Loose Screw #3: Predestination of…Everything?


This is what happened when a young woman told her pastor that she was raped by a fellow church member:

“He said, “[My name], isn’t it such a comfort to know that whatever happened to you…WAS SOVEREIGNLY ORDAINED BY GOD AND WAS STILL BETTER THAN YOU DESERVED?””

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/the-stories/, SGM Casualty’s Story

Yes, a pastor said that to a rape victim.

I wish it surprised me, but it doesn’t.  I remember, after losing a baby, I was 33 weeks pregnant, and terrified of losing the baby I was carrying.  A friend looked at me with pity and said, “Taylor Joy, you know if the baby dies, that it was God’s will.”

It was also “God’s will” that I be born to an abusive mother.  It was also “God’s will” that I stumble into Christian Patriarchy.  Apparently, all bad things that happen in life are God’s fault.

Or are they?

We’ve been exploring the reasons why so many victims of abuse have been told by their churches to remain in an abusive relationship.  (If you haven’t read the first two installments in the series, you can find them here and here.  Please read them before you continue on, to know my heart and motivation for exploring this issue.)

Regardless of where we as believers stand on predestination verses free-will, we need to examine how our beliefs are informing our daily lives.  What fruit are these doctrines bearing?

To begin with, do some Christians believe that God’s will includes:

-allowing rapists to rape?

-allowing murderers to murder?

-allowing widows and orphans to be robbed?

The answer is, unfortunately, yes.

Ignorantly, I once believed that “Predestination” was only a doctrine concerning salvation: “God chooses some people to be saved before their creation, and chooses others to be condemned to hell.”

(Honestly, that didn’t sound like the God who would come in the flesh, confine Himself to time and space, and willingly give His life on a cross for people who were content in their sin.  But whatever. I mean, smarter people than myself have struggled through Calvinism/Armenianism/Free Will/Predestination–and we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m a musician, not a seminarian. In the words of Pope Francis, “Who am I to judge?” )

No.  Predestination, for some believers, means that every.single.act. was predestined by God, to show His glory to the elect.

For example:

“For what seems more attributable to chance than the branch which falls from a tree, and kills the passing traveler? But the Lord sees very differently, and declares that he delivered him into the hand of the slayer .”
“I concede more – that thieves and murderers, and other evil-doers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute the judgments which he has resolved to inflict.”
And even better:
“As I have hitherto stated only what is plainly and unambiguously taught in Scripture, those who hesitate not to stigmatise what is thus taught by the sacred oracles, had better beware what kind of censure they employ…
In all ages there have been wicked and profane men, who rabidly assailed this branch of doctrine.”
Not only does God predestine ALL evil things that happen, believing otherwise means you’re a wicked, profane, anti-scripture heretic who rabidly assails the truth!
Talk about stopping discussion.
(By the way, I was quoting John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion.”  You can read  the whole thing for yourself here , and you can read a nifty “Dear John” letter that summarizes one man’s position against it.)
I’m not here to discuss anything for or against Calvinism.  However, if a pastor (or heck, any Christian) believes that murder, rape, infanticide, genocide, totalitarianism, abuse–and me stubbing my toe on the dresser this morning–are all caused by God, how would he react to an abuse victim sitting in front of him at 1am?
Even worse, if any Christian believed (like Calvin) that these things were either a) brought about as God’s judgment for sin, or b) acts that God intended to eventually work together FOR THE GOOD OF THE VICTIM, what would he counsel that victim to do next?
Go home. Pray. Find a way to forgive the abuser.  Submit to your husband/parents/spiritual authority. It’s the Biblical thing to do.  Show Christ’s love in the face of abuse. After all, Hebrews 11 clearly states that not all believers will be blessed in this life–and I can clearly see that you haven’t been sawed in two–so trust that God is going to bring some good out of this.
I. Could. Scream.
And of course, if you combine this “loose screw” with “Abuse of Authority” and a Van Tillian”Presuppositionalist” view of unbelievers, you will go home thinking that 1) God, in His authority and sovereignty, ordained your abuse–either for your good, for the good of others, or as judgment for your sin, and 2) No one outside of the church can offer you anything *better* than God’s perfect will for life.
Calvinists point out that Romans 9 clearly states that God predestines some and not others to salvation.  However, the “abuse apologists” that I’ve encountered seem to forget that Jeremiah 19:5 also clearly states: They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.
At the Linger conference, Matt Chandler said with a smile that “predestination” in Greek still means….predestination! He got some laughs from the audience with that one. I’m willing to bet that “nor did it enter my mind” in Hebrew still means…”nor did it enter my mind.”
Throughout Scripture, God shows his heart for those who are oppressed, who are hungry, who are beaten down, who are wandering around like sheep without a shepherd. Yet, like Pharisees of old, we as a church have theologically worked ourselves into a pretzel.
We have  become a stronghold that silences victims in the name of “forgiveness” and “God’s sovereignty” and allows abusers to continue to abuse.  (After all, we’re all just a bunch of sinners carrying around our own body of death. How are you any better than he is?)
Then, after being fed the “sovereignty” line for however many years, when we finally do start to speak up, people tell us it was our choice to be in the abusive relationship, or abusive church, and why the heck didn’t we get out sooner?
Which brings us to loose screw #4….
As all contingencies whatsoever depend on it, therefore, neither thefts, nor adulteries, nor murders, are perpetrated without an interposition of the divine will. (1.17.1) – See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=12190#sthash.v4OLj8Mc.dpuf

A Glimpse into the Heart of Spiritual Abuse

Cindy Kunsman accurately pinpoints the heart of spiritual abuse.❤

Spiritual Sounding Board

What can #TakeDownThatPost teach us about the nature of spiritual abuse?  Thoughts from Boz Tchividjian and Patricia Evans.

quote Lewis

by Cindy Kunsman

I don’t know what the publishers of the Leadership Journal at Christianity Today hoped to accomplish when they published the article that initiated the #TakeDownThisPost campaign. In the wake of the problems, I hope that it demonstrates that abusers have a whole different psychology than the reasonably normal, reasonably mentally healthy person.

I only read just beyond the first paragraph of the piece, just long enough to confirm what I already knew about abusers. They operate under an entirely different psychology – one that is focused on self-gratification and self-interest. Those traits usually come along with self-aggrandizement, too.

The former youth pastor turned pedophile who was given a platform by Christianity Today showed this to us quite vividly, and the article gave him exactly what he wanted:…

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Loose Screw #2: Presuppositionalism



We’re exploring the reasons why so many victims of abuse have been told by their churches to remain in an abusive relationship. “Abuse of authority,” or even just a plain misunderstanding of authority, was an easy place to start. Obviously, if anyone believes that he was ordained by God to do whatever he likes to you, even if he thinks he’s acting in your best interest, he’s going to override your God-given right to make your own decisions.

In survivor-land, we call that “abuse.”

However, this next “loose screw” is a bit more subtle. It’s called presuppossitionalism, (Dang, did I even spell that correctly?) and it takes a moment to make the connection between this eight-dollar-word and our discussion. You wouldn’t immediately say, “Oh, by believing in presuppossitional apologetics, I’m going to be stuck forgiving horrific abusers and sweeping their sins under the rug!” Heck, you might even be happy to know such a long, intellectual-sounding word! (I was. Wink, wink.)

Thanks to Hester at scarletlettersblog, my eyes were opened to how presuppossitionalism has infiltrated so many aspects of the Christian life.  Her work helped me realize that, when mixed with abusers, this is a truly toxic doctrine.

Let me add that I’m not a seminarian, or a trained theologian. However, since churches have to be filled with non-seminarians at some level, knowing how the laity filter and distill these doctrinal ideas should be important to any pastor. If I’m wrong about any doctrine, I don’t mind you pointing it out in the comments. Just don’t think for a minute that laity all across the Church aren’t seeing it the same way.

First, some definitions for the real world:

Presuppossitional apologetics is a fancy way of saying: It’s stupid to even try to reason with unbelievers about whether or not God is real, or Christianity is true, because God is the source of knowledge. God is the one who gives us the ability to reason. If this or that person isn’t in a relationship with God, his reasoning is inferior to the reasoning of people who are in a relationship with God.

On the surface, this might make sense to some believers. Obviously, if we’re in a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, then we night assume that Creator would be a source of knowledge about any subject you might be interested in studying.

However, presuppositionalists take it to the next level with statements like this:

The argument in favor of Christian theism must therefore seek to prove if one is not a Christian-theist [he means a regenerate believer] he knows nothing whatsoever as he ought to know about anything … On the contrary, the Christian-theist must claim that he alone has true knowledge about cows and chickens as well as about God.

Do you know anything about cows and chickens? I don’t, and I married an egg farmer’s son. I would probably kill a whole flock of chickens before I ever got an entry-level job at the Tyson factory. But, according to this genius (a dutch Calvinist theologian named Cornelius Van Til) I would naturally know more about chickens than the president of the Tyson corporation, because I know Jesus.


“Well, that’s ridiculous,” you might say. “I would never believe such a stupid concept!”

Maybe, but let me ask you this: would you rather hire a Christian plumber, or a non-Christian plumber? Does a Christian pastry chef make a better cake than a non-Christian pastry chef?  Would you trust your kids’ health to a non-Christian doctor?

“No, but we could trust that a Christian plumber would be honest, and wouldn’t over-charge me, or perform shoddy work.”

Really? Well, what if honesty or laziness is a sin that the Christian plumber or baker or doctor still struggles with? Should we plumb their spiritual lives to see if they’ve developed all the fruits of the spirit? Should we examine their Bible study habits to see if they bake a good cake, or can unclog a toilet, or can tell the difference between strep and the flu?

Christians have been called gullible for a reason. We genuinely want to believe the best about everyone—and for that reason, we can be exploited by almost anyone. If an abuser has a working Biblical vocabulary, and can turn on the tears at will, he or she can likely convince any of us that repentance, holiness, or spiritual growth is happening before our very eyes. This means that abusers are attracted to the church. We give them credibility. We give them social capital. We give them a convenient hiding place.

Like the pulpit. Or the youth ministry .

Boz Tchividjian quotes a convicted child molester who says, “[I] consider church people easy to fool…they have a trust that comes from being Christians.  They tend to be better folks all around and seem to want to believe in the good that exists in people.  I think they want to believe in people.  Because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words. – convicted child molester –

(See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/04/26/sex-offenders/#sthash.a78s0EAY.dpuf)

If we genuinely have higher reasoning abilities than unbelievers, then why are we “easy to fool?” Why didn’t we know better than to allow child molesters into our doors?

If presuppossitional thought trickles down from the leadership, imagine the thought process in a church member who goes to report abuse:

1) You report the abuse the leadership
2) The pastor assures you that the abuser is repentant, and urges you to
1. forgive the abuser and
2. examine what role you may have played in the abuse.

Now, mix “presuppossitional” theology with the first loose screw, “abuse of authority,” and see what rattles around. The very act of stepping out of the leader’s umbrella is sinful. Plus, the leaders know more than the secular authorities.

Would you honestly think you had any other options at this point, besides doing what the pastor says? If Christians know more about cows and chickens than any farmer does, (cluck, cluck, moo!) wouldn’t they know more about abuse than any police officer or women’s shelter?  Would you doubt the abuser’s repentance?  Would it even cross your mind to do a google search through (gasp!) unbelievers’ web pages, about other ways of dealing with an abuser? I mean, heck, these so-called “victims” or “advocates” don’t have the Spirit of God! They can’t lead me in to all truth! And with all those pesky mandated reporting laws, what about the redemption of the abuser?

Which brings us to loose screw #3…


Marriage, Divorce, and an Ox in a Well

Jeff Crippen knocks it out of the park, as always.❤

A Cry For Justice

Luk 14:1-6 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. (2) And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. (3) And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” (4) But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. (5) And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” (6) And they could not reply to these things.

One of the prevalent dangers in the church – especially in the conservative, Bible-believing church like the one I pastor – is that of falling prey to wooden, literalistic interpretation of Scripture that totally misses the heart of God…

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The Theological Loose Screw(s)



Nate Morales, a former staff member at Covenant Life Churches, was found guilty recently  on five counts of sexual assault. 

According to Brent Detwiler, who attended the trial, a pastor that was called to testify, Grant Layman, KNEW about the abuse, and didn’t report it to the police.

The fact that the sexual abuse occurred at all was horrific. The fact that a pastor (who is a mandated reported in most states) covered it up–which allowed Morales to continue to secure ministry jobs, and have access to children–is nauseating.

However, the fact that we as a church are continuing to allow these systems to stay in place–systems that allows pastors to have this kind of life-or-death control over people–is mind-blowing.

“What systems?” you may ask.  “This has nothing to do with any system–this is one sick, twisted individual who infiltrated a church.”

A year ago, I would have thought the same thing.  Then,  ATI, Vision Forum, JPUSA, Voice of The Martyrs, Pensacola Christian College, Bob Jones University, and of course CLC church (of Joshua Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” fame) all were involved in searing sexual abuse scandals.

Few of these organizations are directly related to one another, yet most of the victims said the same thing: “I (or my child) was sexually abused.  I went to the leadership of the church/organization.  The leadership assured me that the abuser had repented, and told me not to go to the authorities.  The leadership also asked me (or my child) to examine my/his/her own heart to see what role I/we had played in the abuse.  And repent.  And forgive the abuser.”

(Please, if you need a moment to vomit, by all means take that moment right here.)

Then, today I found out Christianity Today had the gall to publish an article by a convicted sexual abuser, and refer to his crime as “slipping into sin.”

What is happening in the church?

I believe that these horrific sexual abuse scandals (and the cover-up that followed) are the direct result, and the final, rotten fruit, of several theological screws that came loose in the church.  We as believers honestly didn’t address each isolated issue when it came up.  Individually, while they may be weird, they each seem fairly harmless, like they’re “no big deal,” and we don’t want to cause division by making a stink about them.  But when all the loose screws came rattling down, the very foundation of the Christian life was undermined.  And we didn’t even notice.

Loose Screw #1: Abuse of Authority

Loose Screw #2: Presuppositionalism

Loose Screw #3: Predestination of….Everything?

Loose Screw #4: Sin-Leveling

Loose Screw #5: Mountains out of Molehills

Loose Screw #6: The Sociopathic Concept of God

Today, I’m going to focus on Loose Screw #1, and I will hopefully add a new post every week, if Baby Agape keeps sleeping well. I’ll come back and add links to each Loose Screw when each post is live.

I want to add that I’m simply a layperson in the church–I’m a worship leader and skit writer–and I’ve not been to seminary.  However, that should make pastors and theologians sit up straighter and ask themselves, “How did this type of screwball thinking make its way into the church?  What are we communicating? How are we communicating?  And how can we be more faithful to God’s word?”

Loose Screw #1: Abuse of Authority

Many churches have embraced an unbiblical model of “authority” for so long that they’ve  forgotten it’s not in the Bible:


It’s called “The Umbrella Model.”  Apparently, if you or I stay under these cutesy little umbrellas of authority–in other words, if we as wives obey our husbands, or if we as church members obey our pastors–then we’re SAFE from the Devil’s evil schemes.

Kids are being taught this at an early age now:


Because GOD GAVE THIS AUTHORITY, going against this authority is going against GOD HIMSELF.  Going along WITH this authority is following God’s true will, God’s best plan for you, etc.  And this will KEEP YOU SAFE.

This is ludicrous for several reasons.  For starters, nowhere in the Bible are believers promised protection from any of Satan’s attacks if they just blindly do what the guy in charge says. In fact, Paul directly confronts Peter when he’s theologically messed up in the head.

Wait, an APOSTLE can be wrong? Someone who walked with Jesus while He was physically on this earth could need correction from a fellow believer? Say it ain’t so!

It is so. We’re not only supposed to question apostles, we’re supposed to question prophecy.  We’re supposed to study, to grow, to ask God for wisdom, AND submit ourselves to authority.  We’re to love God with our heart, MIND, soul, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Oddly enough, we’re not even promised protection if we do what GOD HIMSELF says.  Jesus promises us that “in this world, we will have trouble.”  Hebrews 11 states pretty clearly that some of God’s people will be great overcomers, and some will…not.


The Rotten Fruit

Dang, if people are following this authority, then how did all these kids get abused?

No one would willingly embrace a theology that says, “If your child is molested, you have to forgive the offender, not go to the cops, and let the molester walk free, as long as he cries and says he’s sorry.  You also have to consider what YOU did to seduce the crackpot who crept in on you during the lock-in.”  No.

However, did we as the Body stand up and say, “That’s not Biblical,” when our churches required women to wear skirts ?  Or when a leader proclaimed that all families should home school?  Or that getting married is our highest calling? Or that God didn’t have vocal chords?

Probably not.

We’d say, “We don’t want to cause division over something minor.  Is this a ‘sprinkling or immersion’ type of debate? That is so not an issue.  Who cares? We want to have unity!! We love these people! Heck, every church has its quirks, right?”

In my experience, few people want to challenge a pastor, teacher, or person in “authority” over whether or not a teaching is Biblical.  We either go along with it, or if it’s an egregious error, slide out the back door, and look for another church.  Either way, the teaching is allowed to stay, grow, and affect people’s lives.

“Hey, is it getting warm in here?” says the frog, sweating…

The Fallout

We see the cover-up of sexual abuse, because some brave people brought it into the light–but what do we not see?

How many people made other decisions under this authoritarian system? 

How many people chose/didn’t choose a specific college, because a “spiritual authority” counseled them to?

How many people stayed/didn’t stay in a certain relationship?

How many people chose/avoided a specific career field, or a specific mission field?

How many people handled conflicts, money, property, child-raising issues, under this type of authoritarian system, all believing it was the Biblical way to do so?

But we didn’t challenge this system, until we caught someone with their pants down.

We must start speaking up.

The authoritarian structure  gives the church member no other options.

There’s no appeals process.  There’s no one else to turn to.  In this false theology, “outside of the umbrella” is the land where Satan can attack you. And heck, those unregenerate people don’t know as much as your pastor or husband or teacher does anyway–so why would you even try going to secular authorities?

Which leads us to Loose Screw #2…..



Dear Pastor Tullian…(or, my emotional response to your apology for your emotional response)


Congratulations Pastor Tullian, you just fell into one of the favorite traps of abusers everywhere: “Let’s make the whistleblower the problem!”

**You said, “I’m sorry for saying things in my own defense.”

Last time I checked, some people lied about you, gossiped about you, and oh by the way, they systematically covered over an abuse scandal in the church because, you know, “Buddy System.”

The entire reason for Christians defending the Fatherless and the Widow was, as I understand Scripture, because these are people who can’t stand up for themselves. Where is the Biblical mandate against speaking in your own defense? The Bible says not to resist an evil person. We are never, ever commanded to turn our other cheek against a brother or sister in the Lord.


**You said, “I’m an emotional guy. And in my highly charged emotional state, I said some things in haste, both publicly and privately, that I regret.”

First of all, since when are emotions bad? God got angry when the Israelites did nasty things, like sacrificing their children and all that stuff. Jesus got angry when he saw money changers in the temple, and when the leper knelt before him wondering if Jesus would be “willing” to make him clean. I always thought Jesus was ticked off at how the weakest of His people were being treated by their leaders. I honestly thought YOU were reacting in that same anger. What’s wrong with that?


The site “A Cry For Justice” identifies this as “flat-affect theology,” the belief that any time a believer shows anger that he just must be wrong. Sorry. It’s not true. It’s not Biblical. Yet anger is used in our church culture as some sort of spiritual thermometer that says, “Oh gee, when I’m this angry, I must be in sin.” How exactly should we feel when we’re lied about, gossiped about, systemically cast out, and oh yeah, kids are abused? It think anger is appropriate here.


Secondly, what exactly did you “regret”? What are you actually apologizing for? Did someone really lie about you, or was it just a big misunderstanding? Did the TGC gurus really collude to kick you out, or was it an administrative hiccup that led to the problem? Is it still impossible for you to imagine that CJ Mahaney didn’t know about the SGM abuse victims, or do you now have new information? You can’t just bring an argument to the public like that, then say, “Whoopsie, I was wrong, sorry, peaceloveJesus,” and not explain yourself. At least, not without seriously damaging your credibility.


**You said: “I absolutely love and adore my friend, Tim Keller.” and “ The thought that I said anything at all that would hurt Tim or call anything about him into question makes me both sad and sick. “


I don’t care how much you adore Tim Keller, et al, because it has nothing to do with whether or not Keller lied about you in his public statement. Love may cover over a multitude of sins, but misplaced love leads to abusers being allowed to continue their behavior because “We all know he’s REALLY a good guy.”


Please. Gag me.


Even Darth Vader had the love of Padme. And of Luke. But he still, you know, cut off Luke’s hand and turned him over to the Emperor. This was before he claimed to “convert” back to the fictional “good side.” Keller and the TGC guys are ALREADY supposed to be Christian believers! You SHOULD be angry when they screw up this royally, and you SHOULD call them out publically if they don’t respond to private confrontation.


Oh yeah, that’s the part of Matthew 18 that everyone forgets–verse 17: If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


**You said, “The late Francis Schaeffer once noted that bitter divisions among Christians give the world the justification they’re looking for to disbelieve the gospel. But when reconciliation, peacemaking, and unity are on display inside the church, that becomes a powerful witness to this fractured world.”


Did you know that the late Francis Schaeffer’s son wrote a book claiming that the late Francis Schaeffer was physically abusive towards his wife? I mean, how could an abuser use the Bible to shut down legitimate confrontation?


Finally, and you can cross-check my next statement with your brother Boz on this: you just played the cards that every abuser wants you to play. You confronted someone with their sin, they wouldn’t repent, you tried to bring it into the light, and they MADE YOU THE PROBLEM. Your anger. Your divisiveness. Your disunity. Never mind the fact that the whole source of your anger, divisiveness, and disunity is
their behavior, you just need to fix your heart.

So, when you fix your heart, do they ever fix their behavior? After all, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What does their behavior say about thecondition of their heart?

This part feels personal, because bringing my family’s abuse to light was always my problem. It’s my fault that my mother is depressed, (“She misses you so much!”) and my father drinks, (“He misses you so much!”) and my nephew doesn’t get to have an “Aunt Taylor” around. I was always told that I should have a forgiving spirit, that I should be “Christ-like,” that I should forget the past, and move on. I was always told about the holidays that were forever changed, the family reunions that were so awkward (because everyone’s like, “Where’s Taylor”) and the fact that my kids won’t know their grandparents.


Oddly enough, NO ONE ever thought to say, “Maybe your parents should stop being abusive…? Maybe they should get treatment for their drug addictions and paranoid delusions…? Maybe you should make sure they don’t hit your kids, or drive your kids anywhere while they’re drunk, or get killed because a parent let an addicted boyfriend or girlfriend into the home?”


Of course, none of this behavior has changed. Nope. It was all about MY heart. My forgiveness. Apparently, being Christ-like means being so submissive that I’d be willing to let my dad drive drunk with me and my six month old baby (happened!) and I should just not rock the boat.


What do you think will do more damage to the unbelieving world? Watching a pastor disagree with those in power, and fight for justice? Or watching one more pastor sweep injustice under the rug?


Pastor Tullian, please have the testicular fortitude to be angry in a Christ-like manner, to stand up against bullies who wrongly use the Bible as a 2×4, and to rock the boat. For the sake of all of us, don’t set an example that allows people to continue to abuse their positions of power. Yes, you’re free to fail. But you’re not free to cover abuses and call it Christian love.


Dave Ramsey and the Gossip Problem



The recent social media dust-up surrounding Dave Ramsey surprised me. I’ve followed his teachings (and promoted them at every single church I’ve been a part of) for over ten years. I couldn’t imagine him getting his briefs in a bind over some parody Twitter accounts—which, last time I checked, are protected under that whole “freedom of speech” idea.

I have heard Ramsey blast the concept of “gossip,” over and over again, on the radio show. He’s referred to it as one of the most toxic things that can happen in any business, or any church. In some respects, he’s right. Unsubstantiated rumors can destroy a person’s reputation, influence, ministry, or job. Vindictive, cruel individuals have no qualms about using distortions, faulty appeals to emotion, or flat-out lies to tear down another person. I’ve personally been in the cross-hairs of liars and manipulators, and it’s not a fun place to be. I’ve lost family and friendships because a disordered person painted me with a brush that only had two colors—black and white.

However, there’s two areas where Ramsey seems to be dead wrong on this issue:

1) Parody Twitter accounts are not “gossip.”

Dave, did these guys share Lampo trade secrets with the Twitterverse? Did they tap your bathroom, record you singing Marvin Gaye off-key in the shower, and broadcast it on Youtube? Did they reveal the location of Rachel’s super-secret honeymoon location, and put her safety at risk? No—according to media reports, they said you were spoiled rotten, authoritarian, and power hungry. (And since you worked to have the Twitter accounts deleted, well, I have no way of checking it on my own now, do I?) They must have said it in a funny, compelling way too, because you reacted like you’d been stung by a swarm of bees. You could have taken the high road, and invoked that little-known Bible verse that says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11) Instead, you threatened legal action and moved to shut them down. You also created a nifty little Streisand Effect, and increased the follower-ship of the last parody account ten-fold.

So it makes me wonder: Why are you able to stand against an entire culture and say, “Credit is bad, credit scores are worthless, and you can truly live without this system,” but you can’t stand against some paltry little anonymous Tweeters that call you a bully?

2) Matthew 18 has been the basis of almost every “anti-gossip” crusade that I’ve encountered as a believer.

However, Dave, there seems to be a part that you left out of your Bible study:

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

So, if someone had confronted you on authoritarian, bullying behavior, and you simply “fired their butt,” where would they have to go next? According to Matthew 18, their JOB, Biblically, would be to “tell it to the church.” Since you’ve created a national platform for yourself (which has done a lot of people a lot of good) then the national and international church, via Twitter, is arguably a logical place to do this. If you still refuse to be repentant, then the Church’s next role is to treat you as a pagan or a tax collector.

Dangit, Dave, do you really want to be compared to the IRS?

You showed some interesting colors here, Dave. You could have laughed this off if they were telling lies, or you could have said, “Gee, maybe I was wrong, and maybe I have something to learn about authoritarian behavior,” if they were telling the truth. Instead, by working to get these Twitter accounts removed, you raised the suspicions of those of us who have been faithful followers of your program for years.

Nice job.

Please work to clear this up. 


A Long-Time Fan