Do I Stay or Do I Leave? A Dilemma for Women in the Church — The Junia Project

Earlier this year we shared a guest post titled “Why I’m at a Church That Doesn’t Support Gender Equality”. The post led to a robust discussion of the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. Today a seasoned leader shares a consequence of staying in a complementarian church that did not come up in earlier…

via Do I Stay or Do I Leave? A Dilemma for Women in the Church — The Junia Project

Apostle Paul Addressed One Woman In Error Not Teaching Until She Learned Correctly, Not All Christian Women For All Time – I Timothy 2:12

 

by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

[Note: My ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is fond of ‘camping out’ on a few Scripture verses, even words, to prohibit Christian women from using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them in serving the church, including in teaching, preaching and leading. GBFSV pastors/elders’ claim this is ‘Biblical’. In point of fact, it’s not. Baptist women have been leaders, teachers, and missionaries for hundreds of years. I remembered that my Presbyterian grandmother’s (she died at 102 years old) medical missionary friends — women doctors — who practiced medicine, taught The Gospel in villages around the world, and they improved lives wherever God put them. I saw the slides as a child.

Given the Baptists descent into hyper-NeoCalvinism since the 1990’s and Complementarianism (women ‘obey’ and ‘submit’), not even traditional Baptist women heros of the faith such as Lottie Moon would be permitted to serve under today’s new hyper-restrictions. Concerned Christians have invented some new words to describe the NeoCalvinists’ Dark Ages thinking about women. “Chrislam” for having restrictions on women that are like radical Islam’s. It’s also been called “Shehad” (She+had, sounds like “jihad”), a term invented by blogger/Christian/researcher Brad Sargent/FuturistGuy https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/  to describe the NeoCalvinists’ “war on women”. I reject these NeoCalvinist teachings, which are *un-Biblical*.]

*This article is reblogged from Wade Burleson, Istoria Ministries, website with permission:

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/09/the-woman-of-error-in-i-timothy-212.html

The’ Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn’t Teach

When the principles and practices of the kingdom of God are made subordinate to the traditions of men, the power of Spirit-filled living becomes a figment of our collective imagination.  When religious leaders place shackles on God’s people to keep them from functioning as He has gifted them to function, the church becomes a powerless shell of immobility. Without the vivifying energy of the Spirit in the body of Christ, the King’s men and women become regal attendants fighting at each rather than royal ambassadors working with each other. If you have ever experienced a dead church, you know intuitively that the deadness occurs because leadership is controlling guilty people rather than empowering gifted people. The Scripture is emphatic that the Spirit gifts His people–men and women–with gifts of teaching, service, leadership, mercy, organization, etc… Good leaders get to know their people, find out how they are gifted, and empower them to fulfill their calling.

The Bible is replete with examples of men and women gifted by God to teach and to lead. No Bible-believing Christian seems to have a problem with men leading or teaching, but women fulfilling those roles, as gifted by the Holy Spirit, seems to cause consternation in the lives of some who are more familiar with tradition than truth. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip’sfour unmarried daughters, and many, many more). There are also dozens of additional illustrations in the Bible of women leading men.

I Timothy 2:11-15 Is the Text Used by Men to Restrict Gifted Women

Following is the text that is used to stifle women. I have placed only four words in (bold) that more accurately translate what Paul is saying, words that are a direct translation of the Greek. The reasons for the four words I supply will be explained below:

“Let a (the) woman learn in quietness and full submission. “12I do not permit a (the) woman to teach or to assume authority over a (the) man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (lit. “she“) will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

The verses above seem to say, at least on the surface and without the four words I’ve supplied, that no woman should ever teach any man; that no woman should  ever assume any ‘authority’ over any man; and that all women must always be quiet in the presence of men.  Of course, most evangelical conservative men would say that the Apostle Paul was only addressing women “in the church” and “in the home” so that women in the political world, corporate world, and secular world, are not under these restrictions. I find it humorous that conservatives complain of “potential malignancy” in one’s gospel orthodoxy if one can find a way to make this I Timothy 2 text say that it is okay for women to teach men or have authority over men “in the church.” Why is that humorous to me? Because those same conservative men have already found a way (rightly so) to explain how a woman can have leadership over a man and teach a man in every other realm of life (politics, business, etc…). Do we remember when Condi Rice, Secretary of State, spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006? She taught us Southern Baptist men a great deal about war and the bombing of terrorists, and we applauded her leadership as Secretary of State. So much for the gospel malignancy theory.

But back to the I Timothy 2 text above. For those of you “in the church” who get stuck on this text, and as a result, refuse to have women read the Bible in public at church, or teach a discipleship class with men in it, or refuse to have women serve as trustees, or elders, or committee chairpersons “in the church: lest they ‘assume authority’ over men, let me help you see how you are totally ignoring the clear teaching of the New Testament in favor of a poor and false interpretation of these I Timothy 2 verses. For all you out there in cyberland, and for a few of you in local churches who want to make women in leadership an issue of gospel orthodoxy, I will provide below a very clear interpretation of I Timothy 2:12-15 that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament’s teaching on empowering women in their giftedness. There are five basic principles that must be understood in order to rightly comprehend what Paul is saying:

(1). Paul is addressing a problem Timothy had with a specific woman teaching heresy to a specific man in the church at Ephesus.

How do we know this? There are at least four grammatical reasons:

(a). Paul gives instructions to “women” (plural) in the beginning of chapter two (i.e. how to dress modestly, live of life of good works, etc…), but beginning with verse 11, Paul switches from the plural noun (women) to the singular noun (woman). The definitive article “the” is in the original Greek (i.e. “the woman”), not the unfortunate translation “a” woman (NIV; NASB).  Paul moves from instructions to women in general (vs. 9-10) to a very direct instruction for a specific woman in verse 11. You can verify this quite easily with any online interlinear.
(b). The “she” in verse 15 is third person singular (again, the NIV and NASB unfortunately mistranslates the third person singular Greek pronoun in v. 15 with the plural English noun “women”). The “she” of verse 15 is the same woman in verse 11 and verse 12. She is the woman who needs correcting.
(c).  “…if they continue” (v.15). The word “they” is the accurate translation of the third person plural used by Paul. This plural pronoun identifies not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving (“the woman” and “the man” of v. 12).
(d). The verb “continue” is in the aorist active subjunctive. This verb’s tense confirms that the instructions Paul gives in vs. 11-15 are designed for the woman and the man in question (v. 12), to two people who are alive at the time Paul is writing and not to those who are either dead or not yet born (i.e. Eveor women in general).

(2). The woman in question was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be shown mercy.

Mercy and love toward false teachers is one of the themes of letter we call I Timothy, particularly because the assembly at Ephesus was a church filled with people from pagan backgrounds: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:3-5).

Paul has already spoken of the ignorance he was in before he was taught the truth: “(I) was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief (I Timothy 1:13).

Paul mentions how Eve sinned in ignorance: “…it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:13). The entire first two chapters of I Timothy are leading up to Paul expressing sympathy toward, and encouraging Timothy to display love to, that woman teaching error. We know that Paul wrote this letter in response to problems Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and those problems were known by Paul (I Timothy 3:14-15). This is a personal letter, not a general epistle, and proper interpretation requires the reader to delve into why Paul wrote the letter in the first place.

(3).  Paul expressed hope that this woman will be saved by Christ, even though she is in error.

Verse 15 “she will be saved through (the) childbearing” is a reference to the the woman’s salvation through the Incarnation of Christ (the childbearing). The word teknogonia is used just once in Scripture and the word is NOT a verb (childbearing)–it is a noun (THE childbearing). This is a reference to the Messiah, who was born from a woman despite the deception of Eve. The Messiah came to destroy the destroyer, to crush the head of the Serpent who deceives, and the deceived woman of I Timothy 2 will be saved through “the childbearing” if stops teaching heresy, learns of Christ in complete submissiveness (v. 11), and continues in“faith, love, and holiness in propriety.”

(4). Scripture only expresses a prohibition on women teaching error, never on women teaching men.

A similar passage to I Timothy 2:11-15 is Revelation 2:20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”

The problem with Jezebel was not that she “teaches and leads.” The problem with Jezebel was that she taught and led others “astray.” The only solution for a woman who teaches and leads astray is for her to first learn the truth. This is precisely the solution Paul proposes to Timothy for the woman of I Timothy 2. She must first learn “in quietness and full submission” (v.11). By the way, this is also a good practice for any man who is teaching error. He should be confronted and told to FIRST learn in quietness and submission before he attempts to teach.

(5).  The people who misinterpret Paul and attempt to prohibit women from teaching or leading men are ignoring the entire tenor and teaching of the New Testament.

God empowers His people through giftings and anoints His people to fulfill their calling through the Holy Spirit. The giftings of God are never distributed according to gender. The calling of God is never limited according to physiology. When the daughters of Philip prophecied, it was by the giftings of God and the anointing of the Spirit. When Anna taught the men in the Temple it was in fulfillment of the calling of God on her life and through the giftings and anointing of the Spirit. From Priscilla, to Lydia, to Junia, to Phoebe, and to all the rest of the New Testament women God used to expand His kingdom through prophesying, teaching and leading other men and women, God has gifted and anointed as many women as He has men.

Let’s not traditions trump truth.

©Wade Burleson/Istoria Ministries
*Recommendation: I recommend Wade Burleson’s books which can be purchased from sellers like Amazon. Wade’s most recent book is Fraudulent Authority, about abusive church leaders claiming power over Christians that God has never given church leaders.

History of heavy-Sheperding Movement Teachings Since 1970’s, Today’s NeoCalvinists’ Authoritarianism

Artcle by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

 

Over on The Wartburg Watch blog  http://www.wartburgwatch.com/some commenters/Christians know the history of the abusive heavy-Shepherding Movement. It’s un-Biblical teachings are now spread via Mark Dever’s 9 Marks organization in Washington, D.C. and other authoritarian groups like Acts 29. The most “important mark” of a “healthy church” as Wartburg Watch commenters noted is “Love” in the Bible, which NEVER made it to Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a “Healthy Church”, which is just abusive Shepherding all over again.

Resource/book: The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiolgy by S. David Moore.

“Brad/FuturistGuy posted this on May 23, 2016:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-254411

After doing some background research, the book I picked as probably the best one for overall history and analysis is *The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiology* by S. David Moore.
http://www.amazon.com/Shepherding-Movement-Pentecostal-Theology-Supplement/dp/0826471609/
It would be really helpful to have a summary of key activities and indicators that demonstrate the presence of an underlying pro-Shepherding/authoritarian discipleship paradigm, and what contemporary groups function from that paradigm, and the history of the who and how that system got into those groups. I don’t yet know of any books that cover those details. Maybe a group can take that on sometime …” ]

http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-255111

Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 1:

refugee wrote:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
I’ll give a shot at an overview of what I know & experienced.
Late 60s – early 70s and the Charismatic Movement swept through the US – impacting all ages (though the largest percentage were highschool & college age) AND all denominations.
People who were not believers as well as people who had been believers and church members for years. These people encountered God, and it changed them. They had tasted and seen that the Lord was good.
I know heroin addicts who stopped overnight and never went back.
I know church members that had been content with feeding on their Sunday sermons, that began voraciously reading Scripture.
I know highschool students who gathered together in groups of 3 or 4 to worship and praise God, to pray to Him and to seek His face.
People continued going to their denominational church, and would meet with other charismatics at other times. Young people who had not been church members, would go wherever they could find a church – to a Southern Baptist church on Sunday mornings, a Methodist church Sunday evening, an Assembly of God on Wednesday night.
And when there wasn’t an official church meeting somewhere, they would get together (again across all denominational lines) in homes, or offices, or the back of a motorcycle shop to worship, to share what they learned that week, to pray for each other, etc.
I say all this to point out that no man was in charge. No organization was determining who did what when.
And in response, several men already in various ministries decided that something needed to be done. There was concern that people were not being held accountable, they might not be maturing.
These were already nationally known speakers and authors, and had established relationships among themselves (that sounds familiar).
It is within the above that the Shepherding/Discipleship movement was launched.
I’ll continue in a following post on what came next.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-255113

Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 2:

refugee wrote:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
Part 2:
The discipleship leaders were initially involved with a ministry in Florida whose leader committed sexual sins. In response to this ministry’s failure, they sought protection from such failure by committing to each other for accountability.
So, we had a large number of on-fire Christians going from one meeting to another, one denomination to another, caravaning to other cities for some traveling evangelist, spending hours reading books or listening to teaching tapes, as well as talking to and teaching each other.
The men, Mumford, Simpson, Prince & Simpson (Baxter joined later) thought that the burgeoning charismatic movement needed to be accountable to someone and that someone needed to oversee it in order for the people to grow and mature.
They named themselves Christian Growth Ministries.
And in no particular order – they emphasized the importance of:
Restoring biblical church government.
The local church.
Covenant.
Spiritual authority, spiritual covering, delegated authority.
Male authority.
Accountability.
Spiritual covering (everyone had to have a personal shepherd).
Unquestioned obedience to your shepherd.
Wives’ submission & obedience to husbands.
Honoring & serving leadership.
Not gossiping, no negative speech, no spreading strife.
This church – Elitism (we’re the ones who are doing it right).
Not making any decisions without your shepherd’s approval.
Unity (with no place for dissent or disagreement.)
Small shepherding groups.
Obeying your shepherd even if he is wrong & trust God will fix it.
Leaving this church and your are leaving God.
Shunning anyone who has left.
.
I’m sure I’ve overlooked some aspects.

The Roots of Patriarchy That We Are Seeing In American Churches by Gram3 on The Wartburg Watch

by Velour/MtnShepherdess

Conservative Christian Gram3 is a smart woman, wife/mother/and grandmother who has been “keyed out” [excommunicated from a church] for asking hard questions. She knows a great deal of history and is a logical thinker who posts comments on The Wartburg Watch.  She has been an enormous help to me in helping me deprogram from the bizarre teachings that I was subjected to at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.

Gram3 knows a great deal about church history, including the roots of the Complementarian/Patriarchy movement that we’re seeing in U.S. churches, and the spread of NeoCalvinism.  Gram3 and her husband Gramp3 were “keyed out” as she says, excommunicated from their church for asking hard questions.

**************************

Gram3’s post on 5/24/16   http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-254543  about the roots of Patriarchy that we are seeing in Christian churches, NeoCalvinism:

I would add to BradFuturist https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/ that Rousas Rushdoony was the fount of Reconstructionism (the Reformed version of Dominionism) which led to Federal Vision which plagues many PCA churches to this day. Federal Vision is Doug Wilson’s theology, though it is taught by Peter Leithart who is still inexplicably tolerated by the PCA.[Presbyterian Church]
Dominionism was also promoted heavily in charismatic circles via TBN and other outlets. The connection between the charismatic form of Dominionism and the Reconstructionist version was Gary North who is Rushdoony’s son-in-law.
Reconstructionism is a perversion of standard Covenant Theology. Some consider it merely an extreme form of Covenant Theology, but I disagree. As Brad said, they wish to establish a theocratic state modeled on the OT theocracy. They take that as a pattern for how we should do government and church and family. This includes the idea of Patriarchy.
Federal Vision shifted the focus from establishing a theocracy to establishing a church that is the center of everything. There is much talk of priests, fathers as priests of their family, etc. Rather than a focus on individual conversion, the FV focuses on baptism and communion. One becomes a Christian by being baptized and one is baptized because one is born into a family headed by a Christian man.
The word “covenant” is plastered all over a lot of different things, and I think it is important to keep those things separate lest we blame people who hold to standard Covenant Theology for the weirdness.
I think a lot of Reconstructionist baggage got ported over to the YRR by guys reading Greg Bahnsen who was an affiliate of Rushdoony. He was a brilliant guy who was highly respected as an apologist in the Van Til school as was Rushdoony.
Gothard is another thing entirely, as far as I know. Wheaton in the 60’s was not a Reformed stronghold. I believe that Gothard’s views were primarily shaped by a fundamentalist mindset in reaction to a liberalizing culture. The answer was more laws and rules rather than an emphasis on regeneration and the internal work of sanctification in the individual believer. He began his work helping parents who were frustrated with their teenagers’ rebellion. Any of us who have raised teenagers can identify with their desperation for answers, and Gothard offered a System for that just like our current Female Subordinationists offer a System which supposedly produces happy marriages and families.
I think there was a lot of cross-pollination among these various streams of thought back in the 60’s and 70’s to get us where we are today. The Christian homeschooling movement is another place where ideas crossed over. Rushdoony decreed that homeschooling is the only Biblical way.
The bottom line is that people will use whatever means works if what they desire is to rule over others. We have all been useful idiots, but typically in the present it is much easier to see when other people are being useful idiots. Retrospectively, some of us have been able to realize that we were useful idiots.
That’s enough for a comment box. If you Google these names and movements, you will find a wealth of information.

 

Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenant by Wade Burleson

Note: Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Enid church in Enid, Oklahoma, a Baptist church. Wade has succinctly explained why Christians should say ‘no’ to signing Membership Covenants.

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenantby Wade Burleson ©

“But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all … All you need to say is
simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Jesus
Village Church in Dallas, Texas recently placed a member named Karen Root  under church disciplinebecause she annulled her marriage with a confessed child pornographer.  A letter Village Church elders sent to members last Saturday (May 23, 2015) gave their logic for placing Karen under church discipline. The elders believed they had no choice because Karen violated the church covenant that she signed when she joined Village Church. Specifically, Karen violated the covenant by not getting church leaders’ permission to file for an annulment. The elders wrote:

“…Karen filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church… (by) signing the Membership Covenant, a member agrees … to receive our care…”

Karen had respectfully requested withdrawal of membership from Village Church, but the elders wouldn’t allow it because she had not sought their counsel. She refused to come “under their care,” so they put Karen under discipline. No Village Church member under discipline, wrote Village church authorities, can “withdraw” from membership. Therefore, Village pastors/elders “refused to accept” Karen’s request to withdraw from Village membership.

This is an ugly situation all the way around. Village Church leaders–regardless of the vocal criticism they receive–believe they are men of integrity. They are, in their minds, fulfilling their pastoral role and abiding by the church covenant they demanded everyone sign before they became members. Some who are not members of Village are blaming Karen for signing a church covenant. Nobody should blame Karen. She, like other evangelicals, probably had no idea of the ultimate consequences of signing church covenants. The guilt lies with church authorities who demanded signatures from prospective members that turned their spiritual formation and maturation over to mere men instead of the Holy Spirit.

Read Village’s Church Covenant. It’s chilling when it comes to the authority of elders and church leaders. Here are some of the phrases that the prospective member must read and then sign, vowing their allegiance to obey:

  • I understand the importance of submission to church leadership
  • I will submit to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church
  • I will agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at The Village Church before pursuing divorce from my spouse

I’ve written several articles stating that the major problem in modern evangelical Christianity is theauthoritarianism of evangelical leaders. I have sought to explain how pastors/elders “twist the Scriptures” and demand “obedience and submission” to this alleged authority. Jesus tells us that that true ‘spiritual leaders’ are only servants, never masters. Yet, evangelical leaders seem not to be listening to Jesus.

With this in mind, I would like to give you five reasons why I would never sign a church membership covenant in order to become a member.

(1). A church covenant makes the Holy Spirit irrelevant in my life.

We are called in Scripture to be led “by the Spirit.” Though there is counsel in the wisdom of many, when I sign a church covenant I abdicate my right to hear from the Spirit myself. When Karen Root resigned her membership from Village, she stated“I have sought the Lord diligently and several godly people I trust…”That wasn’t good enough for Village elders; Karen didn’t seek them out. A church covenant fetters one’s ability to seek the Spirit’s wisdom and advice from godly people other than the elders and pastors of the church that demanded you to sign.
(2). A church covenant replaces my one true Mediator with inferior mediators.
I have only One High Priest who stands between me and God – Jesus, the Son of God – and anyone whocomes between me and Jesus as I walk by His counsel and His wisdom is a detriment to my growth. A true servant in the Kingdom will only and always point me  to Jesus Christ for my marching orders, and willnever demand that I accept their orders as from God. When I sign a church covenant I’m in essence handing over the authority of Jesus Christ in my life to mere men.
(3). A church covenant makes the institutional church equivalent to the Kingdom of God.
 A 501c-3 non-profit institutional church plays an important role in the Kingdom of God, but the local church is not the kingdom of God.  Anyone who knows history understands that institutional churches who demand spiritual authority over individual believers have wrongly placed their institution on par with God’s Kingdom. For example, the great 17th century Baptist hymn writer and theologian Benjamin Keach decided to write a book for children containing evangelical truth. Authorities of the Church of England sought to execute him for writing that infant baptism was not biblical. On what basis could the Church of England kill Benjamin Keach? Answer: The same basis Village Church can consign Karen Root to church discipline. Leaders of the 17th century Church of England and the 21st century Village Church both believe their institution is equivalent to the Kingdom of God. Their leaders falsely believe that they hold the keys of life and death and of heaven and hell. It isn’t so. Don’t sign a covenant and perpetuate this dangerous lie.
(4). A church covenant by its nature is designed to protect an authoritarian structure.
When a Christian signs a church covenant that demands submission to elders/pastors, he or she is enabling that institutional church to maintain an authoritarian structure. Rather than the weak and wounded sheep being the focus of attention within the church, most modern covenants are written with phrases that seem intent on bringing church members into “submission to church authorities.” Quickly scan any church covenant, If “submission to church elders” is anywhere found, then know the covenant is designed to keep control of members and maintain the authority of the leaders. Paul Burleson points out that any institutional church more concerned with supporting their authoritarian system of control than healing their wounded members is sending signals of weak spiritual leadership. Jesus said that the world uses titles, positions of honor, and seeks to “exercise authority over those they rule,” but “this should never be the caseamong His followers (Mark 10:35-45).
(5). A church covenant requires something more than a simple “Yes” or “No.”
Jesus said that anything you have to do that goes beyond your simple words of “Yes” and “No” is from the “evil one” (Matthew 5:37).  When I join a church, I will forever refuse to sign any document, whether it be a “tithing card,” or “a membership covenant,” or any other document that requires a vow from me regarding my future performance or activity. In fact, if I ever attend a church that requires such a thing, I will refuse to join on the basis of principle. I will live freely, speak with integrity, and rest in the simplicity of following Jesus and living by the Spirit. I will not be fettered by written vows to a church that is seeking to protect their authority over me.
I need no covenant to guarantee that God will finish the work He’s begun in me.
<a href="http://youtu.be/Zio2Ml0IrV0">Wade Burleson, President</a>

Book Recommendation – Fraudulent Authority by Wade Burleson

Used with permission.

A wonderful book that I bought and would recommend. – Velour

“Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a Christian leader, because of title or position, has moral authority over another Christian. Pagans will seek offices that grant them power and authority in order to exert their leadership (lordship) over others. Jesus said that His people were not to seek to rule over others, but to serve others selflessly and love others unconditionally. When a church or home gives in to Fraudulent Authority, the people of Christ become more pagan in practice than Christian. Fraudulent Authority teaches you how to recognize this dangerous practice of Christians seeking to exert power and authority over people in evangelical churches and homes and what you can do about it.”

From the Author

“I’ve written this book for two groups of people. First, this book is for those conscientious Christians who are caught in the vicious trap of spiritual abuse perpetrated by authoritarian pastors who “rule over” their congregations, subtly suggesting that disobedience to “the church” and to those in “spiritual authority” is disobedience to God. Second, I’ve written this book for fellow Christians who love their pastor and church, but have not yet considered the consequences of signing a church covenant, handing over their spiritual formation and accountability to men rather than to Christ.  It’s my belief that authoritarianism in the church is the greatest problem facing evangelicals in the 21st century. Fraudulent Authority gives you a set of biblical principles whereby you can be aware of and stay away from churches and pastors that demand submission to their authority.”

Fraudulent Authority: Pastors Who Seek to Rule Over Others by [Burleson, Wade]

 

From Amazon: “Biography

Wade Burleson is a pastor, writer and historian who lives in Enid, Oklahoma. He is a native Oklahoman, born in 1961 in Oklahoma City, but he spent his early years in Texas. His wife, Rachelle, DNP, APN-CNS, serves as a Professor of Nursing at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Wade has served as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid since 1992.

Wade has written over 2000 articles on theology, history and current events, many of which have been published in professional periodicals. He is an expert on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and is working on a team assisting Booth’s descendants in attempting to obtain DNA from the “body in the barn” the government identified as John Wilkes Booth. He writes on theology as part of his career, but enjoys writing narratives of history as a hobby.

Wade also gives multi-media talks to civic, genealogical, and charitable organizations. His most requested multi-media presentations include (1). White Gold: Thomas Jefferson and the Great Salt Plains; (2). A Transient Abode: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, and Boston Corbett; (3). The Greatest Game Ever Played: Carlisle and Army and the Origins of the NFL; and (4). Red Earth Courage: The First Secret Mission of the Civil War.

A student of history and genealogy, Wade has written extensively for his immediate family on the lives of their ancestors. On the maternal side of his family, Wade is the direct grandson (16x) of Geoffrey Chaucer (AD c. 1343 – 1400), the father of English literature. His maternal great-great grandfather, Charles T. Cherry (1801 – 1893), immigrated to America from London, England in 1831 as a missionary to pioneer Sunday Schools in the Mississippi Valley. Charles later worked as an agent for the American Sunday School Union and became an author of several Christian books written for children. Wade’s paternal ancestors, the Burlesons, also immigrated to America from England, settling in the Carolinas during the early 1700’s. Wade’s great-grandfather (7x), John Crawford Burleson (1729-1776) served under George Washington and died in the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. Wade is a cousin to Rufus Columbus Burleson (1823-1901), President of Baylor University and Pastor of FBC Houston, and to General Edward Burleson (1798-1851), former Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. Wade’s maternal grandfather, F.T.D. Cherry (1912-1970), was an All-Conference tight end and track star for the University of Oklahoma and became a Christian evangelist. Wade’s father, Paul Burleson, served as pastor of eight churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1950-2007, including the influential Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from 1976-1982. Wade’s mother, Mary Burleson, is a retired Senior Editor for Random House.

Wade’s passion for reading has led him to become an antiquarian book collector. His favorite books of other centuries include Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms; John Gill’s God’s Everlasting Love to His Elect; and Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Wade’s favorite modern books include Laura Hildebrand’s Unbroken, Paul Young’s Crossroads, and Eric Metaxes’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Other than reading, Wade enjoys time spent with friends and family. He learned from his friend author of The Shack, Paul Young, a principle that guides his life: “There is no moment and no person more important than this moment and this person before whom I stand.”

Wade believes every person has a story, and his non-profit ministry Istoria is designed to intersect other persons’ stories with the Greatest Story ever told in order to develop a deep love and abiding love for His Story.”

Are The Claims of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley Pastors/Elders That They Are Being ‘Persecuted’ Because They Are Being Held Accountable…’Biblical’?

"Stay Positive" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

As the pressure mounts on the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders, instigated no less by all of their wrong decisions, bad decisions, and ultimately bad theology, they haven’t humbled themselves. They’ve dug in deeper. They’ve claimed in emails to church members that they are now ‘being persecuted’ and need ‘prayers’ for protection for the GBF Body.

Is it Biblical or just one of the manipulative antics of an abusive church? Read The Wartburg Watch article on the “9 Marks of An Abusive Church.”

Nine Marks of an Abusive Church

 

 “Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.“   CS Lewis-Screwtape Letters”

How can you spot an abusive church? Do you know the “red flags”? Dr. Ronald Enroth, is a leading scholar on cults and cultism, and his special perspectives have proven beneficial to both the secular and the religious society. Dr. Enroth is a professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) where he has taught since 1965, beginning as a sociology instructor. In 1992 Enroth wrote Churches That Abuse, and it continues to be an important resource nearly two decades later.
Margaret Thaler Singer, a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of the University of California, Berkeley, provided her hearty recommendation on the book’s jacket. Here is an excerpt:

“When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and fringe status? What is the nature of the process by which any given group devolves into a fringe church or movement? What are some of the signs or indicators that a given group is becoming abusive of its members and is headed for the margins? When should a member consider bailing out?

 

Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and groups that operate in this country – organizations and churches that are not necessarily characterized by doctrinal deviation but have particular traits that make them behavioral and sociological outsiders. It also helps readers identify and beware of abusive tendencies in more “normal” Christian churches.”
In his classic book Dr. Enroth identifies distinctive traits of abusive churches which should serve as “red flags”. Pat Zukeran, a research associate with Probe Ministries, has written an excellent review of Churches That Abuse, and we will be sharing excerpts from his article “Abusive Churches”, along with quotes from the book, to explain some of these identifying traits or “MARKS”.
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‘(4) Perceived persecution

 

To explain this identifying mark, Zukeran writes: “Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the Apostles.

Jesus and the Apostles were persecuted for preaching the truth. Abusive churches bring on much of their negative press because of their own actions. Yet, any criticism received, no matter what the source–whether Christian or secular–is always viewed as an attack from Satan, even if the criticisms are based on the Bible.”’