#FFFF: Hannah Ettinger

This week’s #FFFF isn’t a submission – it’s an excerpt from a recent post written by Hannah over at Hemant Mehta’s blog about the New Calvinist movement and the SGM scandal. It’s so informative, even prophetic – so I had to make it the Free Form Follow Friday this week. FOLLOW HANNAH! Here’s the excerpt:

The fallout from this has been fascinating, but it’s all evangelical inside baseball and pretty confusing if you’re not familiar with that world. As someone who spent ten years in SGM and left shaking the dust from my feet, let me give you a SparkNotes version of the SGM “scandal” (though I hate, hate, hate that child abuse is simply called a “scandal”) and explain why this is the death knell for the movement of New Calvinism, a.k.a. the “Young, Restless, and Reformed.”

You’ll see pretty quickly why what’s happening to SGM is a warning shot across the bow of the pretty ship that is Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill ministries. This is the stone that sets off the avalanche. This is the beginning of the end of New Calvinism (or the “Neo-Reformed” movement) as we know it.

First, a little history: After the Jesus Movement whisked young people out of their mainline denomination churches and into the fields of charismatic euphoria in the 1960s, it began to settle down into more organized church-like segments, and one of these groups in Florida started what’s known as the Shepherding (or Discipling) Movement. The Shepherding Movement premised itself on the assumption of total depravity, that your average churchgoer would be weak and prone to sin and therefore it was necessary for pastors to be intimately involved in monitoring their congregants’ lives, for the sake of “accountability.” (“Total depravity” is a phrase historically associated with Calvinism, though these pastors would not have subscribed to TULIP.) Total depravity doctrine plus undereducated pastors (once you’ve been “called” in a charismatic movement-influenced church, you don’t often go to seminary or through a season of discernment before you’re hanging a shingle and setting up your pulpit) plus top down authoritarian culture equaled an easy recipe for a cult. And while the Shepherding Movement’s original churches have all died out, the leaders of New Calvinism were all heavily influenced by their teachings — especially C.J. Mahaney…

After tracing the history of both SGM and TGC to the present, she returns to the child sex abuse allegations:

People are tweeting about this, using the hashtag #IStandWithSGMVictims, and I suspect it won’t be long before we’re closing the books on SGM and CJ Mahaney like we did on Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard. But who’s next? The fringe of New Calvinism is unraveling, and the more it unravels, the uglier the underbelly looks.

The old boys’ club can circle the wagons all they like, but the new face of American evangelicalism seems to be the post-church Millennials, who talk about spiritual abuse, healing, and use trigger warnings and intersectional feminist lingo in their writing and teaching.

Mark Driscoll had better watch out because they’re coming for him next.

Read the rest here.

And FOLLOW HANNAH!

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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter was released in 2012.


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