I have used John MacArthur's quotes on the blog because I know a lot of readers connect with his teachings. I appreciate some of his teachings, too; however, I don't buy everything he says/teaches and also have had some negative experiences with key pastors there.
There was another post in which I quoted Alexander Strauch. The quote was good; however, a reader, A. Amos Love, also informed me of other ideas Alexander stands for. I appreciated his comments:
I love it when people challenge me. If I see something that rings true to me, I may post it. People may not agree with me. That is okay. Keep in mind that I'm trying to keep the main focus as the main focus.
Here's where I'm coming from: in abusive churches, we were not allowed to question. Information was preached to us. The pastors thought they owned us and what was taught to us. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of rigid black and white thinking. I used to be there. I didn't like the person that I became when using that kind of black/white thinking. Getting too tied into the all-or-nothing mindset, I failed some people relationally. I still think it's okay to say that I don't care for the group that Thabiti Anyabwile associates with, but his words on this particular subject ring true for me. So, please know, if I do use a quote from someone you may have issues with, see if the quote without the name attached lines up for you.
But if you see something that I have posted that is not sitting right with you, please feel free to question it. And feel free to do it publicly in the comments section. I am not afraid of conflict or good debate. It's good to wrestle with ideas. Part of my spiritual abuse detoxing has been wrestling with the ideas that have been taught to me by my abuser. This is a safe place to do so.
That said, here is what a reader sent regarding Saturday's post and I would like to open it the subject for comment. I appreciated this e-mail:
Also, we know that Pastors can be abusive even if they do not fall into immorality.
JA's thoughts: I hadn't made the connection that the abuse Anyabwile was referring to applied solely to pastors with sexual sin. The comments seemed to be mixed with some discussing sex abuse, but others discussing spiritual abuse as well. I really appreciated this reader pointing that out. After rereading the article, I do believe the article was primarily written with the focus on sexual abuse by pastors. However, the title of the article refers to "pastoral failures". When I am thinking abuse, I'm thinking all abuse: abuse in the church by members, abuse by pastors (sexual, spiritual, etc). Aren't those types of abuse considered to be pastoral failures? Any thoughts?
And here's part of an e-mail another reader sent me:
While I think Thabiti Anyabwile's insights are spot on and are helpful for the general Christian world to hear and consider, unfortunately the Gospel Coalition caters to an large audience of a certain brand of Christianity that on the one hand, holds the doctrine of sin highly and has seen very little (at least that has not been exposed) overt scandals. However, these are the same circles who perpetuate some very hard core views on secondary issues like complentarianism, homeschooling, etc so highly that when they use the term "gospel" with "coalition", they mean much more than simply a united view on the centrality of Jesus's life death and resurrection. They mean, we are the ones who really have these cultural things figured out and our version of living out the "gospel" is the most accurate.
These words struck me the most:
Here we go again - some pastors are more committed to secondary issues in the church and miss the primary focus - loving and guiding their people. I continue to receive stories about situations like this in my inbox. This blog will continue to address these issues. Sometimes it's difficult to understand until connecting with someone's personal story - if you'd like to share yours on the blog, please contact me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
(Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV)