A somewhat recent Crossway Church Surrey Facebook post one simply could not leave unattended made on June 14th or 15th goes like this….
“We have a very real enemy who is at war with the church of Jesus Christ. And one of his most effective tactics is to go after the leaders. Kill the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered.” #CrosswayPreaches …..
Sadly not much different than the absurd claims by John Piper that Mark Driscoll’s fall was a ‘colossal Satanic victory’ rather than the leading, discipline and protection of a loving Father caring for his children under such sinful oppressive manipulation and significant coercion very common in many churches when “sin”, deception, offensive aggression/ bullying in leaders is challenged or confronted.
One would hope that far more wisdom would be employed in the distribution and director/ elder approval process of countless growing faithless and shameless social media PR plugs & campaign releases and ploys to bolster struggling finances that appear to be employed in this and other particular ‘releases’. The truth of the matter of your transition from Crossway 1.0 to “Crossway 2.0” (a name the uninformed and naive enjoyed bantering about for some time feeling like “a kid in a candy store”- Fred, although I would use a very different idiom or analogy for such a toxic and hostile unsanctioned coup/takeover) and its associated cover ups while the acknowledged corrupt struggle for power and money (money they didn’t and don’t come near in earning in doing God only knows what although in a desperate attempt to justify their now increased healthy above mean salaries for, as Seinfeld put it, doing ‘a show about nothing’, the coup d’etat “team strategist” now turned “pastor” David Smith – now turned realtor of David Smith Homes – posted this humorous, entitled, self aggrandizing ‘article‘) ensued behind the scenes makes it very clear, if you were honest with such brazen claims as this PR stunt/ post bordering on self pity, you’d understand that the only enemy bringing about the saddened undeniable scattering of God’s precious sheep in YOUR recent history, is the publicly notable and very recognizable enemy…. WITHIN….!! (update: Your history hardly plays out that you may be more concerned about “people over property” but time will tell, I think your perspective – not actual career realtors- of a hope for easy money may play a part, we’ll see. You owe a number of people some answers you never gave and you with your accomplices refused to give. I trust at your pridefully disclosed age of 29 – 28 at the time you stated it-, likely mentioned to impress many of how much you feel you’ve accomplished, and this inevitable career change many knew would have to happen, you’ve learned a few things over your past 5 year youthful unprincipled mess you arrogantly got yourself into.)
Having been referred recently to the following book (available in audio form also) I would challenge and recommend all Crossway pastors and elders past and present (with Sovereign Grace Ministries or non-SGM affiliated pasts, because there seems to be some misguided perception that these issues of improprieties and abuses relate only to those with an SGM past) to consider reading it, if it passes the historic superlative “discerning reader” test as qualified reading materials. If you care or dare to, for the sake of the sheep you may or may not be charged with shepherding (meaning if you men are actually indeed “called” and by whose authority) because evangelical church culture is beginning to wise up to these tactics and the veil is being pulled back and it’s not by accident, it’s likely the work of His Spirit allowing you all to unravel and consume one another, not necessarily some nebulous enemy out there somewhere as you would like to claim- just the plain old enemy within. He is faithfully cleansing the dark corners of hidden motivation and intent or eroded genuine faith replaced by ambition where the ‘enemy’ often actually resides like a fox or cunning wolf within the hen house to bring us all back to our first love free from the institutional guilt laden ‘house of God’, freedom even for those who claim to lead it as some of you are realizing.
I would also encourage friends and family to consider this book in the midst of this struggling and changing church culture, and struggling for good reason. After all it is the honest discussion that prevails amongst many and in many places these days locally and in Christendom as we seek for refuge and hope in the trying circumstances and tragedies and occasional triumph and victories of life as we know it this side (underside) of the tapestry.
As an old friend said to me once, if the shoe fits, let’s wear it.-
“the problem with church as you know it…. is that it has become nothing more than mutual accommodation of self need. Everybody needs something out of it, some need to lead, some need to be led, some want to teach others are happy to be the audience. Rather than become an authentic demonstration of God’s life and love in the world, it ends up being a group of people who have to protect their turf. What you’re seeing is less of God’s life in peoples insecurities that cling to those things they think would best serve their needs…… If you want to live this journey you have to put honesty above personal expedience. It’s easy to try to cover things for the good of the institution, but that’s a step down a path where God does NOT reside. ”
So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore– Jake Colsen
It’s quite clear that the Good Shepherd was already killed and lives on now in those He ransomed gathering His beloved in various ways that often, and rightfully so, have little to nothing at times to do with the institutional church as noted in this very revealing book, and the self serving idea of laying such self important claims on ones role as a “leader” within “the Church of Jesus Christ” should be of grave concern. It’s one thing to have such claims “Kill the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” made of one by outsiders or referenced in the Bible but it’s a different matter to have such claims come from or endorsed from within the same self governing institution to its own following who have been clearly witnessed, recorded, evidenced and shown to be culpable of doing the very same divisive destruction of knowingly scattering ‘the sheep’ in a noted hurried frenzy to determine who would be left and subsequently how much fiscal support will remain.
And running or dispersing to reset or start new “pastoral” ventures in Vancouver or Denver or Langley wherever you all end up does not absolve one of this unfinished business that will simply rear it’s ugly head elsewhere upon another unsuspecting group or generation, despite how we all “move on” eventually.
As this book attempts to address there is so much hope and promise for those of us who MAY and likely inevitably will find ourselves victims of commitment based shame, manipulative pulpit or group shunning or shaming, subtle or overt psychologically damaging church management practices resulting in degrees of mental unhealth, burnout and or varying degrees of religious addiction no matter what side of the pulpit one may be. The Westernized model of the business of “church” only, as with politics, over time can lead to varying degrees of corrupt conduct that will never be handled biblically nor in any real manner of accountable justice (as in the real world ie the Canadian Senate much in need of complete reform or abolished all together) due to the highly guarded and coveted livelihoods at stake curiously and coincidentally addressed in the same Bible they preach from as “the love of money”. The genuine love of the Father removes all those burdens over time and with renewed enlightenment and true Christ ordained freedom to simply be who we are as God Himself brings maturity, growth and contentment through the process. #processandjourney
Be careful little ears what you hear because
#Crosswaypreaches and quotes hypocritical nonsense at times, and if the truth were told it goes on more than we would want to admit in many “evangelical institutions”. Some of the preaching is not only oozing with religious obligation and subtle attempts at manipulative conformity, it’s legalistic, sets the ‘church’ and its’ programs, functions and practices as mediator, irreparably self preserving at heart and the self aggrandizing stories and examples of encounters with “people poorly discipled” – David Smith (by others because obviously she, the unaware young lady and passing subject of your sermon, would be properly “served” and “discipled” here being we have a clearer grasp of the “Gospel”, frankly the hipster term “gospel centered” is slowly becoming synonymous to throwing up) often lead listeners to a subtle yet lethal dose of unquestioning hero worship. And yet the crucible of time will reveal truth because truth stands alone and strong after all the dross and (self) approbations (really, b******t to reference your “dung gate” ‘sermon’- David ) have been filtered away by the One who is the spirit of GRACE AND TRUTH, Christ alone. As with the Bereans, preaching and teaching ought to be scrutinized and challenged where needed no matter how many indignant furrowed brows face you stating “those are serious charges”, because many pastors of today are in no way near Paul’s character (having even lost what was behind the spirit of the written Bible) and in this entitled, survivalist, self preserving age never will be remotely close, therefore making the practice of vigilant scrutiny near imperative.
Another excellent book or audio book on the subject from a former ‘insider’ and pastor of many years.
In closing the following contains context appropriate language…
TV 14 Not for children although important information for them to learn early.
On his final note Jon Stewart gives the best advice not much different than that found in the book of Acts chapter 17 verse 11 regarding the Bereans.
“The best defense against b******t is vigilance, so if you smell something, say something.”
Or read the account and his provocative final message here as a transcript as each unofficial video presented above (about 5 now) seem to be getting “deleted by the user”
Because as we all now know, when the majority ‘submit’ to inoculate silence the cancer of deception, abuse and vainglory irrelevant of what ‘side’ simply continues under new..ish white robes of self satisfying ‘service’ (in house code word for works, nonsense, or BS to put it politely) “for the glory of God”. Just listen and listen carefully to the language of the pulpit and inward culture and what Jon Stewart is talking about is easily spotted if one is willing to ‘cut the cord’ or oppose the status quo. OR simply view the clandestinely (to use Stephen Smith favourite term towards those who are an afront to him) planned desperate Google review spam (some of whom no longer attend Crossway) sent out one late October week within hours and days of each other after 2 somewhat polite warning reviews had been posted some months or a year earlier, and see if you can’t spot Jon Stewart’s “buried under mountains of b******t” admonition at work.
Just watch, wait, observe, and compare, it may be 1 year or 5 years, the same MO will eventually surface again and you may be their next target if you dare challenge their unseen intent, motivation or fiscal practice. Many of todays’ churches are faced with the same dilemma, the illusion of gospel “success” at any cost even if it means you, the “disloyal”, the “naysayers”, compared as Joshuas’ “jerks” (courtesy Fred ‘s personal perspectives, nonsense and unquestionable authority on scripture) who came back with a “bad report” and those who dare think critically end up as collateral damage. In other words the outspoken Sanballats and Tobias’ of the infamous Nehemiah series that started these men on their way, a text and reference that in no way relates or applies to their actions and corrupt “rebuilding” endeavours. These are practices that are more akin to the modern capitalist North American business model and looks and acts NOTHING like the church described in the New Testament from which they “preach” and “teach”. Todays’ church is often an irreparably broken system of man made ideals masquerading as half truths as they preach 1. the utter depravity of all with our only hope being Christ (half truth for the Christian and even more so for those who subscribe to ultra religious reformed fundamentalism) along side 2.the “sinfulness” of judging the motive of ones heart (specifically theirs) and 3. a doctrine of submission to authority, all which end up being an unbiblical yet convenient (for its beneficiaries, those at the top of the fiscal/power pyramid scheme and those who seem to love their role and or status as favoured supporters) toxic mix of dangerous ideologies and doctrines laced with half truths fed to its’ members and those “submitted” and “obedient” to these types of narcissistic personalities.
I do believe there are truly great pastors and shepherds out there but in this day and age of greed and a growing culture of entitlement they are truly few and far between because they either work amongst us or if salaried rarely if ever clamour for the notoriety of standing out in faithless campaigns to woo the unsuspecting to attend “our great church”.
So one must be vigilant and on guard for ones own well being and the well being of your family and particularly our children in these environments if you choose to continue to remain where the hireling may often be made up and disguised to be a “shepherd”.
To the individual or institutional member following this post in the shadows, please, we would encourage you to come out of hiding. There is or ought to be no shame in walking in the light. 🙂