Ed Cash Plays Legos Up Front at the Young Life Conference; Families Still in the Dark

In mid-December, Christianity Today‘s Bob Smietana provided a feature length expose of cult-like practices and teachings of The Gathering and Wayne Jolley, the spiritual leader of the movement. Christian music producer Ed Cash, probably best known for being co-writer of How Great is Our God, figured prominently in the expose as one of Wayne Jolley’s insiders. On December 30, Cash posted a letter on his website saying that he had left The Gathering.
Reaction from family members of those still in The Gathering was hopeful. Those not in the Gathering hoped that Cash would help people leave the movement and restore relationships broken because of orders from Wayne Jolley and observed by Cash.
Since then Cash has not commented on his stance toward those he helped recruit into The Gathering. Currently, he is at the Young Life conference in FL. For some family members, the relationship between Young Life and Cash has been a source of discouragement. In fact, Young Life’s leadership issued a statement that Ed Cash would not have an “up front” role at the conference. Since Cash has led worship in the past, this lower profile would at least be a recognition that some business with The Gathering is unfinished. The full statement is at the end of the post.
However, earlier this evening, Ed Cash participated in a worship set/concert at Young Life. See the short video below. Ed Cash is playing the Legos.

Ryan also tweeted a shout out to Cash and the others who participated.

This seems to violate at least the spirit of the commitment from Young Life leaders.
In the mean time, family members who contacted me this evening are still wondering if Ed Cash is making any attempts to reconcile with families who lost children and other family to the Gathering.
A former member of The Gathering, Scott Hethcox, told me: “I am praying for healing and restoration for Ed and Scott Cash and their families. I also pray the statement from the Cash brothers about leaving the Gathering is truly genuine. I will be more assured it is genuine when I hear that Ed Cash has reconciled with people who were hurt by The Gathering.”
In response to concerns from some Young Life supporters who have family members in The Gathering, Young Life leaders issued the following statement to Young Life regional staff:

The Cashes will be at the conference as participants but not in any upfront leadership or “upfront” role. Since the publication of the Christianity Today article, we have been in dialogue with Scott and Ed both about their response as well as their role at the conference. It is certainly our desire to respond appropriately to this difficult situation, and I believe we have done so. As you may be aware, the Cashes have left The Gathering and severed ties with Wayne Jolley.
We are deeply disturbed by the article’s content, and we continue to affirm that Young Life has absolutely no relationship with Wayne Jolley or with The Gathering. Because we do have a relationship with the Cash family, we will continue to walk with Scott and Ed during this time, hoping and praying for God to accomplish His purposes in them…for healing and restoration and redemption. It is in that spirit that we welcome them to attend the conference.
We are grieved by the ways those in the Young Life family have been impacted by involvement with The Gathering, and we will continue to pray for and seek ways to foster healing for all involved.

David Barton Tells Listeners Virginia Law Kept Slave Owners from Emancipating Slaves; Admits it Happened in New Edition of The Jefferson Lies

Yesterday, David Barton said again that Virginia law did not allow slave owners to free their slaves. He usually tries to make that case in relationship to Thomas Jefferson, but yesterday on his Wallbuilders’ program, he said George Mason could not free his slaves because of Virginia law.
At about 37 seconds into this clip from the program, Barton says Mason didn’t free his slaves “because in Virginia it was illegal for guys like him to release their own slaves.” Listen:

I have debunked this repeatedly (here, here, here, here, here) but it is worth pointing out that Barton tries to have it both ways in the new edition of his book, The Jefferson Lies. He says Michael Coulter and I are wrong about Virginia law but then he indirectly acknowledges we are correct by citing the case of Virginia plantation owner Robert Carter who began a process of manumitting his 452 slaves in 1791. In the second edition of The Jefferson Lies, Barton invokes Robert Carter’s act to free his slaves.

Perhaps the case of Robert Carter best demonstrates the overall complexity of the Virginia emancipation process. Carter, whose wealth was considerable and who had as many as 500 slaves, emancipated them all in 1791. Yet, due to the difficulties of his executor process, and the intricacies of Virginia slave laws, sixty years later in 1852 (and long after Carter’s death), his heirs were still working to free his slaves as per his original directive. When it came to emancipation, Virginia law was definitely convoluted and restrictive.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 588-592). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

In the new edition, he attacks me for being wrong about Virginia slave laws, but in another place he acknowledges that Virginia law allowed manumission. When discussing Virginian plantation owner Robert Carter, Barton acknowledged that Carter started the process of emancipation for his slaves in 1791. Some slaves were freed immediately, minor slaves were freed gradually as they attained adult status. Yesterday, however, he said Virginia prohibited “guys like” Mason from freeing his slaves.
Simply put, Barton originally claimed Virginia law did not allow Jefferson to free his slaves. He has said before and said again yesterday that Virginia law did not allow “guys like” George Mason to free his slaves. Mason lived until 1791 which was nine years after Virginia’s 1782 law allowing private manumissions. It might have been a hardship for Mason to do so but Virginia law did not make it illegal.
We demonstrated in Getting Jefferson Right that not only did Virginia law allow it for a period of time, some slave owners who were contemporaries of Jefferson and Mason did indeed free some or all of their slaves.  Barton even refers to one of our illustrations of a slave owner, Robert Carter III, who used the 1782 law to free his slaves legally but he still can’t admit that he misled his readers and yesterday his listeners.

Marco Rubio Announces Religious Liberty Advisory Board

At least Rubio has better taste than Ted Cruz in historians.
World magazine has the list of Rubio’s religious liberty advisory board members. Seriously, Thomas Kidd’s presence in this group makes me feel better about Rubio.

  • Carlos Campo—president, Ashland University
  • Vincent Bacote—associate professor of theology and director of the center for applied Christian ethics, Wheaton College
  • Kyle Duncan—former general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Green family in the Hobby Lobby case
  • Tom Farr—director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and associate professor of the practice of religion and world affairs, Georgetown University
  • Kelly Fiedorek—legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
  • Wayne Grudem—research professor of theology and biblical studies, Phoenix Seminary
  • Chad Hatfield—chancellor, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary
  • Thomas Kidd—distinguished professor of history and associate director, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University
  • Daniel Mark—Villanova University and commissioner, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Michael McConnell—Richard and Frances Mallery professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford University Law School
  • Doug Napier—senior counsel and executive vice president, Alliance Defending Freedom
  • Samuel Rodriguez—president, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
  • Meir Soloveichik—rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel and director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Yeshiva University
  • Rick Warren—founding pastor, Saddleback Church
  • Thomas White—president and professor of theology, Cedarville University

Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only

Source: Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign
Whatever one might think about any one person on this list, I appreciate the number of academics on the list. Now, let’s see if they really help inform his public policy proposals. 

Mars Hill Church's Demise Referred to as "Some Internal Things" in Mark Driscoll's Intro at Zion 2016

Earlier tonight (1/5/16), Mark Driscoll spoke at the Zion 2016 conference at Jimmy Evans Trinity Fellowship Church.  He was introduced by Jimmy Witcher, a pastor at the church who is slated to become Senior Pastor at Evans’ Church, possibly tomorrow night at the conference.
In any case, those who have followed Driscoll’s career will be impressed with Witcher’s ability to spin the past 14 months in this intro.

Transcript: Jimmy Witcher, Trinity Fellowship – January 5, 2016 – Zion 2016 Conference, Amarillo, TX

Well tonight is a very special night. We’re very excited to have Pastor Mark Driscoll here with us.

And, and many of you may have tracked with Pastor Mark over the last several years. You know he is an amazing pastor to the Body of Christ. And I had a chance to meet Pastor Mark at a Gateway pastor’s conference just a little over a year ago, it was in October a little over a year ago, about 14 months ago, and, it was right at the end of his run at Mars Hill. In fact, he had actually just resigned as Senior Pastor at Mars Hill, a church that he had planted and started, and grown to over 15,000 people, uh, attending each and every weekend. And not, not just an ability to grow a church, but he was really impacting the nation. And was doing a tremendous  job, and through some internal things that were going on there, it became necessary for him to resign.

And you know, many of us go through hard times in our life, but not all of us have to do it very publicly. And Pastor Mark had to go through a very difficult, kind of almost a public trial, uh, with the media on his front lawn, helicopters flying overhead, his every move being discussed in blogs and on social media. And you know, as often is the case, you know, with the media, and I know they, they sometimes try, uh, but they get about a third of the information right, you know. And so he and his family were living in this, in this difficult time of making this decision, and he had resigned.

And it was literally just within days, probably a couple of weeks later that I got to meet him at a pastor’s conference. And Pastor Mark had known it was time for him to step down, and he knew that God was calling him to move on and go into another season, but he knew that he needed to get some things “in his quiver,” if you will. He needed to, to learn some things, and develop some characteristics, and some things in himself that he hadn’t had before. And one of the things that he knew he needed, is he needed some spiritual fathers. He needed folks that would come in and speak fatherhood to him.

And I — just quite by chance — happened to be sitting right next to him at the conference. And Pastor Jimmy, our beloved Pastor Jimmy Evans was the speaker that night. And Pastor Jimmy and Mark, I don’t-maybe not, just barely shook hands, I know they hadn’t spent any time together. And Pastor Jimmy got up and delivered a powerful Prophetic Word to Pastor Mark. And the Prophetic Word was this,

“You’ve been a brother to many. And you have led many as a brother, but the next season that you’re gonna move into, is you’re gonna transition from a brother to a father. And the next season is going to be greater than the latter season.”

And it was an amazing Prophetic Word. And you guys know Pastor Jimmy, he doesn’t just “dole out” prophetic words without knowing that  it’s coming from God.

And so at that moment, Pastor Mark began to grow and develop, and he has developed an incredible relationship with Pastor Jimmy, and Pastor Jimmy now, is acting in, in a way, as one of many, not the sole, but a spiritual father for Pastor Mark, as he’s walking in to this next season of his life that we’re so excited to be a part of. And I’ve just been, been following them through Pastor Jimmy, and been so excited for the few times I’ve gotten to meet Pastor Mark. He’s an amazing man of God. And this is what I, I love about God. Our God is a redemptive God, is he not? He’s a redeeming, redemptive God. And he takes, you know, and I love Chuck Pierce’s word that he had, right, he’s going to take everything from our past, and he’s going to bring it forward into our future. That’s what happening in 2016.

And I believe that for, for Pastor Mark. This is a year of him transitioning, and the things of the past coming forward and multiplication in the things of the future. And this is what I love. Pastor Mark is not here because he was the Senior Pastor, he’s not here because of who he was, he’s here because of who his is.  And so here’s what I want us to do, would you guys please welcome Pastor Mark as our friend and our brother.

It has been fascinating to see Driscoll move from the Gospel Coalition tribe season to the New Apostolic Reformation tribe season.
So pull up a chair, according to Evans, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Consult Wenatchee the Hatchet for six narratives of Driscoll’s resignation. Witcher mixes and matches bits and pieces in his intro. One would never know that Mars Hill Church doesn’t meet anymore.

Gospel for Asia Loses More Support

Debbie Roy is a blogger who not only supported Gospel for Asia financially but also used her blog to promote the group.
No longer.
Yesterday, she revealed that she has stopped supporting the group and even repented that she had done so in the past.
A portion of her remorseful post:

I have only lately learned of these matters and I am so very sorry for any amount of money you may have lost on account of my endorsements. It is always a heart wrenching thing when a Christian organization which has had so much respect in the past, goes off the straight and narrow. Just today I have watched a few videos which confirm my decision, and I have repented of my support for GFA. You, of course, are free to do as you please, but I must be honest with you all. I do believe that God looks at our hearts, and before Him no donation is ever wasted. But we must choose wisely who handles the money God gives us to use for Him.

Go read the rest at Sistersreachout.com.
It is worth pointing out that the GFA web page which features bloggers for GFA is now empty.  No links to blogs can be found.
I was made aware of this blog by another former donor who I will write about in a future.

Thomas Nelson Contract: Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage Advance Was $400,000

Image courtesy of sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wenatchee the Hatchet has a copy of the 2011 agreement between Mark and Grace Driscoll’s LLC (On Mission, LLC) and Thomas Nelson to publish Real Marriage. Dusting off my Mars Hill sources, I conclude it is legit. In it, we learn:

-The Driscolls received an advance of $400,000.

-The book had a working title of “A New Marriage with the Same Spouse.”

-The contract calls for the Driscolls to pay for corrections. I wonder if they did since corrections due to citation errors had to be made.

-Mars Hill could have gotten thousands of books through Driscoll at an 80% discount. Instead, Mars Hill’s contract with Result Source called for the church to purchase 11,000 copies at an adjusted retail price so the numbers would count toward the New York Times best seller list. According to this contract, those royalties went to the Driscolls via On Mission.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that being the pastor of a church willing to develop a marketing campaign for your book (see that also at WtH) which includes a preaching series (with research done by consultants) and full support from a marketing team (paid for by tithes) is a really sure way to become wealthy.

This reminds me of the qualms expressed by the Communications Team at Mars Hill Church in 2011 before the executive elders committed church money to the Real Marriage campaign.
Mark Driscoll isn’t the only one who found financial gain in megachurch service. David Jeremiah does something like this once a year.

Wrong Again: Bryan Fischer Says There Are No Muslims in Japan

No. Just. No.
Writing on OneNewsNow, Bryan Fischer says Japan has no terrorism because the nation has no Muslims.
Fischer relies on one Jewish Press article which takes him far away from the facts.
Fischer says Muslims can’t proselytize and there are no Muslim organizations. He says a lot of things that aren’t true.
For the facts, see this Politifacts article. The writers there evaluated similar claims back in November and rated them “pants on fire” which mean blatantly false.
See also this article on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and then this list of Muslim worship centers in Japan.

A Challenge to WND and David Barton on Thomas Jefferson and Slavery

Late last night, World Net Daily published another “exclusive” promo piece for David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies. This one focuses on Thomas Jefferson’s relationship to his slaves and repeats Barton’s overconfident denial that Jefferson fathered any of Sally Heming’s children. We did not take up that claim in Getting Jefferson Right because there is no way to know for sure what happened.
However, the unknown author of the WND article then comes after me (and my co-author Michael Coulter without naming him). In his first edition, Barton selectively omitted a section of Virginia’s 1782 law on manumission which allowed slave owners to free slaves by going to the county court house with a “deed of manumission.” He claimed that Virginia law did not allow emancipation. Citing Barton, the WND article doubles down on that claim:

“Numerous historians of previous generations who sought for truth rather than political correctness affirm that the laws of Virginia did indeed forbid Jefferson from doing what he wanted to do throughout his long life: free his own slaves.”

Mr.Barton please name some of those “numerous historians.”
In fact, because of the 1782 law on manumission, many slaves were freed by their owners.
Barton continues:

But Barton says the situation was far more complicated, and takes on Throckmorton’s claim directly in a special section of the new edition. He argues Throckmorton seems to believe only one law governed emancipation in Virginia. In fact, he argues, there were many.

In Getting Jefferson Right, we deal with several relevant Virginia laws, not just one as Barton claims.

Barton asserts:

Because Jefferson suffered severe difficulties throughout his life, Barton says he would be exposing his slaves to possible re-enslavement if he tried to set them free.

Barton observed: “Particularly relevant to Jefferson’s case was a law requiring the economic bonding of certain emancipated slaves… Jefferson… was unable to meet the added financial requirements of that emancipation law.”

We never claimed that it would have been easy for Jefferson to free all of his slaves. We countered Barton’s assertion that Jefferson was not allowed to do so by Virginia law. In fact, there were some restrictions on emancipation for some slaves. On that point, the 1782 Virginia law enumerated the conditions (scroll down to page 39):

 II. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That all slaves so set free, not being in the judgment of the court, of sound mind and body, or being above the age of forty-five years, or being males under the age of twenty-one, or females under the age of eighteen years, shall respectively be supported and maintained by the person so liberating them, or by his or her estate; and upon neglect or refusal so to do, the court of the county where such neglect or refusal may be, is hereby empowered and required, upon application to them made, to order the sheriff to distrain and sell so much of the person’s estate as shall be sufficient for that purpose.

Males and females above 45, males under 21, females under 18 and disabled slaves required financial support. However, not all of Jefferson’s slaves fell in those categories. This provision of Virginia law did not prohibit emancipation. Furthermore, during this period of time, Jefferson voluntarily sold over 50 of his slaves to reduce debts, moving them from one condition of enslavement to another.

Barton and WND continue:

Another law applicable to Jefferson also stated, “All slaves so emancipated shall be liable to be taken… to satisfy any debt contracted by the person emancipating them.”

As Jefferson was, in today’s standards, millions of dollars in debt when he died, freeing the slaves might simply lead to them being taken by someone else.

The clause Barton refers to was passed as a part of a 1792 law. In full, the clause provided:

That all slaves so emancipated shall be liable to be taken by execution to satisfy any debt contracted by the person emancipating them, before such emancipation is made. (emphasis added)

Barton omitted the phrase in bold print. After 1792, a slave freed after an owner contracted a debt could be taken by authorities and sold back into slavery with the proceeds going to satisfy the pre-existing debt. However, if a slave was emancipated and then the slave owner went into debt, the slave could not be taken.

Two points should be obvious. First, this clause is a restriction but not a prohibition. Second, there was a ten year window when the 1792 restriction did not apply.

A third point isn’t as obvious because Barton doesn’t address what Thomas Jefferson did while some Virginia slave owners were manumitting their slaves. Jefferson continued to buy and sell slaves during this period. Jefferson even hired slave catchers to track down runaway slaves.

A Challenge to WND

Let me issue a challenge to Barton and World Net Daily: Allow me space to rebut these promo pieces. Stop misrepresenting my arguments and the evidence and link to this post. Right now, your behavior is a right wing version of the liberal bias you assert is true of the mainstream media. If you are so sure you are correct, then have the courage to back it up.

Family Members React to Ed Cash Statement About Wayne Jolley and The Gathering; Do Current Members Know What is Going On?

After Christianity Today revealed the statement from Ed and Scott Cash about leaving Wayne Jolley’s The Gathering, I have been contacted by several people who have loved ones in The Gathering. As I expected, some of them found Cash’s statement to be inadequate. They want to know what the Cash brothers are doing to inform their children and family members about the Cash’s decision to leave.
Do the Current Members Know Why Ed and Scott Cash Left The Gathering?
According to individuals who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, many current members of The Gathering have not read the statement from the Cash brothers. Members have been told that the Cash brothers have been led by God to go to a different church with no mention of any problems.
According to former members, Cash was instrumental in bringing many people to the movement. Once in the movement, some were told by Jolley and other leaders, including Cash, to cut off contact with family. I contacted Ed Cash last night and today to learn what, if anything, he is doing to help others out of the church. As of this writing, he has not replied.
Two parents of The Gathering members commented on my December 31 post. Their comments are below. Both replied to another commenter, Andy, who defended the statement from Ed and Scott Cash. I have permission to post their comments.

Rebecca Chambers – Andy the truth of the matter is I know these two men. I trusted the well being of my daughter with these two men when she moved to Nashville. They recruited her into the cult and we lost all communication with our daughter. The Cash brothers watched this happen and did not make any effort to help us because Wayne Jolley said we were the evil ones. Although I’m glad they are out, they have a great responsibility to the families ripped apart, the people spiritually abused. We can’t just “move on” as you say. Restoration for all begins with taking responsibility. If you are such a good friend, why didn’t you know they have been apart of a cult for a decade? If you were that close you would have known. Don’t speak on behalf of the Cashes when you could not possibly know the details of this situation and the victims involved. Just pray for truth to come forth. The road is long ahead of us, but God will bring restoration in a way only He can.
Freeman Hodges – Andy, I don’t know you and only met Scott a couple of times, but I do know my daughter who was brought into the Gathering. She met Scott and his wife through Young Life which led to them hiring her as a babysitter and then a live in nanny. Over time she stopped coming home to visit because she had to “run the sound” at church. My daughter got married at Ed Cash’s house with Jolley controlling all of it. Oh, by the way, none of my daughter’s family was at her wedding and nor did I get to walk my baby girl down the aisle as she and I talked about for years that all changed when she met the Cash brothers and Jolley. I would love to meet you and share our story. I don’t judge the Cash brothers, but I do hold them responsible for helping mislead many people. One question I have for Ed and Scott is have they gone to my daughter, son in-law and anyone else the brought into the Gathering told them the truth so they all will get out?

Thus far, none of the former members or family members who have contacted me have heard from the Cash brothers. More than that, they want to hear from family members who attend Jolley’s church and begin repairing relationships.