Transparently Yours

I do what I can to walk by faith in Christ and seek his wisdom, yet I can not stand idly by while brethren (and sisters) behave with such immaturity and lack of understanding for others who are not just like them. So, when I write an article like this, know that this comes from a follower of Christ. I preface this article like that, because I can be harsh at times and I don’t want it to be said that I’m anti-Jesus. I just don’t appreciate the hypocrisy, lies, and manipulation taking place in the Christian community. Jesus was harsh at times too, like in Matthew 23 when he ‘ripped the lips off’ the self righteous pharisees.

Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” KJV

For the last year I have worked very diligently to understand the diversity of pagans in our world. Through patience and humility I have allowed myself to walk by faith in entering their world so I can learn to understand. I have come to respect them as fellow human beings in this global community called humanity. I have found so many that respect my path and they have never tried to convert me nor do they bash Jesus to me. In fact, it was in a Druid community that my faith in Christ was deepened.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” ESV

I have found that many of them do respect the Jesus they read about in the bible, they just don’t respect the abusive version that some denominations of Christianity are forcing on society.

I found an article written by a pagan that I found rather interesting and posted it on my Facebook wall. I wanted to encourage a conversation of understanding so my Christian friends can learn to understand paganism with a more educated basis than the popular paranoia perspective so many of them espouse to.

It’s sad to see those who immediately throw stones without taking the time to listen. How do these people even claim to be missionary minded if they approach people with such exclusion?

I believe myself to be an organic minister and I love people where they are. It is not my intent to manipulate people into choosing Jesus as a deity, savior, or otherwise. In my faith, I believe that if Jesus wanted to give people a revelation about him, he could do that without manipulation and terrorizing tactics. Furthermore, I’m also not interested in conning people with false kindness in hopes that they’ll recite some man made prayer and pledge allegiance to the Christian flag.

Many times over the years I have had intense experiences with the Lord that convinced me to follow his teachings and accept the love he has been giving to me. It grieves me greatly to see religious leaders portray God as an abusive tyrant who threaten people into choosing Jesus. It does matter to me what people think of Jesus and how the Holy Spirit works, because I have a beautiful connection with him and I do not want to have broken relationships with people who think I’m lumped in with such immaturity.

In my view of Christ, people matter to him. And it’s through this perspective that I find myself viewing people as worthy of love. This authentic love flows naturally, but I’ll be honest and say that there are times when it’s more difficult to let that love flow. It’s when abusive people intrude and disrupt in which case I struggle with showering love on them. I fall miserably short and grow impatient when I see people being abused. Or perhaps this is just how the love of Christ manifests in defense of victims.

Luke 23:24 “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” Meanwhile, the soldiers divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice.” GWT

image credit David Hayward

I believe God loves us all equally. The story of the prodigal son is really more about the father and how his relationships with his sons can teach us a powerful lesson. Both sons had an inheritance. One wanted to receive his right away then depart to go live life as he so desired. The other stayed home and close to his father’s side. Through this story we see the father freely give the first son all that he requested and allowed him to go free, leave the family, their community, and did not condemn him for doing so. Once the son had lost all he had, he decided to come back and serve his father as a slave. The other son was not happy with how their father welcomed him home, prepared the fatted calf, and threw his arms around his son. This son who stayed home is often portrayed as the faithful son who obeyed his father and didn’t ask for anything. Yet, many times Christians fail to see the real problem with the story.

The story is not about the first son living the party life (although we do learn a lesson from that), but rather we see the obedient son plagued with a toxicity we call self righteousness. He thought he was better than his brother and felt that he deserved the fatted calf more than his brother. Even with this view, there is a bigger picture here. The bigger picture is the father who loved both sons equally. Both sons had the freedom to do what they wanted, yet each brother learned different lessons. One learned his father loved him and was a man of grace, while the other learned his father was not legalistic as the son assumed he was. Two sons had different views of their father.

God gives us the freedom to decide for ourselves. He freely gives Pagans, Atheists, Unitarians, Trinitarians, Catholics, Fundamentalists and Pentecostals alike, the choice to make on their own. If we force someone to recite a prayer without having the opportunity to make an educated decision, then we aren’t really giving them freedom to choose. When Christians make choosing Jesus into a threat, then what kind of choice is that?

If Jesus wants someone to choose him, he can contact them on his own. The Spirit knows how to convince someone of love. At the same time I do believe we have a responsibility to represent him with love and compassion. Even if people never choose Jesus, our responsibility is to represent him with humility, grace, and love.

Maybe some folks should refrain from calling them Christians if they aren’t going to be committed to living out the Gospel with love. Perhaps they can simply say they are learning about Christ, rather than trying to speak on his behalf and putting both feet into their mouths.

My heart for my fellow pagan loved ones (and anyone else for that matter) is not a mission to convert them, but rather a desire to understand them and to love them. We are all a part of the global family of humanity. Let’s follow in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiration by loving our fellow man equally. Even some of the most self centered, arrogant, and self righteous Christians are equally loved by God, it’s just more difficult for us to love them. Nonetheless, we’re all created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image” ~God

Some people are easier to love than others. While it has taken a journey of faith for me to learn to love others, it’s taking me a journey of strength and patience to love bullies.

Transparently yours.

Sisterlisa

Orthodoxy or Traditionalist

After I placed my faith in Christ, I began learning of the perspectives of those Christians I was in fellowship with. It wasn’t until many years later that I even learned the word, Orthodoxy. I was told by the leaders in that group that Orthodoxy is what our authority was. It was described to me as the basis for having faith in Christ. It was the essentials to being a Christian. Over the years I have come to see a different perspective and thus was labeled a heretic, in other words, I was accused of being a false teacher. Some have taken what was supposed to be the non essentials and made them into essentials. There’s always going to be a varied response to that and yet I find myself wondering…where is the grace in all this?

cross by lady_jess, on Pix-O-Sphere

When Christ presented himself to me, he did not hand me a list of “essentials”, he simply embraced me in love…. everything else I learned came later. Something he has been discipled me in over the last few years is humility. It would be an incredible oxymoron to get a degree in humility as it is something that we humans can not achieve mastery in. However, my fellow minister, Monica Barden, pointed out that we can have degrees OF humility. Which means, we grow in humility and may find ourselves in different degrees of it. I’m not sure we can arrogantly claim to have a deeper degree in humility over another, for in the day we attempt to do so we may find ourselves so full of pride and totally blind by the beam in our eyes. I do think we can recognize when someone else’s humility surpasses our own though. We certainly can recognize that Christ is truly the most humble of us all.

Now lets get back to this idea of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a word that many have come to accept as “right belief”. Within this realm are many beliefs in which they claim you must believe in, in order to be a “real Christian”. I have come to wrestle with this term Orthodoxy because it leads me to see pride involved. In the Orthodox view, the followers claim to be right and thus everyone else is wrong. This calls to my attention an argument of superiority and a serious problem with seeking to be a humble Christ follower.

Anyone who puts their faith in Christ becomes a Christ follower. Hence, they become a Christian. To attempt to disqualify someone as a Christian based on a set of beliefs creates a whole different realm of man led authority. When a person chooses to put their faith in Christ, that is all it takes to become a Christian. Everything else after that is theological study. Our academic education of all the diverse perspectives on the bible has nothing to do with our initial decisions to follow Christ.

I challenge the word and basis for Orthodoxy as an authority over who is Christian and who is not. I believe a better word for this group of people would be ‘Traditional’. The group that has followed their same old perspective of the Bible are Traditionalists. If they want to describe themselves as Orthodoxy then that is their freedom, however just because they claim to be Orthodoxy doesn’t mean they are. It also doesn’t mean they have authority to dictate to anyone else who is a Christian and who isn’t all based on their traditional views.

I am not against Christians who follow in their traditions, I’m just leery of them assuming authority over who is and is not a Christian. We are free in Christ and can follow him as HE guides us. When you place your faith in Christ, you then become a Christian. Everything else in your journey after that is called discipleship. So don’t worry yourself about what an “orthodoxy” group says to you about your journey in Christ. They are simply following an old traditional view and that is their freedom, they just do not have the authority to reject you from calling yourself a Christian.

SisterLisa

Related Articles:

The Inquistion

Breaking Through the Chains

What are they REALLY questioning?

 

What is Killing the Modern American Church

After serving for 15 years in an organized religion, leaving it for 3 years, and finding our own unique walkabout with Love, it has given me a different perspective on the idea of what we call today’s church. Many pastors, their wives, and staff are writing numerous articles on the Net about why the people should go back to church, but I have yet to find any foundation in their teaching that would draw a person back out of genuine inclusive love.

More often than not they perpetuate this arrogant “we know it all” attitude and their tone belittles anyone who thinks outside the box.

There are a few out there who are welcoming to folks no matter what they believe and they present their views as equal humans in this life and value others no matter what they believe. They don’t put themselves, or their churches, on a pedestal and they are respectful to people who don’t go to church. Come whenever you want..not pressure, and it’s ok if you don’t want to go.

These folks are onto something.

The awakening to the fact that much of the religious institution of today is twisted and dissolving before our very eyes is not surprising to me. The Spirit of God was never about coercing people into religion, Jesus was about crushing religion and awakening people to the idea of everlasting life already belongs to them. He was awakening his Sleeping Beauty from the religious stupor and setting her free.

Religious institutions would rather she prick her finger on the spinning wheel again and remain captive to the system.

When a pastor’s wife approaches non church going folk with an arrogant get your butt in church message and threaten them with “don’t even bother complaining about your problems unless you give 10% of your money to the church first” it makes me do a double take. This is how you win someone to embracing the fold you’re in?

No, thank you.

But allow me to express myself further.. for I would not want to be misunderstood.

I have no problem whatsoever with people gathering together to enjoy music, worship, teaching, fellowship, etc. I think it’s a grand idea and we certainly have the freedom to do so. In fact, we have more freedom to gather than most people realize.

We have the freedom to set the day for any day we choose. We can set the frequency of such gatherings, we can use whatever music we want that lifts our souls, we can have massive potluck feasts or appetizers of cracker and juice if we so desire.

We can baptize or not baptize..with water..you can sprinkle, or dunk, or do a canon ball in the deep end of the pool. Whatever way you want to celebrate your Spiritual Life is totally up to you. Some folks are more formal, some are informal.

But the point of gathering is not to train people in religious practices, it’s for the edifying of the people. To encourage them to walk in faith…not religion.

Oh I don’t mind religious practices, but they aren’t required. They are optional.

Participating in ceremonial expressions of your faith to remind yourself of the spiritual fulfillment you have can be a beautiful thing. It’s when people try to force their own practices on you that church takes a dive.

My husband is a pastor, and has conducted weddings for folks..each couple has the freedom to plan their ceremony with whatever traditions they want. They can have a formal wedding in a church or an informal wedding with bare feet at the beach. It really doesn’t matter. What matters it that they are surrounded with people who love them and bless their commitment to becoming one with each other.

Why can’t more folks view church the same way?

What is it that causes a pastor and his wife to have such disdain for people who don’t go to their church? Is it the frantic despair they feel that the offering is low and therefore their bills aren’t getting paid? Being paid church folk has it’s downfalls. Eventually your focus leaves loving the people and begins to morph into a numbers game to keep the dough rolling in.

I’m not meaning to get into a debate about whether or not a pastor should get paid to serve the people. I actually see a lot of good in a church who has a credentialed pastor who can counsel people for free or low cost while the church who believes in his style of counseling gives offerings to support him or her in their desire and passion to help people that the church folk aren’t credentialed to do. I’m not opposed to a church having a building of their own as they can generate the funds needed to support it by renting out their building for banquets, weddings, and such.

There can be a lot of good from going to a place where the folks are growing together.

Perhaps the key..is to remain humble.

When the servants of the church are gracious and wise, the people can grow and learn how to be a community.

Notice I said servants, not leaders?

The leadership concept is killing the modern American church..no matter how ‘old school’ it tries to be.

God didn’t put us UNDER a leader, he put himself under us to serve us and if we’re going to learn what it means to live in the Kingdom then we will learn to be humble people who serve, not lead.

It’s the churches who are truly serving one another in love that will draw the people back into corporate fellowship.

The beauty is found in serving one another, not in getting a position of authority over the people.

Maybe if pastors would stop telling people what to do and actually humbled themselves to being servants..they might see a difference in their church attendance. But keep this in mind..it’s not about having a good church attendance..it’s about lifting one another up to BE a community of love and support.

So however you are growing as a community of love and support, continue on and enjoy it.

Religious Supremacy

This term might not be one you have ever heard of before, but if you have heard of White Supremacy then you will understand the concept I am presenting today. A Religious Supremacist is one who believes their religion is supreme over all other religions. But even more specifically, lets look at Denominational Religious Supremacy. Each denomination believes they have it either 100% correct or almost 100% correct and yet more correct than the next denomination. There is an overall urge to get everyone in your city to go to your church, because you believe your church is more correct than the next. The competitive spirit that is plaguing the churches is choking it to death.

Jesus never pointed to a denomination as being the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He never intended that building a theological religion of supremacy was going to give you an abundant life. His objective was to point us to the Father, he reminds us that our pursuit of correct theology is not the point! The point is to go to the Father. The Father isn’t out to find who got an A+ on their theological exams, he is looking for those who are looking to him. The confusion comes in when people think that acing their doctrinal p’s and q’s is actually pursuing God. So ask yourself this question, “What is my theology teaching me to do?”

Jesus warned the people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. They thought their way of religion was earning them their Teacher’s Pet status and in doing so they looked down upon others who hadn’t reached their level of religious superiority. The Pharisees debated the scriptures against the works and teachings of Jesus. Have you ever been in a situation where religious people taunt you and debate your acts of love against their interpretations of the scriptures? They want “proof” of your beliefs and they want “scriptural evidence” to support your works of love in the community.

Mark 8: 11The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

They love to make their knowledge higher than others, they argue to prove their “rightness” and they exalt their gates as something supreme which invites destruction.

Proverbs 17:19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

Matthew 16: 6Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The leavening is symbolic for pride. The arrogance of the Pharisees and Sadducees is a trap of legalism. When a teaching points to you or your religion as being supreme over others, then you fail to understand the way of the Kingdom is through humility. Allowing ourselves to be puffed up in our own imaginations is setting ourselves up for destruction.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Do the teachings at your gathering point to the abundant life in Christ or to building up your religions as higher than the others?

I believe part of the problem of these modern day Pharisees is that they think their religion is supreme because they claim to follow Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But they have fallen victim to legalism and placed their own religiously ‘right doctrine’ in the place of Christ and they follow what they think is their ‘way’, their ‘truth’ and their ‘life’. Their end is destruction.

I’m not saying that we have no way of knowing the truth, for we are told that the truth will set us free. But is the religious ‘truth’ setting people free or binding them to the religious system?

Jesus came to set us free, not bind us to religion. He came to humble us, not puff us up into thinking we’re better than everyone else. He graced us with the revelation of the Anointing so that we can love as he loves. He did not reveal truth to us so we can think ourselves to be supreme in our belief. When we walk in the truth of this grace, we are humbled and realize that we are equally loved.

He warned us of the Pharisees who love to sit in the high seats in their churches and community gatherings.

Luke 11: 43Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

They find favor with the wealthy and shun the poor.

James 2:1My brothers,a show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

These are just a few of the many examples in which we see throughout the scriptures of religious supremacy. Jesus did not come to give us an earthly place of superiority over all of mankind just because we think our “theology” is better than others, nor is he interested in seeing you puff yourselves up in His name. That is taking the name of the Lord in vain.

So be cautious of this legalistic trap of religious supremacy and when you see people in your gatherings leaving the walk of faith in humility to seek after their pursuit of being “right in their own eyes” of superiority, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider your participation there. Jesus is teaching Citizens of the Kingdom to be humble, the greatest among us is the Servant.

Sisterlisa

Hiding the Pain of the Victims

For two years I have prayed that the movement I departed from would have their eyes opened to the freedom we have in Christ and begin to really love the least, the last, and the lost. Last week when 20/20 aired their segment on the abuses that have happened in the IFB movement, the responses from many in the IFB has confirmed yet again, that I will never go back.

They had an opportunity to rise up and offer words of healing to victims of abuse, and yet they chose to defend their name instead. They could have openly rebuked those arrogant abusive ‘pastors’ and they could be teaching the people how to vote them out. They could be reiterating the fact that they cooperate with the law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of sex offenders from their groups.

They did not.

There are some matters that can be handled ‘in-house’ such as stealing food from the food locker, when a staff member’s child gets in a battle on the playground with another child, or even when a deacon has trouble with drinking. But when men in the church molest and rape young girls, it’s time to go outside the church for help. When the pastor tries to convince parents not to call the police, not push for a trial, and keep the child silent, it’s time to go to the local law enforcement for help.

Many independent churches don’t have accountability above the pastor. Many churches have submitted for so long that any amount of questioning about how the pastors are dealing with these matters is met with control, hostility, and banishment from their churches.

This is not a biblical church.

The elders, bishops, and deacons in the churches in the bible do not lord over the people.

Jesus said “It shall NOT BE SO AMONG YOU.”

We are all equal.

Yes, even the women.

Just prior to the 20/20 episode there was a blog post by a prominent youth pastor among the IFB who shared a letter he got from a female student from an IFB college. There were many comments on the article. Some were quite harsh, most were outpouring of love and understanding, and several who stood in agreement with the girl. There were some comments that flat out said that the legalism in their movement is a major hindrance in the lives of the people. But my comment was deleted.

Here are some of the other comments he allowed to remain on his blog:

Private
Posted February 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
The young lady in the letter is sincerely asking Bro. Schmidt to help youth workers and parents, but what she may not realize is that, over the years, dozens of kids in his own youth group have turned their backs on God and have pointed their fingers at him saying the same thing, “Our parents and youth workers were not there for us.” Is it Bro. Schmidt’s fault? Did he not have the discernment or wisdom to help them with their struggles?
Maybe the heart issue that needs to be addressed is this propensity of young people to carry bitterness and point fingers. Young people watch dirty sitcoms because they enjoy them. They idolize pop culture heroes because they want to be like them. They listen to wild music because it feels good, and then they say, “If our parents and youth workers had done a better job, we would not be dealing with these issues.” Maybe as youth workers and parents we need to teach our young people to take responsibility for the bitterness and lack of forgiveness in their hearts. Maybe these are the vile, dirty sins of the heart that we are allowing to slip by unnoticed.
God is interested in the condition of our hearts, but every man is responsible for his own heart. I do not see in the Bible where teens and young adults are exempt from this responsibility.

Elsen
Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:32 am
I believe this letter goes very much to the heart of the problem in our fundamental movement. I would add, though, that although we parents have used this supposed “pursuit of excellence” from an external perspective as we raised our children and often had to face serious negative results, if the policy of our churches do not change the emphasis likewise I see 2 things that will be perpetuated: the children will remain in a conflict situation where they hear a church leadership rhetoric emphasizing what the Lord did not; and the PARENTS will continue to be ‘raised’ to promote the externals and not the internal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous
Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:59 am
I agree that “Rules without Relationship breeds rebellion”. It is sad when parents miss the mark and think that their rules and consequences of breaking those rules are the end all. You have to have rules, but you have to have the right Relationship (with Christ)! Parents, we’re not being all we can if we don’t get this point!
But I’d like to say that too many teenagers are looking for excuses and too many people parents and youth workers are catoring to that! Teenagers, do you really think that you’re going to stand before God and blame your parents? If you’ve been taught the Bible, than you know right from wrong, the consequences of disobedience and the blessings of obedience! Great lessons all of us can learn from this!

Stephen Nissley
Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:39 am
I guess by the looks of things I pretty much stand alone here. I think this is a joke! Dad gets the blame for the girls rebellion. I have seen this happen many times in my 35 years of preaching but when it does there is something wrong at home. The home is NOT a “good” fundamental godly christian home. The home is a mess! The family is one way at church and another at home, in other words they are phonies! This kind of stuff sells books but all it really needs is strong preaching. My wife and I raised 8 kids in church. We have two full time preachers and one missionary. The rest are serving the Lord in Ind. Fund. KJV Baptist churches. There are many many many just like our family.

Chris
Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:13 am
I wanted to say thank you to the young girl who wrote this to Bro. Schmidt. It must have taken a lot of courage to share that not knowing the response that it would bring. Thank you for allowing God to use you to remind all of us what is important as parents. I’ve been married over 11 years with two young children at home, one with the Lord and one on the way. Every day I try to do what the Bible says I should do as a father, and every day I feel like I fall short. My earnest desire is that no matter who they become or what they do in life, that they will have a heart for God. When I mess up everything else, I always try to share my heart with my kids. I want them to see how much I depend on God and how much I need him in everything that I do. I hope that even though they may not know every Bible story and and may not be able to quote much scripture, that they will have a heart for God. If God has our children’s hearts; He can help with all the areas where we fall short. Thank you again for sharing; it has made a difference in my life and that of others. God bless!

Amanda Rene’e
Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I definitely understand where this younglady is coming from… My dad is an independent fundamental baptist preacher… And I attended Bible College. But I can remember my parents not having time for us because they were so busy as were we with ministry that I think we all lost sight of God’s first institution- FAMILY. I can actually recall setting up a “pastoral” appointment to tell my dad somthing… I was having trouble and needed his guidance and I set up an appointment. When he asked why I did that I replied that it was the only way I knew he would definitely talk to me… If it was on the church books. Needless to say none of my parents 6 children attend church regularly. I know of 4 at least that have very lil if anything to do with God. My brother said that my parents “religion” left a bad taste in his mouth. I guess I wish someone would have emphasized that christian teens have struggles and that sending a kid to camp is not a cure all for lacking parental guidance and love. I am not bitter I would like my testimony to inspire other parents out there to take the extra time…. My dad helped other families with their relationships while all of them in our family fell apart.

And here was my response, that was deleted:

“Dear Brother Schmidt,
I echo the writers words loud and clear. I am UTTERLY thankful that you have HEARD her soul in this and have shared this publicly.

I was in the IFB movement for almost 15 years and the rigid rules almost destroyed my family. We did everything the preacher said we should do to turn out good kids. He promised that his teachings would work every time. But time and time again we saw kids from good homes fly straight into the face of drugs, alcohol, jail, and various other torments. But it’s not just the rigid rules, it’s the hypocrisy of the leaders. (not all of them) but a good number of them who insist their way is the only right way. And when those leaders put their own families on the pedestal, and even their own daughters are highlighted as THE example and the other teens KNOW BETTER.

They see those kids with the pastors and deacons aren’t looking. So I wanted to share with you that it’s not just the rules. It’s the lies. The sweeping under the rug. The constant suspicions of “sin” in others. It’s all these things that take place in many churches, not just those of the IFB movement. It would really really help if pastors would say very clearly, they do NOT have all the answers, that’s why we walk by FAITH. I can’t tell you how many nights we spent crying, sobbing, with our teen daughters when we left the IFB churches. Our family was so crushed by everything, it piles up year after year. The weight of the Law crushes people. We can’t live up to the Law and we aren’t supposed to. Not the OT Law and certainly not the church’s made up laws. We need GRACE. Good old fashioned

RADICAL lavishing GRACE. We need to know that we will all fall at some time or another and that doing all these church activities and scripture memorization is NOT our foundation, our foundation and only Savior is Christ. Preaching at people about sin doesn’t free them from it. Christ does that. Preach grace, please preach grace. Guidelines and boundaries in life is great, it’s part of discipleship..but lets make sure not to allow those guidelines and rules deceive us into thinking we won’t fall.

And lets not be so blind to think that life is all roses and lolly pops. Building our lives around the church isn’t what gets us through life, it’s building our lives on the foundation that does that. Because as hard as we try to build our homes on the rock, the storm still comes and it’s the foundation that stands the firmest. All our brick and mortar, wood, hay and stubble crashes hard. Just like we see in Japan..the foundations of the homes are still there, but the homes aren’t. We are One with our Foundation, One with Christ our Lord. And one last thought..the ones who just may have it the hardest, are your Pastor’s Wives and daughters.”

My plea for help was deleted. He did not email me. I was hidden and swept under the rug. I am not surprised, but I am disappointed. I had tried reaching out to other IFB pastors for help before. This is the third time I got this kind of brush off.

When Jack Schaap first aired his public opinion from his pulpit on the episode of 20/20 he made sure everyone knew how he felt…he stated that his words were ‘the word of God’ and defended  his opinions as ‘standing where God stands’. He was quite sure of himself that what 20/20 showed about him was something to be proud of. But a couple days later the video clips of him stating these things were removed from YouTube as a complaint of a ‘copyright violation’. A copyright violation? For a 2 minute video clip of something he said from a pulpit with a 501c3 PUBLIC ministry? Why delete the video if it’s something he’s so proud of? Then a new series of videos were posted on YouTube with the very misleading title “Jack Schaap’s response to 20/20″ which is a 5 part series on “how great Jack’s ministry is”

Deleting and covering up.

Isn’t this exactly what 20/20 revealed was happening in the IFB movement?

Their responses prove that what 20/20 revealed is true.

“Be sure, your sin will find you out”

A real minister, when shown to be wrong, unkind, lacking compassion, would openly admit it, in humility and love, and seek public forgiveness.

A real minister of the Gospel of peace would offer condolences to the victims and their families.

You see, when tragedy strikes and children are abused, the answer isn’t the church. The answer isn’t the church program of getting donned in a suit and tie, or getting a floor length dress and nylons. The answer is not found in arrogantly shouting about how your low opinion of women is somehow God’s opinion of women. The answer is not found in degrading women with weight issues and making fun of their weaknesses.

The answer is Christ. The response of Christ’s people is love and humility.

Usually the reason someone deletes messages, videos, and comments is due to pride. It’s easier for them to delete, than it is to apologize and admit they are wrong. They think that by hiding what they did and trying to move on as if it never happened will work.

But the victims know better.

It’s easier for them to not address your pain, than it is to examine what the problem is and offer compassion.

It’s easier for them to delete videos, hide their own sin, and keep pointing out everyone else’s sins, than it is for them to humble themselves so Christ can lift them up.

Standing higher on their platforms and shouting louder about how they think their opinions are right is not the way of Christ.

Christ is humble. He came to serve, to love, to embrace the oppressed abused and worn. He came to wash feet. He came to lower himself to the lowest possible place.

I think it’s obvious what a real leader is.

Be wise before you submit yourself to abusive, arrogant, lofty, bull horn shouting bullies.

Find a place of grace where being transparent is welcomed and where the wounded are lifted up and the leaders are humbling themselves to ‘wash your feet’ and tend to your wounds.

I had hoped that someone with a high profile among the IFB, like Jack Schaap, might take this as an opportunity to address the many abuses happening in the IFB and BE A LEADER and stand up WITH these victims and proclaim that all IFB preachers (at least the ones who came from his college) would humble themselves and address this growing epidemic and make the necessary changes to be sure matters like these are dealt with swiftly by local law enforcement.

I have yet to see this happen. And I am free to never step foot in an IFB church ever again.

My salvation has nothing to do with which church I go to. It has everything to do with Christ my Lord. The Savior of all.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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