ex-Reformed Baptist

Dave,

I read your original "anti-testimony" and was not surprised to read that you were oppressed by a Reformed Baptist cult. I grew up in a Reformed Baptist church. I don't know that all of them are abusive, but I know full well the abusive nature of the one I was in and the ones that we associated with from around the country. It wasn't until well into college that I was freed from the oppression. I discovered that those people trusted God for their salvation, but had no clue how to love and live as Christ taught. I had every reason to reject Christ based on the legalism and judgmentalism of His "followers" (actually the church leaders and their followers; they excommunicated my family and I lost many childhood friends), but I found that I could not reject the Christ of the Bible, whom they obviously did not imitate. In that, you and I differ. But I understand how that was a huge turn-off. I won't pretend to be or say that I am a perfect follower of Christ. I recognize that I'm on a journey of faith, which implies the fact that I just don't have it all together yet.

Sincerely,

John Thomas

31 comments:

The Mailman said...

Hello one and all.
I read with interest the charges of Windy B. - I know her and her father and mother as Greg was my pastor both in Grand Rapids and in Montville. I thought it was interesting that she made the charge that Reformed Baptists are a cult, that she was sexually, verbally, and emotionally abused, and that her husband, Lynden, was excommunicated for attending a rock concert at 18. The charges are difficult to substantiate. I DO NOT remember Lynden being excommunicated. But even if we take her word for it, I would want to know some background information. Was it a Journey concert, or Marilyn Manson? Makes a difference. Was he smoking pot? Committing fornication? What were the aggravating circumstances? I was a member of the Grand Rapids RBC from 1989 to 2003 and can assure you that a one time attendance at a concert is NOT a disciplinary offence. Something is suspect here. As far as being abused? I doubt she means her mom and dad. I have been in the Nichols' home on many an occasion and
they are a fine example of a beautiful marriage and Ginger, Mindy's mom, is very dear and one of the finest Christian ladies I know.
So she must mean the pastors at Trinity? And are we to believe that they did this AGAINST the will of her father, or that Greg did not know, or that she told YOU but she did not tell him? A lot of unanswered questions here. I attended Trinity Baptist Church in 1984-1985 and know both Albert Martin, and Frank Barker and find these charges to appear libelous in the extreme. As to David Baldwin stating, "when we learned of a case of incestuous sexual abuse of a young girl that was covered up by the elders of the church..." David one time made these comments to me without going into detail about two years ago. I know him well. He visited the hospital when my son Jonathan was born. We both work for the Grand Rapids Post Office. But I can attest, God is my witness, I never remember having a spiritual conversation of a heart nature with David. His Christian character has always concerned me. But that is another issue. THE DAY that he expressed his concerns to me about the elders at Grand Rapids, he also owned to me that he was upset at them because he requested permission to carry a concealed weapon on the church's premises and the elders were not at all comfortable with it.
I could hardly believe Dave was defending his desire to have a concealed weapon. But he always appeared to me a tad eccentric. As to his charges, I don't accept them because I have never seen any proof of them. One can't just take his word for it.
Anyone can make any charge he desires. In the mouth of one witness, no charge should be established.

I have been a member of three Reformed Baptist churches and attended for some time a total of four. The brethren are god fearing, Christ loving, men and women of prayer, and yes they strive after holiness. After all, the broad way that many desire is the way that leads to destruction. This is not a Reformed Baptist thing. It was taught by our Puritan forefathers as well. You may visit my site for more info at www.thereformedpastor.com I am most willing to engage further in conversation. I am curious, why are so many of you who attack Reformed Baptists hanging out in an EX CHRISTIAN site? Let us say for the sake of argument that Mindy's charges are all true? So, do you become an EX CHRISTIAN as a result? In other words, because you are convinced you are emotionally abused, you cast off the gentle yoke of Christ and become His avowed enemy? Do you not remember that His enemies are going to be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire? Or are you now an atheist and don't believe in God let alone a lake of fire? Very well, if there is no God there is no morality and therefore no one has done you any wrong. For to be done wrong ASSUMES that there is a standard of right. Before you can call a line crooked, it is best that you have some idea of a straight line. But in an ATHEISTIC world view morality is arbitrary, and what one animal does to another animal is irrelevant since it is survival of the fittest. SO, this whole forum is confusing.
If you want to have an amplified discussion of the last statements, the problems associated with Theodicy, Morality, etc. that is fine but that is ANOTHER discussion.

If you want to PROVE that all of us are hypocrites, what standard are we being examined by... YOUR LIFE? Where is it written that you are the standard? We are all hypocrites, all totally depraved. We are spiritual monsters by nature. Our heart is on the earth where our feet should be and our heals life against heaven where our heart should be, and our face toward hell and our backs toward heaven. Therefore God command us to TURN.

The Mailman.

freeman said...

WHAT THE F* IS WRONG WITH Marilyn Manson!?

You judge based on the cover, not what is between the pages! According to your god, you shall be judge harshly! For ever shall you be attacked by satan's dogs!

freeman said...

Oh and by the way, I am an ex-tian because your god is a farce! The bible is made up bullshit! I live in Cowtown (Ft. Worth, TX) and the shit does not get any deeper than some christian claiming that the bible is god's word!

webmdave said...

To quote Mindy B, whom the mailman claims to know, and whom the mailman calls Windy B, "The brainwashing is truly unbelievable."

Mailman, a person can only be considered a hypocrite if he or she says one thing and does another. For instance, the person who says they obey Christ and who then turns around and curses his fellow man, or gets angry all the time, or hits their spouse or kids, or kicks the dog, or flips off the supervisor at work, or steals unauthorized overtime, or fakes an injury, or lies about being sick in order to take a day off... That describes a hypocrite.

People who don't believe in your god can't be considered hypocrites for not following your god's religion. It just doesn't work that way.

The Mailman said...

The Webmaster defined for me what a hypocrite is. Where did you get your definition? Did you borrow the Christian world view's system of morality to define the Christian's lack of attainment to that system?
Since you have no intention of following such a system of morality, and yet are dogmatic about Christians following or not following this ethic, doesn't that make you a hypocrite? For is not a hypocrite one who applies a standard to someone else that he never intends to apply to himself?

Are you an atheist? An atheist believes the world is time and chance acting on matter. Therefore on that belief, there can be no such thing as morality, let alone hypocrisy. In fact, there is no such thing as debate. An atheist cannot account, on his worldview, for right, wrong, logical, illogical, hateful, lovely, disgusting, beautiful. These ascetic definitions cannot be mere chemical reactions in the human brain. They can only be definitions if there is such a thing as emotivity - in short a human soul.

There has been a great deal of effort on this website to point out supposed contradictions in the Bible. There is just one problem. In an atheistic world, where everything is matter in motion, there is no such thing as contradictions. Whatever is, IS. One can no more say that a thought is right or wrong in an atheist's worldview than one can say the chemical reaction caused by shaking a can of pop and letting it spray is right or wrong. The webmaster wrote, "People who don't believe in your god can't be considered hypocrites for not following your god's religion. It just doesn't work that way."

I answer, it doesn't work WHAT WAY? What logical standard are you applying to your definitions? Is it one that is written somewhere? If so, why should it be any less arbitrary to me than you suppose the Christian system of moral is to you?

It does not work that way because YOU SAID SO? But what if you weren't here? You talk about conventions that we are all supposed to know about. But I don't know about your conventions, except that they are purely arbitrary because there is nothing to back them up that you and I agree on.

We don't merely disagree about the Bible and Christ. I have NOTHING in common with an Atheist. His whole world view is antithetical to the Christian worldview. I can't make heads or tails of it, but it has no foundations.

webmdave said...

I got my definition from dictionary.com: a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold [syn: dissembler, phony, phoney, pretender]

one who puts on a mask and feigns himself to be what he is not; a dissembler in
religion. Our Lord severely rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their
hypocrisy (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16). "The hypocrite's hope shall perish" (Job 8:13).
The Hebrew word here rendered "hypocrite" rather means the "godless" or
"profane," as it is rendered in Jer. 23:11, i.e., polluted with crimes.

Jim Arvo said...

Mailman: "An atheist believes the world is time and chance acting on matter."

No, an atheist is one who does not believe in supernatural conscious entities. As an atheist, I do not claim to posses any definitive and absolute knowledge about the universe--our conceptions of matter, energy, and time may be way off and/or incomplete. However, they comprise the best model of reality available at present.

Mailman: "Therefore on that belief, there can be no such thing as morality,..."

You are imposing your own definition of "morality". A naturalistic view of morality does not rely upon some external entity to define meaning or norms. Morality is a constellation of beliefs and behaviors that are rooted in our biology and further shaped by society and tradition. The nascent field of evolutionary pshychology is already providing a fairly comprehensive (and testable) theory of human behavior that includes morality. So, to me, your statement sounds like purely unsupported dogma.

Mailman: "An atheist cannot account, on his worldview, for right, wrong, logical, illogical, hateful, lovely, disgusting, beautiful. These ascetic definitions cannot be mere chemical reactions in the human brain."

That's an interesting assertion. Please spell out your reasoning. I'd be very curious to hear your argument. I'll bet that you can apply the same reasoning to show that water isn't wet because molecules aren't wet.

Mailman: "They can only be definitions if there is such a thing as emotivity - in short a human soul."

Another big leap to the "soul". I don't follow your reasoning. Please fill in the intermediate steps.

Mailman: "...One can no more say that a thought is right or wrong in an atheist's worldview than one can say the chemical reaction caused by shaking a can of pop and letting it spray is right or wrong."

Hmmmm. Well, I don't assign right or wrong to mere thoughts; only Christians do that. But, here I am, an atheist, and I say causing intentional harm to people who cause no threat to you is wrong. So, what's your contention? That I don't exist, or that I'm not an atheist?

Mailman: "...I have NOTHING in common with an Atheist. His whole world view is antithetical to the Christian worldview...."

Well, I actually agree that the morality of an atheist can be quite radically different from that of a Christian. For one thing, we are not driven by threats of hell or promises of heaven. We generally hold that *beliefs* in themselves carry no moral weight; it's one's actions that matter. We are also aware of the fact that it is up to us to craft laws that we feel are just and sustainable, and that doing so will require that we truly understand how the world (including us) works as best we can. I think Christianity embodies a very primitive and simplistic form of morality that is no longer workable in the complex and interconnected world that we now inhabit. So, yes, we are worlds apart. (Frankly, I'm glad we are.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, "The Mailman", a delivery for you...

Hypocrite: "n : a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold."
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=hypocrite

The Mailman: "For is not a hypocrite one who applies a standard to someone else that he never intends to apply to himself?"

Uh, no. Someone must "first", "professes beliefs and opinions", and contradict themselves in some observable manner.

When you find an "extian", "professing to believe in the standards of christianity", and that person slanders another christian against biblical scripture, then, you can call them a hypocrite. However, dare I say, I have yet to see an extian profess to believe or have the opinion that the standards of the multi-dimensional christian views are valid. If they profess to be followers of christian standards in some form, would they be "extians"? No. Thus, no hypocrisy here, try again.

Let me use a logical or mathematical example.

Lets suggest person "x" is taking an IQ test. They attempt to solve a mathematical problem backwards, as it has only "four" answers available... They replace the undefined variable in the problem, with each possible answer, until the equation is balanced, proven, and solved for consistency and logical coherence.

Do you suggest that the person throwing numbers into the equation is hypocritical, because they really "believe" in each "answer" they test?

Consider your logic (belief) tested, and... your answers (opinion(s)) don't produce logical, or coherent results.

So, what, the only ones that aren't hypocritical are the ones who aren't "searching" for answers in life, or the ones, who pose "zero" curiosity. A person can have curiosity, and be searching for information, or be plainly, attemptint to derive information from someone by inspecting their actions against their words, right. Ciao.

The Mailman said...

I will make one last statement and then you can respond to my statements and I will leave you to yourselves. I have been in these type of discussion since 1991 before there was an internet and I was on a service called Prodigy. I know better than to think one can debate another to his own position. It almost NEVER happens. So, I won't even try.
This site was found by accident. I did a word search on a name, and it turned up. What is being said here is being said to the world. Anyone can find our discussions via Google.

SO, I looked around. I am a Christian. My worldview is being attacked here. This has no more influence on me than the spray of the sea has on the Rock of Gibralter. But the first thing that struck me is that you suppose that you gain your point on the main page by posting every fall of every pastor you can find in the news.
What is your point? Am I to suppose that because a person who claims he is a pastor is a hypocrite than all pastors must be hypocrites? That is like saying that because there is imitation coin, or imitation gold, there is no genuine product. The fact is, there could be no counterfeit unless their is the real coin. Secondly, you attempt to discredit the Scriptures. Let us say that you find one or two unstable souls who buy in to your arguments. Like the article on the prodigal son you posted. SO, you make him an atheist like yourselves.
Does he live happily ever after?

I would think an atheist would try to convince a Christian why he would be better being godless. I see nothing in this forum that would cause me to wonder why you suppose atheism is a better worldview. There is nothing here but vitriol against Christians.

For me the atheism would create more questions. How can I possible suppose that matter came ex nihilo? Out of nothing? And that matter became a black hole, or there was some big bang and now the planets are formed. And by some chance, mixed with a lot of time, and stir in a little energy NON_LIFE became LIFE, and than simple life forms become COMPLEX life forms, and after a while, a long while we are led to believe, man has evolved.
SO great. Where did his intelligence come from, where his emotivity? Worse yet where did his hate come from? Why all this murder and bloodshed? And then I get to thinking, because the Atheist hypothetically has led me to this conclusion, that terrorists are no more wrong or right than I am wrong or right. In fact, now that I have become an atheist, right and wrong don't have any more significance than colors of a crayon.

To an atheist wrong is wrong BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE IT, it is an inconvenience to me. SO who are you, and what happens when you aren't here anymore?

So here I am an atheist, because this forum has made me so but rather than giving me any comfort, great problems have ensued. I am going to die. The atheist says, you die, that's it it is over. Somehow it seems than that I should never have lived. But further there were a lot of serious criminal wrongs done in the world YES EVEN BY FALSE CHRISTIANS. In my heart of heart - if there is such a thing in an atheist world, I long for some kind of justice. People have been hurt, but even HURT doesn't mean anything if we are merely evolving creatures headed toward no end, involving NO ultimate purpose.

YOU THINK your atheism comforts you, it would never comfort me. If I had your worldview I would be a miserable wretch. In fact suicide would be a possible option. Christians are here painted as fools, but I think that to see the fool you merely have to look in the mirror.

You may attack Christians all you want, if it comforts you. A day of reckoning is coming and darkness will no longer be called light, and sin will no longer be called innocent.

But then it will be too late.

Go ahead and reply. Maybe someone who is interested in carrying on the discussion will respond.

webmdave said...

"...there could be no counterfeit unless their is the real coin"

I've seen pictures of counterfeit sasquatches and UFOs. Hmm...

webmdave said...

"I see nothing in this forum that would cause me to wonder why you suppose atheism is a better worldview."

I loved believing that Santa was real. Then I grew up. Many insane people are happy. Many people living in reality are depressed. Choose your pill.

Jim Arvo said...

Mailman said "My worldview is being attacked here."

We do not believe Christian dogma, and we are very clear about why. If you consider that "attacking" your worldview then do be it. But be clear about one thing: you came here. We did not seek you out.

Mailman: "But the first thing that struck me is that you suppose that you gain your point on the main page by posting every fall of every pastor you can find in the news. What is your point?"

Christians often claim that their faith has a transforming effect; that the "Holy Spirit" fills them, and it changes them. They claim that a tree shall be judged by its fruit. Well, it seems to me (and others here) that Christians are just as prone to behave badly as anybody else, and this debunks their claim to be somehow different. That's precisely what I take from it; nothing more.

Mailman: "Secondly, you attempt to discredit the Scriptures. Let us say that you find one or two unstable souls who buy in to your arguments...."

You say "one or two unstable individuals". You seem to be unaware of how many people reject Christianity once they actually read the Bible for themselves. The Bible is filled with ghastly violence and hate, not to mention absurdities and contradictions. In my view it takes mental gymnastics to overlook all of that, or explain it away. A good many people discover this for themselves, and others realize it once it is pointed out to them (e.g. via sites like this). As for being "unstable", that's nothing more than a crass assertion on your part.

Mailman: "Like the article on the prodigal son you posted. SO, you make him an atheist like yourselves. Does he live happily ever after?"

Some definitely do, yes. Just read some of the testimonies here. Many people have said that they only came to know true compassion after leaving Christianity, which is shaped by threats and bribes. But in any case it's up to the individual, is it not?

Mailman: "I would think an atheist would try to convince a Christian why he would be better being godless. I see nothing in this forum that would cause me to wonder why you suppose atheism is a better worldview."

In my opinion a world view that comports with reality is superior to a worldview that is largely fiction. Is it uniformly advantageous to give up belief in fictional entities? No. Many people miss the comfort of believing they are being watched over, and the thought that they might live eternally. But for many of us (myself included) there is much greater joy in trying to discern the world as it really is--that's the role of science.

Mailman: "There is nothing here but vitriol against Christians."

Please read before making such an assertion. It's trivially refuted.

Mailman: "For me the atheism would create more questions."

Questions are good. One point for atheism.

Mailman: "How can I possible suppose that matter came ex nihilo? Out of nothing?"

You could start by studying some quantum mechanics. The empirical fact (according to what is known today) is that matter *does* come into existence out of nothing. That sounds absurd, right? Well, it *is* absurd according to out everyday intuitions, which are based on observations of macroscopic phenomena under terrestrial conditions. But 20'th century physics has demonstrated time and again that the world is far stranger than our naive intuition would lead us to believe. It follows that intuition will only take us so far in determining how things really work; we need a more powerful lens (such as science) to see beyond our own intrinsic limitations.

Mailman: "And that matter became a black hole, or there was some big bang and now the planets are formed. And by some chance, mixed with a lot of time, and stir in a little energy NON_LIFE became LIFE, and than simple life forms become COMPLEX life forms, and after a while, a long while we are led to believe, man has evolved."

It seems to me you are simply consulting your intuition about these things, rather than looking for evidence one way or the other. Is it obvious that life sprang from non-life. No, it's not. Nothing could be further from being obvious. But the fact that it conflicts with your naive intuition, or causes you to feel indignation, have absolutely no bearing on whether it is true or not. There is an absolutely astonishing amount of evidence that confirms evolution; enough to override intuition, just as special relativity and quantum mechanics override intuition. As for abiogenesis, the evidence is still sketchy and very incomplete, but steady progress has been made. We'll just have to see where it leads, won't we?

Mailman: "SO great. Where did his intelligence come from, where his emotivity? Worse yet where did his hate come from? Why all this murder and bloodshed?"

Competition. Why do some animals eat others? Because they are exploiting a ready food source, not because they are "evil". You don't need to invent evil spirits to explain behavior that is antithetical to life.

Mailman: "And then I get to thinking, because the Atheist hypothetically has led me to this conclusion, that terrorists are no more wrong or right than I am wrong or right. In fact, now that I have become an atheist, right and wrong don't have any more significance than colors of a crayon."

If that's so, then you are precisely the kind of person I don't want to be around. In fact, I can't think of anybody who would. If you follow those impulses, and trample over other people's rights because you've lost your moral compass, then you won't be enjoying the fruits of a free society for very long, and you certainly won't have many friends. Finally, I see no reason to link belief in an invisible deity with one's innate feelings toward others, and hence a desire to threat them with compassion. I have no such supernatural beliefs, yet I have every desire to do right by my fellow man, and to leave this world a little better than how I found it. If you think being a sociopath is a direct consequence of atheism, then you are living in a world of your own design.

Mailman: "To an atheist wrong is wrong BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE IT, it is an inconvenience to me."

Hardly. As a species we have developed a vast array of mental mechanisms for mediating social exchanges. At some point in our development, cooperation became a hugely successful strategy, and the genes that supported this flourished. We are social creatures, with brains that thrive on strategic information about others in our "tribe". What we call morality today has its roots in our biology, but it has now become something much bigger than that, in precisely the same way that science has become something bigger than an innate appreciation of cause and effect. So, to liken morality to a feeling of what is "convenient" is totally absurd; it's a simplistic view with no factual support.

Mailman: "SO who are you, and what happens when you aren't here anymore?"

I'm a civilized human being. When I'm no longer here, there will still be billions of other civilized human beings. While there is no universal consensus on social norms among those billions of people, there is every reason to think that we are making progress. Case in point: I claim that today we treat captured enemy combatants with more dignity than the Bible shows toward disrespectful children. (Although the current administration is forcing me to rethink that.)

Mailman: "So here I am an atheist, because this forum has made me so but rather than giving me any comfort, great problems have ensued."

Two problems. First, even if that were so, it does not imply that the worldview is incorrect; merely that you do not like its implications. Second, your assessment as to the "problems" are dubious, given the types of arguments that you've arrayed thus far. In my opinion it is actually a very difficult empirical question as to whether we would be better off without religion altogether. I strongly suspect that we would, but I have nowhere near the type of evidence I would need to claim that with any confidence, and I am certain that you do not possess credible evidence to the contrary.

Mailman: "I am going to die. The atheist says, you die, that's it it is over. Somehow it seems than that I should never have lived."

Oh? How did you arrive at that last part?

Mailman: "But further there were a lot of serious criminal wrongs done in the world YES EVEN BY FALSE CHRISTIANS. In my heart of heart - if there is such a thing in an atheist world, I long for some kind of justice."

As do we all. Hence, laws.

Mailman: "People have been hurt, but even HURT doesn't mean anything if we are merely evolving creatures headed toward no end, involving NO ultimate purpose."

Again, you are simply projecting you presupposition onto the world. To you, nothing has any meaning without and external entity bestowing that meaning. To me, that's complete nonsense. My life is filled with very meaningful goals and relationships. I claim that if you were to wake up tomorrow and discover that you no longer believed in god, it would have a NEGLIGIBLE effect on your feeling toward others; in fact, it's possible that you would even feel closer to them, and appreciate them all the more. Why do I say that? Because that's what many people experience.

Mailman: "YOU THINK your atheism comforts you, it would never comfort me."

Maybe not. But I don't shop around for a worldview that comforts me. I'm concerned first and foremost with what is *true*. If your first criterion is comfort, then you are actually admitting that truth is secondary. That's your choice. But we choose differently.

Mailman: "If I had your worldview I would be a miserable wretch."

Maybe so. But I suspect not, as I outlined above. (Truth be told, you sound like a miserable wretch to me right now.)

Mailman: "In fact suicide would be a possible option. Christians are here painted as fools, but I think that to see the fool you merely have to look in the mirror."

Christians are challenged here, and sometimes the exchanges get heated. Worldviews are very dear to each of us, and it's difficult to take when someone attacks ours. Such is the nature of these exchanges. But I maintain that the underlying motivation is to arrive at the truth as best we can. I am not a fool, Mailman. I have devoted my life to learning. If you don't like my conclusions, then you are invited to explain where I have erred, and you are more than welcome to present evidence supporting your worldview.

Mailman: "You may attack Christians all you want, if it comforts you. A day of reckoning is coming and darkness will no longer be called light, and sin will no longer be called innocent."

That's nothing more than a threat. Either I conform to your way of thinking or I will suffer the consequences. I have never in my entire life encountered a belief worth holding that needed to be bolstered by such threats. Either your ideas stand in the light of reason and evidence, or they do not. If they do not, threats do nothing more than call attention to that fact.

Finally, I must point out that your attempts to discredit atheism seem strangely off course. There is precisely one way to discredit atheism, and that is to demonstrate the existence of your god. Until you or some like-minded believer can produce evidence that withstands scrutiny, you simply do not have a case.

Good day.

freeman said...

mailman,
When jews and early christians were still living in caves, huts and clad buildings, the Romans, Greeks and Egytians had created civilizations with a vast array of laws regarding human behavior. Maybe morality was stolen from them and NOT handed down by god!

Also, questions are a wonderful route to discovery! We could all take the easy route and just say god did it. This is what caused the decline of western civilization and the darkages.

So, mailman you have two choices in life. One, you can choose discovery and knowledge, or two, you can choose to just say god did it. One path requires a working brain, the other requires brain damage!

Anonymous said...

Hello Mailman(I seeeee you! lol)

Mailman, your entire argument is one based on pure human emotion and ignorance. Paraphrased, it is essentially this:

"I believe Christianity to be true because it makes me feel comfortable."

"I don't believe Atheism to be true because it makes me feel UNcomfortable."

Suggesting, once again, that religion is the narcotic of choice here in America. God is your "hero-"; religion is your "heroin".

Get help Mailman.

J. C. Samuelson said...

I can hardly approach Jim's eloquence in addressing Mailman's comments, but would still like to respond to some remarks.

Mailman,

"But I can attest, God is my witness, I never remember having a spiritual conversation of a heart nature with David. His Christian character has always concerned me."

You state that this is another issue, but it's interesting that you lead off with your assessment of his statements this way. I suspect that you evaluate whether a person is truthful or not based on what you think of their "Christian character."

"In other words, because you are convinced you are emotionally abused, you cast off the gentle yoke of Christ and become His avowed enemy? Do you not remember that His enemies are going to be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire?"

First, one doesn't need to be "convinced" one has been abused. Your attitude seems to imply you believe most abuse victims are either making it up or have been told they've been abused by someone else. While some abuse allegations are false, you are very naïve if you believe they're all suspect.

Second, if the abuse has occurred at the hands of those within the faith it would no doubt have an adverse affect on an individual's willingness to believe. This is a betrayal of everything they've learned about God and the love His people are supposed to embody and express. Naturally they will begin to question. This doesn't mean the person will become an "avowed enemy of Christ," but it may mean they will choose to discard organized religion.

Third, you brandish a threatening reminder to the abuse victim that regardless of how they've been damaged, they better damn well keep the faith or God will punish them forever.

"...this whole forum is confusing."

No doubt it is to someone so deeply entrenched in his faith.

"Since you have no intention of following such a system of morality, and yet are dogmatic about Christians following or not following this ethic, doesn't that make you a hypocrite? For is not a hypocrite one who applies a standard to someone else that he never intends to apply to himself?"

Dave can answer this himself, but from my point of view it's a challenge to Christians to follow the ethics they claim to hold so dear. I don't think anyone here really expects Christians to live up to their own professed standards, and that's exactly the point.

In other words, challenging Christians to follow their Lord's commands is not dogma. It shows the weakness of that moral code in that no one - especially Christians - really follows it anyway.

It is not hypocrisy to point out someone else's hypocritical behavior.

"We don't merely disagree about the Bible and Christ. I have NOTHING in common with an Atheist."

Ah, your true colors plainly spelled out at last? Or perhaps you're just angry? I sincerely hope it's the latter. The former could very well mean you simply hate others not like you.

As distasteful as it might seem to both you and the atheist, you do have something in common; humanity and imperfection.

"I am a Christian. My worldview is being attacked here."

Nurse that persecution complex all you want, but you came here. If you're so experienced with debates dating back to "before the Internet," you surely knew this would happen yet you came anyway. That, my misguided friend, is not persecution. It's masochism.

But then again, self-loathing along with an unhealthy martyr complex are part and parcel of the Christian's worldview.

"I would think an atheist would try to convince a Christian why he would be better being godless."

In your world, evangelism is a normal part of every day life. Atheists don't do this. You are free to believe what you like, as long as you don't try to infringe upon my right to do the same.

That said, when a Christian challenges us we will respond and point out the weaknesses in whatever argument is presented. Undoubtedly, you would do the same should the situation be reversed.

"Go ahead and reply. Maybe someone who is interested in carrying on the discussion will respond."

I rather suspect you aren't really interested in discussion. You haven't made any effort at understanding our point of view. You have simply asserted a litany of excuses as to why atheism sucks, and have freely stated you don't understand any of it anyway.

Jim Arvo answered your many objections very well, and hopefully you get something out of it. If not and you are still interested in continuing a discussion, please feel free to ask whatever you like.

Try to put your dogma on a leash though, will you?

Jim Arvo said...

"Try to put your dogma on a leash though, will you?"

I love it. One could also say...

Curb your dogma!

webmdave said...

MM said: This site was found by accident. Then, a little later, he mocks the idea that anything in the Universe could happen by chance.

Ironic.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Curb your dogma!"

I hadn't seen that one before!

Then there's the old classic (but didn't really fit):

"My karma ran over your dogma."

"MM said: This site was found by accident. Then, a little later, he mocks the idea that anything in the Universe could happen by chance.

Ironic."


Irony escapes many Christians, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

David Baldwin specifically said he had convesations with the Elders of the Grand Rapids RB Church...

Mailman dismisses those assertions out of hand without giving any indicatin he/she talked to the elders of the RBC of GR to get thier side of the story.

Dave Baldwin either had that conversation with the Elders or he didn't.. Why didn't Mailman check out the story before coming in her and enegage in smearing David Baldwin's charactor?

An old proverb says the wise man investigates a matter before speaking to it. Mailman has not done so... Mailman was not wise...

Eccentricity cuts both ways.. I've known a few eccentric mailmen that went to a church I use to attend...

Anonymous said...

mailman......
even if every accusation stated here by mindyb and dave baldwin is false, there are still many cult-like activities reining in RBC.... one that seriously bothers me is this weird fascination that older single men have with finding young obedient wives from a certain third world country.

Anonymous said...

Trinity Baptist Church has destroyed many lives over the past almost 30 years since its inception. It has ruined families, been the cause of divorces, suicides, sexual abuse and unfortunately many of these people who have suffered will never get the absolution that they need. I think that it's a sad state of affairs that those people are" Christians" representations of Christ...well then we know why certain ones of us never want to be "christians" again. There is so much pain that RBC have created through the brainwashing and manipulation of people. It makes me sick to my stomach.
I grew up with Mindy(get her name right people!) God it's not that hard, her real name is Melinda...even I know that. I completely believe all of the charges against ANM or FB. They are disgusting old men. I mean please I don't want to air their dirty laundry here, illegal immigrant non-tax paying status, I mean unfortunately the other one...he has had to pay in this world for his own sick Pride. I mean look at his family? ANM's grandson albeit not natural is in jail. This makes me very sad...and the rest of his family? I used to consider him to be like a grandfather to me as a child...rude awakening. I don't have malice towards them, but ANYONE who sincerely believes that there is not something wrong with RBC's is seriously deceived.

shepherdscain said...

amen!
I would love to continue a discusion about RBC on my blog. I grew up in ther church, and have quite a few scars. I am working through those issues now, and would love to hear from other "survivors". please comment on my blog, www.xanga.com/RBCDiscussionBoard. I just started the site, but please feel free to talk about your own experiences.

Anonymous said...

I think the mailman's method of dealing with this accusation speaks volumes about the RBC mentality. First, he makes no effort to find the truth, he just assumes that everybody must be lying. He makes up all sorts of scenarios to try to justify the actions of the great "bishops" of RBC (Nichols, Waldren, etc.) and the "pope" (ANM). Regardless of how many of the "great" pastors of RBC have fallen into sin (need I name names?), it continues to remain unthinkable that these things could be true.

Many of us, on the other hand, who have experienced the high-handed dictatorships of RBC pastors are more ready to believe. I, for one, actually attempted to find out the truth for myself instead of just assuming that the pastors couldn't have done anything wrong.

Even though I haven't attended a RBC in a few years, my name was brought up in a meeting as a "gossip and slanderer" when I started probing about Mindy's situation. That's how egotistical these people are. They actually think they still have authority over me. I was told by the next great RBC bishop Jeff Smith that there were police investigations in place that my probing (and others, also) might ruin. I still haven't seen a thing happen. It appears to have become just another of a plethora of RBC coverups. What a surprise.

John B said...

I am very interested in these matters of Reformed Baptists churches associated with Al Martin and his ilk. Feel free to view my myspace site for more info on me at http://www.myspace.com/psychicevolution

These "churches" are amazing mind control cults and are very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Old Ent,

I appreciate your support.

Tom (Mailman) I am surprised that you didn't come to me with your concerns about my spiritual well-being. You should have. You can "prove" your own spirituality by quoting Arthur Pink, John Calvin, or whomever suits your purposes. You ask God to bear witness, yet leave an easy out - you don't remember...

I'm sorry that I didn't measure up, but a flowery theology is nothing more than words of man. I'll embrace a simpler faith thank you.

Oh, and I didn't go into any great detail on the case of incest that was in fact kept from the members and the deacons because the sordid details weren't any of your business, and it wasn't necessary or prudent to expose the name of the victim.

I gave you enough information to verify what I was trying to warn you about.

For that you call me a liar. Wow.
I should be surprised...

Anonymous said...

Plethora of RB cover ups? Care to elaborate? I was in the RB world for a lot of years and I grant you it has its fair share of problems, but cover-ups? They must have done an exceedingly good job of covering up because I don't know what you can be referring to. I know that their doctrine is off, that they are arrogant, that they are controlling, that they are exclusionary, that they are legalistic....and on and on goes the list. But, I am surprised to hear allegations of scandal and deceit. So, I would be very interested to hear more. I heard the whole Mindy N. thing, but beyond that , whatcha" got?

Anonymous said...

This site will say much more.

www.rjd268.com/abuse_web_site.htm

This site is by Rich Damiani, a former member of the Trinity Baptist Church Cult, with Al Martin as its' lord and ruler.

Click "letter to former members".
Although Rich doesn't have the balls to name TBC or Al Martin, this is who he is talking about.

I know Rich Damiani. I too was a TBC member and Al Martin worshipper for almost 20 years.
But God rescued me.
Believe me, the evils that you hear about from this darkened pit are only the tip of the iceberg.

John B said...

I was a member of Ballston Lake Baptist Church /George McDearmon. TBC was a party compared to BLBC, but they are both equal in their level of mind control.

I wonder when the truth about this cult will finally if ever come out.

anonymous said...

www.wickedshepherds.com

Need I say more?

Neitherupnordown said...

Been a RB Pastor for many years.
Love my friends/congregation. Think they love me too.
Lots of godly, healthy, stable, fun, intelligent, happy, even good looking :-O people at our church. We love God, His Word, each other, friends, families, sport, beer, and cigars.
The legalism/ authoritarianism I read about on the blog is not in our church nor the churches my friends serve.

Very sad to read of the bad experience of some on this board... kind of stinks though how they think their experience (or their interpretation f their experience) is the final authority on all RB churches.

Maybe some good guys got some rough treatment? Maybe some nuts who are to blame themselves? Maybe some good guys who are a bit nutty who have allowed bitterness and pride to fill them? I am sure there all all kinds... just as all RB churches are not as described in this blog.

Peace.

Ramon said...

Listen up, “Neitherupnordown.”

When a “pastor” steps in-between a husband/wife relationship, he’s treading holy ground.

The mass deceit and corruption that has been occurring in the “church”during the last 30 or 40 years is nauseating. This is not “some good guys getting some rough treatment” or “some nuts who are to blame themselves” or “maybe some good guys who are a bit nutty who have allowed bitterness and pride to fill them.”

As one of the previous posts mentioned the website: www.wickedshepherds.com, that says it all.

“What God has joined together, let not man put asunder” is being spit upon by many in the RB church leadership positions. There. I said it. These are the plain facts and you don’t like to read the facts.

It is plain to anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear that the new remedy in dealing with “church members” who disagree with the “church eldership” or “church policy” is:
“What God has joined together, LET NOW THE PASTOR PUT ASUNDER”.

If you have an ounce of truth and honesty about you, YOU KNOW FROM WHENCE I SPEAK IS TRUE. And, ANM, one of the biggest perpetrators of this evil, has been getting away with it for years. It matters not that he is now “retired.” This evil that he has taught and practiced (and many have imbibed) is being copied and carried out even as we speak.

And if you think I, or many others, believe your hot air about how “the legalism/ authoritarianism I read about on the blog is not in our church nor the churches my friends serve” you are greatly mistaken. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if you have engaged yourself in these dastardly deeds in the past and would not hesitate for a minute in “providing this counsel” tomorrow, all “to the glory of God” of course.

True, “not all RB churches” engage in this, BUT MOST DO !! It runs in the blood. And as that website says, “….using the marriage institution is an effective tool in dealing with “unruly” church members….”

So all of your rhetoric about “loving your friends and congregation and God and His Word and families and beer and cigars” just don’t wash.

As one testimony on that site says,…“When the issue of authority and submission came up with my husband and I, the elders recommendation was also to separate, as my husband was the one questioning the elders authority. At that point we both knew that advice was terribly wrong and anti-biblical so, in due time, by God’s mercy, we jumped ship. That was a long time ago. By God's grace we have experienced biblical love in many other Christian churches and fellowship groups and quickly learned that Reformed Baptists aren't the only Christians with a handle on the Truth. Now at times we question whether Reformed Baptists have a truncated view of God's love, grace and mercy to sinners.

Since our leaving "Trinity", we’ve come to see several areas of Martin's teaching that are not biblical but have caused destruction and grief along with broken family members and husband and wife brutality and separations. My husband and I are thankful we opted out as soon as we did.”

Also, just to see how all of this is worked out practically, please read the article, “A Word to the Wives”, found at www.wickedshepherds.com/awordtothewives.html

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