That forgiveness talk at Harvest Bible Chapel

Do you ever feel, when you watch a movie, that there was an underlying reason for it, maybe a bit of propaganda, so to speak, that it wanted to promote? It may be only a small part of the movie, but it makes a profound impact. (An example that come readily to mind is a 1944 drama about the life of Woodrow Wilson, the purpose of which seemed to me to focus on the death of Wilson’s dream, the League of Nations, in order to push American viewers to become more willing to enter the United Nations.)

I could be wrong, but that’s the way I felt when I listened to this sermon by Michael Vanlaningham from March 31stat Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area. It seemed to me that the underlying reason, the bit of propaganda, began at about minute 25 when he began to focus on forgiveness.  Continue reading “That forgiveness talk at Harvest Bible Chapel”

Because it’s appropriate for a victim to name her offender

Before I began to work regularly on untwisting Scriptures at this blog, Here’s the Joy, I was regularly doing that over at BJUGrace. That was the blog some friends and I set up to discuss the GRACE report on Bob Jones University and serve as a platform for abuse survivors who wanted to speak. (It was also where I first began, in 2014, to expose false teachings and show what the Bible teaches instead.) Continue reading “Because it’s appropriate for a victim to name her offender”

When “moral failure” is redefined as “you didn’t submit to church authority”: thoughts on the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal

I’ve been trying to follow the implosion going on in the James MacDonald mega-ministry world, with one person after another from his church speaking out about his alleged arrogance, mismanagement of funds, lack of accountability, deception, foul jokes, threats and intimidation, and other alleged behavior that seems very much opposed to what he teaches and would, if true, disqualify one from being an elder of a church if not cause one to be subject to criminal charges. Continue reading “When “moral failure” is redefined as “you didn’t submit to church authority”: thoughts on the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal”

Joseph wasn’t afraid of “rebellion, the sin like witchcraft”

This is the first post reflecting my ongoing study of fear in the New Testament.

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When I think of Mary’s husband Joseph being afraid, I think of this passage in Matthew 1:20-21:

Joseph had this in mind [the problem of Mary’s pregnancy and his decision to break the marriage agreement] when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins.”

It sounds like the fear Joseph was apparently struggling with there was fear of disobeying the law of God. He just wanted to do the right thing.

But the fear I’ve been pondering more lately is shown when, after Joseph found out Herod was dead, he took Mary and little Jesus back to Israel. Continue reading “Joseph wasn’t afraid of “rebellion, the sin like witchcraft””

Looking for “evidences of grace” in the life of an abuser

A friend described to me how her church did marriage counseling: the married couple had been told to come up with a list of “evidences of grace” that they saw in each other’s lives.

We were to say them out loud in front of each other and the elders meeting with us. They were, after all, constantly reminding us that Scripture called us to “believe the best” of each other, and this exercise was meant to help us do that.

I went first. Wanting them to see that I wasn’t bitter and really did love my husband, I came up with a long list of everything I could think of: Continue reading “Looking for “evidences of grace” in the life of an abuser”

The vision of James MacDonald, mega-church pastor who sues bloggers’ wives

Conservative evangelical bloggers are discussing what I believe is a first: a megachurch pastor is suing not only bloggers who are publishing criticisms of him and his work, but the wives of those bloggers, as well as a news reporter who is working on a story about him but hasn’t even published it yet.

So . . . of course I’m intrigued.

The pastor is James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area and head of a church planting enterprise. Continue reading “The vision of James MacDonald, mega-church pastor who sues bloggers’ wives”

Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part two)

Recently Tim Challies wrote a two-part blog series about the ninth commandment (“Thou shalt not bear false witness”), what can be seen here and here. Part one of my response was posted yesterday. Today I’m continuing to respond to the questions he asks that he says are prompted by the ninth commandment. Continue reading “Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part two)”

Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part one)

A few days ago Tim Challies posted two blog posts about the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” here and here. He focused on how the ninth commandment applies in a day of social media.

Tim Challies and I go way back. Just kidding; he doesn’t know who I am, except as the author of a devotional book he had his daughter read and promoted in the video I referred to in my explanation of awkwardness in this Facebook post. (The awkwardness is born of the crossover between my two fields of writing: first, missionary books and biographies, and then, abuse in the worlds of fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism, which is Tim Challies’s world.) Continue reading “Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part one)”

What about “repressed memories”? A response to John MacArthur

In a recent post I quoted John MacArthur as saying this:

Nearly everyone now is searching for some kind of victimhood. Psychologists would tell them they were probably victimized as children but they can’t remember it so they should go into repressed memories just for the sole purpose of uncovering some supposed victimhood so they can have some place to belong in this completely victimized culture.

If you’re not a victim of anything you have no moral authority and nothing to say, get out of the conversation. Everyone needs to have had at least a micro-aggression, some category of victimhood to divest yourself of the responsibility for the fact that your life is the way it is because of your own sin.

Continue reading “What about “repressed memories”? A response to John MacArthur”