Driscoll, Mars Hill, and Why the Problem is Much Bigger Than One Church

Driscoll, Mars Hill, and Why the Problem is Much Bigger Than One Church

Driscoll, Mars Hill, and Why the Problem is Much Bigger Than One Church

Driscoll, Mars Hill, and Why the Problem is Much Bigger Than One Church

There has been a lot of speculation on the Internet lately regarding the problems with the future of Mark Driscoll, pastor of the Mars Hill church and the church itself. Currently, Driscoll is taking a 6-week leave, the worship leader resigned last week, financial issues have led the church to consolidate or close some of its branches, and it plans to lay off some employees.

It’s not just a Mars Hill/Driscoll problem.

Trouble started brewing at the Mars Hill church back in 2007 when new by-laws were proposed and two elders who objected to the planned centralization of power with its potential for unrestrained abuse of power were fired before the new by-laws went to vote. Unfortunately, people seem to be mostly concerned with the fact that one pastor and one small group of elders have been abusing their power, but the real problem goes way beyond this limited view — it is not as much of a people problem as it is a system problem.

When the two elders were fired, members had plenty of questions, which Driscoll and the remaining elders answered in the form of a 142 page document. In this document, the word power(s) is mentioned 78 times, not including the derivatives of the word power, which could easily increase the count to 100 or more.

Power in the Institutional Church

In the institutional church, power is played out in different ways, through gestures and conduct, and it is portrayed in certain ways, sometimes openly justified and other times, hidden. The power struggle at Mars Hill is not an isolated incident. It may seem to be, because media attention gravitates toward the mega-church genre of the institutional church, but power struggles within institutional churches of all sizes are very common.

Power & Language

Many congregants or members of institutional churches don’t realize the strong relationship between power and language. Language is a social construct that, given the right set of circumstances, can influence one’s desires or beliefs. In other words, group A, usually the pastor and a handful of people in the upper hierarchy, can use words to create a framework of perception that directly influences group B’s ability to know and understand certain things. And since people base their decisions and actions on what they know and understand, group A can essentially exercise a form of control over the decisions and actions of group B in such an indirect way that group B actually feels as if they are acting in their own best interest.

It’s not that there’s some conspiracy among pastors and elders. They don’t sit in the conference room making villainous plans with evil grins on their faces. It just happens, because they are fallible human beings in a system that brings out the absolute worst in those who get caught up in it.

Pastors and their elite (elders) regularly exercise powers that limit not only the ability, but the desire of congregants to speak or act in opposition. How does this happen? The short answer is language. But the short answer, just one word, doesn’t hold much weight all on its own. Speaking, writing, and communication in other forms are all expressions of language. It is crucial that believers methodically examine not only discourse, but the hegemonic structure of information management within the institutional church.

Yes or no: Can you speak or write to the congregation?

If yes, through what channels of power would you need to navigate in order to do so? Some possibilities include:

  • Making a phone call to the church office
  • Making an appointment with the pastor, elder, or someone else in leadership
  • Submitting to a formal review of what you plan to say/write and why
  • Gaining access to a form of discourse (for example, a microphone, the church website, a newsletter)
  • Negotiating the length of time you are allowed to speak or the amount you can write (word count)
  • Negotiating whether you might be allowed to speak or write more than once, to respond to opposition or rebuttal from the leadership

If not, why not? Are you expected to only be a recipient of church-approved communication?

Why You Need Permission to Speak or Write to the Congregation

Church leadership (pastor and a handful of elites) have free access to roles that involve speaking or writing, can decide what to talk about or write about, and when to speak or publish content. They determine subject matter, emphasis, and delivery. They also control speaking or writing roles subordinates can have, the content of subordinate discourse, and when subordinate speaking or writing can take place, if at all. In other words, the discourse of regular attenders/members and those in lower-level leadership is not seen by regular attenders/members as legitimate communication unless it has a stamp of approval from the higher-level leadership. And church leadership will only give that stamp of approval to (i.e. share power with) those who understand and comply with their subordinate roles.

Why Church Leadership Manages Information

Information management is a crucial function of church leadership for many reasons, but one common denominator among the reasons is power. Information management is opinion management, and opinion management ensures the power of persuasion, which is the primary power leadership uses to prevent a subordinate person/group from acquiring power.  There are other methods to maintain power, such as selective funding or budget control, hiring and firing, etc. but these methods are still strictly framed within the context of information management.

Information Management Is Opinion Management

Because leadership power structures can be altered through real, organic, uncensored communication among congregants/members, the control of information, its production, and its distribution is essential to maintain opinion management. Think about it. Institutional church leadership not only decides whether a topic is relevant, but manufactures a schema of perception for norms and values. This schema of perception is built on materials/information consistent with the values and interests of the leadership, including:

  • Weekly sermons (powerpoint presentations, videos, handouts, etc.)
  • Announcements
  • Meetings
  • Publications (bulletins, newsletters, flyers, booklets, etc.)
  • Suggested Bible translations and Bible study resources
  • Small group curriculum (textbooks, workbooks, videos, etc.)
  • Christian entertainment (books, movies, etc.)
  • Church website and moderated forums
  • Favorable press (advertisements, articles, interviews, etc.)
  • Official personal communication (conversations, emails, texts, phone calls, etc.)

All of these threads work together to create a web of consensus, a solidarity of agreement, a constructed “feel-togetherness” that serves a very powerful purpose…

Opinion Management Ensures the Power of Persuasion

Any judgments, beliefs, or attitudes of individual congregants/members that do not fit neatly within the schema of perception are deemed by other congregants/members as backward, abnormal, defective, deficient, or even heretical. Opinion management enables the religious elite to gain the power of persuasion through fear of nonconformity. They don’t have to say or do anything to provoke this fear, because the congregants/members do it for them. How? Through an unspoken agreement that objection = dissension, disagreement = sabotage, protest = insurrection, and the like.

If, for some reason, a congregant/member does not respond to social pressure, opinion management still serves a very powerful purpose…

Leadership Uses the Power of Persuasion to Prevent a Subordinate Person/Group from Acquiring Power

When the religious elite feel that a congregant/member or someone in a lower-level leadership position is a threat to power, their response, however hostile, can be reconstructed within the schema of perception as a benevolent, gracious gesture. The language of a pastor and his small circle of religious elites, in many ways, conceals the true essence of their intentions, that is, to control mutiny. Explicit enforcement of power, in the eyes of the congregation, can backfire on them, so it is disguised by the language of “wise counsel,” perhaps in the form of a simple request or a little bit of sympathetic advice. This is how the congregant/member or someone in lower-level leadership, who has every right as a minister of reconciliation ordained by God, Himself, to object, disagree, or protest, may be categorized as rebellious or contentious if he/she does not comply.

Behind the curtain, the pastor and his small circle of religious elites can act like little gods who can’t be questioned, minimizing or dismissing concerns without consequence. In the public eye, they use their schema of perception (see the bullet list above) to offer Christianese responses that limit understanding and use their high status as a safeguard against justified criticism. Private meetings (i.e. spiritual bullying encounters) are reconstructed and disseminated through the schema of perception, to be used as a basis for further decisions or actions, which are then categorized as church “discipline.”

How Information Management Is a Basis for Other Methods to Maintain Power

When wise counsel and discipline fail, maintaining power becomes difficult, but still possible, with good information management. If the offender is an employee, threat of unpaid leave or termination may be used to maintain power. If the offender is not an employee, threat of losing status or influence in the church may have the same effect. With offenders who just won’t go away quietly, shunning can be a last resort. The problem with these and other methods is that pastors and high-level elders are only powerful in the church world. Even people who are fully assimilated into the schema of perception sometimes spot broken threads in the web of consensus. They begin to wonder whether the voice of consensus is actually just the voice of their institutional master  pastor and his bouncers elders.

In this situation, the small, power-holding group becomes especially vulnerable, and information management becomes extremely critical.  In the past, this stage of power-maintenance was not very difficult. The offender would change churches or move or stop going to church, and the congregation would only have access to information deemed relevant or necessary by upper leadership. Pray for them. Forget about them. As long as unfavorable information could be eliminated or severely restrained, the web of consensus would be repaired, and the schema of perception would be strengthened.

But we are no longer living in the past.

We are living in a time of pervasive and shared information. With free access to information on the Internet and social media opening the lines of communication, believers are beginning to form a true schema of perception where consensus is not manufactured and carefully maintained, but experienced as our souls are knit together in His love. Opinion can’t be as easily managed by a handful of fallible religious elite. They may clamor about and make panicked suggestions like “Don’t Google it, don’t blow your head up. We love Jesus, read your Bible, stay off the Internet. It’s all shenanigans anyways,” but opinion is beginning to form in a new way — deep within by the power of His Spirit. Perception is not so easy to control when most of the embarrassing facts are put on the table under the light of scrutiny. Believers have been blessed by God with a giant spotlight and megaphone. All of us can more accurately discern the gas guzzling, overheating Evangelical engine and the growing pile of discarded bodies behind it.

Power Isn’t Out There… It’s In Here

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, that He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory, with might to be strengthened through His Spirit, in regard to the inner man, that the Christ may dwell through the faith in your hearts, in love having been rooted and founded, that ye may be in strength to comprehend, with all the saints, what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled to all the fulness of God; and to Him who is able above all things to do exceeding abundantly what we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him [is] the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Alice, 3 John 9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

    You write nothing new, but you continue to display your bitterness.

    Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled {Hebrews 12: 15}

    Get over it and stop troubling yourself and defiling many others. Your tone is obvious and all the more to those who know you. You are dripping with this poison.

    Heretics must be thrown out and left to themselves. The institution, whatever it is, has a right to self-preservation. Go start your own and you’ll find out when things reach critical mass.

    The god you have manufactured for yourself is a mess any way, a real contradiction without foundation. You, too, are described in 2 Timothy 3: 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Your save-all god boils down to be: a cruelly partial god with the few of his favorites whom he spares the ages of fiery purging torments and forced confessions he prescribes for the remedial punishment of the majority. Can’t you see your god has a special favored elite group he saves that don’t suffer the severe purging that the majority are prescribed by him to endure? Remember he is the savour of both groups since you, too, say he is the savour of all. He saves the elite easily, but the rest he saves the hard way. He’s not a god of equality that way, dear Alice. He’s not equally loving to everybody the same way. This is the god you imagine for yourself and you need to face up to it. You need to see your god “fleshed out” projected full screen in detail, not hidden in your lovely rhetoric that prevents the details from being obvious. Fire and brimstone don’t work the way you perceive. They are purely everlasting punitive in results that neither add or subtract anything ever.

    • Alice Spicer September 9, 2014 at 12:08 am

      I don’t need to and wouldn’t want to start my own. I’ve already been involved in starting a church from scratch. It collapsed like a house of cards. Journaling the entire experience has enabled me to look back over the events that took place and clearly see how corruption and power structures in the institution work. Look at the verse you quoted: “3 John 9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” Am I seeking to have preeminence in the institution? No. I’m no longer part of that world. But I am part of the global body of believers, and as such, it is my responsibility to sound the bullshit alarm for those who are still caught up in the system, ignorant of its inner workings.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 12:12 am

        Again, Alice, your vulgarity shines your corrupt spirit for all to see, plus also you confession that you’re not physically and socially linked to any local congregation contrary to the will of God in Hebrews 10: 25.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 12:19 am

        Alice, you were thrown out because you had WRONG doctrine about Who God is and What God does. You’re Satan’s liar trying to get a hearing and spread your lies for the destruction of weak-minded folks. Thus you tear down the church instead of building it up. No institution is going to promote you.

        • Alice Spicer September 9, 2014 at 1:21 am

          I don’t want the institution to promote me.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 1:28 am

            Don’t worry, it won’t promote mental illness.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 1:23 am

        Alice, 3 John 9 wasn’t quoted to characterize you, but rather nothing new (power struggles). You wanted preeminence in the institution for your heresy. That wasn’t going to happen and you had to go because you won’t accept that fact. Accept that you were doctrinally in error, submit to proper Scriptural understanding, and you’ll be accepted among those who do in the local community. That’s the nature of the thing you’re fighting against and only you will be the looser. Beating your head against a wall is insanity and you are demonstrating you are mentally ill by your continuance. Even the fact that you took 3 John 9 personally demonstrates your mental illness. You wrote that your local church powers didn’t receive your heresy, but now by your reaction to preeminence, maybe that really was what you now unconsciously confess to be the issue you are trying to deny: you really wanted to be acknowledged as an enlightened teacher and prophetess. You can’t get there from here, that is, where you are. That’s because you’re not yet born again saved and filled with God’s Holy Spirit Who teachs saints wholesome speech since it doesn’t contain vulgarity which all perish with the using. Like Mary, you need the Fundamentalist Baptist faith or you’ll burn in everlasting torments for which you are currently headed. Return to your dad’s church and get genuinely saved, dear Alice. What are you waiting for? The god you have manufactured for yourself is a mess any way. Your save-all god boils down to be: a cruelly partial god with the few of his favorites whom he spares the ages of fiery purging torments and forced confessions he prescribes for the remedial punishment of the majority. Fire and brimstone don’t work the way you perceive. They are purely everlasting punitive in results that neither add or subtract anything ever. God can’t save all those you have love, but died without confessing Christ. They made their decision in this life and that cannot forever be changed. What’s happen to them doesn’t affect what will happen to you. God judges you by yourself, not with them. You are responsible for yourself. You stand in Judgment alone, totally alone, dear Alice.

  • Mary Vanderplas September 9, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I agree that the problem you describe isn’t confined to this particular church, that it’s widespread, being rooted in a sinful system in which many people are caught up. I agree that the hierarchical leadership structure that defines much of the institutional church fosters the misuse of power – the use of power to control and dominate rather than to empower others. I like what you say about how church leaders control the flow and content of communication as the primary means of maintaining their positions of power – preventing anything that would challenge their belief system or pose a threat to their power, to the status quo, from being disseminated. And I like what you say about how threats to power are typically prevented and handled – by creating a culture of conformity and compliance, by using language to mask efforts to control what others think and keep them “in their place,” and by placing strict controls on how situations are presented when someone does leave because he or she was forced out. I like what you say about the formation of genuine consensus by the Spirit of God, not by self-appointed purveyors and guardians of the truth.

    Thank you for the deeply insightful and challenging blog.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Mary, she’s great at finding fault, but she can’t supply a proven successful solution. All she is is a chronic complainer who can’t get on with her life. That’s mental illness.

      God hates complainers. He once had a whole nation full of them and He made sure they all died in the wilderness.

      • Alice Spicer September 11, 2014 at 12:39 am

        A solution for what? Fixing the system? That’s not going to happen. The system will be swallowed up in victory.

  • Lanny A. Eichert September 11, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Then, Alice, get over it and stop troubling yourself and defiling many others. You all will have to live with it as it is, meaning submitting yourselves to the powers that be as they are. You own answer proves you’re wrong for running away in stubbornness and that you don’t have the stomach of a saint to endure unto the end. Nevertheless you’re all messed up doctrinally and that’s a priority to get right by studying in your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church. Once you get your doctrine corrected the rest will filter out properly. Right thinking produces right thoughts, right emotions, right motives, and right actions. Get started ASAP.

    • Alice Spicer September 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I don’t have to submit myself to a corrupt system. You’re confusing submitting to Christ (i.e. love God, love others) with submitting to church. There’s a huge difference. There are times when we submit to one another, but when people call themselves leaders and then proceed to lead people opposite the direction of Christ, I have no obligation to submit to that.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

        Alice, David, after he slew Goliath, submitted himself to King Saul, the Benjaminite, even when Saul got jealous of David and tried to kill him. Remember David had several occasions when he was “on the run” to kill Saul, but he called King Saul God’s “anointed” knowing that Samuel had anointed Saul King of Israel. Even after Samuel anointed David to be the next king after Saul, David would not seek to kill Saul even though Saul had rebelled against God. David WAITED for God’s timing and would not assume his kingship until God made it happen in God’s own time. That should be instructive for you, dear Alice. There’s lots of deep things revolving around David’s attitude toward King Saul during that time even after Saul and Jonathan died in battle. Remember, Saul’s son, Jonathan and David were best of friends while the king sought to kill him. You have a lot to meditate upon {David} which can release you from your bitterness.

        Your dad’s church, like most Fundamentalist churches, is as close as you are going to get to God’s churches, and will less likely have the problems you fear most. You still need to learn good doctrine and get it together: that’s why you need to study at your dad’s church. There is no difference between submitting to Christ and submitting to one of His local churches. His church is His body. How can you separate the two: are you going to sever the Head from the body of Christ? You are not discerning liberal from conservative. Liberalism is apostacy; conservatism is fundamentalism. You’ll only find true churches were there’s pure doctrine. That’s why I’m trying to direct you away from main line denominationalism toward fundamentalism. Hasn’t your dad discussed anything like this with you? Main line “Christianity” wants to claim to be Bible based and lure people to themselves, but upon close examination their doctrine is greatly modified by what is socially accepted. You see in yourself how offensive Bible doctrine can be to your emotions as in the matter of everlasting torment, so you have naturally gravitated away from it by denying its truthfulness and Scriptures. Yet, dear Alice, you believe in denying yourslf and taking up your cross. If you can do that, why not do it with everlasting torment while you study doctrine at your dad’s church? Like I say, as you “get” the doctrine together the cross of ET will get lighter and lighter until it fades away into nothingness and ceases to be an issue in your heart. In studying at your dad’s church leave your heresy in the shadows. Your objective is to get sound doctrine, not enlist a contrary dialogue, but to learn what is taught. So get started. What are you waiting for?

        • Alice Spicer September 13, 2014 at 1:58 am

          How can eternal torment “get lighter and lighter until it fades away into nothingness and ceases to be an issue in your heart,” Lanny? I don’t believe it is true, as you already know, but supposing it were, how could the torment of billions for eternity possibly ever not matter to me? How is that possible, given that God created us with empathy? He would have to rid me of empathy to accomplish this. What kind of person would I be, to want to be rid of empathy? What kind of God would He be to take it from me? Love makes this line of reasoning (that one can believe ET without some kind of mental distress) dissolve into chaos.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 2:07 am

            Oh, Alice, why do you nit pick? When you learn to accept the truth which you’ll learn at your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church you’ll agree with God’s plan and stop opposing ET. Your emotions will submit to God’s plan as inevitable for most. God made the rules and it is His right of creation just like you have the right to delete anything on this page.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 2:13 am

            Do you have empathy for those going through physical death, but do you say physical death is not a reality? It’s not wrong to have empathy for those who will burn everlastingly, just don’t let that empathy destroy your ability to think correctly. Get correct think at your dad’s church’s Bible studies you should start attending.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 2:23 am

            In fact, dear Alice, empathy for those who will burn is great missionary motivation and likely your dad’s motivation for his decision to be full-time in the work. Keep your empathy in full bloom, but get your doctrine corrected through Bible study at his Fundamental Baptist church and you could join him in the work some day as a father-daughter team. That’ll be delightful for you, him, and the church.

  • Lanny A. Eichert September 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Alice, did you catch that? In the Revelation 20: 15 text the Greek εἴ τις ei tis which with the indicative, which εὑρίσκω heuriskō (εὑρέθη) is, is used when anything is simply and generally assumed to be, or to be done, or to have been done, or to be about to be. In other words, it is a simple first class conditional sentence meaning “if and it is true” that the search for those judged persons’ names in the Book of Life finds their names are not written there. All their names are not found written. They are all violently thrown into the Lake of Fire as hated trash, because that’s the meaning of βάλλω ballō (to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls). God doesn’t treasure those human creatures at all, but considers them vessels of wrath to be destroyed. Don’t you see that since there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, not a single saint stood in that judgment. That Great White Throne judgment was only for sinners. Romans 8: 33 makes it impossible for saints to have any damnatory sentence against them resulting in the Lake of Fire experience. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Since there are no charges against God’s saints they are not judged at this Great White Throne Judgment.

    • Alice Spicer September 11, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Rehashing old debates again, Lanny? Search through old comments to find my reply.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 12:00 am

        Alice, as I stated above Sept 9 @ 2:26 pm God hates complainers. He once had a whole nation full of them and He made sure they all died in the wilderness. In a figure you are stranded by God “in the wilderness” of uncertain doctrine and you’ll die there unless you start studying correct doctrine at your dad’s church where you can be properly convinced to saving faith. Be a good student, will you?

        Like I also previously showed you, your god who seeks to purify physically dead unbelievers by “purifying fire” continually testing their impurity with “brimstone touchstones” turns out to love the few more than the many since he makes it easy for the few but painful for the many, demonstrating he is partial to minimize the sufferings of the few. You’ve admitted the few benefit greatly by the gospel over the many that die w/o Christ. If you study at your dad’s church you will learn how equal God is in His love and how perfectly He keeps His promises.

        Perhaps you could get Mary and your mother to also go with you to your dad’s church while he’s away doing missionary work. All three of you could benefit by the Bible study. The more you get correct the better off you’ll all be.

  • Stephen Helbig September 13, 2014 at 12:23 am

    The system within todays so called Fundamentalist and Evangelical Churches is beastly. The beastal system is presented above as Alice outlines and is always in regards to the mystery of sin dwelling inside of every human being alive today. It has been brought about by the traditions of men making the true Word of God of no effect. They present a skewed, twisted, and off true plum line view to the character of who God IS and what God Does, and it has no regard for God’s will, His ways, or His judgment.

    People hear things taught as gospel truth while most don’t even know where the scriptural proof for these teachings are. They assume they must be so because it’s much easier to truckle with the mob, becoming dumb sheep because the preachers and teachers play a relentless drumbeatthats off beat to Gods Heart. This bestial system I speak of is founded upon the very traditions of carnal minded men in their beastly institution, and is void of all the spiritual liberty founded in Jesus Christ our Lord.

    When we the church and BRIDE of Christ without spot begin to see truth as revealed by the Spirit of Truth, we often find the true gospel to be dramatically different from what we have been taught and that sometimes our first response is to think it is a heresy, that is because of our fear of men. The preaching of these concepts that exist in our so called churches today are filled with traditions of these carnal thinking MEN, ~ Teachings ~ like the rapture, seven-year tribulation, one-man super antichrist, one-world government, rebuilding of the Jewish temple and sacrfices, and don’t forget eternal hell and damnation, ~ etc. ect, , ect.. These so called teachings have had such impact upon the Lord’s people that they actually think those things are true, but such teachings are void and empty when compared to tHIS marvelous truth. Alice it’s such a delight to see people today being delivered from such delusions and lies, yet one can still see that there is a whole church (beastly system) out there which still subscribes to those teachings and doctrines of men. To many Christians for to long have incessantly heard such a drum-beat, ~ Teachings about the wrath and judgment of God being poured out upon sinners and upon the whole world, that as one begins to share with them the GLAD TIDINGS of God’s gracious redemptive and restorative plan for all of mankind, it’s jus seems too GOOD to be TRUE, ~ Why? ~ Because that’s not what has traditionally been taught from the powers that be, (which ought NOT TO BE). That’s why such blog sites as whatgoddoes .com (along with many others) are so necessary to lead us to the final victory of laying aside such misconceptions. Alice it is so good to SEE and communicate about those answers to hard questions which are being addressed here, and also to prove, as the Berrean.s all things while holding fast to that which is good ~ And YES indeed, ~ “God has a way of making Himself known despite the thick fog of religious dogma”.

    p.s. ~ Thanks again for a wonderful blog and the new look is WONDERFULLY CLOTHED

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Stephen, has it ever dawned on you that the church and BRIDE of Christ in your useage might have true expression in an institutional local congregation?

    • Alice Spicer September 13, 2014 at 1:44 am

      I’m still looking into the rapture, seven-year tribulation, one-man super antichrist, one-world government, rebuilding of the Jewish temple and sacrifices, etc… I haven’t written them off, but I don’t embrace them, either. It seems like a bunch of fear-mongering hype. But I also have a hard time swallowing the idea that things will get better and better. Overall, yes, I can see Him at work in humanity, bringing oppression into the light of scrutiny, making us examine our motives and intentions and dreams. But then there are those who perpetuate evil, unwittingly or even intentionally passing everything that ails them to their children and children’s children. And if everything being brought into subjection is realized post-death, what about those who haven’t died yet? They continue to reproduce, creating a new generation to be brought into subjection. Regardless of not having all the answers, I feel peace with having the answers that matter most 🙂

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 1:46 am

        Alice, study at your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church and you’ll get it all straightend out correctly.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 3:08 am

        Alice, I have a question for you regarding everything being brought into subjection. Can that happen before Satan is dispatched to the Lake of Fire? I thought you had that one all figured out that full subjection doesn’t happen until reconciliation of the entire creation is completed. Now you seem to be thinking that “everything” is limited to each individual moral creature and subjection is individual instead of world-wide. That’s the outgrowth to your “every man in his own order” {1 Corinthians 15: 23} error. You see, you really need to study at your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church to get it all straightened out and corrected.

        • Alice Spicer September 13, 2014 at 11:38 am

          Chronology is interesting to consider but irrelevant in reference to outcome.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

            Sorry, Alice, but you reference chronology when you mentioned POST-DEATH and besides “outcome” is time-sensitive. Put your brain in gear, will you. Everything BEING BROUGHT into subjection is a chronological event in itself.

            • Alice Spicer September 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

              Yes, I agree with the idea that post-death is a chronological reference. But outcome is the result of the chronological process. The only way outcome could become “time-sensitive” is if the chronological process is incomplete. In that case, outcome isn’t really outcome of the process, but outcome of part of the process. In other words, there’s a difference between “an” outcome among outcomes and “the” outcome singular. Although we might disagree as to what the outcome actually is, I think we would agree that the “Everything BEING BROUGHT into subjection” has an irreversible end result (outcome, singular).

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

        Alice, you say you’re still looking into the rapture, seven-year tribulation, one-man super antichrist, one-world government, rebuilding of the Jewish temple and sacrifices, etc… I haven’t written them off, but I don’t embrace them, either. It seems like a bunch of fear-mongering hype. Your fear-mongering hype assessment is because you reject everlasting torment. You can set that aside for awhile and get properly taught at your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church on your list of subjects you say you are looking into if you are serious and not just hot air. You need to evaluate why God gives chronology if outcome was all He expected us to know.

  • Stephen Helbig September 13, 2014 at 12:52 am

    ” True Expression” of Gods GOOD NEWS for all mankind, is almost always shut down just as Alice stated above.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 1:40 am

      Stephen, you make the church Jesus said He would build an impossibility and you claim that to be Alice’s position also if you mean for me to understand the ” True Expression” of Gods GOOD NEWS to be equivalent to the church and BRIDE of Christ, because the mystery of sin dwelling inside of every human being alive today also existed in the first century. That being the case church history is all about a false church and you make the church work of the Apostles vanity and vexation. You reduce the church Epistles of the New Testament to vanity since they were written to institutional congregations. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. You have reduce the NT to complete vanity. That makes you an antichrist and very far from being a Christian.

      • Stephen Helbig September 13, 2014 at 3:08 am

        Omce again you have presented a straw mans arguement ~ the fact is Jesus will perfect that which concearns us and his church will prevail for we are his workmanship. I will agree that much of church history is in fact vanity because it has been seen through a glass darkly. ~ But we also must know that when we see Jesus we will be as HE is and in that very same glory He has shared with all creation. ~ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
        Concerning the epistles written, of which we are, we see a portion of this process of vanity being replaced with His glory ~ and an ever increasing knowledge in the Love of God. He will turn your ashes into beauty and your sorrow into laughter! Rejoice and be glad and put on your beautiful garments 0 redeemed of the Lord, for though your name has been desolate and forsaken, the Lord has called you Hephzibah and Beulah! My delight is in you and I have married you and given you a new name”
        The apostles were sent as part of this process just as you and I are sent ones. My beloved bretheren know that your labor is not in vain IN THE LORD, for we are one bread

        p.s. ~ Note today we are growing in this very process of Gods completion of ALL IN ALL ~ for we were bought with a price in His Love and this is the reality of who we really are

        p.s.s. ~ To be sure, we know the System is death, only because the beastly system opposes the Goodness of God in communicating the GREATEST is LOVE

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 3:28 am

          Stephen, you have judged that there wasn’t even a valid institutional local church on the earth immediately after the Acts 2 Pentecost and claim the Epistles began to better those invalid ones that existed. I need not say straw man for you have exposed your blasphemy.

  • Stephen Helbig September 13, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Lanny one of the things to realize is that God is not stagnant but always moves us from glory to glory in an ever increasing knowlede of His Love.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 13, 2014 at 1:43 am

      Stephen, you just put Jesus’ church in perpetual apostacy and you call that glory to glory. What kind of insanity is that?

  • Stephen Helbig September 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Regardless of not having all the answers, I feel peace with having the answers that matter most 🙂

    And the answer IS …

    Power Isn’t Out There… It’s In Here .
    For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, that He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory, with might to be strengthened through His Spirit, in regard to the inner man, that the Christ may dwell through the faith in your hearts, in love having been rooted and founded, that ye may be in strength to comprehend, with all the saints, what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled to all the fulness of God; and to Him who is able above all things to do exceeding abundantly what we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him [is] the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.

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