Opinion: ARC President Urges Congregation to Pray Judgment Over “Persecutors” in Spiritually Abusive Sermon

By Julie Roys
Greg Surratt Seacoast Association of Related Churches ARC
Pastor Greg Surratt, founder of multi-site megachurch Seacoast Church, preaches on persecution during a sermon at their main Charleston, S.C. location on February 20, 2022. Surratt also serves as president of the Association of Related Churches (ARC). (Video screengrab / YouTube)

After an article of mine generated criticism of Greg Surratt, president of the Association of Related Churches (ARC), Surratt on Sunday encouraged his congregants at Seacoast Church to pray judgment over their persecutors.

“So . . . I would say when you’re praying for an enemy who is persecuting you, pray for judgment on them,” Surratt said in his sermon. Yet, cautioning that only God judges justly, Surratt tempered his comments, telling congregants to let God choose specific punishments. “Just don’t tell God what his options are, okay? . . . You have to hand the case over to him and let him do it his way, and not your way.”

Also, while teaching on “imprecatory psalms”—psalms praying curses or punishments on one’s enemies—Surratt joked: “If David lived today, he would have said, ‘May their fingers be crushed as they type their venom on a keyboard.’”

Nowhere in Surratt’s sermon does he mention me or The Roys Report. And if I didn’t report so regularly on spiritual abuse, I might dismiss what seems like an indirect, yet deft, condemnation of critics like me.

Yet as Wade Mullen notes in his book, Something’s Not Right, spiritual abuse is rarely overt. Instead, it comes in the subtle form of impression management—the skillful use of spiritual language to cover one’s own wrongs and gain power in a crisis. And as Mullen notes, “There is a pattern that accompanies abuse, as if abusers are somehow reading from the same playbook.”

Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb” by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel. To donate, click here.

Surratt’s sermon follows that pattern perfectly as he uses Scripture to paint himself as an innocent victim, aligning with King David, and those opposing him as “evil” persecutors deserving of punishment.

This is classic DARVO—deny, attack, then reverse victim and offender. And it’s insidious, especially when employed by a pastor who twists Scripture to suit his ends.

Surratt’s sermon comes five days after I published an article highlighting an apparent contradiction between Surratt’s claims about ARC’s financial agreements with its member churches and ARC contracts obtained by TRR.

It also comes after I published a podcast with a former ARC pastor revealing the concerning unbiblical underpinnings of ARC, like the “Moses model,” which ascribes Old Testament prophetic authority to modern-day pastors.

In the past several months, I’ve also reported on numerous pastors connected to ARC who have been embroiled in sexual scandals. I’ve published about ARC and ARC executives who are facing lawsuits for allegedly covering up sexual abuse by ARC pastors. And as I’ve noted, ARC takes pride in replatforming sexually fallen pastors, including multiple pastors on ARC’s own Lead Team.

The Roys Report has sought comment from Surratt numerous times, but other than one interview last October, Surratt has not replied.

Instead, Surratt’s brother, who has no position with the ARC, published a blog last week responding to my latest article. When asked for his sources, Geoff Surratt told The Roys Report he had talked to a friend “with first-hand knowledge” of ARC who didn’t want to be named.

Then, Greg Surratt got up on Sunday and preached on persecution. And instead of encouraging congregants to bless their enemies, as Christ taught in the New Testament, he urged them to call down judgment.

Surratt equates online criticism with persecution

In his sermon Sunday, Greg Surratt appeared to equate my article last week and online criticism to “persecution.”

“So, persecution—this week, I received a little digital love—nothing too serious,” Surratt says.

He then encouraged people who feel persecuted like him to go to Psalm 69 where King David is “drowning in persecution. And people are accusing him of doing things that he hasn’t done.”

Surratt adds, “Some of you relate to that. You just tried to do the right thing. Somebody has it out for you. And they’re accusing you of stuff, speaking evil about you, lying about you, or accusing you of lying.” 

Praying judgment

In his sermon, Surratt reads portions of Psalm 69 in which King David pleads with God to rain down judgment on his enemies.

“‘Pour out Your wrath upon them,’” Surratt reads. “‘Let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted. Let there be no one to dwell in their tents.’” Then, he inserts, “Let them be hit by a truck!” which evokes laughter from the congregation.

At the end of the list of curses, which includes, “May they be blotted out of the book of life,” Surratt exclaims: “I love that! I love it! It’s the Bible.”

Yet, Surratt notes that Christians today don’t necessarily have license to pray like David prayed.

David was under the Old Covenant, which stresses adherence to Old Testament law, Surratt says. But Christians are now under the New Covenant, which stresses the “law of love,” he adds.

Yet, the “law of love” apparently permits Christians to pray judgment on their persecutors.

After asking whether praying judgment is permitted, Surratt says: “You may be surprised at my answer. My answer is—yes, it is. And I’m gonna tell you why. I think it’s hugely important to do it . . . because that’s how you transfer your anger and potential bitterness to God, okay? If you don’t do anything with it, it’s gonna fester.”

However, Surratt says when Christians pray judgment on their enemies, they should refrain from asking for specific punishments or “options,” like David did.

Surratt notes that Jesus, when he was on the cross, did not retaliate but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. Surratt claims Jesus did this because “he’s saying, in my humanity, I have no idea what’s on that guy’s mind. . . . I have no idea what his intentions are.”

This is an odd claim, since Scripture repeatedly says Jesus knew people’s hearts (Matt. 12:25; Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8). Yet Surratt applies Jesus’ alleged finite knowledge to us. And he says that like Jesus, we’re not able to understand everything about our enemies, so we need to trust God for the outcome concerning our enemies.

“So, here’s what I would say. I would say when you’re praying for an enemy, who is persecuting you, pray for judgment on them,” Surratt says. “Just don’t tell God what his options are, okay?”

Surratt then notes that God has lots of options, and recounts when God struck Herod dead and he was eaten by worms.

Surratt’s interpretation contradicts evangelical scholars & pastors

Surratt’s interpretation is deeply concerning and contradicts what many evangelical scholars and pastors teach.

William Ross, an author and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, notes in an article at The Gospel Coalition that the apostle Paul instructed Christians in Romans 12:14 to “bless and do not curse” their persecutors.

Similarly, W. Robert Godfrey, President Emeritus of Westminster Seminary California, noted in a forum on the topic, that even in the Psalms, David first prays for the ungodly to repent.“Our longing for Christ’s return and final judgment is always preceded by our longing . . .  for the wicked to be converted.”

Jeff Thompson, a former ARC pastor who was featured in my recent podcast on ARC said in response to Surratt’s sermon: “It’s become clear that ARC pastors are charismatic public speakers but don’t know the Bible. . . . When Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44 CSB), it’s clear he was saying to pray for their good. And the greatest good is their salvation.”

Thompson noted that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners and added: “If Jesus had the attitude toward us that Surratt is encouraging us to have toward our enemies, we’d all be damned, literally.”

There’s no doubt Surratt did violence to the Scriptures on Sunday. Yet, it’s not me or The Roys Report I’m concerned about. I’m well versed in these kinds of tactics and pretty impervious to them.

What I’m most concerned about is the 14-campus church, and the more than 1,000 ARC churches, Surratt leads and influences. Twisting Scripture to bolster one’s own image and undermine someone else’s is a serious offense. And encouraging one’s flock to seek the destruction of their enemies, rather than pleading for their salvation, is the antithesis of what Christ taught.

I don’t wish for Surratt to be hit by a truck or his fingers to be crushed. I deeply desire for him to repent and to bring in people of integrity to clean up the ARC. But from what I’ve learned of toxic systems, this is not likely to happen. Instead, he and other ARC leaders will likely continue to deny, and attack, and reverse the victim and the offender.

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57 thoughts on “Opinion: ARC President Urges Congregation to Pray Judgment Over “Persecutors” in Spiritually Abusive Sermon”

  1. WOW. Great Job Julie of holding on to the reality of the situation as people try to shift the narrative. Much respect! God bless your mission, it’s one of the most difficult out there.

  2. Welcome to what an arrogant malignant narcissist looks like. These “leaders” are just snakes. What this guy is preaching is witchcraft, plain and simple. Jesus told us to love our enemies, not pray witchcraft of destruction over them. The religious leaders of His day told the people to hate their enemies. Nothing has changed in two millennia! If this is not a sign of a false church, then I do not know what is.

    1. Agreed. No more to say! Except I will: when a paid Christian lapses into gobbledegook like the guy we are talking about, I get the tip: ignore. It’s meaningless nonsense. I hope his parishioners (now there’s a word to love) do likewise.

  3. DARVO is a tried and true tactic that keeps people confused, off balance and believing they are somehow the ones with a problem. It’s roots go back to Genesis with the serpent’s line to Eve, “Hathe God said…?” Adam used it on God when he said, “The woman you gave to me…” It didn’t work on God, but sadly tends to work like a charm on other people and congregations.

    1. Peter H,

      Another tactic they use, is avoiding the Gospel of Jesus to defend their actions.

      How is your family member that was ill? I haven’t seen if you had an update in your other posts, I pray they are getting better.

      1. @ Andrew Thomas

        Thank you for asking. They are on the mend, but unable to complete the series, so a second or third shot won’t happen for them. They’re still dealing with some side effects but otherwise doing well enough.

  4. His comments border on making a threat of harm. Perhaps a legal expert could weigh in on this.

    Thanks Julie for reporting on these narcissistic leaders to hold them accountable.

  5. I honest pray that people can see through this horrible mishandling of scriptures and run! Thank you Julie, for exposing spiritual abuse.

  6. If he was familiar with actual persecution that so many Christians around the world suffer, maybe he would be able to endure just criticism and learn from it. In so many places, Christians are imprisoned and beaten and tortured, and yet they have genuine love for their persecutors. It’s not just this pastor, we have so much we can learn from the persecuted Church.

  7. Thank you for continuing to speak up. I was manipulated and abused by a pastor at an ARC church. When I first verbally reported it he was moved to another church for restoration. When I sent a written complaint and asked for investigation there was silence from the district, the ARC church, the church where he was moved, AOG home office and ARC. Their MO is silence and vilify the victim. That this man now stands in front of a congregation and calls them to pray for judgment on victims is a new level of despicable and fear laden behavior. Wade Mullens message describes exactly what is happening here.

  8. Julie – I think the work you do is fantastic – as well as necessary. The church as a whole is riddled with enough hypocrisy, misogyny, and greed that it’s a wonder there’s any whole cloth of it left. Frankly, I’m amazed you’re still a believer. Selfishly, my hope for “our” side is that, at some point, you’ll realize there’s nothing in Christianity worth saving and reject religion entirely. It would be fun to watch you turn your powers toward the complete dismantling of the institution.

    1. Jack H,
      Are you against all faith systems, or is your concern about organized religious institutions? I’m convinced that most local churches provide valuable lessons, create community among members, and serve their neighborhoods. But they don’t receive the press devoted to the relatively few bad apples. Thanks for your comments.

      1. Cec – Sorry for the delay in replying. I’m agnostic, so I’m unconvinced that there are any gods at all. I think most religions have some worthwhile philosophies and principles but I also think the best of those principles can be found in a thoughtful secular humanism.

      2. As a former Seacoast campus pastor who sat in on many message planning meetings and message run-throughs, I can tell you that everything that was said in that message was discussed, rehearsed, and approved. I am also 100% sure that there have been meetings to discuss the response to Julie’s articles. It’s hard to believe that this is the form of response they have chosen. How can Greg choose to be silent on all of the things going on in ARC but use a public sermon to speak out in this manner on this fairly benign issue?

    2. I’m guessing she would bring her “clean your own house” mentality with her, which your side probably wouldn’t appreciate too much.

      1. Loren – I apologize for the delay in replying. I think every “system” can benefit from a good house cleaning. I think what separates atheism, though, from an organized religion like Christianity is that there’s less motivation to hide the ugly, or to remain in lockstep for the sake of the “mission”. Atheists are really just a group of very different people who happen to have one thing in common: we don’t believe in gods. It’s hard to “clean house” if there’s no house. Now, I know that’s a bit of an oversimplification. There are some atheist organizations. But, in my opinion, the issues with those groups (like the Freedom From Religion Foundation) arise more from their methodology than their culture.

          1. Loren – I’m not seeing a reply option to your comment below so I’ll respond here. Just as I’d assume you wouldn’t happily claim every person who says they’re a Christian, I don’t share views or ideologies with everyone who claims to be an atheist.

          2. Jack, that is my point. However, while most atheists I’ve personally encountered have been decent people, where the ideology has been practiced by a whole society seems to be a different story.

          3. @Jack Harper

            Putin is considered a good Russian Orthodox Christian who supports the Russian church.

            Kinda like how evangelicals see Trump as a good Christian.

            Oh… almost forgot….. Trump was praising the genius of Putin the last two days …as Russian troops are starting to blow off the heads of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians……

        1. Atheism has been a great boon to the world if you believe in population control. With no gods in the way with all of that quibbling about morals and the sanctity of life stuff, the road ahead is cleared of any thought that human life is special or worthy.

          We’re just a collection of random chemical reactions who somehow became conscious of that fact. In that case, existentialism is the best we have to offer, and most people would be doing the right and honorable thing by world by ending their pathetic lives with as little mess to cleanup afterwards as possible.

          I don’t subscribe to anything above, but if I were an atheist then why not.

          1. Hello Peter – Smarter men than I have debated whether or not one can have a valid moral framework absent a being like a god to provide moral absolutes. A comment section doesn’t really lend itself to that kind of nuanced discussion but my short take is that our sense of morality has been developed by evolutionary considerations and refined once our species had the brain capacity to do so. The former was geared toward the survival of the species and is based in empathy – which is what drives a great deal of our morality (along with fear of punishment). The latter is what allows us to make self-less choices that may not be in our own best interest (such as throwing oneself in front of a bullet to protect someone else.) I find this “intellectual morality” (the ability to choose kindness, sacrifice, etc) a wonderful thing.

            I think what removes the need for a god-given absolute moral code is the fact that even the people who believe there is one interpret that code in vastly different ways. In essence, most people go through their days practicing a practical subjective morality, despite the possibility that an absolute morality exists. (Continued…)

          2. (Part 2)

            And that touches on your next point: whether or not human life has value in and of itself. I genuinely believe it does. You clearly do as well. Correct me if I’m wrong but my assumption is that you believe you have value because you were created by God and, consequently, have purpose. It’s that purposefulness that gives you value. I would say the same. I’m a “collection of random chemicals” with the self-given purposes of exploring and trying to understand the world, to marvel at the fact that I exist in a universe that is too vast to comprehend, and to hopefully leave the world a bit better for others once I’m gone. It may not be as grandiose a goal as eternal life with an omnipotent being but I find it satisfying.

            Apologies for being so long-winded. Thanks for engaging.

          3. Looks like Part 1 didn’t post. Take 2:

            Hello Peter – Smarter men than I have debated whether or not one can have a valid moral framework absent a being like a god to provide moral absolutes. A comment section doesn’t really lend itself to that kind of nuanced discussion but my short take is that our sense of morality has been developed by evolutionary considerations and refined once our species had the brain capacity to do so. The former was geared toward the survival of the species and is based in empathy – which is what drives a great deal of our morality (along with fear of punishment). The latter is what allows us to make self-less choices that may not be in our own best interest (such as throwing oneself in front of a bullet to protect someone else.) I find this “intellectual morality” (the ability to choose kindness, sacrifice, etc) a wonderful thing.

            I think what removes the need for a god-given absolute moral code is the fact that even the people who believe there is one interpret that code in vastly different ways. In essence, most people go through their days practicing a practical subjective morality, despite the possibility that an absolute morality exists. (Continued…)

          4. @ Jack Harper

            You believe you have intrinsic value and are trying to comprehend a world and universe that is far above comprehension. My question is how does a random collection of cells and chemical reactions find a way to bestow value on itself or anything else?

            If someone starts from themselves to unravel the meaning and mysteries of life, there chances are at least even of deciding life is meaningless. If we all start from ourselves, who gets to determine that the urges and longings of a psychopath are any worse than the more sedate and constructive urges of another? What foundational ethical code makes such a determination if that code is dependent on the subjectivity of what someone else believes to be ethical?

            I’m assuming you don’t entertain the concept of intelligent design, but I’ll go there anyway. What is it about the collection of refracted light that coalesces in the human eye which is then translated by the brain into something that we say is beautiful, amazing, stunning? What about sounds processed through the ear that translate into Beethoven’s 5th or Mozart’s operas? Why aren’t there more composers like John Gage? Of what evolutionary use is music or sentimentality? We universally enjoy music and exclame about things we see. It’s as natural as breathing. How would a random collection of cells know to discover the mathematical precision of music and then know to create a myriad of different instruments that when expertly employed can bring us to tears or shuts of joy? How to explain joy. Would someone seriously consider the following scenario:

            And on the 6 millionth day, chance rested from her labors

          5. Peter – My intrinsic value comes from the fact that I have the ability to contemplate the question. I’m conscious. And, no, I don’t understand how consciousness works other than that it seems to be an emergent property.

            You say “If someone starts from themselves…”. There is no “if”. We do all start with ourselves. The baggage we add, be it religion or philosophy or even nihilism, is all secondary. Ultimately, we’re locked in our own brains and we deal with the world from that perspective.

            What makes one set of actions (you called them urges) better than another? I know I’m bouncing between threads here but I gave a succinct explanation for my view of an evolutionarily driven morality on the Locke thread.

            Beauty, music, and sentimentality. Why are we drawn to these things? Who knows? I can see music having been a unifying force in our prehistory. You mentioned that music is like math. It’s ordered. We may be drawn to that kind of order. Ultimately, it’s a mystery. I’m simply glad that I get to listen to Mozart, look at a Van Gogh, and lie on my back and ponder the beauty of the stars.

          6. @ Jack Harper

            I thought I’d comment over here again as well.

            You mention on this thread that most people practice their own version of God’s moral code or if they try to practice it straight, they do so imperfectly, therefore God does not exist as the ultimate moral code giver. Essentially, the fact that people fail so badly is an indication of God’s non-existence as the ultimate moral code giver.

            If I followed you correctly, then would it be fair of me to apply the same standard to chance? People aren’t innately good, kind and empathetic. People innately murder, rob, rape pillage, lie, bare false witness.
            People are naturally selfish, therfore no moral code could have come about through the auspices of chance.

          7. Again, sorry for leaving your reply sitting there so long.

            That’s not quite what I meant about an absolute vs. a practical moral code. What I was attempting to demonstrate is that it’s at least possible to have a moral code that works without there having to be an absolute moral code. It doesn’t say anything about the existence of God except for removing the “necessity” of God in relation to morality.

            As far as chance producing a moral code, I don’t believe I implied that. Chance may well have played a prominent role in abiogenesis, and in the evolution that followed, but the development of a moral code happened in tandem with that evolution. It wasn’t chance – it was largely a survival mechanism.

            1. Larger groups survived, while individuals fell to predators.
            2. In order for people in a group to coexist, there have to be rules of a sort.
            3. Those who don’t follow the rules are expelled from the group.
            4. The ones predisposed to follow the rules are more likely to pass on their genes.
            5. And a rudimentary moral code develops.

            You said: “People innately murder, rob, rape pillage, lie, bare false witness.” I wouldn’t agree with that. I’d say that people are inherently selfish and driven by the desire to live long enough to pass on our genes. Having a moral framework let that happen for more people early in our development.

  9. David L. Stafford

    Thank you, Ms. Roys. After reading this and then listening to Wade Mullens’ excellent talk about spiritual abuse (thank you, Ms Brown for the heads up), I felt as though more should be said about why “wolves” find the evangelical community such an inviting target. Is it because church planting is a business model that relies on charisma and that, predictably preferences charm over more mundane things like fellowship and faith?

  10. Julie,
    I am so thankful for your courageous defense of the truth. I just listened to your December 2021 podcast with Lance Ford on the church’s addiction to leadership. It certainly applies to ARC churches. I fear for the future of the evangelical church in America if true repentance doesn’t take place.

  11. Dear Ms. Roys,

    I would like to ask 3 questions that I will then answer, that may arise in the mind of the reader as they read your thoughts.

    1-Did Greg Surratt (GS) give this message as a way of responding to your recent criticism of him 5 days earlier?

    This sermon by GS was a part of a larger series at Seacoast Church, on the “beatitudes” found in Matthew 5:1-12. In this series they were going through these profound statements of Jesus, one at a time, verse by verse. Last Sunday was the sermon on the 8th and final beatitude, found in Matthew 5:10-12. Here is the passage. Matthew 5:10–12 (NIV84) 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Months ago, before the series started and long before your recent criticism of GS, the church planned to have someone speak on this passage, on that day.

    Seacoast uses a rotating team of speakers, also planned months in advance. GS normally speaks once every couple of months. He had not spoken this year yet. I don’t know this for an absolute fact, but my educated guess is that GS has been on the preaching calendar for some weeks for this date.

    Did GS speak on this topic on this date in respond to your criticism? No. It was either just luck
    (if you are Arminian) or the sovereign plan of God (if you are reformed). – that was an attempt at Christian humor.

  12. 2- Did GS “play the victim” in this message in order to manipulate the church?
    When you listen to the message, GS did not speak like a victim. He made a vague reference to online criticism. Most in the audience had no idea what criticism he was talking about. During the message he was upbeat, humorous, and encouraging. He was not defensive, he did not proclaim his own innocence, he did not compare himself to King David, and he did not blame others for his persecution. He barely referred to himself at all.

    Frankly if he wanted to “play the victim” he did a bad job of it.

  13. 3-Did GS purposely do violence to the Scriptures when he instructed the congregation to pray judgment over persecutors?

    The text GS used was Psalm 69, which is one of the psalms known as the imprecatory Psalms. There is a great debate as to how to apply the imprecatory Psalms in the new covenant.

    I found over 10 articles in theological journals talking about how to “apply” the imprecatory psalms. Scholars from similar theological backgrounds, writing in the same journal, have come to different conclusions. For example, Carl Laney, teaches that it isn’t right, for Christians to pray imprecatory prayers. (Bibliotheca Sacra 138). Yet John Day, in the same journal, says that these prayers are appropriate. (Bibliotheca Sacra 159).

    Jesus speaks approvingly of a woman who cries out for justice against her adversaries., “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ (luke 18)

    Although we don’t know if he prayed for it, we do see that Paul himself is planning on the judgment of God falling on those who oppose him, 2 Timothy 4:14–15 (NIV84) 14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.

    The role of imprecatory prayers is debated among evangelical scholars. How then can we call the sermon by GS doing “violence to the Scriptures?”

    “How can we reconcile the love that God calls us to have for our enemies while still praying for justice for them?” Perhaps when a persecutor is hardened against God, judgment may be the only thing that can possibly bring about repentance.

    1. @ Doug Bullock

      I don’t believe Mrs. Roys is going after Seacoast Church or Greg Surratt personally. Her concern which echoes the concerns of others is the seemingly rampant violation of Biblical standards in the areas of sexual morality, financial impropriety, spiritual abuse and more among ARC pastors.

      She has published article after article about pastor after pastor who have disqualified themselves from ministry based on their behavior. They just didn’t get the memo. Then they cry persecution when they’re called out for the hypocrites and wolves they are for behavior Paul specifically and emphatically addressed in multiple letters. They have stained Christianity and brought the name of Jesus into disrepute. That should be our concern above all else.

      1. ARC is of the mindset that numerical growth (attendance and giving) directly correlates to God’s blessing. Nice buildings (eventually multisite), well produced worship, etc. They aren’t anti-small or -midsize church, it’s just that doesn’t excite them. I spot-checked about 5 of the ARC leadership team’s churches and, if they aren’t multisite megachurches, they sure designed their websites to appear they are.

        That’s why when a plant of theirs grows to megachurch status and the pastor has an affair, they view that as a huge success with an asterisk, rather than a huge failure with an asterisk. They (Surratt, Hodges, et al.) relate to the pastor and the struggles that come with all that… blessing. They do not relate to the staff that churned through or got laid off when attendance plummeted, or the droves of regular attendees who stopped growing in their faith or turned away altogether because of the breach of trust. If the guy who is supposed to look like Jesus treats his staff like garbage or flirts with women while guest speaking on the road, maybe the power of the gospel isn’t all it cracked up to be?

        The collateral spiritual damage doesn’t make it in their annual reports, just the same pictures over and over of well produced, well lit, well dressed, well attended worship services.

        1. David L. Stafford

          One way to look at it: Megachurches are capitalist enterprises that favor growth over sustainability. In order to grow you need good salesMEN and that’s why charisma and charm are prized over other less worldly gifts. Just a thought.

    2. Doug, if someone wanted to commit infanticide, they could point to Psalm 137:9 and say it’s scriptural. It’s an absurd way to interpret the bible. Jesus consistently demanded forgiveness from the heart. He even spoke of God’s forgiveness being contingent on our ability to forgive those who have wronged us. Looking to imprecatory Psalms to justify a vengeful spirit is indeed violating the clear, consistent doctrine of forgiveness from the heart.

  14. @ Peter Hays
    I never said that Ms Roys was going after Greg Surratt personally. I simply was pointing out that three things she said or implied about him (personally) were debatable. BTW my comments were not about “article after article” but about this article. In our frustration with abusive pastors, lets not malign the good ones.

  15. It’s amazing to me that Mr. Surratt would appeal to Jesus on the cross while speaking about praying for God to judge your enemies. Am I the only one who had the very prayer of Jesus echoing in my mind as I watched that clip? “Father forgive them for they know not what the do…”

    This is a classic case of cutting and pasting verses in order to justify one’s own position. It is painfully obvious that this was a defensive attempt to “circle the wagons” and minimize fallout, while playing the role of the victim.

    And to anyone who doesn’t think that Mr. Surratt did an incredible injustice to the Word of God in this message, I would encourage you to take an introductory course on hermeneutics.

    1. Maybe it’s all trash… Has anyone ever considered that life and morality are actually much easier when you don’t reference scripture? For an all knowing, omnipotent god and creator he sure wrote a confusing book.

      1. It is so much easier for my wretched flesh not to have to engage with the Bible. It can sit on my nightstand, coffee table, bed etc for weeks and go unopened. Part of me even experiences an aversion to reading the Bible, but I remember Jeremiah 17:9 and am quickly reminded why that happens.

      2. If we could just keep it simple, like “don’t eat from that tree”, I’m sure we’d get it right. It’s in our nature.

      3. You are right Brett, in many ways life is easier without seeking to know God in his confusing book. Yet, strangely, seeking to know him makes life more purposeful, more understandable,… and I end up happier.

    2. Doug, that’s a good article on a difficult passage. But it offers no support for Mr. Surratt. How can one possibly pray for retribution and sincerely forgive at the same time? Surratt’s teaching, at best obscures and most likely contradicts what Jesus clearly taught. To do so in a cheerful, humorous manner only makes it more insidious in my opinion.

      1. Thank you Loren for reading the article. I appreciate your sincerity.

        The easiest way for me to think about your question is to remember how God treats us. When we are in need of it, he disciplines us….

        For the Lord disciplines the one whom he loves, and punishes every son whom he accepts. Heb 13:6

        So, God is able to love us, forgive us, and at the same time bring judgment upon us. How can he love us and discipline us at the same time? Hebrews tells us that “he does so for our benefit” (13:10)

        Like a good parent, God disciplines and punishes, bringing judgment upon us, for our benefit… because he loves us. A parent who does not discipline a child, is not loving them with their actions, no matter how much affection they might feel for them.

        I know that we are not God, but I submit we can very much relate to our enemies in this way. We can forgive the hurt that they have caused us, and yet pray that God would bring judgment against them. We are not to do this with a vengeful or hateful spirit, but with a spirit of love, knowing that only “the judgement of God will bring about repentance.” I know that this sounds strange to our western ears, but to love another person is to want the very best for them, which may involve judgement that leads that person to repentance.

  16. At the end of the list of curses, which includes, “May they be blotted out of the book of life,” Surratt exclaims: “I love that! I love it! It’s the Bible.”

    “O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BAAL! RAIN DEATH AND DESTRUCTION DOWN ON THESE MINE ENEMIES!!!”
    — line from some Fifties Bible Epic movie

    Question, Roys Report Massmind:
    How does “imprecatory prayer” differ from a Conjure-man casting a Death Hex?
    Except this WItch-man has a REALLY BIG Familiar Spirit serving as his Enforcer?

  17. His son posted a video on Facebook today, again claiming to be the victims of slander and false accusation. If they are not guilty, why do they feel the need to defend themselves so much and rally people to take their side??

  18. Well…I think the bases have been covered….

    There is a reason we are warned of “wolves in sheeps clothing” – and evangelicals have a BOATLOAD – exceeding even Noah….

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