133 thoughts on “Guilty by Association”

    1. well almost.
      this is the kind of joke that I’m dying to share only my non-fundy friends wouldn’t get it…and I think my fundy friends wouldn’t appreciate it quite as much as I do. 😐

  1. This burns me more than you know. Just a whisper of their incorrect definition of “worldliness” and we don’t fraternize. But commit rape, fail rape victims, commit adultery, or beat the *&@# out of your child, and we’ll welcome you with open arms.

    I am angered beyond words by that.

    1. CORRECTION: We only welcome repentant MEN. Divorced women will ALWAYS be seen as the ones responsible for their husbands wayward ways.

      1. That is so the truth!

        My sister divorced her husband because he was thoroughly abusive. The fundy church they were going to supported her husband and treated her with contempt.

        She was told ( lovingly, of course) that she should be obedient and submissive and God would bless her. She was offered no help and no understanding.

        It wasn’t too long until she came to the idea that if *that* was what God made Christians to be like, she wanted nothing more to do with Him.

      2. Absolutely! The youth pastor at a former church had an “almost-affair” (whatever that means) with a woman in the church. When it was discovered, the woman was put out of the church while the man was demoted to merely a Sunday school teacher/bus worker. Of course, the man was married to the Pastor’s daughter. We have to make allowances…

        1. Islamo-Baptists. How long before women (even those not yet discredited) will be handed Baptist burkas prior to entering the church?

    2. “… commit rape, fail rape victims, commit adultery, or beat the *&@# out of your child, and we’ll welcome you with open arms.”

      Hey, nobody’s perfect.
      As long as you don’t let women preach …

        1. I’ve heard a lot of women preach. They seem to have about the same percentages of great, so-so, and terrible preachers as their male brethren.

    3. Always assuming that they think those things are wrong to begin with:

      “It’s not rape unless she screams.” Deut. 22:24

      “The Bible COMMANDS us to beat our children.” Prov. 23:14

  2. Madness!

    And when I try to explain this to a fundy, I’m left wanting to pound my head into a wall that they refuse to see.

    1. As my mother says, when she hears anyone criticize a fundy for anything, “Wow, they sound pretty bitter.” But when she hears a anyone criticize a non-fundy for anything, “Wow, God has really given that person special insight and discretion to warn us why something that appears to be good is actually bad.”

      1. Why can’t people focus on whether or not the accusation is true, instead of the mood of the person saying it?

        Saying somebody with a complaint is bitter, or angry, or depressed, or whatever, is just a cheap way to change the subject.

        And I don’t care whether I sound bitter about that or not.

        1. I finally got to a place where I told my mother, it doesn’t matter if that person (usually me) is bitter or not. It matters if what that person is saying is TRUE or not.

        1. …Ouch…

          So, instead of Lee Marvin, I’ll be associated with a sticky can of soda all over the front of a pretty boy who doesn’t know how to ingest liquid refreshment!

          Very clever, BG 🙂

  3. I’m a Hyles Anderson graduate and have been a faithful SFL reader for a few years. I hope you all are okay with my company. 🙁

      1. I’m not sure it would have been more accurate, as you were merely using the same level of separation that fundies would have used. If HAC started using contemporary christian music, you can bet that any graduate would have been at least looked on with suspicion if not thoroughly avoided.

        That being said, welcome Paisley. We do not separate as the Fundies do. 🙂

      2. … or basically any Pastor/Preacher/Evangelist named Jack, or John… and of course those who deny the existence of White Pianos… 😯

        1. Ok, I give up. Can someone please explain to me the significance of all the “white piano” references here? I have been reading this blog for almost two years and I still don’t get it. I tried searching previous posts and didn’t have much luck.

        2. It’s there!

          I couldn’t see it for a long time, but now it’s clear as day. There is a white piano!

        3. I am in the camp of the believers in the white piano. Scorpio is a poor, misguided heretic. I have to separate from him.

        4. I know there’s a SFL post with NVBC’s four white pianos, somewhere. Maybe someone can find that. It should explain all comments referring to more than one white piano in a “holy” church.

        5. Thx Scorpio! Yes, was thinking of the 1st one, but never saw the 2nd. Wow, is having more than one white piano make your church higher on the ‘holy’ scale?

          As for Trieber’s obsession with having so many pianos, he was a music major, not a pastoral major. Actually, that in itself answers a lot of questions about his preaching!

        6. Since all Trieber ever preaches about is his own greatness, it’s hard to guess what he majored in, other than ego.

        7. Amazing how often they major in the minor things. After all, the only one who is really interested in his ego is … him.

        8. IDK if there is any hope for those that report seeing a white piano. Clearly that level of dedication to the wrong path is very hard to break. 🙂

        9. I’m a little nervous that Deacon’s Son has not yet stated that there is no White Piano yet. I don’t know that we have space for White Piano compromisers or enablers, do we?

        10. Of course there are those who fixated on Jack in the White Piano photo and could not see the White Piano due to their Jack worship.

          (There it is, it had to be said. That may shock some of them out of their myopic, no white piano, tunnel vision… at least I hope so. Honolulu? ) 😉 😈

        11. No piano. I used to think it was a figment of imaginations, but I’ve come to recognize it as a sure sign of apostasy/heretics. 🙂

        12. I didn’t mean to imply by “now” that I didn’t see it until NOW this week. I mean originally when the pic first went up. I just couldn’t see it at first at all until my eyes figured out what I was looking at — the side/underside view of a white piano.

          It’s there!

      1. Hyles was a hypocrite for sure. He used to say that wearing sunglasses was an abomination yet starting in the late 80’s Hyles would always wear dark sunglasses in the pulpit. For a while, some of his cronies did as well but he shot them down for copying him.

        “And yet you send your little darlin’ down to Pensacola” Jack Hyles.

  4. This “fundy” (me), broke from them years ago! Not all of us excuse their many forms of abuse. Long before the adultery, fornication, and all other kinds of sexual misconduct, there was the worship of a man instead of God and a wholesale approach to the Gospel!

    1. Actually, “breaking from them” is a way to excuse the evil that they do. In the Bible, erring elders were confronted, rebuked, and disciplined. If they persisted in error, they were excommunicated and the church at large was warned about them. Having the sense to see that a professing Christian pastor is openly doing wrong and simply leaving him in peace to continue to do wrong to the flock of God is a way of excusing him from his responsibilities.

      1. While that is certainly the ideal in organizations that are committed to following God’s way, I am left to wonder if such a restoration would be possible at, for example, FBCH. For many corrupt IFB organizations, is there any viable option but to leave? With that said, after leaving, calling them out publicly for their wrongdoings is a very Biblical way to proceed.

      2. Let me explain what I meant. I’m not nor have I ever been a part of FBCH. I did not attend nor have I ever supported their school. I got saved and called to preach about 21 years ago. I was quickly introduced to their church and school through other preachers and immediately recognized danger. I started preaching openly against them and even calling out the two former pastors in sincere hope of warning other people. I “broke” from those that could not see the errors and complete disregard for the Bible. When I warned and was rebuked or critiqued by men or ministries that uplifted them, I knew it was time to “break” from even them.

        1. @Objective wrote: “When I warned and was rebuked or critiqued by men or ministries that uplifted them, I knew it was time to “break” from even them.”

          I would agree with you here. At some point you simply cannot remain as a puritan, but must become a separatist. Ironic, isn’t it?

        2. Well . . . you can always try the passive aggressive approach too: if you just start living and believing and practicing Christianity as you believe the Bible teaches it, sooner or later they will separate from you!!

  5. I know someone who claims that the Catholics have their sex scandals because of their false doctrine of forbidding priests to marry. Then they can’t understand why there is so much sexual abuse in evangelical circles, because ‘our’ doctrine is perfect.

    1. Just a small point. Priestly celibacy isn’t a “doctrine” at all. It’s a discipline. A doctrine is a truth of faith that cannot be changed. For example, that Jesus is true God and true Man is a doctrine that the Church has no authority to change. Priestly celabacy is a discipline that can, and has, changed according to the needs of the Church. The Eastern rite Catholic Churches do in fact allow married men to become priests. Even the Latin rite (or Roman Catholic) Church in the US has allowed some married men who were Episcopal priests to be ordained.


      1. I do not know where you got your definition of doctrine, but the word ‘doctrine’ simply means truths that have been taught. The Bible says we are not to change the doctrine or teachings of Christ. Priest celibacy is a “doctrine” just like every other truth taught in the Bible is a doctrine. It may be a discipline but it is definitely a doctrine of the Catholic Church.

        1. The word “doctrine” does not mean TRUTHS that have been taught. It simply means THINGS that have been taught.

          And in the RCC, which is much more careful with language than most other denominations, “doctrine” is used to refer to the teachings of the church according to the apostolic tradition which cannot be changed. “Discipline,” on the other hand, means teachings and practices of the church that are acknowledge not to be absolute and are amenable to change.

          Perhaps if more believers were capable of making this distinction, there would be a lot less fundamentalism in every denomination.

          For further reading: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/is-it-a-doctrine-or-a-discipline

        2. Thank you Deacons Son. I meant, things, not Truths. I agree with next paragraph as well. I would say it this way for Baptist. There is a difference between Precepts ( Biblical Commands), Principles ( Bible truths applied) and Preferences (personal standards of living not to be forced on others).

      2. @Deacon’s Son: Thanks. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

        @Objective: For example, 500 years from now the Catholic Church will still maintain that Jesus is “True God and True Man.” Whereas Pope Francis could start ordaining married men tomorrow.


    2. Yes, the “not allowing priests to marry causes them to stray into sex abuse” theory seems compelling until you start asking why married ministers (and laity) in other denominations commit the same kinds of abuses.

      1. True.

        But, it did give pedophiles a most convenient place to hide. Thankfully, new safeguards are in place to weed them out to the extent possible. Those can’t be weeded out will, please God, be exposed.


        1. I think the abuse scandals in various denominations have more to do with people (mainly men) being put into places of absolute power. Sexual abuse of any kind is not necessarily about sex but about that being the most effective way of demeaning and dominating the victim. It violates their most private feelings and sense of self. The abuser gets off on the victim not being able defend themselves in any way or form. That is why the victims are usually those who are low down in the hierarchy – and sadly both women and children are among these.

  6. Although I’ve not been an HAC supporter, especially since the Sword of the Lord Conference at BJU in 1988 where Jack Hyles received his worshipful standing O, I’ve really backed off from BJU cloned IFB churches where the “pastor” is the proclaimed CEO of the local chur…uh…business.

    The “jars of clay” don’t portray the excellence that such men in the pulpit demand from their underlings. Forbid that people in such fine fundamental churches should be imperfect humans, right?

    1. BJU and HAC have both been inundated with sex abuse scandals. It doesn’t really matter which sect of fundydom they are in, they will probably have some sort of problems. The church model they are using is terribly flawed, and does not allow for appropriate correction and healing from problems.

      1. Sadly, so many IFB churches and organizations are so far gone that I wouldn’t for a second entertain the thought of attending any IFB church. Even the ones that people have put forward as having more grace or being “not at all like the others” still have a lingering stench of legalism, which has become more repulsive to me the longer I’ve been away from it.

        Besides that, there is the near-universal “protect the Man of Gawd” attitude that pervades fundamentalism and provides a ripe environment for scandalous behavior to flourish. I don’t claim that this isn’t a problem outside of fundamentalism, but that’s another discussion for another time.

        1. And when one halfway decent pastor departs, it’s anyone’s guess who the replacement will be. My parents’ church recently replaced their fundy-lite pastor with a pastor who came in and the first thing he did was teach a Sunday School series called “Our Duties to the Man of God Pastor Shawn Spencer and His Family.” Not kidding, not Poe. That really happened. 😯

        2. Where do they find these people who will attend a class, taught by the Pastor, on “Our duties to the Pastor and his family”?

          I have some real estate I’d like to sell them. 😕

        3. well if you refer to the previous pastor as “fundy-lite” than he clearly was “pushing the church toward conservative evangelicalism” (direct quote from a new fundy pastor to me in a similar circumstance) so it was time someone showed up and put things right.

        4. Haha. No, the old pastor was about as fundy as Jack Hyles, but he was just a lot more gentle about it. We were his “retirement” church and he felt like it was better to draw his paycheck and not rock the boat than to get people all fired up about fundy sacred cows.

      1. Actually I had been up “super late!” I suppose that makes me the opposite of super spiritual.

  7. Short story here about my journey to freedom. The IFB church we attended was a typical KJVO church. I began using the NKJV while there – and I was the pianist. One Sunday I left my Bible on the piano after the morning service. I’m sure all of you know the terror – yes, terror – I felt all Sunday afternoon. And I was 35 years old!

    When we finally left about a year later, I felt the same fear about going into town wearing jeans. “What if one of them sees me?” I would think.

    Twenty something years later, I am a happy ESV-reading believer who listens to MacArthur, Swindoll, Piper…you name it. But that took time, a lot of time. My biggest regret is subjecting my children to that mess and seeing them turn from the faith because of it. One has returned to faith so I keep praying.

  8. My fundy Mog uncle is an HAC graduate. He likes HAC about as much as regular commenters here, and for many of the same reasons. He thinks the place should be shut down and sold to a property developer.

    He is a fundy only in the vaguest sense now anyway.
    I believe that in a few years time he will abandon the whole movement completely.

    1. They shouldn’t sell the property. They should donate it. The HAC lords don’t deserve to get more money from their evil empire.

  9. ESV is bad but hanging out with the ➡ HAC “Cullotte Klan” is good?


    Ok, I think I got it.

    I guess I will be bad :mrgreen: 😎

  10. I think the story of how the fundies came to hate Billy Graham is pretty interesting. My understanding is that he attended BJU for a time and then decided to leave over some fairly minor disagreements about some of BJU’s legalism and other issues. Bob Jones Sr. called Mr. Graham into his office and berated him about how he was a failure and was throwing his life away.

    There was a brief period of reconciliation later, when BJ Sr. realized that Mr. Graham was going to become a powerhouse celebrity and replace BJ Sr. as the go-to preacher for big name politicians. BJU even gave Mr. Graham an honorary doctorate. However, jealousy over Mr. Graham’s success was too much for BJ Sr. and he ultimately “broke fellowship” in a number of public and nasty ways. That was the moment in fundamentalism when they decided that being successful without following their rules meant that your success was not of God.

    OF course, the thing that strikes me about both parts of this story is the utter obsession with $$$. BJ Sr. was furious when no-name Mr. Graham left his school and took his tuition dollars elsewhere. Then, later, he thought perhaps he better make nice with a guy who was drawing in huge crowds (and $$$) and attracting the attention of men in positions of power. Then, again, once he realized that no special financial benefit would accrue to BJU because of it’s association with Mr. Graham, he broke fellowship again. It’s really pathetic and ridiculous.

    1. Dear Deacon’s Son:

      Billy’s celebrity status was very evident during his Snob Clones days. He was never alone. There was always a crowd of people around him. By that, I mean that Billy was always at the center of the crowd. When Billy moved, the crowd/bubble around him moved with him.

      Christian Socialist

    2. I know someone who’s done some research about the role that segregation played in this as well when Graham began to preach to integrated audiences.

      1. It’s been discussed somewhat before on SFL, but a last-ditch effort to defend Jim Crow had a lot to do with the rise of IFB and other Fundamentalist denominations, and the desegregation of schools was the main stimulus for the creation of a “Christian Academy” attached to practically every Fundy church. Public schools were OK with Fundies until they started letting in the darker-complexioned kids from across the tracks.

        This is most evident, of course, in the history of Bob Jones U, with BJ the First being an outspoken segregationist with close ties to some leading Klansmen, but it is by no means limited to BJU and its circle.

        All that can be probed in depth some other day.

        1. Don’t wait too long if you have personal contacts into that place and era.

          The oral history will otherwise die as this generation passes away.

  11. Also regarding the Roll-over text:
    Because we know that the real victim in such cases of abuse is The Ministry™ and that somehow or other the IFB will always find a way to blame the one who received the abuse.

    */end BITTER™ rant

    1. But the inconsistency there is that they blame the victim for hurting “The Ministry” but they never blame the perpetrator for also hurting “The Ministry.” Thus, it really has nothing to do with concern about “The Ministry” and everything to do with concern about protecting perpetrators from accountability for their actions.

      (Of course, there is also the issue of the fundy inability to differentiate the man from “The Ministry” but that’s a whole other topic.)

      1. It’s never the perp’s fault. It is the victim’s fault, because if nothing was said, there wouldn’t be a problem. See how easy that is?

      2. There can’t be a Ministry™ without a “Minister” so therefore The Minister = The Ministry™

        And of course the majority of the time the perp is in the inner circle of power, gives larges sums of $$ to the Minister/Ministry™, is related to the Minister/Ministry™ or is the Minister/Ministry™.

        So the syllogism remains intact:
        The victim of abuse is hurt.
        Allegations of abuse hurt the reputation and financial wellbeing of the Minister.
        Therefore the victim of Abuse is the Ministry™.

        1. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have thought all these comments about the MoG-so called- turning the facts against the victims was a bunch of malarkey.

          I fail to understand why these guys are more steeped in their tradition, institutional pride, self-promotion of their authority over every individual in the “church,” and persistent shifting of personal responsibility of the failings of ministry when doing it THEIR WAY ultimately doesn’t work!

          I still can’t help but wonder what Paul, or any of the other first century apostles, would write after entering the building of such ministries. We’d have three new NT books; 1st, 2nd, 3rd IFB.

  12. Dear SFL Reader:

    ‘Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”‘ [Lu 15:2, cf. Mt 9:11; Mk 2:16; Lu 5:30; 7:39; 19:7].

    Jesus was scandalized for his associations, yet he acted scandalously anyway. Beyond associating with the lost, Jesus searched for them. He said:

    ‘”the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”‘ [Lu 19:10].

    It is curious that our IFB friends so consistently side with Jesus’ enemies against our Lord and yet refuse to confess this wrongdoing. Siding with the Pharisees and scribes against the Christ, they show that it is not us so much as the IFBs who need correction on this point.

    More than most issues, ‘separation’ illustrates just how unlike Jesus our IFB friends truly are. Were we IFB style schismatics, the IFB movement would be the first people with whom we would break contact.

    Although I completely understand people leaving IFB congregations – and for many, this is utterly necessary to find healing – I believe that it is just as necessary that those well grounded in God’s word and who know how schismatic culture works should seek out those in IFB congregations. After all, Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.


    Christian Socialist

    1. Just another argument in favor of my belief that fundies are nothing more than modern-day Pharisees.

    2. @Christian Socialist:

      My thoughts exactly, and the Scripture does not lie!

      The problem with having “those well grounded in God’s word and who know how schismatic culture works should seek out those in IFB congregations,” is that the local CEO will brand you as “causing discord among the brethren” thereby branding this “grounded” believer as the problem.

      I wouldn’t suggest that someone still in such an IFB church NOT seek out such people, but such grounded people should understand that the consequences will not likely be understood by the CEO in the same spirit.

      1. Dear BigRedOne:

        Thanks for a great reply!

        ‘The problem … is that the local CEO will brand you as “causing discord among the brethren” thereby branding this “grounded” believer as the problem.’

        Absolutely correct! And I would never recommend this for everyone.

        What I describe presumes [among other things] spiritual and emotional maturity, a strong sense of self, and an ability to respond to such charges Biblically, dispassionately, and with clear, redemptive purpose.

        But while not the calling of all, this is possible for those who may be called to it.

        To be in that situation [and to be in it faithfully] is to recognize this as the path of Christ who willingly became the ‘blame-taker’ [scapegoat] for our sins. Moreover, the one taking this path must act out of a Spirit-wrought conviction that it is Christ who leads her/him to follow him on that path, in his Name and for his sake. In other words, one does this to be as Christ’s Presence so that God’s grace might come there. This is mission in its truest sense.

        Yes, ‘the local CEO will brand you as “causing discord among the brethren” thereby branding this “grounded” believer as the problem.’ It was in that sense that Ahab named Elijah, ‘the disturber of Israel’ [1Ki 18:17]. But how will people know this if no one ‘outside’ ever darkens their doors?

        What you say certainly is a ‘problem.’ It is also a problem that John stared in the face, giving us an answer as to WHY one might be there, and outlines a strategy while one IS there. John said:

        ’I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church’ [3Jo 1:9-10].

        This recognizes that the IFB movement has lost its way and that God’s people need better than Diotrephes. It also seeks restoration of IFBers still open to the Spirit’s leading.

        Call attention to the CEO’s deeds in that they
        — Act unjustly, falsely and without foundation.
        — Refuse to extend God’s welcome in Jesus’ Name.
        — Despise the gathering work of God’s Holy Spirit.
        — Oppose those who wish to serve God’s purposes.
        — Usurp the keys of the kingdom to their evil ends.

        John wouldn’t let this stand. He declared his intention to address these issues personally if he was able to visit. And if not, the Spirit inspired record was there to direct them as to what is needed where Diotrephes rules. The rule is this: whomever Diotrephes’ cap fits must wear it. John’s directives apply to see that it sticks.

        John’s positive alternative is as follows:

        ‘Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true’ [3Jo 1:11-12].

        Where one stands to dissent, others can ache to follow. The CEO’s attempt to squelch the dissent underscores the problem and makes the entire congregation aware of it. The expectation is that this voice will be silenced easily and shamefully. Jesus’ perseverance which refuses to answer is not set aside easily by God’s people. A persistent, consistent, loving presentation of these truths can be felt even in strident churches. IFB CEOs are not equipped to respond to a principled display of the difference between Diotrephes and Demetrius. Even as they rage, their hostility betrays them and the ground beneath their feet begins to shift. The CEOs come to be seen differently in the eyes of their ‘own’ congregation. And members begin to see that there is a better way.


        Christian Socialist

        1. @Christian Socialist:

          That, sir, is a well-thought out and sound bit of theology!

          I find it somewhat ironic that you pin the correlation of such modern day IFB preachers with Diotrephes. Just the other day my wife and I were trying to wrap our minds around what had just happened the Sunday previous when I mentioned to her an article I had recently reviewed that warned of such men who, like Diotrephes, love first place.

          I very much appreciate the time you took to articulate those thoughts in a way I’m not sure I would have been able to do! I’ve copied and printed out your words and, with your permission, would like to share it when appropriate.

          You ended with, “The CEOs come to be seen differently in the eyes of their ‘own’ congregation. And members begin to see that there is a better way.” This, we are seeing, is exactly what is happening.

          With all this being said, I do wish that I could have been the man to confront this head on while still in their membership:

          You wrote,

          “What I describe presumes [among other things] spiritual and emotional maturity, a strong sense of self, and an ability to respond to such charges Biblically, dispassionately, and with clear, redemptive purpose.”

          This is wholly missing from the one-man-rule systems of church government, such as the one I just left. It creates a spoon-fed level of growth where spiritual and emotional maturity is difficult to achieve.

          Perhaps, by God’s grace, spiritual men (like those referred to in Galatians 6:1) in such circumstances will be found able to take such a biblical stand for the sake of His people, the church (ekklesia), thereby bringing such men (as Diotrephes)to a place of repentance and proper usefulness in the body of Christ.

          Peace to you friend!


        2. Dear BigRedOne:

          You wrote: That, sir, is a well-thought out and sound bit of theology!

          I reply: ‘Too bad I can’t figure out how to turn off the italicized text [gnaws rocks] …’

          As you’ve just left IFBdom, I’ll guess you want something fast to give those who will [undoubtedly] come to show you the error of your ways. Can you use this text? This was John’s work. I’d say that he’d have no problem with Gaius’ sharing his letter publicly. But a document you intend to share needs more reflection than a slap-dash creation for an internet forum post.

          Your invaluable observation about ‘one-man-rule’ points to Mt 20:25 / Mk 10:42 / Lu 22:25 and the dispute about greatness. Significantly, all three synoptic gospels set that dispute in Jesus’ passion. In Mt and Mk, it follows a foretelling of his death and resurrection and continues with the healing of blindness [like James and John!]. You just can’t miss the humor there!

          In Lu, the institution of the Lord’s Supper leads, followed by the dispute. Then Peter’s empty profession is foretold. So in Lu, the Lord’s Supper speaks directly to this craving for ascendancy. Mt and Mk agree; the dispute is followed with sayings about the reversal of first [Diotrephes] and last, greatest and least, servant and lord. Then Mt and Mk add this saying:

          In Lu, the institution of the Lord’s Supper leads, followed by the dispute. For Lu, it is the Lord’s Table [which stands in closest relationship to Jesus’ work on the cross] which speaks directly to Diotrephes’ craving for ascendancy.

          Mt and Mk agree. We know this because after recording the dispute followed by sayings about the reversal of first [Diotrephes again] and the last, greatest and least, servant and lord, Mt and Mk both say:

          ‘“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”’ [Mt 20:28 cf. Mk 10:45].

          Mt, Mk and Lu all address Jesus’ life, death and resurrection directly to Diotrephes’ disease. Moreover Lu would have us remember this every time we come to the Lord’s Table. Then Lu adds this twist: the dispute over greatness is followed with Jesus’ foretelling Peter’s empty profession. Now Jesus’ words:

          ‘And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it will not be that way among you”’ [Lu 22:25-26]!

          Based on what we know, the meaning is clear. Whenever leaders foist elevate themselves over others, whenever they assert ascendency, or want to be first and greatest, whenever they are lordly toward others, all those deeds are a living denial of Jesus’ body, blood, teaching, life, death and resurrection, as proclaimed in bread and wine at his table.

          Lordly behavior is in utter contrariety to the kingdom which exists in and through Jesus’ person. Boastful profession can no more stand than Peter’s empty boast about following Jesus. Positioned here, the foretelling of Peter’s collapse shows that boastful profession cannot be made in obedience to Jesus Christ. That is not God’s kingdom way.

          Jesus died to make the better Mt 20:25-28 / Mk 10:42-45 / Lu 22:25-27 / 3Jo 1:12 way possible. To follow Diotrephes / ‘kings of the earth’ is not to live a ‘separated’ life; it is the every epitome of humanistic secularity. Those who demand ascendency are not separated from the world they ARE the world.

          In my opinion, much more work is needed in this area. I have wished sometimes that we here [and others] could somehow cooperate on such projects. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have with me were I to visit an IFB church some Lord’s Day. Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

        3. From the article I aforementioned: http://www.cultwatch.com/AuthoritarianLeadership.html

          7.9 Diotrephes The Dictator: An Example To Avoid

          “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.”(3 John: 9-11a)

          The words “I wrote” refers to a previous letter which has been lost. This lost letter probably contained instructions from John that Diotrephes ignored. Diotrephes was a man of influence and authority in the church who opposed the apostle John. His position is not clear but it was an important one. He was a domineering man who objected to the hospitality that Gaius had given to traveling evangelists who had John’s approval. He was more interested in advancing his own position than in furthering the work of God.

          Diotrephes was motivated by pride and selfish ambition. “Loves to be first” (NIV) or “wants to be head of everything” (Philipps) or “enjoys being their leader” (NEB) is all one word in Greek, “philoproteuo”, Strong’s #5383. It occurs only here in the NT. Thayer describe it as “fond of being first, striving after the first place, to aspire after pre-eminence.”[29] Arndt and Gingrich define it as “wish to be first, like to be leader.”[30] The statement “loves to be first” probably indicates personal rivalry and a puffed up and domineering ego. Instead of giving the pre-eminence to the Lord Jesus Christ, he claimed it for himself. He also spread malicious gossip against John and he intolerantly rejected those who disagreed with him.

          Every church needs to be wary of the religious dictator especially if that leader claims special authority or rights of seniority over the congregation, by virtue of his being one of the founders of the church. Often independent Pentecostal churches suffer from this abuse of spiritual authority. Every church needs a system of “checks and balances” to avoid this situation. All church leaders should be careful not to follow this bad example but model themselves on Christ. The genuine spiritual leader is not a dictator but a humble servant or slave like Jesus Himself (Philippians 2:7).

          It is the responsibility of all church members to pray faithfully for their leaders and their families.”

        4. Dear BigRedOne:

          Thank-you so much for posting the link to Jim Peacock’s article. I assumed the article was published in print media and was not available on the internet. Thank-you again for the great read!

          I appreciate that Jim offers this as a discussion paper. Discussion is precisely what is needed. I also agree wholeheartedly on the plurality of elders. It is deeply ironic that those who insist that Scripture offers too little support for a plurality of elders [see Jim’s texts] are also those who often bind the conscience of God’s people on far less evidence.

          For myself, I’d handle the ‘part 1’ premise a little differently. While affirming the need of individual conscience, it might be more in the spirit of 2Pe 1:20 to say NOT that EVERYONE has the right to private interpretation, but Rather that NO one has the right of private interpretation – i.e., including ‘Diotrephes.’ So far as the tyrant is concerned, the end is the same. But I like the idea of the church coming together and corporately [rather than ‘private individuals’] demanding
          Biblical church leadership. This invests responsibility in the membership. Membership simply must step up to the plate.

          It is also helpful that Jim uses a variety of lexicons and translations [and documents them!] as this produces a broader, deeper and fuller understanding of the texts he cites. Obviously, I much appreciate Jim’s closing with Mt 20:25-28 / Mk 10:42-45 / Lu 22:25-27. I feel that it can’t be stressed too strongly that Jesus’ death and resurrection are antithetical to tyrannical ‘leadership.’ But there is another line of inquiry which I feel belongs in this discussion.

          ‘Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘all these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”’ [Mt 4:8-9].

          Satan’s offer was predicated on Jesus’ bowing to Satan. Otherwise put, Satan offered Jesus the opportunity to ‘run the show’ PROVIDING that he did it Satan’s way. The obeisance ‘Diotrephes’ [by any name, in any time or place] demands looks too much like Satan’s words to be ignored. Jesus faced that temptation; should God’s people expect to be exempt from the same? Moreover, the request of James and John [Mt 20 / Mk 10 again] looks rather like their saying, ‘Jesus – we’d like to take up Satan’s Mt 4:9 offer; we’re fine with YOUR not wanting to administer your kingdom … can WE DO THAT FOR YOU?’ We’ll tell people what’s up and what to do FOR you.’ But yet again, Jesus is faithful.

          Diotrephes still breathes the spirit, ‘I’m in charge … you’ll bow to me.’ But I hope that when your detractors come [and they will] to ‘set you straight,’ that you can put enough questions / materials in their minds and hands that they will go back to their church DIFFERENTLY. That is, with different eyes and thoughts. And possibly with some printed materials.

          I’d advise staying away from spurious issues such as ‘KJVO.’ The minds of some on this and other matters are so besotted that I question whether ANYONE could set them straight. Talk authority. Talk the KIND of leadership Christ intends for the church. Point out the passages on elder PLURALITY. Ask who would assemble should Paul write their church asking that they gather at such a place and time so that he could meet with them.

          I’d like to hear how things go. Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

  13. I found that I had to separate from separatists in order to open up to the Great Big World God Created.

    Once I began separating from separatists, I could relate to people on their own terms, understand them without having to judge them, talk to them AND listen to them.

    Separatists lift themselves up from others and feel that they are more holy and devout. Somehow, because they “separate from unrighteousness” over small issues, they think they are big winners in God’s Kingdom.

    Of course, separatists view separation from them as “compromising.” Woohoo!

    Fundamentalists are the Pharisees of this day. Jesus was a radical liberal!

      1. Ironic, but necessary.

        However, separating from separatists may make one who does such separating a Pharisee of sorts in the eye of such a separatist who’s separating would be in the eyes of those who don’t separate pharisaical and as such more liberal in their separatedness.

        1. Oh, I agree! I can’t just nod and smile and pretend it’s OK when people substitute man’s traditions for freedom in Christ. I have to separate from that! But it does seem funny for me to widen my perspective of who my Christian brothers and sisters are while at the same time ending up NOT fellowshipping with those who were formerly the only Christian fellowship I had. But I can’t sit under preaching that does such things as call other Bible translations “perversions” or condemn CCM or refuse to be involved in meeting the needs of their community.

        2. Well said, @pastor’s wife!

          We just visited another church last Sunday after leaving our fundy-fellowship the week before; It was different and we’re going to have to “widen [our] perspective of who [our] Christian brothers and sister are…”

          I appreciate your perspectives on many of your posts. ❗


        3. Dear BigRedOne:

          I hope you find a congregation where the Bible is a window into the glory-throne room of God, where love abounds, and where you can use your gifts in our Savior’s Name!

          Blessings to you, BigRedOne!

          Christian Socialist

  14. In high school, as a new Christian, I met with an after school Bible study with kids from all different kinds of churches. I had ended up at fundy church (didn’t know better and they were nice to me). I was absolutely aghast when our youth group leadership said that we couldn’t play volleyball with the kids from a Nazarene church because of their stand on eternal security. We kids rescheduled the game during a non-youth group time, and I started questioning what I was being taught. Freedom came a couple of years later when I got to college.

  15. Wilson’s ship wrecked, and he ended up on a deserted island, where he survived for three years before rescuers found him. They asked if there were any other people on the Island. Wilson said he never saw any.

    So, they asked him why there were three huts on the beach. “That’s the one I sleep in”, Wilson said, “And that one is my Church”. “What’s the third one for?”, they asked him. Wilson shook his head sadly and said, “That’s the Church I USED to go to”.

    …A cautionary tale of separation.

    1. I had this one told to me (slightly differently) as the tale of the Russian Robinson Crusoe, who built two churches – “this one is my Church, and that one is the church into which I will never set foot!”

      Just goes to show you.

  16. Have fundies thought seriously about what they’re going to do when they get to heaven and they find themselves fellowshipping with the people they tried so hard to avoid on earth?

    1. They think God will be just as separatist as they are!

      The Almighty: “You claim to have gotten saved under the Billy Graham ministry and not at a church pastored by a Bob Jones preacher boy? Hell, level 7!”

  17. I went to a fundy school and a Methodist church. I once told my youth minister that any music that wasn’t specifically Christian was evil and we shouldn’t listen to it. She didn’t quite know what to say to my arrogant statement. (She led the contemporary service music, btw.) 🙄

  18. It’s ok to hate on MacArthur/Piper/Washer/Louie Giglio/Prosperity TBN Personalities but not ok to hate on Child molesting IFB pastors? I don’t get that.

    It’s ok to hate on Billy Graham for being buddies with the TBN crowd but not Larry Brown for smashing televisions and climbing pulpits??

  19. This entry is, I think, a bit unfair.

    John Piper *is* a Calvinist; preachers that are not should separate from someone they believe is teaching heresy.

    Billy Graham has seen many people saved, but his ecumenical behavior is troubling to many; it is not some aberration; it is what he promotes.

    I assume that Jars of Clay are CCM artists, and most (?) fundamental churches separate from CCM music as “worldly”.

    But the last panel was HAC, which does NOT stand for sexual crimes and the other wrong things. It is not the stand they promote or take, and it is unfair to separate solely on the basis of scandals.

    I have NO love for HAC; I think the administration has covered up things, and I think they teach un-Biblical philosophy and methods.

    1. Jars of Clay is horrible and musically inclined. Jerry Falwell took a ton of heat when he separated from IFB’s and advocated CCM music. He even got Stryper to play live on TBN in the early 90’s and at the Sword of the Lord Conference that year, Jack Hyles broke a blood vessel bad mouthing Falwell and TBN President Paul Crouch.

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