This is the final post at The Wondering Eagle for 2017. In a year filled with pain and loss I wrote 300 posts about the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), Neo-Calvinism, The Gospel Coalition, 9 Marks, Redeemer Arlington, and also atheism and secular humanism. This is an overview of the top posts and my personal favorites. Also I discuss what is coming in 2018. In January The Wondering Eagle is going to look at a dark Acts 29 situation in the United States.
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”
“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations
1 Chronicles 16:15 NIV
The Potomac River in Washington, D.C. as taken from The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
One of the houses in Fresno, California decorated for Christmas. I saw this and thought of Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation.
The Wondering Eagle was very busy in 2017. Over the year I wrote 300 posts and read by 175,000. This blog looked at a number of issues from churches in the Washington, D.C. area such as Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church to McLean Bible. I also looked at the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) as I continue to study and research the organization. The Neo-Calvinist movement is also examined quite a bit, that includes a number of topics from The Gospel Coalition to Acts 29. This blog also waded into the difficult issue of politics and evangelicalism which I felt could not be ignored. In addition I have also written about atheism and doubt. This post reviews all the stories and issues that were written about at The Wondering Eagle for 2017. I also want to be clear that a number of older posts are strong performers. For example this post tags Matt Chandler’s the Village Church and people find it while googling him. Then this post about Franklin Graham’s finances and salary is heavily read and one of the first articles people find when they google Franklin Graham and salary. Older posts like that I am keeping out of the below list. Plus I am going to give a peak at what is coming down the pike for 2018 at the end of the post. 2018 is also going to be busy.
- The top story of the year is a strong performing post that was read 5,610 times. It continues to get read as people google and search for David Platt. David Platt who is adored by the Neo-Calvinists became the teaching pastor of McLean Bible in the Washington, D.C. area. This was a story about a mega church that was theologically hijacked. When Christianity Today and Southern Baptist press started to report on this issue with David Platt, the International Missions Board and McLean Bible, Baptists and others from around the country googled David Platt and found this post. This is called, “McLean Bible is Looking for a New Senior Pastor, and Deep Concerns About its New Interim Teaching Pastor David Platt; Plus Here is the Problem with Being “Radical” There are two other posts that performed well that members or attenders from McLean Bible also read. Those posts are “Preserving McLean Bible’s Statement on Calvinism” and “The Theological Coup Taking Place at McLean Bible and Why The Wondering Eagle is Calling for David Platt to be Rejected for the Health of the Church.”
- The second most read post details a dark subject that is disturbing and continues to be sought out. In John MacArthur’s The Masters College in California a woman was raped years ago. Rick Holland ordered the woman to forgive her rapist and repent for making him “stumble.” She was eventually thrown out of school for her “immoral behavior.” This is a story of patriarchy, spiritual abuse, Neo-Calvinism, John MacArthur and more. This post is called, “The Tragic Story of a Rape Victim from the Masters College as Led by John MacArthur Who was Allegedly Ordered to Repent to her Rapist for Inciting her Sexual Assault for being a Woman” and has been read 1,749 times. Another strong performing post that is related deals with this subject and looks at the relationship between John MacArthur and C.J. Mahaney. Why is MacArthur silent about the alleged cover up of child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace? Did C.J. Mahaney give money to John MacArthur and Grace to You to sway John like he did with Al Mohler? This post is called “From Strange Bedfellows to Strange Fire: What is the Relationship Between John MacArthur and C.J. Mahaney?“
- The third most read post deals with an ongoing and difficult situation in a deeply corrupt Evangelical Free church in Elverson, Pennsylvania called Community Evangelical Free. Its led by Steve Estes and ruled by Merle Stoltzfus and David Stolztfus. In 2014 this EFCA church practiced church discipline on an alleged rape victim who Brock Estes allegedly almost killed in a domestic violence situation. In 2017 the third top rated post deals with what the EFCA in Minneapolis and Eddie Cole who leads the Eastern District wanted Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free to do to fix the situation. “What the EFCA Wanted Steve Estes’s Community Evangelical Free Church to do to Rectify a Difficult Situation” has been read 1,375 times. Right behind it is another post dealing with this situation. It is about how Community Evangelical Free wants to break away from the EFCA, which is what this church is currently doing. That post is called, “Community Evangelical Free Church Wants to Separate from the Evangelical Free Church of America” and has been read 1,209 times. This story is still playing out and will be written about in 2018.
- The next two posts deal with the way evangelicals engage with politics, and Donald Trump. They respectfully deal with how John Piper and Philip Yancey view Donald Trump. At Desiring God John Piper writes about how Donald Trump is unqualified to lead. While I enjoy and agree with the post, I ask the question how could Piper be correct about Trump not being able to lead, and then state that C.J. Mahaney is capable to lead? Read 1,119 times the post is titled “How can John Piper be Correct on Donald Trump Being UnQualified for the Presidency, and Yet Believe C.J. Mahaney is Fit to Lead?” The next post looks at how Philip Yancey views Donald Trump. Philip Yancey is one of the few Christian authors that I deeply respect and recommend. He writes frequently about pain and suffering, evangelical Christian problems, issues with grace and more. In the post I discuss how Philip Yancey is absolutely baffled as to why Christians adore Donald Trump. Yancey explores how Trump is adversely affecting Christianity. Read 818 times its called “Philip Yancey is Bewildered on Why So Many Evangelical Christians Adore Donald Trump.“
- The next most read story involves a dark abuse case out of the United Kingdom and Africa. It also involved the father of Covenant Life Church’s Senior Pastor P.J. Smyth. John Smyth allegedly abused boys physically so hard that one tried to commit suicide on his birthday, and another was found dead in Zimbabwe. P.J. Smyth put out a statement which I analyzed and looked at. Read 1,078 times its called “Analysis of Covenant Life Church’s P.J. Smyth’s Statements on the Situation Regarding his Father, John Smyth QC” and that is followed by another post that has been read 529 times. The title of that post is called, “An Overview of the Situation with John Smyth and the Disturbing Allegations of Abuse in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.”
- The sixth most read situation deals with Ken Ham and his Ark Encounter in Kentucky. While the Freedom From Religion Foundation uses his ark for fundraising purposes Ken Ham lashes out at atheists and blames them for his dismal economic performance. You can read that post in “Ken Ham is Trolled by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Meanwhile he Attacks Atheists and the Media, is Under Scrutiny by Kentucky, Plus He Blames Hurricanes on Sin.”
- The next most read topic goes back to politics and Russell Moore. After the 2016 election an uprising by many SBC who were Donald Trump voters took place. Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was attacked. During the 2016 presidential campaign Moore heavily criticized Donald Trump and his ethics and character. When Moore faced a revolt The Wondering Eagle, while disagreeing with some of his Neo-Calvinist views, agreed and supported Russell Moore on what he said about Donald Trump. I express this in “An Open Letter to Russell Moore.”
- In my backyard in Virginia Neo-Nazis rallied and marched in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017. The eighth most read post deals with that situation. In this post I am proud of the atheists who criticized and rebuked the Neo-Nazis, and find myself agreeing with the Neo-Calvinists who also criticized the event. Meanwhile a number of mainstream evangelicals who backed Donald Trump were mostly silent on the situation. My views lined myself with the atheists and Neo-Calvinists in this situation. You can read this at, “The Season of my Discontent: When the Evangelical Christians are Wrong, the Atheists are Correct, and the Neo-Calvinists Surprise Me; A Reflection on the Neo-Nazi Rally in my Home State of Virginia.“
- The next post surprised me as to how it took off. It actually tags an Evangelical Free church’s website in Southern California. This is a discernment exercise and it deals with the membership application, covenant and theological questionnaire at Del Rey Church in Playa del Rey, California. This has been read almost 400 times and people googling this Evangelical Free are finding this post and reading it. “Practicing Discernment: Del Rey Church’s Membership Application, Spiritual and Theological Questionnaire and Membership Covenant.“
- The tenth most read post at The Wondering Eagle for 2017 deals with an open letter I wrote to Andrew Smith the lead pastor at The Bridge Fresno. The Bridge Fresno is an Evangelical Free church in Fresno, California. When my Mom’s medical crisis played out in the local hospital I submitted a prayer request and The Bridge Fresno ignored it while my Mom was dying. In this sharply pointed letter I ask Andrew Smith why is the Bridge Fresno open and even a church if they are going to ignore prayer requests from people when their loved ones are dying? You can read that in “An Open Letter to Andrew Smith.”
The next round of posts that I am going to feature next are the ones I wrote over the 2017 year that turned into personal favorites or I think should be featured. These fifteen posts and/or topics deal with a wide range of issues from atheism, to Neo-Calvinism to the Evangelical Free and more. I am not ranking these posts or topics in the order that I like them. In my view they are all equally important as they address difficult topics and they need attention. But the first topic is deeply sensitive.
- The most difficult subject to write about this year has been the illness and death of my Mom. I wish I didn’t have to write these posts at all. They are difficult, emotional and downright hard. When my Mom died I took a break from writing to deal with the situation and devote time to my Dad and family. The first post I wrote dealt with a local Evangelical Free Church in Fresno called The Bridge. When my Mom was dying in a nearby hospital I left a prayer request for this EFCA church and ultimately The Bridge Fresno ignored it. I was sitting in a funeral home planning my Mom’s funeral when I realized what happened. In contrast the local Roman Catholic church my family is involved in reacted quickly, helped my family, and more. Watching The Bridge Fresno fail like it did when it was incapable of doing the most basic aspects of the Christian faith saddened me. I wrote about it in “The Bridge Fresno vs. Holy Spirit Catholic Church: Who was More Pastoral?” I wrote another post where I talked about my Mom’s death and what love is as well and what I learned about life. This is an emotional post to write and one I wish I didn’t have to write. “What I Learned About Life From My Mom’s Illness and Death” is the post. Against the chaos of modern evangelicalism I explore another question that haunts me, where will my own funeral be one day? You can read that in, “In Dealing with My Mom’s Death, Amidst the Chaos of Modern Evangelicalism A Question: Where Will My Funeral Be One Day?” As I grieve my Mom’s death I have decided to use this blog as a journal when appropriate and necessary. Because of that I will write about the topic of death from time to time.
- This blog writes often about atheism and these are my favorite atheism posts authored in 2017. One post dealt with how the South East Texas Atheists helped the homeless, and in the process showed that you do not need God to do moral or humane acts. You can read that in “An Atheist Group in Southeast Texas Takes Care of the Homeless, and in the Process Teaches Why you do not Need God to do Good.” Building on that theme later on in 2017 I looked at the issue of do you need God in order to be good or do acts of charity or morality? Quite clearly you do not need God in that way. This following post rebukes a standard evangelical teaching and is called, “Challenging a Misperception Among Many Evangelicals; Can you be Good Without God?” The next post deals with a secular humanist issue that this blog has been following. The United States Department of Defense recognized humanism as a religion. This paves the way for secular humanist chaplains to serve those of no faith in the United States military. The post is titled “The United States Department of Defense Recognizes Humanism; How Long Before Humanist Chaplains can Finally Serve?” The final post that stood out in this area is a guest post by a former member of Fellowship Memphis which is an Acts 29 church in Memphis, Tennessee. Rickey Green wrote about his de-conversion from evangelical Christianity in “Rickey Green from Memphis, Tennessee Writes about His De-Conversion from Christianity.”
- Mark Noll wrote a stinging book about the lack of intellectual and critical thinking skills in evangelical Christianity over twenty years ago. The book is called “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.” I wrote a post on how I have seen this issue pop up continually over the years. Many evangelicals struggle with critical thinking skills and discernment. In Montana when I was involved in Mormonism in college I saw Presbyterians and Baptists join Mormonism dismissing the issues with the LDS faith. I have also seen people join questionable churches or movements in Wisconsin and the Washington, D.C. area. I once knew an Air Force Captain who graduated from the Air Force Academy who called his Sovereign Grace church the healthiest church he ever knew. That was with all the scandals and child sex abuse bleeding from SGM. You can read about this in “From Mormonism in Montana to Sovereign Grace in the Washington, D.C. Area; The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Comes Full Circle.”
- The next article that is a lot of work to put together but well worth it looks at an issue the Center for Inquiry is taking on and educating the public about. The Center for Inquiry is a prominent secular humanism organization committed to education and advancing secular humanism. The Center for Inquiry has been challenging the anti-vaccination movement. The anti-vaccination movement has its roots in anti-science hysteria and conspiracy theories. For the record let me state that vaccines do not cause autism. This is an overview of the anti-vaccination movement and the response by the Center for Inquiry. The post is called, “The Anti-Vaccination Movement, Much Like Polio, Needs to be Eradicated; Plus the Center for Inquiry Confronts this Dangerous Faction.“
- The tension between the Chicago Cubs and Steve Bartman has long been evident. Years ago Bartman allegedly interfered in a play and it supposedly cost the Cubs from advancing. The Cubs organization had long wanted to win a World Series but has been haunted by the well known curse. After winning the World Series in 2017 the Chicago Cubs and Steve Bartman reconciled and worked out their differences. I wrote about the situation and asked the question, why can’t evangelical Christians reconcile and work out their differences? Why do they attack the world, when the world can do a better job at the Christian faith than most Christians? You can read that post in “How About Them Cubbies! The Reconciliation of Steve Bartman and the Chicago Cubs, and What the Evangelical Christian Church Can Learn.”
- There are several 9 Marks articles that I have written about in 2017. But the following three are my personal favorites. Sam Emadi wrote an article in 2017 about why Christians will join the wrong church. Sam’s article helps illustrate why spiritual abuse and problems are going to continue to flow from 9 Marks and why this blog will continue to write about the problems. The article is called, “Sam Emadi’s Disturbing 9 Marks Article Helps Explain Why Neo-Calvinism Struggles with Spiritual Abuse and Why One Should Expect More Scandals.” I also wrote a solid article that is getting read a lot that looks at the newest 9 Marks church that is being planted in the Washington, D.C. area. This looks at the issues and concerns that I have about the entity. This article is called, “Does the Washington, D.C. Area Need Another 9 Marks Church? Deep Concerns about Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma Sponsoring Matt Felton and David Chung’s Trinity Church of Loudoun County.” The final article looks at 9 Marks activity in Pakistan. The question I ask is the following. When one considers how 9 Marks operates and the paper trail and membership covenants in its modus operandi will Mark Dever’s organization result in the deaths of Christians in Pakistan? Will paperwork and a trail fall into the hands of radical Islamic extremists who will use that paperwork to hunt down Christians? Will that be Mark Dever’s legacy in the course of time? You can read about that in “Does the Christian Community in Pakistan Need Mark Dever’s 9 Marks?”
- I studied Watergate in grad school and find the Richard Nixon administration fascinating. In studying Watergate I see a lot of parallels in the corruption and scandal in C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries. I wrote a post that looked at Richard Nixon’s fall from power and how he eventually faced his failings and dealt with them. I compared and contrasted C.J. Mahaney’s fall from power and how ended up running. Mahaney is said to exhibit humility, in reality Mahaney is a fraud. Nixon exhibited humility in the course of time in admitting his mistakes. The following post looks at both men, and is called, “What C.J. Mahaney can Learn from Richard Nixon’s Resignation and Fall from Watergate: Some Thoughts on Humility.“
- The next two posts go together and deal with Franklin Graham. I look at Franklin Graham’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and pose the question, has the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association been compromised by Russian Intelligence? Has the fear of gay marriage resulted in Franklin Graham being compromised? Has Graham accepted any money from any Russian organizations or government? These are questions that I have. In the second post I do an overview of Russian foreign policy to educate and give readers an understanding of the issues at hand. Those two posts are “Franklin Graham’s Affection for Vladimir Putin, Plus is Franklin Graham a Modern Day Charles Lindbergh with His Love for Authoritarian Leaders?” and “An Overview of Russian Foreign Policy from Georgia to the Threatened Baltics, Plus what is Russia’s Goal?”
- There was one topic that grabbed my attention in which I researched and wrote about. Kim Davis the country clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue a gay marriage certificate became a divisive and polarizing figure. She became involved in the gay marriage debate and exported her views to Romania. Liberty Counsel is also involved in the situation. The following post looks at how evangelical Christians export the culture wars abroad. “When Evangelical Christians Export their Culture Wars Abroad: Kim Davis and Liberty Counsel Fighting Gay Marriage in Romania.”
- The next two posts deal with my home church in Wisconsin which is now called Wooded Hills Church. When I was a member it was called Wooded Hills Bible Church and was led by Joe Jenkins. It is a third wave church heavily influenced by Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer. This is a church that is very cult like or even a cult. In addition to efforts of trying to raise someone from the dead, there is Trish Stern. Trish sent the high school youth group to a convenience store near Colgate, Wisconsin to drive a demon from the aisle. Trish and Wooded Hills gives new meaning to finding a demon in every corner, crack and crevice. These two posts are about a church that I am embarrassed to have once been a member. You can read that in “A Season of Third Wave Theology at Wooded Hills Church in 1997-1998 in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Area” and “How Healthy was Wooded Hills Church? A Personal Reflection on the Issues which Existed; Plus Concerns about the Influence of Mike Bickle’s Kansas City International House of Prayer.”
- Over the past year I have composed several open letters which I have written to different people, ministries, pastors, organizations or more. The first one to feature is to an Air Force Captain whose false accusation triggered this blog in time. Andrew White taught me why rape and sexual assault is a problem in the military, and that happened through a false accusation when he was evangelizing me. You can read that open letter to Andrew White here. I wrote another open letter to a long friend who I have known for 20 years. Eric Pauls and I were involved in Campus Crusade for Christ at Fresno State. When my Mom was ill and in the hospital he snuck in the early morning hours to talk and see how I am doing. This is an open letter to a close friend who I love and am grateful for knowing. That open letter and be read here. Andrew Hoffman is the Western District Church Multiplication Specialist in the EFCA. He is also involved in The Gospel Coalition in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this open letter I write to let him know that Neo-Calvinism has failed and its time to admit the issues. Brad Pitt in the media this past year discussed why he is an atheist, and discussed his evangelical Christian past. I wrote him an open letter in which I empathized with the problems of evangelicalism. I also wrote an open letter to a close friend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who I have known for almost 20 years. This is an open letter to Joe upon the occasion of him becoming a Dad. I am drowning in baby pictures that he texted me the other day, and I am so grateful for his friendship. I also composed an open letter to Jon Payne. Jon leads the EFCA Forest Lakes District which is Wisconsin. In that letter I reflect on my time in Wisconsin and my life before I experienced spiritual abuse. The final open letter is to a long, close friend in Kansas who I met here in Washington, D.C. When my Mom died he invited me out to Kansas to hang out with him and discuss my Mom’s death and loss. Working and hanging around on his farm was therapeutic and helpful.
- This blog writes about Jordan Kauflin and Eric Simmons Redeemer Arlington, There are a few articles about this former Sovereign Grace and current Acts 29 church that I put together. Carolyn McCully went ballistic on Twitter in the late spring about her airline delay in Shreveport, Louisiana. Its clear that Carolyn as a Neo-Calvinist in the end doesn’t believe the Lord is sovereign. After all if God brings about everything and holds all in his hand, wouldn’t that include an airline delay in Louisiana? You can read that in, “With a Delta Airline Delay in Shreveport, Louisiana Does Redeemer Arlington’s Carolyn McCully Believe the Lord is Sovereign?” Carolyn McCully is the focus of another post that I put together. Carolyn made a comment on Twitter about the situation in Alabama with Roy Moore. As much as I agree with Carolyn the question must be asked, when will Carolyn face the issue of the alleged child sex abuse cover up in Sovereign Grace? When will she or even Jordan Kauflin and Eric Simmons publically speak out about C.J. Mahaney’s alleged cover up? You can read that in, “Carolyn McCulley Tweets on the Roy Moore Situation, When is Carolyn Going to Face C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Scandal? When will Jordan Kauflin Face Bob Kauflin’s Enabling of Mahaney? Remember The Wondering Eagle is a #MeToo When it Comes to Abuse from Redeemer Arlington.” The next article that was read quite a bit asked a question about Redeemer Arlington’s culture. Andrew White who triggered a false accusation against me was involved in the Navigators at the Air Force Academy. In the process the Air Force Academy has a history of sexual assault and other problems. Sovereign Grace Ministries also has a history of alleged sexual abuse. The question I ask, is the reason why Andrew found Redeemer Arlington “healthy” is because he is used to the rape culture at the Air Force Academy? You can read that in, “Is Eric Simmons’ Redeemer Arlington a Rape Culture Like the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs?“
- In August I took my Dad to visit Montana and look at his hometown of Butte. My family went to Glacier National Park for the day, and there amidst the beauty of nature a question haunted me. Why don’t evangelicals care about the environment? Why aren’t they good stewards of it? Does it go back to their belief in the rapture? After all why care about the earth if you believe you are going to be sucked into heaven? Is this part of evangelical Christianity healthy and responsible? You can read that in “Evangelicals and the Environment: Some Thoughts After Visiting Glacier National Park in Montana.”
- In writing about the EFCA there are many churches across the denomination that have been written about over the year of 2017. These are but a sampling. There are a few posts that I wrote that I want to feature so let’s consider what has been written about. In the Washington, D.C. area Kyle Brennon became the senior pastor of Crossway Fellowship in Manassas, Virginia. In this post I do an overview of the EFCA in the Washington, D.C. area in, “Crossway Fellowship in Manassas, Virginia Gets a New Senior Pastor, and a Look at the EFCA in the Washington, D.C. Area.” Bill Kynes was also written about as well. Bill a few years ago went and preached at Sovereign Grace Fairfax which was ground zero in the SGM lawsuit for child sex abuse cover up, it was one of the churches key to the lawsuit. Bill Kynes speaking there illustrates how corrupt churches are enabled and supported. You can read about this in, “Cornerstone’s Bill Kynes Preaching at Redeeming Grace Church (Formerly Sovereign Grace Fairfax) Illustrates How Corrupt Churches are Kept Afloat.” In Washington state at Olympic Evangelical Free in Poulsbo, Charlie Worley looked at the issue of church conflict and the words “bitter” and “gossip” in “Charlie Worley at Olympic Evangelical Free Church in Poulsbo, Washington Addresses Church Conflict.” In Nebraska I discovered that Mike Hellum at Westmark Evangelical Free on the issue of pain and suffering in promoting Philip Yancey’s classic book Disappointment with God. You can read that post in “Why Do Neo-Calvinists have a Problem with Phillip Yancey? Plus Mike Hellum of Westmark Evangelical Free in Loomis, Nebraska Promotes “Disappointment with God.” There is a disgraceful situation in the EFCA in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was disappointed to see that the Evangelical Free Church of Salt Lake is hardcore 9 Marks. Senior Pastor Steve Clark should stand at the door and tell those coming from Mormonism to go back to Joseph Smith as the LDS is healthier and less of a burden that Mark Dever’s 9 Marks. On a side note I wonder what the Mormons think of the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal? You can read about the issue at “Evangelical Free Church of Salt Lake City, Utah…Trading the Gospel of Joseph Smith for the Gospel of Jonathan Leeman?” Then there is Scott Sterner’s Acts 29/EFCA The Vine Church in Madison, Wisconsin. When you see the churches being planted in the Forest Lakes District and the Acts 29 pastor is responsible for church multiplication, is Scott Sterner trying to tip the district Neo-Calvinist? You can read about that in “A Closer Look at Scott Sterner from Acts 29’s The Vine Church in Madison, Wisconsin; Is Scott Tilting the Forest Lakes District Toward Neo-Calvinism as the Forest Lakes Director of Church Multiplication?” Then you can also look at how DeForest Evangelical Free senior pastor in DeForest, Wisconsin reacted to the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado in, “The Shooting at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Disturbing Response by DeForest Evangelical Free Senior Pastor Chuck Gaston.”
- This blog writes about the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). There were two issues that The Wondering Eagle found important enough to cover and write about. And there is one post about the EFCA that is deeply important. One of those issues is how Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in September of 2017. This massive storm take aim at Houston and caused flooding and other problems. Sadly over 90 people were killed in the United States. There are four articles I wrote about Hurricane Harvey and the EFCA.
- “Galveston Bible Church is Requesting Help as they Respond to Hurricane Harvey in Texas.”
- “Trinity Fellowship in Friendswood, Texas Publishes Solid Advice on how to Start the Recovery Process from Hurricane Harvey.”
- “As Hurricane Harvey Aims at Houston Jaron Jones of Shine Bible Fellowship Gets It; How Many Evangelical Pastors Fail to Address Situations in their Midst.”
- “Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston, and How 15 Evangelical Free Churches and the National EFCA are Responding; Plus Some Guidance for the EFCA Concerning this Issue.”
At EFCA One which was held in Austin, Texas the EFCA voted on what Biblical sexuality and the covenant of marriage resolution. Basically what happened is that the EFCA responded to the situation of gay marriage not out of faith – but instead fear. The Wondering Eagle recommended against this resolution as it would backfire later on. If you want to be conservative on the subject there are ways that make much more sense that what the EFCA did. You can read that post in, “Why the EFCA Should Reject the Biblical Sexuality and the Covenant of Marriage Resolution at the 2017 EFCA One Conference in Austin, Texas.” The next post that I consider to be important is a post laying out the goals The Wondering Eagle has for the EFCA. From learning to manage Neo-Calvinism, to putting in stricter rules on child sex abuse to make the denomination safer, to have D.A. Carson apologize for attacking a rape victim in a statement through The Gospel Coalition. All the reforms and concerns The Wondering Eagle has about the EFCA are laid out in this blog post called, “First Free Wichita Wants to Introduce you to the EFCA; Plus The Wondering Eagle’s Long Term Goals and Agenda with the EFCA.”
My Thoughts on 2017
2017 was a hard year for me. It was a year filled with death and loss. I went to three funerals in the time span of about a month. From someone I played football with in high school in Fresno to my cousin in Silver Spring, Maryland where I was only in attendance to my Mom’s funeral. I had no idea that I would attend two back to back in the same Catholic church in Fresno, California. This has been a hard year, its been a year filled with tears. In addition it has been a hard year in other ways. To be a traditional conservative who bucks the system and refuses to support a questionable leader has also been difficult. I believe in consistency and whether it be the President or a Pastor all alleged forms of rape is wrong. I can not criticize one and then find a way to excuse the other situation. If one finds ways to support something when they are so vocal in other ways, then I think one undermines themselves. I am not about tribalism but instead fact. I am on the outside and homeless in many ways – spiritually, politically and more. I learned a lot about people this past year and out of my conscious I can not go where many have gone. I can not drink the Kool-Aid. Its led to some interesting discussions with atheists, Neo-Calvinists on many issues. But Donald Trump has been so divisive that yes its also cost me friends. I take comfort in knowing that others have struggled with this and for the time being I will hold the line and not go down that path. But its been a year of profound loss. I hope next year will be better in that regard and that the situation will improve. Until then I will mostly go alone and will not compromise in that one area. Its important to be true to oneself, and I think about this from time to time. In addition I also lost people in 2017 when I wrote about a couple of posts about politics and racism. I wrote about racism after the way the issue popped up this past year. Racism and politics are two topics that are deeply unpopular, but I am also committed to telling the truth and dealing with the facts. I do not want to be an opportunist who plays people or misleads them by ignoring certain issues. The other day the Religious News Service wrote that the Donald Trump/Evangelical Christian phenomena is the top religious story of 2017. If that is the top religious story and that is ignored by other Christian blogs the question must be asked, are they committed to truth? Or are people not being told honest facts? Truth is important to me, I spent too much of my life figuring out who I am and I can not waver on that issue. I must be true to the end. After walking through Mormonism, atheism and more in my search for truth I must cling to it. That said I am glad 2017 is over. In 2017 this blog led me to travel around the East Coast. I have been in differing EFCA churches in Pennsylvania and sat through Bill Kynes Cornerstone in the Washington, D.C. area to listen to Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole preach. I have sat through many EFCA churches on the Eastern seaboard. In addition this blog took me out to Kansas and Missouri this past year. I approached First Free Wichita which is a 9 Marks EFCA church. They ignored me but that is their loss, many people are going to ignore me and I am prepared for that emotionally. I also sat through several services at The Bridge Fresno which is also EFCA in California. In the greater context of the EFCA that has been fascinating to observe.
What to Expect in 2018 at The Wondering Eagle
In 2018 this blog will be quite busy. I want to give you an idea of what to expect. In January we will look at a dark situation in an Acts 29 church in the United States. We will look at the issues with the pastors, membership covenants, and college students stuck in a difficult situation. I learned about a story and am finally going to tell it. This story I hope will give the Southern Baptist Convention deep pause as to why they are planting Acts 29 churches. Also expect a dark EFCA story that should be told here possibly in spring. The more I write the more people are approaching me. The Wondering Eagle will also write a few more posts about Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Expect more articles about individual EFCA churches from around the country. Also the Neo-Calvinist project will continue with the results from the North Central District of Minnesota.
Also to be written about is the 9 Marks network in the Washington, D.C. area. More articles about individual 9 Marks churches will be written. Redeemer Arlington still has a lot of work and this blog will listen to some sermons and do some articles about the issues in that church. Union Church which Redeemer Arlington planted in N.E. Washington, D.C. will also be written about. Jason Conner’s Portico Arlington which is also Acts 29 will also be written about more. All this is my goal for the upcoming year. David Platt and McLean Bible will also bring about more articles. The individual church plants out of McLean Bible as well as an overview of the New City Network should be expected. This blog will continue to write about atheism and secular humanism. I want to get involved in a secular movement and listen and observe and write about it. I have gone in the past and its something that I want to do more of. So if you are secular or atheist I hope you will find some articles here that you will enjoy reading. 2018 will be a busy year. That said as I close out this post I will leave you with My Way which is how I always close out this final post every year. Instead of Frank Sinatra or Robbie Williams I will close with Shirley Bassey singing My Way. I have been writing The Wondering Eagle for several years now. I do things in my unique way in analyzing, and researching and writing about religious issues. If you read me in 2017 I want to say thank you. I appreciate it. I love you guys quite a bit. I am going to take the rest of the year off, have fun guys!