“Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue

When I was a young graduate assistant working at Bob Jones University (learning publishing at BJU Press), like all the other employees I was given certain odious assignments to fulfill each semester, such as monitoring the “dating parlor” for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

One Sunday after I had finished that odious assignment, my replacement came along, a BJU lifer, Miss Potts. She asked me if I was going to obediently head on over to Vespers (the University’s drama program presented on Sunday afternoons).

“No,” I responded somewhat defiantly. “I’m going to church.”

Miss Potts was an old Southern lady with an absolutely perfect Southern drawl.

“The Univuhsity,” she said, “would want you to go to Vespuhs.” Continue reading ““Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue”

Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality

If you’ve blogged for over ten years as I have, you probably have scores of jotted ideas, half-baked posts, drafts, and . . . what do you know it, full posts that somehow never got posted.

Today, when I had a few moments but wanted to avoid listening to the news that literally put me to bed yesterday on Pentecost Sunday, I began scrolling through my files and files of blog ideas. 

And then, there before me was a complete post about Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy that I never had posted. And since Gothard—a man that I, along with many thousands of others, used to adore—has been in the news again recently, and since his teaching promotes complete compliance to abusive authorities (talk about being pertinent to the news!) I’m posting it now.

My previous blog post about the Umbrella Heresy is here. Continue reading “Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality”

Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition

I had to wait a while to write this post, because last Friday I became angry with Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition regarding his blog post about conspiracy theories. (It isn’t the first time his writing has angered me—his notorious “Beware of Broken Wolves” post three years ago fired up several of us abuse survivor advocates and others, so much so that the post itself got over 300 comments. Those comments have all been removed now, but the post still stands.)

I warn you, this is a long post. I’m going to be speaking from personal experience about conspiracy theories. Continue reading “Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition”

The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees

Dear friend, the world can seem scary and crazy. We’re on lockdown, loved ones are sick, and some are dying. But Good Friday is almost upon us, and then Resurrection Day. There is still reason to rejoice. Jesus is risen and has broken the power of sin and death in the hearts and lives of all who call upon Him in faith.

In each gospel this week, I’ve been reading the account of the betrayal leading up to the crucifixion.

My focus was Jesus. But I couldn’t help but continue to see the Pharisees and other religious leaders, standing out in bold opposition to Him.

They’ve been misrepresented, you know, those Pharisees. Almost every time they’re portrayed or described, we think about them as obviously pompous, obviously arrogant, obviously hypocritical. But their hypocrisy wasn’t obvious to the Jewish people at all.

You think, perhaps, that this is because they were naïve, and you wouldn’t have been so naïve? Well, maybe not. But perhaps there are some among us today Continue reading “The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees”

A “We Care About Sex Trafficking” Initiative parable, by anonymous guest writer

Pastor: We’re holding this meeting today to talk about ways that we as a community of believers are going to get involved and act as Jesus would to the world of sex trafficking.

Member #1: That’s great—I’ve been hoping we could get involved! Our community has been ripped apart by sexual abuse. It even occurs in our churches, Christian schools, mission programs, Christian universities, Christian camps, youth groups, etc. I have so many friends and neighbors whose lives have been shattered, and they’ve never encountered a church community willing to come alongside them, help them heal, and stand for justice in their oppression. Continue reading “A “We Care About Sex Trafficking” Initiative parable, by anonymous guest writer”

Is God glorified through our suffering?

Recently I received a question from my friend Ana Harris. She said,

When people’s prayers for God to be glorified in my suffering are disconnected from his goodness and love, they start to sound rather cruel, almost like God is using me and taking pleasure in my pain. Does God cause my pain and suffering for his own glory? Why would he need our suffering to get glory for himself? Doesn’t he already possess glory because of who he is?

What is your answer to this? How do we truly glorify God? What is glory anyway?

Continue reading “Is God glorified through our suffering?”

Why the Jeffrey Epstein case matters to Christians

It may feel like voyeurism, reading about it, if you don’t know any of these people.

But as I’ve been saying for some time now, I can be pretty doggone certain that you do know or at least interact with a survivor of sex trafficking, even if you don’t think you do. Because they are all around you.

My primary work is with those who have been sex trafficked in the Christian world. And believe me, there are parallels.

One person or small group of people is/are the traffickers. They may be relatively obscure, as Epstein was.

Others, the wealthy and elites (in my experience, it’s primarily been the wealthy and elites in the Christian world) are the buyers who take advantage of the trafficker’s “services.” (Flying in to the trafficking location is not a problem for the Christian elite.)

There’s a lot to learn about how this all works by reading about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Continue reading “Why the Jeffrey Epstein case matters to Christians”

“The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander

In 2008, the movement calling itself “Biblical patriarchy” was in its heyday.

In 2008, the beautiful Botkin sisters, paragons of the visionary daughterhood espoused by “Biblical patriarchy,” were 20 and 22 years old. Three years earlier, at 17 and 19, they had published their book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God which went on to influence many impressionable teen girls that their highest calling was to fulfill their father’s every whim. Continue reading ““The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander”

What does “loving your enemies” look like with an abuser?

Recently I received a note from a friend, Rochelle Sadie (whose blog about recovering from domestic abuse is here).

The verse that the enemy likes to use against me to guilt trip me is Luke 6:32 when Jesus said “anyone can love someone who is nice to them, but it’s better to love your enemy.” Basically I feel so much condemnation, like I’m taking the easy way out by avoiding my abuser, and God is disappointed in me that I would not seek to “love my enemies” or just try to work around their “shortcomings.”

I wonder – if you might help me understand Jesus’ true intentions with this statement. What is the heart of God regarding our attitude toward our abusers and sometimes toward those who pressure us to return to an abuser and/or a chronically unfaithful man?

Here is my reply. Continue reading “What does “loving your enemies” look like with an abuser?”