UPDATE: As of 10/1/13, The Four Grown Men above have removed their video from YouTube - more Deja Vu! So the best you can do now is read the transcript, which Julie Anne Smith has posted here at her post from two weeks ago. Thanks Julie Anne!
------------------------------------------Readers: watch the 6-minute video here. You will see the four grown men above - four lay leaders in a modern evangelical church, make a video to discredit other men in their church who have dared to ask questions and publicly criticize their pastor, James MacDonald of the megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel.
And they wrap up their teleprompter speech by threatening church members with "great detriment" to their "souls" if they still associate with the Satanic men who are seeking to "destroy" their wonderful pastor.
I'm not analyzing here the validity of the claims of the church critics whom these four grown men are going after - that is done quite well here by Dee and Deb - I'm here to analyze the pronouncements of the four grown men pictured above.
Here are some of the ridiculous statements that come out of the mouths of these four grown men, as they seek to discredit other men who have "attacked" their pastor, and as they seek to manipulate other church members to prevent them from talking to these critics:
- "We need to communicate with you regarding the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders, all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor."
- "...have continued to spread discord through their false and unrelenting viewpoint."
- "...but they refused to submit to elder consensus, choosing instead to sow discord and create division. This is a very, very serious sin, one that we are told in Proverbs 6 that our Lord hate."
- "..the elders received a letter with 13 accusations against our pastor and his integrity, all of which the elders have already unanimously rejected multiple times"
- "Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent."
- "Together these men continue to lead and seditiously promote an attack on the credibility of the church elders, our governance of church staff and the integrity of our pastor"
- "Their goal is to discredit our pastor and to divide this church."
- "Church matters are not to be tried in the court of public opinion. Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core."
"We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. Don’t stand in the middle, don’t seek to mediate. Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all cost, lest you incur great detriment to your own soul."
It really is hard to believe that it is real, and that these four grown men's minds have become so corrupt that they believe what they are saying. Can these four grown men possibly believe what they are saying makes any sort of sense to rational, clear-thinking people?
Try to replace the word "pastor" with "CEO", and "church" with "company". Would any of this speech about dividing, and discrediting, and discord, and destroying represent the way rational people think and believe and behave in the real world? Has church life devolved now into an alternate universe where men like this speak of fantasies and fables to warn people about critics of their pastor? Are these four grown men so blinded that they thought it a good idea to record a video with these claims, and then further to disseminate their claims on an Internet video?
I have to say watching this video and reading the transcript of it is all so familiar to me. I heard all of the same nonsense over the past six years. Even my former church made a similar pronouncement - a "Deacon's Resolution" ratified by a smidgeon of church members - with similar pronouncements against me, claiming consensus amongst the "deacons", and seeking to warn others that if they did what I did, they too would incur the wrath of God and the church, and that public dissemination of "false criticism" was evil, yada yada yada. And they too, proudly broadcast their resolution on a live Internet feed, and then displayed the text of the resolution on the church website for all to see.
Notice the four grown men don't get into the claims of the critics - nor did they in the Deacon's Resolution in my situation - that is because the claims don't matter. What matters is that public criticism of a pastor and church is itself inherently evil and sinful - as these four grown men say it is "Satanic to the core"...so why bother with the details of the claims? This is the stuff of cults, yes, of cults. We see it over and over when pastors and leaders misbehave: pastor is good, critics are bad, and the claims need not be discussed - especially if the "elders" or "deacons" claim consensus.
Sad thing is, this all comes not from mega church pastors - but educated, grown laymen men who wouldn't ever dream of applying these standards, these principles, to any other area of their lives. They wouldn't implement these standards in their business, with their customers, with their employees, or in any of their civic affairs in government, business, or charity organizations.
Only in the "church" do these fantasies of criticism being "Satanic", or demanding people disassociate with others based on their opinions, calling people "false messengers" or making pronouncements on behalf of the God of the universe - only in church do grown men like this dish this out, and only in church do the peeps tolerate this nonsense.
And that is why so many non-Christians in our society fear us Christians - they see grown men like these - and gullible sheep like us who tolerate and thereby endorse such nonsense...and they have a very rational fear of US.
And THIS is exactly why so many non-Christians who might consider the claims of the bible and Jesus Christ - have second thoughts and don't get very far. They see the alternate, fantasy world in which they would have to plunge, and they go another way.