Rod Dreher on Doug Wilson's Scandal in Moscow

UPDATE: Doug Wilson has responded to Dreher’s article at American Conservative. Dreher then provides a helpful analysis.
 
In response to several requests, I have been researching Christ Church in Moscow, ID. As time permits, I have read blogs, court docs, and emails from concerned brothers and sisters about the church pastored by Doug Wilson. Most of what I have reviewed has been extremely disturbing.
With the publication of an article by Rod Dreher today, I may not need to do much more. On the American Conservative website yesterday, Dreher brought together many of the facts of the situation which involves child abuse and what appears to be a dysfunctional church in Moscow, ID.
In essence, it seems that the leadership at Christ Church in Moscow, ID have exercised extremely poor judgment in encouraging a serial abuser to pursue a kind of therapy via marriage. In the face of evidence that Christ Church’s pastor, Doug Wilson, provided remarkably unwise advice to the abuser and a young woman who married the abuser, Wilson has gone on the defensive. Cited by Dreher, Wilson said in defense of conducting this ill-fated therapy by marriage:

 Moreover, if everything is on the table, we do not believe the church has the authority to prohibit or “not allow” a lawful marriage.

To which Dreher countered:

Really? The church has no authority to prohibit a lawful marriage? I suppose same-sex couples in Idaho can show up at Christ Church and expect Pastor Wilson to marry them, then. This, and the claim that the church can’t withhold marriage from anybody, as long as both parties know what they’re getting into, is a pretty shameless example of passing the buck for a disaster. Wilson subsequently praised himself for the way he’s conducted himself in this matter, saying that persecution is a sign of his righteousness, and sneering that his wife celebrated the criticism coming their way by buying him a bottle of single-malt Scotch.

Wilson’s brazen self-defense is in contrast to a former pastor of Christ’s Church daughter church, Peter Leithart, who has apologized for his part in another case involving abuse.
Wilson has helped pioneer the classical schooling movement and has some disturbing views of American slavery. Wilson believes slavery, while not a moral good, was more benign than American abolitionists depicted. Lost causers and Confederate sympathizers love it.
According to some near the situation (speaking to me anonymously), things are getting more and more unsettled in Moscow with some of the empire unraveling. There might be more Scotch in Wilson’s future.
On a related note, Wenatchee the Hatchet has a post on connection between Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson.
 

Vatican Confirms that Kim Davis Met with the Pope (UPDATED)

UPDATE: According to NY Times reporter Laurie Goodstein, the Vatican has now confirmed that the meeting between Davis and the Pope took place. While I still think Davis is wrong in her stance, this has to be considered a major PR win for her and her team.
On the other hand, this may compromise positive feelings surrounding the Pope’s visit here. I don’t understand the secrecy. Her lawyer Mat Staver said she disguised her hair style on the way to the meeting. Why did the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the meeting initially? Why not let people know while he was here that he supported Davis? I suspect one answer might be that he would face questions about it during the rest of the trip. Makes him look less than Papal to me.
Back to Davis, I puzzled by what violates and doesn’t violate her conscience. She refuses to affix her name to a same-sex marriage license in her official capacity as clerk but she will in her personal life accept a blessing and rosaries from the Pope which would appear to violate her religion as well. The founder of Apostolic manifestations of Christianity such as hers S.H. Froehlich has very little good to say about the Pope.
Her position has been that she doesn’t want anyone to think she supports gay marriage. However, she seems less concerned that people will think she supports Catholicism.
I suspect some of her supporters will not care how consistent her actual beliefs are, but rather that she sincerely holds them. Other supporters might draw the line if she starts to balk at issuing marriage licenses to divorced Christians.
———-(original post)————–
In an odd turn of events, the Vatican press office won’t confirm or deny that the Pope met with Kim Davis during his U.S. trip. According to a tweet from the NY Times Laurie Goodstein, verification is in limbo.


According to ABC News, the Vatican Press Office released this statement:

The Holy See is aware of the reports of Kim Davis meeting with the Holy Father. The Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given.

Given the exaggerations which regularly come out of the Liberty Counsel camp (e.g., Peru, Mat Staver thinks David Barton is a credible historian), confirmation is necessary. In essence, the Vatican is tossing her under the bus at this moment.
Davis claims to have photos. If those surface, then the Vatican may need to say something or could just let them speak for themselves.
To me, if he did meet with Davis, he has undone a lot of the bridge building image he has cultivated. Davis is a divisive figure right now and by aligning with her, he will appear to lack consistency and genuineness.

Twitter Reacts to Attorney's Report that Kim Davis Met with the Pope

Yeah, that Pope.
Did the Pope really meet with Kim Davis? There is still doubt about it, but Davis’ lawyers claim it is true. It was reported by Inside the Vatican which has crashed. Update: The page on the Inside the Vatican website is back up.
The Vatican has not commented and the story now rests on what Robert Moynihan says Kim Davis told him.
Twitter reacts to the news:


David Gibson at RNS:


Brandon Ambrosino is skeptical:


Michael Dougherty:


More to come.

Some Smart People Think He's Coming Soon But Don't Set Dates: Gateway Church Teaches About the End Times

Lots of end times teaching these days. September seems to be an important month. Jimmie Evans is an apostolic elder at Gateway Church and he has had a lot to tell the flock there about the end time. Since Summer, he has had them all ready for the end but September is about over. In fact, a website he referred them too is now down, possibly because nothing’s happening.
Here’s an excerpt of one of the videos followed by the transcript where he points people to a date at the same time he says he isn’t setting a date.

But let’s look at another way we can prove it and that is by counting the years…If we’re in the end times and there are 6,000 years of human history followed by a thousand year millennial rule of Christ, we should be somewhere around the year 6,000. Let’s look at this in several ways. Let’s look at three calendars. First, let’s look at our Gregorian Calendar. This is the year 2015 on the Gregorian Calendar. We have a solar calendar and Israel has a lunar calendar well that’s 2015 AD. That’s since Jesus was killed. Well, how many years were there before Jesus? Well, thankfully in Luke chapter 3 there’s a genealogy that goes from Jesus to Adam. We know exactly how many generations were between Jesus and Adam and Bible scholars say there were 4,000 years in the Old Testament. So let’s do some deciphering. (Jimmy holds up 4 fingers then 2 more) Four plus two equals six. K. So If we’re supposed to be around the year 6,000, according to the Gregorian calendar we’re around the year 6,000. Give or take a few years.
Okay, Jewish civil calendar. K, the Jews have two calendars. The civil calendar and the religious calendar. According to the Jewish civil calendar this is the year 5,775. Now remember, they don’t have AD and BC. They just have from creation. So 5775 which would tell us that there’s 25 years left until 6000 comes. The only problem is there’s a lot of disputes about that calendar. And we know historically that there were changes made to it and a lot of Jews dispute 5775 being correct. But again, it’s close to 6000.
But there’s a Jewish religious calendar. The civil year of the Jews begins in the Fall, the religious calendar begins in the Spring. And there’s a group. I’m gonna tell you about this group and I’m gonna give you a disclaimer here in just a minute. Torahcalendar.com. These are Messianic Jews who don’t believe that the Jewish Civil Calendar is correct and they are very intelligent people and they have done exhaustive research trying to find out what year is this since creation. The actual year since creation that we’re living in. K, and they believe in the 7,000 year calendar of God. So they took scripture, history, science and astronomy not astrology, astronomy. And they took all of those things exhaustively and looked at what year it is. By the way, NASA has the lunar or all the activity of the moon for thousands of years. So scientifically you could, their calendar’s a lunar calendar. So they looked at the Bible, history, science and astronomy of all that’s happened and here’s what they believe. After all of their study, and this is on their website, they believe that they year 6000 ended in March of this year. They believe we are living in the year 6001, according to their religious calendar. And this is my disclaimer, they believe that Jesus is returning in September. So when you go to that website. I’m I’m giving you a warning that they write it down, they have the date that Jesus is going to return.
Listen, I don’t ever set dates for two reasons. First of all, when people set dates, people stop living their lives. Okay. The second thing is when that day comes and goes you get your ya know you get disappointed and become cynical. Cause I’ve lived to see a lot of dates set that people said Jesus is going to come on this date. Whenever someone tells me they know when Jesus is coming I always have the same answer, ‘I hope you’re right’. But I’m not going to live any differently just because you say you know when Jesus is coming. So this is a smart group of Jews. That they wanted to know what the right calendar is. They did exhaustive research. You can see their research on their website. And they believe we are living just after the end of the year 6000 and Jesus is about to return. I don’t set dates. But be ready whenever Jesus comes, okay.

FEC Launches Inquiry Into Donation from Ted Cruz Super PAC to Carly Fiorina's PAC

For reasons not clear, one of Ted Cruz’s Super PAC gave $500,000 to Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC back in June. And because “other disbursement” is not particularly clear, the FEC has launched an inquiry:

FEC Fiorina Inquiry by The Conservative Treehouse


In the letter above, the FEC analyst referred to line 21b in Schedule B of the mid-year report. However, I learned today from the FEC that “21b” is a mistake and line 29 on Schedule B is the donation is question.  See the image below:
KeeptPromiseCarlyFEC
Neither Keep the Promise nor Carly for America have responded to requests for comment.
Some tweeters and emailers have wondered if this somehow connects Glenn Beck, David Barton, and Ted Cruz with Carly Fiorina. First, I have no idea why a Cruz PAC would give money to Fiorina. Second, Barton was not a part of the Keep the Promise Super PAC family of PACs until very recently. This disbursement to Fiorina’s PAC was made in June.
 

Calvary Chapel Pioneer Rebukes K.P. Yohannan's Church Rituals

GFA HQ Front
Gospel for Asia HQ, Wills Point, TX

Last night, Phoenix Preacher posted audio of Bill Gallatin, a pioneer in Calvary Chapel circles, rebuking the hand kissing rituals of Believers’ Church recently brought to light here and by former staff of Gospel for Asia. At the Northeast Senior Pastors Conference going on now in upstate New York, Gallatin said during a speech:

and you got a man in India who says he’s a Calvary Chapel and he’s wearing robes like the pope and he’s even having his own people come up and kiss his hand…and no ones even blinking.

You can hear the full audio at this link (at about 30 minutes in).
Those familiar with Calvary Chapel are telling me that Rev. Gallatin’s statement, while brief, is significant. As this kind of sentiment bubbles to the surface, it makes me wonder how long GFA will remain silent, even in response to donors and supporting churches.

Challenge to David Barton: Where Are the 1500 Bible Verses in Locke's Two Treatises?

I think I know the answer but I doubt David Barton will respond.
First, some background is necessary. For quite some time, the head of Ted Cruz Super PAC David Barton has claimed that John Locke referred to over 1500 Bible verses in his Two Treatises of Government. In The Jefferson Lies, Barton wrote the following:

Furthermore, in his Two Treatises of Government (1689) — the work specifically relied on by Jefferson and the other Founders as they drafted the Declaration — Locke invoked the Bible over 1500 times (pp. 40-41).

The earliest instance of the claim I have been able to find is a 2006 article posted on Wallbuilders’ website about Independence Day.

Locke’s Treatise (actually two separate treatises combined into one book) is less than 400 pages long; but in the first treatise, Locke invoked the Bible in 1,349 references; in his second treatise, he cited it 157 times. Imagine! In the primary work influencing the Declaration of Independence, Locke referred to the Bible over 1,500 times to show the proper operation of civil government. No wonder the Declaration has been such a successful document!

Then, on the August 14 segment of Rick Wiles’ TruNews (ironic), Barton again claimed that Locke included over 1500 Bible verses on how civil government is supposed to operate.

In this clip, Wiles asks David Barton why pastors won’t preach about culture war topics. Barton answers by describing how he was asked to go to the Ukraine to speak to political and religious leaders there about the foundations of American government. Barton used the Locke story to support his contention that American civil government was derived from the Bible. At about 1:20 into the clip above, Barton says:

The Ukraine is very highly Christian and so I just asked these leading pastors, the heads of their denominations, I said, does the Bible say anything about government, can you give me any verses on that? And I got about seven verses and these are like the popes of their denomination. And so I pulled out a book from 1690, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, you know in America, this is what our founding fathers used to write the 1776 Declaration of Independence. This little book, you can see, translated into Ukrainian, less than 400 pages long, it’s less than an inch thick, it has more than 1500 Bible verses on how civil government should operate, so how come you as church leaders only know seven, when here’s a little book with 1500 in it?

Barton then goes on to castigate American missionaries for teaching the separation of church and state.
I wrote about Barton’s 1500 verse claim previously with Locke scholar Greg Forster providing expert commentary.  Here is one key component of Forster’s response:

In his edition of the Two Treatises, editor Mark Goldie of Cambridge University lists only 121 Bible verses cited in the entire Two Treatises. And that’s including all the places where Locke didn’t cite the verse explicitly and Goldie “interpolated” the citation. In addition to those 121 Bible verses referenced, Goldie lists six places where Locke cited an entire chapter of the Bible, and one place where he cited an entire book (Proverbs). That’s it. But anyone who has read the Two Treatises will know Barton’s claim is false without having had to count.

In another post, I provided Thomas Jefferson’s description of how he wrote the Declaration of Independence. While Locke was an intellectual influence, Jefferson said he didn’t consult any work to write it as asserted by Barton. 
In this post, I want to show how I think Barton could have come up with his inflated claim of 1500 Bible verses. While I get a different number than Barton, I have found a way one can misrepresent the number of verses Locke used in his arguments. Barton’s approach to history and truth is on full display with this claim.
As pointed out first by Greg Forster, Two Treatises editor Mark Goldie produced an index to Scriptures implied and directly cited by Locke. At the end of the post, I am linking to images of that index for readers to examine. In the index, Goldie refers to Locke’s citation of individual verses, several full chapters, and the entire book of Proverbs. To get to over 1500 Bible verses, one must count each time an individual verse is cited by Locke (he cites some verses multiple places in the Two Treatises), and then add the total verses in each full chapter cited by Locke and then add the entire book of Proverbs. If one does that, the total count I get is 1,512 verses. See the image below for a illustrative portion of the Goldie index with an entire chapter, multiple verses and the entire book of Proverbs.
Locke verses example
Even if this method was defensible (it’s not), Barton’s claims are still wrong. He says in The Jefferson Lies that “Locke invoked the Bible 1500 times!” Even though Proverbs contains 915 verses, mentioning the Old Testament book once does not equate to invoking the Bible 915 times. Locke invokes Proverbs once, so one can subtract 914 times from the count if one is being honest.
Most recently, Barton claimed that the Two Treatises “has more than 1500 Bible verses on how civil government should operate.”  As I have demonstrated, to get to over 1500 verses Barton has to count the entire book of Proverbs, entire chapters of the Bible, such as Genesis 36, as well as every time Locke refers to the same verse. I want Barton to explain to me how the Proverbs and some of the verses in the chapters mentioned by Locke tell us how “civil government should operate.” For instance, Gen. 36: 38 reads:

When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king.

How about Exodus 21:7? Did the founders rely on this verse to help write the founding documents?

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 

How about Proverbs 12:25?

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Few of the verses Locke used fit the descriptions offered by Barton.
In my opinion, Barton inflated the number of verses in order to craft a fiction about the role of the Bible in the construction of the Declaration of Independence.
To close, it worth re-reading what Forster said about Locke’s use of the Bible:

Moreover, a large number – possibly even the majority – of those 121 citations are not to passages “on how civil government is to operate.” The Bible references in the Two Treatises are heavily concentrated in the First Treatise. The overwhelming majority of the First Treatise, in turn, is devoted to an extended analysis of small number of selected verses from the first two chapters of Genesis, especially Genesis 1:28-30. That’s a lot of analysis devoted to understanding the biblical text, but it’s not a large number of verses cited. The remainder of the First Treatise, where other biblical verses are cited more frequently, looks to the Bible not primarily for instruction on civil government but almost entirely on the power of parents over their children, especially the inheritance of property from parents to children. Locke is interested in these verses because he wants to use them to refute Robert Filmer’s claim that today’s kings inherit their power from Adam, but these are clearly not “biblical references on how civil government is to operate.” They are biblical references on how families are to operate. In fact, the point that descriptions of the how the family should work are not descriptions of how civil government should work was Locke’s main point!

 
Goldie’s index: page 253, 254, 255.
 

Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris Calls Blogs "Satan's Hit List"

On Saturday at Gateway Church, pastor Robert Morris went off on bloggers. Watch:

But, but I have to say this, um, I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list now you know, but here’s what blows me away.
You wouldn’t listen to gossip, but you’ll read it. I mean, I have a friend of mine, that made a comment a while back, and it just blew up on the Internet. It blew up. Like he was “changing” his theological position. And really he was saying, ‘our methods are evolving’ but he had to clarify later, ‘my theological position’s not evolving on this issue, but our methods in dealing with people who are in bondage to sin, those are evolving, we’re trying to learn to deal with people who-who suffer with this’.
But on the Internet, everybody had already judged him. And he’s a pastor and he’s a friend of mine. And what upsets me is Christians read filth on the Internet. And they believe it.
And, I, um, you can’t imagine how many people have told me, that ‘this is true,’ “How ya know it’s true? ‘Read it on the Internet’
Anybody can write on the Internet. And the people who write on the Internet are people who would not have a platform, unless they put my name, or Bill Hybels’ name, or T.D. Jakes’ name in it, they wouldn’t have a platform, if they didn’t put someone’s name who already had a platform. Boy, I’m just fired up, I’m telling ya.

So we know you’re reading Rev. Morris. Now if there is something you think is factually wrong in anything you read here, please don’t hesitate to have one of your people get in touch with me.  Like you, I don’t want people to read filth or untrue info.
 

Gospel for Asia Adds Board Members

According to a former staffer in a position to know, Gospel for Asia added Frances Chan (Crazy Love), David Mains (Chapel of the Air), and Damian Kyle (Calvary Chapel – Modesto) to their governing board.
The addition of these men makes GFA’s silence all the more troubling. It seems fair to call these men into accountability for the questions which GFA has refused to answer about their financial and other dealings.
These new members join founder and CEO K.P. Yohannan, his son Danny, his wife Gisela, Chuck Zink, Gayle Erwin, Robert Felder and Skip Heitzig as board members.

#PrayerforEveryone

While some evangelicals are predicting the beginning of the end in September and October, others are participating in an effort to mobilize religious folk to pray and work for the common good. This post is to make readers aware of the prayer for everyone effort.
Among many other groups, Bono’s One campaign is supporting the focus on prayer.  Here’s more:

This September, world leaders will commit to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Combat climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.

But to achieve these Goals, everyone needs to know about them.

From September 24 to October 1, everyone from every faith, every walk of life, everywhere, can take part in Prayer for Everyone by sharing the Goals with their faith community and their friends.

ONE, Project Everyone, and Global Goals invite you to join us and champion the Goals through the teachings and practices of your faith.

Offer your #PrayerforEveryone and tell everyone about the world you hope to see in 2030.

While the goals may seem unattainable, they are certainly worthy. The fact that leaders from around the world are supposed to agree today to promote such goals as ending extreme poverty is a sign to certain evangelicals that the world is about to experience the beginning of the end…maybe on September 28 when a “blood moon” is supposed to appear in the sky.

I don’t get into these prophecies. As a teen, I thought the world was going to end because so many adults said so (“I wish we’d all been ready”). About all I know now is that I am supposed to be busy while I am here and do what I can. God will handle the cosmic part when He’s ready.

In the mean time, offer a prayer of thanks for common grace and: