Encouragement, Trieber Style.

The following letter apparently went out from “pastor” Jack Trieber to all of his supported missionaries. I’m sure if you’re trying to plant IFB churches in the strangely unconverted fields of wherever-there-are-heathens receiving a missive like this must really be a blessing to your heart.

Here it is submitted for your reading pleasure with a few annotations by yours truly.

From: Tom Apusen [redacted]
To: [redacted]
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 1:40 PM
Subject: Letter from Pastor Trieber

Dear Missionary
Greetings from the North Valley Baptist Church! We are experiencing an incredible summer here in beautiful
Northern California. God has been so good to us.

For the past thirty-eight years, the North Valley Baptist Church has been faithful in its prayer and financial support of its missionaries. I can assure you that your names are being brought before our Lord on a weekly basis. By the grace of God, we look forward to continuing this relationship with you.

Oftentimes as I read newsletters from supported and prospective missionaries, I become mystified at the apparent changes in spiritual direction. Many missionaries are dropping their independent, fundamental Baptist stance and adopting the practices of a liberal crowd. I would like to remind and encourage you that, since you became a missionary with the North Valley Baptist Church, we have not changed. We still believe that Christians ought to do these things:

1. Be faithful to all services—Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday night, and mid-week
2. Give tithes and offerings
3. Go soul-winning every week
4. Live holy lives!
o Avoid the movie theater and blasphemous entertainment.
o Men, keep your hair cut and do not wear jewelry.
o Ladies, wear modest skirts and dresses.
o Stay sound in the faith, and stand for old-time religion.
o Preach God’s Word.
o Sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs—not contemporary or rock-and-roll music.
o Use only the King James Bible. I realize that many of you are on foreign fields and work with various
languages; but those in English–speaking countries should use only King James.
o Get information from fundamental resources, not from compromising material.

Multiple missionary comments and pictures on social media sites [ed. Big Brother is watching you!] have also been alarming to me. The beach, activities, and casualness are regularly being posted instead of ministries, baptisms, and services. God’s Word says, “Always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

I also believe that as servants of God we ought to concern ourselves with our physical condition. Recently, I saw a picture of an overweight missionary family [ed. On SFL, perhaps?]. It was very obvious that their weight would restrict them in their work of Christ. I am not suggesting that everyone must be slim and trim and weigh 100 lbs., but I do think it is very important that we eat right and keep our bodies under control so we can serve the Lord to the best of our abilities.

Please do not think I am trying to single out or dismiss any of our missionaries. We most certainly want to keep you as our missionary, and we are grateful that you are representing the King of kings on foreign fields in our stead. However, we do want to make sure our missionary offerings are being sent to missionaries who mirror the philosophies and direction of our ministry. All I ask is that you please give an honest evaluation of your ministry in comparison to that of the North Valley Baptist Church. I am not looking for “sinless perfection” or hyper-fundamentalism. Our ministry is an open book, and you can capture what we believe through our archived services online at http://www.nvbc.org/.

If, however, you find that your ministry assessment is contrary to our beliefs and objectives, we will not
immediately drop your support; we will undoubtedly wait until you are home on furlough so you can find another ministry to replace our support. It is imperative that we support missionaries who share our principles and vision for the cause of Christ.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter. God bless you, and thank you for serving the King of kings.

Your friend,

Bro. Trieber

“Your friend”? With friends like that I think I’d pretty much swear off having friends.

317 thoughts on “Encouragement, Trieber Style.”

  1. First: My almost former fundy pastor told me that a overweight member was a “bad testimony.”

    1. Considering that the pastor of the church I attend as a kid looked like a caucasian William Perry… 😎

  2. Second: My almost former fundy church is $750,000 in debt with a membership of about seventy souls. The might dollar still rules supreme. Every bulletin parades the “need.”

    1. Oh yes, such high standards he keeps…

      Tries to look beautiful outside, while the inside is a whited sepulchre full of dead men’s bones.

  3. Why do I feel that I when I read him mention “King of kings” he is making a reference to himself?

    1. Because knowing Trieber’s opinion of himself, there’s really no other option. For example: “Christ” is mentioned exactly once in his letter, but the word “I” appears over a dozen times.

  4. “Get information from fundamental resources, not from compromising material.”

    What does that even mean?

        1. To these folks, Warren Throckmorton would be as bad as John Shore. I’ll bet Dr. [actually, he legitimately is] Throckmorton’s writings against the League of the South would really tick off some fundamentalist preechers – if they were aware of them.

      1. Now, with that said, there’s absolutely no reason they should be reading Mark Driscoll, well, unless it’s to laugh at his stupid antics. 😈

      1. Does that mean that if you accidentally touch a book by John Shelby Spong you will spontaneously combust?

        1. For some people, well – what can I say? – we can only dream.

    1. Gotta keep those walls of separation high.

      After all, if someone starts reading people off the approved reading list, they might realize that they actually have a lot in common with those other Christians and that maybe silly things like music and dress codes shouldn’t separate us from other believers.

      This command truly makes fundamentalists sound like anti-intellectuals. How can he write that he’s not looking for hyper-fundamentalism when in the same letter, he expresses his desire that missionaries not even get INFORMATION from people he does not approved of?

      1. Also probably keeps them from getting information and resources from other missionaries working with the same language and culture groups, so that even for things that don’t involve doctrinal differences they’ll still be constantly re-inventing the wheel.

      2. @Pastor’s Wife: Spot On! Cultic hallmark number 2; alienation from those outside the group- “let’s huddle together, and beware “The English”.

  5. @BASSENCO, you wrote: “But if you have sex with a child, we will cover for you.” Where did he mention that? I’m as blind a a bat, so help me out.

    1. BRO, a few months ago there were horror stories about MK being sexually abused by people that were trusted to take care of them while their parents were working. It was heart wrenching!

      1. Those links are accurate, but lacking so much of the deplorable details that only those who were there can possibly know.

        To those who wonder how this church could welcome and vote back in, Trieber’s bro-in-law, it was well thought out and planned. The church had grown sizably since the Strouf scandal, many new members were ignorant of it. Those still there, including the victim’s families, were led to believe that Strouf’s visits to NVBC were merely family vacations. Rumors spread that he and his family were coming back again, but most old timer’s were skeptical this would happen, because they remembered Trieber’s promise to the church that Strouf would never be allowed back as a member. That fateful Sunday he and his family were voted in, the victim’s families were conveniently out of the service, working their various ministries, as were most of the old timer’s. There were only two brave souls that voted NO, and there was an embarrassing silence, a grim glare from Trieber that anyone would dare do such a thing! Needless to say, when all were informed of the vote, there was no mass exit of any kind.

        As for Trieber following Matt. 18 – church discipline, he is from the Hyles’ camp and never uses it.

        1. >>” there was an embarrassing silence, a grim glare from Trieber that anyone would dare do such a thing! Needless to say, when all were informed of the vote, there was no mass exit of any kind.”

          Of course not. The cringing cowardice of these congregations feeds the tyrants who abuse them. Trieber can always count on one thing: his congregation will permit his wickedness.

        2. It’s hard, though, to stand against someone that has accumulated such power. I’ve never forgotten a story that my brother told me about his experience at a HAC-type church in Indiana; the pastor was trying to ram-rod through something he really wanted the church to do, so for weeks, he & his family were subjected to messages about how the pastor is the under-shepherd of the church; he is aware of things the membership is not aware of, and he really believed this “thing” to be right… even, if I recall his story right, that voting against it was a vote of no confidence in the pastor.

          Apparently, the pastor wasn’t sure that he had done enough manipulation, so on the night of the vote, it was suddenly announced that the ballot would not be anonymous; people would have to put their name on their vote. My brother told me it was real agony to decide what to do. He eventually decided to vote how he really felt (NO; that the time was not right)… but that whole thing opened up his eyes to the manipulation and the abuse of position… he was gone by the time the vote anniversary rolled around. I don’t recall how many voted no, but aside from him (his wife was afraid to put her name on the ballot & just didn’t vote), there were VERY few NO votes.

        3. Guilt-Ridden, I found myself in a similar situation in… ’89 I think it was. The pastor was pulling some weird power plays (and his wife was a nightmare) and a number of us were very disturbed about what was going on. Eventually he came up with a loyalty oath thingie, and he insisted that anyone who was in ‘ministry’ (i.e teaching Sunday School, in the choir, working in Children’s Church, women’s ministries, etc etc) had to sign it. I read it- it was the biggest prescription for abuse I’d ever seen. I refused to sign. My husband was shocked. I explained to him my problems with it, and he decided not to sign either. Our immediate circle of friends also refused to sign. I wrote a detailed letter and sent it to the pastors, and members of the board. Then I got my belongings and walked out and never looked back. 6 families left, roughly 30 people, out of a congregation of 150. About a year later the pastor was gone. Last I knew the church had pretty well folded, and was running a small group out of a store front.

          Power without oversight or accountability is BAD. A pastor is meant to be a spiritual leader, to teach and guide, but not to lord it over the personal lives of the congregation.

        4. >>”It’s hard, though, to stand against someone that has accumulated such power.”

          Yes, it is extremely hard. The only way to do it is to prefer the love of God to the power of men. And Christianity is about the Love of God.

          A lot of decisions in life that we call “ethical decisions” or “moral choices” really do come down to following Jesus Christ or following the world. To choose silence and docility in the face of accepting a lewd and proven sexual pervert into a church is to choose evil over Christ. Christians have been appointed to reprove the world of sin, and that does not begin somewhere way out there. It begins in the here and now: right at church, especially when the church has become a safe harbor for abominations.

    1. perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to mention things that are clearly commanded in scripture like that one.

  6. The “North Valley Baptist Church” is also the namesake of the church pastored by Bart Janz in the Northglenn, CO area.

      1. You’re correct.

        They were North Valley Baptist Church before that; Lifeline Baptist Church before that; And Broomfield Baptist Church at the start.

        I do get confused sometimes.

  7. A succinct re-write:
    “STOP HAVING FUN (or don’t post it). DON’T SHOW YOUR BODY (but if you do, it better be smokin’ hot). I HAVE THE POWER (of the purse).

    1. Pretty much. We were overseas for a number of years with a non-denominational Christian organization. Because we had several supporters who were fundy-lite, we didn’t say or do much on facebook solely because of that mindset.

    2. Amy, I think an even more succinct re-write would be:

      Dear Missionary Friend,

      Don’t upset me.

      Your Boss (I mean Friend)

    3. From the looks of JT’s deep tan, he enjoys some “fun in the sun.” (See recent sermon clips). Hmmmm, is it a sin to be too tan? He’s altered his appearance and that’s not how God made him. You know — kinda like he didn’t make us with jewelry on. Oh — and is a man’s watch or cuff links considered jewelry? 🙄


        1. Ummmmm….good point. Wait! He grew the fig leaves that were clothes for Adam and Eve. 😀

  8. “Your friend,

    Bro. Trieber ”

    Okay, why do fundy folks always have to abbreviate brother? Bro.? Really? Won’t the “bro’s” think you’re being racist?

    1. You can have fun with it. My old church has an Minister who signs papers ‘BroKen’ (Yes, Brother Ken). 😀

  9. My favorite part is where he notes that being out in the field seems to change missionaries (you know, like real encounters with real human beings tend to do to a person), and follows it with a line so fitting that I’m tempted to believe he’s subconsciously self-aware: “we have not changed.”

    That sentence couldn’t possibly be more perfect. It’s like he’s acknowledging that he (and his church, by extension) are still in a little box, that he hasn’t let his views be colored by encounters with God’s Creation and God’s Children. The church hasn’t grown, developed, or progressed. It. Has. Not. Changed. There’s more interesting tidbits throughout, but to me, that line says it all.

    1. It **has** grown, that that is the “proof” that he is right and everyone else is wrong. Same “proof” used by Jack Hyles.

      1. A relative told us this: a certain IFB church was growing so they had to be right while my husband’s church wasn’t which proved he was probably wrong. Numbers and numbers alone ruled the day.

  10. sounds like Jack’s a little jealous that everyone’s having fun on the beach without him! But the real question is, without “activities and casualness,” how are the missionaries supposed to lose weight and stay healthy?
    This raised some real questions for me:
    Since when are there movie theaters on the mission fields where fundy missionaries normally go?

    What fat family is he referring to?

    How are the missionaries failing to “give tithes and offerings?” I thought we were supposed to be supporting them financially? I mean, who are they expected to give to?

    “an honest evaluation of your ministry in comparison to North Valley Baptist Church.” Because comparing ourselves among ourselves is totally biblical.

    Ah, I’ve gotta stop . . my brain is about to implode with all the stupid.

    1. ‘“an honest evaluation of your ministry in comparison to North Valley Baptist Church.” Because comparing ourselves among ourselves is totally biblical.’

      An excellent point – not that I would expect much stuff that comes from Trieber to be biblical.

  11. Exactly what my last fundy “pastor” taught. He was always trying to make the box smaller.

  12. At least this guy talks about overwight, over here we have a bunch of pastors who are super overweight, but condemn people who have a beer.

    1. Potluck belly for a pastor is a badge of honor. Other people are fat because of sin in their lives. Just follow it… 😉

      1. just follow the fundy logic. Good grief, my brain is not functioning at full-speed this morning.

  13. In Trieber’s defense (ducks the first hurled tomato) he does better than 99% of fundy churches. As a former missionary I can assure you that waiting until furlough to drop someone’s support is unusual and admirable.
    The best I ever got was a short email that basically said last month’s support WAS your last month’s support from us. Usually they just drop you without notice.
    That said, judging people based on their Facebook profile is odd and presumptuous. I seldom post anything on mine beyond light and trivial stuff. I believe important things should not be shared willy-nilly. I am probably not the only person who is uncomfortable plastering deeply personal things on the web.
    Beyond that, he adds the usual Gundy addendums to the Biblical definitions of Christian and holiness.

    I was thinking yesterday about God as a righteous Judge. Why do so many think they can bribe Him and corrupt Him through flattery and actions?

    1. When I read the part about waiting until furlough to drop a missionary, I thought it was a trap devised to make the missionary more comfortable being truthful. I have a hard time believing he would keep paying a missionary that stopped being KJVO, for example.

      Perhaps I am misjudging.

      1. Could be that he’d define that as stopping being a Christian missionary (and thus of course the money stops) and that for lesser offenses spread by word of mouth you get to come back to the states and be well and truly personally grilled about whether it was true or just a rumor before you lose the money.

    2. And the belief someone can bribe or flatter their way with God is something I heard a HAC grad teach at my former Fundy church a bit south of Trieber.

      1. That’s one thing that really gets to me.

        One of the groups of early converts, the people Paul spoke to in Athens, included Greek followers of Hades’ personal cult. That’s who the altar to an unnamed god was for – they intentionally avoided using his name (Christian writers usually won’t mention this in texts about Christianity). Hades was the sane one in the Greek polytheistic system and while there were still sacrifices it wasn’t to the bribery point following some of the others meant.

        Hades was seen as fair.

        Paul told them ‘forget the bribes out of fear, forget hoping for fair treatment, let me tell you about a God who’ll give you far better than you think you deserve and says ‘fear not!”

        And a bunch of them converted.

        People who want Christians to try to bribe God through gifts, behavior, or anything else are going right back into patterns a number of the early Hellenistic Christians had already tried to flee from even before a Christian missionary got anywhere near them.

        1. Big Gary,

          Hades was more of an afterlife-deity than a god of death itself. And the practices of that group are incredibly different – sacrifices to Hades pretty much looked like those to any other god or goddess, only with more black fur and the priest looking away when the animal died, and referring to him was so oblique that the Roman name Pluto comes from a Greek nickname for him (and Hades looks like it may have been a nickname itself). They were just that terrified of attracting the attention of someone whose main role in their existences was basically just deciding whether they went to the decent part of the afterlife or a place of torment.

      2. That was one of Pope Jack I’s basic teachings. One of the things that drove him in the early years(by his own admission) was the belief that God would be so happy with all of his (alleged) conversions that He would lessen JH’s father’s suffering in hell…until JH later opined that his father may have actually been saved.

  14. One more thing:
    Attempting to export American fundyism to another country opened my eyes to the inherent absurdity of fundamentalism. I was sitting once, listening to a visiting preacher from the States tell the congregation through an interpreter that the King James was the Bible they should use when something inside me snapped that I could not unsnap.

    1. My favorite KJVOism is those who believe that non-English speaking people have to learn English so they can read the KJV. I really love those who think that if you use another version to explain salvation then the person isn’t really saved.

    2. This. My first experience overseas was visiting an ABWE missionary in Brazil. He commented about how American hymns and Bible versions didn’t cross over the cultural boundaries to his ministry, and how often he got comments from visitors that they were disappointed he didn’t use those in his church.

      Just one reason many IFB churches have “separated” from ABWE, I’m sure.

  15. On the positive side (since there were many negatives) he did say the church would not immediately drop support. I thought that does show a bit of love and concern. Many churches I know would drop you like a hot potato if you didn’t agree with them.

    1. Because he wants the missionaries to come home so he can roast them over the open flames of his churches’ ‘love’.

    1. this ^^^^

      better be a good steward and not spend it all on frivilous worldly things….like shampoo. Vanity, AHMEN!

  16. There is one part of the letter that did strike a chord; I have to admit that it bothers me a little when I read a missionary’s letter and he references the vacation and fun times he is taking with his family – at my expense (since I support him). I’ve read this occurring both on deputation (we were touring churches in Colorado, and enjoyed a week of skiing in the Rockies) and in the field (xxxx is a country with a rich history; we took a tour of aaaa last week).

    I know that my own employer provides me with paid vacation, so who am I to question it, but perhaps I am a bit jealous of the sites they are getting to see that I cannot afford to go to because no one is paying MY way.

    Am I alone in this?

    1. Agreed. I have seen where missionaries take an all expenses paid trip quite frequently. And that bothers me. Those on deputation get paid to traverse the country and see it more than the avg American. But on the flip side, some of these folks sit through hours and hours of the same type missions conference week after week…

      1. Some countries require foreigners to leave for a couple weeks every few months. I’ve heard a few missionaries explain that their frequent “vacations” were mandatory.

      2. 1. I didn’t get paid by a church, because missions giving does not mean I was their employee. I say cut the strings or don’t bother calling it an offering.

        2. You can have the stinking side trips and “vacations.” I hate road trips now because of traveling with screaming kids, having the car break down, running out of money, and staying in some rat hole passed off as a prophet’s chamber. I can assure you my life and vacations are far better with a regular job. Seeing sights or visiting new places weren’t enjoyable because we were miserable and tired and often irritated with each other. It wasn’t quite the easy life one might envy.

    2. This is true of churches also. I know of pastors who have NEVER taken a vacation in 25 years. Easier than to try to ask permission of their congregations.

      1. As for pastors, they are being paid (in theory) a salary, and they should get vacations just like everyone else.

        However, when a pastor is receiving money from other churches to start a new church, I take a dim view of him using those designated funds for a vacation.

        To me, that’s the difference. I give to support my church, and my church pays my pastor his salary and has agreed upon the various benefits he receives. I don’t have a problem with him taking a vacation.

        But missionaries are receiving designated funds to start a church in a foreign land, and it seems somehow inappropriate to use those designated funds for retirement or vacation. It is similar to a church member given money designated to repair a broken bus, but the man in charge of the busses used those funds to take his wife out to eat.

        I realize that missionaries live in a fishbowl/glass houses more than probably anyone, and should have time to recharge and relax, just like anyone else. I don’t know of a solution to these things.

        1. For me the solution is to accept the fact that some of the money is going towards the missionaries vacations so that they can keep their sanity while living in the fish bowl that is the IFB.

    3. Anyone you do business with takes their vacations “at your expense”. The missionaries I have known and worked with saved for their pleasure trips from their “salary” just like the rest of us do.

      When we were on deputation trying to be missionaries, we did see a lot of the country, and were treated to some nice side trips to see beautiful or historic places. We also spent a lot more on travel to churches who would invite us with no intent to support us. Until you get into the church, you do not know which type it is. We had churches invite us and after driving to another state, found that we would have to get our own place to stay.

      I think one of the main reasons we never got to our field was because I felt honesty was more important than being the puppet on the string. I said foolish things like, “we hope to help build Bible believing, culturally acceptable churches”. Many others would say things like, “we plan to build churches just like this one”.

      As far as missionaries talking about things other than just ministry, that is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” area. Some pastors will tell you to write about your family and what you do together. Others only want to know how many soul’s salvation you are responsible for.

      There are very good and very bad missionaries. Just as there are pastor’s, salesmen, mechanics, plumbers, bloggers, etc. Some are basically crooks, many aren’t. Too bad Trieber prefers the dishonest ones that dance to his tune for his money.

      1. That was well written.

        In my experience (having been an MK for 15 years) I can say that there are two basic types of missionaries in fundamentalism

        1. The glory hounds and fund raisers who see it as a way to do little work, make good money, and live somewhere exotic.

        2. The seriously contentious and well-intentioned folks who get get ground down to a pulp because of the bad reputation given to them by shyster missionaries and ever-growing list of demands from pastors like Treiber.

        It’s little wonder that the good ones spend a lot of time on the field either trying to ignore the politics going on back home or wishing they could find a way out.

      2. @UncleWilver & @Darrell: I never considered that missionaries were on a “salary”; I always (naively) thought that they determined how much they needed to live on (Y) and how much they needed to get a church started (X), and that determined their support (=X+Y); I always thought that missionaries took what they received, took out enough to live on, and plowed the rest of it into the work. It shows how disconnected a 20+ year church member can be from what actually goes on. I’ve never seen a missionary budget. Ever.

        1. @G.R.
          As far as I know, the larger mission boards are similar in how they take care of the missionary and his/her finances. (Some small or very independent boards act differently) They have an amount the missionary needs each month based on a number of things. The amount raised covers salary, ministry expenses, insurance, and retirement for the missionary. From my research, it seems common for about 10% of what they raise goes to the home office to cover staffing expenses. The salary account is just that-salary. The other types of accounts require some oversight from the board to access the funds.

          The retirement part has not always been. Many missionaries in the past have spent careers scraping by, only to get too old or ill to stay in the foreign country, and no net to fall back on when they do retire. Most churches drop a retired missionary, leaving them to fend for themselves. The board we were with also has some money each month go into a fund for travel back to the states on furlough, so that you don’t have the added burden of travel expenses.

          I didn’t know most of this all the years I was subjected to “Faith Promise” giving pleas. I thought pretty much the same as you. I’d always heard how a missionary should live by faith, but some foresight certainly helps. It would be good for pastors to explain these things. People should know how their money is being spent. Please don’t begrudge a missionary relaxation or retirement funds. Most of them are terribly underpaid for what they do.

        2. Yes, I completely agree that pastors should explain what you just covered… it would be a big help.

        3. …and I know how poorly some missionaries are treated, and I don’t begrudge them or pastors having time away from “the ministry”

    4. It’s easy to judge and some people are well-deserving of judgment. But other times you just don’t know what it’s like to be in that position.

      Your family is constantly under scrutiny. Constantly called on to perform like a troupe of traveling carnies. You’re farmed out to stay with families who are ill-equipped to take on another 9 people in their home but who are operating out of some sense of duty or pastoral coercion. One church crammed all 9 of us into a single hotel room where there wasn’t even enough floor space for all of us to lie down.

      So yes, sometimes missionaries take vacations. Sometimes they have to just step away from the grind or else lose their sanity. It’s easy to judge from here but if you tried it for a few weeks I think you’d find that it’s a lot harder than it looks.

      And for what it’s worth, most of our “seeing the country” happened from a van window at 70mph. Occasionally we got to stop and see a historic site or take a tour. That was the exception rather than the rule.

      1. I would add that I have absolutely no problem with missionaries I support having vacations etc. I love them, and I know that if it were me, I would need some R&R. More importantly I would need R&R without the stress of wondering if people were judging me for relaxing on “their” money. One of the keys to good leadership is “value results and relationships” (Ken Miller, “The Secret”). You have to take care of your people, and that means regular life rythms including vacation and rest.

        1. Not to mention the way things work in other countries are completely different. It took all day for my family to plan food. Everything was from scratch and required daily trips to an open market. It was a full-time job just making sure all of us were fed. Then, imagine it taking 10 times longer to do EVERYTHING, and you have some really exhausted people being compared to the “just add water” American lifestyle. It’s unfair (most of the time) to judge missionaries so harshly. Even though I have seen some serious stinkers (people who in no way could be employed otherwise, elderly people who didn’t plan for their retirement etc.)

        2. Even just adding water is problematic in much of the world, where you may have to walk for two hours to get a bucket of water, and even that water has to be boiled before you can drink it.

        3. I am aware of how poorly missionaries are often treated, and I support the idea of R&R.

          At the same time, I wish it had been made clearer what exactly the missionaries do with the money they receive.

          On the other hand, one wonders how much support a missionary would receive if he said “Part of the money you give for us to reach the Bereans will be used to fund our retirement and our vacations”

        4. Now hold on a minute, folks!

          I recall, I believe at the Sword of the Lord Conference at BJU (an oxymoron in and of itself)in 1988, hearing the venerable Jack Hyles preach (after the standing ovation) that he hadn’t been on a vacation in over twenty years (or something to that affect).

          So, if “Bro” Hyles can do it, then every missionary ought to be spiritual enough to follow his lead! WE NEED TO BURN OUT FOR GOD, HAYMEN!

        5. A couple weeks ago — right before school started — Trieber told the congregation if they hadn’t been on vacation yet, it was over (or something to that effect) and “literally” shouted “and we’re not going anywhere for Thanksgiving!” He may have added Christmas. Guilt, much? Manipulation, much? Control freak, much? 😡

      2. The parade of missionaries we saw come through the various fundie churches I was a part of were often living in a conversion van down by the river while on deputation, attempting to home-school four to six young children while criss-crossing the country filling out reams of personally probing questionaires and living off of the contents of Mission Closets that would make most Thrift Shops seem like Bloomingdale’s by comparison. (Toothpaste, circa 1993…)

        Every move, every association, every chosen song, every frame of their slide-show was examined with a microscopic scrutiny. The kids were often aimless…there was no place they could breathe, no friends, no familiar…anything.

        Mission boards and churches often seemed to expect them to be vagrant traveling salesmen for Jesus, somehow representing the King of Kings well in used ties and seven-year-old white shirts.

        I was in the fundie world nearly fifteen years, and only once did I encounter a missionary couple who had turned their ministry into a thriving economic fiefdom on a tropical island. All of the others were suffering for Jesus economically, and in so many other worse ways (children kidnapped, illness, acts of violence, isolation). Whatever “perks” come their way, I say, “fantastic.” Their life is one fraught with struggles and griefs (and, yes, joys as well) I can’t fathom.

        1. No argument here; the impression I’ve always been given is that 100% of the money I give to missions went to, uh, “missionize” the target people.

          It was a shock to realize that they money I was designating for African missionaries (part of it) was also paying for the missionary’s retirement and vacations.

      3. @Darrell; I fully see the need for R&R (and, by extension, I suppose, savings/retirement); it just doesn’t “fit in” with the view I had of missionaries.

        The last couple of missionary letters were telling about how they were sightseeing at Niagra Falls (or some famous spot) – I admit that I’ve always wanted to go there, but cannot afford it, and I did feel a bit jealous of the missionary who could.

        1. I can see it both way. In my former life as a seminary student and possibly maybe potential missionary, I never asked for money. I worked to pay my way. I never got to take vacations. I’d say ten years passed and I took one vacation my family paid for other than my gas money. I might get a weekend here and there with my family and every other year a week at Christmas.

          Then I see vocational ministers talking about their newest Mac (I was typing papers on a ten year old laptop that barely ran Windows 2000), their weekend getaway to a bed and breakfast in the mountains, their “mission trip” to Malta, their Holy Land tour, their new Xbox, etc.

          It left a bad taste in my mouth. Now I do have money and could certainly be more generous than I am, but I am very, very selective who I give money to. I pretty much have to personally know the person and have some kind of idea about their work ethic and also their motivation for doing what they’re doing.

          Most people in ministry aren’t trying to build a personal empire, but a lot of them are there for what seems to be profoundly bad reasons. That was partially true of myself as well.

        2. GR, I have some good friends who are missionaries in Niger, some other good friends who were missionaries in Portugal and he is now a pastor in a fairly large church in the States, and some other friends who are missionaries in the Ukraine. I hope you aren’t going to be too offended if I tell you that you were living in a bubble. Of course some of the money you give to missionaries will support their retirement and vacations! That has to be part of supporting a career missionary. If they don’t have at least a little bit of R & R (and not one of the missionaries I know take lavish vacations; more like day or maybe a few days trips) they can’t continue to do what they do. It is hard work. And with retirement, if the people who support them do not fund their retirement, who will?
          I’m with the SBC, and we know that some of the money we give to missionaries through the cooperative program goes for retirement. And we also know that the missionaries do take small vacations. Don’t begrudge them this.

      4. One church put us up in the kind of motel that rents by the hour, if you know what I mean. The sheets were used and had body hair in them, and I smelled like carton of Marlboros. We slept in our vehicle instead.

        1. I think that is shameful treatment of missionaries. If a church is going to have a missionary visit, the missionary should be treated as an honored guest. (as should anybody the church invites to be there).

    5. Some good comments on this. Basically, what it comes down to is this: Missionaries are real people too. They aren’t super-human, or even super-spiritual. God has simply given them a different burden than others. So with that said, don’t expect them to live any differently, just because their finances come from “supporters.” If you don’t want them to take a vacation, don’t think it’s ok to take one yourself. If you don’t want them to have a party with friends, don’t do it yourself. They’re people too.

      1. It’s a good statement… the problem I have is the idea of using designated funds for something other than what they are designated for. If I give money to help build a senior citizen’s center, I am outraged if I found out that the man behind it is using those funds for a vacation, or extravagant dinners.

        It helps to consider the missionary on a salary, as the pastor is.

        1. Missionaries don’t get retirement? You give the money because you’re supporting an entire family LIVING in a different country. This includes vacations and retirement, unless you don’t think missionaries deserve such things. And I assure you, even if it does bother you to think of missionaries saving for retirement, most don’t. Most live so thinly trying to support a family AND a building AND translators and ministry on one salary, it’s no life.

        2. I think missionaries *DO* deserve vacations; I just never really thought it through. Had a good discussion earlier in the thread.

          I was never told this as a member in the pew – the impression is always given that every penny we give to missions goes to help reach the people of the mission field.

        3. Most missionaries have a salary & a ministry fund that are separate, and I think you are (or were) thinking it’s all ministry fund to be directed as such. IDK the % of breakdown that goes to which, and the mission boards also siphon some off to stay in business. Most missionaries I know regularly contribute salary $ to ministry fund on top of whatever giving/tithing they do.

        4. @RobM; I wouldn’t be surprised… as I said, I was never educated about this, and always assumed that they missionary family took out just enough to live on, and poured the rest into “the work”.

          One wonders how things work out when the promised support does not come in, or if the exchange ratio goes against the missionary: I suspect that humble missionaries take a pay cut and do all they can to keep the work going.

          This has been a good discussion.

    6. Wait – are we seriously having a discussion over whether or not somebody is allowed to have a vacation?! America is strange! Everybody who works a full-time job needs the occasional vacation to have some balance in their life, to be happy, and to stay focused and perform well when they do go back to work. Deputation, furlough, and being on the field do not count as vacations. They actually need some time when they are not having to give an account for their worth, time to just be a family.


      And if missionaries are not doing a full-time job over there (I mean a standard 38 hour work week, not 24/7 slave labour) then of course they should be brought home. Missionaries are still people, and some are good at their job and some are not.

      1. Some people try to use the example of Jesus or Paul to indicate that if THEY didn’t take vacations, we shouldn’t either.

        My response is that …

        1. Jesus DID periodically take time away from the crowds who followed Him.
        2. Jesus’ ministry was limited to a three-year period.
        3. Jesus wasn’t married (not that unmarried people don’t need vacations, but certainly time-off is important for families and couples to bond together and recharge.)

        Now Paul did minister very single-mindedly his entire life, but we don’t know all the details of his life. Among all the preaching he did, he was certainly making tents. Plus he specifically said that if people were to live like he did, they shouldn’t get married because marriage required the spouse to please their husband or wife instead of just thinking about ministry.

  17. I always think when they say “the liberal crowd” they reinforce the words with a shake of the fist.

  18. “All I ask is that you please give an honest evaluation of your ministry in comparison to that of the North Valley Baptist Church.”

    Because obviously, NVBC has it all right and are the ultimate example.

    1. “We still believe that Christians ought to do these things:
      1. Be faithful to all services”

      Staying sound in the faith and preaching the Bible are way down the list.

      Priorities, guys, priorities. What did Jesus say the greatest commandment was?

      And random side note: a fundy I am related to was talking to another fundy I am related to, about a non-fundy I am related to. (Got that?) Fundy #1 was putting down Non-Fundy’s emphasis on love in his preaching, and his (seeming) lack of doctrine. I wanted to pipe up, what did Jesus say the two greatest commandments were? Love God, love your neighbor.
      Not, be more right than your neighbor. Not “be morally good,” even. Just love, because the whole law hangs on that. Love like Christ loved us, and that is a beautiful thing.

      1. Well, if you loved God you’d be doing all those things. And that’s not legalism, that’s Bible.

        (it actually hurt me to type those words)

      2. This!! Applause! Shouting glory! Thank you, Jesus, for your unconditional love.

      3. Yes! Trieber wrote that some of the missionaries changed. Maybe they changed because they wearied of following man-made traditions and decided they wanted to follow Jesus. And when they started to focus on Jesus, they realized that what Jesus emphasized and expected of His followers was often a lot different than what their churches and FundyUs had taught them.

        Of course, when they tried to actually follow Jesus, they started getting a lot of anger, criticism, and judgment directed at them (the way Jesus warned would happen!)

    2. Instead of reading, “NVBC is right in all things,” I read it as, “because we’re paying you, so you have to do it our way.” Which turns the issue from self-righteousness to asserting that the reason for being on the mission field at all was to replicate NVBC everywhere. Yep, just how I read the Great Commission.
      Naturally, it could be both. No rule saying they can’t be wrong in multiple ways (NVBC/Trieber, I mean). It has to be horrid to depend on such people for support.

  19. Since when do missionaries have to compare their ministries to that of only one of the churches that support them? NVBC is in CALIFORNIA…they have the modern amenities that 3rd world countries only dream of. “Well, if your congregation isn’t walking uphill both ways in the snow or mud, while dodging bullets from the local militia group, jumping over poisonous snakes, running from wild hungry animals, WITHOUT tipping over the basket of fellowship food they have on their heads to get to the Mid-week service….we can’t possibly support you” I just don’t get it.

  20. Do arrogant missives sending new found direction to missionaries you promised to support w/o such requirements not qualify as sin?

  21. FWIW, if you have to tell people that you support & love them as much as he has to tell people that, you’re doing it wrong.

  22. What is tragic in this letter is the attitude of imposing a cultural way of doing things on other cultures. Basically they are taking the role of the believing Pharisees in Acts who, even though they believed in the grace of Jesus, wanted to impose their cultural standards on others and call it a biblical norm.

    Or, to put it bluntly, they want “them” to become American Christians… Not just Christians.

    1. Actually according to this letter thay are to be producing Jack Treiber, North Valley Baptist Church, Americanized, Christians.

      1. thay?? thay??
        Ok my brain is officially divorced from my fingers. “Thay” are just going to type whatever they feel like, no matter how ignorant they make me look. (geez it just took me 5 minutes to type that little bit and correct it and retype more typos and correct …I’m in a typo-time loop and I’ll never get out arrrrggggggg!) 😯 🙄

    1. Don’t be. Jim Jones got 909 people to drink the Flavor-Aid and Trieber is more polished than him.

      1. @Ben, Those who follow the leadership of Jack Trieber, are much like the members of First Baptist of Hammond. They are either, extreme IFBers, or sincerely ignorant. You would be surprised at the number of ex-NVBCers that chose not to remain under Trieber’s regime, in the past 38 years! It is considerable!

  23. “Men keep your hair cut according to American cultural standards of shortness, and also keep in American cultural standards that require you to not wear any jewelry. It’s not like the priests of old testament Israel ever wore any kind of decorative garments while performing the work of God, so neither should you!… Sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. Notice I didn’t mention anything about the Psalms, pay no attention to the inspired hymnbook of almighty God, but be sure to keep your music to my extra-biblical standards of 1800s prairie hymns. Glow-ray!Remember, if your service is relevant, it’s liberal, and if your service calls upon the millenia old traditions of the church, it’s too Roman Catholic”

    -Cliffnotes version of the Triber letter

    1. Heehee, beautiful!
      It reminds me of years ago, when one of my fundy relatives went on a rant about how women shouldn’t have any authority, and I just went, “Deborah”.

  24. Because every missionary has ample time to search through every supporting church’s web site and explanatory literature to ensure that their beliefs, practices and lifestyle are completely aligned – that’s why this letter makes total sense. If there are conflicts between some supporting churches’ philosophies, deal with it; as a fundamentalist missionary, you’re probably already well practiced in holding conflicting viewpoints simultaneously.

    Having said that, I think that he does make a point about significant shifts in direction; if you began accepting support from a church after whatever due diligence was carried out, and you later decide that you no longer believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, as the locals have turned you on to Buddha, then perhaps you should voluntarily stop taking the church’s money.

    1. I totally agree that if a missionary no longer believes in JESUS, he shouldn’t be accepting money. But Trieber wants to separate over clothing styles, Bible versions, and the types of songs people sing.

      It’s not fair to tell people, “We believe the Bible” — the very Bible that says we have Christian liberty and that we aren’t to put our own personal religious preferences like circumcision or not eating meat sacrificed to idols, over on other people — yet then punish those people for exercising their Christian liberty.

      1. And especially if those decisions against the missionary aren’t being made because of what the missionary has done but because of the local new converts.

        There was a bit of a Facebook situation with a missionary couple who came to visit my church – a situation involving a teenager’s post (they’re missionaries to a refugee population in the US). If we and they were IFB, they could have lost all support before they even had a chance to make sure it wasn’t a ‘his English is horrible’ or ‘cultural practice we didn’t know to warn against expressing openly’ problem, or had the alternative of stranding a young convert without a cultural translator an actual half a world away from the people who speak his native language because of Separation and Conformity to Rules.

        And there was nothing those two missionaries could have done until after he’d already made that post. Not without spending all their time checking anything anyone in that entire refugee community wants to post online beforehand – and they’re too busy translating for medical professionals and helping the refugee kids graduate high school to do that!

    2. Given the tenor of the writer’s examples, he isn’t worried about abandoning Christ.

  25. This is not something I can laugh at. Jesus said, “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…you teach as commandments the doctrines of men.” Notice what Treiber is doing here – he is willing to defund missionaries if they are out of shape, go to the beach, or otherwise violate his own, man-made rules. This is another blatant example of how some fundamentalists are actively against the gospel – “shutting up the gates of heaven”. How different was Paul’s attitude who rejoiced that, regardless of motive, Christ was being preached. Here we have people who are al ot closer, doctrinally, to Treiber than to historic Christianity, and yet he is willing to cut off support over man-made adiophora. This is not humorous, it is wretched. Christ have mercy †

    1. It makes me weep.

      “Submit yourself to my demands or I will cut you off. I don’t care if you are reaching people for Jesus. You have to dress the way I want, read only the books I say you can, use your time only in ways of which I approve, eat the way I would, and sing what I want to sing. If you don’t obey me, I’ll cut you off. And I have the right to do this, because it IS my money.”

  26. Submitted for you approval:

    “According to the Bible, God created the heavens and the Earth. It is man’s prerogative – and woman’s – to create their own particular and private hell.”
    ― Rod Serling

    It is tyranny to project your particular brand of hell onto others. Especially when you do it under the threat of removing monitary support.

      1. yeah.. I see that. Truth is, my fingers and my brain are beginning divorce proceeding against one another. 🙁

  27. My immediate, uncensored reaction to this letter: “What the literal hell?”

    My second response was deep, visceral (& hopefully righteous) anger. How dare he threaten their financial support unless they jump through his extra-biblical, culturally contrived hoops? How dare he attempt to micromanage their ministry from his comfortable, privileged, First World vantage point? HOW DARE HE ATTEMPT TO USURP THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?! (Yes, I was yelling.)

    1. Yes, that is what he is doing.

      And he’s doing under a super-spiritual guise of “standing true to the Scriptures” when in reality HE IS NOT. He is equating his preferences to the Word.

  28. I lost support from one church because I included a picture of the church people posing for a picture and one of the women in the front had on….(children avert your eyes) pants.
    I received a long rambling Brother-I-thought-you-knew-better letter from some pastor. I tried to explain that the lady in question was a visitor which was supposed to be a good thing but that didn’t work.
    It wasn’t Trieber.
    Apparently I was expected to keep skirts by the front door of the church like fancy restaurants keep suit jackets.

  29. The really evil subtext to that letter is:

    “If someone does not conform to our standards they should enjoy what time they have left on that field of service because if we drop them, all the churches in our (denomination) “sphere of influence” will do likewise. Do you understand the offer we are making you?”

    1. I read it in the voice of Jack Woltz

      “Well, let me tell you something, my kraut-mick friend, I’m gonna make so much trouble for you, you won t know what hit you!”

  30. I LOVE that someone submitted this. I am so tired of people acting as if this church is any different than the other ones out there. The pride just oozes from this letter. What a disgrace to the name of Christianity.

    1. So true. The west coast fundies seem to have a reputation for being more relaxed, but it is the same fundyism and hyper-controlling behavior with a somewhat softer delivery. IMHO.

      1. Those who think the west coast fundies are more relaxed should come over to the west coast and visit the churches. More sunshine and pretty weather does not make them more relaxed!

        1. WCBC even demands their grads promise to return their unaccredited “diplomas” if they no longer agree with the views/doctrines of the college leadership.

          Since they are not accredited I am sure many alumni would be happy to return these “diplomas” for their money back. 😆

  31. Total control freak. I was a missionary for four years. If every church required you to agree 100%, you would have to leave the field. We had one prospective church send us a questionnaire that had at least 7 questions about the kjv, but none on the trinity, so we could have been oneness pentecostals as long as we got the kjv right.

  32. Back in the mid 80’s or so, Bro. Jack Hyles said that Bro. Jack Trieber was the most important man west of the Mississippi, so there you go. 😉

    1. We all know who Jack Hyles thought was the most important man east of the Mississippi.

      (Hint: not Jesus.)

      1. Yes indeed. So that would mean since Hyles died, Trieber has been the most important man on BOTH sides of the Mississippi! Those missionaries had better listen to him, or else! 😯

      1. In the opening of Trieber’s message at First Baptist of Hammond, immediately following the Schaap scandal, he referred ‘jokingly’, but for all to understand as fact, that Hyles’ did indeed consider him of that stature. Is he now considered the MOST important man on both sides of The Mississippi in fundamentalism, or the world? Maybe in his own mind!

  33. GAH! Can’t even laugh at this. Right here, everything wrong with fundamentalism. It has nothing to do with Christ, or his teachings – it has everything to do with enforcing a very narrow culture. One set of hairstyles, one set of clothing. One type of music, from one short era of history in one country. All other types, sung by believers from the time of Christ til now, throughout the world, must somehow be misguided at best.

    I can’t speak about it intelligently, since I’ve never done missions work in another culture (except for a week here and there on a missions trip, which obviously doesn’t count), but I would think the only way to really go about it would be to leave as much of your own culture at home, meet people where they are, relate to them in their own culture, and bring only Christ and his love.

    Seriously, I can’t even imagine how that’s so hard to grasp…

    1. Yes, yes, yes. There’s nothing about these missonaries spreading false doctrine or teaching extrabiblical/unbiblical practices. In fact, it’s all complaining that they’re NOT teaching extrabiblical practices!

      The order of Trieber and his ilk’s priorities is staggering. They legitimately appear to value not going to movie theaters, women wearing skirts, etc. MORE than proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation.

  34. On the one hand, I wish no trouble for the missionaries themselves; on the other hand, if they are planting more IFB churches I kinda see pulling their support as a good thing.

    Though I suppose in the long run it just means they will send out others to preach the kingdom of their culture.

  35. Dear Pastor Trieber:

    Remember that infamous letter to your staff? How is it that you always document your stupidity in writing?

    Christian Socialist

    1. Your letters are the best CS.

      I’d like a volume of them all compiled together one day.


  36. I think I need to take a blood thinner after reading that. My white-hot rage may give me a heart attack.

    1. I’m with you, MKXcomm! I was shaking with anger after I read that letter. And I’ve never even been a missionary or MK. It’s just so…obnoxious. Controlling. Invasive. Wrong.

  37. I think he’s sub pointing “Live holy lives” with examples of exactly what defines a holy life are all complete bunk. The only one that you could argue as defining a holy life (preach God’s Word), is counter to his first point of “avoid blasphemous entertainment” in point 1 at least in his church.

    1. Don’t put ideas in Bro Trieber’s head. Next, he’ll be trying to make all the men wear one.

    1. Word. How can you win souls if people can’t see the Armor-All on your tires when you’ve been driving all day on mud roads?

    2. This letter is a ruse to cover up the liberalization he’s done of not monitoring the missionaries cars!

  38. “However, we do want to make sure our missionary offerings are being sent to missionaries **who mirror the philosophies and direction of our ministry**.”

    As opposed to missionaries who mirror (imitate) Christ.

      1. oh, you mean our posterboy? Yeah, yeah, yeah… but it’s more important that those whom we support to be conformed to the image of Jack Treiber and preach the Gospel of North Valley Baptist Church.

  39. “How are the missionaries failing to “give tithes and offerings?” I thought we were supposed to be supporting them financially? I mean, who are they expected to give to?”

    NVBC of course! 💡

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