First Free Wichita, a 9 Marks Evangelical Free Church in Wichita, Kansas, is apparently sending Curt Romig to plant a church in Abu Dhabi. June is missions month at First Free and has Mack Stiles coming to speak to this Evangelical Free on June 11, 2017. I would like to know if John Folmar’s United Christian Church Dubai is involved in this new plant, as I believe it is. 9 Marks is a deeply troubled system and today’s post notifies both Curt Roming and First Free Wichita that I will be writing about this troubled 9 Marks export to the United Arab Emirates.
“An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.”
“Let us not let the world be defined by the destruction wrought by one virus, but illuminated by billions of hearts and minds working in unity.”
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV
There is some news happening in the Midwest District of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) and its something that I want to draw attention to. I will be writing about a new 9 Marks church plant that is being planted by Curt Roming in the United Arab Emirates. There is a lot of ground to cover and there are many gaps that need to be filled in. Those gaps will be filled in as this situation develops. I have written a lot about 9 Marks and this blog chronicles the EFCA denomination. I recently wrote about how First Free Wichita practices “Gospel Centered Accountability” in “First Free Wichita on “Gospel Centered Accountability”: My Question Who is C.J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll or even Josh Black and Jordan Krahn Accountable to?” In that post you can learn quite a bit about the history of First Free Wichita. But in today’s post there is a lot of ground to explore so let’s start to analyze the situation.
A Closer Look at Abu Dhabi and Who is Curt Romig?
Abu Dhabi means the “Father of the Gazelle.” It is the capitol of the United Arab Emirates and is the second most populated city. The city proper had a population of 1.5 million in 2014. Abu Dhabi is home to federal government offices for the United Arab Emirates. It is the Washington, D.C. of the Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Emiri family also calls this area home. This city is marked by fast development and urbanization. It is an expensive area to live and a thriving metropolis. As the capitol it contains a lot of culture, growth, development and more. Many expatriates from other parts of the world make Abu Dhabi home.
Curt Romig is the Evangelism and Missions Pastor of First Free Wichita. He has been employed in this 9 Marks church for over five years. Curt as I understand it grew up in First Free Wichita. He then attended the University of Oklahoma where he majored in Spanish. I do not know where he went to seminary, I have researched Curt quite a bit but I have been unable to find it. Curt speaks both English and Chinese according to Linkedin. Curt went over to China and did a mission, and it was in China that he met his wife Michelle. To my knowledge Curt is not on Twitter, but he has written two blogs which you can access here and here. You can read this write up of Curt from the women’s ministry at First Free Wichita. Before writing all this I listened to one of his old sermons he gave in 2011
An Overview of 9 Marks in the United Arab Emirates
Currently there are six 9 Marks churches in the United Arab Emirates. The most established which I believe is key is John Folmar’s United Christian Church Dubai (UCCD). The associate pastors of Dubai are Richard Ngwisha, John Welkner, and Ben Woodward. Then there is the Ras Al Khaimah Evangelical Church which has just moved to the Al Jazeera industrial area. Ras Al Khaimah which is also known as RAK is led by Josh Manley and Sascha Baer. The third 9 Marks church in the country is Redeemer Church of Dubai which is led by Dave Furman. The associate pastors are Glen Jones and Jason Berrus. Next is Covenant Hope Church in Dubai. Covenant Hope Church was launched on April 7, 2017 and is led by Brian Parks. Its my understanding that John Folmar’s UCCD played a key role in launching this church. Then there is Immanuel Church of Fujairah which is led by Steve Jennings. Immanuel meets in a country club in Fujairah. I find it interesting that Steve Jennings church is not listed in the 9 Marks church search. It makes me wonder…is Steve Jennings not living up to John Folmar’s expectations? In addition I wrote about Steve Jennings trying to get 9 Marks into Pakistan. You can read about that in “Does the Christian Community in Pakistan Need Mark Dever’s 9 Marks?” My question still stands…is 9 Marks going to get Christians in Pakistan killed by their modus operandi? The final 9 Marks church in this nation state is Redeemer Church Al Ain. This is led by Blaine Boyd and Drew Remke.
Those 9 Marks churches tow the line, enforce covenants and are key to the 9 Marks global network. Its my belief that Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church uses these churches for
indoctrination, whoops I meant training and as examples of missionary work and activities. If you want to see how deep the kool-aid has penetrated one can look no farther than Dave Furman’s recent tweet. I can just imagine the IV going into Dave Furman’s forearm just pumping the kool-aid.
These 9 Marks churches are going to be joined by a new 9 Marks church.This I believe will become the seventh 9 Marks franchise in the UAE. This church plant is going into Abu Dhabi and will be led by Curt Romig from First Free Wichita in Wichta, Kansas. In preparation for this assignment Curt Romig has quaffed great amounts of kool-aid and has been a little greedy in my humble opinion. This is the first time I believe that an 9 Marks Evangelical Free Church is helping to plant a church in United Arab Emirates. Mike Andrus long legacy at First Free Wichita is pretty sad when you see what Josh Black has done to this church. As I said up top there are many gaps to be filled in with time. I do not know when this church is starting. I do not know the extent of other players in this church plant. First Free Wichita is having their missions month in June 2017. Now would be a good time for the congregation to learn about all these developments with Curt Romig. Or if the leadership of Josh Black is going to be disingenuous then the members of First Free Wichita can check out The Wondering Eagle for details and developments as they occur. The EFCA is not designed for 9 Marks and its my belief that 9 Marks has absolutely nothing to do with “creating healthy churches.” Instead 9 Marks is about advancing Neo-Calvinist fundamentalist dogma. The best way to look at Mark Dever’s 9 Marks is of a virus that has infected the host.
Is John Folmar’s United Christian Church Dubai Involved in this Church Plant?
John Folmar for those who do not know is the Senior Pastor of United Christian Church Dubai. Essentially it is ground zero for 9 Marks in the United Arab Emirates. John Folmar served on the staff of Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church here in my backyard of Washington, D.C. He moved to Dubai in 2005 to become the Senior Pastor. John is married to Keri Folmar who you can read about here. John Folmar speaks at Cross which you can see here. He publishes regularly for 9 Marks and The Gospel Coalition. At 9 Marks he has published at least 10 articles, meanwhile at The Gospel Coalition there are quite a few articles. United Christian Church Dubai is a deeply troubled church and one that is not stable. I myself would liken it to being cult like or a cult in many ways. Todd Wilhelm has a deeply disturbing story about difficulty from resigning and leaving United Christian Church Dubai. You can read that story right here. If you were to ask me how I view John Folmar it would be in the following manner. I view him as Mark Dever’s lap dog in many ways. Loyal and faithful to the end, panting away as he sits by Dever’s side ready and willing to take orders as he drools.
John Folmar’s United Christ Church Dubai was recently involved in launching Covenant Hope Church After all when one studies Twitter you can see the planning meetings that have taken place at UCCD.
Because of the modus operandi of United Christian Church Dubai I believe that they are deeply involved in the logistics of Curt Romig’s church plant. Since John Folmar often has the final say in such an authorterian church network I believe that this church is going to be attached and linked to Folmar’s church just as the others are.
Mack Stiles at First Free Wichita June 11, 2017
Another indicator of ties to 9 Marks churches in the Persian Gulf was found on the First Free Wichita website which announced that Mack Stiles is preaching at First Free Wichita on June 11, 2017 and then having lunch with a few people who register to eat with him. You can see the screen shot above which I captured. Mack Stiles has done a lot of teaching at Redeemer Church of Dubai which you can see here. Mack I believe is one of the founding elders. You can read a biography of Mack Stiles which was published at The Gospel Coalition here. Mack is the CEO of Gulf Digital Solutions and he is the secretary of Fellowship of Christian UAE Students. Prior to moving oversees Mack worked twenty years in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Mack Stiles has also published a number of books. Some of those books include, “Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus“,”Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel“, “Speaking of Jesus: How To Tell Your Friends the Best News They Will Ever Hear“,”Mack & Leeann’s Guide to Short-Term Missions” and “17 Things My Kids Taught Me about God: Parables of Spiritual Sight.” Mack Stiles has also published at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks.
I also discovered something that I need to put down in writing that I discovered while researching and putting together this post. Mack Stiles blocked me on Twitter and I have a couple of things that need to be said. First he needs to grow a pair of balls and be able to listen to other points of view. I very much would like to know how he is effective in ministry within the Persian Gulf if he can’t deal with an occasional tweet or two that looks at things differently. That is something I do respect about Jonathan Leeman as he takes some of the stuff I tweet to him. Also Mack needs to learn what the Streisand effect is, because he just drew a lot of attention to himself. To read more about that topic I would recommend two articles I wrote called “Wanted: Information on Marc Ramirez’s Fellowship Church in Dallas, Pennsylvania“,”The Juvenile Behavior of Marc Ramirez, Tim Sheare, Karl Dyrli and Fellowship Church in Dallas, Pennsylvania on Twitter.” The Wondering Eagle is going to start to analyze and dissect Mack’s articles and he can expect an open letter from me sometime soon.
Analysis of the Situation, Problems with 9 Marks and a Personal Note to Curt
This is not the first time I have written about 9 Marks nor will it be the last. First Free Wichita is a church with deep systematic and systemic problems. This blog is just getting going on writing about the theological problems that are occurring in Josh Black’s church. To be quite honest its quite sad that 9 Marks is being exported again to the Persian Gulf. The United Arab Emirates needs 9 Marks about as much as they need the Playboy Channel. 9 Marks contains many problems, chief among them how Mark Dever has applied 9 Marks. When C.J. Mahaney was at Covenant Life Church and all the allegations of criminal activity came hemorrhaging out of Sovereign Grace, his behavior was quite troubling. The allegations included him practicing blackmail and allegedly covering up child sex abuse. You can read about it in “Has God Foreordained an Alleged Child Sex Abuse Cover up in Sovereign Grace Ministries/Churches? Is that why CJ Mahaney is so Sacred?” So what happened when all these criminal allegations with Mahaney came to the surface? The bastard fled! He fled Covenant Life Church and hid behind Mark Dever’s ass at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. In giving Mahaney refuge Mark Dever made 9 Marks absolutely worthless. So I hate to tell you this Josh Black but those copies of “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” being used in First Free Wichita? Well I hope you need a lot of toilet paper in Wichita. When Mark Dever let Mahaney flee these are the following 9 Marks that were violated. Membership, “The Gospel”, leadership, discipline and discipleship. You can read more about the problems of 9 Marks in “9 Marks: What is it? How Mark Dever Undermined it and Made it Worthless” For issues with 9 Marks membership covenants you can read “Neo-Calvinist Membership Covenants: The New Berlin Wall Amidst a Theological Cold War?”
First Free Wichita exhibits the deep problems in the EFCA. The EFCA is not designed for 9 Marks theology. I look at 9 Marks as being like a virus inside the EFCA. That is the only way I can characterize it. It is corrupt, authority driven, manipulative, and people get hurt and caught in the system. One of the problems inside the EFCA is that the Neo-Calvinists are exploiting the autonomy nature to create monstrosities like Josh Black’s First Free Wichita. Hopefully as people at First Free start to read these articles that I will subsequently write, then they will start to ask questions and begin to challenge authority. Think of me is the Voice of America penetrating deep beyond the Iron Curtain into 9 Marks churches. There is a lot of work to do in the course of time in chronicling the spiritual ills of Josh Black’s church.
As this post winds down I want to communicate the following to Curt Romig. I am going to be writing about your church plant in Abu Dhabi. Problems and issues will be discussed as they develop, and they will develop as 9 Marks contains some serious issues. Its why I have 73 articles about it (including this one). Now I was just out in Kansas and I was in Wichita. I was close to you guys so I swung by to see if you or anyone else wanted to meet, discuss and hear about some of these issues and ponder them. You can read the email I sent to you guys, as well as the pictures I took at First Free last Sunday. “Visiting and Reaching Out to First Free Wichita, a 9 Marks Church in the Midwest District of the EFCA.” If you find yourself in the Washington, D.C. area due to Capitol Hill Baptist Church training I would be happy to meet and explore some of these problems and discuss them with you. I do care about you, even if we disagree deeply on the theology. I have seen how this stuff fries people. So with that this post more than likely got your attention. Take care of yourself Curt, and until next time.