"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thom Rainer Shows How Not to Answer Questions from Critics

I have been critical of Lifeway's Thom Rainer this year about his blog posts recommending that church members squelch troublesome pew sitters who have the audacity to criticize their pastors. The WD series on "Crybaby Pastors" which started with Rainer's blog posts (here and here) on criticism were very popular.

Rainer doesn't like criticism. He believes for pastors "criticism is a huge distraction". Criticism of pastors (and presumably "men of God" who head SBC agencies) is one of Satan's greatest weapons to distract them from doing so much good for the Lord.

Rainer demonstrated this at the Annual Meeting this week when one of his critics rose to ask a very important question about Lifeway.

A messenger from a small baptist church in Tennessee rose to ask a question following Rainer's report on his agency. This is standard practice - the head of the SBC agencies and seminaries deliver their report to the messengers, and then there are open mikes set up for questions to be asked of the agency head. The question from this messenger was a fair one, and it was regarding what biblical criteria Lifeway uses to select books that it sells through its outlets. Very fair question as obviously not all "Christian" publications are sold at Lifeway, but some controversial ones are.



Instead of Rainer articulating a concise answer to the question of "what biblical criteria does Lifeway use in selecting publications it sells"...he chose instead to embarrass and belittle the questioner, and then flat out refuse to answer the question. He said the questioner had contacted Lifeway before, that he had asked the question at previous annual meetings, had contacted board members, etc. How many times this questioner had asked the question previously was not important - it was clear to me Rainer wanted to write this guy off as just a nutcase who already had his question answered. Thus, Rainer said his question was not worthy of his time.

That is ridiculous. The man who asked the question cited specific examples of publications and topics sold at Lifeway stores over which he had concern. He wanted an answer not just for himself, but for the entire convention. Lifeway's selection process is an important matter to many people and has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent years. Jim Smyrl of FBC Jax was extremely concerned two years ago, and he wrote about this as I described on my blog. The messenger's church paid for an airplane ticket and hotel room for him to go and participate in the convention to contribute to the SBC on matters of policy and theology and ministry. The man did what he was sent there to do, and Rainer refused to answer his question. You'll see on the video the man tried to follow up, but he was cut off by Bryant Wright. The next softball question to Rainer was to his liking, so he told the man it was a "good question" and answered it.

It is a good thing that no one stood up and asked Rainer about the nepotism he fosters at his agency by co-authoring books and pushing the books of his three sons. I was hoping that Tim Rogers would step up to the mike and dare to ask Rainer about the Rainer nepotism issue that Rogers wrote about here. I suppose Rainer would have refused to answer that one too.

Time was not a factor in Rainer's response. There were no lines of other questioners at the mikes. Rainer, king of Lifeway, man who thinks criticism is a distraction, just decided he wasn't going to answer a very important question in front of the messengers.

Great example of why there are blogs. Some pastors just refuse to answer questions publicly, or privately for that matter. They think they are above having to answer to peons like this small-church pastor, let alone from some untrained lay person.

Contrast Rainer's condescending non-response, to Al Mohler's response to Peter Lumpkins' question on Mohler's views on homosexuality and how the SBC has been "homophobic". Mohler answered the question directly, he said that the words Lumpkins attributed to him were in fact correct, and then Mohler went on to use the opportunity to make a GREAT point about how the SBC has to do a better job of reaching out to homosexuals with the gospel.

Questions about Mohler's views on ministry to homosexuality are ok, but don't dare ask Thom Rainer to publicly explain how his agency selects publications.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

It really irritates me to hear these so called leaders say we who leave the church have lost our first love, that being Jesus Christ. NOT!

They feel they can question our spirituality and they are above us which is nonsense. FBCJ's people have left because they have a bully pastor who sucks up to the Country Club people and rants & raves about the sin in the church.

How about the critizism these leaders throw out - I say they do a pretty good job of throwing mud theirselves at the very people who pay them.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, ACCOUNTABILITY is becoming a four-letter word in todays SBC.
It is because we have do not have a man in the leadership at Lifeway, and at many of our churches.
This arrogance is killing us. The leadership has decided to insulate themselves with the mega pastors who have too much invested to not tow the line.
I noticed there was very little applause when Rainer blew this messenger off. Was there a smattering of boo's when Rainer was belittling this messenger?
Kyle

Anonymous said...

I watched the video and, as someone who knows nothing of the issue or people involved, don't see the big issue with his response. I suppose he could have given a response as you suggested but given the history of the issue he articulated I can see his side of responding as he did. Maybe he would have been better served to promise a summary response to be provided for attendees in some form following the meeting. I don't see the need for such a lengthy disparaging post on it but maybe there is other history I'm not aware of.

Anonymous said...

Ordinarily I would agree with you about this, but this messenger is a real pain. He has essentially harassed the staff and trustees at LIfeway for two years about this. He just won't accept that they don't agree with him.

You can probably find examples of Rainer flippantly disregarding a legitimate question, this just isn't it.

Scott said...

It's evident that the questioner is the only one concerned about whether products are of a biblical nature. The answerer gave him the brush-off and castigated him for essentially "haunting" Lifeway. The answerer said that Lifeway responded (how? we don't know) but then unceremonially blew off the questioner as a stalker. This is shameful! SOMEONE has to be concerned about the situation. Not surprised. The SBC needs to look in the mirror big-time, and stop deflecting by blaming Calvinism for all of their ills.

Anonymous said...

The questioner made motions about this the last two years at the Convention. Both years the motion was referred to Lifeway. The Lifeway trustees answer the motion and their answer is published in the book of reports. He asked his question because they had not answered him to his satisfaction. The fact that he was not satisfied with the answer does not mean that he gets to continue to hound Lifeway.

Anonymous said...

While I personally have not been in a Lifeway in several years, let's look at past neligence

1. Benny Hinns Good Morning Holy Spirit

2. Anything by TD Jakes especailly since he denies the Trinity

3. Joyce Meyer

4. I could go on and on: Don Piper, etc

Holyagnostic said...

Did Anyone notice that Rainer read a prepared response to the questioner?

Just askin'

Anonymous said...

This is one of those instances where the Dog's issues with some of Rainer's previous writings is clouding his judgment.

The brother asking the question has been given answers, several other times in several other forums. He's just never received the answer he wants, so he keeps hounding.

Anyone who has been to the convention for a few years in a row welcomed Rainer's response.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

You make my point. Many pastors probably loved Rainer's arrogant response. That is precisely the problem. The questioner had a legitimate question concerning the response in last years report and Rainer owed him and the other messengers a concise answer to the question.

Anonymous said...

Ditto here.

You can't even talk to anyone in my megachurch unless it has to do with writing them a tithe check.

Talking to the "slaves" is "women's work" and they'll funnel you off to some clueless administrative assistant who's good at stonewalling and insulting you.

It's always the same format. If you "dare" ask a question or even seem to question their highness's, then get ready for a big berating about trust and your lack of faith in God.

They ask people to fill out a heavily detailed report about their medical and emotional histories for these bogus appointments. This information is accessible to volunteers, too. And there is zero accountability and screening of the volunteers. They let volunteers into your financial records -- checking accounts, Social Security numbers, as well.

If you don't "trust" them to basically fling your personal and financial information wherever they want then there is something wrong with YOU.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the above thread, I'm also wondering how much effort it would have taken for the pastor to just answer the guy's question...Then if need be, mention that they had already provided this information in the past and if he has any further questions to contact the church spokesperson in writing????
Is that too difficult without having ego all over the place?

Anonymous said...

In response to 9:36, you still fail to acknowledge that THE MAN HAS RECEIVED ANSWERS. He just hasn't received the answer he wants.

If you want to compare Rainer's response to Mohler's, then let Lumpkins continue to hound Mohler with his question, let him write the trustees over and over and over, let him call staffers at SBTS, and then let him bring it all up again for the next two conventions. Then let Mohler reply. THEN AND ONLY THEN, Mohler's response to Lumpkins would be analogous to Rainer's response in this video.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the post CR SBC. this is exactly what they were aiming for. Rainer is too important to bother with such questions and feels secure enough in his position to blow the guy off. How about that? Tells us something!

Mohler had a heads up about Peter's question because Peter contacted him about it with no response.

Mohler did not say who the "liars" and "homophobes" in the SBC are. He really did not answer the question. But then, everyone knows Peter is a jerk,too.

The solution: STOP sending them money. It enables them to sin by becoming arrogant, pompous jerks.

Anonymous said...

There is a HUGE problem with Lifeway, folks. They do sell lots of heresy and for a profit. I can get Osteen, Rob Bell, etc., there but now not the new NIV!

They are also overpriced. And they got into the trinket business as if decoratng my house wth Jesus stuff makes me more holy.

What was the mission of the old Baptist Book Store? to supply SBC churches with music and materials.

Where did it go wrong? When profit became the motive. Perhaps they have lived out their usefulness in this global age. When they have to sell heresy to stay in business, it is a sad day.

Anonymous said...

They want the guy to go away because if they really cleaned Lifeway of all heresy, the shelves would be half bare.

Seriously, Even Beth Moore has been teaching that Hebrews 10 is about "self confidence".

And she is Lifeway's big money maker. The publisher gets her to churn out books while she is still a hot commodity.

And ignorant women flock to her instead of studying on their own.

Jon L. Estes said...

"What was the mission of the old Baptist Book Store? to supply SBC churches with music and materials."

If LifeWay closed, where would you purchase your needed Christian material?

Anonymous said...

There are other places

Here is a great place for SS teachers etc

www.cvbbs.com

Anonymous said...

Stop purchasing.
Stop attending.
Stop giving.

If you are doing any of these things in a Southern Baptist institution, you are giving tacit condonence to all they are doing.

It's not easy to stop. But it's the only message they will hear.

Don't see your Point said...

After listening to the clip, it was very apparent to any listener that this gentleman has been in contact many, many times by many different ways and each time a response was given.

I don't see your point of view in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Thom Rainer is a man not a kid. YOU struggle with real men. He had all he could take from this self righteous punk. Mac is a real man. You cross Mac he will treat you like Thom Rainer treated that Pastor. Mac is a man. I respect that. I respect strength. I respect a man that will not tolerate nonsense. Jesus whipped people too. Jesus will whip you if you act stupid. That's a fact.

Anonymous said...

I guess the words coming out of a lot of these pastor's mouths aren't very biblical either, so at least a bunch of books on a shelf aren't hurting as many people at once (we hope). I doubt people understand the books anyway because if they looked beyond the preaching on tithes and read the Bible's warnings about false prophets -- they'd run screaming into the hills, far away from these places.

And yah know what? I think the blog writer's point was that this guys' question wasn't really answered, no matter how polite the preacher responded. If I ask a question about the grass and someone tells me the sky is blue, they really didn't answer my question, did they...

So now we have people defending non-answers from people who want 10 percent of your income but don't feel obliged to tell you how they use that money to stock their bookstore.

What the speaker read out of the report said nothing at all. At least the government has to pretend it has accountability. Where's the church's?

Jon L. Estes said...

"There are other places

Here is a great place for SS teachers etc

www.cvbbs.com"

Great site and I am very impressed with their reformed section of books.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned "study" yourself. Well thats an insult to the pastor since he has to be the only one to tell you whats in the book. If you check you will find the word study is not in most bibles. Why not? Those that put those versions do not want us to study. We might actually learn something. Pastors or those in authority can not stand anyone challenging them about anything. Get it? Thats why Paul told us " I would not have you ignorant brethren"!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonny said:

"He had all he could take from this self righteous punk. Mac is a real man. You cross Mac he will treat you like Thom Rainer treated that Pastor. Mac is a man. I respect that. I respect strength. "

And I have had enough of our Mac worhsip. Mac would not make it in the real CEO world. Real CEO's have acoountability, Mac gets by with his baptista mafia types and gets to skate on the heads of pew sitters.

Talk about a punk, you got one in the pulpit there. Go now and kneel before his great compassion and christinan example. Bask in his glow.

And what about this Tommy Rainer thug. CEO's in lost world cannot have family members on payroll that violates the nepotism ethic. But in the Baptista world, it's OK, for we don't have to be like the 'world'. So, that gives license to a lot of stupid conduct because they are lofty men of the faith, or some such man woship phrasing.

You too can be a punk, with big cuff links and a mouth full of bible speak that twists things as you want. Lifeway ain't nothin'
but the old money changers in the temple in a contemporary setting, lose them from your shopping choices.

Associational hacks are killing this denomination and brining shame on the gospel. They need to confronted just like this guy did, over and over and over, until they finally hear. If they ever do.

Garlando

Anonymous said...

It is awesome to see how a Godly man handles himself!

Thom Rainer is a pro!

This is a great example of how Christians are to lead and handle conflict. He was polite, direct, and considerate without being a jerk or a pushover.

I need a great leader like Thom as an example of leadership. I do not like weak people. I do not like weasels. I do not like losers. I like winners! I like being on a winning team!

Thom is a winner and I want to be like him!

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: Wade Burleson > Militant Homosexuals: Loving Them to Christ Without Lambasting Them at Church

WishIhadknown said...

You’ll excuse me if I am a little confused.

On the one hand we have a man who has over the course of many years made numerous “factual statements that are self contradictory” but that’s ok because of grace even though he has used these statements to prosper himself.

On the other hand we have a pastor who repeated asks the same question but there is no grace or decency to once again give him the same answer one more time?

Why does this all seem so wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thom,Mac,Ed Young,Furtick,and Ergun are sick and tired of this nonsense!

They are going to call out the Pharisees and expose them for their hypocrisy.

Enough is Enough!

Our Leaders will not stand back and see the Church of Jesus be trashed and drug thru the mud.

These Brothers need a Blog to shine forth the glorious gospel and to expose the haters!

Anonymous said...

A Troll said:
"I need a great leader like Thom as an example of leadership. I do not like weak people. I do not like weasels. I do not like losers. I like winners! I like being on a winning team! "

Thom is a winner and I want to be like him!

Not very creative for a troll-ster.

Please try again later.

WishIhadknown said...

That laughing you hear is those guys on their way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking The Troll has simply been playing Devil's Advocate, and illustrating the mindset of the Baptist Mafia types, while using satire. He/she makes me chuckle :)

Sometimes you just gotta laugh !!

Sharon said...

"You’ll excuse me if I am a little confused.

On the one hand we have a man who has over the course of many years made numerous “factual statements that are self contradictory” but that’s ok because of grace even though he has used these statements to prosper himself.

On the other hand we have a pastor who repeated asks the same question but there is no grace or decency to once again give him the same answer one more time?

Why does this all seem so wrong."

Why does this all seem so wrong? Because it is wrong. People pick up on these things instinctively. And I don't think they should suppress those good instincts of feeling that it's wrong.

One person is a big money-maker, attention-getting leader, and the other is an annoyance to those leaders.

Anonymous said...

Despite the circumstance there is a way to respond with tact. You are ambassadors in Christ. Does that every moment is a shining one in public? No, but we should always be mindful. I think that should be the issue here at hand.

Anyway, I tend to get confused with Rainer's books : "________" Church. Simple, Comeback, etc.... I know he only co-authors them. Well, puts a lot of fluff in them. The data is actually good but it is the added illustrations I have trouble with. Anyway, sometimes the books seem like they conflict each other.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time, I'd agree with you. However, the person asking the question has an extended history of harassing Rainer, his staff, and had an agenda walking up and asking this question. I'm sorry, but in this case, I'd have blown him off too because he already had the answers because Rainer has given this man more than enough of his time throughout the year. This man simply was wanting to put Rainer on the spot for no other reason than to use our system of questions and answers to harass him even further.

Like I said, normally I'd agree with you, but this man was after Rainer to embarrass him just like Lumpkins was hoping to embarrass Mohler.

Paolo said...

How does a non-profit earn profit? Don't you know their proceeds go to the CP?

Anonymous said...

Those who destroyed the soul of the Southern Baptist Convention throughout the 70's and 80's are reaping what they have sowed. Does no one care that during the time that the SBC was a somewhat diverse, theologically, God blessed and the denomination grew. Once rigid theological conformity was required, God removed his hand and decline set in. Jesus didn't respond well to Pharisees in New Testament times; what makes anyoneone think he would prefer them now. Excuse me, I have to go pack...headed to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Tampa. Yes, we're small and we don't have a large corporate budget, but those funds are leveraged into missions around the world. We will praise God for our 20 years of existence tomorrow night. So, SBC folks, just go ahead and fight among yourselves; you've grown good at it over the past 25 years. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Life is good and God is in charge.

Anonymous said...

Thom Rainer does not owe that jerk an explanation.

Thom Rainer does not work for him.

Thom Rainer has forgotten more Bible than that guy has ever learned.

Thom Rainer is a conservative, evangelical, Bible Believing Warrior.

He is a Spartan for God.

Don't confuse humility with poor self esteem.

Don't think that pride is being confident.

Thom Rainer is confident and humble.

Thom Rainer does not have to apologize at all for his Leadership Skills.

Mac does not have to apologize for his Leadership Skills.

Those 2 Brothers would take on Hell with a waterpistol and they will take YOU on too!

Don't mess with God's best!!!

X Baptist said...

The Baptist Conventions (all of them ) need more with this kind of character and integrity to stand up against these country club actors.

I guess Rainer now has something to chuckle about as his peers pat him on the back.

This clip shows exactly why many do not attend these " circus without the tent" events.

Jim said...

Anonymous, June 21, 7:29. Help me please! Just where in the New Testament did you find the term "Spartan for God"? All this time I thought Spartans were pagan warriors in ancient Greece. Brave, for sure, but nonetheless pagan. For the life of me I just can't find any Biblical reference to such a character defending God's honor. Maybe that was Jesus' pet name for his apostles? Nope, can't find any such reference in my Bible nor in any early Christian literature. Of course, I am probably not the great student of the Bible that you are. Then again, maybe you've just drunk so much kool-aid that you have become cranky from the sugar high. Dial it back a bit and spend some time alone with the Lord; you will be amazed how much better you will feel and how it will change your outlook.

Slow to speak said...

You can call me "homophobic".

You can call me "intolerant".

You can call me "prideful".

You can call me a "dictator".

God calls me a Leader
God calls me a Prince
God calls me a Victor
God calls me a Champion

I do not apologize for being right

I do not apologize for wanting to see a Man be a Man.

I do not apologize for enjoying reading about Jesus telling off Pharisees.

I do not apologize for thanking God for my Pastor Mac.

I do want a strong leader
I do want a straight shooter
I do want a Pastor that will kick you out if you don't fly right

If you don't like it, then go Methodist.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon said:

"This man simply was wanting to put Rainer on the spot for no other reason than to use our system of questions and answers to harass him even further."

To ask a question multiple times for the purpose of raising an important issue is characaterized as "harassment". How sad.

I hope this guy comes back next year and asks Rainer the same question. And I hope several people go to the mike and ask the question, and demand that Rainer use his fantastic brain to speak 5 minutes in explaining how Lifeway chooses which books to market, and which books not to market.

Harassment Police said...

Yes Tom,

To ask a question multiple times for the purpose of raising an important issue after the question has already been answered multiple times is characaterized as "harassment".

You should know this because, it's the only thing you do on your blog - Harass.
From 2008 - 2012 all you have done is raise the same questions about Mac Brunson. What is this? It's 4 years of harassment. And we all know it comes from an obsessive, sociopathic behavioral pattern you choose to engage yourself in.

4 or 5 years of the same crap, the same blogs, the same harassment, the same argument on the same issues.........it get's old! And every time you do it, you make yourself look clingy, and obsessed and infatuated with a short bald fat man. It's disturbing!!

So for God sakes and for your sake (your genuine well being), quit beating the same dead horse already and move on.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"And we all know it comes from an obsessive, sociopathic behavioral pattern you choose to engage yourself in."

Notice this poster says "we all know it..." By "all" you probably mean the those who follow their pastor and believe what he says.

Such statements are why I continue to blog about matters in the SBC and evangelical world, and yes, FBC Jax, and yes, Mac Brunson from time to time.

Your comment tells me much about you, and it is very helpful, believe me.

Harassment Police said...

There's something you're not understanding Tom. Your blind, obsessive, sociopathic mindset prevents you from viewing this whole soap opera from a reasonable perspective. You've sacrificed your ability to reason logically and objectively on a biblical basis for meager public attention.

I don't belong to the FBCJ bunch. I'm not one of those blind sheep you like to pick fun at. I'm a rational, reasonable, respected individual who belongs to another church here in Jax. And what I'm trying to get you to understand aligns with the perspective of many other people here in the faith community of Jacksonville and those not in the faith community. You're viewed as an obsessed individual. And rightly so.
For 5 years now, you've hashed out the same arguments about the same issues over and over and over again. Not only that, but you willingly left your previous church, Mac Brunson's church, and joined another fellowship.
But that isn't good enough for you and your appetite isn't fed unless you continually make efforts to defame and wreck Mac Brunson.

Face it, you're obsessed with Mac Brunson!

Harassment Police said...

My comments may in fact tell you much about me. That's fair, and that's probably true. But the impact of my 2 or 3 comments is small compared to your 5 years of obsessive blogging about Mac Brunson. My 2 or 3 comments may tell you a lot about who I am. But think about what impression is left on people when they have read 5 consecutive years of obsessive, sociopathic blogging on the same issues. I wouldn't be so concerned with who I am, Tom, but more so with who you are, and what you're perceived as.
And at this present moment in time, the perception is anything but glorious.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Your words to me are sad. You've chosen to come here and defame me on my blog by using the same inflammatory and false words that have been spoken before. It is par for the course in Christianity. I'll let your terrible words stand as a picture for my readers of what people who name the name of Christ do to those who do dare to write about the problems facing modern Christianity.

It is folks like you who just might be obsessed with blogs that dare to criticize pastors and point out their hypocrisies and their false teachings. You are so obsessed that you dare to come here and defame me on this blog and mischaracterize what this blog is about.

Blessings to you brother/sister.

Anonymous said...

"You're viewed as an obsessed individual. And rightly so"

By whom? Name names since you claim you are not FBCjax.

In fact, you seem obsessed with Tom or you would not be here accusing Tom of being sociopathic. You would avoid it like the plague.

Just thank him for allowing your hateful comments about him calling him names. Not only does Tom not try to silence his critics, he posts their negative comments about himself!!!!!

Something Mac could learn from him.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'm thinking The Troll has simply been playing Devil's Advocate, and illustrating the mindset of the Baptist Mafia types, while using satire. He/she makes me chuckle :)

I tend to agree with this assessment. The alternative is too scary to consider. I even have a weak theory about who it is. He rarely makes me chuckle though. He needs some new material.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Rainer has answered this guy and answered this guy and answered this guy. Good for Rainer for standing up to him!

DEB said...

It's easy to write stories like this without the facts. Did you hear what Rainer said to the messenger asking the question. He HAS answered him.

DEB

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon and Deb - when a messenger asks a question in a meeting like this, they are not asking it to satisfy their own curiosity. They are asking it for the sake of the body they represent. This guy wants Rainer to explain to the messengers the answer to the overall question that he feels still hasn't been answered on the record to the SBC: what criteria is used to select what is and is not sold in Lifeway. As the head of Lifeway, Rainer should have a 5 minute speech prepared to the answer to this question everytime it is asked.

John H said...

The messenger was asking on behalf of everyone.

You think if he had published the response he had gotten from Rainer that people would accept it as the truth?

The goal is to get an answer to the question on the record and public. If he publishes what Rainer has told him privately, it's open to doubt or distrust. If Rainer answers it publicly, then there's no question.

The question needs answered publicly from Lifeway.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

John H - yes, exactly. It is so simple, isn't it? But not if the questioner is viewed as the enemy, or viewed as being a troublemaker and disobedient.

What is even more remarkable is that I believe Rainer's response was prepared in advance, with the blessing of his board.

Vines used to say that to become a Christian you don't have to check your brains at the door. In modern evangelicalism, I'm not so sure anymore.

JAllman said...

Slightly off topic I guess......

In this video the messenger states that Paul clearly condemns talk of out of body experiences in Colossians 2:18-19

I guess I can understand how he arrived at that interpretation but I really don't think that is the point of the passage.

Paul is making the point that we are alive in Christ and no longer under bondage to sin or the law. We have Christian liberty. We should not let spiritual snobs (pharisees) tell us how to behave according to their personal preferences. The mention of visions and angels is used to describe these people and what they are focused on. I don't think it is necessarily intended to forbid these things. The point is these people have lost touch with Christ.