When wolves take on the shepherds

Bull has an interesting post on spiritual abuse, which deals with the perspective of the member of a church who suffers under a poor pastoral team. Sadly, this happens, and it is tragic for all.

Another form of spiritual abuse is the false accusation of church leaders by some so-called discernment ministries. Many of them are genuinely concerned about the Body of Christ and accurate doctrine, including accountability and proper use of resources, but there are some who sail very close to the wind of defamation and others who actually seem to be dressed in wolves clothing.

An example of a person who sails very close to the edge, that is often quoted on discernment sites, including this site in the past, is Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries, who, despite some interesting articles, on occasion seems to have an issue with accurate fact gathering.

He tends to be extremely wordy, and doesn’t believe in short paragraphs on blogs, so actually wading through his stuff is a nightmare assignment, not just because of the constant discouragement in his work, but because of the mismatching of his claims and associations about various ministries.

Pyramid schemes?

For example, in the midst of his accusations he often hits some highly defamatory heights, such as this false accusation of Phil Pringle, in an article called ‘The Mixture”:

This same mixture is why we see so many Christians in churches like Toronto Preacher Phil Pringle’s City Church in Sydney get involved in things like Amway and in pyramiding schemes.

Now in Australia pyramid schemes are highly illegal. To my knowledge Phil Pringle and C3 have never been knowingly involved in a pyramid scheme of any kind, neither have they had a direct involvement with Amway, although there may be members who are involved in Amway, which is a perfectly legitimate business and in no way illegal.

But pyramid schemes have been outlawed in Australia and many other nations. This appears to make his accusation defamatory.

I have listed C3 here because they are coming under some flack here, but the same article contains unsupported accusations against a number of other ministries, including the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumbell, Holy Trinity Brompton, Kensington Temple and others, which are all widely regarded as effectual, godly ministries.

Here’s the other problem with these kinds of claim – they are recycled by other alleged discernment sites, and thus the defamation is spread.

Snowball effect

Another problem to add to this is the commentary on the threads which proceed from the accusations in the posts. Here is a completely unfounded comment made by a regular commenter on a blog which has occasionally been associated with Prasch’s work:

C3 pastors are basically semi entrepreneurs, not capable of doing an honest day’s work, who see a franchise oppurtunity that is tailor made to make easy money without control from the C3 system or the government.

This person singles out C3 pastors because he feels he has a history with its founder. But he makes sweeping allegations without a shred of accountability. No evidence. No proof. Just a defamatory remark thrown into a hedonistic mix and permitted by the blog owner.

I add that this is one of the softer imputations levelled by this person on that blog. I will leave other possibly defamatory claims to others to deal with if they choose to. I wanted to give an example of this kind of folly when it is attached to unsubstantiated claims in blog posts.

Most shepherds are hard workers

The truth is, in response the the commenter’s claims, that the vast majority of C3 Pastors, like most other Pentecostal church leaders, are hard-working, conscientious individuals who have given their lives to Christ, heard the call to ministry, and are serving God’s Kingdom and His people to the best of their ability.

Their motivation is not money. They are not primarily entrepreneurs, although many come from a business or entrepreneurial background, which is not wrong or even a disadvantage. They have often left careers in which they were highly successful and could have given them a more comfortable living than pastoring, which, for the vast majority of ministers, is not a vocation which promises above average remuneration, say compared to a school teacher, unless your church is over 500 people.

So making ‘easy money’ in a ‘franchise’ is neither the dream or the outcome for most Pastors. And the idea of a franchise is warped also. It is a vocation, a calling, and an extremely difficult one if you are planting a church from scratch, which involves serving people from many different walks of life at varying levels of spiritual maturity with an array of  issues and problems to deal with on a daily basis.

Should blogs be moderated

Having an opinion or even challenging a doctrinal stance is perfectly acceptable on any debating channel, including on blogs. This site is an example of this. But making unsubstantiated defamatory claims against an individual or church group should be seen as unacceptable amongst the brethren.

I am personally against interference with freedom of speech, and, in a global economy, I understand it is very difficult to prosecute liars and cheats who utilise the web for their falsehoods, but there is surely coming a time when people like Prasch and Moriel, which has offices in Australia and UK, will have to be held to account for their baseless accusations.

Blog sources such as WordPress have a policy on non-interferance when it comes to the moderation of their bloggers’s sites, and this is understandable, but we have laws which protect people from lies and deception in the press and media, and it is overdue in the blogosphere, which can go viral in the matter of hours.

Already, in UK, there are moves to make the owners and proprietors of blogs accountable for what they say against ministries and individuals.

Openness of opinion and freedom of news outlets is a healthy thing, but false and defamatory accusations need to be moderated at a higher level. Do we need blog police? Or not? And can a wolf attack a pastor?

 

Posted by Steve


62 thoughts on “When wolves take on the shepherds

  1. I agree with Steve re a certain gentleman’s character assassination of a senior pastor. If he knows him and has issues, take it up with him privately. Some of “facts” reported certainly don’t line up with the history we heard of the C3 movement.

    But I will attach this from Wade Burleson’s report of a discerner criticizing a pastor and taken to court…..(the discernment blogger won)

    “If you are publicly criticized, censured, or condemned, it would be good to follow the advice of King David, who when verbally castigagated by one of his subjects and asked by Abishai if he could “go cut that dead dog’s head off,” responded, “Let him alone. God hath bidden him to speak.”

  2. Yes we should avoid taking people to court, Biblically, and sometimes we need a little feedback to recreate humility, but a little bit of scruff-of-the-neck lawmanship doesn’t hurt the wayward either.

    Appreciate your positive comments.

  3. C3 pastors are basically semi entrepreneurs, not capable of doing an honest day’s work, who see a franchise oppurtunity that is tailor made to make easy money without control from the C3 system or the government.

    While I dont agree with the part about “easy money” or “not capable of doing an honest day’s work” there is some truth to this statement.

    I think semi-entrepreneur is a fair description of the system than most Pentecostal pastors operate under, especially the ones just starting out. S&P posted a C3 agreement between the wider organisation and a small church and it did have the feel of a franchise agreement – with a fee based on turnover etc. It had more of the character of an agreement between businesses than an organisational employment agreement.

    This semi-entrepreneurial status, I think has both good and bad effects on the church. On the good side, the church has to be self-supporting almost from the outset – and therefore must be relevant and attractive for people to join. When your own income and career depends on the church being viable, there is an incentive to be evangelical and to get more people into the church.

    On the bad side, this can mean that certain subjects may not be broached at the pulpit. The other problem is that the church becomes structured like a business or corporate with a heirarchy headed up by the Pastor.

    When the Pastor has a moral failing or in some way needs to be disciplined, there often is little that can be done in the way of appealing to the ‘oversight’. As a separate company or business structure they have little control over the church that bears their name or denomination. So the part of the statement about control either by C3 or the government is fair in my view.

    The statements are not defamatory because they dont mention anyone by name – they are critical of a system or denominational group. Similar in nature to the criticism some commenters made about the Catholic system earlier.

  4. Wazza said quote:-“The statements are not defamatory because they dont mention anyone by name – they are critical of a system or denominational group. Similar in nature to the criticism some commenters made about the Catholic system earlier.” unquote.
    True the comment was a generalisation of a system. The comment used the word ‘basically’ and also the word “semi” in front of entrepreneurs. The comment does not call C3 pastors entrepreneurs but “semi” i.e. a foot in both camps. A compromised situation.The C3 system heavily promotes giving 10% of income to the system. Members are put under fear and condemnation if they do not do this. That means the system is tailor made for making easy money. It’s just like a bank automatic monthly debit system from your account. C3 promotes this and the government allows it because C3 is a “religious organization”.
    This blog criticizes other systems e.g. the Catholics.The Catholics have indulgences and are worth criticising. C3 has indulgences, but they call them “tithes” and are worth criticising.

  5. The author of the above ost is plitting hairs! Prasch probably means MLM schemes when he uses the term “pyramid”. i know what he means. He’s right! COC was riddled with ProMa Systems MLM because Clark Taylor the original senior pastor was part of the original 12 members at the top who started it with Val Fittler. Clark promoted it in church and amongst the members. I personally was sucked into it, because if pastor thinks it’s good it has to be good! WRONG! I lost thouisands of dollars and wasted hundreds of hours-gave it a very concentrated go, but MLM’s always end at a dead end. Abundant Life on the Gold Coast Aus, was riddled with the Manutech MLM, because the pastor was a fervent promoter of it. The AOG was riddled with Amway and various other MLMs. Prasch is probably spot on!

  6. I think it’s fine for Christians to start blogs and talk discuss or vehemently argue against aspects of theology or church life whether that be tithing, confession whatever. I have no problem with people who leave a religion or denomination to share their experiences.

    What I personally have problems with is when people are obviously bitter and instead of pointing out where a church or Pastor is in error, they seem to hate on anything and everything Pastor or members do, and criticizing every statement.

    It’s similar to listening to a person after a nasty divorce – except that they usually don’t start a blog about it.

    Blogs have a good use in that there are many members who have the same doubts but never get the chance to voice them or share them until they see through a blog that others think the same way.

    While C3 people probably hate ex-C3 blogs, they may not have the same problem with ex-mormon or ex-catholic blogs even if they dish up a similar amount of gossip and pettiness.

    Any religious leader who forbids members from reading a blog against them is probably a despot though.

    Most of the Pastors I know didn’t go into it originally for the money – because most times it’s pretty tough in the beginning.

    Mention was made of Clark Taylor. From all I know of him, I don’t think he went into ministry originally to make money. Most of the people who seem to live extravagant lifestyles didn’t start that way either.

    I am very opposed to Pastors being involved in and promoting MLM
    products. Not saying it’s a sin, but it’s simply not wise and fraught with potential problems.

    And most of them originally start with mormons in the US anyway, so it also shows how naive evangelicals are. And I must say it’s sad to see so many supposedly spiritual, discerning, wise religious leaders who people look to for life advice, get involved in things that they originally rave about, but end up to be scams.

    Hopefully, blogs could be self-regulating. If it’s a Christian blog, you should continually question whether you love the people you are writing about, whether you have forgiven them, and whether or not you are motivated by revenge and bitterness. Unfortunately, given that the heart is wicked and deceitful, not many of use can do that so honestly.

  7. In the end, I think I could write a blog about anyone and make them look bad. Some blogs take aim at famous preachers, but then when you go through the list of all who are evil and false teachers, you wonder if there are any preachers anywhere on the planet who aren’t heretics. And it usually comes out that they only one worthy….is the author of the blog!

  8. Goes without saying, but I’m sure the Pharisees would have had fun with an anti-Jesus blog! His assistants would give them lots of ammunition to keep them busy.

  9. If he means MLMs he shouldn’t say pyramid schemes. Everyone should know the difference. One is illegal, the other isn’t. If he has made an error he should correct it. It is defamatory.

    Amway, Mannatech and the like are business propositions like any other. I don’t think Pastors should use members as their ‘downlines’, but, going back to the original slurs, the suggestion that Phil Pringle or C3 promote Amway or pyramid schemes is wrong.

    The other allusion, of course, is that Amway is a pyramid scheme, which is also defamatory, and, for wazza’s benefit, of course you can defame a company, or a church, or a denomination, or an identifiable movement.

  10. Also, I did not defame the Catholic Church. I challenged their doctrinal stance on a number of dogmas they have introduced.

    Bones indirectly defamed them more with his pedophile claims, some of which are to be tested in the courts soon it seems.

    As I said in the post, discussing doctrine or even the methodology of a church or denomination is acceptable, but defaming a leader or movement is completely different because it levels actionable accusations against an individual or group without producing evidence.

  11. Steve says “I don’t think Pastors should use members as their ‘downlines’, but, going back to the original slurs, the suggestion that Phil Pringle or C3 promote Amway or pyramid schemes is wrong.”

    There was a prominent person involved in C3 who did use his influence to recruit for his “downline” in Omegatrend (we were approached too).

    That use of “influence” was nipped in the bud very quickly by Phil Pringle, and it was made quite clear, from the pulpit, that the church was not there for that purpose.

    At times people would put their business flyers under windscreen wipers in the church car park and that was stopped too.

  12. @Margot,

    ‘That use of “influence” was nipped in the bud very quickly by Phil Pringle, and it was made quite clear, from the pulpit, that the church was not there for that purpose.’

    And yet Phil’s artwork has been promoted from the pulpit, in clear contravention of C3’s written constitution.

    I think that smacks of a double-standard(?)

  13. My understanding is that corporations with more than 5 employees cannot sue for defamation. Individuals within those organisations can.

    I think it would be difficult for C3 to sue me if I said, for example, that they were a cult. The question would be what exactly would be the organisation that I was defaming?

  14. “generally any group which has a legal identity […] can sue for defamation if you have harmed their business.”

    So if C3 sued, would that constitute an implicit admission that they are in fact a business, rather than a church? How ironic would that be?

  15. “Any religious leader who forbids members from reading a blog against them is probably a despot though.”

    It’s not much different from a tin-pot third-world dictator controlling his country’s media, is it? (Is it any coincidence that those same dictators are typically keen to don military regalia and various associated accoutrements, including all sorts of medals and awards that they have not earned? Or that these people are often sociopathic grandstanding megalomaniacs who have delusions of grandeur, and who, as a result, presume to lecture all and sundry as to how they should conduct themselves?)

    Controlling behaviour: telling people where they should sit, telling them how they should “worship”, telling them what percentage of their money they should hand over, telling them to ignore bloggers, telling them they must “submit” to their “leaders”, telling them that they must share – and “sow to” – the vision, telling them that those have left have “lost the vision”.

    I was under the distinct impression that controlling behaviour is one of the hallmarks of a cult. Perhaps Steve can correct me if I’m wrong about that.

  16. @ Zorro – you ask ” think that smacks of a double-standard(?)”

    Most definitely yes. I said all that in other posts in the past.

    I was simply addressing the Amway/C3 connection. It would be dishonest of me to say otherwise – we were there.

    And at that time his artwork/gallery wasn’t being promoted and marketed particularly to the congregation as it now. (By telling the church/captive market there’s going to be showing after the service, is also self-promoting)

  17. Hello Margot,

    “I was simply addressing the Amway/C3 connection. It would be dishonest of me to say otherwise – we were there”

    That’s fair enough. I think it’s quite reasonable to give credit where credit is due, as you have done, and all the more so since you were a witness of the facts as they were.

  18. Is this statement potentially defamatory then?

    However, in the spirit of cleverness and doctrinal sleight of hand, the various papal agencies eventually came up with a set of beliefs, based, not on scripture, but on a philosophically pragmatic, humanly conceived desire to place Mary on a par with similar female goddess figures

    The references to cleverness and sleight of hand might lead a reader to think there was some concious trickery involved.

  19. Also, I did not defame the Catholic Church.

    No of course not. Now enough with this victimisation of poor Dr Phil. It’s not as if Steve loves whacking other Christians or would denigrate them using spurious sources.

    Oh wait.

    Catholics call their Jesus down into a wafer at mass. Theirs is not the Jesus of the Bible. They also deny the new birth according the scripture, since they claim the new birth at infant ‘christening’, not as confession of Jesus as Lord. They live a works-based religion. They can fail to live in righteousness, but may enter purgatory and be saved by indulgences of the living and their prayer to ‘saints’ – defined in their religion as dead people who have been ‘canonised! It is the most whacky of the lot. (compared to JWs, Christalphians, Mormons)

    Their doctrine is pure error. There is nothing of Biblical substance worth noting. Don’t be fooled by the nice people who are part of it all. They are no different to nice JWs or Mormons.

    This is has for many years been considered the Mystery Babylon, ad there is much evidence to the accuracy of the claims,

    I’m more of a Hislop reader.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/kubala-on-the-mula-lah-circuit/

  20. Q said And I must say it’s sad to see so many supposedly spiritual, discerning, wise religious leaders who people look to for life advice, get involved in things that they originally rave about, but end up to be scams.

    Can I ask what makes pastors financial advisers?

    Personally I take advice from someone who knows what they’re doing, even then I’ll check things out.

  21. “Personally I take advice from someone who knows what they’re doing, even then I’ll check things out.”

    A priest, a preacher and a Rabbi walked into their favorite bar, where they would get together two or three times a week for drinks and to talk shop.

    On this particular afternoon, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear.

    One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

    Seven days later, they’re all together to discuss the experience.

    Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.
    “Well,” he says, “I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.”

    Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, ” WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don’t sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God’s HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus.”

    They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV’s and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape.

    The rabbi looks up and says, “Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

  22. Because of pop psychology, biblical truths are distorted, ignored, or have even been heretically rejected.
    Integrationists use the passages that talk about loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9, 10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8) to teach that until we learn to love ourselves we can’t love others. Therefore, their doctrine goes, we really need to concentrate on loving ourselves. Then, in time, we will be able to love others too. The Bible says, however, that we already love ourselves. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29). Paul reproved the church because “everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:21). He wrote to Timothy predicting that in the last days “people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:2). In direct contrast, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

  23. “Can I ask what makes pastors financial advisers?”

    Absolutely nothing. But that doesn’t stop them.

  24. “The references to cleverness and sleight of hand might lead a reader to think there was some concious trickery involved.”

    Steve, Wazza is being uncharacteristically kind by saying “might”.vv 🙂

    The things you said that Wazza and Bones quoted? Goes beyond just disagreeing theologically. Read over it again. Or better still, go and read it out aloud at the the local Catholic Church next Sunday.
    (or even at the Saturday night Bingo…)

  25. Eyes and zorro…nod, nod, wink, wink I think you will find that the original post above was written by a C3 pastor and maybe the first comment was his or one of his flock.
    Bones with his refernece to “Dr Phil” needs to read the false doctorate article.
    Zorro this is so true:-
    “And yet Phil’s artwork has been promoted from the pulpit, in clear contravention of C3′s written constitution.
    I think that smacks of a double-standard(?)”

  26. @auscli,

    ‘Bones with his refernece to “Dr Phil” needs to read the false doctorate article.’

    Don’t worry, Bones was being sarcastic.

    We all know that Phil’s PhD is a fake from a diploma mill in Florida (even Steve knows, although he can’t bring himself to admit as much).

  27. Where did I defame the RC church? I exposed wrong doctrine and dogma.

    As I have said, there is nothing wrong with this.

    I did not accuse them, as you did, Bones, of harbouring pedophiles. Now that, if you had no evidence, would be defamatory.

    Oh, wait a minute, someone else thinks the same:

    The aftershocks from the latest sex-abuse scandal continue to shake the Catholic Church, with another victim alleging the church turned a blind eye to his complaints.

    Four Corners revealed last week that a Catholic Church priest accused of sexual abuse made admissions to three senior priests about his actions, but the priests never referred the matter to police.

    The priest, known as Father F, worked in Moree and then later in Parramatta, where it is alleged he abused a number of altar boys in the 1980s.

    Now, 7.30 has learned of another alleged victim of Father F. The man says he was abused when he was an altar boy at Moree in the mid-1980s.

    Bill, who does not want to be identified, says he would sometimes wake to Father F abusing him.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-10/another-abuse-victim-comes-forward/4119946

    All wazza and Bines have done is perform a crafty switch from the original claims to a doctrinal stance. There is nothing defamatory with claiming a religious group is a cult unless you have nothing to substantiate your claims. What does ‘cult’ mean? It is surely a matter of opinion.

    But if you claim a church operates a pyramid scheme and name the leader without proof then you really are defaming the person and the church.

  28. And who gives a rip if a church leader discusses their paintings, music, literature or whatever from the pulpit? There is absolutely nothing wrong or illegal or even immoral about this.

    You’re just nit-picking as usual.

    I’m astonished that everyone, apart from Greg and margot, has so utterly missed the thrust of what I said in the post.

    Remarkable, really!

    I include EYES in that, although, I have to admit, I can’t make out head nor tail of what the fella is trying to say. I think he’s agreeing with Zorro, but between them they make little real sense in terms of the original argument, seeming just to try to say they don’t like someone or other, but I’m sure they must think they know what they’re talking about. LOL!

  29. wazza,
    However, in the spirit of cleverness and doctrinal sleight of hand, the various papal agencies eventually came up with a set of beliefs, based, not on scripture, but on a philosophically pragmatic, humanly conceived desire to place Mary on a par with similar female goddess figures

    In fact the RC church is so full of self-congratulatory dogma-shifting that it might actually take that as a huge compliment.

    Oh, my! That view of the same sentence is so funny I almost fell off my chair in mirthiness! Hilarious! 😀

  30. No, you see, Bones, wazza and all, doctrinal and Biblical interpretations can be vastly different between groups, so it is hardly defamatory to say one group has wrongly interpreted what God is saying.

    If the JWs claim Pentecostals are cultish because they speak in tongues or believing in healing for today, that is merely a claim from a flawed doctrinal perspective which is easily dealt with by a Bible-believing Pentecostal.

    You’d hardly take a person t court for having a different perspective on scripture.

    But now, if the JWs claim that the COC is literally burning witches every Sunday, then they may have overstepped the mark.

    Of course, if they claimed that the RCs had, in their past, burned dissenters they may have a point which the RCs could not challenge successfully in the courts.

  31. In fact, Bones, my arguments on Catholicism were pretty well started when you slipped in the following remark on a thread:

    That”s a crap analysis of Roman Cathlic theology by Steve whose been reading too many Chick Publications.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/kubala-on-the-mula-lah-circuit/#comment-28216

    I took you up on that with a very off the cuff, “I don’t read Chick publications. I leave them to the Potter’s House mob. I’m more of a Hislop reader”, which you then started pummelling away at like a jackhammer on heat, and it lead to some interesting dialogue and subsequent posts!

    Hardehar!

  32. And Zorro, I commented on the doctorate thing so long, as well the tithe issue, it is well and truly ancient history. My views have been expressed and are known.

    You’re just recycling well ploughed ground.

  33. “And who gives a rip if a church leader discusses their paintings, music, literature or whatever from the pulpit?”

    Well apparently those who framed the C3 constitution give a rip, because it expressly forbids such conduct.

    Aren’t those who wrote the constitution “God’s anointed”? Aren’t they all Holy Spirit-filled “leaders”? Aren’t they the ones who set up “the best church in the Australia”?

    Maybe they got it wrong, Steve. Or maybe you are wrong.

    Go on then, please do tell us: is Phil Pringle wrong, or are you wrong?

    It’s yet another very simple question, Steve.

  34. “At least you knew where you stood with Russell […]”

    You know where you stand with me, Steve: in an untenable position in a tight corner on shaky ground under extreme pressure.

    That’s why you don’t give a direct answer to any questions I pose – you are simply not able to do so, because your “theology” is a house of cards, lacking in any sort of integrity (lack of integrity is all the rage in pentecostal circles, isn’t it?). You can’t hide, though, because your failure to engage speaks volumes – and even the things you do say give you away.

    “[…] and he didn’t hide behind a mask like the cowardly Zorro.”

    Of course I have a mask. Wouldn’t you expect someone named Zorro to wear a mask?

    Now as to Phil’s “credentials” – if he has a doctorate, could you please explain why his wife now refers to him as “Pastor Phil”, rather than the expected “Doctor Phil”?

    Is Phil hiding his light under a bushel? Is he indulging in a little mock humility? Is he wanting God to receive all the glory? Or is he just a fraud who doesn’t have a doctorate at all?

    Here’s another thought for you: PhDs are the preserve of particularly intelligent people; those who are at the pinnacle of academia. Do you really believe that Phil Pringle has the intellectual capacity to take his place in the company of such erudite scholars? Really? A man who can’t even divide the word of God correctly, who twists the Scriptures to his own ends, who consistently butchers the Bible? Honestly?

  35. Zorro the small-church masked Calvinist,
    Now as to Phil’s “credentials” – if he has a doctorate, could you please explain why his wife now refers to him as “Pastor Phil”, rather than the expected “Doctor Phil”?

    Ha ha! Are you serious? Perhaps because he is the Pastor!

    I mean, who gives a rip?

    What do they call you? The Lone Calvinist?

    What does your wife call you? The Extremely Reverend Masked Critical Moonhowler?

  36. Greg, Bull,
    Here’s one more thought.

    If you’re going to allow Zorro to turn every thread into an attack on C3 and Phil Pringle I see no point in continuing the site or any discussion.

    As far as I am concerned, I have offered to engage him on an appropriate thread, but he has made it clear he will engage his hostility as and when he deems fit.

    That is called trolling.

    If he is going to be allowed to operate as an anti-C3, anti-Phil troll there is no purpose to this blog.

  37. “If [Zorro] is going to be allowed to operate as an anti-C3, anti-Phil troll there is no purpose to this blog.”

    So your solution to not being able to answer my questions is to have the blog shut down? Talk about driving a thumbtack with a slegehammer! You’re clearly into the red zone on the desperation gauge, and it seems that something is bound to blow up. (One imagines that if you were a pastor who was frustrated in his attempts to throw out a congregant, you would resort instead to burning down the entire church).

    Anyway, full marks for a creative fix (if a little destructive) for that which so clearly niggles you. I’m sure that de Bono would be proud of you; perhaps you are cut from the sort of cloth that would allow *you* to get a PhD (a real one, I mean 😉

  38. “[…] those were the days of S&P who as you know no longer posts content here or comments…or does he Zorro?”

    One of these days, at the right time, you’ll discover the answer to that Greg.

  39. (One imagines that if you were a pastor who was frustrated in his attempts to throw out a congregant, you would resort instead to burning down the entire church)

    Lol.

    Gee there’s been some funny stuff posted lately.

  40. Zorro,
    So your solution to not being able to answer my questions is to have the blog shut down?

    Not at all. My offer still stands. I even set it up for you on the other thread, but you were the one who declined.

    My response was to ensure that the newer threads didn’t degenerate into your personal trolling mania.

    I’ll be waiting or you at the other thread, where I already had a comment waiting for you two weeks ago.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/c3-targeting-losers-to-lose-more-then-just-their-heads/#comment-33751

  41. “any more C3 comments on anything other than a C3 thread..unless called for by context will be deleted”

    So Steve, whatever you do, don’t mention C3!

    (I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it).

  42. Bones,
    (One imagines that if you were a pastor who was frustrated in his attempts to throw out a congregant, you would resort instead to burning down the entire church)

    Actually someone like Zorro has to be treated like a goat rather than a sheep. Sheep generally stay within the green pastures and still waters, but goats will eat and devour everything, including the very trees and hedges which provide cover and shelter, exposing the whole flock to danger. They also muddy up the stream because they wade out into areas which are kept for sheep.

    So what do you do with a goat? You tether it. That way it can only reach certain parts of the pasture and lap at the stream without messing things up.

  43. “It’s all gone quiet!”

    Says the man who can’t give a direct answer to even a single question.

  44. wow. Amazing the number of posts that take place in a day or so.

    “I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it”

    I think all quotes from British comedies should be banned! It makes me go and watch youtube and waste time!

    But just two comments before I go and watch Basil and the Germans…..

    First, universities, colleges and the different academic institutions all have differing standards. I’ve probably spent as much time as anyone here in academia but it doesn’t really bother me anymore if a bible college gives someone a masters or Phd on the basis of what they submit, or what they’ve produced, or what they can teach on the basis of experience.

    Second, Steve, “sleight of hand” implies deliberate intention to deceive. I have problems with your opponents who seem so confident that people who teach tithing are DELIBERATELY doing so in an attempt to deceive and bilk people out of money. There may be some out there like that, but I don’t think all are.
    I also have problems with you implying that the Roman Catholic bishops and theologians have DELIBERATELY attempted to deceive people into believing their theology.

    I can disagree with someone’s theology without claiming that they just made it up for the sake of it.

  45. “I think all quotes from British comedies should be banned!”

    I don’t think such quotes are a problem; it’s the Fawlty theology that is so often on display that bothers me.

  46. Also in my opinion having been to a good few hundred C3 events / services money appeared to be very much the focus of a lot of it. yes there was interesting lifestyle teaching as well but the whole prosperity message was completed ad infinitum.

    How much money you have earn or give is in no way signifies anybodies relationship with God. Especially the open heaven perversion that God blessing is evident through “loadsa money”

    It is ridiculous read your Bibles again, what did Jesus say?

    Unless you are amongst those who would have us believe he was rich? Then perhaps you should continue writing your own?

  47. indeed … it is hard to feel sorry for Shepherds who are flying around in private jets.

    Even those on lower incomes … if they are still a multiple of the average … I can think of one joint income in excess of £100,000 and the annual income for the church is about £700K.

    That is a significant bite of the cherry … especially when you consider that the salaries of the rest of the staff of nearly 10 persons isn’t quite double that.

    Most Pastors earn less as Pastors than they would doing a regular job … but not these guys.

    I don’t begrudge them their salary. What I don’t like is the almost self-fulfilling prosperity gospel message. “Look how much God has blessed us … we are so clearly anointed.”

    followed by:

    “Look how anointed we are … God has given us to you to bless you … now bring your tithes into the storehouse … cos this is God’s House.”

    followed by:

    “look how much money God has blessed the church with …”

    followed by:

    “thank you for your generous pay rise”

    followed by:

    “Look how much God is prospering us …” etc

    ……………………………………………………………….

    However. At least they file all their records properly with the Charities people. It’s all a matter of public record and we can see clearly what’s going on, financially.

    Lots of money going into good causes too. And … the Pastors joint salary does go down as well as up.

    So … there you have it.

    Getting your people to tithe will boost church finances significantly. If you believe that it is the right thing to do then it is actually difficult to claim that it’s fraudulent rather than simply misguided.

    Shepherds will get criticised. Sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. It comes with the territory.

    Get over it.

    Shalom

  48. ”Getting your people to tithe will boost church finances significantly. If you believe that it is the right thing to do then it is actually difficult to claim that it’s fraudulent rather than simply misguided.”

    The point here Bones me lad, is that teachers of the word who should know much better deliberately manufacture scriptural concoctions to support the unsupportable so that they receive maximum income.

    Why should we believe the rest of their (presumably flaky) biblical conclusions if the basics get distorted so readily? Believing it to be right does not make it right.

  49. The point here Bones me lad…

    The point is I didn’t write that.

    I have worked in a financially struggling church.

    Tithing or manipulation of the scriptures was not an option that was even considered.

    I can see how the temptation is beyond some to promote it.

  50. Zeibart,

    the point is I wrote that.

    The second point is if you grew up in that theology, it takes a lot to change your thinking. I know otherwise very sound believers who tithe. They are not even compelled to by the church … but they still tithe faithfully.

    God bless them.

    However, I acknowledge that the compulsory tithe with the whole Melchizadek/Jacob’s Promise/Malachi 3 theological underpinning is used and abused to “bring the tithes into the storehouse”.

    Of course, this kind of scripture twisting is only possible if you believe that the Church has replaced Israel and that the church inherits all the blessings from Israel but none of the curses.

    I am not defending their theology. I merely tried to give a little balance to the picture. People aren’t completely evil after all.

    I accept that if their theology is so shaky as to promote compulsory tithing then what is the rest of it like?

    But who is the bigger fool, the fool or the one who follows him?

    No one was forced to attend their church. While those who left were criticised and called names and shunned etc. Plenty of people stayed on.

    Would I go to that church?

    No.

    Shalom

  51. Bull you said “However. At least they file all their records properly with the Charities people. It’s all a matter of public record and we can see clearly what’s going on, financially.”
    Hmmmmm the Charities Commission in Singapore ,tomorrow is taking pastor Kong Hee and 5 of his board members to court over this issue. My guess is that he will go to jail for life for violations-cooked books!
    Kong Hee has been trained and advised by none other than one, Phil Pringle. Read into that what you like!
    Many Christian organisations like Wallwatchers have problems with ministries who don’t provide appropriate paperwork. Senator Grassley had problems with some of the main ones.
    I wouldn’t trust any church or ministry records as far as I could kick them.
    Remember Judas. He saw jesus perfom miracles for 3 years.He heard first hand from peter and john about the transfiguration-even Moses and Elijah appearing…wow! Amazing stuff-the power and glory of God…but jingle, jingle, jingle…money rattling in his bag!

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