argument-cartoon.jpg-300x239Last night Shawn McCraney and his C.A.M.P.U.S. ministry hosted an open forum to address the accusations that have been flying around the last few weeks. The format wasn’t quite what I expected  with the event called an “Inquisition” and Shawn’s detractors referred to as “accusers.” Personally, I think this set an unhelpful tone from the outset that wasn’t improved on much through the course of the evening. A photo of the program handout can be found here.

The main discussion began with Pastor Jason Wallace confessing his ill-preparedness for the format and the strict limitation of the discussion to the subject of the Trinity. He also confessed being uncomfortable with referring to the event as an “Inquisition.” At the heart of his concern with Shawn’s doctrinal positions was his use of the term ‘manifestation’ and that term’s close ties to the heresy of Modalism. Pastor Dale Finley also expressed concerns about Shawn’s rejection of the Trinity, as did the final accuser: Rob Sivulka. Rob led his presentation of concerns with the firm statement that he does not regard Shawn as a brother in Christ, he also followed it with multiple declarations throughout the evening decrying Shawn as a heretic and a Modalist.

The event was not a formal debate and lacked civility on all parts at a number of points; along with a few unhelpful outbursts, and even one very disruptive heckler who was ushered outside while screaming that Shawn was an “idiot,” a “heretic” and a “cult leader.” Shawn’s response to his opponents was fused with invective from its outset, which some of his opponents responded to in kind. Initially, Shawn did not offer much clarification of his belief except to identify his objection to the term “Trinity” on the basis that it does not appear in Scripture. However, Shawn did, eventually, clearly reject Patripassianism, which is a form of Modalism.

After a brief break the, so-called, “accusers” then had further opportunity to question Shawn and for Shawn to respond. Of all the further questions asked of Shawn only one by Rob Sivulka could have helped clarify the discussion: how did God exist before the creation? Unfortunately Shawn did not answer this question fully and directly. However, I was able to ask this essential question again, along with some follow-ups to try and bring more clarity to the essentials of the matter. In the end I don’t know that either side was moved in a helpful way. Shawn’s supporters seemed just as supportive and his detractors seemed just as resolute in their opposition. But, I’m not thoroughly convinced that Shawn is all that far from his opponents. Shawn’s opponents seemed hung up on his refusal to use terms such as “Trinity” and “persons” in articulating his view. But, I’m not convinced that Shawn is really departing from the essential teaching of Trinitarianism.

Shawn articulated his clear affirmation of monotheism, something he and his opponents agree upon. But, Shawn’s rejection of basic and historic theological terminology muddied the waters and I think is the real root of misunderstanding. In my attempts to clarify what Shawn believes we struggled to identify a word to adequately describe the distinctness of Father, Son and Spirit; which Shawn preferred to refer to as Father, Word and Spirit. In the end I simply used “thing” in place of the more theologically clear term of “person.” Shawn affirmed the co-eternal nature of all the “things” within the singular God, as well as their basic distinction from one another. He also affirmed a voluntary subordination between the divine “things.” Because of this exploratory questioning, which I prompted late in the proceedings, I’m not willing to decry Shawn as a heretic. I’m not convinced that whatever errors he holds to in his theology rise to the level of damnable error.

I want to say that I do think Shawn is being needlessly vague by rejecting historically established and helpful terminology simply because it does not appear in the Bible. This seems to be a troublesome path since the Bible teaches many things which, if we wish to communicate them concisely, benefit from adopting theological, and even philosophical, terminology. Yes, such terminology is a form of jargon; but that does not make it bad, wrong, or unbiblical. In a very narrow sense it is man-made, which seemed to be one of Shawn’s big hang-ups; but, that does not mean it is without use or value. In this case I am simply led to disagree with Shawn, but that is not the same as considering him a heretic. I disagree with Shawn’s assessment of Calvinism, being a Calvinist myself, but I don’t know that Shawn and I really mean the same thing when we use such labels. I also disagree with Shawn’s readiness to reject the use of the creeds, but I understand his reticence as it has been held to by many of my Baptist kin over the years.

In the end, I consider Shawn a brother in Christ, but I believe he is errant and perhaps misguided in some of his teachings and approaches. But, I think the vitriol that has been displayed on all sides, going back even to the beginning of last year is the real problem. Shawn and his opponents need to calm down, slow down and talk more with each other, and less at each other. I look forward to taking up both Shawn’s and Pastor Jason Wallace’s invitations to sit down and talk more. I will continue to hope for more unity amongst Christians and will look for ways I can even foster that myself.

It was an interesting night in Utah, and I trust God will use it for some purpose that will bring Him glory.

UPDATE: 2014-02-21 — 9:45am

A good brother pointed out that I may be painting with too broad a brush in castigating both sides for being overly harsh with one another. I want to clarify that my point of reference is restricted to the event that Shawn hosted. At that event Jason Wallace was the only one of the formal “accusers” who maintained a calm and respectful tone and presentation throughout. There were some other questioners from the audience who maintained a gentle and loving tone, and I want to be clear that it is not my intention to treat everyone who has voiced concern with Shawn’s teachings as though they have been overly harsh or unloving in their presentation, that is simply not the case. There are plenty of Christians who have approached Shawn in private and public and maintained the gentle and Christ-like approach that is called for. I hope this clarifies my meaning and intention in criticizing both sides in the current controversy.

UPDATE: 2014-02-21 — 12:56pm — Defining Terms

A friend asked if I could include a few definitions for those who may not be as steeped in the jargon of theology at issue:

  • Heresy — I use this term to mean damnable error, error so egregious that you will end up in Hell for holding firmly to it.
  • Trinitarianism — The affirmation that there is one, and only one, God eternally existing in three equally divine and equally eternal persons described as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Persons — As used in the previous definition to mean a subsistence within a single being, each possessing completely the divine nature, yet not representing the totality of the Godhead; and each distinguishable from the other two persons. The term is insufficient in some ways, but useful.
  • Modalism — A family of heresies that essentially affirms the unity of God while denying the distinctions presented in Scripture between the members of the Godhead.
  • Patripassianism — A form of Modalism that is represented by the idea that the Father became the Son and thus suffered on the cross.

I highly recommend the online resource Theopedia for those who want to explore these terms more or learn about the jargon of Christian Theology and its rich history.

UPDATE: 2014-02-24 — 12:40pm

The video from the event has now been posted.

UPDATE: 2014-02-25 — 3:57pm

I have closed the comments section before it would normally be automatically closed because I’m not in a position to stay on top of them and some look to be venturing into discussion that, while important, is not best conducted in the comment area of this blog post. This is an issue that will not be going away soon or quietly, nor should it. It is important for believers to wrestle with the Word and come to to conclusions about where they stand on important doctrinal issues. I am in discussions with some friends of mine about the doctrine of the Trinity and I have an email I recently sent to Shawn that I am awaiting reply to. I expect to have a follow-up post on this important matter in the coming weeks and I want to encourage everyone to maintain hope in Christ that unity may come, not at the expense of sound doctrine, but as a result of sound doctrine and with the support of Christian charity between brothers and sisters in Christ.

90 thoughts on “Shawn McCraney is probably not a heretic

  1. i get that you and shawn get along personally (from your exchange when you took the stage), but i think you are giving him quit a pass by not being more explicit on his behavior last night. what was first advertised as an “open q&a forum” on facebook turned out to be a surprise inquisition, with the “accusers” being directly compared to the murderers of old and shawn playing the part of the sympathetic martyr. he even made the comment at one point to bring the nails so they could put him on a cross.

    if any of shawn’s claims to love and brotherhood rang true, he could have stood up first, made his position clear, and attempted to dispel any feelings of strife. instead, he concocted a situation that fed the strife, talking love out of one side of his mouth and giving full vent to his frustrations and insulting people out of the other side. he had a blatant double standard by using nonbiblical terms to describe biblical concepts (anarchy), but flat out mocked others when they did the same (trinity, theophany). he said he wanted to punch his accusers in the face, making a comment directly to them that they were lucky he was a christian. he criticized jason as a coward for talking about him on tv even though shawn admitted to not even having heard first hand what jason said. and is anyone so naïve as to think that when shawn called jason a “master debater” that that was anything other than a gratuitous, filthy insult? then after he speaks his peace, he ends by apologizing not for what he has said, but only if anyone had taken offense by it. not to mention that if anyone had been playing a drinking game with shawn’s use of red herrings and strawmen, they’d be dead.

    now i agree that it i don’t feel comfortable using the term “heretic” for his views on god at this point (his views on universalism, more probably), and i don’t stand behind a lot of what the “accusers” said, but that was a shameful circus that surely did damage to the body here and shawn bears most of the responsibility; he ran his show exactly how he wanted it. the closing song was about being blessed in the face of persecution! what subtlety. shawn laid his character bare on full display, and it might be time to stop giving the benefit of the doubt to a person who embraces the persona of a wild ass instead of demonstrating (not just paying lip service to) a love that restrains ass-like behavior.

    and let’s not overlook his final, disturbing remark that “as long as you have faith in Christ and agape love, i don’t care what you believe” (as all the Mormons rejoice). of course he neglected to elaborate, but the implications of that kind of statement could make that the most dangerous thing he has ever said.

    by the way, jason did ask to meet with shawn at least a week before naming him on the air. shawn said no.

    1. For clarification, last night was the first night that I’ve met Shawn in person. I’ve only ever corresponded with him via email prior to last night, and he only knows me through our emails and what I’ve written here.

      Also, I noted that the format was not apparently known ahead of time when I noted the “accusers” were unprepared for the limited scope of the discussion. I even opened my post by identifying the tone that Shawn set as being “unhelpful … from the outset.” I even shared that very thought when I first arrived and linked to the photo of the program in my opening paragraph.

      Shawn, Dale and Rob all engaged in heated polemics aimed at one another. Only Jason maintained a calm demeanor throughout the portions involving the main discussions. I even closed my post by encouraging everyone “to calm down, slow down and talk more with each other, and less at each other.” Was Shawn on his best behavior? Certainly not. I didn’t go into a lot of details about any of the fireworks from last night except for the one very disruptive heckler. So, I think I probably gave a pass to pretty much everyone’s bad behavior in favor of trying to identify what little substance did come out of the event.

      I appreciate your feedback and hope that more discussion can be had. I’m currently talking to Shawn about doing a recorded conversation just so he can elaborate on exactly what he believes with relation to the nature of God, because I don’t think that really got fleshed out as much as it should have last night.

      1. i appreciate what you are doing in the article, i think you were fair across the board at that level of info. but it’s the ugly, impactful details that really reveal the integrity of the architect of the whole debacle. dale and rob made me cringe a couple times, but they were at least being straightforward. the game shawn was playing at was on a whole other level. and i don’t believe for a moment that the heckler was anything other than mentally unstable or an imposter, that was just nuts.

        “Was Shawn on his best behavior?” i’ve seen and heard enough first and second hand, on and off the air to know that this was not a slip-up from shawn, this is his m.o., his very consistent type of behavior over the years. may God redeem all of this.

  2. What is meant by the term “person”? I thought that trinitarians do not consider the Father to be a person (in that “God is a spirit”, “God is not a man that he should lie”). Does each person of the trinity have distinct consciousness? Are they each God independently from one another or only when considered together? In other words, is “Jesus is God” technically correct or would it most accurately have to be “Jesus is part of God”?

    The whole thing just seems a bit too petty and dogmatic to me. Don’t you find it strange that a bunch of people have to get together and decide what God is by deciphering some really confusing language, and those that decipher it incorrectly are screwed? Is it those that believeth in him are saved or those that believeth in the correct concept of him are saved? Doesn’t 1 John 2:3 indicate that knowing the “correct” Jesus entails keeping his commandments rather than having a correct philosophical concept of him?

    1. I just updated the post with some quick definitions and links to a good resource for such questions of terms. I think the lack of agreed upon terms is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. I think a good way of undestanding the use of the term “person” to discuss the members of the Trinity is summarized this way: Jesus is God, but he is not all that God is; because God is also Father and Spirit and each have always existed, been distinct, and been one God.

      That definition is not complete or exhaustive, but it is a summation. I don’t want to minimize the importance of understanding who God is because we are called to worship Him “in truth” and that entails teaching and believing that which is true about God.

  3. I completely agree with Eso. Who are these men to tell us the exact nature of God and then decide if you are damned or not if you do not agree? There is no scriptural basis for this behavior, and I for one do not adhere to the dogma of the “Trinity” either. The Bible never uses that term, it is a man made dogma used to force people to conform to their way of thinking or denominational thinking. The creeds were also concocted by very anti-Semitic Roman men who I do not consider my church “fathers,” the fathers of my faith are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Shema Yisrael YHVH Eloheinu YHVH echad! Here oh Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one! The Spirit is a seven fold Spirit according to Revelation…how do you fit that into a three part god? Maybe He is bigger than you imagine. For these men to think they have God figured out completely and tell you that you have to agree with them or go to hell is the real heresy! Keep standing up for truth Shawn, religious men will always try to make you conform to their religion…be conformed to the Word not men! Eso is right, the scripture tells us to keep the commandments to show our love for the Father and for Messiah, and adhering to a Roman Catholic creed or dogma is never a requirement. And I could care less if a bunch of men and denominations consider me a “heretic” and not a “brother in Christ.” SO BE IT. Narrow is the Way, and few be there that find it. so if the majority is heading down that wide road I’d rather not be included.

    1. You do realize that the Creed of Nicea and the subsequent Nicene Creed (drafted at the Council of Constantinople) predate Roman Catholicism, right? I can appreciate the tendency to want “no creed but the Bible,” but such an approach is fraught with pitfalls as can be seen in the liberalization of certain denominations, such as Northern Baptists in the early 20th century. I would recommend Carl Trueman’s “The Creedal Imperative” as a good treatment of this very subject. And, my point in this post is not to defend the Trinity, despite the fact that Shawn agreed substantially with the creedal formulations and even admits as much in his own comments. He simply seems to disagree with their use as an external standard and the use of the term Trinity based on it not being found in the Bible.

      1. Technically the creed predates the name “Catholicism” but the church at Rome is what became the Catholic church and it is the same institution that brought in the creeds and all the paganism into Christianity. Same religious power.

        1. Except that the Council of Nicea and the Council of Constantinople took place in seats of Eastern authority, not Western. It’s not until much later that Roman influence really became strong. Until close to the sixth and seventh centuries Rome was just another bishopric. And, the Eastern Orthodox churches still hold to the Councils of Nicea, and Constantinople, and the other Ecumenical Councils. So, to paint the Ecumenical Creeds of the first few centuries as “Catholic” is both anachronistic and fails to grasp the continuity that still exists between the Orthodox churches and those creeds.

  4. This is an insightful, fair assessment of the situation. Thanks. Shawn does however teach that people will be given a second chance to repent after death. And this IS damnable heresy.

    1. I have not heard his teaching on this, can you point me to an episode of his show or other source where he teaches that people will receive an opportunity after death to repent?

      1. I’m not sure where you’d find a recording where he states his position. I heard him teach it at his meetings. You may have to ask him to confirm this. I have no doubt he will as he is convinced he’s right about it. Many people tried to reason with him.

  5. I can not help to clearly state my reflection on the “debate”. I went to the evening expecting what was advertized on Shawn’s website. The evening was billed as an Open Forum”. I had just a few questions which I wanted to ask. When I expressed my thought and observation that Shawn has not completely left his roots of Mormonism behind. When I brought this up Shawn could not argue the point, but had to agree. Much of what He says and teaches I have found in Mormon publications. It may be helpful for shawn to take a closer look at what he believes and see where his beliefs resonate from.

  6. From a faithful Mormon perspective, this was a wonderous spectacle. I have never seen anything like it, with so many words like love, heresy, bible, trinity, godhead, brother, church, tradition, mormon, modalism, God, Son, Spirit, manifest, creed, man, accountability, falsehood, truth, doctrine, teach, pastor, ministry, anarchist, …

    The words were flying, the tempers were lost, all decorum was abandoned. People were shouting, threats were made, feelings were hurt, accusations were traded. Smiles were mixed with smirks and frowns with grimaces, and a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued — priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

    Where have I heard that before?

    1. I agree, the appearance of this event was not helpful. However, a conversation took place over matters of import: Theology. That kind of conversation simply doesn’t happen in the LDS church or within the community of any cult. Theology isn’t up for discussion because things are declared from those in positions of power to those at the bottom. This stands in stark contrast to the tradition of Protestantism, which believes in the perspicuity of Scripture. This means Protestants believe that people can read and understand the Word of God and that God will guide them into understanding it by the power of the Spirit: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13, ESV)

          1. If you’re going to quote D&C, or the BoM, or even War and Peace, please provide the citation, so that people can pick out when real Scripture is quoted versus the words of sinful men.

            And, what about the dozens upon dozens of LDS splinter groups? Take stock of your own house before you try and criticize that of others, I’m pretty sure that’s part of what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 7:3-5. And that applies all the more when I can readily call a Presbyterian like Jason Wallace my brother in Christ despite our denominational differences. I’ve never heard that sort of generosity from any proponents of the “one true church” of Mormonism.


      1. Why is the discussion still taking place then? It’s been two thousands years, how long does the Holy Spirit need to guide Christians to understanding, exactly? If you can just ask the One who established the theology, why would you need to discuss anything? How could it be possible for people who have been spiritually reborn to still come up with different understandings of scripture?

        I don’t see anything in the scriptures about the apostles having discussions about theology. Rather I see Peter having a dream, the interpretation thereof given by the spirit, and then the gospel immediately being delivered to the Gentiles. I see Paul writing letters with authority on doctrinal points and the matter is settled. It went from Christ to Paul by revelation, and from Paul to the church. That’s it; there was nothing to discuss.

        That sounds much closer to “things are declared from those in positions of power to those at the bottom” than to doctrine arising from discussion between members of the church.

        1. oh boy. I wonder if Shawn is the new Paul or Peter? There have always been discussions of doctrine in the true church. People can’t agree on full immersion or sprinkling, so they start up a new denomination. The church is not static. It is not like the LDS who have a prophet to decide all matters and the member just obey. People have given their lives to break from the Catholic Church, to get the Bible interpreted into English (Tyndale) and for all kinds of other reasons. The church is a mystical body, not an organization. God sends us new messengers…lets not crucify or burn them at the stake. Give Shawn time to wait on God for truth. If it leads to good fruit, accept it. If not, don;t.
          BTW, I am Presbyterian. We sprinkle.
          Could someone post the latest meeting on the direction Shawn is going?

          1. Camille, modes of baptism aren’t an essential doctrine of the faith like the nature of God is.
            (please consider this from a fellow Reformed Theologian on this point ) And for those readers who are unclear as to what consitutes an essential doctrine of the faith, this is a good primer:

            The New Testament writers and Apostles were gracious on non-essentials and unyielding on the essentials, therefore, Biblically speaking so must we. As Augustine said well (and I’m sure you’ve heard this – please forgive my soap boxing)

            “In essentials, unity.
            In non-essentials, liberty.
            In all things, charity.”

          1. Oops, I meant members. You don’t see doctrine arising from theological discussions between members. Rather it comes from those in positions of power, the apostles, such as you have in Acts 15. After much disputing concerning the issue of circumcision that arose in Antioch, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and James (all apostles) speak to the multitude gathered in Jerusalem and settle the matter. After that there is no more discussion. They write an epistle to those at Antioch to refute those teaching that they needed to be circumcised. “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us…” is evidence that their position was God’s position on the matter as well. I doubt there was much room left for discussion in Antioch after that.

            1. Except that the Acts 15 example starts with simply “some men … from Judea” and then bubbles up to both “the apostles and the elders.” And, the membership was clearly involved in the discussion because verse five says so: ‘But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5, ESV).

              Eventually the apostles and elders decided on an appropriate remedy, but there is no indication that the discussion excluded rank-and-file members within the church, especially given the opening verses. Further, when the eventual decision comes down “thew whole church” is explicitly mentioned in terms of executing the decisions: ‘Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas’ (Acts 15:22, ESV).

              So, to say that the membership has not been engaged in the theological discussions of the church is not biblically sustainable. Further, the earliest controversies in the church, including the Arian controversy that led to the Council of Nicea, involved the church’s membership; they were not merely disputations between the leaders.

  7. Where can I watch this event? Is it posted anywhere? It isn’t on HOTMSHOW yet, or least I cna’t find it.

          1. And I describe myself as a Charismatic Presbyterian as a kind of short hand. Our church is actually non-denominational but quite Reformed Theologically. We’re also Charismatic and non-cessationalist which makes us unique and “out of the box” from a traditional Presbyterian perspective.

            So, no, Camille, you’re not the only person here who’s coming from a Reformed or Presbyterian perspective. There’s a lot of common ground here.

            Based on what I can gather from your posts I’m guessing that you’re Presbyterian USA – am I right?

            1. yes, Presbyterian USA, at least for now! my church has voted to leave the denomination rather than ordain homosexuals. We are in the “discernment phase,” whatever that means. As you probably know, the PCUSA General assembly had a majority vote to ordain homosexuals, essentially. Most of my fellow church members are against this.

              I was saying I am Presby because someone posted there are no mainline churches represented n this thread.

              I am trying to piece together what wa said (or yelled, it seems) at the public forum the other night. Apparently Shawn is feeling persecuted from all the email he has gotten? and direct feedback? I am sorry he started the meeting with this characterization of himself.

              1. I can’t help but wonder if you’re at St. Andrews Presbyterian in Newport Beach, CA where my sister and brother in law are members. They too have decided to leave the PC(USA) for the same reason.

                I love St. Andrews – if I still lived in Newport that would be my church.

  8. I notice the lack of any mainline christians in the forum. No mainline presbyterian (Pastor Wallace is a fundamentalist very minority presbyterian sect), methodist, episcopal, catholic, lutheran etc. Catholic, anglican (episcopal) and lutheran probably make up 90% of all world christians but yet we have this hateful hard right wing “christian” spectacle that dbundy and all mormons loved and revelled in….useless and self-defeating. I am glad good traditional christians did not take the bait and attend. Shawn is such a buffoon and muddled thinker I don’t think his ministry will survive. He finally said he might accept “Godhead” instead of “Trinity”. But the Athanasian Creed he despised and all traditional hristian fathers’ analyses are full of Godhead. THEN, he also said Godhead made him return to Mormon-think so he could not go there…Wha!!!???…hahaha….

    NOT ONE panelist had the historical knowledge that the final version of today’s Nicene Creed was formulated in Charlemagne’s Court. The part about the Holy Spirit proceeding from both Father and Son was not settled until Charlemagne. This was one of the main contentions between Eastern Orthodox and all the western churches…but if I recall, this too was settled in the last 10 years or so.

  9. SO…this is really, REALLY bad for christians hoping to help Mormons in trouble or coming out…shame

  10. but…I also realize this is Utah…not disparaging the West for one minute, I apologize if it sounds disparaging …but it IS a whole different mindset out there in spiritual matters…difficult to say the least

    1. I’m from the Southeast, originally, and have only been out here for 3 years. It is definitely a different sort of place. The homogeny of the prevailing culture is overwhelming at times. The closest analogy I have is to compare it to William Carey’s ministry in India in the early days.

  11. Doug, does Bishop Gene Robinson consider you a “fundamentalist,” and a member of a “small sect,” or are you still in the ECUSA?

  12. Oh hi Jason. I listen to your YouTube shows and I learned much from you, especially about infant baptism and the errors of dispensationalism. You are correct and clear on all these points. Very valuable to me. Thank you. I have to say that I agree with the majority in your mainline presbytery and disagree with you about the women in positions of authority and gays etc. That was clearly cultural and not from God. I sincerely apologize if that sounded offensive to you when I said you were in the minority and not mainline but it is true. I think your performance was best at this farcical forum and I am sorry you were trapped and mislead from the outset which was very clear. You did that circumstance. God’s peace and may He bless you. I will continue to learn from you from time to time and respectfully disagree also. I did not turn you off when I thought your program on ordination of women completely in error because your explanations of baptism and dispensasionalism were so right on. I am correct am I not when I state there was not one mainline church represented t??? But I totally support all three of you who attended in regards to the Triune God. Perfect.

  13. James, I think you’re ignoring something that quickly resolves the question. Shawn has publicly and repeatedly rejected the visible church. He has refused correction from the Scriptures. He says that he is only accountable to God. When someone consistently refuses to submit to any church, I believe we are rejecting Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 18 to treat them as a brother.

    1. I wonder if Martin Luther was met with the same rejection by members of what was known by Catholics as the only true church? As I recall, they wanted to burn him at the stake. .Shawn has rejected current church culture. He is examining scripture from a fresh perspective. He is just human and I appreciate his search for truth. Perhaps God has to deal with his problems with authority. It is no wonder that any ex Mormon would have trouble with authority. But maybe God has decided to use Shawn to fix a few things. When Martin Luther came out with his corrections of the then visible church, it was shocking and anxiety provoking for the faithful who were solemnly following the teachings of the Roman Catholic priesthood, confession, indulgences, etc.
      I haven’t been able to hear episode 383. Could someone post it?

    2. Shawn’s apparent disregard for the visible church is definitely a problem, but it doesn’t seem to me to rise to the level of heresy. He still expresses love for the universal church, which is within the bounds of orthodoxy, as I understand it. I definitely think Shawn is in error on a great many things. One thing I’d like to discuss with him is how he understands Matthew 18 when his ministry openly rejects membership.

      1. OK, I can’t keep myself from just one snarky comment on this one . . .

        “One thing I’d like to discuss with him is how he understands Matthew 18 when his ministry openly rejects membership.”

        Make sure you ask him how CAMPUS goes about dealing with loose cannon, pot stirrers, like “Jed” (the CAMPUS attendee who called into Jason’s show twice and unknowingly publicly embarrassed himself, Shawn and their organization on the air — and then did it again for good measure at the tail end open mic session of “Inquisition 2014” with some incoherent, non-cogent, non-point of nothing at all) for whom we can thank for a great deal of this mess!

        Now back to our regularly scheduled non-snark filled program . . .
        (and I will behave myself going forward, I promise!)

  14. I am a Presbyterian. I love my denomination because we study church history. Also, among our fifteen hundred members at my church at present, 1498 of them disagree on various issues. The Church is not a top down organization with leaders telling us what to believe. We are a mystical body and the body of Christ. There is blessed room for everyone. Our clergy are our servants, not our leaders and they can’t ultimately sculpt our walks with God. We won’t really understand a lot until we meet Him and see face to face. Shawn would fit well in our church because we have space for different and developing opinions. The Holy Spirit teaches all who are seeking Him.

    Shawn is working out his personal belief system in public. He is not really acting like a mature leader of a body of believers. But people put way too much power in the hands of weak humans. He is very emotional isn’t he? I like him a lot and I am willing to sit back and learn with him and perhaps learn from his faults too. I think he is a real truth seeker and I admire that. He is willing to put everything on the line for truth. Lets pray for him and try to allow people to have different opinions. God is absolutely able to correct Shawn and the rest of us. So far, Shawn’s fruit looks great to me. I hope new Christians, especially those who have left the LDS cult. will be protected by the Holy Spirit. We need to learn once again to trust God and not humans! Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling! No one will be able to do it for us! The Holy Spirit will work in us. No leader is supposed to work out our salvation for us.
    and, yes, there were doctrinal debates in every stage of the church.

  15. James, I’ve always loved your articles and I have agreed with you on many, if not most, of your articles on Shawn. However, I’ve got to respectfully but firmly disagree with this one strongly.

    As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting and this language – from the February 21st, 2014 Heart of the Matter episode – is totally and completely modalistic:

    “One God. Always only and forever only one God. A monotheist God. He has manifested Himself in all sorts of means and ways to man.

    He has appeared as fire.

    Spoken as a still small voice.

    As clouds, and mist, and wind, and an assortment of other ways.
    Were they all God? Yes. Manifestations of One God Were they manifestations of more than one God? No.

    One monotheistic God.

    Did this God manifest Himself in spirit?

    Yes. The second verse in the first chapter of Genesis says:
    “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

    Hey, listen up – this single monotheistic God also manifested Himself in . . . flesh. That’s all. Not a new second or third “person” of the singular God co equal with the other persons. Just another manifestation of the single God.

    Jesus said it plainly to Philip”:

    “If you have seen me, you’ve seen the father.”
    Shawn McCraney
    (Heart of the Matter, Episode 381: God – Part 2; )

    And, as you’ll recall, in the February 20th, 2014 “Inquisition 2014” event Shawn McCraney didn’t renounce, change, or in any way modify this stance – he reiterated it, publicly, again. Rob Sivulka was very correct in looking directly at him and telling him, “Shawn, that’s modalism!”

    And he spoke for a lot of us when he did.

    Sadly, Shawn McCraney is now a heretic and until he repents and renounces the heretical belief and doctrine known as modalism that’s how he will remain.

    1. Except, that as I pressed him in private and with my question during the “Inquisition” he affirmed three distinct, eternal, “things” composing that one God. His description completely lacks the use of anything resembling theologically precise terms. At times his description sounds like modalism, at other times it sounds like partialism. And, when I questioned him he sounds like a sloppy Trinitarian. I know far too many Trinitarians who couldn’t articulate a clear definition, if asked. This is why I am working to setup a conversation with Shawn to try and get a bit more clarity by asking very specific questions that should help everyone involved.

      1. I love forward to hearing the result. However, and I’m not sure you know this, several people who met with Shawn quietly and privately before “Inquisition 2014” reported that he was continuing to hold to his 2/21/2014 stance even after they repeatedly and directly told him that he was teaching modalism each and every time.

        One person told Shawn when they were with in him in person that they would send him a list of some good books on the nature of God via email to help him gain a fuller, deeper understanding of the subject and Shawn seemed genuinely interested. Then after delivering on the promise Shawned replied explaining that the only religious book he needs or reads is the Bible.

        James, I wish you luck and I will be praying for you but I’ll not be optimistic when it comes to Shawn until I see some signs that he’s willing to listen to and consider the wisdom and hard won experience of others – including the community of saints that have gone before us.

        At the moment I’m just not seeing any indication of that at all.

        1. My goal is to maintain hope and to foster constructive dialogue whenever possible. Being Southern Baptist and Reformed means I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot a vitriol and have seen other Reformed brothers both receive likewise and even, some, return it in kind. I think such exchanges are, ultimately, less productive. Even if Shawn is a heretic my obligation to love him and treat him with dignity does not change. That is one reason why I do want to highly praise Jason Wallace for the tone and calmness of his presentation.

          1. Agreed. But doe that mean that we shouldn’t publicly denounce his heresies and warn others about his false teachings?

            I don’t know any of Shawn’s critics – including myself – who aren’t praying that he repents and be restored. HOWEVER, those same critics are exposing his false teachings and warning the public about them. Jason is doing so. So is Dale. So is Rob. So am I, and many others. I’m sensing that you’re of the opinion that we’re wrong for doing so.

            So I guess I’m a little fuzzy on exactly what you think our stance should be toward Shawn and his supporters.

            A little help?

            1. From the interactions I’ve had with Shawn I don’t believe anything he believes constitutes heresy. That being said I believe he is in error. Error should be addressed, but it is different when we are confronting error versus confronting heresy. Rob, in particular, came out swinging by stating that he believed Shawn was not a Christian. He wrote a fairly detailed post about why he felt that way, but after talking to Shawn I don’t see where he can be properly labelled as a Modalist given all that he has said.

              Heresy is a word that is too lightly bandied about and I’ve seen it misused extensively and I believe this may be another case of that. Shawn may be in error, but based on what I have heard I don’t think the charge of heresy is a fair one, at this point.

  16. I don’t believe telling someone how wrong they are usually helps advance a cause. “I don’t are how much you know until I know how much you care”. This entire thing is a bunch if right fighters willing to win a battle at all costs. None of this is Christ like and loving. Love one another , people.

  17. TravelTheRoad, if that’s the case then we should tear out most of the New Testament starting with the Gospels since much of it is targeted at correcting error.

    And personally I don’t think that letting someone who claims to be a Christian rightly dividing the word of truth and leading others but who is in fact teaching error up to and including heresy is either loving or Christlike do you?

    And if we didn’t care we would just let them go on doing what they’re doing wouldn’t we?

  18. Thank you for the CARM reference. I now know much more than the nothing that I perviously knew about universalism.

    I also am trying to understand where Mr.McCraney is coming from. His statements at times are confusing and seem to stem from contradictory roots.

    Certain of his statements (i.e. Episode 375 starting around 33 minutes and Episode 372 around 20 through 23 minutes).seem to meet the criteria stated in the second paragraph under the second heading of Matt Slick’s article, “Can a Christian be a universalist?” by suggesting that the purpose of the lake of fire is corrective and purgative and will ultimately, through Christ, effect the salvation of unbelievers after death. This could be my own misunderstanding, though, since I am unfamiliar with the nuances of this discussion. (I do not want to misstate Mr. McCraney’s teaching.)

    I was so glad to happen upon HOTM’s in depth exposure of Mormonism about 3 years ago when a family member joined the LDS church and went on a proselytizing mission. Now I am truly concerned about having referred this site as a resource to Mormons, including missionaries and my cousin, as well as to other believers.

    I rarely, if ever, post on a blog, but my concern motivates me to do so. The responses during and after the “Inquisition 2014” are very helpful to me.

    Thank you.

    1. One of Shawn’s biggest problems, as I see it, is that he is very sloppy with his use of terminology and he doesn’t define the way he uses certain terms. This means that people who listen to him really have to listen carefully and ask lots of questions to understand what he means.

  19. One of the things that has troubled me in a lot of the discussion is that Shawn and others keep equating him with Martin Luther. Luther sought to reform the visible church according to the Bible. Shawn explicitly rejects any manifestation of “organized religion,” and demonizes pastors and churches. He is not seeking to reform the visible church, but to destroy it.

    1. I agree that such an analogy is misguided on a number of levels. The one that bothers me the most is because Luther sought to begin reformation with discussion, not merely disregarding what had come before.

  20. Yes, Shawn did say he held to the F, S, and HS or 3 “things” prior to the creation, but when I pressed him, it became clear that he denied these “things” were distinct persons, egos, wills, centers of consciousnesses (whatever term one wants to use to refer to “persons”). OK, well then what are these things? In his treatment of Jn. 1:1ff. and other places, it’s clear that they refer to only 1 person, who has a “Word” and “Spirit” (both of which are impersonal things for S). Because we know that’s what S holds (despite his lack of clarity), that’s why I labeled him a “heretic.” Just using the term “things” doesn’t get him off the hook here. Perhaps if that’s all he said, I could agree with you in withholding judgment. But as stated, I don’t have any good reason to supposed he’s “probably not a heretic.”

    1. I’ll review his answer to my questioning, once the video is posted. But, I recall him articulating that each of the divisions of the Godhead was co-eternal and distinct from eternity. I also spoke to him briefly, off-camera, and everything he expressed to me sounded like he was merely being sloppy by not using clearly defined terms. It is possible my opinion is wrong and that Shawn is a heretic, but everything I’ve taken in so far merely sounds like he’s being careless in expressing what he believes.

      1. It would have helped things a great deal if he HAD clarified when he had the chance last Tuesday rather than wasting everyone’s time and his donor’s money standing there paging his Bible while fighting back smirks and making knowing glances to off screen supporters.

        Respectfully James, even if this man isn’t a heretic he has no business being on overseer, (let alone a teacher) in Christ’s church according the Biblical criteria that’s been established for those roles in the New Testament:

        1 Timothy 3
        English Standard Version (ESV)
        3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

        1. Whether he’s qualified to be an overseer and teacher is a separate matter, entirely. I would tend to agree that, given his attitude and manner, he’s not qualified to serve as an elder. But, that ins’t a matter that I can effect any change in, so it’s not really a discussion that will lead anywhere fruitful.

          1. Yes, I realize that it’s off-topic however, I’m going to have to disagree that it’s an unfruitful discussion or an area that we can effect any change in.Never-the-less, since it’s off topic and since this is your board I will defer the conversation for another time and place.

  21. Yes, I grant that S holds the Word and Spirit to be “co-eternal and distinct from eternity” within the Godhead. The problem comes as to how he defined “Word” and “Spirit.” They turn out to be impersonal (“Word” is something like simply the mind or logic of God and the “Spirit” turns out to be merely the power of God). Thus, S is still a Modalist who simply is speaking of co-eternal and distinct aspects or “things” that make up the only person of God there is. If I have this right, then S is a heretic.

  22. If S wants to deny that the Word and Spirit are simply impersonal aspects or “things” of the personal God, then that would entail they are personal. So if S ends up saying that the Word and Spirit were personal and actually “persons” who are “co-eternal and distinct from eternity” within the Godhead, then I’ll be more than happy to remove the “heretic” title from S.

  23. I’ve been following McCraney and HOTM for years now. I know Shawn is saved, I know he is a Christian who loves the Lord Jesus Christ dearly. This talk of him being a heretic really disturbs me. I think everyone who is tossing the word around is flirting with being an accuser of the brethren. Now, we know who the biggest accuser is, the devil. Paul spoke of this occurrence in Romans 14, in which at the time there were many new Christians who were still following the law to a T and condemning brothers who didn’t. There is a lot to be learned from that passage.

    Not only that, but to question someone’s faith based on denying the Trinity, but still holding to a monotheistic divine God, who was in the flesh as Christ Jesus, is ridiculous. That is not grounds for dismissal from Christianity. He is not as a JW who denies the divinity of Christ, or the Mormon who says there are an infinite amount of gods.

    Also, The word Trinity didn’t appear until the second century. Was no one saved until this divine revelation of the concept of the Godhead? I think people are missing the mark on what salvation in Christianity truly is. Salvation doesn’t include a correct belief in the Trinity. Salvation is by faith, not works. It is a Romans 10:9 describes it. Faith that Jesus came to die for our sins, that He resurrected, and He is the divine Logos, promised by God to Israel. That God is One as in the Shema. Not simply someone who disagrees in trivial items.

    Don’t become a heretic, accusing someone of being a heretic.

    1. I am sure that you believe that Shawn is a Cristian. I will not state an opinion on that. I will how ever point out that when I stated at the “Open Forum” I am fairly certain that may of his views are rooted in Mormon doctrine. Please note that Shawn did not disagree with me on this. I will stand on the Word of God and plainly state that the Mormon church is not a Christain denomination. I would suggest that Shawn and his followers need to reexamine whether they are followers of Jesus or Joseph Smith.

      1. I don’t believe, I know he is. You know them by their fruits, “Pastor” Dale. You won’t state your opinion because we both know you don’t think Shawn is saved because he denies some of your sacred doctrines. Shawn isn’t a Mormon nor does he have any followers. He has people who like him, or watch his show, but he points them to Christ and away from man. And I believe that is the best teaching he could give. Look at the state of the church today, it fails in so many categories. Particularly because of men like you who cast aside brethren over doctrinal issues. Romans 14.

        1. Please note that I am not stating anything about Shawns beliefs. I am simply stating, as I did at the “open Forum, that much of what Shawns said that night was rooted in Mormonism. I do however think that if Shawn is a believer then he should heed the warnings of the brothers who have talked to him and reexamine what he is teaching. I do find it intesting that Shawn could call Pastor Wallace names and yet was basing everything he said upon heresay. He admitted that he had never weatched Jason’s show.

          1. Dale,

            You keep saying and making claims about Shawn’s beliefs and his followers being rooted in Mormonism, but it’s just not true. Christian Universalism, or Total Reconciliation has been around since the inception of the church, it’s always been a discussion. Modalism has also been around as long. They are both in the Christian conversation. I agree with Christian Universalism, as it’s taught in the Bible, and I believe in the Trinity, I don’t though accept your attack against a brother in Christ. You and your pals need to repent of your attacks on Shawn and his faith.

    2. Tim, the issue is NOT over the use of a term. It is about Shawn rejecting the Bible’s teachings on the church, pastors, Hell, holiness, and the nature of God in the most radical terms. Shawn plays a game where he claims not to know things for sure, but then demonizes everyone who disagrees with him. How do you apply Matthew 18 to a man who claims to be a Christian teacher and rejects listening to any church anywhere?

      1. I find it compelling you bring up Matthew 18, in which you violated it. You didn’t go to him, as he told us, you didn’t then come to him with three or four, you went straight to the public. Anyways, you should clarify what you mean.

        Just because Shawn disagrees or goes against orthodox traditional constructs of the church doesn’t make him unChristian. I agree with almost everything he teaches besides his teaching on the Trinity. I love Shawn, and I know he is a Christian, he is no heretic. If anything he is a fresh sight to see than the likes of men like you, dale, and Rob who hurtle out heretic, and are the first to cast your brother aside.

  24. Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
    Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    Since this scripture is in perfect harmony with the Gospel of John, by needs, we know that Shawn’s stance of the pre-existing Christ was a ‘he’, not an it. Shawn shows ignorance of non-English languages that use one 3rd person pronoun for both he and it, or she and it (Some languages even have a neuter tense that is still used for he, she or it. (German is a great example), such and mädchen which is an unmarried girl, or, ion English, maiden, but it is a neuter word, and if one were to say her, one would actually say the neuter, it!

    Shawn passed from Modalism to Arianism when he said that the LOGOS exists with God spoke , thus the LOGOS is a creation of the one God, Shawn espouses.
    Yes, Heretic is what he has become, if he was ever anything else.

    2Co 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
    2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    2Co 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

  25. Tim, you’re very quick to accuse me of violating Matthew 18. I told Shawn over 6 years ago that he was in error. He did not change, and he explicitly rejected Matthew 18 as applying to Christians today. A little over four weeks ago, Jed from CAMPUS called into my show and took issue with what I was saying about accountability within the church. He brought up CAMPUS, and I asked to whom Shawn was accountable now that he was denying what he used to teach on Hell. Shawn wrote me and asked what I had said – – I explained and he seemed to take it well. I told him that I believed he was in grave error on a number of things and offered to meet, He refused, but wrote me a sweet note. He then spent over 11 minutes ranting about a “local pastor” who had dared to say he was unaccountable. He said he was only accountable to God and not men or churches. I would not have mentioned Shawn by name again, but he then proceeded to mock the Biblical teaching on the person of Jesus as unbiblical garbage, rooted in pagan polytheism. I then wrote him and said I would be addressing his teachings. He did not change his mind about meeting, but said it would be unfair to comment until he had fully detailed his position. I said I would be fair, and only dealt with his explicit teachings. I invited him to call in if he thought I was misrepresenting him. Thursday, Shawn admitted he never even saw what I said, but that didn’t stop him from publicly calling me a coward and a Pharisee no better than a Mormon. I believe I followed Matthew 18.

    1. Jason,

      You were the one who brought up Matthew 18, and I was referring to the talk about it between you and Shawn. Notice Shawn didn’t say your name when he was referring to you. You used his name and your objective was clear, publicly make Shawn, a heretic.

      I don’t know everything that goes on with Shawn, or the entire story here. I just find this whole thing to be over blown. The Trinity is not a salvation issue, nor does venturing away from it by a few minor details, cause him to be a heretic. Romans 14, like I said, should be read here. There’s diversity within the church, stop trying to make Shawn into the man you want him to be.

      Also, on this idea of authority that you think you have, I find it to be a joke. The authority each Christian has is the scriptures, and Jesus Christ. What other authority do you invoke? Is it of your denomination? Is it of your particular elders? Are you referring to church history? Because I tell you what, I’ve been called a heretic by Unitarians, and Matthew 18 has been done correctly by them on me. My point being, your authority is no better than mine or Shawn’s. Ultimately Christ is the authority, and you sit there and play God, you and your pals, and followers. And label people differently from you, heretics.

      But hey keep teaching a works based salvation, I will continue to not do so, and so will Shawn.

  26. I finally got to watch the “Inquisition” show tonight. It was pretty interesting. I don’t have a problem with Shawn thinking outside of the box about traditional doctrines of the church. I believe it is a good thing to question. Shawn and so many LDS have been betrayed by their LDS organization throughout their lives. I don’t blame any of them for searching into the traditions of men to make certain they are not being deceived again. And I agree with Shawn about the Trinity. Who really understands the concept? The Bible doesn’t use the word. Shawn believes in and loves God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. All this discussion seems to me to be like the ongoing debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Lets admit it: the nature of God is way beyond the capacity of our human minds to understand.

    It seems that Shawn is feeling persecuted and some people are being pretty crazy calling this man who is seeking to learn deeply about God a heretic. I know Shawn has attacked also, and feelings are hurt.

    I hope everyone will ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse their hearts and to forgive them for any motivation based on arrogance and competition among pastors for members in the area.
    I also hope we will all pray for Shawn and his family. I fear that Shawn may search his way right into atheism if Christians don’t reach out to him in love and charity. .Remember his search has led him out of LDS, Communism, and some other isms that have disappointed him. The Lord has used Shawn in an amazing way with LDS. I know Shawn loves the Lord. I pray that he is able to get his eyes off of mens’ reactions to him and their rejections and criticism and keep his eyes on Jesus. And it is absolutely not helpful to call names and denounce others in the church. Shawn is our brother. Offer him gentle love.
    Also, hasn’t his ministry led to lots of opportunities to search the Bible and learn more? I want to read Leo Tolstoy now about Christian Anarchy! Not because I will agree with it. But I find it interesting.

    1. Well, as I’ve all pointed out in the excerpt from the 2/11 HOTM show that I transcribed into this post Shawn is clearly teaching modalism – and then denying it. Repeatedly.

      But your point is taken. It reminds me of a joke that Charles Simpson (who hasn’t been without his own share of controversy) used to tell after his Alabama based Christian TV Station had failed:

      “Most folks make their mistakes in the privacy of their own home of office, I had to buy a TV Station so I could do in front of thousands of people in public!”

      Shawn, if you’re listening, maybe this is more wisdom to consider from a saint (Charles Simpson) who has gone before you.

  27. 92 times in 92 verses the “Word of the Lord came” saying…
    This is a person coming and speaking. A spoken word does not speak.
    The Apostle John was logical and made a small list of things that was to be taught, known and accepted about Jesus:
    1. In the beginning was the WORD
    2. the word was WITH God
    3. the word WAS God
    4. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    5. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
    6. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
    7. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
    8. the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Shawn would have all believe, through accepting his linguistic ignorance, that all the pronouns, in English here, ‘he’, should be read as ‘it’. Just as the Mormons have a false Jesus, created. Just as the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a false Jesus, Created and A god, but NOT GOD, Shawn HAS gone into heresy by denying Jesus was eternal (in his ‘Inquisition 2014’ show, he said that Jesus existed WHEN GOD SPOKE HIM, (Being the WORD and words only exist when or once spoken, not before).

    Shawn denies having followers, but this denial is obviously false, as there are those that now hang on his every word, ignore any and all correction given to him, and follow him as sheep. He denies them their identity by denying that they follow him. Just another lie. Those who follow Shawn are fully accountable for not accepting the correction Shawn is given, because they have full ability to be Berean type believers and follow truth.

    So, while he continues on his road away from the Bible, he has two choices which will lead the Believer with two choices:
    1. he will repent we will accept him as a brother
    2. he will reject correction and we, in turn, MUST reject him as heretic.

    1. Arthur,

      You should repent of your attack on Shawn and his faith. Who are you to judge (Romans 14)? Shawn has a slight variation in His view of the Godhead, and you and your pals are ready to lop his head off, and declare him a heretic. I don’t get it. This is not the fruit of the Spirit, nor Christ like.

      Is the Trinity a salvation issue? If it is then salvation is by works, not by grace. And you are preaching a works salvation.

      1. Tim, you continue to abuse Romans 14! From the Courageous Christians United blog page where I’ve already addressed this with you:

        “Mr. Irvin, Romans 14 is dealing with non-essentials of the faith (kosher laws, vegetarianism v. meat eating, etc.) where there’s liberty as Augustine said well:

        “In essentials, unity.
        In non-essentials, liberty.
        In all things, charity.”

        And since you seem to be unclear as to what the essential doctrines of the Christian faith are may I encourage you to consider this excellent primer:

        Yes, the Bible is QUITE clear that there ARE essential doctrines – the nature of God being first and foremost. In fact a great deal of the New Testament (the epistles in particular) was written to address errors on the essentials of the faith that had entered the Christian Church. If you doubt this please consider passages like these:

        2 Corinthians 11
        English Standard Version (ESV)
        “3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

        12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

        Galatians 1:8
        English Standard Version (ESV)
        But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

        Deuteronomy 13
        English Standard Version (ESV)
        1“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

        So CLEARLY the nature of God, the gospel, and belief in and worship of the only true God are all essential doctrines that we can not compromise on aren’t they? And as a Tritarian, I’m sure that you can appreciate just how vitally important that doctrine is can’t you?”
        (see )

  28. Tirvinjr, You are wrong on several things:
    1. Despite multiple repetitions, no one is desirous of lopping off heads.
    2. You are factually wrong in claiming that believers are not to judge. Your incorrect reading, based upon verse theology, rather than full biblical and passage contextual understanding leads you and many others to make the claim of do not judge, but we are told, by Jesus himself, TO JUDGE, but to do so righteously, according to rightly divided scripture.
    3. Yes a certain amount of correct understanding IS necessary for salvation. Shawn actually proclaimed Jesus to be created when God spoke. This makes The Word not eternally God. We can not have salvation through a false Christ. The Mormon and JW Jesus, being a fiction, a false Jesus, never existed, and thus, cannot be an instrument of salvation.

    What you are missing is the gulf between a new believer, never correctly taught versus one who claims to come to such error THROUGH study of the bible and fully silencing and rejecting any and all correction. This is a man who is becoming dedicated to error. The term Heretic, strictly translated, dry dictionary definition is one who does it his own way. We are told, commanded to fully reject such a person who, after one and two admonitions. Shawn has had MORE than two admonitions, and with each subsequent admonition, he hardens his heart all the more against correction and truth. He is fulfinng, in the most strict manner, the very definition of heretic!

    1. Please, If I had a dollar for every time some Christian rebuked me or I heard of some Christian rebuking another, I would be rich. Your and your pals rebuke of Shawn mean nothing as to the church. My support of Shawn and many others in support of him, are too in the church, and our voice is being heard.

      Shawn never said Jesus was created, get your facts straight.

      The Trinity wasn’t taught until the second century, late second century into the third to be specific. I guess everyone prior didn’t receive the full gospel, full faith in YHWH.

  29. I forgot to address this most stupid of statements:

    Is the Trinity a salvation issue? If it is then salvation is by works, not by grace. And you are preaching a works salvation.

    One MUST repent AND believe to be saved. These are from Christ’s own teachings. Thus doing prerequisite things is NOT a work. The difference between your failed view of works salvation and what you THINK of as works salvation is this:

    1. God gives salvation freely, but not given without requirements that MUST take place.
    2. Works salvation puts God in debt and MUST, by definition OF Debt, repay the work one has done, with salvation. The work one does causes God to give payment and that payment is entrance into heaven-
    Heb_11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    So, in order to believe that he IS, one must understand what he IS. If you believe Jesus is a fictional character, you DO believe something, but not truth, thus you do not believe th IS. IF you believe he is a created being, you, likewise, do not believe that he IS. If you believe in Shawn’s combination of Arianism and Modalism, then you really do NOT believe that he IS-

    1. Lets get real here. You must repent, and then believe what? You would have us to believe it was the Trinity that the apostles and Jesus was referring to. That’s absolutely crazy. The Belief was in the gospel, that Jesus became flesh and died for us, resurrecting on the third day.

      Stop the nonsense of trying to equivocate belief in the Trinity to the belief spoken of in the New Testament.

  30. Hi Fred,
    I am a member of Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana. But I do know that St. Andrews is also leaving the PCUSA. I am in the choir! So, if you want to preach to me you are preaching to the choir!

    So, Arthur: In the beginning was the Mind of God Logos.
    The Mind of God was with God
    And the Mind of God is God.
    The same was in the beginning with God.
    and the Mind of God became flesh (hallelujah!) and dwelt among us. (And they called His name Jesus…when? IN Heaven? Probably when He was named By Joseph and Mary)

    The mind of God came to His own and they rejected Him (my paraphrase.)

    Do you realize that many Jews thought they knew the scriptures. They studied them daily and spent their lives debating the fine points and coming up with clarifications on the law. They outlined who was in the fold and who was out, who needed to repent, who should be stoned, among other things. They waited expectantly for the Messiah to appear. Some of their ancestors stilll wait. All their efforts and confidence in understanding the Mind of God amounted to nothing. They rejected and crucified their Messiah.

    Let us be mindful that doctrine and fine points of debate do not lead to a real understanding of God. Only His grace and love lead us to Him. Don’t you understand the love of God toward Shawn McCraney? Let God be angered at him if he is in error. It isn’t our job. Have you any compassion for this wild ass of a man? Yes, he is rough around the edges and emotionally passionate. However, when I had some LDS missionaries coming to my house i called Shawn for prayer. He immediately came and took me and the missionaries out to dinner so he could minister with them. He was gentle, supportive and caring toward these young men and he talked about searching for truth and not relying on feelings. Shawn has a heart for LDS and he is willing to go to the ends of the earth to reach them. Did you notice that his questions about the Trinity are spurred on by a desire to help LDS?

    How quickly was God to reject you when you stumbled and fell (if that is what Shawn is doing which I doubt.) How close are you in your thinking and actions to the Pharisees and other Jews who killed the prophets and ultimately crucified Jesus? I know it sounds dramatic, but remember:, the Jews spent all their days debating scripture and trying to decipher its meanings…they thought they had it all packed up…and they missed their Messiah when He came! I personally won’t think I know everything on any topic foe certain except Christ crucified until we “see face to face.”

    If Shawn was teaching child molestation like David Koresh, or that he himself is God like other cult members…even if he taught that he is the new prophet who speaks to God daily and God told him to build a shopping mall…then it would be time to go to him as brothers and share that he is in error and should repent. However, Shawn is learning and trying to apply learning to the LDS mission. Shawn, IF YOU PAID ATTENTION, is actually easliy hurt by the criticism and rejection of fellow Christians whom he looks up to. He has expected love and acceptance from pastors in Utah, and I think he is hurt a lot by words like “heretic.” This whole thing seems to me to be the hurt pride of several pastors and leaders who cannot tolerate criticism. although I feel bad for the pastor Shawn said had a “weak mind,” and other slights Shawn made, my sympathies are for Shawn mostly, I see the hurt and sadness of the others involved also. Can’t you allow the Holy Spirit to lead Shawn into truth? Are you so certain your particular doctrines on such a vague concept as the Trinity are correct? Will you too miss the Messiah when He returns if you are looking for a vague definition of God based on prideful teachings about a concept our human minds can’;t even contain?

    And please don’t take this literally. I don’t think Shawn is the returned Christ or Martin Luther or Peter… But can we look at the hard-heartedness and fear of thinking differently that led seemingly devout people into rejecting God’s people? Why can’t we all just get along, to quote a famous ne’er-do-well? Ha!

    And why are people so fearful about the exact definitions of theological issues that they get out their swords out (and not the Bible, I mean their willingness to cut off a part of the Body of Christ) and stand to fight to keep imagined territory? What are you so afraid of anyway? Who in the forum can say he really knows the Mind of God on this issue? Will you throw out people with tender hearts toward the Lord if they fail to believe what you learned at your particular Bible college? Will you throw out God Himself by hurting one of these little ones? Is it ever possible for Christians to disagree and still be family? It should be possible.


  31. Camille
    The Ming of God was LOGOS?
    Sorry, but the term, ‘the Mind’ does not exist in John 1. I do now know, nor care to know where you found permission to Add to the bible and proclaim such new revelation.

    1. yes, it is a Greek word John used in John 1. Mind, intelligence,… it is probably a word in Greek with many meanings. I have heard it called the intelligence, but I don’t know Greek..

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