A brief story why a former member of Josh Black’s First Free Wichita left this EFCA church in Kansas. First Free allegedly dealt with the issue of sexual harassment with a pastor in its past. What caused Sean to leave was when First Free Wichita sacked a long standing pastor and brought back Mike Andrus. The next post is a discernment exercise based off Mike Andrus sermon from last Sunday.
“If you are brave enough to say goodbye life will reward you with a new hello.”
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT
Sanctuary of First Free Wichita
First Free Wichita Youth Program wants you to check in.
The Wondering Eagle has written quite a bit about Josh Black’s First Free Wichita. This blog is looking for stories by former members and individuals who were involved. This is a church that needs to be written about. This 9 Marks church in Wichita has deep systemic and systematic issues. As I write about the EFCA when I was out in Kansas a few months ago I reached out to the church to see if they wanted to meet or discuss some of the issues that I am hearing about. You can read about First Free Wichita in the following blog articles. The first article is an overview of the history of Josh Black’s church and me listening to and responding to a sermon. The last article is about a church plant in Wichita that was done by First Free.
- “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?“
- “Is Curt Romig and First Free Wichita Exporting Another 9 Marks Church to the United Arab Emirates?“
- “Visiting and Reaching Out to First Free Wichita, a 9 Marks Church in the Midwest District of the EFCA“
- “First Free Wichita Wants to Introduce you to the EFCA; Plus The Wondering Eagle’s Long Term Goals and Agenda with the EFCA“
- “The Issue of Pain and Suffering, and “God Sightings” in Hilltop Urban Church; an Evangelical Free in Wichita, Kansas“
David a.k.a Eagle has asked me to write a blog post as to why I left my E-Free church 6 years ago and never went back. I have always had serious doubts about faith and in my efforts to learn more, I found better reasoned arguments to move on somewhere between Deism and Agnosticism. I started going to the E-Free church as a child because my parents found Chuck Swindoll on the radio and from there decided the Methodist church we had been attending lacking in solid exposition of God’s word. So there I was in all my formative years, mired in fundamentalism and miserable. Unfortunately, for me I never had the education or knowledge to fully walk away until I was almost 40.
What inspired me to reach out and learn more? It wasn’t the spiritually abusive youth group, bad teachings on sexuality that made me a parent at 19, or in later years a pervy pastor that sexually harassed the female volunteers under his charge, that the church defended. The sexual harassment included the pastor who allegedly inappropriately touched people at First Free Wichita. The situation was not dealt with until an influential member’s wife was sexually harassed. Nope, it took them firing the pastor who had been there 20+ years and bringing back the previous pastor whose sermons just pissed me off. I remember him mentioning “ Satan’s professors”, trust what we say and other harsh themes that angered me greatly. After a couple years of this, I decided to start reading theology and church history widely; especially after I found evangelical books lacking in depth. I found out that my church tradition was a creation of DL Moody to engineer a compliant working class with little to do with traditional Christianity.
I started asking members of the pastoral staff at the time questions and they didn’t have any satisfactory answers for me. It seemed to me that the Catholic and Mainline scholars fed my intellect much better than my tradition ever could. From there, my family ended up leaving for a Mainline Lutheran church which we attended regularly for about 3 years. Then one Sunday, I realized my doubts came back and I just couldn’t go any more. The Lutheran church was a great church, but I couldn’t continue to show up if I didn’t believe any more.
My E-Free church became affiliated with 9 Marks and The Gospel Coalition after I left. Little did I know that the bringing back of this pastor was the start of a major theological shift and an old school Stalinist staff purge. Subsequent pastoral staff that was hired in, either grew up in the church or had the right theological grooming elsewhere. I could no longer sit under teaching that accuses others of sins that the church I was at was guilty of and doubling down on judging homosexuals. No longer could I listen to how I needed to suspend my reason and trust their their teachings, no matter how gross they were.