You will find this newsletter rather strange.
I am going to go "stream of consciousness" on you.
I will be passing sentences on improper religious structures.
I trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you to further study.
To know how to deal with the I.R.S. (Improper Religious Structures), turn to Romans 16:17.
We are to "mark" and "avoid" the I.R.S.
The "Three R's" of dealing with the I.R.S. are Recognize, Run and Resist.
Abused Christians need to recognize and run.
You (a gentle and trusting Christian soul) will be unprepared for spiritual abuse.
It will knock your socks off.
Healing needs to occur before you join the Resistance.
It took me a few years to really heal from my excommunication.
I still bear the scars.
I love my scars.
They remind me not to fear man, nor entrust myself unquestioningly to a Christian leader.
They point me back to Jesus.
There is great danger that you will flee one I.R.S. only to find yourself attracted to another one.
It is the job of the Resistance to mark the I.R.S.
I.R.S. come in many flavors.
For believers, the most dangerous one is the "Evangelical I.R.S."
It is the most dangerous because it has the "best" counterfeit structure.
The Evangelical I.R.S. can wreak incredible emotional pain.
Those who seek gifted preachers that emphasize the purity of their doctrine are at a high risk of joining an Evangelical I.R.S.
The Evangelical I.R.S. will use the Bible to abuse you.
9Marks is an Evangelical I.R.S.
to locate 9Marks churches.
It is your Christian responsibility to avoid the abusive system.
It takes courage to leave an abusive system.
You may receive rejection by family and friends when you leave an I.R.S.
It takes courage to "mark" a divisive and abusive system.
I honor three Christians who were extremely courageous in marking these systems.
The first is the Apostle Paul.
He confronted Peter and the Judaizers who wanted to divide the
church based on the
He set free the Christian conscience.
See Galatians 2 and Acts 15.
The second is Martin Luther.
He confronted the powerful Papacy who divided the
He set in motion the Reformation which freed Roman Catholics from bondage.
The History of Protestantism by J.A. Wylie is a great book.
I will give a $25 Amazon gift card to the first person that emails me and promises to buy Volume 1.
Email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
The third is Roger Williams.
He confronted the Massachusetts Bay Colony who divided Christians from their liberty.
He set in motion religious liberty in America.
Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul is a great read.
I will give a $25 Amazon gift card to the first person to email me and identify the U.S. state with the most letters in its name.
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Causing division is a sure sign of an abusive I.R.S.
Beware a system with an anointed preacher that divides
Claiming to speak in the place of God is antichristian.
Serpent: "You will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Jesus: "While you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let them grow together until the harvest."
Let's play "fill in the blanks."
Fill in the blank with the letters "I" "C" and "E."
Remember the rule, "i before e except after c."
If you claim to take the place of God on earth, you might be a De___ver.
If you improperly fence the table, you might be a De___ver.
If you demand submission, you might be a De___ver.
If you disempower women, you might be a De___ver.
If you don't let your wife discipline your children because you are the spiritual head, you might be a De___ver.
If you think a married man should not pray with single women in the church, you might be a De___ver.
You are also a control freak.
I wonder if I will ever meet those two dear women again?
It will be difficult since the police will arrest me for trespassing if I look for them at church.
I hope they have found a better church.
I hope their friend with Glioblatoma Multiforme is still being bathed in their prayers.
If you amend the Lord's Supper to divide Christians, you might be a De___ver.
If you create an oath or covenant that divides
believers from their
consciences, you might be a De___ver.
If you place a restraining order on someone who privately disagrees with you, you might be a De___ver.
If you constantly question someone's conversion, you might be a De___ver who divides the
beloved saints from their
If you devise five rules of discipleship that divides the
Christian from the
Holy Spirit, you might be a De___ver.
If you think it is your job to purify the church, you might be a De___ver.
If you mandate a fallible confession of faith that divides
one member of the body from
another, you might be a De___ver.
If you stress a doctrine of unquestioned submission that divides
husband, you might be a De___ver.
There is also a great likelihood of a sex abuse scandal occurring at your church.
Which would probably be covered up.
And the victims blamed and warned to shut up.
If you think we need way more excommunications to divide "saints" from "sinners," you might be a De___ver.
If you have ever excommunicated someone for lack of church attendance, you might be a De___ver.
If you will not permit someone to voluntarily resign from your church, you might be a De___ver.
Some people call Capitol Hill Baptist Church the "Hotel California of church discipline"
Capitol Hill Baptist has an internship program that seems like a breeding ground for more De___vers.
I have unfortunately encountered one such abusive intern.
9Marks conducts large conferences sponsored by Southern Baptist seminaries that will breed more De___vers.
Lord, please de__ver us from De___vers.
Beware someone who refers to himself as "Lead Pastor."
Be careful if you attend a church where the "Lead Pastor" writes a "vision statement."
There is no 29th chapter in the book of Acts.
You should google "Mark Dever" and "C.J. Mahaney" and see what pops up.
Lack of integrity is a sign of a leader who has
divided his own mind in two.
Studying the book of James is helpful in avoiding the I.R.S.
Some people in discernment ministries have changed "9Marks" to "9Marx."
One Mark devised nine marks while ignoring two marks which led to the 9Marks being marked as Marxist.
Personal experience suggests that you should never confront abusive leadership on your own.
If you are going to do it, make it a group project.
It is doubtful that an abusive leader will let you bring a friend with you to a meeting.
Divide and conquer.
Take some time to heal if you have suffered spiritual abuse.
Don't look to rush back into membership.
Ignore those who want to fence the table because you are not a "covered" member of the body.
Better still, stand up and quietly walk out.
Mark Dever: "I walked out on a sermon once, and I walked out loudly, because I thought what was being said was so terribly destructive of the gospel that it should not be tolerated."
Mark Dever: "If you sit and listen to trash being presented as the Word of God, you will be held responsible.
Mark Dever: "Indeed, if you sit and listen to
my teaching, you will bear some responsibility for it."
Biblical divisiveness is commanded by God.
Do not stay where God has told you to separate.
Do not neglect to warn your friends to avoid an I.R.S.
Is it ironic that God calls his saints to divide from divisive groups?
Is it a great irony that the Puritans at Massachusetts Bay Colony were descendants of non-conformists yet demanded conformity from all who would reside in the Colony?
Salem witch trials.
Law banishing Quakers on pain of death.
Mary Fisher and Ann Austin.
There is safety in biblical divisions.
Theocracies are dangerous.
Remember the flood.
God did us a great service when He came down to visit the Tower of Babel.
God did us a great service when He raised up the Reformation.
The divisions started at the Reformation are a gift of God.
Controlling leaders hate loose ends.
The Holy Spirit is all about loose ends.
He is a wind that blows stuff around.
Better get used to it.
Another great book to read is
The Reformers and Their Stepchildren.
A $25 Amazon gift card to the first person who emails me and promises to read it.
See email address above.
You may only win one gift card, but you can enter all three contests.
Baptists used to frown on swearing oaths.
It is profitable to read some books by John Reisinger on
New Covenant Theology.
Don't be fleeced by "storehouse" theology.
I was fleeced by the church that excommunicated me.
The I.R.S. uses force to compel and sustain uniformity.
Force is the negation of spiritual power.
Islam and Sharia Law.
Be fruitful and multiply.
Multiple, smaller economic units promote economic health.
Monopolies inhibit economic health.
Multiple religious units promote spiritual health.
Religious monopolies inhibit spiritual health.
Think twice before submitting to a megachurch.
Small gatherings of Christians do indeed constitute "church."
David Platt: "the gathering of two or three believers does not constitute a church."
Jesus: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them."
The saints have always been persecuted by improper religious structures, and they will be until the end of time.
A huge I.R.S. is currently being constructed that unites Rome with other churches and even non-Christian religions.
There has been and always will be tremendous pressure placed on the saints to conform to
In the last days, Christians will be forced to scatter.
The saints are commanded to "come out of her" so as to not participate in her plagues.
I am fervently praying that this series of nine articles has been beneficial to you.
I am encouraged that only a few of you have opted out of the e-newsletter.
To those church leaders who signed up as 9Marks churches, examine yourselves.
Then remove yourself from their church search website.
Then contact 9Marks with your concerns.
Then warn other church leaders that you know.
It is your responsibility.
To my wonderful Christian friends, I am praying for you.
Please be praying for me.