Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why ABWE Needs to Shut Down

My husband and I have been silenced about abuse. When we lived in MN and my husband tried to get the state Baptist Fellowship to even be aware of Gordon Larson's inappropriate relationships with other women, he was ridiculed, silenced and shamed. No one would listen. Now, Gordon Larson, a former pastor of a GARBC church, is now serving a life sentence in the WI State Prison for sexually abusing his own daughter.

And we tried to warn them.

And they would not listen.

And many are not listening when it comes to ABWE. Many of us have tried and tried to ask some important questions of ABWE and its missionaries, to no avail. They simply won't answer us.

Two days ago, Kathryn Joyce published an article in the New Republic Magazine that blew ABWE's continued wrong attitude wide open again. Yet, I doubt anyone who works with ABWE will care. In this article, there are so many good quotes, but the one standing out in my mind is:

The group’s current president, Al Cockrell, responded to questions by issuing a statement. He suggested that PII’s report may include unspecified “misinterpretations or errors,” 

It did go on to say, 

but acknowledged that it contains “absolute facts” showing that “past ABWE leadership failed to act with integrity and accountability in our handling of abuse perpetrated by Don Ketcham,” and “utterly failed in our response to his victims.”


Let me tell you what's wrong with this statement. First of all, Al Cockrell makes sure to cast doubt on the victims by saying that the Pii Report "may include unspecified 'misinterpretations or errors,'" but he does not clarify what those "misinterpretations or errors" are or even could be. This leaves the reader to reach their own conclusion...this opens the door to doubt about the victims' accounts of what happened. To make an open-ended statement that in any way casts doubt on the victims, or even leaves room for doubt, is irresponsible "leadership." 

The article also states that Al Cockrell acknowledged that the report contains "absolute facts" but he does not specify what facts are absolute! Again, this leaves room for doubt.

How can ABWE think that someone who would be so careless be considered a viable leader of an organization supposedly representing the Living God? 

The fact that Al Cockrell said "past ABWE leadership failed to act with integrity and accountability in our handling of abuse perpetrated by Donn Ketcham" is easy to say because he's flinging blame behind himself to the past, not onto himself and what he has done/said and is doing now., which is casting doubt. What he's doing now is irresponsible, not showing accountability and not giving these victims their due respect. 

Casting doubt on them in any way, shape or form undoes what ABWE thinks they accomplished in their faux apologies and efforts to "make things right."

I am sickened by this latest display of dishonor by ABWE.

There is so much more I want to address from this article.

~Tricia




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

God Chose Deborah on Purpose







It's an age-old argument. I mention a leading woman of the Bible, in this case Deborah, and some man - almost always a man - says, "God will use a woman when no man is available or able..."


What?

Are you telling me that the God of all creation, the omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Creator of the universe was unable to raise up a man to do His work? The all-knowing, all-powerful God who created humanity out of dust....Who created the dust He created humanity out of....was UNABLE to raise up a man so he had to lower his standard and, my, oh, my, use a woman???

Are you kidding me?

Is that the God you serve?

Not me! My God is able to raise up anyone for anything and you'd best not stand in His way.

God called Deborah on purpose. God called Deborah intentionally. God could have used anyone He wanted and He chose Deborah. And He not only chose her to lead in battle, He also chose her to lead Israel. This means she worked outside the home with God's approval. This means she led men with God's approval. This means her work was primary to her; she did not live as an assistant to her husband (as some men think wives are). This means God will do what He pleases, despite people who falsely teach otherwise.

This past Sunday, Father's Day, I heard a pastor say that fathers and sons have a more important relationship than fathers and daughters. Huh? Where is that in the Bible? I suggest that preacher put his opinions back in the opinion box and stop spouting untruths. I should have walked out, but, instead, I wrote notes to my sons and told them that is false teaching....they said, "We know, Mom." They will never believe or respect anyone who teaches such stupid nonsense.

If God chose Deborah, He can choose you. Let no one tell you differently.

There are many more women whom God chose to use intentionally. From a prostitute (Rahab) to a synagogue leader (Anna), God chose women to do His work all throughout history.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are a daughter of Abraham. Let no one ever minimize that in your life. God might call you to serve in a very "unconventional" way that the Christian world will mock. Are you ready?

~Tricia


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Best Marriage Advice You'll Never Get

Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, announced this week that due to her husband's repeated unfaithfulness, substance abuse and refusal to turn from his sinful lifestyle, she's divorcing him. One blogger commented that Satan is out to destroy Christian marriages. I have news for that blogger: Satan didn't take Lysa's marriage down, this is a misconception. 

Man sins when he is lured by his own lust and enticed, according to James 1:14. Satan had nothing to do with this and has nothing to do with your marriage or anyone else's, either. It's easy to blame Satan for our own sin. Her husband's unfaithfulness and substance abuse brought her marriage down - pure and simple - not Satan. Don't be fooled by this humanistic reasoning or your marriage will be more vulnerable than you think. The only marriage advice you will ever, ever need is summed up in 2 commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." That's it. That's all. Nothing more. No "love language," no romantic getaways, no couple's retreats.....just those 2 commandments and nothing more. Think of the impact. 

My qualifications to say this: Married 38 years this August and we raised 8 kids together. We didn't go to one married couple's retreat or any other so-called marriage-enhancing endeavor. We could not afford to because it's crazy expensive to raise 8 kids. For 31 of our 38 years we were in full-time Christian ministry as he pastored three different churches and planted three others. We've seen it all. 

But, no, this was not Satan. What I say to anyone who is afraid for their marriage after reading this about Lysa is, there is no Biblical formula for a successful marriage. All the books are wrong; learn that now. Save your money. There is God. He, alone, is the only One Who offers any hope at all in today's world of sin and despair. Leave your husband alone and cling to the Savior. I repeat: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Only then will your marriage have a shot.

This sure-fire marriage advice is rarely put out there as marriage advice, but it's the best. It's absolutely all you need. It's not popular because the Book for it has already been written and no one is going to make money from this advice. 

Stop fearing for your marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop reading books on marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop being petty with your spouse and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop stressing over your marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop taking everything your husband says personally and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If your husband is cheating on you and/or abusing you or using drugs and alcohol, love the Lord your God enough to dump the jerk and treat yourself like a true Daughter of Abraham who does not have to tolerate abuse or unfaithfulness in any way, shape or form, and keep loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself.

~Tricia


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Patriarchy Promotes Idol Worship

This blog's title is a bold statement. I've thought this for a very long time but didn't have the courage to write it down, let alone publish the idea in a blog post.

But, I realized I have to. I am overwhelmed by the number of marriages in trouble because of patriarchy. It simply doesn't work. It doesn't work because it is man's design, not God's. It doesn't work because it puts men before God. This is idol worship. Anything that comes between you and your Savior is an idol, even if it's your husband. If a wife stops or even pauses or slows her pursuit of Jesus because she's looking for her husband's input or waiting for his "approval" of her pursuit, she's making her husband an idol.

Patriarchy promotes idol worship by believing and teaching that a married woman must filter her Christian walk, experience and relationship with God through her husband. This is not a good practice. God is a personal Savior. He is an individual Savior. This goes contrary to the teachings of patriarchy. Who God is goes contrary to what patriarchy teaches. Here are a few specifics:

Teachings of patriarchy support a "priesthood" of fathers, putting a wife under an earthly priest. This is widely supported by many "fundamental" churches, but it is wrong because:

The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers. 1 Peter 2:5 says, "You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

This verse is not written to men only. Women are also built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. Let no one take this away from you. You are a priest who has direct access to the Most High God. Supporters of patriarchy will tell you otherwise. They will openly teach that your husband has actual responsibility for your spiritual walk. This contradicts Scripture.

The Bible teaches that we are each individually responsible for the "working out of our own salvation." Philippians 2:12 proclaims, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."


Again, God did not write a separate command for women; He's talking to us all, female and male, young and old, rich and poor.....everyone is to work out their own salvation. "Working out our own salvation" does not mean we work for our salvation, it means we work out what it looks like in our individual lives. Again, there is not a separate entry for women; we are all one in Christ.

The Bible teaches that there is one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. I Timothy 2:5 states, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus;"

The Bible is so clear on these points and their contexts bear it out. However, those who believe in and teach patriarchy have to compromise these verses to fit their narrative. Any time we compromise God's Word to fit our own narrative, we are rewriting God's Word to suit ourselves. If we rewrite God's Word to suit ourselves, we are creating a man-made version of the Word, and this is bad.

Know that God's Word will never contradict Itself. 

If one passage of Scripture seems to contradict another, one of them is being misinterpreted.


Finally, Galatians 3:28 sums it all up with, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  

Don't let your husband become an idol. Pursue Jesus, with or without Him. If he does not pursue Jesus as strongly as you, leave him in the dust and pursue Jesus alone. Ideally, couples will pursue Him together, but each of us still has a personal responsibility to pursue Him ourselves, waiting on no one.

~Tricia


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hey, Church Ladies....You've been Duped!

For the entirety of my Christian walk, from the very start when I was 18 years old and first heard the Gospel of Christ, I was taught that my "role" as a woman was to be a wife and mother, to be submissive, quiet, humble and never be argumentative.

But, that was never "me" as a personality. I was always bold, extroverted, anything but quiet and would argue my point with anyone who would listen. I would listen to people teach about the supposed quiet, godly woman and I would literally think I would never be anything close to godly because I saw no hope of being quiet, submissive and humble.

Being quiet and submissive had only led to trouble in my life. Being bold and speaking out - loudly - was survival for me as a kid. I had to have a voice and it had to be loud at times and it served me well against my violent, alcoholic father who seemed bent on destruction at every turn. It also served me well when interacting with my 7 siblings because I learned early on that if I didn't speak up, and loudly, I might just go hungry. If I wasn't bold and unafraid to step up, I could be left out in the cold, literally sometimes. So, imagine my distress when I found out, through different Christian people, that my very personality was an affront to God, Himself. My first question was, "Why did He make me this way if it's the wrong way to be?"

I had some learning to do, so I began to read God's Word and observe Christian women who held themselves up as "godly." A problem quickly arose. The women I observed were contradicting certain parts of the Bible, sinning in many ways, yet still calling themselves godly. And they weren't submissive at all. They talked the submissive talk, but they did not practice what they preached. While they taught submission, they berated their husbands, belittled them and rolled their eyes, publicly, at things their husbands said and did. This was very confusing to me. I had to find out what God really wanted me to be.

First, I stopped listening to those women, then I began to look to God, alone, through His Word.

Enter Proverbs 31. There are no commands in Proverbs 31. There are no formulas, schedules or how-to instructions. What we have is a beautiful description of a virtuous woman. The words of King Lemuel's mother; her description of a virtuous woman.

Apparently, King Lemuel's mother was very influential in his life. He not only repeated her words, he gave her the credit.I know modern men who don't give their mothers or wives credit for anything, but they take the credit, then minimize it if the one who deserves the credit speaks up about it. King Lemuel was humble, among his other positive traits.

Back to Proverbs 31. For the first 9 verses, she gives him very sound advice, with reasoning thrown in. She encourages him to avoid alcohol so that his judgment will not be clouded and he will not lose sight of the people under oppression. She encourages him to be their voice, to "plead the cause of the poor and needy." Clearly, she was compassionate. She goes into a lengthy description of a woman admired, trusted and virtuous.

Even if you break this down into a simple list, you can clearly see that the virtuous woman was anything but quiet and submissive. She is described as strong and honorable. She is not described as quiet and submissive. It seems that everything all those Christian women told me in the past was wrong. The virtuous woman is the very opposite of what they told me. I was duped! You were duped!

I was told the husband was to be the provider, but verse 15 tells me she provides food for her household. It doesn't say "prepares," it says "provides."

I was told the husband was to make the main decisions in a family (although we never practiced this). Verse 16 tells me she buys real estate based on her own judgment, then after making a profit, she uses that profit to plant a vineyard. Her husband is not mentioned at all...she's making all these decisions herself, without even consulting him, apparently. The Bible says "she," not "they." So much for the husband having the "final say." Also, verse 24 tells me she makes linen garments and sells them and provides sashes for the merchants. Again, this decision is hers, alone. This action is hers, alone.

I was told that wives should stay home and only manage the household, but in verse 14, I see the virtuous woman traveling the world to bring home the best she can find for her family. This is another huge contradiction.

In summary, I don't see a quiet, submissive woman living in the shadow of a husband, waiting on him to make decisions for her or her family. I see a strong, determined, intelligent, hard-working woman living her life and doing what she wants to do with love, compassion and confidence. She made the deals with the merchants. She bought the real estate. She planted the vineyard. She ran the household and her international businesses at the same time. She used her own discernment to decide if a piece of real estate or some merchandise was good. She depended on no one else.

Why, then, do churches teach young women to be quiet and submissive? Shouldn't we be teaching them to be strong, decisive, determined and smart? Shouldn't we be teaching them to get out there and do what they want/can to provide for and enrich their families? The Proverbs 31 woman was not afraid of winter because she took care of her family and servants and knew they would be fine. She saw to this herself, she waited for no one.

Her husband did not supervise her life, did not provide approval or guidance or leadership in any way. He was busy with other businessmen as they all did their own business.

She is described as strong, or having strength at least 3 times in 21 verses. We need to stop telling young wives to be quiet and submissive and start telling them to be strong and decisive.....if we want to teach them to be virtuous women. We need to stop telling young men that they are the "leaders" and, therefore, their wives have to submit to them in ways that the Bible never teaches and never intended. The way it's taught in most churches now is wrong.....it's twisted and has been twisted for decades.

Verse 26 tells me she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness. "She opens her mouth....." She's not afraid to speak up to teach with wisdom and she does it with kindness....but she opens her mouth.

Another interesting thing about the virtuous woman is that her husband is never described as "needy." I see women teaching other women that their husband has "needs" (usually a focus on sexual) and she's to meet those "needs" no matter how she feels about it in any given moment.  The virtuous woman's husband is focused on his work and what he needs to do; he's not focused on sex or on making sure his wife is submissive. These two each live their lives with a focus on others, on doing their jobs, taking care of family and business with complete confidence in each other to make their own decisions and do their own business.

Oh, could that be it? Could that be what marriage should look like? Instead of a husband focusing on sex and submission and a wife focusing on making sure she's quiet and submissive, maybe married couples should focus on God, who He made them to be, opportunities He gave them and the best way to use their gifts without holding back. Maybe, just maybe, this is what we need to teach young people and young couples. Strength, not submission, should be a godly wife's story. Surely compassion is up there with strength. Look and see for yourself.

Maybe if those self-proclaimed "godly" women in my life who were gossiping about their husbands and sneering behind their backs could have done better if they were honest with themselves and stopped trying to be "quiet and submissive" and were bold and strong instead. Maybe there would have been no need for the ever-evident resentment their actions so loudly displayed.

~Tricia










Monday, May 1, 2017

Commentaries and Sermon Prep Do Not Mix

Contrary to what some think, I do not hate commentaries. I do, however, think they are highly overused, especially when pastors depend more on them than they do the Bible for their pulpit ministries.

I can always tell when a commentary, rather than the Word of God, has been used in sermon prep. I think it's a shame, too. This practice not only hurts the pastor doing the prep, but it hurts the listeners as well.

I Peter 2:2 tell us, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."

God wisely gives us the perspective of His Word as milk...and not just milk, but sincere milk. As the mom of 8 kids, I can tell you first hand, it's not good for newborn babies to have anything but the sincere milk they need to start off life. With my first baby, my doctor advised me to give him nothing but my milk for at least the first 6 months. No water, No juice. No food. Just the sincere milk of his mama, so that he would grow. While the same applies to non-nursing newborns, they ought to be given the sincere milk of the formula their doctor prescribes. You can't just give a newborn cow's milk, soy milk or almond milk. They need "sincere" milk. They need highly nutritious, high protein, pure milk, either from their mama or specially formulated......so they can grow properly.

Commentaries are not for newborns. Baby Christians need the sincere milk of the Word of God. They need the real thing, not a watered down version that has lost its potency. They need the pure Word of God, not the opinions of men. Commentaries are the opinions of men. When a pastor heavily uses commentaries for sermon prep, they are giving their people a watered-down version of the Word, not the pure Word. The result is, the people don't grow as they ought. Their behavior might change for a while, but their hearts are not growing, they are only temporarily changing their behavior to please people and try to fit in with everyone else. This is not discipleship, this is cloning. God does not want clones; He did not tell us to make clones. He told us to make disciples.

Pastors, take a look at your sheep. Are they stepping up to serve? If you're begging for helpers and volunteers to teach and no one is stepping up, it could be that they are spiritually malnourished from shallow preaching that has been heavily watered down by commentaries. Babies who are properly fed want to learn all the time, then they want to share that knowledge. It's impossible to stop a properly fed newborn from growing, learning and wanting to share that learning with their world. When babies don't do this, pediatricians call it "failure to thrive" and immediate steps are taken to improve their diet. Are your sheep failing to thrive in their Christian walk?

Commentaries are not for pulpit ministry. Once a person has established their ability to learn from God's Word by personal observation and interpretation, they can begin to refer to a commentary here and there as a reference to see what others have concluded about a passage of Scripture. It's assumed that one who is a pastor has already learned how to make their own personal observations and learned to interpret God's Word properly. If they want to read a commentary to see how their interpretations line up with others who are assumed to be like-minded, then reading a commentary is highly appropriate to their study. However, when a commentary is the first thing a pastor grabs for sermon prep and does not do any of their own observations and interpretation, there is a big weakness in their ability to dig out the Truths in God's Word. This, in turn, leads to a weak pulpit ministry....and weak sheep with a failure to thrive.

Commentaries are not always right. God's Word is always right, but since commentaries are written by humans, we have to assume they have contain mistakes. There is not one commentary that is 100% right 100% of the time. Since it would take a tremendous amount of time to flush out every mistake, why use a faulty guide in the first place? There are no mistakes in God's Word. None. And if one does not feel confident in their ability to observe and interpret, they can be reminded that the perfect Holy Spirit is their Guide.  I do not understand people's insistence on using an imperfect resource as a main resource when the Perfect One is so readily available.

I fear many lay aside God's Word and pick up commentaries first. They ought to lay aside the commentary and pick up God's Word for a change. They might be surprised when their church begins to grow and thrive beyond their expectations. After all, this is how we all grow.

~Tricia




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Some Rubbish for You

Someone recently posted this quote on social media:

..." An important assumption as we begin to pray is that God is absolutely Sovereign. If we are not convinced of this, our praying can amount to nothing more than the desperate cries of the heathen addressing their impotent idols."

I commented "Ridiculous nonsense!" 

Who is this Alan Cairns talking to? Is he talking to Christians? Is he talking to the world? The quote does not tell us, but I will assume from the context of his comment that he's talking to people who claim to be Christians since he says, "we" and I presume he claims to be a Christian.

This quote is filled with Secular Humanism and I'll tell you why.

1. This quote makes people focus on themselves and their own attitude, not on Jesus. Some poor, unsure Christian would see this quote and think...."Oh, my, am I acknowledging that God is absolutely sovereign? Oh, I don't know. I mean, I'm sure He is but I don't always see it....I'm not sure if I believe that at this exact moment....oh, man, now God won't hear me and I'm just sounding desperate. I guess I just won't pray today!" 
OR 
Built up with pride, one might think, "I'm going to pray today because I am wise enough to acknowledge God's sovereignty so He'll surely listen to ME and answer all my prayers. My prayers go higher than the next guy's because of my decision to acknowledge God's sovereignty. I am so righteous, He just has to hear me! I'll pray, then post it on Facebook so everyone else will know how wise and godly I am. I think everyone will want to be like me....oh! And I could write a book and I'll bet it would sell a million copies. Of course, I'd donate some to missions, but I can just see my book on prayer being a best seller! I've got this!"

2. This quote misrepresents God as Someone Who is waiting for us to get it right rather than the compassionate, loving God He is as He constantly makes intercession for us. He knows and remembers that we are dust. He knows we aren't going to get it right the majority of the time. But, He doesn't care....He says, "Come......"

3. The quote is totally focused on human behavior/responses/attitudes/abilities as though we humans have any power or influence whatsoever on God almighty. We do not.  

4. This, my friends, is Secular Humanism and it has a stronghold on the church. This quote by Alan Cairns has no Biblical basis. He's speaking as a heathen, himself; as one who does not know God at all.

Many Christians  do not recognize Secular Humanism and they end up promoting it unknowingly. You, however, can learn to recognize it so you aren't taken in by it's falsehoods. 

Anything that makes you focus on yourself and your own attitude and not Jesus Christ is Secular Humanism. Learn of Him. Learn from Him. It's all Him. Get out of your own way and stop focusing on what you think you are and what you think you should think/feel/say/do and focus on Him, only. 

Then you won't have to listen to false quotes like the one above and doubt your faith or be built up with pride. 

You will know Him and you will know He is enough.

Don't be fooled by some "eloquent" sounding quote. Hold everything up to God's Word and make sure it's in line with the Scriptures. If not, throw it away; you do not need it. The quote I referenced above is rubbish.


~Tricia