• Pastor Rodney Howard Browne Who Refused to Close His Church Down During Covid 19 Pandemic Has Arrest Warrant Issued – He Was Also Promising Church Members that God Would Supernaturally Increase Their Supply of Toilet Paper

Pastor Rodney Howard Browne Who Refused to Close His Church Down During Covid 19 Pandemic Has Arrest Warrant Issued – He Was Also Promising Church Members that God Would Supernaturally Increase Their Supply of Toilet Paper

I’ve seen a lot of strange headlines come out of this Coronavirus situation, but perhaps none stranger than a church preacher promising his congregation that God would supernaturally increase their toilet paper rolls.

I think this is possibly an example of Toxic Masculinity, which is also rather common among certain types of Christian complementarians such as (but not limited to) John MacArthur or Mark Driscoll, who have this bizarre, warped view that being a “biblical man” -or a man at all- means exhibiting really stupid “macho” ideals such as crushing beer cans in one hand.

Such complementarians take secular, out-dated ideas of what manhood is and read them back into the Bible and assume (wrongly) that they’re God’s intent or design for men.

So we end up with guys like this pastor who thinks abiding by the advice of medical officials about social distancing during a virus pandemic that can be deadly makes a man a “pansy.”

(Update: I’ve just seen new headlines that this pastor has already been arrested – or, here’s a TMZ link about it:
PASTOR RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNEARRESTED FOR PACKED CHURCH …Violating Social Distancing“)

Link 1. Conservative pastor who refused to close church amid coronavirus pandemic suggests God will help by multiplying toilet rolls – Newsweek

Link 2. Florida Sheriff to Arrest Rodney Howard Browne, Megachurch Pastor Who Flouted Virus Rules – Daily Beast

Snippets from Link 1: 

Conservative pastor who refused to close church amid coronavirus pandemic suggests God will help by multiplying toilet rolls – Newsweek 

This is rather bizarre:

A conservative evangelical pastor has suggested to his followers that God will help multiply their toilet rolls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a clip posted to Twitter, pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, leader of the Florida-based Revival Ministries International, told his congregation that “this should be a time of supernatural sustenance, where what you have in your hand will multiply.”

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• How To Change A Mind – Woman Got Her Husband To Leave a Cult by E. Gordon-Smith

How To Change A Mind – Woman Got Her Husband To Leave a Cult by E. Gordon-Smith

How To Change A Mind by E. Gordon-Smith

Snippets:

Missy spent more than five years getting her husband to leave a cult, but the breakthrough was simple

Missy met Dylan when she took a job at the restaurant he worked at, waiting tables.

The couple moved in together and got engaged not long after, despite what Missy saw as a huge red flag: Dylan was a member of a religious sect that she believed to be a cult.

Missy was certain she could see through to the man Dylan would be without the sect, and certain she wanted to be with that man.

She did not, however, want to spend her life with a member of his sect.

“Did you consciously think to yourself, I’m gonna change this guy’s mind?” I asked Missy, years later.

“Yes. Absolutely. I made a five-year plan.”

I met Missy and Dylan while researching my book, Stop Being Reasonable: How We Really Change Our Minds.

Their story is singular, but many of us will someday find ourselves in something like Missy’s position, trying to talk the people we love out of believing — against all the evidence — what someone powerful is telling them.

If we do not understand the structure of our loved ones’ beliefs in situations like these, our attempts to change them may well fail.

….Everywhere we look, we see the gospel that reasoned argument is the currency of persuasion and that the “right” way to change our minds is by entering a sort of gladiatorial contest of ideas where we leave the personal behind.

But what if our eagerness to congratulate each other for employing that ideal stops us from asking whether it is worth aspiring to at all?

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• Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

I’m not surprised. Christians are some of the most ignorant and judgmental people concerning mental health issues.

Summary for Christians reading this:

-Mental health problems are

not an indication of or result of spiritual issues or personal failings or weaknesses.

-Mental Health problems cannot be healed via spiritual means only.
Reading the Bible, volunteering at charities, believing in Jesus, praying and believing for a healing, living a sinless life, repenting of sin, and/or attending church will not make mental health problems vanish.

-Secular psychology / psychiatry and doctor prescribed medications used to treat mental health problems are not evil, anti-God, immoral, un-biblical.

Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

Snippets:

Christian leaders have lost jobs over such conditions as depression and bipolar disorder

By Ian Lovett / January 2020

In most industries, federal laws protect workers with disabilities, including mental illness. Church is an exception. Employees including pastors are still regularly fired after disclosing mental-health problems.

…. Statistics on mental health and pastors are scarce.

But psychologists who specialize in treating ministers say that Christian pastors are still regularly fired after church elders discover they suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or other mental-health problems.

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• Hillsong Christian Church Song Writer Marty Sampson Says He Has Left the Christian Faith

Hillsong Christian Church Song Writer Marty Sampson Says He Has Left the Christian Faith

Before I get to listing the links to the news story about Christian song writer Marty Sampson saying on his social media that he has now left the Christian faith, I wanted to make a few comments first.

Some of the comments from Christians regarding Sampson leaving the faith are either sad or ignorant.

This is from Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis (who I’ve actually defended on this blog in the past, in another context) said this (link is below):

Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham said Sampson’s rejection of his former beliefs reinforces the need for parents to instruct their children in doctrinal truths at an early age. “This sad situation about this person is a reminder the church & parents need to teach apologetics to counter today’s attacks on God’s Word,” he tweeted.
—–

I find that a lot of Christians who are still in the “Christian Bubble” do not grasp how and why adult Christians leave the faith, or are considering leaving.

I myself was brought up in the Christian faith and read a lot of Christian apologetics literature from my mid-teens to around my late twenties to early thirties.

And, of course, I also regularly read the Bible, and I spent a few years reading about the history of the Bible, in particular the history of English language Bible translations.

So believe you me, contrary to what Ken Ham believes, a lack of being instructed about the faith from childhood, and hearing defenses of it, and being educated about Christianity, are not at play in why some Christians leave the faith (or may leave it), at least not in my case.

I was steeped in Christianity as a kid and into my adult years, and I did a ton of reading on apologetics, and none of that has changed the fact I’ve been in a faith crisis the last several years.

Farther below, under one of the last links, I have several more comments.

Update August 13, 2019:  
Hillsong worship leader clarifies he hasn’t renounced faith, but it’s on ‘incredibly shaky ground’

Hillsong Songwriter Marty Sampson Says He’s Losing His Christian FaithHillsong worship leader Marty Sampson announces he’s ‘losing’ his faith

Hillsong writer reveals he’s no longer a Christian: ‘I’m genuinely losing my faith’

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter
August 12, 2019

Marty Sampson, a prolific worship music writer known for his work with Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Young & Free, revealed he is losing his faith and believes Christianity is “just another religion.”

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• Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Josh Harris is a guy who wrote a book about sexual purity and dating in the 1990s (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) when he was in his late teens or early 20s – it’s a book that upset a lot of Christians who claim now that as teens, that book stunted their relationships and harmed them in other ways.

In the past couple of weeks, Harris announced on his social media he’s divorcing his wife and is “deconstructing” from the Christian faith.

In one of his social media posts, Harris said something or other about apologizing to women and to LGBT persons he may have wounded with some of his former teachings and beliefs.

At no time (that I recall) did Harris say he is now a flaming liberal who is a big time pro-LGBT- lifestyle- affirming SJW.

But some Christians are assuming he is now such.

Some are assuming either he is now a liberal, or else that he was seduced to (possibly) rejecting the faith because he was seduced by liberals or liberalism.

It’s not immediately clear to me if Harris rejects Christ now or is merely reevaluating the faith.

Before I continue discussing Harris and the Christian reaction to Harris’ comments, I will point you to a few off-site articles or editorials, so that you may gain any additional background information you may be wondering about (I’m not interested in covering all the nitty gritty in my own post here):

Author Joshua Harris Kisses His Faith Goodbye: ‘I Am Not a Christian’ – via CBN News (Christian site)

Joshua Harris falling away from faith: ‘I am not a Christian’ – via The Christian Post

‘Purity’ advocate dumps Christianity, apologises to gays
– Via Patheos, non-religious blog

Regardless of where Harris is faith-wise, I am disturbed, angry, and horrified to see how 98% of professing Christians are reacting to Harris and dealing with the subject of leaving the faith.

I have not seen many Christians demonstrate kindness or understanding.

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• Megachurch Will Form Its Own Police Force After Passage of Controversial Law

Megachurch Will Form Its Own Police Force After Passage of Controversial Law

Megachurch Will Form Its Own Police Force After Passage of Controversial Law

By Jasmine Hyman and Brian Ries, CNN
June 2019

(CNN)An Alabama megachurch plans to start its own police force thanks to a new law permitting the church to do just that.

The law, signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, authorizes Briarwood Presbyterian to “appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy.”

A similar bill was proposed four years ago, but it was dropped by the Alabama legislature amid a public outcry over the Presbyterian Church in America’s racist history, as well as criticism that the bill was unconstitutional and violated the Establishment Clause’s separation of church and state. Briarwood Presbyterian is part of the PCA.

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• The End of Empathy by Hanna Rosin

The End of Empathy

This issues discussed in this article remind me of this Bible verse:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…

The End Of Empathy by Hanna Rosin

Snippets:

…Americans these days seem to be losing their appetite for empathy, especially the walk-a-mile-in-someone’s-shoes Easter Sunday morning kind.

…Konrath [associate professor and researcher at Indiana University] collected decades of studies and noticed a very obvious pattern.

Starting around 2000, the line starts to slide.

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• These pastors were busted taking the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ to the extreme and bilking their followers out of millions by S. K. Burris

These pastors were busted taking the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ to the extreme and bilking their followers out of millions

Snippets:

by S. K. Burris

The worship of the almighty dollar is never more evident than with religious leaders who manage to work the system and avoid paying their taxes. For some pastors, faith in the prosperity gospel is stronger than the biblical gospels.

According to the Washington Post, fraud is thriving in U.S. churches, but it goes largely unreported either to church leaders or to the authorities.

…The late Rev. Dr. David B. Barrett partnered with the Center for the Study of Global Christianity to chart a statistical understanding of Christian churches around the world. Barrett “was a pioneer in collecting data on churches and noticed a significant increase in embezzlement fraud during the 1980’s,” Pavlo wrote.

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• Christianity Did Not Help Me, It Did Not Work For Me

I was a very devout Christian from childhood up to my early, maybe mid, forties.

These days, I don’t know what I am (religiously speaking).

As I look back over my life, I can see that not only did the Christian faith not help me much, but as some of its teachings were taught to me, it created obstacles in my life, and kept me stuck in harmful patterns or ways of thinking.

Supposing there is an afterlife with a Heaven and a Hell, and acceptance of Christ means a ticket into Heaven upon death, that works out just fine. I can sure see how that is beneficial later on.

Christianity, though, did not really help me with very much in the present life.

Any pain, problems, or stress I’ve had so far were not relieved by the Christian faith.

Prayer, Bible reading, believing in Jesus, volunteering at charities, attending church – none of that alleviated my problems.

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• Godly Men, Be Quiet By S. Krehbiel

Godly Men, Be Quiet By S. Krehbiel

Godly Men, Be Quiet By S. Krehbiel

Snippets:

….Patriarchal Christian masculinity is a powerful drug. It makes many church men believe that the world desperately needs their perspective on everything.

It makes their followers believe that asking such men to step aside from leadership is somehow tantamount to cruelty. 

God is always calling these men to lead someone or something, even when what they know about that thing may be approximately two cents less than nothing

Particularly in the evangelical world, the spiritual quality that seems to most define men like this is their ability to imagine that they hear God in the voice of their own ambition.

And then, inevitably, they start talking about healing, and positioning themselves as experts on how survivors should heal and need to heal. They cultivate suspiciously in-house quasi-professionals. They host high-profile healing services.

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• Insensitive, Clueless, or Off-Base Responses by Christians to Pedophile Preacher Article on Christian Site

Insensitive, Clueless, or Off-Base Responses by Christians to Pedophile Preacher Article on Christian Site

I wanted to discuss some of the comments I saw below the last article I just blogged about, which comes from the CBN Site. I blogged about it here:

The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew by Heather Sell

Article Comments

I skimmed some of the comments under that article (edit: link now fixed) on the CBN site.

Alex is an adult who says when she was a child that her preacher father sexually molested her. Later in life, she and her brother reported their father to the police, where the police discovered he had raped and molested other children, too. He was arrested.

Alex said she walked away from the Christian faith as a result of the abuse.

Here is what she said, and this is what some of the self-professing Christians in the CBN comment box were reacting to:

Alex has traveled a road that’s not uncommon for abuse victims of spiritual leaders. She stopped attending church and has no desire to go back. “I don’t like the idea of God as a fatherly thing,” she said. “If that’s who He is He wasn’t there for me. If my dad was supposed to be someone who was spreading His word – that’s not the case at all,” she said.

/////

Unfortunately, some of the Christians reacted to Alex’s rejection of the Christian faith inappropriately – rather than just express their condolences towards her that she was harmed by her father, they chose to defend the Church or God.

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• The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew by Heather Sells

The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew by Heather Sell

Some of the following story was shown on the Christian television program The 700 Club a few days ago, and I watched most of it.

This pastor was molesting at least one of his own kids, a daughter.

If I recall the interview with her correctly, I think she said that his molestation of her caused her to leave the Christian faith. I am not sure how she identifies herself today, if she would say she is an atheist or agnostic or what not.

This goes to show that yes, the behavior of self-professing believers of whatever world view (Christian, Islam, atheism, what have you) can negatively impact someone to the point they want nothing to do with the respective world view / faith.

I also related to the poor wife who said she was expecting people (I would gather especially Christian friends) to gather round her in her time of need (after her ex- husband was arrested) but nobody stepped forward.

I know that feeling of abandonment all too well, though in my case, it happened in the context of the death of my mother – Christian friends and family either avoided me during my time of grief or lectured and scolded me.

Here is the report?

The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew by Heather Sells

Snippets:

SOMERSET, Pa. – John and Clara Hinton arrived in Somerset, Pennsylvania in 1972. Just two years into their marriage and with a young daughter, the young couple was eager to start their ministry at the Somerset Church of Christ, a small congregation in the rural community.

John had completed a Bible degree at Oklahoma Christian University and served as a youth pastor when he stepped into the pulpit.

‘I wish my husband was like yours’: The Respected Dad

The two would go on to have eleven children and Clara considered John to be a model husband and father. She described him as soft-spoken and thoughtful, fixing her breakfast every morning.

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• Family of Pedophile Pastor Now Spreads the Word on How To Prevent Abuse by Heather Sells

 Family of Pedophile Pastor Now Spreads the Word on How To Prevent Abuse by Heather Sells

The following article also addresses CSA (Clergy Sex Abuse) and how Celebrity Pastorhood contributes to sex abuse cover ups in and by churches. I also comment towards the bottom, briefly, on how Christian Gender Complementarianism, plays a role in those things as well.

Family of Pedophile Pastor Now Spreads the Word on How To Prevent Abuse by Heather Sells

February 2019

SOMERSET, Pa. – Jimmy and Clara Hinton don’t want others to miss what they didn’t see for years: their father and husband, a respected pastor for years in his rural community, was keeping his flock in the dark while he molested young children.

Today, the elders at Somerset Church of Christ have moved intentionally to protect children. Empty classrooms are locked.

Adults working with children operate in teams of two or more. On Sundays, monitors conduct random building sweeps and each Sunday School room has a walkie-talkie in case of an emergency.

Church policy also protects children from potentially unwanted physical touch like a hug. “None of us can walk up to a kid, pull a kid in and initiate that physical contact,” says Pastor Jimmy, who has served as the pastor at Church of Christ since his father left in 2009.

He thinks that’s important because abusers often groom children to become used to them initiating.

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