Feb 292016
 
Mark Driscoll, former leader of Mars Hill Church, now named in RICO lawsuit.

Mark Driscoll, former leader of Mars Hill Church, now named in RICO lawsuit.

A bombshell RICO Lawsuit was filed recently against former leaders of Mars Hill Church of Mark Driscoll fame.

The lawsuit alleges that the church and leaders often solicited money under the guise of one thing….then diverted the funds to other things. It is alleged that Calvary Chapel churches have done similar…soliciting money under the guise of a particular separate charity…and then the money ending up in the general fund for the pastor to use it to fund his lifestyle and pay his bills.

Churches have long been ignoring attempts by grass-roots bloggers and former church-goers to clean up their act. This blog has called on the Calvary Chapel sect of churches and some others to change their ways. Those calls have been largely ignored and the messengers have been vilified and attacked in many cases. Unfortunately, I am personally aware of many specific Calvary Chapel instances of what looks like a bait-and-switch with fundraising for a specific non-profit only to have very large amounts of money end up in the general fund of the pastor to spend however he wants as former employees and board members confirm. That’s the dynamic. It’s wrong. It’s corrupt. Mars Hill is being held accountable for it. Others will as well.

Here is an excerpt from the report: “a continuing pattern of racketeering activity by soliciting, through the internet and the mail, contributions for designated purposes, and then fraudulently used significant portions of those designated contributions for other, unauthorized purposes. It was a pattern of racketeering activity that extended through a myriad of MHC projects, including the Global Fund, the Campus Fund, the Jesus Festival, and the promotion of Driscoll’s book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (“Real Marriage”).”

You can find a full report by the Church Abuse Journalist Stud, Warren Throckmorton, here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2016/02/29/rico-lawsuit-filed-against-former-leaders-of-mars-hill-church/

The RICO Lawsuit can be found here: http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2016/02/Filed-Complaint.pdf

 Posted by at 1:24 pm
Feb 272016
 
Dr. David Jeremiah: Getting rich from selling Jesus and the Gospel for greedy gain.

Dr. David Jeremiah: Getting rich from selling Jesus and the Gospel for greedy gain.

Another day, another Evangelical Guru is busted for corruption and stealing from God. This time a biggie, Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point.

Tenacious investigative journalist, Warren Throckmorton, has the goods once again. His report details the account of a former Chief Financial Officer at Jeremiah’s Turning Point that alleges Jeremiah directed non-profit funds in an artificial campaign to get his books on best-seller lists….specifically in a manner that caused book sales that directly benefited Dr. David Jeremiah in the form of royalties.

Using the non-profit “For Jesus!” mechanism for personal royalties. Very typical. These big name pastors and gurus are very rich men. Most are multi-millionaires and their only product is selling Jesus and the Gospel for greedy gain.

Dr. David Jeremiah reportedly takes over $115,000 per year in salary from Turning Point in addition to his lucrative book royalties and speaking fees.

Would any of these pastors and gurus actually “serve” Jesus for free instead of charging a ton of money? Nope.

Full story here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/01/14/former-chief-financial-officer-at-turning-point-claims-david-jeremiah-used-questionable-methods-to-secure-a-spot-on-best-seller-lists/

 

 

 Posted by at 12:54 pm
Feb 092016
 

what-is-the-truthThanks to my friends for putting up with me and my incurable curiosity and search for the Truth.

If you are so inclined, the following is a pretty good example of how pretty much all the discussions I’ve had with Evangelical believers, pastors even theologians goes. It presents the basics of my particular unresolved issues with regards to the typical “Christian” Apologetic….and some food (not bread 😉 ) for thought.

Click the link below to read the thread.

Christianity discussion

 Posted by at 8:26 am
Nov 122015
 

Christianity Today reports that Saeed Abedini’s wife, Nagmeh, outs “abuse” in her marriage and halts her public advocacy for his release.

This public disclosure opens up Nagmeh to a defamation lawsuit, very similar to what Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia has been doing for years…and Calvary Chapel Association and Calvary Chapel is likely to remain silent and back Saeed as is their practice over the years.

Read the full story here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/november-web-only/pastor-saeed-abedini-wife-naghmeh-halts-public-advocacy.html?&visit_source=twitter

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Sep 082015
 

Posted Publicly on Pastor Alan Hawkins Facebook page. Alan is a friend and a good dude. I think this is an important issue to discuss….and there are no easy answers:

So this is my professor and he is wanting feedback. Take a close look and reply if you will. Dr. Ruthven is challenging some protestant expositions.

WHAT IS “SALVATION”?

In response to a query from a friend, I am working through what “salvation” means. Certainly, in traditional Christian theology, “salvation” means being forgiven of sins, regenerated and being good, then in a position to go to heaven. I just attended a church service where I heard exactly that.

In the Synoptics, however, “salvation” pretty much always means “healing” or “rescue.” Even in Mt 1:21 and Hb 9:28 Jesus’ “saving” from sins may have had a primary referent to the broken covenant penalties of Dt 28, not simply going to hell, hence, the emphasis on healing in the NT “gospel.”

Since the Synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk) were written, mostly later, as summaries and “big picture” correctives to a Christianity that immediately began to drift off course in so many ways, we ought to take these Gospels (and John) as our prime source, and not dismiss them as “historical prologue” to the “real stuff”–“justification by faith” in Paul, as Luther and Calvin taught. (Paul was more amenable to Protestant “demythologizing” of the Gospel than the Gospels themselves).

The Gospels, then, were attempts to reset and recenter Jesus’ original mission and message. Based on the direction church doctrine took after the introduction of the Gospels, it seems that this “reset” didn’t really succeed. Maybe that success would come far in the future, but certainly not from the 2nd century and thereafter, where Christianity increasingly became an exercise in human/demonic speculation and pontificating (creeds and apologetics), not revelation and power. In the NT, demons always “knew” perfect “theology”; they did not “know” God in the way of knowing that God requires.

In my view, we can’t persist in the charismatic tweaking of the Protestant ordo salutis: get “saved,” then filled with the Spirit. The NT seems to promote John the Baptist’s program of “repent and be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It seems to me that “repent” means to move from a basic epistemology of the “wrong tree” to the tree of life: moving from the Serpent’s words to the Spirit’s. The immediate goal here is “obedience.” (Paul’s mission was “obedience from the Gentiles”). You can’t “obey” God until you, in some sense, hear his voice telling us what to obey.

There was a man who said he couldn’t become a Christian until he gave up his cigarettes. Normally, I would respond that he needed a “salvation” experience which would then empower him to give up the habit. But I wonder if this man and his cigarettes may have been God’s test to show if he was really going to obey God’s revelation: was he going to hear and obey God in this defining test or not? The cigarettes, by themselves, are trivial, the test of obedience is everything–the first step toward “salvation” that is, life in the revealing, empowering Spirit/presence of God. “Repent” means “turning in the opposite direction”–away from one way of living to another: it involves a basic decision, and action, for total change.

SALVATION IS DEFINED IN THE NT AS ENTERING THE NEW COVENANT defined in Acts 2:39, citing Isa 59:21, and 2 Cor 3, describing Jer 31:33 (also Heb 12:18-25), receiving the New Covenant Spirit of prophecy and power. THIS IS THE MISSION OF JESUS DEFINED IN ALL FOUR GOSPELS: “He will baptize in the Holy Spirit.”

I think, therefore, that the defining pattern for becoming a “Christian” is Acts 2:38-39, and its citation of Isa 59:21–a citation that traditional theology has denied: it is a single package of repentance, baptism, to the goal of receiving the Spirit (the charismatic Spirit of prophecy and power).

“THIS is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

So the goal and expression of “salvation” is really the “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” which means, you are immersed in God’s presence, communication, and life. This is the opposite of living “in the flesh”–human weakness without God’s empowering, leading to death. A “man of the Spirit” or a “man of God” in the Bible is one who was a prophet: one who lived in the voice, obedience and power of God to heal and deliver from demonic influence. THIS is “salvation” in the NT. This essentially charismatic experience is flatly denied in traditional Protestantism (e.g., Sect. 1, Westminster Confession).

So, to “repent and be baptized” means to choose the basic way of “hearing” to the Spirit, to be “washed” of that former way of thinking/heeding (the source of all “sins”), and then entering into the realm of God’s Spirit–the power of revelation and power, “cleansed” of demonic input.

One example of how far the Protestant notion of “salvation” drifted is the case of the Philippian jailer: “What must I do to be saved” meant: “How can I have my sins forgiven and go to heaven!” Talk about “demythologizing!” What he was asking was, “The government is going to kill me and enslave my family if these prisoners escape! How do I avoid that?” Paul’s answer was the universal answer to ALL the desperate situations of ALL mankind: “Have faith (hear God’s voice and obey) in the Lord Jesus Christ–all that he taught and modeled about hearing and obeying the Father/Spirit–and you will be rescued from every evil–in God’s own way !”–including the problem of the prisoners escaping.

The basic difference between traditional “salvation” and that of the NT is as follows:

Traditional emphasis: 1) man in sinful state going to hell. 2) ordo salutis, behaves ethically, 3) qualifies for heaven

New Testament emphasis: 1) man denying revelation from God (Rom 1); life in chaos, suffering penalties of Dt 28; 2) hears/heeds revelation, repents (heeds God, not serpent), is “baptized” in Spirit, able to hear and obey and become a charismatic evangelist/disciple as per mandate of Mark 3:14-15 (actually, the mandate for Adam–all mankind), and further spelled out in, e.g., Lk 9&10, Mt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. The NT emphasis on “salvation,” then, is not on getting “saved” from hell, but to become a Spirit-filled disciple as the NT defines it.

In both cases, of course, hell and heaven are ultimate factors. It’s just that the NT concentrates on the here-and-now and how to be “providers” of God’s “grace/charisms” whereas in the Protestant system you are “saved” to be a permanent, paying “consumer” of ecclesiastical services, including “salvation.” I realize this is an extreme caricature of these positions, but it’s to show the contrast.

Bottom line: I don’t think we should assume the Protestant meaning of “salvation” if we are to get at the NT goals for human existence.
To tradition, “salvation” was getting rid of sins to qualify for heaven. To the NT, “salvation” was deliverance from a demonic way of knowing to a life of revelation in the Spirit of prophecy and power–obedience to God and assuming the mandate of Mark 3:14-15.

Feedback appreciated !

Like   Comment   
  • 9 people like this.
  • Alex Joye Happy to answer. But he probably won’t like it smile emoticon
  • Alex Joye I have been asking and answering that question for over 20 years.
  • Alan Hawkins I assure you that your answer would not unhinge the professor.
    • Hide 23 Replies
    • Alex Joye I’m sure it wouldn’t, he has his mind made up.
    • Alex Joye …or at least his apologetic
    • Alex Joye Pride and fear. It’s why the “professor” will never get a glimpse of the real Truth. He’s too proud to humble himself that he doesn’t know…and too fearful to be brutally honest about things. It’s only when you get to that place that I think you get a glimpse at the Truth.
    • Alex Joye Men like him spend their entire lives chasing an Apologetic and finding more sophisticated ways to appear like they know something to gullible folks.
    • Alan Hawkins You are way out of line Alex and you have no idea the price he has paid and by the way he lived in Idaho for a long time. He went there as a refugee and critic of the system and lived in hiddenness and personal self sacrifice for a long time so take care with your analysis of somebody you don’t know.
    • Alex Joye Ask him what he thinks of my comments. Then tell me his response. Then I’ll tell you what the Truth is about him.
    • Alex Joye …but don’t tell him you are going to tell me his response or his defense mechanism will make him answer dishonestly.
    • Alan Hawkins Alex making judgements and assumptions about people you do not know is so far out of line it makes you someone that people cannot interact with.
    • Alex Joye Tell me what he says after reading my comments w/o telling him you’ll tell me…then I’ll know an awful lot about him.
      Like · Reply · 21 hrs
    • Alex Joye We’ll find out the Truth of what he knows and not the B.S. veneer.
      Like · Reply · 21 hrs
    • Alan Hawkins No I will not mediate such a thing… go to his page and communicate directly.
      Like · Reply · 21 hrs
    • Alex Joye No problem. I can already guess how it will go b/c I’ve tested many like him. I don’t need to know…but it sounds like some of your readers would benefit from finding out whether his supposed knowledge actually means anything in real life.
      Like · Reply · 21 hrs
    • Alex Joye …I can tell you from having tested many a man…the higher the pedestal…the farther the fall….and much of what they toil after means nothing when push comes to shove.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs · Edited
    • Alex Joye High probability he would respond in a very defensive manner, his pride would be tweaked. He would then go into a rigorous defense of his apologetic or he would simply name-call politely and dismiss me when it got difficult to resolve and defend his position. Very unlikely he would spend the time to have an intellectually honest discussion, and very unlikely he would come to the conclusion based on that discussion that he really doesn’t know very much for sure…as that is too humbling and fearful a position for men like him.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    • Alex Joye THAT is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. I have a gift for peeling back the veneer. It’s not pleasant for those who it is applied to…but it produces more real-world Truth than the PR and veneer of Religion.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    • Alex Joye You’re a good dude Alan. I’ve sifted you just a little and you generally come up as a good man. Not intending any of this toward you personally.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    • Alex Joye I come at things from very different angles. It’s not conventional…but it is very effective.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    • Alex Joye One thing I know well…humans and human nature.
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    • Alan Hawkins Since you know human nature you know that if you attack someone there are very few who would endure an unprovoked attack with any assumption that you are a benevolent reasonable person.
      Like · Reply · 38 mins
    • Alex Joye Hey, I didn’t say the Jesus stuff was easy…just calling b.s. and you’ll find out the real story when push comes to shove. Supposedly you are “transformed” when saved….no? Err, not so much.
      Like · Reply · 30 mins
    • Alex Joye He’ll respond just like most everyone does…which is not very much like Jesus.
      Like · Reply · 30 mins
    • Alex Joye Easy to preach the stuff, easy to make careers of it, to get degrees in it, to write books about it. Much harder to actually do it.
      Like · Reply · 29 mins
    • Alex Joye As you stated, everyone will respond in a similar manner to adversity, to provocation, etc. Jesus taught very clearly how to respond to that…yet very few can do it in real life. Yet, you sell a “Transformation Gospel”…and yet very very very few humans can do what Jesus said you are to do. So who is fooling who? The “professor” can engage in intellectual masturbation all he wants and tell you how smart he is and what “real salvation” is…but it probably isn’t true or contains some truth, but is not the Absolute. Truth is, we don’t really know what “salvation” is. Most humans respond the same way to a variety of things. They may change some of their behaviors like getting off of drugs, kicking a bad alcohol habit, etc…but many do that through non-religious means as well, and Mormons and other Sects report very similar “testimonies” and “transformations”…heck even the Scientologists report “transformations”. But, when push comes to shove, the vast majority of humans respond the same way to adversity, provocation etc either overtly or in their hearts. The Gospel doesn’t “transform” you that much at all. So what is “Salvation”?
      Like · Reply · 4 mins
 Posted by at 12:02 pm