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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Right of Private Judgment & Totalitarian Mega Churches

In the mid '70s I heard Peter Toon a church historian form the UK give a lecture series on The Right of Private Judgment and the Reformation. Toon focused on the rights and responsibilities of private judgment. What some people are calling the "New Calvinism" has a deeply ironic twist in that it is being promoted by Papal Pastors at totalitarian Mega Churches where the right of private judgment has been taken away. The head pastor has replaced the Pope and his interpretation of the scriptures has been put above criticism. Anyone who dares to openly question his teaching is ostracized or removed from membership.

Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle is a case in point. Driscoll's exegesis is generally pretty loose. He assumes that his audience is too ignorant to see this. He supports his questionable teachings on sexual ethics, marriage & family, gender roles, and many other popular themes with highly dubious exegetical tactics. He would be blasted out of the room if he presented these readings in a scholarly forum. But at Mars Hill Church his teaching is above criticism. If you are a member of HIS church you do not question HIS teaching.

This is a very common scenario at mega churches. These fellows are not capable of dealing with dissent. When they step into the pulpit they are infallible. They may not claim this in so many words but their policy of repressing dissent carries a subtext of infallibility.


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