Today I do a profile on the Southeast District which is headed up by Glen Schrieber and is responsible for all Evangelical Free churches in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana. This post also puts the Southeast District on notice that I will write about corruption and polity issues of the Evangelical Free denomination. What drives me to take on this project? The silence by the Evangelical Free denomination on D.A Carson’s corruption, a traumatic experience that I endured and personal knowledge of atheism.
To establish an increasing number of disciplemaking churches of spiritual vitality and biblical integrity.
SE District EFCA Vision Statement
“Glen is an invaluable resource. An excellent listener and mentor. His guidance and willingness to impact the Kingdom of Christ is an example for all Christians. He truly desires to see churches and congregations work together to develop healthy and vibrant relationships.”
Description of the Southeast District Superintendent on Linked In
“I remember when I was a senior in high school, the Evangelical Free Church in Columbus, Nebraska, and I wasn’t a member then but I was impacted by that body of believers when the football coach who was a member in that congregation invited a number of us in high school to come to his house that night to hear an evangelist come through. I was at the most miserable point of my life. It was December senior year of high school I had just come to the end of what I thought of what I wanted to do in life and I just didn’t know what. That evangelist that night came and he gave the Gospel presentation and in that presentation he said, ‘God loves you, enough to die for you, he knows you by name, and he has a plan and a purpose for your life that only you can fulfil.'”
Glen Schrieber describes hearing the Gospel in high school.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
Romans 5:1-2 NLT
Jacksonville Urban Ministry in the EFCA
Glen Schrieber preaches on Romans 12
In December 2015 I wrote the following post that put out a call for stories of corruption and polity problems in the Evangelical Free Church of America. There have been a number of people who have responded to that post. However, in that post I also explore the breakdown of all the districts and the history of the denomination. I decided to take this issue on because no blog out there has undertaken issues related to the Evangelical Free denomination and there are a number of problems that exist. I used to be involved in the Evangelical Free, I actually was baptized in one in 2000. Today due to a host of issues I wouldn’t step foot in one, nor would I explore faith in an Evangelical Free church. Just living in the D.C. area and observing the Evangelical Free denomination from a distance has been heartbreaking. There are a lot of issues from abuse of authority, to legalism, to Reformed theology/Neo-Calvinism issues that befall the denomination and this blog is going to write and expose them in an effort to bring about change. Change will come with time, but it will come with each painful story that is published. The stories will reveal the problems in the polity. As SGM Survivors was a thorn in the Sovereign Grace denomination, it is my goal to make The Wondering Eagle a thorn in the side of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The goal is not to be difficult for the sake of being difficult but in the course of time to help bring change to the denomination. I have 17 districts to work through over the next year. Today I am looking at the Southeast District. This is the second district that I have analyzed.
Three Aspects Driving this Post and Blog: D.A Carson’s Corruption, Andrew White and Redeemer Arlington and Atheism
This blog – The Wondering Eagle – is going to hold the Evangelical Free denomination accountable. It is going to write, report and reveal problems and issues with their polity. The Evangelical Free is not a healthy denomination and it needs reform. There are three key things I want to communicate to the Evangelical Free Church so they can understand what drives this project and this blog.
1. In February of 2013 at the blog SGM Survivors which has documented and written about corruption and problems in the Sovereign Grace Ministries denomination the following occurred. A person called “Anonymous” wrote about how she was sexually assaulted when she was 13 at a prominent SGM member’s house. She also wrote about how she hoped the denomination would be held accountable. Shortly there after the largest lawsuit in evangelical Christian history against SGM was dismissed on a technicality and statute of limitations reasons. On May 24, 2013 D.A. Carson who is a prominent professor at the Evangelical Free Church’s flagship seminary Trinity Evangelical Divinity School issued a statement in support of C.J. Mahaney (along with Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung). In that bastardized statement D.A. Carson went after and verbally attacked that rape victim from SGM Survivors. I consider this to be one of the lowest points in modern evangelical Christianity. When this behavior occurred from a prominent professor in the Evangelical Free Church’s flagship seminary the response by the denomination was also telling. No one challenged Don Carson, no one publically rebuked him. No one said, “Now wait a minute you are out of line…”
No one did a damn thing. The Evangelical Free Church’s silence on this issue screams volumes about its health. I wonder if the denomination is familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan. You see the lesson of that story is that you help the broken, the wounded, the person hurt alongside the road. In contrast the Evangelical Free has been committed to growth, church planting all while one of its prominent professor’s at its main seminary attacks a rape victim. In the process I would propose that many parts of the Evangelical Free denomination are acting like the high priest consumed with going to the temple who ignore the wounded person along the side of the road in the process.
Gentlemen…D.A. Carson’s behavior is a disgrace to the denomination and it needs to be challenged. But there is another question that needs to be asked…why would Don Carson behave that way? Over at the blog The Wartburg Watch it was revealed that C.J. Mahaney gave at least $200,000 to Al Mohler at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I put a link to that post in the previous sentence. All together now can we say a “Gospel Centered Bribe.” It has also came out over at the blog SGM Survivors that C.J. Mahaney allegedly gave a lot of cash to Wayne Grudem to help finish the ESV translation. You can read about that in this comment below:
That money given to Wayne Grudem was actually certified by Grudem’s own writing which you can read about in this post here. Plus it was revealed the C.J. Mahaney gave money to Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. So having said all that if we follow the money it is well within reason to ask the following question. Did C.J. Mahaney give money to D.A. Carson and is that why Carson felt obligated to attack a rape victim? To read more about the Sovereign Grace scandal the Washingtonian and Time magazine wrote about it. Plus there is my analysis of the Washingtonian article as well. All this news coverage by national media…it’s just in time for T4G!! 🙂 Man I love it!
2. There is another aspect I want the Evangelical Free denomination to know. Shortly before D.A Carson attacked a rape victim I was thrust into the darkest season of my life, and it happened when I was coming out of a prolonged faith crisis that consumed half my thirties. An Air Force Captain I knew who was a Care Group Leader at Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington (a former SGM Church plant in the Washington, D.C. area) gave birth to a false accusation that took aim at my name, reputation, employment and future employment. An attorney who looked over the situation believed I was sitting on a defamation of character lawsuit against Andrew. When I saw how a military officer can abuse his power the situation taught me as to why rape and sexual assault is a very serious issue in the United States military. This situation was the darkest season of my life. The situation was so painful to where you had a 38 year old man crying in his bed in the middle of the night in emotional pain. After I was unsuccessfully recruited into Redeemer Arlington and as I slowly picked up the pieces of my life and tried to find a way forward Andrew White focused on recruiting another person. Andrew has not repented, or expressed sorrow for the pain he caused. It actually goes to another issue in modern evangelicalism today. Christians don’t say they are sorry…they don’t repent when they hurt other people. By the way since we are dealing with the SE District today…there is an amazing story I have written about involving Renee Napier and Eric Smallridge. You can read it here, but can you imagine if this was the norm and not the exception? Would Christianity in the United States look so repulsive and ugly? So that situation with an Air Force Captain and the pain I endured drives me and often keeps me up to 2:00 a.m. to make sure that not another soul is harmed by fundamentalism, that no one endures the hell I walked through. There is something deeply wrong when the fruit of your faith is hubris, psychological trauma, false accusations, and pain.
3. Finally this blog also writes about atheism as well. To date I have written 66 articles about atheism, and there are a lot more to write. The reason why I write about atheism in the context of evangelicalism is for the following reason. Corruption in evangelicalism is one of the factors that fuels atheism. I think many evangelicals would be surprised to learn as to how many people have rejected Christianity due to the corruption hemorrhaging out of the Christian faith today. Don Carson’s corruption along with The Gospel Coalition is a prime example. When I was in my faith crisis walking into an Evangelical Free Church in Manassas, Virginia and learning that it was helping to launch an Acts 29 church (in this case Redemption Hill in DC) – even with all the garbage pouring out of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill after all the corruption and issues is stunning. Its not every day that one stands in a church lobby and explains when asked “Who is Mark Driscoll?” “He’s that Pastor in Seattle that speaks about the Biblical basis for blow jobs!” You can read about that interaction in the lobby of Crossway Fellowship of Manassas, Virginia right here. It is my contention that the single greatest threat to the Christian faith today is not gay marriage or the secularization of society. Instead its internal corruption which is corrosive and destroying the church. Like I said the Evangelical Free Church denomination has a lot of issues and this blog will write about, monitor and be a deep thorn in the side of the Evangelical Free Church of America. It will do that for the people caught up in this troubled denomination. This blog will be the voice for those in the pews.
Making the Southeast District of the Evangelical Free Church Aware
Having explained all that I want the Evangelical Free church denomination to be aware of what I will report and write on.
- This blog will write about church members who are caught up in membership covenant issues where they can’t resign or walk away. I should also note that I have deep reservations and concerns about membership covenants. My views are summed up in this post right here called. “Neo-Calvinist Membership Covenants: the New Berlin Wall Amidst a Theological Cold War.” In that post I draw similarities between membership covenants being a modern version of the Berlin Wall, a symbol of oppression throughout the Cold War until it fell in November 1989.
- In-appropriate church discipline will be hammered here at The Wondering Eagle. For example in Matt Chandler’s The Village Church one of their members (Karen Hinkley) obtained an annulment and dissolved her marriage to her husband Jordan Root who was addicted to child pornography and sexually attracted to children. You can read about that situation in this post here. If an Evangelical Free church in the Southeast District practices in-appropriate church discipline (Side-note I am not talking about adultery) they will be written up about. For example if a church disciplines a rape victim, or someone who ends their marriage because they were domestically abused. This blog will intervene in those situations for the people in question, and this blog will hammer that church. If you want to see an example of this look at Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania headed up by Steve Estes. Steve and his Elder board disciplined and excommunicated and alleged rape victim. The Senior Pastor’s son allegedly raped his wife while intoxicated and allegedly pointed a loaded gun at her. In this story the woman knows she could be dead. I am continuing to write about it as the situation develops.
- Abusive and questionable church authority issues will be written about extensively as well. Church discipline and membership issues are but one factor. You can have pastors who usurp their authority and force their will. They are often surrounded by yes men who lack any objectivity from outside parties. Nepotism is a major problem in evangelicalism and this issue reveal itself in these situations.
- Theological church hijackings will also be written about. If a Neo-Calvinist pastor comes in under the radar and hijacks an Evangelical Free church and turns it into a hardcore 9 Marks, or The Gospel Coalition church they will be written about. Its in situations like these where members face discipline for things that never were issues previously. Its divisive and forces people away from their congregations. I will have no sympathy for a pastor who hijacks a church and takes it in a direction that was not its prior theology. Hijackings split congregations and drive people from their theological homes for years.
- Child sex abuse along with domestic abuse cover up will be written about as well.
- Following the laws in regards to sex offenders will be researched and emphasized. What I will do is randomly take an Evangelical Free Church and run its staff through the sex offender database in the appropriate state to see if its being compliant, open and transparent with the congregation. If not expect to see a post similar to this one written about Fairfax Community Church in the Washington, D.C. area.
- Financial issues are another aspect that will be written about and covered. Lack of financial transparency, building campaigns that are questionable will be covered in great detail. Church growth is an idol that is worshiped in the modern evangelical Christian church.
Now if the denomination does not like that and Glen Schrieber or individual pastors are displeased that a blog has popped up that will write about denominational issues there are two things you can do. One is you can express your personal displeasure to D.A Carson and thank him for attacking a rape victim. Second, in honor of D.A Carson The Wondering Eagle celebrates “Festivus” on Don’s birthday on December 21. As part of the annual “airing of grievances” you can go on the post I wrote or wait until the next Festivus and complain, and grieve about Don Carson or even the existence of this blog. After all according to the calendar Festivus is now only 270 days away! I have no problem with pushback and allow differing points of view. I am not a dictator. I also want to go on record to state that this post has been emailed to the Southeast District leadership of the Evangelical Free Church as well as all the churches and as many Senior Pastors and pastoral teams in the denomination within Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee Louisiana, Puerto Rico and Kentucky. So they are now noted and have been made aware that there is a blog that will write about this denomination and their potential church. This blog will have a bite to it, and that bite exists for a reason. It’s to protect and go to bat for the person standing in the pew. There are too many wolves and too much corruption that exists in modern evangelicalism, but especially the Evangelical Free denomination.
Southeast District Under Glen Schrieber
Glen in Moscow with other pastors at a Burnham Ministries Event.
The Southeast District is led by Glen Schrieber who hails from Nebraska. I thought he would be a Cornhusker fan and a quick study of his Twitter account confirmed that fact. Glen got his Associates Degree at Platte County Junior College in 1974, and his Bachelor Degree from Moody Bible Institute in 1977. He obtained his Masters from Trinity Divinity School in 1985.
Glen has worked a number of ministries and in reviewing his history I can tell we both had similar stomping ground in Wisconsin. Glen worked for Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater from 1977 to 1979. He then became the Campus Director of Campus Crusade at the University of Wisconsin at Steven Point. He served there from 1979 until 1982. He helped plant Grace Evangelical Free Church in Louisville, Kentucky from 1985 and 1986. He then assisted in planting Faith Evangelical Free Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana from 1986 until 1988. He then became the District Superintendent of the Gulf States District of the Evangelical Free Church from 1989 until 1995. It is my understanding in doing some research that the Gulf States District was folded into the Southeast District. I have two conflicting dates for Glen’s involvement in Urban Impact Ministries in New Orleans, Louisiana. For example LinkedIn and Urban Impact state he was involved in the founding in the 1988 and 1989 time frame. The Southeast District page claims he was the executive director from 1995 to 2002. At this point (and correct me if I am wrong Glen…) I will go with what Urban Impact Ministries is saying in their time frame and place his leadership in the 1988 and 1989 time frame. What impresses me is that he lived in the urban area of New Orleans. In 2003 Glen became the District Superintendent of the Southeast District which he has led since that time.
In doing additional research on the internet I discovered that Glen is on the Board of Directors of CoPassion which you can see here. He speaks at various Evangelical Free churches across the district such as Faith Community Church in Leesburg. You can listen to that sermon right here. He is a big believer of social media, and as such I subscribed to him on Twitter. Glen married his wife who is also from Nebraska on August 8, 1975. He has five children – Zac, Nic, Luke, Steven, and Sarah. In his spare time he enjoys recreational sports, reading, traveling and playing Scrabble.
Evangelical Free Church Planting and Ministry in Haiti
There are two ministries under the Evangelical Free Church that are involved in planting churches in Haiti. The Southeast District of the Evangelical Free promotes what is called A Vision for Hope Ministries, and Reaching Haiti 4 Christ. A Vision for Hope Ministries describes itself like this on its biography page:
Vision of Hope Ministries is focused on bringing hope and help to these people through a holistic ministry. We share the hope of faith in Jesus Christ by addressing the need for education, disaster relief, micro-enterprise opportunities, orphan care, clean water distribution, and church planting. Over 90% of the funds provided by our supporters go directly to support these projects. The dramatic and lasting impact this effort makes in the lives of the people of northern Haiti is a testimony to the deep love God has for His children. We are excited to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the people of Haiti and we invite you to join with us in this endeavor!
Meanwhile Reaching Haiti 4 Christ describes itself like this.
Reaching Haiti 4 Christ Ministries (RH4CM) is a 501(c)3 faith-based not for profit organization housed under the administrative umbrella of the Evangelical Free Church of America. RH4CM was founded in 2006 by Reverend Steven Daniel Exantus and his wife Mercenieuse, natives of Haiti and its experience. They are dedicated to serving communities in Haiti through empowerment, education and evangelization. For more information on each of our programs, please click here.
Reaching Haiti 4 Christ has an emphasis on providing education, medical care, feeding people and doing evangelism. Vision of Hope Ministries is involved in planting churches, running computer donation, helping to provide funding for an orphanage, microenterprise, disaster relief, and L’Universite Internationale en Haiti. It is my understanding that the SE District is responsible for churches in Haiti.
Some Gems I Discovered in the Southeast District
As I worked through the Southeast District in calculating the growth of Reformed/Neo-Calvinist theology I found a number of gems that I had to report and write about. Let’s get started by looking at an Evangelical Free Church plant in Gainesville, Florida.
City Church in Gainesville is a recent Evangelical Free Church plant. On the Southeast homepage this is listed as a current church start. This church is led by Chipper Flaniken and Ryan Harding. When I studied the church and looked at the recommended resources I had to pick my jaw off the ground. I couldn’t believe after all the scandals and issues that City Church would be promoting and recommending Mark Driscoll. This is the same Mark Driscoll who called women penis homes. This is the same Mark Driscoll who has preached on the Biblical basis of blow jobs. You can read about it in this sermon transcript right here. On an Edinburgh radio station Mark Driscoll said that a repentant woman gets down on her knees and performs oral sex on her husband. Here is the exact quote, “You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.’” You can read more about this here. I didn’t ask but I wonder if Jackie Redmond who helps with woman’s ministry in the Southeast District has a comment on Mark Driscoll being promoted? Then there is the issue of Mark Driscoll cheating the New York Times best seller list which you can read about here. Finally there is the issue of Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism. He has plagiarized at least 7 books including “Doctrine” and “Death by Love” which of course City Church in Gainesville is promoting. As they say in the United States Army…”Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!” Where the hell is Chipper Flaniken’s sense of discernment? How the hell can he promote and recommend Mark Driscoll after all these issues and problems? Is he okay with “Gospel Centered Plagiarism?” At least since Driscoll plagiarized from D.A. Carson one can go to the original source. However Carsons’s corruption is also an issue as well. The other day I wrote and asked if the EFCA, District Superintendents and staff need to go through Rape Awareness Training, similar to the military. I ask that because Carson as a 67 year old man attacked someone who was raped when they were 13 in a Gospel Coalition Statement while defending C.J. Mahaney. On the Southeast District’s website they actually promote Warren Throckmorton’s blog…can I recommend Chipper and Ryan read what Warren has written about in regards to Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism.? This is one of the few times I believe strongly in abortion….City Church in Gainesville needs to be aborted. For the Evangelical Free Church to promote such a piece of garbage they need to go in the corner and hang their head in disgrace. This is awful!
In Middleburg, Florida I found an interesting situation with Lakeside Community Church. I’ve studied about 200 Evangelical Free websites in two districts so far and noticed that this is the only church that is so prominently featuring the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Obviously no doubt John Piper is the fourth part of the trinity at Lakeside Community Church, and given that John Piper has actually taught that a woman should submit to her domestic abuser (You can watch his video here…). I would hate to be a woman in Lakeside Community Church. The stories of domestic abuse within this church must be heinous.
I found something interesting in the Church at Charlotte. This is a church that is in the process of being theologically hijacked. They next time I research this church again in a few years I expect to put it in the Neo-Calvinist camp. Now here’s what I found troubling is their explanation of why they went with ESV. A lot of evangelicals struggle with discernment and critical thinking skills. As such people join the latest fad without examining, thinking critically, or asking hard questions. After all thinking is hard work. Having explained all that these are the problems with the ESV. The first problem with the ESV is Wayne Grudem. Wayne has an agenda when it came to translation…you redefine the Bible and you increase your power over people. In this situation Wayne translated a Bible that further justifies patriarchy. In addition the ESV is one of the cornerstones of the Neo-Calvinist movement. But here’s one of the many problems with it. When families in Sovereign Grace were facing church discipline for not giving enough, and while some were even eating oatmeal for dinner (Keep in mind this is in the United States) C.J. Mahnaey was taking Sovereign Grace money and bankrolling Wayne Grudem into finishing the ESV. So could it also be said that the ESV was also translated by manipulation of people in SGM and as such is based upon sin? I believe so yes. Plus despite the claims of the ESV being the most “accurate” as you can see in this Youtube clip the ESV still bends the word on slavery. So how accurate is it? There is a good post by a Pastor in which he explains why his church rejected the ESV. You can read that post here. Now here is one question I have…did Jim Kallam or Dave Huber from the Church at Charlotte have an open discussion on changing to the ESV? Were people allowed to dissent and question? Or did Jim and Dave kind of Lord over them and make a decision without input from the congregation or attenders? There is another question I have for Jim, Dave and the Church at Charlotte…since you embrace the ESV while people in Sovereign Grace gave up meat for a questionable translation…those people who contact me from Sovereign Grace through email needing help or are theologically fried, can I direct them to your food pantry? Are you willing to help give those people from Sovereign Grace food? Better yet…can I encourage you to collectively repent for their suffering and the way many people were manipulated and hurt? Some of the emails people have sent me have been disturbing and I think you should keep this in mind when you consider the ESV because its a flawed translation. But given all the problems with the ESV, the patriarchal agenda, translations issues and more…can one put it in the same category as the Book of Mormon? Its just a question. I like my NLT and NIV very much thank you.
There is one other aspect before I leave the Church at Charlotte. Why does Tim Briggs like C.J. Mahaney? Mahaney’s Cross Centered Life is on his list of books that most influence him. Does Tim know that C.J. Mahaney allegedly blackmail Larry Tomczak? Is he also aware that he fled like a coward and hid behind Mark Dever’s skirt at Capitol Hill Baptist Church when his sin was exposed? So much for church discipline! You can read this post in how C.J. Mahaney violated most of the 9 Marks here. Why do people have respect for someone who is being dogged by criminal accusations and allegations of covering up child sex abuse? Speaking of child sex abuse and C.J. Mahaney there is a doozy of another child sex abuse scandal that broke out of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland today. This case of child sex abuse went on for at least 10 years apparently and the question that one must ask is how much did C.J. Mahaney know? As an academically trained historian I think back to what I studied about Watergate. The question then was “What did the president know…and when did he know it?” Well what did C.J. Mahaney know and when did he know it?
There is another fascinating issue that lends itself into Dave Harvey being an Evangelical Free Pastor in Four Oaks Community Church in Tallahassee, Florida. The Evangelical Free denomination is not designed for reformed theology. Its autonomous nature is actually attracting wolves and predators. Plus in time I believe it will destroy the denomination. I present Dave Harvey as an example…when Sovereign Grace was imploding due to scandal, Dave found his way into Four Oaks Community Church. At the blog SGM Survivors they are still talking about Dave Harvey and his dictatorship at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. You see…in SGM Dave disciplined people left and right for minor infractions. Some people faced church discipline for their kids rebelling. Yet in the case of Dave’s own family his kids went off the radar. Now let me be clear in saying that 99.9% of the time I don’t believe its right to discipline a parent for the child’s mistakes. Yet Dave Harvey did that greatly from what I understand at SGM Survivors. People were given the boot for minor infractions while his own children went off the walls with alcohol and sex. This has been discussed multiple times on SGM Survivors as well. There are people who were involved in Covenant Fellowship Church in the past that still want Dave to repent. What is it with Neo-Calvinists and running? C.J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, Dave Harvey, etc… they have all run instead of face their problems. And the irony is that this movement is one that talks so much of being a man. Hogwash!
By the way…Dave as you will no doubt read this eventually I wonder if you have a statement on Steve Estes and him disciplining an alleged rape victim and domestic abuse victim. The girl, Hurit, at the center of the story knows she could have been killed by her husband, who was Steve Estes son. You sit with Steve on the board of trustees of Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. I have asked CCEF for a statement at least three times by phone call and Twitter. Do you have anything you want to say about the situation in Elverson, Pennsylvania? Do you think its a conflict of interest to have Steve Estes on the board of trustees of such a prominent Christian counseling organization when his son Brock David Estes allegedly pointed a gun at his wife. Remember…someone could have gotten killed here. Or are women less than human?
Moving on I found the statement on pre-millennialism from Faith Evangelical Free Church in Spring Hill, Florida fascinating. It was the strongest statement I have seen while studying Evangelical Free websites. For the record I actually avoid end of times theology. I’m still recovering from having watched Left Behind in 1999. People talk about how pornography is destructive…well they haven’t seen Kirk Cameron act. 😛
The last major analysis from the Southeast District that I found stimulating is from the statement at Surf Church in Bristol, Tennessee. Here it is below:
People don’t like church because it’s boring, irrelevant, full of hypocrites, makes them feel like a project instead of a person. Based on past studies of those who avoid Christian churches, one of the driving forces behind such behavior is the painful experiences endured within the local church context. In fact, one study among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.
We’re doing life together relationally by loving God, loving people, and serving the world. Without entertaining fluff, or hyper religious clutter we’re keeping the reality of a relationship with Christ authentic.
To the Surf Church I say the following…and I say this as a I guy who rejected Christianity for half my thirties. I’ve written about it deeply and there is a lot more to write. I went to the largest atheist rally in United States history in 2012 here in Washington, D.C. You can read what a faith crisis felt like, and what it was like to go through the process here. You can read what Christopher Hitchens meant to me here. Plus you can also read what I used to watch from Richard Dawkins on Youtube. I am encouraging you at Surf Church to spend some time reading some of the articles I have written about atheism and doubt. I do all this to explain where I am coming from. If you go to the table of contents you will find a number of articles to choose from.
If you really want to reach people and really want to make a difference there is one thing above all others that matters.
Care for them…
Walk with them….
Accept their mistakes and realize that if a person embraces the faith change will happen over a lifetime. But don’t expect instantaneous change. Don’t hammer them with doctrine. Don’t expect them to sign a membership covenant. Don’t Lord over them and realize that people grow at their own rate of speed. Be patient with them and show love. Love is not conditional, love is hard work and love is what can move mountains. Love is probably what brought me back to the Christian faith. I wrote about how I came back here. But love is hard and it involves loving people in the middle of the night, or after great mistakes, or great failures. If I could impart one thing on you its this…love people. If you love people, some will wonder why and that love can move maintains. Be prepared to love people over a long term. Would the Surf Church love an atheist who maybe hangs out goes wild but is still seeking? If a person spends 10 years trying to figure out faith…will the Surf Church have the patience to walk and love them regardless? Christianity today is missing love…its a copout if you know doctrine but have not love which is what 1 Corinthians 13 says. I would challenge you to read this post here.
Before I end this post there is one medical need I wanted to bring to the SE District’s attention. I have a deep respect for Dave Annan of Community Bible Church of High Point, North Carolina. Dave has been dealing with cancer, here is the latest post. Its my hope that Christians will rally to him and help Dave out. It’s my hope that people will help mow his lawn, and trim the bushes. Its my hope that people will swing by and help with laundry, cleaning, and bring over meals. Its my hope that the church opens up their hearts and wallets to Dave so that there is no financial need. Its my hope that people show Dave love at a time when he needs it, If you read this please pray for him. And if you live in the area and you read this…please swing by or help him. Dave I want you to know that I am praying for you. My father endured a brain tumor, and my Mom amazingly survived pancreatic cancer. Maybe this post that I did on pain and suffering can be of some comfort.
I look forward to writing about the Southeast District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The next post has the numbers and rates or reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism in the district. Take care guys I love you!