What is Love?

“Biblically speaking, love is seeking your neighbor’s highest good.”
– Dr. Glenn Sunshine – 

“Love is an affair of the will.”
– C.S. Lewis – 

We live in a cultural moment where words are torn from their original meaning and metaphysical grounding.

I believe western society and civilization would benefit greatly if we recovered the original definitions of words. Why? Because words matter. Humans use language to communicate and describe reality.

The term ‘love’ is one of the most commonly used words in the English language. Love can mean a lot of things…

I love ice cream.
I love hunting.
I love my wife.
I love my mom.
I love my friends.
I love reading.
I love a warm fire.
I love God.
I love good music.

What do you love?
Who do you love?

What is Love, really?
Why does it matter?

Have you ever thought about how the definitions of words change over time?

Take the word ‘nice‘ for instance. Until the 14th Century, ‘nice’ was used as a pejorative. Nice was defined as; “foolish, ignorant, frivolous, senseless,” from Old French nice “careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish,” from Latin nescius “ignorant, unaware,” literally “not-knowing,” (source)

In the 19th Century, ‘nice‘ meant; “soft, tender, delicate; fine; accurate; exact; distinguishing.” (source)

In the 21st Century, the meaning of ‘nice‘ has morphed to mean; “kind, polite; pleasing, agreeable; appropriate, fitting; virtuous, respectable” (source)

You’ll think twice before saying someone is ‘nice’.

What about Love?

Love is important, right? Take a few moments to understand the similarities and subtle differences in the definitions of ‘love.’

The modern online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines love as follows:

Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties;
attraction based on sexual desire;
affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests;
an assurance of affection;
warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion;
the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration;
(source)

The Noah Webster Dictionary of the English Language (1828) defines ‘love’ as follows:
1. In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. we love to hear an eloquent advocate. The christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.
: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:37.

2. To have benevolence or good will for. John 3:16.

1. An affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind, or by the qualities of an object which communicate pleasure, sensual or intellectual. It is opposed to hatred. love between the sexes, is a compound affection, consisting of esteem, benevolence, and animal desire. love is excited by pleasing qualities of any kind, as by kindness, benevolence, charity, and by the qualities which render social intercourse agreeable. In the latter case, love is ardent friendship, or a strong attachment springing from good will and esteem, and the pleasure derived from the company, civilities and kindness of others.

Between certain natural relatives, love seems to be in some cases instinctive. Such is the love of a mother for her child, which manifests itself toward an infant, before any particular qualities in the child are unfolded. This affection is apparently as strong in irrational animals as in human beings.

We speak of the love of amusements, the love of books, the love of money, and the love of whatever contributes to our pleasure or supposed profit.

The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of his attributes or excellencies of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverence constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending him is its inseparable effect.

2. Courtship; chiefly in the phrase, to make love that is, to court; to woo; to solicit union in marriage.

3. Patriotism; the attachment one has to his native land; as the love of country.

4. Benevolence; good will.

: God is love 1 John 4:7.” (source)

Finally, the Greek as used in the New Testament possesses the richest definitions of ‘love’. Notice how similar it is to Noah Webster’s 1828 definition…

Sexual or Romantic Love: Greek – Eros
Brotherly Love (friendship): Greek – phileo
Familial Love: Greek – storge
Self-Sacrificial Love: Greek – agape

Agape’ is God’s deep and abiding love for people. It is also the kind of love that people should have toward our creator God and one another. It is a self-sacrificing love that sets aside self for the honor and benefit of the other. Agape is far too deep and rich to fully comprehend much less explain in this blog post. So, I’ll leave you with passages of Scripture for your reflection and meditation at the end.

Agape love is counter-cultural and controversial today…
Love carries with it an intolerance. In its ‘yes’, love also says ‘no!’ Agape love says yes to God an others, while at the same time denying self… Saying ‘no’! Love just can’t accept and tolerate anything, otherwise love would give license for unimaginable devilry and evil. One cannot love truth and falsehood at the same time.

The slogan, “Love is Love” is a simplistic rhetorical device that devolves into a quagmire of easily manipulated emotional sentiments. The truth is, “God is Love” because love has its source outside the fallen domain of the human heart. God is ‘Agape’ from which all other forms of ‘love’ and affections flow. One cannot separate the Love of God from Truth of God.

Words and their meanings matter.

What is Love (really)?

Reflect on these passages:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:1-8)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

I launched the Forge Room Foundation in order to equip Christians to understand our cultural moment and respond with a biblical worldview perspective. We have a end-of-year fundraising goal of $50,000. This will allow us to host more forums and seminars that quip and mobilize people for Kingdom action. Please consider us in your year end generosity plans. Learn more and give here…

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

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Rise up and Rebuild

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat… What is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be… Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

 

Sir Winston Churchill (May 13, 1940)

The lobby is full. The gourmet coffee is hot. The music is good. The rooms are big and luxurious. The furniture is comfortable. The captain’s voice puts me at ease. Everyone is smiling and feeling good. The pleasurable experience is worth the price of the morning hassle. A young bride looks at her husband, and warmly remarks, “I’m so glad we came to church today. Hurry, let’s drop off the kids at childcare. I hear the band starting to play and I don’t want to miss the first song!”

Church, do you see the trouble we’re in?

Christian escapism is not biblical Christianity. We’re so comfortable and familiar with our Sunday ‘worship experiences’ that cater to our personal preferences and whims, we don’t realize we’re living in a spiritual wasteland. If the Apostle Paul walked into our church buildings this Sunday to check the fruit of his church-planting ministry, would he recognize the church as the Church he planted? In other words, would the Apostle, who was martyred for the Church, recognize the gathering of a distinct people living in the world but are not of the world? Would Paul see a gathered people demonstrating to the unbelieving world what life looks like living under the rule and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ?

What I am about to say may sound like a harsh critique. It is nonetheless honest, accurate, and intended as a wake up call.

Generally speaking, the church in America is in ruins. And, we’ve grown accustomed to living among the ruins. In fact, we disguise the broken-down spiritual walls with physical veneers and accoutrements to portray stability and strength. Personal preference, privatization, and corporatization have replaced the supernatural dynamism and distinctive functions of the Church. As such, we have redefined the meaning of “church.” Prophetic preaching has been replaced with profit preaching. The congregant is viewed as a customer. The mission of the church is keeping the customer comfortable and coming back. This is the modality of most churches – especially seeker-sensitive churches.

Most evangelical preachers are not preaching outright heresy. We’re so biblically illiterate, I’m not convinced we’d recognize heresy or have the moral courage to call it out if they were. It is the inconvenient truths of the Bible that many pastors omit. All scripture is God-breathed and useful for every matter of salvation, life and godliness. In other words, scripture has implications for all of life, family, and society. Sidestepping certain issues is another way for some pastors to do what seems right in their own eyes. After all, we have to be nice to win people to Christ. Prior to the 1300s ‘nice‘ meant foolish or stupid. The church embodies a mood of amicability, cultural conformity, and consumerism. Lest we agitate or scare away the customer base and their money. It is a sad state we’re in.

Proclamations from church leadership on high to congregants below goes something like this…

“Stand up for Israel! She must protect her borders!”

“But, don’t you dare stand up for righteousness in a school board meeting to protect children! That’s political and divisive!”

“Speaking into cultural issues gets in the way of sharing the Gospel!”

“Submit to Government authority. Wear a mask. Stay at home and church watch online. Romans 13!”

“How dare you question church leadership even as we intentionally avoid transparency and lack theological clarity and moral courage? That’s unloving, disloyal, and divisive!”

“Let the professionals handle how we do church, your job is to submit to our authority, sit down, keep your mouth shut and your wallet open!”

“You are getting in the way of God’s work. Perhaps, you should find another church if you don’t like it here?”

Pragmatism and marketing gimmicks shape modern ministry philosophy. Pastors are rendered to nothing more than managers. Seminaries produce highly specialized class of degreed professionals in order to compete with secular university degrees. Work at a church is just another career path instead of a calling. As such, the people are viewed as problems to be solve instead of sheep to be shepherded. The question I have for most pastors, is; “Would you do what you do for free?”

If Jesus Christ walked into an elder meeting, would he be pleased with the humility, faithfulness, intercessory prayer, theological clarity, moral courage, and pastoral care being provided? Or would Jesus fashion a whip of HDMI cords, tear down the growth charts and building plans, dump the gourmet coffee on the expensive carpet and chase peddlers of religious goods and programs off the property? “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of marketers.”

Do you see the trouble we’re in?

WE’ve got a problem. The church is in ruins and that leads to families, communities and a nation in ruins. Most churches are simply rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic instead of calling for all hands on deck! I’m convinced, we are entering a time of civilizational crisis that no generation has witnessed since the Civil War or the Great Depression. In the words of William Strauss and Neil Howe, we are moving from societal unraveling into an era of crisis and upheaval. (1)

How are you going to think about a time such as this?
What are you going to do about it?
You have a choice that will shape the contours of history.
Will you stick with the status quo or “offer blood, toil, tears and sweat?”

Remember, we are The Church (a people, not a place)

Societal unraveling, crisis, and upheaval are nothing new to the church. Neither are awakenings and revivals new to the church! The church thrives in adverse and austere environments. We are the ekklesia! (2) We are redeemed and called out by Christ. We are a gathered people. Yet, we are distinct. At the same time, we are united from every nation, tribe, and tongue throughout human history. Distinct and united for what? To bear witness to the world to the glory of the King. And show the world what it looks like to live in His Kingdom that is in this world but not of this world. We carry our King’s message – a proclamation of good news and peace to rebels… “Lay down your sinful arms and run into His arms of grace!” Christ says, “Why spill the blood of others when I have spilled my blood for you and many for the forgiveness of sins?”

Why do I take the time to write this?

Because, God put it on my heart. This morning, I happened to listen to a sermon by Alistair Begg from 1994 entitled “Planting a Vision” from Nehemiah 2:11-20. It was a reminder for me of which I am so thankful!

Dark times demand a strong church…
We are a battleship not a cruiseliner.
We must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Like the ruined walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day, the church walls are ruined in our day – even as they are covered with modern veneers. The words of Nehemiah echo down the hallways of history, “Let us rise up and build!” (Nehemiah 2:18)

If Jesus returns today or a thousand years from today I don’t know. However, whether he returns or calls me home, I want to be found going about my King’s business. My business is equipping and mobilizing the Church. Alistair Begg asked the question,”Are you in this world to do something or just looking for something to do?” What is the King’s business you need to be about?

I reorder Churchill’s words for this moment.

“Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength… What is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be…”

In God’s providence, you are here and so am I. Let us pray for God’s vision, provision, protection, and power as we hold to His promises of victory. Let’s rebuild and fortify the church and her witness in this time for God’s glory.

If Christ tarries through this present crisis, then we are sowing and cultivating the fields of the mighty awakening to come!

Nehemiah caused a holy ruckus in his day… We should cause a holy ruckus in our day too?

Author’s Note: I started Forge Room Foundation because God arranged my circumstances (without my permission) and reinforced my calling to equip and mobilize His Church for this time and place. So, that’s what I do come hell or high water. We could use your support as we close out our first year. Consider us in your giving plan and give here…

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” – C.T. Studd

Footnotes:

(1) https://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Turning-American-Prophecy-Rendezvous/dp/0767900464

(2) https://www.gotquestions.org/definition-ekklesia.html

Join us on Sunday, Nov. 12, for a Forge Room Forum in Fort Worth, Texas. “Critical Social Theory vs. Biblical Unity” Register free here…

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

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TRAINING EVERYDAY CHRISTIANS TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.

Weeks Where Decades Happen

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Friday, October 6th to today (October 13th) marks one of those weeks. It appears a major geopolitical tectonic shift occurred on Saturday, October 7th. We won’t know the full historical significance of the Hamas surprise attack on Israel for several years. This is a tragic and horrific situation sent shockwaves around the world. While I am deeply disturbed and saddened, I will try to provide some analysis.

In America, it exposed two significant issues. First, it further exposed just how divided we are as a nation. Second, it exposed just how vulnerable we are.

The second exposure (our vulnerabilities) is a result of the first. But, I don’t want to follow what I believe is a secondary symptom. I want to focus on the first exposure. In his book, “Faultlines” Dr. Voddie Bauchum uses the analogy shifting of the earth’s plates and the resulting earthquakes to describe American culture today. So, I’ll employ the analogy in a similar manner.

The first exposure (divided nation) demonstrates the various worldview, cultural, and ideological fault lines within our society. These fault lines run deep where common ground is difficult, if not impossible to locate. It feels like the very ground is shifting under our feet. At its core, these fissures are competing worldviews. And they are under tension.

Worldview is the lens through which we view, interpret and engage reality.

It is what we believe about ourselves and the world around us. Everyone has a worldview, regardless if they realize it or not. Worldview is seen in how we, believe, live, and behave.

At the center of the current clash are two fundamental questions, the answers to which lead to two different answers and destinations.

1. What is the problem with the world?
2. How do we fix it?

Christianity, Postmodernism, Secularism, Islam, Marxism, etc. will answer those two questions very differently. In a pluralistic society like America, worldviews will clash and create fissures. This doesn’t mean all worldviews are equally true. Some worldviews are shaped by the contours of reality while others attempt to reshape reality to impose their desired vision on reality.

Because analogies are helpful, let’s use another one.
Reality is like gravity. A man can claim to be able to break the law of gravity by dawning a superhero cape, climbing a three story building, and jumping off. However, he will not be able to break the law of gravity. Instead, he will fall to the ground and break himself. Thus proving the law of gravity.

Reality is the truth of how things actually are. The better we understand reality and live consistently within its contours, the more coherent our lives will be. From a biblical perspective, God created reality as a framework. He provided humans with logic and reason as both a map and language to understand, communicate, and live within the framework. When we intentionally or unintentionally get out of sync or reject reality, we break ourselves (like the man who tried to break the law of gravity).

Simply put, reality is experiential truth. It has laws and boundaries. As much as I would love to play basketball like Michael Jordan or swim as fast as Michael Phelps, no amount of effort, positive thinking, or physical manipulation will ever make me Jordan or Phelps… Not even close. God created me as Lance. He created you as who you are. We have our own distinct qualities, gifts, talents, limitations, and weaknesses. However, we all possess intrinsic value and worth as God’s image-bearers.

I’ve said it before, reality (truth) bats last, and reality is a slugger. Work with reality not against it and life will go much better. Therefore, if we want to solve the issues in our society, we need to properly diagnose the problems within our society. After all, if we misdiagnose the problem, the cures we create will end up harming the people we’re trying to help.

In his recount of life under Russian persecution, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago:

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.”

August of 1905, The Daily News newspaper editors posed a question to readers, “What is wrong with the world today?” G.K. Chesterton responded:

“Dear Sirs,
I am.
Yours Truly,
G.K. Chesterton.”

These men were answering the question, “What is the problem with the world?”

The Bible clearly states the problem with the world is sin.

And sin infects every human heart. Sin originates and is located in individual hearts. Then, it works its way through society. Either that is true or it’s not. If it’s true, then we’ve identified the Problem at the center of all other problems. The Gospel provides the cure.

If we’re going to attempt to wrap our heads around what is going on in our world like Israel or our own families, we need to have the proper worldview lens to accurately understand them. Then, we bring solutions that help instead of harming people. Those solutions will be grounded in the Gospel and Christ’s redemptive work through His redeemed people.

We are living in a civilizational moment in which there are “weeks where decades happen.” We must understand all of the cultural and geopolitical tectonic shifts are driven by worldviews. Earth’s tectonic plates build up pressure and eventually shift, causing earthquakes, so it is with worldviews. Tension builds and things move causing rapid shifts in a short timespan… Even as these worldview pressures and tensions are hundreds of years in the making.

In the final analysis, when faced with “weeks where decades happen” we must think biblically and ‘worldview-ishly”. Then we must pray faithfully and act with moral courage in the areas God has assigned us – leaving the results to Him.

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Church Leaders Silencing Employees Using Legal Agreements?

“Money being offered in non-disparagement agreements can be a messy and sometimes profoundly evil transaction. At times people are asked with an offer of money to hide acts that are wrong, evil, and even criminal; some are asked for money not to talk about a corrupted institution.”

 

Steve Rabey (MinistryWatch)

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

There is a worrying trend among churches.

Big churches are paying big money (your tithes and offerings) to hire attorneys to legally bind employees (and former employees) with non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement clauses, separation agreements, severance agreements, and similar legal tools in order to SILENCE them.

MinistryWatch’s Steve Rabey said regarding “Nondisclosure agreements — and their cousin, non–disparagement agreements… Money being offered in non-disparagement agreements can be a messy and sometimes profoundly evil transaction. At times people are asked with an offer of money to hide acts that are wrong, evil, and even criminal; some are asked for money not to talk about a corrupted institution.

…no one with a theologically-informed ethic should be thinking of non–disparagement agreements when the issue is dirt on the floor in the church. Such a person, instead of advocating silence, should be advocating rebuke and repentance and a return to basics, including unflinching truth telling.”

Others have criticized NDAs on moral, ethical, and legal grounds, arguing that:
– They are virtually unenforceable;
– Their real purpose is to intimidate people into silence;
– In churches and ministries, they can foster working environments and cultures that prioritize privacy over transparency, concealment over accountability. (link)

I’ve worked in the business world where these tools are legitimately and appropriately used. The problem arises when these agreements are used by church organizations.

From the outset, I am NOT claiming ALL church organizations are doing this. Most local churches (of all sizes) operate in humility, faithfulness, and fidelity to Scripture. However, we’re seeing a trend (see resource links below this post).

I’m going to address this issue and bring it to light. Hopefully, this will lead to healing and restoration in the church. Biblically, church leaders are accountable to their congregations, employees, and God.

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God;” 1 Peter 4:17

“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” Luke 12:2-3

“For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:22-23

There is a growing awareness that church organizations are implementing coercive binding agreements and other legal devices. These agreements are directly tied to financial compensation and/or severance packages, the purpose of which is to legally bind a former employee to silence. Some church organizations see themselves more as business entities than the body of Christ.

– Are these agreements ethical or moral?
– Are these agreements biblical?
– Does this belong in the church?
– What would Jesus Christ say about church organizations using such agreements?

NDAs, Separation Agreements, and other similar such agreements have ZERO place in the church.

They are coercive and toxic. They put former employees in bondage to their former employers. They cause harm to those with the least institutional power (the employee). These agreements are used to bully former employees. Once implemented, former employees are forced to separate from their church family and/or are shunned by staff. These agreements do not edify the church nor do they glorify God.

Forcing an employee to sign an agreement tied to money in exchange for their silence is evil (period). After all, what does a church organization have to hide that requires the coercion of an employee to sign a document that forces them to be silent in exchange for money?

Beginning today, this is going to stop.
Beginning today, I encourage church organizations to rescind all such agreements immediately.

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear…”
If you are a pastor, church officer, church executive, elder, etc. and you have used non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement clauses, or other coercive separation agreements tied to compensation in exchange for silence, you’ve been put on notice.

The Light is coming and church organizations have a choice…

Repent of the harm you have inflicted and rescind these agreements or “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light.”

Defining Terms:

Non-disclosure Agreement:
“A contract in which one or more parties promise to keep information confidential, and not disclose it to any other party without proper authorization… Also referred to as an “NDA,” “confidentiality agreement,” or “proprietary information agreement,” such a contract outlines the nature of the confidential information, without disclosing it specifically… NDAs are most commonly used in businesses when the need to establish a confidential relationship with employees or contractors arises. Such information may include trade secrets, proprietary information, client lists, database information, or any other information considered to be vital to the business.” (source)

Non-disparagement clause (or agreement):
“A part of an agreement, such as an employment contract, separation agreement, or marital settlement agreement, which stipulates that the involved parties are prohibited from making any negative statements, remarks, or representations about each other. Such clauses are in prevalent use to prevent (ex) employees from adversely affecting the business of employers with disparaging public statements either during or after the employment period has ended.” (source)

“The other place you might encounter a non-disparagement clause is in a separation agreement—a document you may be asked to sign if you’re being fired, laid off, or are otherwise leaving on bad terms… “Companies will make signing the non-disparagement clause a condition of getting your severance money and/or benefits.” (source)

Separation Agreement:
“Most employee separation agreements require the employee to waive any potential legal claims. These could include employment law, compensation, and discrimination claims. For employers, this is often the primary purpose of the agreement.

In exchange for waiving the claims, an employee separation agreement can offer a severance package to the employee. Severance is not required, but it’s often a good incentive for the employee to sign the document. It can also help enhance a company’s reputation.” (source)

Typically, these arrangements are embedded in agreements issued by the church organization (usually when an employee leaves or is forced to resign or terminated).

Should churches use NDAs or other such agreements? The answer is ‘No’.

I have yet to discover a legitimate biblical reason. Someone will retort, “But, what about protecting the ‘reputation of the church’ and the ‘reputation of Christ’ against slander or negative perception?”

“These agreements ostensibly ensured that both the church and employee “act in a Christ-like manner, avoiding gossip and destructive slandering that causes division, rather than unity.” (link)

Libel, defamation, slander, etc. have to do with lying about someone or something that occurred. There are legal remedies for that type of behavior. 

Furthermore, telling the truth, even if it is negative, is not slander or gossip.

Church leader, if you have a problem with an employee within a church organization, the solution is found in the Word of God not some pagan ‘best practices’ business arrangement.

Here’s the deal, don’t be evil. Don’t mistreat people or attempt to cover up unethical behavior. There is no biblical reason for a church to implement agreements that bind people to silence using financial benefits and legal threats. The legal threats and vague legal reasoning contained in these agreements make the person feel trapped while all the power resides with the institutional leaders. This leads to self-separation by the former employee and silence where conflict, spiritual abuse or worse has occurred.

Someone will say, “Oh, you’re being divisive.”

No, I’m being honest. These unbiblical agreements are divisive by nature. So, who’s being divisive? The one implementing them or the one exposing them?

I know an instance where church leaders instructed employees not to speak to a former employee or discuss anything related to the church because doing so would amount to gossip and divisiveness. So, employees who were friends with a former employee essentially shunned their former teammate. Some feared losing their jobs if they spoke to the former employee. That’s cultish behavior.

Imagine being told this by a church leader one day and running into your friend (former employee) at a store the next? Would you fear reprimand, if leadership found out you spoke to a friend? At worse, would you fear losing your job? Think about it.

In conclusion, I am NOT claiming all church organizations are doing this. But the trend is growing. There are no biblical or ecclesiological reasons for church leaders to bind current or former employees to silence through non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement clauses, separation agreements, or any such binding agreements. Nor should the tithes and offerings of the congregation be used for attorneys’ fees or unconstitutional severance / separation packages.

Guess what? It’s going to stop. People are getting wise to the game.

The light is coming and accountability with it. It will be much easier to repent personally and ask for forgiveness privately than the alternative.

Church Leader, you can circle the wagons and attempt to protect your institutional power… But know this. The truth bats last, and he is a slugger.

Solution: Repent of the harm you have inflicted and rescind these agreements or “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light.”

If you are a church leader (staff or elder) and you have implemented these agreements to coerce or cover-up wrong-doing or silence people, it may be time to resign. You’re most likely unfit for duty as a shepherd of God’s beloved people. Your sin can be forgiven but you’re unfit to lead ministry.

Will there be a Part 2 to this post, we’ll see…

I recommend every pastor, elder, deacon and ministry leader meditate on Ezekiel 34:1-10 “Prophecy Against the Shepherds of Israel”

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

 

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”

Resources and links:

Thou Shalt Not Disclose: How Churches and Ministries Use Legal Agreements to Silence Victims and Conceal Sin
https://ministrywatch.com/thou-shalt-not-disclose-how-churches-and-ministries-use-legal-agreements-to-silence-victims-and-conceal-sin/

NDAs are a tool for toxic church cultures
https://religionnews.com/2022/09/08/ndas-are-a-tool-for-toxic-church-cultures/

Silence of the sheep – Christian nonprofits and churches have adopted practices from the for-profit world of avoiding liability, sometimes leading to devastating outcomes
https://wng.org/articles/silence-of-the-sheep-1617298243

Should Churches Use NDAs? It Depends.
https://www.nae.org/churches-use-ndas/

Should a Church Use NDAs?
https://www.churchandculture.org/blog/2022/9/12/should-a-church-use-ndas

When Christian Ministries Ask Their Ex-Employees Not to Talk
How a corporate world practice became mainstream for evangelical nonprofits and churches.
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/quick-to-listen/christian-ministries-non-disclosure-agreements-non-competes.html

NDAs Kept These Christians Silent. Now They’re Speaking Out Against Them.
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/july/ndafree-campaign-confidentiality-nondisclosure-abuse.html

Sign or face the consequences
https://wng.org/sift/sign-or-face-the-consequences-1617422845

Should Christian Organizations Use NDAs?
https://abfifer.com/blog/2021/12/should-christian-organizations-use-ndas/

What are Red Flags For Spiritual Abuse in Your Church? with Teasi Cannon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suiB7_MUv2I

Spiritual Abuse and the Church: Why Should We Listen? with Teasi Cannon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dseigzUaGRI

What Is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
https://www.findlaw.com/smallbusiness/business-contracts-forms/what-is-a-non-disclosure-agreement-nda.html

What is an employee separation agreement?
https://www.adobe.com/sign/hub/how-to/guide-to-employee-separation-agreements.html

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

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How to recognize Cultural Marxism and Critical Theories

“The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.”

 

Max Horkheimer (The father of Critical Theory)

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Do you know how to recognize Cultural Marxism and Critical Theories? I’m here to help!

Cultural Marxism and Critical Theories destroy what they claim to care about (period).

Critical Theory is Cultural Marxism

  • CRT (Critical Race Theory) is Cultural Marxism applied to ethnicity
  • Intersectionality is Cultural Maxism applied to social interactions
  • ESG (Environmental, Social and corporate Governance) is Cultural Marxism applied to business
  • Stakeholder Capitalism is Cultural Marxism applied to economics
  • SEL (Social, Emotional, Learning) is Cultural Marxism applied to child psychology
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is Cultural Marxism applied to institutions
  • LGBTQ+ is Cultural Marxism applied to sex and gender
  • Trans Rights is Cultural Marxism applied to human identity
  • Queer Theory is Cultural Marxism applied to anything considered normal
  • Liberation Theology is baptized Cultural Marxism
  • Progressive Christianity is Cultural Marxism applied to Christian theology through eisegesis and deconstruction
  • Climate Change is Meteorological Cultural Marxism
  • Universal Healthcare is Cultural Marxism applied to healthcare
  • “Leading from behind” is Cultural Marxism applied to diplomacy
  • Open Borders is Cultural Marxism applied to national sovereignty
  • My Body, My Choice is Cultural Marxism applied to human reproduction
  • Green Energy is Cultural Marxism applied to energy production

Two Questions you always needs to ask:
1. Who benefits most? (Who actually gets the power?)
2. Who is harmed most?

Here are a few examples….

CRT:
Beneficiaries: Race hustlers, leftists, DEI trainers, International NGOs (ie. WEF)
Victims: Ethnic minorities, children, communities, and the justice system

ESG:
Beneficiaries: Global corporations, large banks, International NGOs (ie. WEF and UN), politicians
Victims: The poor (think children working in cobalt mines for electric batteries), retirees and pension-holders, and laborers, the natural environment (replacing forests and fields with solar panels and windmills).

SEL:
Beneficiaries: Government School administrators, International NGOs (ie. WEF and UN) academics and nonprofits that produce SEL curriculum and training, psychology industry.
Victims: children and parents

DEI:
Beneficiaries: DEI industry ($7.5 billion in 2020 – Estimating $15.4 billion by 2026)(1), governments, Global Corporations, large banks, International NGOs (ie. WEF and UN).
Victims: small and medium-sized businesses, students, workers, tax-payers, local and national economies

You get the point… Funny how the World Economic Forum and United Nations seem to be at the top of the food chain. Elites don’t care about issues effecting people, they care about power.

Take a moment to THINK critically and assess the situation. When Cultural Marxism (Critical Theory) is applied to anything, it harms the very people and institutions it claims to liberate and empower. In other words, Cultural Marxism (Critical Theory) is a huge scam for money and power dressed up in altruistic vocabulary and appeals to emotion. In the words of Doug Wilson, “It lies! It lies like dead flies on a windowsill.”

If you hold to any of the ideas above and you are not a Davos or Global elite, you are being used by people thirsty for power and control. That sounds harsh but Cultural Marxist elites use people to amass power and money for themselves. The language and sentiments hide a self-serving agenda.

The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.”

Max Horkheimer

Father of Critical Theory

Understanding Cultural Marxism (Critical Theory) in all its disguises

Karl Marx had a vision based on materialism and economic struggle between the Bourgeoisie owner-oppressors and the Proletariat worker-oppressed. He believed there would be a revolution where the Proletariat would overthrow their Bourgeois oppressors. The result, as Marx envisioned, would be total equality in outcomes and a utopian state.

When Marxist revolutions failed to materialize in America and the west, Antonio Gramsci (Italian Marxist) theorized that the Cultural Hegemony (dominant cultural power) hindered it. Gramsci concluded that a Marxist revolution could not materialize in wealthy, stable and capitalist societies. For Antonio Gramsci, the problem was worldview and culture not economic and material (as Marx believed).

According to Gramci, elites in America and the west controlled and oppressed the lower classes through cultural institutions (academia, education systems and universities, the church, politics, judiciary, civil service, media, entertainment, the family and marriage).

Gramsci’s vision was to create a counter-cultural power to overthrow the dominant oppressive power structure in the west by infiltrating cultural institutions. Then, conditions would be set for a Marxist revolution. Gramci believed communists and socialists needed to subvert western culture from the inside. He termed this ‘a war of position.’

What began with Marx was adapted by Gramsci (Cultural Marxism) is now called Critical Theory. The term Critical Theory was a coined by Max Horkheimer – its another way of saying Cultural Marxism. According to Horkheimer, it is a radical, emancipatory form of Marxian theory intended “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”

Critical Theory (Cultural Marxism) as a Worldview

Today, Critical Theory (Cultural Marxism) is a bonafide worldview that competes with Christianity, Islam, Atheism, Secularism, New Ageism, etc. Critical Theory identifies invisible power structures in society between oppressed groups and their oppressors. This is also referred to as Power Dynamics. The goal of dismantling oppressive structures. Again, Critical Theory is repackaged Cultural Marxism.

The critical theorist is in a constant state of critique, dividing people into oppressed identity groups determined by gender, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, etc. Their goal is overthrow the oppressive group and liberate the oppressed group. The problem is that this never happens because Critical Theory is a sham designed by Marxist – Leninists to obtain power.

David Horowitz wrote, “A radical SDS activist once said, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” In other words, the cause of a political action – whether civil rights or women’s rights – is never the real cause; women, blacks and other “victims” are only instruments in the larger cause, which is power.”

In conclusion…
It’s all about gaining power… Equity, social justice, inclusion, diversity, and the utopian vision rhetoric are simply tactics employed to divide people and in order to obtain power. We must admit, Marxists have been very successful in their long march through the institutions. Marxists don’t care about the ‘little guy’ unless the ‘little guy’ can be used as cannon fodder to obtain political and cultural power. Take a moment to observe how powerful elite revolutionaries use minorities, engineer language, and employ tactics of division to pit people against each other in order to obtain power. 

So, when you hear the newest catch-phrase emerging from academia, globalists, and the media – you can be almost certain it’s just another flimsy wrapper for Cultural Marxism.

The solution is to be equipped with a biblical worldview and cultural intelligence in order to speak truth to error because Cultural Marxism destroys what it claims to care about. Don’t buy into the Cultural Marxism lies and all their alluring catch-phrases. Counter those lies with the truth. The truth will set captives free who have been enslaved by false ideologies like Cultural Marxism and the Critical Theories.

What do you need to speak the truth about today that if you didn’t, you would regret it tomorrow?

Want to learn more? Check out the ‘Culture and the Christian Worldview’ seminars…

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

LEARN ABOUT THE FORGE ROOM FOUNDATION.
TRAINING EVERYDAY CHRISTIANS TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.

LOOKING FOR MORE?

In addition to this blog, explore additional content on my Substack!

If you enjoy Revolution of Man blog, podcast, and videos - Consider subscribing to my Substack. Substack is a reader-supported publication that also allows me to reach a broader audience. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming paid subscriber.