Correcting Misplaced Indignation

Takedown Series, Vol. 3

Ok, I promise I’ll do something besides a takedown soon!

Unfortunately, there is so much out there being bandied about in Christian circles that is close to, or contains truth, but lands significantly far from the mark.

Most of you may not be deceived by the original article, but nonetheless it is important to understand when standards are taken too far.

I believe in upholding high standards, even if they go beyond the explicit words of Scripture (e.g., maintaining a clean, short haircut for men , when the Scripture only says that long hair is shameful for men); however, it is easy to stray into a Pharisaical attitude by comparing yourself to others who don’t follow (and probably do not even know) the same standards. This attitude can affect any Christian to a degree, but it is particularly sad when a pastor leads his congregation astray with a judgmental attitude towards a fellow Christian.

Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, preaches and maintains high standards for himself and his congregation. However, this particular blog/sermon combo (blog is shown below, video of sermon is linked here: https://youtu.be/H2HFSKN3g74) comes across as less about righteousness, and more about anger at another Baptist church encroaching on his turf.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” – 1 Corinthians 6:9

Out of context: This passage is talking about the heathen, who are not worthy to settle disputes between believers. It is giving examples of certain kinds of evildoers who are not saved. Anderson proceeds to make the case that Jon Guy and Mark Rasmussen Jr. are effeminate (and possibly outright deviants) but this is the only Bible passage he uses to back up his claims.

So Paul Chappell is blessing us with a church plant here in Tempe called Citypoint Baptist Church. The Pastor’s name is John Guy, but I call him “Pastor Polka Dot.” When I first heard about him, I clicked on his website and saw him in this trendy polka dot shirt. His Twitter profile shows him in a pink polka dot shirt and super skinny jeans, and what did I find on facebook? More polka dots! I’ve now seen this guy in at least four different polka dot shirts, so the nickname I gave him definitely fits.

I also looked at this Guy’s (pun intended) website and Facebook. For every picture you find of him in polka dots, there are five of him *not* in polka dots. Furthermore, in two of the pictures which his shirts appear to have polka dots, they do not, in fact, have dots. One has diamonds; the other has paisley.

As for “super skinny jeans”, the man is obviously quite skinny himself. He could stand to put some more meat on those bones, but being skinny is not sinful. His pants do not appear to be very tight-fitting, as you might infer from Anderson’s use of the phrase “super skinny jeans”. This goes to a common trope of Anderson’s: he exaggerates many of his critiques, which wouldn’t be so bad, except that he uses the exaggerated criticism to condemn and dismiss anyone who does not conform to his ideals.

I would expect any grown man who names the name of Christ to be manly, but this John Guy is a pastor!

Even a casual internet search of secular websites will tell you that polka dots are normally worn by women and that men in polka dots are very “fashion forward” and run the risk of looking “flamboyant.” In fact, Pastor Polka Dot is so cutting edge, there’s a picture of him on facebook in skinny SHORTS. I’ve been preaching against skinny jeans for a while, but I didn’t even know skinny shorts were a thing! And let’s face it, men who try to show off their body look effeminate and queer!

“Fashion forward” and “flamboyant” are not necessarily synonymous with “queer”. While I agree with Anderson that it is better to not follow the trends and fashions of the world, doing so does not make a man “effeminate” or “queer”.

I also agree that it would be best if Christian men refrained from exposing significant portions of their bodies in public, but it is not necessarily true that all men who wear shorts want people to check out their legs. Also, there are countless examples of men showing off their bodies who are most definitely not effeminate or queer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwyane Wade, Michael Phelps, etc.)

We’ve got a bunch of skinny-jeans wearing sissies coming to Tempe to start a church.

You. Do. Not. Know. That.!! Clothing tells us something about a person, but it does NOT tell us EVERYTHING. You cannot say categorically that these men are sissies; you know nothing of their hearts, and you have not seen them engage in any physical endeavors. In his zealous condemnation of these men based on their appearance, Anderson is forgetting a fundamental principle of Scripture: man focuses on the outward appearance, but God focuses on the heart. We cannot dogmatically say someone is right with God or not based on external appearance alone.

Not only does the pastor look effeminate, but he’s bringing music director, Mark Rasmussen Jr., whose mannerisms are way worse.

Um, not really. An examination of his pictures and video show that Mark is pretty much the same as Jon. This accusation seems to be based on his manner of singing, but we don’t have any examples of Jon singing to compare and conclude that Mark is “way worse”. Once again, Anderson is exaggerating to support his points.

I mean, I hope Mark is straight because he comes from a good family, but I’m having a hard time believing it.

This is a thinly-veiled accusation of homosexuality. Once again, you cannot determine one’s sexuality from appearance alone. You don’t have all the facts, let alone a hint of an understanding of these men.

If these guys don’t want to be accused of being queer, then why do they look like queers and act like queers!?

Let me get this straight: wearing polka dots (only one of these men actually do that, and not very often) and singing tenor is looking and acting queer?? Sounds more like the problem is that they don’t conform to your idea of manliness, which is not spelled out in Scripture.

Why don’t they start dressing like men? You may not think this is a big deal, but this is the leadership of a fundamental Baptist church! John Guy is currently the assistant pastor at Lancaster Baptist Church. Men are being taught by example to be effeminate, which is a sin. The Bible teaches that people are an abomination when they wear gender bending clothing.

Correction: The Bible teaches that people are an abomination when they wear clothing that obviously pertains to the opposite sex.

Nonetheless, Anderson has a point here: Jon Guy in particular should be more definitively masculine in his appearance, since he is a visual example to the men and boys in his congregation.

Citypoint will have no standards.

I will say it again: You. Do. Not. Know. That.!! Even if they didn’t preach on clothing or music, this would in no way mean they had absolutely zero standards, or even weak standards.

Their music style is pretty much the Back Street Boys minus the drums, and the women wear whatever they want.

“This song has ‘fire’ and ‘desire’ in it with tenor vocals, and that song has those things in it too, so that’s sinful!” (See video for the specific songs being referred to)

No, such simplistic comparisons are just intellectually lazy. By this line of reasoning, any Christian songs with guitars and synthesizers in the instrumentation are “Backstreet Boys minus the drums”.

The women do not necessarily wear whatever they want; the vast majority of the photos they appear in show them wearing clothing that’s conservative Baptist would consider appropriate. However, as the wives of church and college leadership, they should not be seen publicly deviating from the standards that Lancaster and West Coast uphold. Anderson is right to point out this problem as he does below, but it is hardly a case of women dominating the men and wearing whatever they want, whenever they want.

The music director posted a video of him proposing to a woman wearing a bikini top and short shorts, and in the same video he announces the new church plant in Tempe!

Yes, this is not a good look for the couple who wants to lead worship at an Independent Baptist church. Also, I’m surprised Anderson didn’t rail on Rasmussen for showing himself shirtless in the video in question.

At another point in the video his wife is wearing jeans with holes in the knees. These aren’t new Christians or backslidden laymen in the church. These are staff members from a Bible college, and this is what they are publicly posting.

A valid point: the new-jeans-with-holes fashion is pointless and not befitting of Christian leadership. Anderson could have made this point and left it at that, but he had to go at these particular people with a special vengeance, which does nothing to dispel the likelihood that this whole “sermon” was more likely occasioned by Anderson’s anger at soon having to compete with another Independent Baptist church than by any genuine concern for the purity and reputation of Independent Baptists.

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

—Deuteronomy 22:5

If you’re into this touchy-feely crap and want to go to a church where the pastor’s wife wears the pants, there’s a church starting for you in Tempe.

This is another ridiculously over-the-top conclusion based solely on the external appearances of two rival pastors coming to Tempe. Also, just because one of the wives posed with a fence post and an auger doesn’t mean that she is the one who “wears the pants.”

Honestly though, this new church isn’t needed. We’ve already got plenty of contemporary churches in this area. It’s a shame when many of the IFB churches today are identical to the non-denominational contemporary churches, with the only difference being that they use the KJV. I thought we as independent fundamental Baptists were old-fashioned and believed men should look like men and women should look like women!

Anderson has concluded that Citypoint will be just like all the other non-denominational churches based on some pictures and video of mostly private activities. Proverbs 18:13

Even the name of the new church in Tempe is patterned after the typical non-denominational liberal church. Citypoint Baptist Church will be meeting at the Improv, a comedy night club.

There is no evidence that church names that have “point” in them are inherently liberal. The name alone is not enough evidence to make the comparison. It might be valid if “Baptist” were left out, but that’s not the case.

The church is such a joke it meets at a comedy club! Of all the storefronts and office space available in this area, they chose to meet in a bar so they can have purple lighting and a fancy sound system for their faggoty music.

Once again: You. Do. Not. Know. That.!! You cannot know the circumstances of the choice of the venue. While I agree that the choice of a comedy club isn’t the best, and is something I would avoid if I were starting a church, this particular accusation feels more malicious than born of genuine concern for the spiritual well being of future members of this church. Pointing out the dubious choice could have been done more tactfully, as could any point being made in this entire blog. Also, it would be easier to believe that this objection was made out of genuine concern for the reputation of God’s local churches, rather than malice, had Anderson reached out and at least offered to help Citypoint find a location.

It’s easy to rip on guys like Pastor Polka Dot and his whiny worship leader, but effeminate clothing on boys can creep into even good churches.

Yes it is, as you have so thoroughly demonstrated with your blog and one of your longer Sunday messages. You seem to have taken special delight in doing so.

Young people see this kind of clothing in advertisements and the media, and they have a tendency to conform to whatever’s in style. It doesn’t mean they have queer tendencies, but it means that they are following people who are queer and wicked. As fathers who are old enough to know better, we need to crack down on our sons if they start to wear this type of clothing.

This should have been the focus. Yes, we don’t want our children to conform to worldly fashions, especially the androgynous style of boys’ fashion. Had you spent less time railing against the pastors you feel are encroaching on your “territory”, and more time warning of the the dangers of following worldly clothing trends, few, if any, Baptists outside your circle would be taking issue with your message.

If people want to conform to this world and come to church in skinny jeans, I’m not going to police them.

But you probably will criticize them.

It’s the job of the parents to regulate the clothing in their own house, but I can promise you that my family and the staff members of this church and their families are going to wear clothes that fit!

Fantastic! Please continue to maintain high standards. Just don’t get deluded into thinking this makes you a superior person before God. Also, given Jon Guy’s especially skinny legs, if he were to wear “normal” fit jeans, he probably would be criticized for wearing “baggy” jeans.

In conclusion, I want to be fair to Pastor Anderson by noting his valid points.

-First, he was right to question Rasmussen’s and Guy’s choices of attire in certain circumstances, and the attire of their spouses, since they are currently, and will continue to be, leaders in the local church, now to an even greater degree. Church leaders need to be aware of the example they present to their congregation in every aspect of their lives.

-Second, the choice of location for the new church is certainly questionable. If I were starting a new church, I would be very hesitant to use a place that has a club ambiance. That being said, we don’t know the circumstances surrounding this choice of venue. There is also no Scripture that directly applies here. The principle of portraying a clean image to the world does apply, but I see nothing in this that deserves outright condemnation. It should be questioned, and if so, those who will question should seek to understand all the facts surrounding the issue before coming to any conclusions.

-Third, I firmly agree that it is wrong to slavishly follow worldly fashions. There is a balance, however, between avoiding vain fashions, and looking so out of place that anything you say is lost because your appearance is so wildly different than the mainstream. Obviously, Biblical principles regarding modesty should be observed no matter what the fashions are.

Having expressed agreement with those points, I hope it is clear that I am being as fair as I can.

The first overarching problem I have with this post (and its accompanying sermon) is that the above points weren’t the focus of the message. Instead, they are quite lost in a storm of wild accusations and condemnation based on minimal evidence, and while Scripture is used, it doesn’t really fit.

The second problem I see here is how this contrasts with the following Scriptures:

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Ephesians 4:26, 29, and 31

I see a lot of anger here: It’s revealed in his particularly aggressive takedown of these two men. The whole post and sermon reek of a jealous anger, as if Anderson is guarding his “territory” (there is no such thing as church “territory”; any number of churches can cover the same city).

At one point during the video sermon, Anderson mocks the vision statement of Citypoint Baptist and asks the congregation, “Does anyone know what the hell that’s supposed to mean?” That three-word throwaway phrase in the middle of his statement has no place in church, and should never under any circumstances come across a pastor’s lips. That’s nothing less than corrupt communication.

Anderson’s tone is not one of concern: it is of malice. He essentially lumps Guy and Rasmussen in with the LGBTQetc crowd, and it is no secret that Anderson reserves his harshest condemnation for those people.

Thirdly, in the sermon itself, Anderson rests the entirety of one of his points upon Jon Guy’s mispronouncing of the Greek word “drachma”, and his (admittedly) questionable definition that a drachma was “a special silver, not a base metal”. But from this, Anderson concludes that Guy gets most of his Bible interpretations from corrupt commentaries, and that he must not use the King James Bible or be led by the Holy Spirit in his sermon composition. Anderson then claims that he himself is guided by the Holy Spirit in his Bible study and sermon composition. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt regarding other sermons, but little to nothing of this sermon, which is full of anger and malice, with little to no edifying or grace for the hearers, seems Spirit-led.

Finally, I don’t want to criticize without offering a solution: Anderson, if he is sincere, should at least try to gain a better understanding of his Christian brothers. He should reach out to them with his concerns about the images they have portrayed to the world and to their followers. If he comes at them like he did in his sermon, they won’t listen to him, so he should raise the questions with tact and genuine concern for the people who will look up to these men. After that, he can consider his Biblical duty fulfilled.

Punishment is Part of Effective Discipline

Raising the Standards Series, Vol. 1


“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

-Proverbs 13:24

I recently came across a post on a Christian parents group which said the following:

Punishing is never necessary when raising emotionally healthy children.

Teach them.
Guide them.
Lead them.
Discipline them.
Coach them.
Instruct them.
Nurture them.
Show them.
Inspire them.
Influence them.
Encourage them.
Help them.
Support them.
Motivate them.

These promote security, relationship, and growth.

This de-emphasis on punishment, especially spanking, was positioned as some sort of new thing, but of course, it is not. There have always been those who have tried to raise well-adjusted children without attaching punishment/consequences to their sin. Many have insisted that their children are “perfect, innocent angels,” while everyone around them knew better.
The Bible makes it clear that children must be punished for their sins so they can learn to mature, and so they do not have to suffer as adults from the consequences of their unchecked foolishness:
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
(Proverbs 22:15)
A commenter on the above post added that Danny Silk, the author of a book called “Unpunishable”, defines the difference between punishment and discipline as follows:


“Discipline = you made a mess and are responsible for cleaning up the consequences of your actions, I’ll help you figure out how to carry that responsibility. Focused on connection. Punishment = you did something wrong and need to experience a penalty beyond the natural consequences of your actions. Focus is disconnection.”

I’m not classifying this article as a takedown because not much is said, but I do want to address this unrealistic dichotomy between punishment and discipline.

The most effective discipline includes some form of punishment.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary provides these definitions for the word “discipline”:


“Education; instruction; cultivation and improvement, comprehending instruction in arts, sciences, correct sentiments, morals and manners, and due subordination to authority.”
Also,
“Correction, chastisement; punishment intended to correct crimes or errors.”

The problem with an anti-punishment approach to parenting is that it can ultimately be harmful to children. One may be loath to add spanking to rebuke for improper behavior, but the natural consequences can be even worse, especially if this course is followed long-term.
For example, if your child strikes another child, and is only verbally rebuked, this may not be enough to stop the child from doing it again. Eventually, another child may decide to apply some punishment of his own, and humiliate or maybe even severely injure your child. I would much rather my child suffer measured punishment that meets his “crime”, than the potentially harsh revenge that could be the “natural consequences” of his mistreatment of another.
No, it is simply not enough to help your child process the natural consequences of their actions. It is not enough for them to learn from the potentially harsh responses of life; they must be deterred from taking certain actions. Some sins may not have immediate or severe enough consequences: theft doesn’t feel bad unless one is caught. Children may never feel remorse for their sin unless they are caught, and they will definitely lie if they think they can get away with it. Lies often do not have enough natural consequences to deter a liar in the early stages of life, and a child may gain boldness to lie to cover up worse and worse sins, until the natural consequences are so severe that they cannot easily recover. For example, dishonesty in work can lead to termination, lost wages, and increased difficulty in finding work afterwards. Does any parent really want their child to deal with consequences like that? Certainly not! Thus, the wise parent will punish dishonesty in little, seemingly inconsequential things, such as pretending that they didn’t break a valuable dish, or were honest on a quiz when they actually cheated. By punishing dishonesty then, they will likely deter their child from continued dishonesty, so they will never have to learn the hard way what dishonesty as an adult can cost. As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
That is the wisdom of the verse I posted at the beginning of this post:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

-Proverbs 13:24


Withholding punishment from our young children may make everyone feel better now, but it will also lead them to suffer destruction and unbearable punishment from sins that were not checked when they were young. Tough love early in childhood, mixed well with affection and care, can save your children from serious pain and suffering that no loving parent wants them to experience.
The one-room schoolhouse was a place of severe discipline for what we consider slight misbehavior, with most punishment involving the offender being spanked or struck, yet many children brought guns to these schools without ever murdering a soul.
Even the Christian school I grew up in, where spanking was extremely rare, but discipline was very strict compared to that of public schools, never suffered from issues that plagued the public schools, like rampant drug abuse, weapons on campus, or physical bullying. I remember telling a group of fellow students at a basketball camp one summer that we never had drug searches because no one ever brought drugs on our school campus, and seeing every jaw drop in amazement, for they had just finished telling how often they had to be searched for drugs at each of their public schools.
Look at that verse again:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

-Proverbs 13:24


The Bible is infallible, with all the practical wisdom we need for our lives. It is also perfect, and it includes the words of the wisest man who ever lived. According to these authorities, withholding the punishment of the rod is not loving, but hating, one’s children. Why? Because if they do not learn at an early age (“betimes” means quickly, early) to obey their parents and avoid sin, they are in serious danger of destroying their lives as adults.
Effective discipline includes measured punishment for sin so children will first do what is right out of fear of the punishment, and then, ideally, they will see the value of doing right, and then do it through self-motivation.
In my childhood, I reached a point where corporal punishment was no longer necessary to motivate me to do what was right, and my parents never spanked me again. Early discipline done well can have this result in many children. Then, and only then, will our children be truly emotionally stable and secure .

The Home as an Emotional “Safe Space”

In-Depth Takedown Series, Vol. 2

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

-Colossians 2:8

The article below (words in italics) was written by Laura Muhl, and went viral shortly after its initial publication in March 2019. Six months later, it was shared over 100,000 times, and it was even covered by MSNBC.

Trouble is, this article is much farther off the mark than the one I covered before. Here is my in-depth, point-by-point takedown:

Perhaps the reason teens isolate themselves when they’re overwhelmed instead of coming to us with their problems, is because when they’re toddlers we isolate them when they’re overwhelmed instead of helping them with their problems.

As a parent of a toddler, I’ll admit, I don’t always know that he is acting out for reasons other than being willful. However, the only reason I “isolate” him is that he is not listening to us repeatedly try to help him express himself properly and use his words, and he knows quite well how to do those things. The implication of the author’s writing is that stricter parents resent emotional expression, and silence their kids from an early age through their teen years rather than trying to understand them at all.

When our kids are small and trying to manage emotions – they can’t express what they are feeling.

Oh, they can express their feelings all right! They just can’t express them in a mature way.

They throw tantrums, they throw things, they have meltdowns, they scream and they whine. This is their way of communicating with us.

This is the natural, unguided way to communicate, and is not an exclusive behavior for little children, as evidenced by far too many grown adults, such as the woman who achieved Internet infamy by screaming “NOOOOO!!!” at the top of her lungs upon hearing the announcement that Donald Trump was inaugurated the 45th President of the United States.

They need help to organize, process and express their feelings in a healthy way.

-This much is true. But if the author were serious about this, her article would be finished at this point.

And society tells us we should punish them for this. Send them to their room, put them in timeout, spank them.

-No…no, it doesn’t. Today’s society has largely abandoned discipline, with parenting trends since Dr. Spock dismissing spanking and other punishments as “demoralizing” and “abusive”. But even in the strictest homes, it is not emotions that are being punished, but rather the immature, uncontrolled expression of those emotions. Only the most deranged, abusive, and sadistic people truly attempt to suppress all emotions in children. The author sets up a straw man here, which she then proceeds to dismantle, to the cheers of many undiscerning parents.

We teach them and train them not to show their emotions. Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Your feelings are wrong. Be quiet.

-See the straw man? Again, nobody seeks to suppress emotions in their children, but rather to help them, in the author’s own words, “organize, process and express their feelings in a healthy way”. Whining, complaining, screaming, and tantrums are not healthy forms of expression!

Eventually they stop expressing their emotions to us because we told them over and over again we didn’t want to hear it.

-The straw man has been vanquished, but the author is still hacking away. No caring parent tells their child repeatedly to stop expressing their emotions because they don’t want to hear it.

For so long they needed to deal with it alone. Alone in their room, their chair, their corner.

This sort of thing was actually very healthy for me as a child. Alone, with time to think, I would realize the wisdom of my parents, and understand that they were trying to help me grow in emotional maturity. Also, they almost never left me to figure it out all on my own; they usually waited for my initial outburst to cool, then came and gently explained what it was I should be doing instead. That is what helping a child “organize, process and express their feelings in a healthy way” looks like!

And then they turn into teenagers and we expect them to feel safe talking to us. We expect them to know that NOW it’s okay. They are subconsciously wired to think the opposite because this is what they grew up learning.

-Teens naturally seek distance from their parents. Their tendency to resist sharing their feelings with their parents is not usually a result of those parents’ attempts to help them process their emotions properly.

Give your child permission to feel. Let them know their feelings are valid and that you care, no matter how small. Make sure they know that they are heard.

-Again, where are these sadistic monsters who forbid their children to feel? This characterization simply does not apply to even the strictest of households. Disciplined households do not prohibit emotions; rather, they recognize that certain emotions must be processed and dealt with, because negative emotions left to fester will poison the soul.

Pretty soon meltdowns over crayons will turn into breakups, heartbreak, sex, or even depression.

If there is ever a correlation between toddler meltdowns and teen breakups, heartbreak, sex, etc., it will not stem from parents training their children to process their emotions and rid themselves of negative feelings, but rather from allowing those bad feelings to fester.

“Negative emotions left to fester will poison the soul.”

You want your child to know that you will always hear them, no matter how small. You are their safe space.

-I agree with Ms. Muhl that the home should be an emotional “safe space”, but it should be a place to lay out one’s feelings and learn to process them properly.

True maturity is found in mastering one’s emotions, rather than being ruled by them.

The Bible clearly teaches us to control our emotions, not just as a law to follow, but for our own benefit:

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice…”

(Ephesians 4:26-27, 31)

“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly…”

(Proverbs 14:17)

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”

(Proverbs 14:29)

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

(Proverbs 25:28)

The Home as an Emotional “Safe Space”

Takedown Series, Vol. 2

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

-Colossians 2:8

Short form: The following article was written by Laura Muhl, and went viral shortly after its initial publication in March 2019. Six months later, it had been shared over 100,000 times, and it even garnered coverage from MSNBC.

“Perhaps the reason teens isolate themselves when they’re overwhelmed instead of coming to us with their problems, is because when they’re toddlers we isolate them when they’re overwhelmed instead of helping them with their problems.

When our kids are small and trying to manage emotions – they can’t express what they are feeling. They throw tantrums, they throw things, they have meltdowns, they scream and they whine. This is their way of communicating with us. They need help to organize, process and express their feelings in a healthy way. And society tells us we should punish them for this. Send them to their room, put them in timeout, spank them.

We teach them and train them not to show their emotions. Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Your feelings are wrong. Be quiet. Eventually they stop expressing their emotions to us because we told them over and over again we didn’t want to hear it. For so long they needed to deal with it alone. Alone in their room, their chair, their corner.

And then they turn into teenagers and we expect them to feel safe talking to us. We expect them to know that NOW it’s okay. They are subconsciously wired to think the opposite because this is what they grew up learning.

Give your child permission to feel. Let them know their feelings are valid and that you care, no matter how small. Make sure they know that they are heard.

Pretty soon meltdowns over crayons will turn into breakups, heartbreak, sex, or even depression. You want your child to know that you will always hear them, no matter how small. You are their safe space.’

Shared. Written by: Laura Muhl”

Unfortunately, this article is much farther off the mark than the one I covered before. The author sets up some straw men, claiming that societal norms require we punish kids for expressing emotions. Truth is, they do not: Even in the strictest households, parents seek to understand why their children have behaved certain ways. While tantrums, meltdowns, screaming, and whining are generally punished, they are punished not because parents do not want their children to emote at all, but rather because those expressions are unhealthy.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice…”

(Ephesians 4:26-27, 31)

Disciplined households do not prohibit emotions; rather, they recognize that certain emotions must be processed and dealt with, because negative emotions left to fester will poison the soul.

“Negative emotions left to fester will poison the soul.”

I agree with Ms. Muhl that the home should be an emotional “safe space”, but it should be a place to lay out one’s feelings and learn to process them properly.

Finally, teens withdraw from parents not so much out of fear, but more out of a desire to handle things on their own. Teens are trying to act like adults, but do pretty poorly without guidance. Stubborn pride gets in the way of teens confiding in their parents more than fear of rejection or condemnation for “having feelings.”

True maturity is found in mastering one’s emotions, rather than being ruled by them.”

No sane parent seeks to repress all emotions in their children. Rather, they want to discourage unhealthy expressions, like tantrums, screaming, and whining. Those expressions solve nothing and do not gain sympathy, which is ultimately what everyone wants from those around them.

True maturity is found in mastering one’s emotions, rather than being ruled by them.

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

(Proverbs 25:28)

For a more in-depth takedown of this subject, look for my next post coming soon.

The Cure for Emotional Abuse and Suffering

In-Depth Takedown Series, Vol. 1

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

-Colossians 2:8

The most dangerous lies are not those that are obviously evil, but those that are very close to the actual truth, and have a ring of truth to them.

Below is an article written by a woman who does not appear to be a Christian. At first glance, her thoughts may seem unassailable. There is a good deal of truth here, but there are subtle flaws as well. Subscribing to these ideas will lead us astray from Biblical principles. We will explore this article, and examine what is in line with Biblical principles, and what is in error, despite its “ring” of truth.

“Highly sensitive children can very easily grow up to be adults that suffer with boundaries.

Why?

Because we are constantly told that our experience of the world isn’t valid and/or true by those who are not highly sensitive.

-This statement is highly subjective and subject to variation, because it is based on individual experience and how the individual perceives others’ responses to him. Perception drives so much of human interaction.

For example, a highly sensitive individual may take a rebuke to mean much more than the words he heard. “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill!” is interpreted as “Your opinion is invalid!”. This hypersensitivity is rampant throughout our society because political correctness has created a class of perpetually offended people. By contrast, God’s Word tells us “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)

As Christians, we need to let Bible-based reason prevail over deceitful, ever-changing emotions. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…” (Proverbs 26:28a)

The truth in the author’s statement is that there are people who unfortunately do suffer because of dysfunctional relationships with highly toxic individuals. Some people are repeatedly dismissed and repressed by highly insensitive individuals.

Another problem with just this opening statement is that it is made in a sweeping manner that implies this situation runs rampant and is probably the rule rather than the exception. This implication is bolstered further by the author’s next statement:

Highly sensitive individuals comprise only 20% of the population so our experience is often invalidated by the 80% who isn’t highly sensitive.

-What exactly makes one “highly sensitive”?

Is it the tendency to feel emotional hurt more readily than others? To what degree does this tendency have to be to earn them “highly sensitive” status? How can this be quantified? We know that women and young children tend to have a higher emotional sensitivity than men and older children in general, but some men can be described as highly sensitive as well. Individual perception drives how one feels about others’ responses to their expressions of emotion. Perception changes based on circumstances, which makes measuring the amount of highly sensitive people, what constitutes high sensitivity, and who experiences that sensitivity all extremely subjective. In other words, there is no way to say with absolute certainty that highly sensitive people comprise 20% of the population, and that the rest are not sensitive enough to understand highly sensitive people.

Subjectivity is often the enemy of order; it engenders confusion.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, 21:25)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)

This invalidation may be overt or it may be almost imperceptible.

Micro aggressions, anyone? Review Psalm 119:165.

Nevertheless, a child who grows up in an environment (both familial and societal) that continually degrades their perspective is BOUND to as some point divorce their feedback mechanisms, emotions, and way they gather clues to make judgements about what is good for them and not good for them.

Did you spot the flaw? The child is expected to make his own judgments about what is good and not good for them. However, maturity and experience are essential for one to make the best possible decisions for their own welfare.

This over time puts the locus of creation outside of the individual and in the hands of someone else who must know better than he/she does.

And this is where our life begins to be no longer ours, and instead we become a puppet for the whims, desires, and wants of others.

Biblical principles teach us that we are not our own; we are God’s, and that He, and His ordained authorities, including parents, pastors, and law enforcement, have preeminence over our fleshly desires.

This looks like people pleasing.

Well, we should be learning to please others before ourselves: “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many…” (I Corinthians 10:33)

“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Romans 15:2)

This looks like saying yes when you mean no.

This looks like never asking for help.

This looks like thinking its weak to be sick, need help, rest, or develop an ailment.

This does happen, but it is not a sentiment held by the vast majority of individuals. This article implies that it is far more prevalent than reality.

This looks like a million things that are PRAISED in our society as kindness and strength but at the root of these qualities is extreme lack of self trust and an inability to listen to what our internal NO and YES is.

Again, the Bible is clear that one should not trust his own heart.

This results in an inability to steer our life effectively and creates of a life we dont want but feel we have no choice otherwise… after all a kind person just carries on right?

Wrong, kindness speaks up. Kindness doesn’t avoid conflict (yes their[sic] are exceptions. What I’m talking about is when our default is not speaking up. I’m not talking about using discernment to decide this isn’t a good time for a discussion.)

-God’s Word tells us what most do not want to hear in a situation like this:

“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (I Corinthians 6:7)

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11)

Does this mean that God’s own Word invalidates your feelings? Hardly; rather, we need to learn to be less concerned with our sense of personal “rights”, like the “right” to not be offended, and take our frustrations to God. So many times throughout Psalms, David speaks of his frustration with enemies who hated him and made his life difficult for no good reason. He dealt with Saul, who attempted to murder him multiple times. Yet, instead of taking matters into his own hands, or getting angry at God, he waited for God to make things right in His time, and God did come through. David realized that conflicts and difficulties increased his dependence on God.

Healing from this means we have to create space around opinions that we have previously regarded as THE TRUTH and instead begin to tune into the present moment and ask ourselves:

What do I need?

In this situation, what is my YES and what is my NO?

It requires knowing that anytime your experience is invalidated, it’s emotional abuse. Same goes for us invalidating someone else’s experience.

This is absolutely not true: it’s not difficult to consider the possibility that one’s experience can be objectively incorrect. The only recourse this rule of thumb gives us is to unquestioningly accept another’s perspective as truthful, and never challenge them despite how obvious their mistakes may seem.

And usually people who do this are unsafe people. No I’m not saying they are “crazy” or “murderers”. What I’m saying is that individuals who invalidate another experience are unsafe as you cannot be yourself, share yourself or discuss your experience with them period because they aren’t having it. This is an unsafe walking-on-eggshell inducing environment.

The reverse is also true: if people’s experiences and perspectives cannot be challenged at all, we still have an unsafe walking-on-eggshells environment. This type of environment prevails on university campuses across the country.

Healing from this means asking ourselves what we’re getting from not living in integrity with ourselves and what we really want and noticing that what we *think* we’re getting from it… we really aren’t and there is a better way to fill that need than not having boundaries.

-Notes from a highly sensitive person who lacked boundaries for a lonnnnng time and now shows women the way to authenticity, healing, and freedom.”

Another major problem is that whose experience and perception is more important is purely a matter of opinion.

For example, if a mother looks outside and sees her son shooting a small firearm under the supervision of his father, she may voice concerns that familiarity with firearms could encourage him to one day be violent and endanger others. The boy’s father will likely laugh and dismiss such a concern out of hand. Are her experience and emotions being invalidated, then? What about the father’s experience? Would it not be also invalidated if he were forced to agree with her perspective? The truth in most situations like this is that both perspectives have points worth considering, but neither should be totally preeminent over the other. The answer to many issues is often found in the middle of two opinions. Returning to the gun example, while the likelihood that familiarity with guns will naturally lead one to violence is extremely slim, the concern cannot be completely dismissed out of hand, neither. Like many things in life, guns can be extremely useful, but also extremely deadly when abused. The key is to train people from a young age that guns are to be used only in certain circumstances, handled with extreme care to avoid accidental harm, and stored safely. Beyond that, though, character training is essential to avoid abuse of guns and other things with potential for great harm. Many shootings occurred because people sought to get revenge on people who mistreated them. If children are taught the Biblical concept of loving one’s enemies and not seeking revenge, we can expect to see that kind of slaughter dissipate rapidly.

All that to say, one’s concerns and perspectives are not unquestionably valid or invalid, but rather need to be processed rationally and worked out with others’ concerns and perspectives.

Proverbs 18:13-24 is packed with insight into dealing with different perspectives:

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.

18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

-We should not dismiss others, especially family, out of hand, nor should we unquestioningly accept everything. Rather, we should seek to understand a matter before drawing conclusions.

When we dismiss, or invalidate, someone’s concerns and expressions of need, we are in danger of wounding his spirit. The author is right in recognizing that many children do suffer from wounds to the soul and spirit, which do not easily heal, but can easily cause lifelong damage and pain.

If we all recognized the powerful truth of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and sought to give deference and understanding to each other, we could solve this problem of emotional suffering that the author wants to heal. Unfortunately for the author, her lack of faith and understanding of God’s Word leave her far off the mark, instead swinging too far the other way.

The Cure for Emotional Abuse and Suffering (short form)

Takedown Series, Vol. 1

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

-Colossians 2:8

The most dangerous lies are not those that are obviously evil, but those that are very close to the actual truth, and have a ring of truth to them.

Below is an article written by a woman who does not appear to be a Christian. At first glance, her thoughts may seem unassailable. There is a good deal of truth here, but there are subtle flaws as well. Subscribing to these ideas will lead us astray from Biblical principles. In this short form post, I will show only the author’s words, with some of my commentary following. If you want more detail, there will be a point-by-point takedown of the article published tomorrow.

“Highly sensitive children can very easily grow up to be adults that suffer with boundaries.

Why?

Because we are constantly told that our experience of the world isn’t valid and/or true by those who are not highly sensitive.

Highly sensitive individuals comprise only 20% of the population so our experience is often invalidated by the 80% who isn’t highly sensitive.

Nevertheless, a child who grows up in an environment (both familial and societal) that continually degrades their perspective is BOUND to as some point divorce their feedback mechanisms, emotions, and way they gather clues to make judgements about what is good for them and not good for them.

This invalidation may be overt or it may be almost imperceptible.

This over time puts the locus of creation outside of the individual and in the hands of someone else who must know better than he/she does.

And this is where our life begins to be no longer ours, and instead we become a puppet for the whims, desires, and wants of others.

This looks like people pleasing.

This looks like saying yes when you mean no.

This looks like never asking for help.

This looks like thinking its weak to be sick, need help, rest, or develop an ailment.

This looks like a million things that are PRAISED in our society as kindness and strength but at the root of these qualities is extreme lack of self trust and an inability to listen to what our internal NO and YES is.

This results in an inability to steer our life effectively and creates of a life we dont want but feel we have no choice otherwise… after all a kind person just carries on right?

Wrong, kindness speaks up. Kindness doesn’t avoid conflict (yes their[sic] are exceptions. What I’m talking about is when our default is not speaking up. I’m not talking about using discernment to decide this isn’t a good time for a discussion.)

Healing from this means we have to create space around opinions that we have previously regarded as THE TRUTH and instead begin to tune into the present moment and ask ourselves:

What do I need?

In this situation, what is my YES and what is my NO?

It requires knowing that anytime your experience is invalidated, it’s emotional abuse. Same goes for us invalidating someone else’s experience.

And usually people who do this are unsafe people. No I’m not saying they are “crazy” or “murderers”. What I’m saying is that individuals who invalidate another experience are unsafe as you cannot be yourself, share yourself or discuss your experience with them period because they aren’t having it. This is an unsafe walking-on-eggshell inducing environment.

Healing from this means asking ourselves what we’re getting from not living in integrity with ourselves and what we really want and noticing that what we *think* we’re getting from it… we really aren’t and there is a better way to fill that need than not having boundaries.

-Notes from a highly sensitive person who lacked boundaries for a lonnnnng time and now shows women the way to authenticity, healing, and freedom.”

Doesn’t this sound pretty good? Like a message that needs to be proclaimed? If you think so, you’re in the majority: it was hard to find any comments that expressed anything less than wholehearted agreement.

However, when examined in light of Scripture, this article doesn’t pass inspection.

Consider this passage from Proverbs:

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.

18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:13-24)

On one hand, the author is correct: We should not dismiss others, especially family, out of hand; on the other hand, we should not a unquestioningly accept everything. Rather, we should seek to understand a matter before drawing conclusions.

When we dismiss, or invalidate, someone’s concerns and expressions of need, we are in danger of wounding that person’s spirit. The author is right in recognizing that many children do suffer from wounds to the soul and spirit, which do not easily heal, but can easily cause lifelong damage and pain.

If we all recognized the powerful truth of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and sought to give deference and understanding to each other, we would solve this problem of emotional suffering that the author wants to heal. Unfortunately for the author, her lack of faith and understanding of God’s Word leave her far off the mark, instead swinging too far the other way.

The Journey Begins

This blog is intended to help Christians who are serious about following God’s Word exercise discernment in these challenging times.

With so many voices of influence out there, it is easy to be confused and led astray by worldly philosophies and heretical theology. The goal of this blog is to call fellow Christians back to the Bible, the only guide that can truly help us make sense of the craziness and cacophony of the world and its mixed messages.

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

-Isaiah 21:6