WAN Manual Discussion 3

Don Quixote wrote:

I was in a Sunday morning service a couple of years ago and the pastor made a joke about setting up an online database similar to trivago.com or tripadvisor.com but for churches. Members and visitors could log on and post their criticisms or accolades about the churches they had attended.
He was joking but I left that service and thought what a good idea, and I wanted to get started on such a thing. But its always the criteria that makes it very difficult, almost impossible. In fact the reason there are so many different protestant denominations is because of the splits over doctrines.

Perhaps. One thing that will help is that I have no interest in promoting non-denominational churches, or even cataloging them according to a doctrine. Those churches make up the largest chunk of problem cases when it comes to categorization. However; I will gladly put them on the bad list if they are found to support divorce, separation of children from a father for no reason, etc.

As for those churches in the denominations: It shouldn’t be too difficult to hold them to their own standards as documented in their own official literature; confessions, etc. There is one exception (of which I know) to this and that is the Roman Catholic Church; for reasons fit for another post. I am open to cataloging activities and discrete teaching of various RC churches, but…that will be a slog. More later.

Regardless of all those things: There are enough signs for us to concern ourselves with that the database needn’t get into theology. The focus will be on the facts. Does, or does not, First Baptist Nowhere encourage head coverings for women as they pray? Does, or does not, Second Street Lutheran Church allow its members to remarry and continue in fellowship? Does, or does not, Everywhere Presbyterian Church have a pastor or deacons with unruly children?[1]


[1] You can see already the quandry posed by the RCC. 1 Timothy 3 is clear that the main sign to know if a man is fit to lead a church is how he has led his family.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

It’s true that there are unmarried bishops, pastors, and deacons in the Early Church, and in the Bible. It is not true that the best solution to the problem of sinful men in positions of authority is to avoid the test altogether by making exceptions the rule.

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8 thoughts on “WAN Manual Discussion 3

  1. There are enough signs for us to concern ourselves with that the database needn’t get into theology. The focus will be on the facts. Does, or does not, First Baptist Nowhere encourage head coverings for women as they pray? Does, or does not, Second Street Lutheran Church allow its members to remarry and continue in fellowship? Does, or does not, Everywhere Presbyterian Church have a pastor or deacons with unruly children?[1]

    Just a thought, it might be easier to take the approach that all churches are bad and only list a church as good if it meets the criteria list above, verified by someone who understands the issues.
    There are a lot of clerics heavily invested in the current system to make the break. This could be illustrated by the parable of the ‘Unjust Steward’: Presented here with spin in bold:

    He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

    3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

    5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, till death us do part’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, for better or for worse.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

    9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail,[c] they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

    The point I am trying to make is that often the clerics share the guilt of the [remarried] members. And this problem can be traced back to the egalitarian divorce apologetics of the denomination, and that goes all the way back to the early reformers. i.e. ‘the traditional Protestant position’. {sigh}

    I know you don’t want to get into the doctrines / theology of the individual churches but I put this here to help some understand the difficulty in breaking with a long standing position. The bonds go back a long way.

  2. @DQ

    The point I am trying to make is that often the clerics share the guilt of the [remarried] members. And this problem can be traced back to the egalitarian divorce apologetics of the denomination, and that goes all the way back to the early reformers. i.e. ‘the traditional Protestant position’. {sigh}

    Sure, I agree with that. But it’s not the case that the clerics are actually “marking down” marriages. Even if they approve of a divorce, do they shun or rebuke the one divorced for whatever transgression? No. They’re not even trying to find out what is going on, or what to do about it. They fail to make a judgment altogether. That’s lukewarm and wrong, but they do it because they’re chickenshit (usually passive-aggressive mommas-boys) and don’t want to fight.

  3. Cane Caldo says:
    October 12, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Sure, I agree with that. But it’s not the case that the clerics are actually “marking down” marriages. Even if they approve of a divorce, do they shun or rebuke the one divorced for whatever transgression? No. They’re not even trying to find out what is going on, or what to do about it. They fail to make a judgment altogether. That’s lukewarm and wrong, but they do it because they’re chickenshit (usually passive-aggressive mommas-boys) and don’t want to fight.

    From my limited experience talking with clerics regarding the evils of a feminised church they don’t want to see it as a problem, or it’s only a minor thing. Or worse they double down on their feminist crap and declare it biblical. One pastor I spoke with didn’t understand what anti-feminism is, he thought I was anti-women.

    I agree that “They fail to make a judgment altogether.” But what often happens is they are required to follow the policy already in place, and work in an existing framework. They cannot see the rebellion of the women, they don’t want to see it. Nowadays I am a perpetual visitor at church.

  4. @DQ

    But what often happens is they are required to follow the policy already in place, and work in an existing framework.

    This is to be expected, and can be a good thing once we reform the policies. In the comments of the first WAN post Ryder argued that the fight will be mostly bureaucratic.

    They cannot see the rebellion of the women, they don’t want to see it.

    It’s hard to see rebellion when men acquiesce.

  5. @GKC

    Technologically a database it simple. The trouble is in administering the information according to 1 Timothy 5. We will need trustworthy men to investigate–in the flesh–before posting info.

  6. The Westminster Confession and related documents interpret the letters of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus to reveal at least three offices in the church.

    – PastorMinister of the Word
    – Ruling Elder
    – Deacon

    I bring this up because it is not required that the pastor/minister of the Word be a married man with children. Timothy himself was a young man, and probably not married. While it is certainly acceptable for a minister to be married, the instructions that a man should be married with submissive children are meant for the ruling elder. The ruling elder occupies the same office as the elder in ancient Israel. He is the head of a family and is capable of making judgments among the people of God. He should be married with children; he must be, according to Scripture.

    The ruling elder is a layman (not paid from the church offering) and represents the people in the governing body of the church (called the session or consistory). The pastor is a clergyman (paid from the church offering) and represents the Lord with His people and in the governing body through his teaching ministry, declaring the Word of God. The pastor and ruling elder have equal authority in the governance of the church.

    The deacon sees to the physical needs of the church and is worthy of great honor, as well.

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