Substitutionary Atonement: The Satisfaction of the Wrath of God? (Long Read)

Many, who give Christianity a go, so to speak, do so on the basis of emotive appeals and/or yearning. And many, who eventually and effectively fall away, do so because Christianity seems incoherent. This may manifest itself as outright rejection, as neglect, or in wayward departure from essential verities and their application. Application is an entailment of genuine faith; much as technological applications entail genuine faith in underlying principles of scientific theories.

Proponents of Christianity can do little in regard those who honestly cannot reconcile Christianity with perceived realities; or those who exalt their own reason and/or psyche as the ultimate arbiters of Truth and the Good, especially whenever the counter-intuitive wisdom of the God of Scriptures comes into conflict (which shall inevitably occur); or those who were never sufficiently serious.

However, proponents of Christianity ought to, at least, ensure that the Gospel and Full Counsel of God that is transmitted is scripturally faithful and thereby rationally coherent. It is cause for deep grief and great disgust when it is the errant teachings of ecclesiastical orthodoxy, which prove contrary to Biblical orthodoxy, which are the reasons for initial or eventual rejection. It is cause for deep frustration when more time is required disabusing what Christianity is not, perpetuated by those self-identified and supposedly Christian, than in explaining what Christianity is.

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The Atonement of Christ, as the sating of the wrath of God unto our Justification, is one such ecclesiastical orthodoxy, deserving of such disdain. Continue reading “Substitutionary Atonement: The Satisfaction of the Wrath of God? (Long Read)”

Reclaiming Natural Law (Excerpt)

Virtually all of my Evangelical life, I have operated upon the belief in the existence of Natural Law. Or so I thought. Of late, I discover a subtle but substantive difference from how the larger part of Christendom, including Reformed Protestants, has understood the concept.

The form of Natural Law, upon which I have always operated, is ontological. The purpose behind natural laws is to provide experiential benefit and prevent experiential harm to the cosmological and psychosocial order in natural cause and effect fashion. This ontological understanding of Natural Law allows for the theoretical possibility of epistemologically ascertaining those ethical principles and their ontological effects through natural human faculties (e.g. reason and empirical evidence), although this can be quite difficult even with highest commitment to intellectual integrity. This enables genuine social discourse between all members of society regarding the nature of the Good, while being realistic as to the success of that project.

Nevertheless, just like the law of gravity, natural moral laws operate at the objective level of being, existence, and actuality; quite independent of the (subjective) knowing. Continue reading “Reclaiming Natural Law (Excerpt)”

Imputed Injustice – The Judicial Importance of Consent

Imputed Injustice

Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists

It is my empirically justified belief that modern Protestant Evangelicalism, and particularly its seminarian elite, have little comprehension of the nature and principles of Justice, including that of due process. In this, the seminarians have seriously failed to uphold the triumvirate of concerns that Christ Jesus deemed primary: judgment/justice, faith, and compassion (Matt 23:23). And if one does not comprehend the nature and principles of Justice, one cannot comprehend the Justice in the Justification in the Atonement.

A, if not THE primary argument deployed to validate the notion of humanity’s collective guilt in Adams’s sin is proof by blackmail. If one repudiates the imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt upon all, neither can one subscribe to the imputation of Christ Jesus’s work on behalf of those who put their faith in Him. We would thereby still be hopelessly dead in our sins. Continue reading “Imputed Injustice – The Judicial Importance of Consent”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

Mars Hill imploded a little while after my brief flirtation with Harvest Bible Chapel. While at Harvest, I met young males who were initially quite enthused about the masculine Christianity that Driscoll represented. As for myself, I have complicated thoughts and feelings about this now “Goldstein” in the New Calvinist pantheon. This is as it should be. Contrary to the Manichean stick figures of Hollywood, the larger part of humanity are a complexity.

I do not wish to speak to Driscoll’s attitudes, personality, and failings; nor to the hostile milieu which confronted him, globally, locally, and within his own multisite megachurch; nor the interaction between such, which contributed to greater contention in feedback loop. Others, many with personal acquaintance with the actors involved, have better testimonies to those elements.

Rather, it is Mars Hill’s Church Discipline in the Bible (2012) in-house document, which I found of greater pertinence and enduring import. For contained therein is a systemic theological understanding and ecclesiological practice, common with other New Calvinist churches. The purpose of this essay is to suggest a traceable link between those systemic understandings and the various scandals that consistently plague New Calvinist churches in various forms. Continue reading “The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline”

Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists

Imputed Injustice

Yet we still quarrel. We still contend with the Almighty. We still assume that somehow God did us wrong and that we suffer as innocent victims of God’s judgment. Such sentiments only confirm the radical degree of our fallenness. When we think like this, we are thinking like Adam’s children. Such blasphemous thoughts only underline in red how accurately we were represented by Adam.[1]

According to R.C. Sproul, repudiating the imputation of legal guilt for Adam’s sin upon ourselves as his descendants constitutes blasphemous thoughts, indicative of the radical degree of our fallenness. Then I am the chief of blasphemers; having visceral and vehement contempt and detestation for this ecclesiastical innovation! Had I first heard this nonsense, confirmed by the larger part of Christendom, I would have rejected Christianity outright as perversely absurd and unjust. I would have been as Christopher Hitchens, as Sam Harris, or as Richard Dawkins. Thank God that He saved me from His church, albeit in a most painful way.

Rejecter of the Faith

Apparently, I am not alone in my radical blasphemer and radical degree of fallenness. Continue reading “Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 3


The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

 The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The more that I have learnt of Darrin Patrick’s person and ministry since April 13, 2016, the more that I have come to like the man. This does not make me his fanboy. He is not that pretty. However, I am a man with an acute sense of justice, and fierce Scythian loyalty to protect those who I deem to be one of “my own,” even to the point of savaging the reputations and livelihoods of those who would so dare hurt those I love.

Aspersions of sinful leadership and deceit in Darrin’s life are continuing to be promulgated by The Journey cabal and their allies. But the facts that are publicly available betray this narrative. There is total disconnect. And it is only because of the sheeple propensity of those within the Reformed/New Calvinist congregations, which allows this narrative to persist. But to trust the word of mere men, Evangelical mini-popes, over the plain rendering of Scriptures or the objective realities of the situation is to give evidence of a perilous salvific status. For such sheeples have made these elders, who proclaim to be the trumpets and anvils of God, to be the ultimate authority, even over the God of Scriptures.

From my vantage point, deep injustice has been done to Darrin Patrick. A predominantly conservative–minded faction among the eldership resent their more sociopolitical moderate colleague who has pursued the lost beyond the gated culture communities of white sepulchered Christendom. They have exploited the passages concerning the qualifications of elders, while blatantly violating other explicit scriptural passages that insist that the facts of Patrick’s supposed moral failings be laid out before the congregation for them to decide (Matt 18:15–7). In this, I see a successful bid by Satan, exploiting the envy of these moralistic and Pharisaic wolves that currently lead The Journey, to discredit and destroy one who has hitherto been able to successfully assault the gates of Hell. The facts of that reality, even these wolves have been disinclined to discredit. This is a better narrative, which fits the factual circumstances, and in light of scriptural and Christian history, than the narrative that seems to be in the process of morphing as we speak.

For according to the latest rumors that have been fed to Christianity Today and Barnabas Piper, the son of John Piper, “sexual behaviour was not the issue at hand, but the issue at hand was basically pride.”[1] Last week, innuendos of sexual impropriety and lack of self-control was the mainstay of The Journey’s assault on Darrin’s honor and reputation. But apparently this first lob of flak was too incredible, even for the credulity of those on their pews, to stick. So the current narrative is one of “Darrin Patrick . . .  was fired for violating his duties as a pastor and one of the major behavioural issues that his church board or elder board cited as the reason for their firing was a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.”

Determination of pride is a very difficult and elusive judgment call, usually requiring “by their fruits, you will know them” forms of palpable and measureable evidence (Matt 7:16, 20). Even New Calvinist leadership will counsel that one may refute perceived erroneous doctrines with gusto, but be very careful, and having plenty of evidence, in the aspersion of bad motives and attitudes. But as exemplified in Darrin Patrick’s response to a critique of one his books from John MacArthur, extant evidence on social media betrays this elusive pride that these church elder board members have apparent deep insight into, (even as their lead pastor, a psycho-socially oblivious Jeremy Bedenbaugh, publicly dishonored his wife).[2] But if one takes the time to listen to Darrin Patrick’s talks, the vanity of pride is not among the top five impressions one receives, unless one has a prejudice, agenda, or anvil to grind.

But let us take up the issue of “a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.” If this be true of Darrin Patrick, who I have never heard of prior to last week, what can it be said of Barnabas Piper’s father, John Piper, who I have heard of, who was quick to make his presence known in the Oklahoma tornado? If this be true of Darrin Patrick, what is one to say about all those other books by New Calvinist pastors and theologians with pages of endorsements from their peers (John 12:43). I actually find it difficult to believe that they have been read by their endorsers. For what busy bee minister would have the time to read all the books that they have endorsed?

Is writing a book contrary to the declared will of God? If not so, then the public should be aware of the current state of the publishing industry. An author is required by the publisher of his book to establish a media platform. I know this, because in order to have an academic book published with Wipf & Stock, which was already accepted (“Faith from First to Last”), this has been a requirement laid upon me. But because I am just a non-credentialed grunt on the pew, in a Laodicean locality with a dearth of spiritual vitality to support my ventures, and without the network of endorsers, that book will have to be withdrawn from them.

The publishing market is so savagely competitive, especially with Amazon, traditional publishers no longer perform the promotional stuff that they once used to. Therefore, Barnabas Piper, who has published a book and should know better, but has the promotional advantage of nepotistic connections, is being deceitfully disingenuous.

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I am tiring of this travesty of justice. If The Journey will not self-correct or prove the facts of their aspersions concerning Darrin Patrick; and if Act 29 leader, Matt Chandler, or all the other New Calvinist leadership do not correct this situation; then just as the elders of The Journey have arrogated unto themselves to be the trumpets and anvils of God, so shall I do likewise. And just as my Father saw fit to hiss for the Assyrians and Babylonians to discipline “physical Israel”; in imitation of Him (Eph 5:1), perhaps I should hiss for the Assyrian and Babylonian presses to discipline “spiritual Israel.”

[1] Morgan Lee, “Darrin Patrick, Pastors, and Pride with Barnabas Piper,” Quick to Listen (Christianity Today), April 21, 2016,, Min 2:30.

[2] “When I make my vows to my wife in my marriage ceremony, I said, you know, richer or poorer, sickness or in health. And I will love you until all eternity. No. What do we say? I will love you until death do us part. There will be an ending of marriage.” From Jeremy Bedenbaugh, Singleness (sermon), St. Louis, MO: Tower Grove Church, October 18, 2015,, 3:50 – 4:06.

When Is a Non-Profit not a Non-Profit?

Grunts on the pew have long been exposed to the disgraceful travesty of Evangelical profiteers of the “gospel”; although this seems largely to be an American phenomena. Unfortunately, although I dwell in another political jurisdiction, this stench cannot be contained by physical borders. Wheeler-and-dealer Ayatollah Robertson seems to have wielded a legally ironclad deal to have his “700 Club” punish the world in perpetuity. Between Robertson’s CBN and the Crouch’s TBN, The Walrus and the Carpenter of Prosperity Gospel broadcasting, these public persona have largely become the face of Evangelical Christianity.

Hereby, my local interlocutors, let alone all those on the commentariats, find easy reason to dismiss the Gospel and the Christian faith. And who can blame them? And thus again, “the name of God is blasphemed among the [nations]” (Rom 2:24). This is never a good state of affairs within which Christian seminarians should dwell. Such excess of wealth and opulence among the higher ranks of the Romanist clergy became useful fodder for the Protestant Reformers in the 16th Century, and the Jacobins in the 18th. And if Russell Moore complains about lack of Evangelical discernment and concern regarding Demagogue Donald, this is partially a function of country club seminarians having alienated many of their grunts on the pew.

Continue reading “When Is a Non-Profit not a Non-Profit?”

Imputed Injustice

It is my empirically justified belief that modern Protestant Evangelicalism, and particularly its seminarian elite, have little comprehension of the nature and principles of Justice, including that of due process. In this, the seminarians have seriously failed to uphold the triumvirate of concerns that Christ Jesus deemed primary: judgment/justice, faith, and compassion (Matt 23:23). And if one does not comprehend the nature and principles of Justice, one cannot comprehend the Justice in the Justification in the Atonement.

I am not keen on citing myself as an authoritative source. I would rather leave such quasi-divine pretentions to Canadian Supreme Court Madam Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé in one of those “No Means No” sexual consent cases. However, in the absence of someone else who shares my conclusions, the observations and arguments contained within the citation, rather than the credentials and merits of its author, must do.

One of those many grievous ecclesiastical follies to which God, in his superior wisdom and knowledge of my psychological constitution (Ps 139: 1–18), shielded me from knowing through long Bunyanesque ordeal and psychosis, was the theological and judicial travesty of the imputation of Adam’s sin guilt upon all of his descendants. I would have been like this gorgeous lad, (although less gorgeous), which Faith Today deployed to model those Millennials who reject the faith of their parents.

Rejecter of the Faith

Continue reading “Imputed Injustice”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 2 (Revised) – Part 2

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The Idolatry of Holiness and the Pharisaic Impulse

Claiming that holiness can be made an idol when Scriptures enjoins holiness (1 Pet 1:16) and perfection (Matt 5:48) raises eyebrows, especially among the holiness herd. Yet, I stand fast. God has many attributes. And just as His grace and mercy cannot be made excuse to sacrifice His righteousness and justice, neither is the opposite true. Likewise, one can be so dedicated in the pursuit of personal virtue, one attains nothing beyond an insufferable rectitude, to which Cato the Elder (a.k.a. Censor) became famous and infamous in the pagan world.

Idolaters presume that they know what holiness is. Thus, the Pharisees castigated Christ for violating Sabbath laws, drinking alcohol, and keeping company with the moral trash. But behind this veneer of lofty rectitude, lurked a murderous hate towards Christ. A similar disdain is subtly and subterraneously evident among the pastors who wish to eradicate Darrin Patrick from the presence of The Journey Church.

Idolatrous pursuit of holiness stays behind the manicured boundaries of gated cultural communities. It fails to pursue the salvation of other men’s souls, because interaction with those may besmirch their own rectitude. “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). Yet the Great Commission enjoins such intermingling. In a passage that many misconstrue and some ritualize (John 13:1–20), Jesus washes only the feet of His disciples, because they have already been made clean by His blood. However, in trudging through the filth of the world in the cause of that Great Pursuit, our feet will invariably be muddied more than otherwise would be the case.

Continue reading “The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 2 (Revised) – Part 2”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick (Revised) – Part 1

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

It is my empirically justified belief that modern Protestant Evangelicalism, and particularly its seminarian elite, have little comprehension of the nature and principles of Justice, including that of due process. In this, the seminarians have seriously failed to uphold the triumvirate of concerns that Christ Jesus deemed primary: judgment/justice, faith, and compassion (Matt 23:23).

If one does not comprehend the nature and principles of Justice, one cannot comprehend the Justice in the Justification in the Atonement. Nor can it be safe and prudent to allow such ignorance judge the world and even the angels (1 Cor 6:2–3). It is of little wonder that there exists no jurists on the current U.S. Supreme Court who emerge from a Protestant / Evangelical background.

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Righteousness (tsedeq) and justice (mishpat) are the foundation of his throne. (Ps 97:2, 89:14)

In holiness (hosiotēti) and justice (dikaiosynē) before him all our days. (Luke 1:75; cf. Eph 4:24)

Justice is distinct from righteousness. Indeed, there are approximately 25 instances in the Old Testament and 2 in New Testament Scriptures, where these two concepts are expressed side by side within the same verse. Presuming that God does not engage in semantic tautology, it becomes incumbent to tease out a semantic distinction between the two concepts.

Justice, unlike righteousness, is necessarily public, in that it involves a balanced adjudication between two or more entities. As such, the attributes and principles that constitute Justice must be transparent and comprehensible to all honest and reasonable parties who are thereby governed. This also becomes true in the administration of Justice.

Transparency, as a necessary attribute of Justice, is explicitly expressed in the Greek New Testament, even if corrupted by English translations; and this in regards to the most important passage concerning the Justification in the Atonement.

But now the [Justice] of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the [Justice] of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s [Justice], because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his [Justice] at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21–6)

Virtually all English Bibles translate dikaiosuné as righteousness instead of [Justice]. But this is profound error. But this is an honest error. There was little understanding in Hellenist society of the Hebrew’s concept of righteousness, and correspondingly no term to describe it. The best term that the Greeks proffered in regard to righteousness was hosiotés, which biblical scholars define as faithful conformity to a or God’s standard. It is a derivative of hosios (ὅσιος), which is the Greek word used in Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma.

Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?[1]

But the Hebrew / Christian concept of righteousness involves more than mere conformity to a standard, even God’s standard, as exemplified on the Sermon on the Mount. It involves not only ethics (principle) but ethos (attitudes, motivations).

Because of this deficiency of understanding and terminology of the concept within Hellenist culture, the Septuagint Jewish translators of the Hebrew Scriptures, shifted the Hebrew word for righteousness (tsedeq) to the Greek word for justice (dikaiosuné), and the Hebrew word for justice (mishpat) to the Greek word for judgment (krisin). The tsedeq-dikaiosuné and mishpat-krisin transcription does not consistently work even in the Septuagint, although this will prove a tedious work in progress to demonstrate the flaw. Paul, on the other hand, when confronted by similar linguistic dilemmas would create new and simple compound words to avoid such confusion in the interlocutors to whom he wrote, such as in the case of arsenkoites (1 Cor 6:9).

This assertion is further buttressed by the fact that Romans 2 and 3 speaks of the rationales and judicial principles by which God will judge the world; principles such as impartiality (Rom 2:11); correspondence of this judgment with intellectual integrity and/or the truth of objective realities (Rom 2:2); judgment according to that which one knows, judges others by, and practices, even if haphazardly (Rom 2:14–5, Matt 7:2); judgment also according to published law which corresponds to ontological realities and the pristine best that can be attained within ontological realities (Rom 2:14–5, 4:15, 5:19).

Furthermore, in the most pivotal verse of the Justification passage . . .

It was to show his [Justice] (dikaiosynēs) at the present time, so that he might be just (dikaion) and the justifier (dikaiounta) of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:26)

. . . the same etymological family of Greek words are being deployed. Semantic consistency is mandated. Furthermore, if righteousness involves motivations and attitude, it becomes difficult for humanity to perceive God’s righteous motivations and attitudes in the Atonement, since such motivations and attitude are, by nature, subjective and beyond scrutiny by human minds. However, the principles of Justice are manifested in the Atonement and can be objectively scrutinized.

And thus the point. As even the God of Scriptures has explicitly expressed; in order for justice to be done, it must also be seen to be done to all reasonable and honest parties.


Accordingly, Justice has not been done by the fellow pastors / elders of The Journey megachurch in St. Louis in the firing of and ensuing public humiliation and disgrace of Darrin Patrick, founding pastor of that church. Indeed, these pious pastors have expressly violated the due process provisions, as delineated in Scriptures (Matt 18:15–17), concerning serious and unrepentant sin of any member of a church. As an outside observer, who was confronted by a public announcement of the Darrin Patrick’s sin and disgrace in Christianity Today, I am still at a loss as to what exactly Pastor Patrick did, which is worthy of the accusations, aspersions, innuendos, and whiffs of wrongdoing claimed by these elders, and which sufficiently justifies the defrocking, practicable expulsion, and public defamation. And indeed, this lack of knowledge is true for the two bit malevolent and malicious gossip mongers, with their own agendas, on the comment boards.

But while Darrin Patrick’s actual sins are still yet shrouded in the opaque shroud of mystery, the injustice and infidelity of a cabal of his fellow pastors at The Journey Church is plainly evident for all to see; at least for those who can still see what is in front of their noses.  To paraphrase Paul, “there is an [injustice] among these [pastors], and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans” (1 Cor 5:1).


The Particulars of the Case

On April 13, 2014, less than a week ago, Christianity Today publicized a “Removal from Office Letter,” made public by the elders of that multi-site megachurch. The crux of the claims are as follows:

The initial and now confirmed accusations were not of adultery but did violate the high standard for elders in marriage through inappropriate meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women. (I Tim. 3.2). Additionally, the Board has been engaged for several years now in uncovering and confronting other deep sin patterns in Darrin that do not reflect the Biblical qualifications for an elder, such as

  • abandonment of genuine Biblical community (Titus 1.8)
  • refusal of personal accountability (failure to be a fellow elder according to I Pt. 5.1)
  • lack of self-control (I Tim. 3.2)
  • manipulation and lying (Titus 1.8)
  • domineering over those in his charge (I Pt. 5.3)
  • misuse of power/authority (I Pt. 5.3)
  • a history of building his identity through ministry and media platforms (necessity to be “sober-minded” in I Tim. 3.2 and avoid selfish gain in I Pt. 5.2)

These patterns and lack of turning away from these sins reveal that Darrin has not been pursuing a personal walk with Jesus in a manner that reflects his pastoral calling and position as an elder in the church (I Peter 5.1–5, I Tim. 3.1–7, Titus 1.3–8).

As already noted, no specifics to justify these aspersions have yet been given. Furthermore, some of the scriptural verses that have been cited could not, at least not in my febrile imagination, be viewed as justifiably applicable for defrocking and practicable expulsion. The document appears to be like those depositions, typical in lawsuits from our secular lawyers, with various baseless accusations, hoping that one of the bits of flak might stick in the public imagination and/or give a misty impression of a comprehensive pattern of misconduct; as the writer for Christian Today curiously placed in single quotes, ‘Historical Pattern of Sin.’

Furthermore, there are blatant inconsistencies in the document itself. If the “accusations were not of adultery,” and adultery is to be defined by biblical standards (“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” – Matt 5:28), by these Inquisitors who insist upon “the high standard for elders in marriage”; in what way was Darrin’s “meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women” inappropriate, such as to warrant defrocking, practicable expulsion and public disgrace?

In stating that “the Board has been engaged for several years now in uncovering and confronting other deep sin patterns in Darrin that do not reflect the Biblical qualifications for an elder,” my first overwhelming impression is that the Board has long been on a witch hunt to find plausible cause to expel one who is unlike the others. My first overwhelming conclusion is that this is a palace coup, not unlike that which James Macdonald of the Harvest Bible Chapel delivered against Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh in September 2013, and which was only lifted a year later in the aftermath of the Driscoll affair, with whom Macdonald had hitherto had close relations.


Violations against Fidelity and Justice

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out (elenxon) their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15–17)

The due process pattern of biblical justice and due process insists that one expose and prove wrong with solid, compelling evidence against the one who sins, as more illuminatingly illustrated here.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (John 3:20–1)

And if the accused rejects the admonishment, two or three witnesses are to be brought into the picture. And if the accused still rejects the admonishment, the particulars of the wrong are to be exposed to the full assembly (ekklēsia) in order to adjudicate the matter.

However, the pastor / elders of The Journey Church have failed to bring the charges to the full church. Rather, they have indicted Darrin Patrick in a Star Chamber and informed the full church of their decision, while proffering but innuendos as to the specifics of the charges and of their gravity. Furthermore, they have seen to it that their Star Chamber decision, without giving specifics of the charges, has been made public.

They be led and shepherded not by one person but by a group of elders . . . people of integrity and character . . . people who love one another as outlined in First Timothy 3. And these men are to submit to one another. No one is above the other. They all submit to one another and are under the authority of God. And when God’s heart and intention for his bride is repeatedly thwarted by those that he has called to lead, God takes action through specific biblical prescriptions to remove that elder from his role and protect his bride.[2]

It is manifestly evident that these pious pastors have differences of opinion with Darrin Patrick; the latter, who refuses to conform and stick to their program. And therefore, this Star Chamber cabal of pastors, who evidently have a vested interest and grievances, have made themselves both plaintiff and judge of their own grievances. Herein, there is an evident and not merely a perception of a conflict of interest.

It is for this reason, among others, that the God of Scriptures, which these pious pastors feign to trustingly obey, insists that such affairs be put before the whole assembly; to eliminate conflict of interest and the appearance of conflict of interest.

In making public these aspersions, without giving specifics as to their factual justification, they are guilty of Kafkaesque justice.[3] Indeed, under secular law, they may even be guilty of public defamation of character and slander.

The pious pastors of The Journey Church utilized a different passage as their sole basis for expulsion.

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. (1 Tim 5:19–20)

The Greek in verse 20 is “tout de hamartanontas enōpion panton elenche hina kai hoi . . .” The key term elenche is but another variation of the root term elégxō; which like the Matthew citation means expose and prove wrong with solid, compelling evidence against the one who sins. In another words, even that passage insists that the full assembly adjudicate the case, rather than being informed by a cabal of self-interested elders.

Be it true that the God of Scriptures holds church leaders to a higher standard. But what are the particulars, rather than mere vagaries, of those standards? On what particular and specific basis did Darrin abandon genuine Biblical community, refuse to be a fellow elder, lack self-control, manipulate and lie, domineer, self-promote, and abuse his authority and power? It would seem that in failing to give specifics, it is merely a matter decided by sour feelings and self-interest on the part of these judge plaintiffs.

Who Am I?

I am but a grunt on the pew with no credentials and of no consequence, residing in a jurisdiction which has been effectively aspersed as the Nazareth of Ontario; a city suburb which commenters in the hick towns of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta declaim as lacking culture. I am not a fanboy of Darrin Patrick, who I did not know existed until Christianity Today’s article on April 12, 2016. (So much for the success of Patrick’s “history of building his identity through ministry and media platforms.”) Nor am I a fanboy of New Calvinism, especially after a brief flirtation with multi-millionaire James Macdonald and his Harvest Bible Chapel, both in Brampton and Oakville; in which I was asked to submit all blog entries, written independent of the church, under the purview of their elders, just in order to join their small groups; in which I attempted to play peacemaker between two of their own and got shot at in the week thereafter; in which I heard one of their preacher elders use the Gadarene/ Gerasenes narrative (Mark 5:1-20) as the backdrop for the Justification in the Atonement, claiming that just like Christ cast the demons into the pigs, we are to cast our sins onto Christ. And when I vigorously complained in that comparing the pristinely virtuous Christ to the ceremonially unclean pigs, there just might be a judicial problem; that Oakville church did not think a moment about removing that sermon from their website.

[UPDATE April 21, 2016] When Harvest Bible Chapel became aware of the public exposure of this video in the afternoon of April 20, 2016, they took it down, (rather than when I first sent correspondence to the pastor perpetrator, Craig Turnball, in the weeks following the May 25, 2014 sermon). I already have a downloaded copy from 2 years ago. However, I am satisfied that it is no longer there. We can all make mistakes. But the true Christian spirit is in those who repent because of the wrongness of the thing, rather than because it becomes of public disgrace. This incident certainly manifests the power of social media to me; but at the same time, of the sorry state of modern American Christianity.

However, the “Removal from Office” impeachment letter has left the odor of dead and decomposing lake fish in my nostrils. The matter deserves further inquiry.

Who Is Darrin Patrick?

I do not know.

But what I do know is that New Calvinists, especially those who actively promote the Danvers version of complementarianism (Danvers Statement, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) become quick subjects for naysaying and slanderous aspersions in this day, especially by Evangelical feminists. Such groups are ever ready to find and publish the slightest flaw in such public persona. But I have yet to have found any whiff of scandal on the Internet like one might see in Mark Driscoll. Even the wenches from Warthog Watch don’t consider Darrin a person of interest. Indeed, a member of his church confirmed that “there has not, in 15 years, ever been an insinuation of inappropriateness in his behavior, sexually.” And no person from the congregations of The Journey has stepped up to directly complain about his particular faults. Rather the malevolence and malicious slander in the commentariat resort to guilt by association, prejudice and fanciful speculations.

How is this possible? How is it that the only complainants are the pious pastors? Does Patrick and his megachurch have little elves scrubbing up all his social media droppings? Does there exist a vow a silence as a part of membership conditions? It is a megachurch for goodness sake! And since when did Evangelicals respect vows of silence and discretion?

I have listened to a few of Patrick’s sermons and lectures. And unlike that of most other preachers, power and insight exists within the words that he speaks. It was but 8 months ago, that Darrin stated:

I was a youth pastor right after I became a Christian which was a terrible mistake . . . I mean . . .  not smart. In our little Baptist church of a couple . . . 250 people . . . whatever it was . . . Great kids . . . I was just was in that age range. So I kind of understood. But then I discovered that the pastor in that little church was an adulterer and was sleeping with multiple women in the church. And guess who found out about it and guess who was trying to confront it . . . the new nineteen year old youth pastor. And then I found out that the deacons knew about it. And they were OK with it because he was such a good pastor. See sometimes pastors hide . . .  sometimes pastors don’t grow in their leadership.[4]

Couch psychobabble might suggest that Darrin might be pleading to be caught in his little dirty secret. But if that be so, the squeaky clean Internet presence is so psychologically incongruous with private deviance, especially in the age of Trump. Being but human, I might be deceived. But if that be so, it is a masterful deception.

However, there was an incident, which seems to be belie notions that Darrin is so domineering over those in his charge, and an abuser of power and manipulator. In a response to John MacArthur’s critique of one of Darrin’s books, Church Planter, Darrin pleads:

Sometimes, I fail at this focus.  When I misunderstand or am misunderstood, I want to quickly ask, “What is God teaching me?”  And He is teaching me through Dr. MacArthur’s critique.  For that, I am very thankful!  For those of you who have been quick to be critical of Dr. MacArthur, please remember that we all need to be corrected from time to time.  Also, ALL of us who are younger need to give a careful listen to the concerns of seasoned pastors, many of whom have forgotten more than we might ever know.

Whatever our disagreements, I want to underscore that we should strive as leaders within the church to dwell together in unity and work together to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Unto that end, I am looking forward to meeting Dr. MacArthur face-to-face in the near future.  We share a common publisher, a common calling and, most importantly, a common faith.  I look forward to deepening our unity as we both seek to obey Jesus and participate in His mission in the world.[5]

But what was a more interesting tidbit was the appendum by the Church Elders.

A statement from the Elders:

We wanted to write and say that Pastor Darrin Patrick is accountable to and in community with our team of elders. We have asked him to respond to Dr. MacArthur’s concerns on page 37 of Church Planter and to then meet with Dr. MacArthur privately to resolve any outstanding concerns. We as an elder team do not feel that Pastor Darrin’s words in the questioned section need to be reworded or recanted. We believe the context of the paragraph, chapter, and the entire book challenges the notion that he encourages radical individualism for Christians in general or pastors in specific.

Jim Beckemier

Chairman of the Board of Elders

What writer has a board of elders on his back with such a short leash? Who exactly is domineering who? Who exactly is the manipulator and the liar? Couch psychobabble might suggest that if Darrin Patrick seems to be squeaky clean, it might be because he has serpents and wolves from within his own organization just waiting to pounce upon the very least faux pas!

Who Are These Elders?

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. (Mark 7:6–7)

If I was struck by the power and insight within the words of Darrin Patrick, I was likewise struck by the derivative orthodoxy of The Journey Church’s lead elder Jeremy Bedenbaugh, as well as his lack of insight. As part of a series on Singleness, Jeremy proffers this bromide.

When I make my vows to my wife in my marriage ceremony, I said, you know, richer or poorer, sickness or in health. And I will love you until all eternity. No. What do we say? I will love you until death do us part. There will be an ending of marriage.[6]

Does love for one’s wife end at the graveside? The words of Meat Loaf’s Paradise By The Dashboard Light (1977) came to remembrance.

  • I started swearing to my god
  • And on my mother’s grave
  • That I would love you to the end of time
  • I swore I would love you to the end of time
  • So now I’m praying for the end of time
  • To hurry up and arrive
  • .
  • .
  • I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow
  • But God only knows what I can do right now
  • I’m praying for the end of time
  • So I can end my time with you

This is the primary reason one should never go to pastors and priests for marriage counseling. So caught up in Corbanesque piety, these holier-than-God missionaries do not realize that the Kingdom involves not only a vertical relationship with “the firstborn among many [siblings]” (Rom 8:29), but a horizontal relationship with the many siblings. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matt 25: 40).

Folly! Does Jeremy not know that marriage is a shadow copy and living metaphor of the best relationship that can possibly be devised and was devised by God; as well as the ethic and ethos governing the Trinity!

Hereby, I began to see glimpses of a theological schism that seems to truly animate this long campaign to find plausible cause to eradicate rival Darrin Patrick from The Journey fold. Elsewhere, Bedenbaugh had suggested that his church as a whole commit to a period of prayer and fasting for 3 weeks; another indication of that ascetic spirit which is in contradistinction with his rival who perceives the back room of a sprawling brew pub as a legitimate venue for mission, and in a region where Southern Baptist teetotalers prevail. As a historical (Reformed) Baptist, I would have immediately repudiated such a church for violating liberty of conscience and promoting asceticism against which I must daily fight.

And might the country club preachers in their white sepulcher churches resent Darrin Patrick’s foray to understand and heal the rifts in nearby Ferguson, Missouri?


t may indeed be that Pastor Darrin Patrick has committed a sin(s) of sufficient merit to require temporary or even permanent discipline. Frankly, I doubt it. There is a power within him, which indicates to me divine approval, which is largely absent in Patrick’s rivals. We hear aspersions of evil doings and wicked leadership. But we have not yet heard explicit details of what this man has done, even though his pious pastor peers keep promising to bring them forth. (“So this morning, we are going to be publicly addressing the sins of our brother Pastor Darrin.”[7])

But this I ask. How does the gnat of moral failure in Pastor Darrin Patrick’s unknown conduct compare to the camel of numerous blatant violations against justice and biblical fidelity by his pious pastor peers?


Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

[1] Plato, “Euthypro,” ca. 380 BC, in Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 1, Translated by Harold North Fowler, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1966, 10a.
[2] (Pastor) Scott Hickox, West County Sermon, St. Louis, West County Church, April 17, 2016,, min 1:45.
[3] Franz Kafka, The Trial, Berlin: Verlag Die Schmiede, 1925, translated by David Wyllie, 2003,
[4] Darrin Patrick, Truth and Leadership, Kansas City: MO, For the Church Conference, 2015,, from min 21:00.
[5] Darrin Patrick, “A Reply to Dr. John MacArthur,” Church Leaders, January 2011,
[6] Jeremy Bedenbaugh, Singleness (sermon), St. Louis, MO: Tower Grove Church, October 18, 2015,, 3:50 – 4:06.
[7] (Pastor) Jeremy Irwin, Hanley Road Sermon, St. Louis, Hanley Road Church, April 17, 2016,,, min 2:40.