Thursday, April 10, 2014

Addressing King James Onlyism and Textus Receptus Onlyism

The Problem With Conspiracy Theories

How the KJV Only Doctrine Obscures the Truth, Part 1

How the KJV Only Doctrine Obscures the Truth, Part 2

What is the KJV Only movement? Is the King James Version the only Bible we should use?

Textual Criticism: What Is It?

What is the KJV-Only movement? Should we only use the King James Version of the Bible?

What Is Textual Criticism of the Bible?

■ Answers KJV Onlyists are Afraid You will Provide [Part 1]

Answers KJV Onlyists are Afraid You will Provide [Part 2]

Answers KJV Onlyists are Afraid You will Provide [Part 3]

The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations?

An Interview with a Former King James Onlyist

■ Questions and Answers with the KJV Onlyists (by a former King James Onlyist)

■ Does God Expect All Of Us To Read The King James Version Of The Bible?

Slandering Tischendorf

King James Only? Refuting the False Conspiracy Theories of King James Only Teachers (Bob DeWaay)

Addressing the Hebrew Roots / Sacred Name Movement [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack
"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" (Galatians 3:1-3)
"What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." (Matthew 15:11)
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer." (1 Timothy 4:1-5)  
"One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." (Romans 14:5-6)
"On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, 'Get up, Peter, kill and eat!' But Peter said, 'By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.' Again a voice came to him a second time, 'What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.' This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky." (Acts 10:9-16)
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Peter's vision in Acts 10: "The prejudices of Peter against the Gentiles, would have prevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had prepared him for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed those animals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean, was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peter was soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what services are before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning of what he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have to make use of it."
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Hebrew Roots Movement/Sacred Name Movement is a fast-growing works righteous movement which is a modern day form of "Judaizing," the heresy that the Apostle Paul had to address several times in his ministry. From an article posted at The Berean Call by Richard Fisher, the movement is described this way:
"(The Hebrew Roots Movement) is a very modern movement that insists that we must resurrect first-century Judaism (our Jewish Roots) and the milieu and lifestyle of first-century Jews and impose them on both Jewish and non-Jewish believers. This is not just an academic study to better understand Scripture and its setting but is rather a movement of restoration that claims that the church has moved off its Jewish foundation and must return to a more Jewish way of life to be authentic." (online source)
To gain a better understanding of the heresy of Judaizing, please listen to this excellent talk by Phil Johnson of GTY. Please note that when Phil Johnson gave this talk, the Hebrew Roots Movement did not yet exist, so you will not hear Phil mention this movement by name. But if you listen to his excellent talk, you will have a very biblically grounded understanding of the markers of this current and ongoing Judaizers movement.

 My Comments 

I had my own brief flirtation with some Hebrew Roots-like legalism, early in my Christian walk, which primarily centered around following the Leviticus food laws. I was a brand new Christian, saved in a seeker/emergent church, and I was constantly going around with my Bible open saying, what is this? and what about this? and explain this to me? My new Christian friends kind of patted me on the head, and didn't give me what I felt were thorough, Biblically-reasoned responses. But when I came upon the legalists, they did have answers. And they had their Bibles open, and were just as intent and serious as I was. I think that's the edge that lots of cults have, they will give answers, albeit the wrong ones, and they will use scripture, albeit twisted out of context. I praise the Lord for allowing me to be humbled by that season in my Christian walk, and for keeping that season mercifully brief. And of course, after that, I was all, praise the Lord, and pass the bacon :)

 A Few Pointers. . . . .  

It's important to note that when someone is going into Hebrew Roots, you will notice one or more of the following: 
- dietary changes (going back to the Leviticus food laws),
- a heavy emphasis on Jewish festivals (with the implication that those who observe Christmas/Easter are sinning), 
- a rejection of the Apostle Paul's writings, 
- a denial of the Trinity, and 
- the usage of "Yeshua" instead of "Jesus" when speaking about Jesus
Now, someone doing some of the aforementioned things, or holding to those beliefs, doesn't necessarily mean they are whole-hog into the Hebrew Roots heresy........but it could mean that. And so these are good markers to bear in mind when trying to evaluate this.

Hebrew Roots Movement/Sacred Name followers often claim that they are just exercising their liberty and freedom in Christ, but this often quickly escalates into those things becoming law, and binding upon themselves and other Christians........ meaning, their expressed "freedom" and "joy" in doing these things often turns into them thinking that they (and you!) are sinning if they (and you) don't do these things.

Below are some excellent resources for getting up to speed on what the Hebrew Roots Movement is, and how to biblically respond to those ensnared in it:
Debate Between Christian Apologist Chris Rosebrough and Hebrew Roots Leader Jim Staley
The Sabbath, The New Covenant and The Hebrew Roots Movement (Stand Up For The Truth)
■ The Hebrew Roots Movement (Watchman Fellowship)
What is the Hebrew Roots Movement? (Got Questions?)
■ What Is The Sacred Name Movement? (Got Questions?)
Who Were The Judaizers? (Got Questions?)
Torah Fulfilled: Why Christians Don’t Keep the Sabbath and Other Mosaic Laws (Fighting For The Faith)
Are you a Sabbath Keeper or Sabbath Breaker? (Fighting For The Faith)
Should Christians Keep Kosher? (Word of His Grace)
The Hebrew Roots Cult (Cy Shift)
An Examination of the Hebrew Roots Movement (Fighting For The Faith)
A Discussion About the Hebrew Roots Movement (Andy Olson, Echo Zoe Radio with Chris Rosebrough)
Joyfully Growing In Grace Website
The Sacred Name Movement Debunked (video)
Who Were The Judaizers? And What Do They Look Like Today? (Phil Johnson, GTY)
Bewitching Believers Through the Hebrew Roots Movement (The Berean Call)

 Hebrew Roots Ministries and Teachers 

Below are some Hebrew Roots ministries and teachers (please note that this is not a comprehensive list, as this movement continues to grow rapidly, and new ministries and teachers keep popping up):
■ Jim Staley (Passion For Truth Ministries) [UPDATED BELOW]
■ Mark Biltz (El Shaddai Ministries)
■ Michael Rood (A Rood Awakening)
First Fruits of Zion
119 Ministries
■ Bill Cloud (Shoreshim Ministries)
Monte Judah (Lion and Lamb Ministries)
■ Brad Scott, Preston McNutt (Wildbranch Ministry)
■ Victor Schultz (Torah Teachers
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE January 2015: Since the posting of this article, Passion For Truth pastor Jim Staley has pled guilty to defrauding elderly investors of $500,000 in an investment scheme. Sentencing will be held in July 2015, with a possible maximum of 20 years in jail and/or fines of up to $250,000. Jim Staley is perhaps the most widely known leader in a movement known as Hebrew Roots. Hebrew Roots adherents observe Jewish festivals, follow Old Testament dietary laws, refuse to call Jesus "Jesus" (they call Him Yeshua instead), and deny the Trinity. (News report about Jim Staley's conviction - KSDK St Louis News)

UPDATE August 2015: Hebrew Roots Movement teacher Jim Staley (Passion For Truth) has been sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding elderly investors of $3.3 million dollars in an investment scam.

NOTE: Even though Hebrew Roots leader Jim Staley has been convicted of fraud and is currently in prison, his Facebook ministry wall still boasts more than a quarter of a million followers, and is currently very active, with daily postings.

After being initially charged with multiple counts of investment fraud the summer of 2014, Staley claimed in a teaching session at his church (which has since been removed from YouTube), that a member of his church had shared a vision with him in which Staley was portrayed as the victim of spiritual warfare, with angelic beings being "seen" coming to his aid to destroy those coming against him (presumably meaning those bringing charges against him for the financial fraud he has now pled guilty to). The vision also portrayed Staley as the leader of a massive spiritual revival in the church. From the YouTube video:
JIM STALEY ("Pastor Jim Staley Explains Indictment" [6-29-14] - starting at 25:18): I'm gonna share with you some unbelievable dreams and visions and words from the Lord that have led us to this place, and even one that happened today that will encourage you to know that the power of God is moving..........So I'll take you back to August of last year, where our Russian prayer team, some of you have heard this story, but our Russian Prayer Team called us immediately because something unbelievable happened in their prayer time, where the husband, apparently was in a different room, and the rest of the group was together. And there was a word of knowledge and a vision that was shown to them. And for those of you that don't have a supernatural grid, I know it's difficult, if you've never had a vision or a dream, it might be difficult to believe, but after about three or four of these, you'll start to develop a radar. But what happened was they called a meeting, and what she said was, she said, 'I saw two high ranking generals, demonic generals. And these generals, she said, are working among you and have been working among you for quite some time. And then she saw a door in heaven, and behind the door were angels, and the angels were packed up against the door waiting to be released because they saw the plan of these generals, and they wanted to foil the plan. And God smirked. She said it was very clear, she saw a smirk, as if God knew something that they didn't know, and said 'No, it's not the right time. I have a surprise for the generals. At the last minute, I'm going to let my surprise come, and it's gonna come out of nowhere, and it's gonna strike fear into the hearts of the generals.' At the same time, the husband had a, what's called an open vision. I've never had an open vision, where I see something with my eyes open. I've had multiple visions, many visions, with my eyes closed, but he had an open vision where he saw two angelic beings, they were demons, and they were high ranking uniformed soldiers. And he came back in the room and said, I just saw two demonic generals. And so they didn't know what it meant, but they were in high nine one one alert, so they called our ministry. Natalia was there, she was translating, the whole deal, we got through the whole thing, and honestly it scared me. I didn't know what that meant......And then we were receiving other visions. I don't know how old that woman was, 84 I think is what I heard. [off-camera correction] 83 year old woman, who flew here from the east coast because she said that God told her......she didn't even know about us for very much time, but God said, I want you to fly to St. Louis, to Passion For Truth, and I want you to pray over their building because there's a catastrophe coming.......And she just showed up at the airport, trusting God. She ends up getting here, she spends a month here, walking up and down the hallways and the sanctuary, praying and praising the Lord and worshiping, and she shared two visions with me at that time. And she said, I saw a 747 -- now what you have to know about this is there's another vision that happened in 1984 by a gentleman by the name of Dean Cozzens ["Two Prophecies 27 Years Apart Are Coming True Before Our Eyes"]...... where he saw a vision of a 747, and it had four engines, with four different movements of God. And the last one, it was a faith movement, a pentecostal movement, the charismatic movement, and this thing called a Hebrew movement. And this last engine on this plane, as it revved up, every previous engine revved up, revved down, everybody got excited, thought the thing was gonna take off, but it never did. And when this last engine revved up, it revved up and then all of the other movements, engines, revved at the same time: the faith movement, the healing movement, the charismatic--- it all moved, because everyone had a piece of the truth. And then the plan started to move, and everybody got excited, and the dream ended.
Well, this senior citizen [the 83 year old woman who flew to PFT Ministries] had a dream, or a vision, that she saw the 747, and I don't know if it was the same one, but it is an amazing connection. She saw it sitting on the runway for a long time and eventually it took off, and right when it took off, she saw two missiles come from nowhere. Two generals, two missiles. And these missiles came right toward the 747. And everyone, she saw closeups of people looking out the window, they were very scared. And right at the last minute, the missiles hit some sort of a barrier that was around the plane, and they never hit the plane.
She saw another vision of, she was in the sanctuary, and she saw come and it went through the top of the sanctuary, and came down and stuck into the ground. And she was scared at first until what came out of it, it was the angelic hosts of God. They were intercessors. They were prayer intercessors that had been called to pray for Passion For Truth.
And since then, it's been unbelievable, how many people have contacted us, saying that, you know what? this doesn't surprise me because God gave me a word of knowledge two months ago, three months ago, four months ago, six months ago, two weeks ago, a few days ago, to pray for Passion For Truth, because something is coming. I can't tell you how many times we've heard this. Have we not? It's been unbelievable. The visions continue......

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Documenting the Problems with Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

Posted by Sola Sisters

[UPDATE: New links continue to be added regularly]

In order to understand what went wrong at Mars Hill, we highly recommend that you first read this article by former Mars Hill elder Paul Petry. According to Petry (and other witnesses in the form of former Mars Hill elders who have also since come forward), there was a dramatic change in the climate of Mars Hill in late 2007, when new bylaws were instituted under which Mark Driscoll was not accountable to anyone who disagreed with him. (Here is a copy of the 2007 bylaws)

And here is a concise timeline of Driscoll's downfall.

 ** Mark Driscoll Resigns - October 15, 2014 ** 

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Resigns, Claims He Is Not "Disqualified From Future Ministry"

Mars Hill “Global Fund” Contributors With Concerns Invited to Contact Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Paul Petry, The First Elder Fired From Mars Hill, Is Interviewed (Paul and Jonna Petry's Website)

 Driscoll Fleeing Church Discipline, Seeking To Set Up NEW Church? 

Former Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Considering New Ministry, Still Has Not Repented, Sought Reconciliation Say Former Mars Hill Members/Elders

One Year Ago Today Janet Mefferd Interviewed Mark Driscoll

Mars Hill Elders Were Going to Discipline Mark Driscoll (listen beginning at the 37 min mark)

Mars Hill Church Board of Elders: Mark Driscoll Resigned Instead of Entering a Restoration Plan

Gateway Pastor Robert Morris Welcomes Mark Driscoll Onto the Stage One Week After Driscoll's Resignation, Even Though Driscoll Has Fled the Discipline Process at Mars Hill and Still Has Not Repented And Sought Forgiveness From Those He Abused (audio of Mars Hill pastor A.J. Hamilton speaking at 10-19-14 church service, listen beginning at the 37 min mark)

Mars Hill Church To Dissolve

Lessons From Mars Hill - An Interview With Warren Throckmorton 

Beauty From Ashes: 18 Mars Hill Elders Issue Letter of Confession to Former Mars Hill Elders Who were Railroaded Out in 2007

Interview with Former Mars Hill Elder/Pastor Paul Petry, Part 1 and Part 2
Unanswered Questions at Mars Hill Church

 Dr. John Piper Finally Addresses the Issue of Mark Driscoll.....and Misses The Mark 

What John Piper Said When He Finally Addressed the Issue of Mark Driscoll......What We Wish He Had Said Instead

John Piper and Mark Driscoll: Lessons Not Learned?

 Pastor Driscoll's abusive nature toward the flock in his care 

The Out Of Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep (Sarah Leslie, Herescope)

Ungodly Behavior

Mark Driscoll Proud of the Dead Bodies Behind the Mars Hill Bus?

Audio of Mark Driscoll chuckling about the "pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus"

Pastor Mark Driscoll Called Women “Penis Homes”

Mark Driscoll: "Shut Up and Do What You're Told."

Mark Driscoll Brags About Pile Of Bodies Behind Mars Hill's Bus

"Break their nose"

A Former Mars Hill Pastor Speaks Out and Why Others Are Afraid: The Mars Hill Church Non-Disclosure Agreement

Mark Driscoll Joking About His Anger

Mark Driscoll's Church Discipline Contract, Part 1 and Part 2

 Mark Driscoll affirms false teachers as Christian brothers  

Mark Driscoll calls Word of Faith heretic Joel Osteen his Christian brother

Mark Driscoll affirms Trinity denier T.D. Jakes as a Christian brother at his Elephant Room event

 Former Mars Hill pastor claims violations of city ordinances  

Former Mars Hill Pastor: Mars Hill Leaders Ordered Violation of City Ordinances

The Mars Hill Orange County Discrimination Narrative: The Rest of the Story?

 Former Mars Hill leaders and church members going public with concerns 

Former Mars Hill Women’s Ministry Leader: “The cult of personality . . . isn’t how God builds his church”

According to multiple witnesses, Mark Driscoll refers to himself as "The Brand" (Seattle Times)

The Reckoning of Mars Hill

Current Mars Hill Members Write An Excellent Letter To Mark Driscoll, Make Suggestions

Former Mars Hill Elder Sutton Turner Releases Explosive In-House Email Detailing Mars Hill's Disastrous Financial Condition (Turner's entire email can be read here)

New Disclosures by Former Mars Hill Elder Bent Meyer (Written record of Mars Hill events compiled by Meyer directly linked here)

Mars Hill Co-Founder and Former Elder Leif Moi Interviewed On Camera About Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll

Twenty-One Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Bring Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll (Statement of Formal Charges and Issues brought against Mark Driscoll linked here)

Nine Mars Hill Pastors Take A Bold Stand (Aug 28, 2014)
..........and All Are Now Gone (Oct 8, 2014)
Pastor Dustin Kensrue – Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
Pastor Drew Hensley – Mars Hill U-District (DISMISSED)
Pastor Mark Dunford – Mars Hill Portland (DISMISSED)
Pastor Ryan Kearns – Mars Hill Bellevue (DISMISSED)
Pastor Ryan Welsh – Pastor of Theology (DISMISSED)
Pastor Adam Ramsey – Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
Pastor Cliff Ellis – Mars Hill West Seattle (DISMISSED)
Pastor Gary Shavey – Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
Pastor James Rose – Mars Hill Ballard (RESIGNED)
Nine Mars Hill Church Elders Took a Bold Stand and Now Eight Are Gone

Mars Hill Church Director of Worship Dustin Kensrue Resigns

Members Flee Mars Hill; Remaining Members Are Berated For Not Giving Enough Money

Dozens Protest Mars Hill Church after Leader Resignations and Mark Driscoll Apology

Former Mars Hill Pastor Mark Dunford Explains Dismissal from Mars Hill Church and Much More (Dunford's full statement here)

Former Mars Hill Member and Acts 29 Church Planter Ron Wheeler Goes Public With Concerns, Pleads With Driscoll To Resign (Wheeler's open letter to Driscoll - I. Am. Not. Anonymous)

Former Mars Hill Pastors Repent At New Website (

Former Mars Hill Pastor (Paul Petry) Starts A Blog Detailing Abuse (Joyful Exiles)

Former Executive Pastor Repents for Culture of Fear at Mars Hill Church

Former Mars Hill Pastor Dave Kraft Explains Charges Against Mark Driscoll

Former Mars Hill Pastor Dave Kraft Speaks Out About His Relationship with the Church

Former Mars Hill Pastor Bent Meyer: On His Silence and His Views on Suffering

Former Mars Hill Leader Jeff Bettger Speaks Out in Support of Dave Kraft's Concerns About Mars Hill

Twenty Former Mars Hill Pastors Seek Mediation With Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Leadership

Former Mars Hill Church Pastor (James Noriega) Issues Statement of Confession

The Seeds of Trouble: Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the 2007 Purge

More Mars Hill Church Grievances: Former Member Calls For Evacuation

Firing of Mars Hill Pastors Causes Turmoil at Mars Hill

A Former Mars Hill Pastor Speaks Out and Why Others Are Afraid: The Mars Hill Church Non-Disclosure Agreement

Amended and Restated By-Laws of Mars Hill Church (UPDATED)

Mars Hill Church to Former Employees: Don’t Talk

Becky Garrison: Mark Driscoll’s Revisionist History About the Founding of Mars Hill Church

How To Revise History the Mark Driscoll Way

Former Mars Hill Church Worship Leader Luke Abrams to Current Members: Vote With Your Nickles and Noses

[NOTE: All patheos articles about Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll can be found here]

 Driscoll's lies and slander toward a Christian brother, and shameless publicity stunt 

Mark Driscoll's Failed Publicity Stunt At John MacArthur's Strange Fire Conference That Ended With Him Lying About What Really Happened

 Driscoll's unbiblical view on spiritual warfare 

Mark Driscoll speaking to demons: "I want to know who all is involved here and what we're dealing with."

 Pressure being brought for Mark Driscoll to step down from spiritual leadership 

Mark Driscoll's Problem, and Ours (Carl Trueman, March 2014)

Mark Driscoll To Step Down While Mars Hill Elders Review Charges Against Him (Religion News Service)

Mark Driscoll's Statement To Mars Hill Church (Audio Included In the Body of the Article)

Twenty-One Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Bring Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll: “A lot of the people we were dealing with in this season remain anonymous, and so we don’t know how to reconcile or how to work things out with people because we’re not entirely sure who they are.”

New Group To Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: We Are Not Anonymous

Dear Pastor Mark and Mars Hill: We Are Not Anonymous (Facebook group)

I. Am. Not. Anonymous. (Acts 29 co-founder Ron Wheeler pens open letter to Mark Driscoll)

Former Mars Hill Members Protest Mars Hill, Call For Driscoll's Resignation (The Seattle Times)

James MacDonald Resigns From Mars Hill Board; Paul David Tripp Resigns But Continues To Work With Mars Hills As Consultant

Paul David Tripp Releases Clarifying Statement

Why Mark Driscoll Might Go Down and Why He Should......

Rock Star Pastor Loses His Luster (USA Today)

Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll Removed from Church Planting Network (Acts 29) That He Co-Founded

Acts 29 Pioneer Ron Wheeler Sends Open Letter to Mark Driscoll, Asks Him to Resign

Acts 29 Network Removes Co-founder Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church From Membership (UPDATED)

 Questions about Mars Hill Global Fund 

Former Mars Hill Church Members Speak Out About Church Finances

Mars Hill Member Wants Accounting of Global Fund Donations

Mars Hill Church Scrubs Three Mars Hill Global Videos

 Websites of former Mars Hill leaders 


Joyful Exiles - Website of former elder Paul Petry and his wife Jonna

Jonna Petry's Testimony (Jonna Petry is the wife of former Mars Hill elder Paul Petry)


Mark Driscoll's Salary While At Mars Hill Church

Thoughts On Driscoll and The Biblical Qualifications For A Pastor

"Demon Trials" At Mars Hill Church??

Mark Driscoll: I Made The Mistake Of Trying To Be Under the Authority Of My Elders

Mark Driscoll: It was a mistake to submit to these young, new and green elders

Will John Piper Publicly Address The Mark Driscoll Virus That He Unleashed Into the Church by Keynoting Mark Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God Conference?

Mark Driscoll Gives Himself a 6-Week Timeout

Former Mars Hill Elder Deconstructs Mark Driscoll's Public Statement

Pastor Jesse Johnson Weighs In

An Open Letter To Mark Driscoll (made after Driscoll's public statement, which can be read and watched here)

Mark Driscoll: A Brash Style That Filled Pews, Until Followers Had Their Fill (New York Times)

After $2 Million Raised For Mars Hill Event, ‘Jesus Festival’ Disappears Without a Trace or Explanation

Mars Hill Resurgence Ministry Cancels 2014 Conference

Lifeway Christian Stores Pulls Mark Driscoll's Books

Mars Hill Church in May and June of 2012: Systemic Deficits and a Million-Dollar Home Purchased in Snonohomish County

An Open Letter To Mark Driscoll (Pyromaniacs)

 Driscoll bought his way onto the New York Times bestseller list 

Mark Driscoll bought his way onto the NY Times bestseller list through anonymous 3rd parties

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability: Buying Place on Best Seller Lists Violates Standards

Chris Rosebrough interviews Janet Mefferd about Driscoll's latest scandal

The signed contract that helped get Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage book on the New York Times bestseller list

 Mark Driscoll's plagiarism 

Janet Mefferd's Interview With Mark Driscoll

Allegations That Mark Driscoll Plagiarized Dr. Peter Jones

The Evangelical Celebrity Machine: Janet Mefferd accused pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism then deleted all her proof. Why’d she back down?

More on the Silencing of Janet Mefferd, the Shamefulness of Tyndale Publishers, and How Mark Driscoll the Plagiarist is Getting Away With It

College professor James Duncan evaluates evidence of Mark Driscoll's plagiarism, assigns him an "F"

American Copy Editors Society: Leading The Charge Against Plagiarism

The Atlantic Asks Can Megachurches Handle Mega Money? Puts Focus on Mark Driscoll Controversy

This Was No Boating Accident

Of Mefferd and Driscoll and Integrity

On Plagiarism, Tone and Tribalism

Evidence of Plagiarism or Swatting at a Hornets Nest

Mark Driscoll Reacts to Janet Mefford’s Questions About Plagiarism and Strange Fire

New Twist In Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Scandal: 'You May Not Go Up Against The Machine'

Mefferd producer reportedly resigns over Mark Driscoll controversy

The Best Dumbest Excuses Made by Plagiarists

 Driscoll's vulgarity and pornographic mindset 

***Please note that the links below contain strong, explicit sexual content. My desire is not to cause anyone to stumble, so please prayerfully bear this in mind. The links are here for documentation purposes ***

Mark Driscoll: "Look, I had this vision. Let me tell you about it."

Dreamweaver: The Visions of Mark Driscoll

Pornographic Divination

Mark Driscoll Issues Apology for Pussified Nation Comments; Is This Just the Beginning? (**Warning: Extremely Vulgar Content**)

Mark Driscoll and His Rated R Sermon in Scotland - transcript hereaudio here  (**Warning: Very Explicit Content**)

 Explicit sexual discussion/recommendation on Mars Hill website 

***Please note that the links below contain strong, explicit sexual content. My desire is not to cause anyone to stumble, so please prayerfully bear this in mind. The links are here for documentation purposes ***

(NOTE: These links were active as of 2:00 PM EST on 8/12/14, but appear to have been recently removed. Attached is a screenshot of the Mars Hill Q and A about the use of sex toys as it appeared before being removed.)

Mark and Grace Driscoll Comment on a Mars Hill Q/A Regarding the Use of Sex Toys

Link to Sex Toys Site ("Covenant Spice") From the Above-Referenced Mars Hill Q/A

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
1 Timothy 3:1-13 - Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

Give Me Jesus (Fernando Ortega)

Posted by Sola Sisters

"You can have all this world, but give me Jesus."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision President Richard Stearns: "We don't proselytize."

Posted by Christine Pack

In a 2007, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, was interviewed and gave this response to one of the questions:
Question: Are you trying to end poverty or evangelize Christianity? 
Richard Stearns: As a Christian organization, we are motivated by our commitment to Christ to love our neighbors and care for the less fortunate. That's why we do what we do. We don't proselytize. We do not force our religious beliefs on anyone, and we don't discriminate in our delivery of aid in any way. If the people we serve want to know why we are there, we tell them. St. Francis once said: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." Love put into action is a compelling and attractive worldview.
(Online source: Ten [or so] Questions With Richard Stearns)
This response given by Stearns, about World Vision workers not proselytizing (evangelizing) the lost they serve (and also stated on the World Vision website under the "Our Approach" section), further gives evidence that World Vision, while claiming to be Christian organization, is a relief organization almost entirely void of any Christian distinctives.

We recently noted in several articles that World Vision has the appearance of being more of a relief organization than a Christian one, in that on their website, their humanitarian efforts are greatly emphasized, while the gospel is given short shrift. Yes, Jesus and the gospel get brief, albeit vague, cameos, but the overall tenor of the World Vision website is that of a relief organization. And now in tandem with Richard Stearns' statement that workers with World Vision "don't proselytize," I have to wonder if Richard Stearns thinks that doing good deeds alone ARE the gospel. His usage of the misquoted "preach the gospel, use words if necessary" mantra seems to support the idea that Stearns does not understand that the gospel is a distinctive message that cannot be conveyed through good deeds, but must be conveyed through words.

So is that how World Vision operates while in the field and in countries hostile to the gospel? Do those who work ion behalf of World Vision let their good deeds do the talking?  Do they deny Jesus before men by not speaking the gospel message in order to continue to do their humanitarian work? Do they think that the good deeds they are doing are a substitute for preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified? That somehow the message of the person and work of Jesus Christ will be mysteriously conveyed through giving aid? How would giving aid transmit the information of Jesus that is so vital to understanding who He is rightly in order for lost sinners to be brought into a saving faith? How, for instance, do good deeds convey the following?
- Jesus as the God-man, who has existed eternally as God, in conjunction with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (John 1:1-4)
- Jesus, who incarnated as a man, being born as an infant to a virgin woman through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
- Jesus, who lived a perfect life, never sinning in thought, word or deed, and thus fulfilling all moral laws (Matthew 5:17-18, Galatians 3:10, 13)
- Jesus, who, out of great mercy and lovingkindness for sinners, offered up his perfect life as an acceptable ransom to propitiate the righteous wrath of a holy and just God against sin (Galatians 1:4)
- Jesus, the sinless One who would have never died (because the wages of sin are death - Romans 6:23), and yet who willingly gave up his life as an atonement for sinners by allowing himself to be crucified on a Cross, where He suffered and died (Romans 5:10)
- Jesus, who was gloriously resurrected by God 3 days after his death, this resurrection being proof that Jesus' sinless life was an acceptable sacrifice (payment) to a high and holy God on behalf of those sinners who, upon hearing this account, repent of their sins and believe on Jesus's atonement made for them (Acts 2:24, Acts 17:31, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1Corinthians 15:12-23)
- Jesus, who is the righteous ruler of this world, and who commands all people everywhere to repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of their sins, sins which will condemn them on Judgment Day and earn them eternal hell if they reject his offer of salvation (Revelation 19, Romans 10:11, Matthew 4:17)
Not to be crass, but that message is not automatically conveyed through the provision of clean drinking water. Those in desperate circumstances in third world countries have a need that is deeper even than their physical needs: they have a spiritual need. Yes, they need fresh water and sustenance to live, but more than that, they need salvation and the forgiveness of sins. They need living water. They need a Savior. They need Christ:
"A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'" (John 4:7-10)
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:37-38)
"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." (Revelation 22:17)
The gospel is a distinct message that must be communicated and explained through words: it does not happen mysteriously or in some kind of gnostic way. It must be spoken and proclaimed:
"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" (Mark 16:15)
"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'" (Luke 24:45-47)
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:16-20)
Richard Stearns,
President of World Vision
Here's the bottom line: Good deeds that are not undergirded by the gospel proclamation are just relief work. They merely make people more comfortable on their way to hell.

I have had general concerns about Christian relief organizations for almost as long as I have been a Christian (more than 10 years now). But my concerns almost always fell on deaf ears, and I couldn't figure out why. My question was always, are they preaching Christ? or just handing out water? Because if they're coming into villages as a "Christian" organization and only handing out water bottles (or food or blankets or medicine or whatever), and not sharing the way of salvation with these lost people, then it really would be better for the Church at large if they just stopped identifying themselves as Christian. The way of salvation isn't mysteriously transmitted when good deeds are done. It has to be spoken. And the waters are muddied when organizations claiming the name of Christ don't speak that message. Let me put it this way: Eternity will be a very long time for the children who have been ministered to with food and water by World Vision to wonder why this organization did not share the way of salvation with them.

For those wishing to ask questions of the leadership at World Vision or express concerns, you can call World Vision at these numbers:
(888) 511-6548 or (253) 815-1000
Or, you may email World Vision at this address:

photo credit: timgrable via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

World Vision Affirms Same Sex Marriage (Sola Sisters)

World Vision: Whose Battle Is It? (Stand Up For The Truth)

World Vision To Hire "Gay Christians In Same Sex Marriages" (Apprising Ministries)

On World Vision and the Gospel (Dr. Russell D. Moore)

Franklin Graham's Statement on World Vision (Billy Graham Organization)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Will the Visible Church Soon Accept LEGAL Same Sex Marriages, in the Same Way that World Vision Has? [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack

(UPDATE: About a day after their announcement that they would begin hiring professing Christians in same sex marriages, World Vision made a statement reversing this new policy change, calling it a "mistake." While I am glad for this reversal, my prediction is that World Vision will eventually reverse this reversal, only they will do it quietly next time, without any kind of grand public statement. I think they learned their lesson, especially after immediately being called out by Franklin Graham and Dr. Albert Mohler, and others. Our Facebook wall was also flooded with comments from readers expressing that they could no longer in good conscience partner with World Vision. So sadly, the lesson I think World Vision learned was not to have greater fidelity to God's word, but to "manage" their liberalism more covertly. I could be wrong about how this plays out, but time will tell. I think that liberal churches and organizations [and yes, I'm counting World Vision among them] are just biding their time until such time as same sex marriage is legal in all states. At that point, I predict they will be straight up same sex marriage affirming, and will feign shock and dismay that "certain" Christians [and we know who they are, right?] still refuse to affirm homosexuality as lawful and good in God's eyes. The law is the law, right? I can just hear it now. Be prepared for World Vision to go all Romans 13 on us at that time, it's coming.)
"(T)he board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision." (in-house letter to World Vision staff)
After we recently published an article about the fact that World Vision has decided that going forward they will hire professing Christians who are in "legal same-sex marriage(s)" (while at the same time confusingly claiming they're not endorsing same sex marriage via an in-house letter to their staff), we got to thinking about what the real issue is here. Could it be that the visible church of today is slowly apostasizing, and yet assuaging its collective conscience with the salve of legality? After all, as the United States rushes headlong into legalizing same sex unions (17 states so far, and counting), it seems it will only be a matter of time before same sex couples can get married in every state in America. So the real question for Christians today is this: do you understand how this battle will likely play itself out? Fines and jail sentences and increasing persecution will in all likelihood be coming to Christians who refuse to participate in same sex unions, whether that is a Christian baker choosing not to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple, a photographer choosing not to book same sex weddings, or a pastor of a church refusing to perform a legal (but biblically sinful) wedding ceremony between a same sex couple. Are you prepared for this battle, my friends? Because it's coming to your door very soon. And the hinge that's swinging this door will be that these unions will be 100% legal, though still condemned in God's eyes. Are you ready?

Monday, March 24, 2014

World Vision Affirms Same Sex Marriage [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack

(UPDATE: About a day after their announcement that they would begin hiring professing Christians in same sex marriages, World Vision made a statement reversing this new policy change, calling it a "mistake." While I am glad for this reversal, my prediction is that World Vision will eventually reverse this reversal, only they will do it quietly next time, without any kind of grand public statement. I think they learned their lesson, especially after immediately being called out by Franklin Graham and Dr. Albert Mohler, and others. Our Facebook wall was also flooded with comments from readers expressing that they could no longer in good conscience partner with World Vision. So sadly, the lesson I think World Vision learned was not to have greater fidelity to God's word, but to "manage" their liberalism more covertly. I could be wrong about how this plays out, but time will tell. I think that liberal churches and organizations [and yes, I'm counting World Vision among them] are just biding their time until such time as same sex marriage is legal in all states. At that point, I predict they will be straight up same sex marriage affirming, and will feign shock and dismay that "certain" Christians [and we know who they are, right?] still refuse to affirm homosexuality as lawful and good in God's eyes. The law is the law, right? I can just hear it now. Be prepared for World Vision to go all Romans 13 on us at that time, it's coming.)

Richard Stearns, U.S. President of World Vision, announced today that the organization would reverse its previous policy of requiring their employees to abide by marriage as defined in God's word as one man and one woman, and would begin hiring professing Christians who were in legal same-sex unions. From the article:
World Vision's American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman. 
Stearns asserts that the "very narrow policy change" should be viewed by others as "symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity." He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.
(Online Source: World Vision: Why We're Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages)
At the same time, World Vision claims to be distinctively Christian. From their website:
We are Christian: We acknowledge one God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, the love, mercy and grace of God are made known to us and all people. From this overflowing abundance of God’s love, we find our call to ministry........We bear witness to the redemption offered only through faith in Jesus Christ. The staff we engage are equipped by belief and practice to bear this witness. (online source)
Sorry, but World Vision can't have it both ways. If World Vision is going to reject the authority of God's word, it would be better for Christianity if, going forward, they would simply proceed purely as a relief organization, and not as an organization claiming any Christian distinctives. After all, for true believers, Scripture is our guideline in all matters of faith and practice. And the Bible is not unclear on what it says about unrepentant homosexuality, so it's not a matter of interpretation, but one of obedience. World Vision simply can't claim to be a Christian organization, but then deny the Bible in practice where it speaks clearly and authoritative on matters, as it does on unrepentant homosexuality.

 Bending To the Culture 

Caving on the same sex marriage issue is a very "cultural" stand for World Vision to take. By explicitly making a public statement that they will, from now on, be hiring into their organization homosexuals who profess to be gay, then they are accepting, as valid, a profession of Christian faith from practicing, unrepentant homosexuals. And again, by doing so, World Vision is rejecting the authority of the Bible, which condemns unrepentant homosexual sin (along with all other unrepentant sins).

 Administering ONLY Relief to The Needy Will Merely Make Them Comfortable on Their Way To Hell 

Richard Stearns stated in his interview with Christianity Today that:
"...when Christ left, he gave us the Great Commission [to make disciples] and the Great Commandment [to love others as ourselves], and we're trying to do just that."
But is this accurate? Is this how World Vision operates? Are they seeking to preach the gospel message to the lost, that there is a holy God who made them and to whom they are beholden, and who commands all people everywhere to repent and believe on Christ's atoning death for forgiveness and reconciliation? If so, I could not find any evidence on the World Vision website of the gospel message being a part of the World Vision ministry.
"World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice." (online source)
Unless I missed something, from looking at the World Vision website, it seems apparent to me that World Vision sees their primary focus as being one of bringing relief to the needy. Nowhere on the site did I find a statement attesting to the  desire to bring lost sinners into a saving relationship with their Creator, who made them and who has a righteous claim on their lives. And while there is nothing at all wrong with ministering to the poor and needy, and a whole lot good with doing so, Christians need to remember that ONLY doing benevolent acts for the disenfranchised is not the same thing as preaching the gospel to them. While growing up in a very liberal mainline denomination, one thing I heard often was this quote (often wrongly ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi):
 "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." 
This quote makes me cringe today. The gospel cannot somehow be mysteriously conveyed by kindness or good works. The gospel is a distinct message, communicated with words. Of course, kindness can and should enhance the message of the gospel, but the gospel is a MESSAGE. It's a message comprised of actual words which convey the truth of our Savior, Jesus the God-man, who lived a perfect life that He offered up as an atonement for the sins of wretched, sinful man. Kind actions cannot convey that message.
"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Going into third world countries with medicine and blankets, and digging wells, and building infrastructure are good, benevolent and loving things to do. But such actions are not a SUBSTITUTE for speaking the actual gospel message. Thus, if an organization claims to be Christian, but does not proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, then they really ought to rethink their mission statement. I contend that if Richard Stearns and World Vision are only ministering to the physical needs of those in need, and not their greatest need, their spiritual need, then they really ought not to identify themselves as a Christian organization. It only muddies the waters for the rest of us who don't mind taking heat from the world for giving the gospel that offends and for taking stands that aren't popular, such as the hotly raging same-sex marriage issue.

Let me close with this exhortation: To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please don't be under any illusions that if you give $$$ to World Vision that you will be participating in the unadulterated gospel message going forth into the world. Jesus did not turn a blind eye to sin (homosexual or otherwise), nor did He bend to cultural trends.

 Additional Resources 

On World Vision and the Gospel

Pointing To Disaster — The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision 

Franklin Graham's Statement on World Vision