Ed and Scott Cash Leave The Gathering

Bob Smietana at Christianity Today is reporting that Ed and Scott Cash have left The Gathering. See this post for more on The Gathering and then the Cash website for their statement.
I also reproduce it here:

Dear Friends,
We want you to know that we have left the Gathering. For several months we have been praying, seeking wisdom, and meeting with multiple well-respected Christian leaders about this decision.
We find all the allegations against Wayne Jolley to be very troubling and are grieved by the pain others have endured. We’re praying for the Lord’s total healing and restoration for everyone involved.
We hope our lives and character make it unmistakably clear that we would never knowingly support anything that does not honor the Lord.
Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed for us throughout this difficult time. We look forward to what God has planned for the future and are overwhelmed by His incredible mercy, peace, and truth.
Ed Cash and Scott Cash
**We apologize for site disruption. We realized that our old website was created with out-dated software, and we’re doing our best to correct any problems. We wanted to post the letter above, and this was the only way we could do it.

I don’t know the Cash brothers. Many thousands of people who listen to music created by one of them don’t know them. So their lives and character don’t make anything “unmistakably clear.”  I believe a more detailed explanation is in order. I would like to know if you are going to try to remove Wayne Jolley as a songwriter from the two Chris Tomlin songs. I am still waiting for Tomlin to address why he allowed someone to have that credit on a song he recorded.
Cash was a leader in The Gathering and enabled Jolley to attain the position he has. The statement is a start but by itself opens more questions than it answers.

Top Ten Posts in 2015

The ten top posts during 2015 are as follows with the most popular first:
1. Open Letter to Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris from a Former Member of Mars Hill Church – This was posted on November 2, 2014 but remained popular throughout 2015. Driscoll recently joined Jimmy Evans as a director to form The Trinity Church in Phoenix.
2. Former Chief Financial Officer at Turning Point Claims David Jeremiah Used Questionable Methods to Secure a Spot on Best Seller Lists – This story about David Jeremiah’s questionable tactics from a former insider was a scoop but not one which stuck to Jeremiah like  a similar scandal did to Mark Driscoll.
3. Hillsong’s Brian Houston Interviewed Mark and Grace Driscoll After All (VIDEO) (AUDIO) – First, he said he would interview Driscoll, then he said he wouldn’t, then Brian Houston aired an interview with Mark and Grace Driscoll. It was great theatre but didn’t draw good reviews from former Mars Hill leavers.
4. A major study of child abuse and homosexuality revisited – This post from 2009 is one of the most popular articles in the history of the blog. In it, I demonstrate a key mistake in a journal article often used to link homosexuality and child abuse.
5. Southern Baptists Say Enough to Perry Noble and NewSpring Church – I am surprised that this post got so much attention.
6. Gospel for Asia Faces Allegations of Misconduct; GFA Board Investigation Found No Wrongdoing – The GFA story received the most attention from me this year.
7. Pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Says Church Reaction to Hiring Tullian Tchividjian is “Overwhelmingly Positive” – I briefly covered Tullian Tchividjian’s comeback as a development minister at a PCA church in FL.
8. A Few Thoughts on The Village Church Controversy – Village Church’s leadership apologized for their response to a young woman who sought a divorce from her husband who had admitted having child porn.
9. Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Issues Statement On Mark Driscoll at the Hillsong 2015 Conference – Mark Driscoll’s return to the spotlight garnered much reader attention.
10. Gospel for Asia’s K.P. Yohannan and the Ring Kissing Ritual – While the financial scandals were of interest to readers, this article ranked higher than the money problems.
To fully capture activity on the blog, one should consider the Gospel for Asia scandals (Patheos considered my coverage as a part of one of their top ten Evangelical stories of 2015).
It has been a good year and I thank my readers and those who support the blog with their comments and regular visits.

Just a Few More Hours to Give to Mark Driscoll Ministries

If you can handle it, you can view Mark Driscoll and his dog asking for money here.
And then if you are lucky enough to be on the mailing list, you have this reminder:
DriscollGift2015
 
A reminder for all the folks at MDM, you have to file a 990 form. Mars Hill didn’t have to do this, but non-church nonprofits do.
 

The Ownership of Gospel for Asia's Rubber Plantation Under Investigation by Indian Government

According to The Times of India, Gospel for Asia in India is being investigated by the Indian government in relation to GFA’s claim to own Cheruvally Estate, a working rubber plantation. GFA claims to have a clear deed but the government claims that the plantation should not have been sold to GFA by the former owner Harrisons Malayalam.

The special office to deal with Harrisons Malayalam Ltd cases has already issued orders to take over 38,051 acres currently held by HML and other private players who bought land from the company.
This includes 29,185 acres currently held by HML, 1,665 acres of Boyce estate, 2,700 acres of Ambanad estate, 2,263 acres of Cheruvally estate held by Gospel for Asia, 206 acres held by Ria Resorts and Properties and 450 acres of Goodampara estate held by MMJ Plantations. (emphasis added)

If GFA was a party to a fraudulent deed, the managing trustee of Gospel for Asia and Believers’ Church might face jail time. The managing trustee is K.P. Yohannan.
You can read more about GFA’s purchase of Cheruvally Estate on the GFA website.
 

Ted Cruz to Meet Pastors at Event Organized by His Super PAC

Christian Post has the story.
Cruz will be there. The Super PAC is organizing the event at the home of one of the major donors to Cruz’s Super PAC.
How is this not coordination of the Cruz campaign with the Super PAC? Someone who knows these matters better might want to weigh in but to me this looks like the Cruz campaign is coordinating efforts with the supposedly independent Super PAC.
 
 

No, David Barton, I Did Not Recruit Jay Richards

Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission
Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission

Although World Net Daily lists January 12 as the release date for the second edition of David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies, it is now available on Amazon. I ordered the Kindle version and found a serious flaw within minutes of reading Barton’s response to our book Getting Jefferson Right.
Barton claims that I recruited Jay Richards to in turn recruit Christian historians to begin a campaign against Barton. That claim is not true. After reading Getting Jefferson Right, Richards approached me via Facebook message on May 14, 2012. Before that message, I did not know Richards. Here is what Barton says in The Jefferson Lies:

Throckmorton admitted that he had recruited scholars for this purpose, led by Jay Richards, a philosopher/theologian with the Discovery Institute, who, according to media outlets had asked “10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.” Although he reported that their responses were “negative,” several of them actually refused to participate in his quest.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 133-137). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

Later in the book’s preface, Barton claims:

In fact, when Jay Richards (the speaker from the Discovery Institute who was enlisted by Throckmorton to find and recruit critics to attack my works) confronted me about what he claimed were errors in The Jefferson Lies, I repeatedly asked him if he had read the book. He refused to answer. But it was clear from his mischaracterization of my arguments that he had not read it (or at least all of it). For instance, he repeatedly asserted that I said that Jefferson was an evangelical, but as is clear in the chapter on Jefferson’s faith, I do not make that claim.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 613-617). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

In fact, Richards wrote to Michael Coulter and me on May 14, 2012 via the Getting Jefferson Right Facebook page. He thanked us for the book and offered to contact Christian journalists on our behalf. Then, on May 23, Richards wrote to say that he had spoken to two of Barton’s supporters about the historical problems in Barton’s book (see below for the identity of one of them which was revealed by Barton). The next day, Richards alerted me that he had been “commissioned” (it was unclear who did the commissioning, but it wasn’t me) to find six Christian historians to read Barton’s book, our book, and Barton’s DVD lecture America’s Godly Heritage. Richards then approached six scholars who then agreed to provide feedback. Richards did not tell me the identity of the scholars and I still don’t know all of them. The number providing some level of feedback eventually grew to ten.
According to Richards, Barton was also going to be informed that this process was happening.
Barton’s attempt to make me the one pulling all the strings is false and I think he knows it. I say this because on his Wallbuilders’ website, he tells the story differently. About one of the scholars recruited by Richards — The Masters’ College history professor Gregg Frazer — Barton says (see footnote 2):

From a hostile written review of David Barton and WallBuilders written by Gregg Frazer at the request of Jay Richards. That written critique was subsequently passed on to David Barton on August 13, 2012, by the Rev. James Robison, to whom Jay Richards had distributed it.

From Barton, we learn that Gregg Frazer was one of the historians recruited by Richards. Richards then gave the critique to Robison (co-author with Richards of the book Indivisible). Then, if Barton’s timing is correct, Robison gave Frazer’s critique to Barton on August 13, 2012, a few days after Thomas Nelson’s move to pull The Jefferson Lies from the shelves became public.
Not only is Barton’s claim about me false, the narrative he constructs appears to be designed to obscure what really happened. The Jefferson Lies was not doomed by political correctness, but rather by the deficiencies identified by conservative critics and reviewers. Conservative scholar Jay Richards came to us due to the merits of our work, not because we recruited him. In turn, Richards did not act alone in the effort to bring peer review to The Jefferson Lies. 
For some reason, those who commissioned Richards apparently did not follow through in a vigorous manner on the information they received. This is a part of the story as yet untold.
This misrepresentation of recent history is just the first of many issues from the second edition of The Jefferson Lies I will explore in the coming months.
 

Robert Spitzer, Father of Modern Psychiatric Diagnosis, Dies at 83

Robert Spitzer at his home in 2004, screencap from I Do Exist.
Robert Spitzer at his home in 2004, screencap from I Do Exist.

According to the New York Times, psychiatrist and author of the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual Robert Spitzer died on Christmas Day. Spitzer is credited with changing the way mental health professionals view diagnosis of mental disorders. By basing the assessment of mental disorder on personal distress and diminished functioning, Spitzer promoted a more rigorous approach to diagnosis.
More famously, Spitzer’s modifications also paved the way for reconsidering homosexuality as a mental disorder. After meeting gay psychiatrists who did not experience distress over homosexuality, Spitzer, in the early 1970s, led the effort to remove homosexuality from psychiatry’s list of mental disorders.
I first talked to Bob Spitzer when he invited me to take part in a debate over sexual orientation change efforts at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in 2000. The debate was canceled when, near the beginning of the conference, the two psychiatrists arguing against sexual orientation change backed out. Bob later told me that the psychiatrists who declined to participate wanted out because they heard that I was a member of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). While I had been a NARTH member for one year in 1997, I had allowed my membership to lapse by 2000. An irony is that I later became one of NARTH’s biggest critics. Bob knew I tracked NARTH’s actions and about once a year asked about any news on their activities.
Although I was unable to attend, the following year Bob invited me to speak as a part of a symposium where he presented results of his research on ex-gays. Eventually, that study was published in 2003 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior and was one of the most controversial studies in modern psychiatry. At the time, due to his conversations with people who described themselves as ex-gay, Spitzer believed that some gays had been able to modify their sexuality toward the straight side of the continuum. Later, in 2012, Spitzer retracted that interpretation of his research, denounced his earlier beliefs, and apologized to gays.
In 2004, I met Bob Spitzer in person and spent a few hours at his home near New York City while filming for the video I Do Exist, a video with the testimonies of five people who told me they changed from gay to straight. Because one of the main participants retracted his statements and two others had significant changes, I later retracted the video in January 2007. My views were also altered by the emergence of new data on sexual orientation and the failure of change therapy supporters to produce evidence in their favor.
After he published his study, Bob’s collaboration with social conservatives was something he later regretted. On one occasion in November 2008, I sent him a link to Focus on the Family’s website where they had misrepresented his study. He wrote back and said, “That is awful. Whoever wrote it must have known it to be incorrect. Can you do something about it?” Focus later modified the statements slightly but still did not fully represent Bob’s views. 
In 2007, Spitzer told me in a phone call that he endorsed the sexual identity therapy framework that I developed with Mark Yarhouse. The endorsement was later published on the SIT framework site:

I have reviewed the sexual identity framework written by Warren Throckmorton and Mark Yarhouse. This framework provides a very necessary outline to help therapists address the important concerns of clients who are in conflict over their homosexual attractions. The work of Drs. Throckmorton and Yarhouse transcend polarized debates about whether gays can change their sexual orientation. Rather, this framework helps therapists work with clients to craft solutions tailored to their individual situations and personal beliefs and values. I support this framework and hope it is widely implemented.
Robert L. Spitzer, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, NY. Co-editor of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental and Emotional Disorders, 3rd Edition and 3rd Edition (Revised).

On a personal level, I liked Bob immediately. He was friendly and very approachable. While he seemed to like the controversy, in my hearing he communicated no malice toward any side of the gay change debate. He seemed to be a genuine truth seeker and wanted to follow the evidence no matter what. I will miss him.
Bob Spitzer, R.I.P.

New Endorsement of Getting Jefferson Right – John D. Wilsey

In his second edition of The Jefferson Lies, David Barton provides a lengthy critique of our work in Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third PresidentWe intend to use that material in our own second edition which I hope to publish sometime in 2016. In response to Barton’s new edition, I am going to publish some additional endorsements for Getting Jefferson Right by historians and other scholars.  Today, historian and theologian Dr. John D. Wilsey weighs in:

In Getting Jefferson Right, professors Throckmorton and Coulter offer a thoroughgoing effort to understand our third president in all of his human complexity. In their avoidance of special pleading and their pursuit of scholarly integrity, Throckmorton and Coulter serve both the living and the dead. For the living, they advance the field of early US history and help clarify the lines of Christian orthodoxy. For the dead, they honor Jefferson’s humanity by dealing with him honestly. Honor and soundness are the results of their labors.
John D. Wilsey, assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea.

Additional endorsements can be found at GettingJeffersonRight.com.

Christmas 2015: We Three Kings – Audible Waters

Mr. Jesperson and his friend Toni collaborated to give us this lovely version of We Three Kings. Thanks to them for allowing me to post this song.

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Merry Christmas 2015.
A note about the next two weeks. Posting might be sporadic since I will be taking some time off. Keep sending tips, reactions, and questions to me.

Victoria Rigel on Two Recorders – O Come, O Come Emmanuel

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This has become a Christmas eve tradition on my blog.
Recorder artist Victoria Rigel plays two recorders at once in this 2008 version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel with yours truly on the guitar.

If the widget doesn’t work, try this link.

 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.