many popular catch-phrases designed to make prayers manifest through positive confession or the Law of Faith. In essence we have the right to demand that God behave in a certain way because He is obligated to give us what we want. Proponents of this teaching include Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Robert Schuller, and Joel Osteen.

I grew up watching Kenneth Copeland on television in the 90s and hearing him teaching that Christians had a “faith-force”, and could command the Holy Spirit to do their bidding. Tithing was a formula for getting God to grant prayers and bestow blessings. The act not dissimilar to the incantations and ritualistic offerings made by pagans operating on the same premise. If a human wants to earn the favor of the gods they must give in order to get.

In reality God can bless who He wants when He wants, but in the Prosperity Gospel He is no different from a magic genie who must obey human commands based on a universal principle which says that He has to obey when we think or speak in a particular manner. He does not. Nor does He bless or curse us in response to our having either a positive or negative attitude.

CLAIM THREE: HUMANS HAVE THE ABILITY TO FORCE GOD TO HEAL THEM.

This particular teaching within the Prosperity Gospel has done immeasurable damage to Christians suffering from physical or mental ailments. I have experienced it first-hand within the confines of my own family having heard numerous times how “naming” my mental illness means I have “claimed” it and thus granted it “power” over my life. If I just quit talking about having Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and instead confessed that I have received my healing I will be cured by God!

Back in the real world…

Despite what Joel Osteen or Creflo Dollar would have us believe our physical healing is not a done-deal. The idea that it is such comes from the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy who was the founder of Christian Science (Google it), and has been repeated by the late Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn. According to them the ultimate test of a Christian’s faith is to claim their healing when they are still experiencing symptoms. Any symptoms that continue after that are not only an illusion, but a demonic attack geared towards destroying the faith and healing of the adherent.

In reality this teaching does exactly that!

If we go by the Prosperity Gospel our physical well-being depends on how well we manipulate God by naming and claiming our healing. Any healing or periods of good health are the result of our skills in demanding the power of our Creator. If we relapse or are chronically ill it is because we lack faith or have sinned. This principle also works in reverse. According to this ideology if you talk or worry about the possibility of getting cancer you might get cancer.

I kid you not.

CLAIM FOUR: CHRISTIANS HAVE THE ABILITY TO FORCE GOD TO GIVE THEM POWER AND MONEY.

Oral Roberts was probably one of the most famous proponents of this ideology as he was the one who coined the phrase “seed-faith giving.” Supposedly, if we give money or other material items to God (read: the ministry of said proselytizer) then God is obligated to give us more money or material wealth in return. In this manner we are able to secure financial prosperity which is one of the many guarantees made by adherents. I have heard everything from ten to hundred-fold returns simply from giving a certain amount in the collection plate. What makes this claim to insidious is that it is portrayed as the key to ending financial strain since their tithing is a principle of reciprocity that God must obey.

However, if you are in financial crisis it is not because you made mistakes but because you failed to implement the “faith force” to get God to give you your blessing. That, or you have weak faith and are an unrepentant sinner who is being punished with poverty because of your stiff-necked actions or beliefs. No matter what you are in some way spiritually deficient which is why that $19.95 you sent to the televangelist did not manifest as some sort of material item guaranteed by God.  As a result of this mentality brothers and sisters spend time praying harder and longer and miring themselves in acts and legalism in order to get all of the sin out of their lives – before sending more money. According to the Word of Faith movement the poor are self-cursed and have been abandoned by God. Never mind the fact that we are told in Luke 6:20 (NLT) -

“God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.”

Not to mention the other 500 scriptures addressing the weak, sick, poor, and downtrodden whom are near and dear to the very heart of God. Plus, there are all of those warnings both in the Old and New Testament about wealth, greed, and the love of material things.

No matter how you look at it the Word of Faith movement relies on a number of scriptural errors that proponents like Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland tend to gloss over. Yet, whenever I or other brothers or sisters point these things out we get called ‘haters’ or ‘judgmental’ when in reality we are simply calling into question teachings and practices that smack heavily of the occult. One of the many things God has been showing me as of late is how we Christians have been turning some of our leaders into idols by holding them to the standards of the world instead of scripture. At some point we decided that if a preacher is in charge of a mega-church, has book deals, or is a millionaire with mansions and Mercedes then they have been “anointed” or “blessed” for “preaching the word”. Never mind the following scriptures from Jude which read (Jude 1:3-4, NIV):

“…I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

- and Romans 16:17-18 (NIV):

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

Like Paul, who did not realize he was in sin, some of these prosperity proponents are probably not aware that they have been given a stone for bread or that they are misleading their followers. They do not yet realize that they have been deceived by those who knowingly sowed error and division in order to profit from their parishioners per the wisdom we find in the scriptures. If it was happening back then it is happening today. To that end this essay will hopefully plant some seeds of discernment so that you might be able to separate the wheat from the chaff as opposed to “naming and claiming” it.

(P.S. If you would like to read a more in-depth essay about why Word of Faith is heretical please check out the following blog.)

- RJK