Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Damon Rambo makes more of a hash of Scripture

UPDATE, 10 March 2017: 
Damon Rambo has made a public statement that looks mostly like repentance, so let's be gracious and give him credit for it. Combined with the fact that he has deleted the posts on his blog to which my own blogposts refer, I am noting the facts here in this update so that all may be informed of the current situation. Note that he has not taken down any comments on other blogs such as Gospel Spam, which probably means he has not done as rigorous and thorough a job of scrubbing his slanderous and wicked comments as I would ask if I had opportunity. Thus, my own posts will remain public and all links will point to Archive.org records of his posts until further notice. 

Damon Rambo, a pastor in Texas whom we've seen before around here, decided to add his ever so helpful thoughts to the comment box of Tony Miano's hit piece at Gospel Spam. It would appear that the "Angry Pastor" not only pastors angry, but blogs angry too.

I am not sure why Tony "exited the conversation" but I can say for myself that the first question out of my mouth would have been "Are you preaching under the accountability of a local church, with established elder(s) and a recognized membership." If he said "no," the conversation would have ended right there. Such people are in grievous sin, and until that sin is repented of, further fellowship, discussion, and hashing out of differences cannot be had. Those who deliberately reject the visible expression of Christ's Bride must be excommunicated from any secondary fellowship, until such time as the Lord brings them to repentance.
To give a little background as to what he means, a few good brothers in the Lord have attempted to kick-start reconciliation talks between the Babies Are Murdered Here / Street Preacher Guild / Gospel Spam / quasi-papist / anti-Church Repent and therefore pro-Church Apathy / Pharisee crowd, among whom Rambo evidently prefers to be numbered, and abolitionists against whom the aforementioned Pharisees have sinned in numerous ways. I was party to one of these attempts; the brother started a group Facebook chat which included three abolitionists and three anti-abolitionist antagonists, and posted therein an impassioned plea for a beginning to reconciliation and cessation of social media hostilities. Marcus Pittman left the chat within thirty seconds of the appearance of the chat. Tony Miano exited a couple of minutes later after stating to the organiser of the chat that he'd talk to him privately.

Anyway, from the screenshots and the way that the various sides are talking, it should be clear to any objective observer who is open to God-honoring reconciliation and who is not, who wants to engage in serious discussion exposed to the light of truth, and who wants to cut off discussion and debate.

Damon Rambo, according to his own words here, is another Pharisee who would impose an extra-biblical standard upon others. Here, he lets us know in no uncertain terms that he would have excommunicated Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli, as well as any believers who dared to speak the Gospel to someone else before the apostles appointed elders in their local church in Acts 11:19-25, Acts 13:44-52, and Acts 17:32-18:1, to say nothing of Philip the evangelist who was just sort of wandering around when the Holy Spirit directed him to evangelise the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, to say still less of the eunuch himself when he went back to his homeland and shared the Gospel with people there. If only Rambo had been around back then! The NT church would have been so much better organised and godly.

As a matter of fact, Toby's church is between elders at the moment. Rambo doesn't know the history of the church, doesn't know what they think about elders or whether they want elders. Why? Because he hasn't even cared enough to ask. He prefers to lob his tirades from afar, uncaring of the effect his dismissal has on the reader. This is not conduct conducive to demonstrating the NT qualifications of elder. Would the Apostle Paul be OK with blogging under the title "The Angry Pastor" or "The Angry Apostle"? Why doesn't 2 Timothy 4:1-2 read like the following?
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be angry in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great anger and hot-temperedness.

I feel genuinely sorry for the congregation at his church, but then again, his expressions are probably not nearly as evil in person as they are online. It's a learned skill, to be sure. One would think a pastor could manage it. But in my experience, churches usually deserve the kind of pastor they have, which is also a pretty sad thing.

He also speaks out of ignorance when he implies that Toby's church lacks recognised membership. He doesn't know that either. He has no idea what sort of accountability structures are in place there. Notice that to him, "under the accountability of a local church" is code for "elders". When these men say "submitted to the authority of a local church" or something similar, what they have in mind is one or more elders who do what the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Peter said they should not do - lord it over their people.

I find it quite interesting that Rambo, as a Baptist, thinks that dissent from his preferred ecclesiology is "grievous sin", for which one ought to be excommunicated and for which reason one ought not to cooperate on any level of Christian service or ministry. Why doesn't he say the same things about Marcus Pittman, a Presbyterian, again? Where is the consistency?

Who said anything about Toby or any abolitionist "deliberately reject(ing) the visible expression of Christ's Bride"? Does he think that Toby is not a member of his church? What does he know about that church? He doesn't know anything. Apparently, dissent from his preferred ecclesiology is equivalent to deliberate rejection of Christ's Bride. Needless to say, this is an enormous accusation. Can Rambo substantiate it from Scripture? He hasn't yet. Can he show that holding to a differing ecclesiology merits the same treatment as one would show to a material heretic and an unrepentant sexually immoral professing brother? If he can't (and let's be clear - he can't), is Damon Rambo not acting as a Pharisee?

Philippians 1:12-18 -
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.


Ben said...

When you talk about a church not having to have elders are you saying that's OK as a temporary situation until they eventually find elders? Or do you think it'd be OK for a church to never have any elders and not be looking for them?

I can see that the churches in Titus didn't have elders for a time. But I see that as a temporary situation and not ideal.

Rhology said...

Yes, Ben, I agree with what you said.
These Pharisees don't, though. They don't care, and they don't care enough to ask about the situation in real lives of real people. If your church had an elder and he flakes out on you, they think your church should disband. Poppycock.

They also tend to say stupid things like "If a church doesn't have elders, it's not a church", even though that's easily disproven from the NT.

It would be wrong not to seek to have elders if you don't have any, but that's not the same thing as saying "a church does not exist where there are no elders".

Ben said...

That makes a lot more sense. When I first saw you write on this topic I thought you were saying elders weren't necessary at all.

It seems like your opponents are taking the ideal situation and trying to make it normative to all situations. Certainly having the support of a healthy local church is ideal, but it may not always be practical.

A missionary friend of mine has been working with a local church in Asia for several years. I know one of his goals is for that church to be fully run by local elders. But that's proven to be difficult. There have been a lack of qualified and willing men. And some men have served for a time and then backed out. I'm not sure how it could work if you said they must always have elders. There are no other churches in the area to pull from and you need time for new believers to develop the qualifications of an elder.

Rhology said...

I thought you were saying elders weren't necessary at all.

Yeah, not like that.
I'm saying that many churches existed in the NT without elders FOR A TIME AND FOR A REASON. But they were supposed to get elders. And they did get elders. But they were still churches before they had elders. That's what I'm saying.

It seems like your opponents are taking the ideal situation and trying to make it normative to all situations.

Quite so, and imposing their extra-biblical standard on others. Excommunicating them when they don't meet the standard. No patience.

Certainly having the support of a healthy local church is ideal, but it may not always be practical.

Especially when so many churches in the modern USA are terrible. Yes.

I'm not sure how it could work if you said they must always have elders.

I'm not either. I don't think guys like Damon Rambo care.