Vernon Lyons
Vernon Lyons, former pastor of Ashburn Baptist Church in Chicago and Orland Park, IL.

Grieving Pastor Faces Excommunication from Chicago Church He Founded 70 Years Ago

By Julie Roys and Steve Rabey

On Jan. 7, 1951, Rev. Vernon Lyons led the first service at Ashburn Baptist Church, an independent, fundamentalist congregation on Chicago’s southwest side that would birth a sister congregation in Orland Park in 1988.

In the 1980s, Ashburn’s Easter services attracted more than 1,500 souls. By the 1990s, members of the two churches were tithing more than $1 million a year, with as much as 10% going to support foreign missionaries. Ashburn also helped launch 36 additional churches.

By 2018, more than 400 people were still attending the sister churches, but the church had plateaued, with no new growth. That’s when Lyons, then 90, and his congregation invited a younger pastor, Tommy Thompson, to succeed him.

“I was getting old, and losing my vigor,” Lyons concluded at the time.

Pastoral transitions can be difficult. But the process at Ashburn has devolved into a war of conflicting claims that’s decimating the church. And tonight, Lyons will face a congregational vote on his excommunication from the church he led for 70 years.

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“You could say I’m grieved,” Lyons said in a tearful Monday phone interview. But Lyons says his goal isn’t reinstating himself in leadership. He says he merely wants to keep the church he founded alive.

Troubled transition

“The Rev. Vernon Lyons wants to make one thing clear: He’s not retiring,” he said a 2019 article in The Orland Park Prairie news. “After 68 years at the helm of Orland’s Ashburn Baptist Church, Lyons is relinquishing his title and taking up a new one as assistant pastor.”

But Thompson offered a different version of events. He says the two never agreed that Lyons would stay on staff as an assistant pastor, but instead would retire and become pastor emeritus. Yet when Thompson offered Lyons the emeritus position, Lyons refused.

Tommy Thompson
Pastor Tommy Thompson preaches at Ashburn Baptist Church.

In a Facebook post in March 2020, Vernon Lyons claimed that he was “fired and given two weeks to vacate his study in the church, with its thousands of books, and turn in his keys.”

Lyons says Thompson fired him without the required congregational vote. But Thomson told Lyons in a letter that this was a “false charge,” adding:

“These actions, and your refusal to accept the role of Pastor Emeritus are accepted by the deacons and myself as a resignation….What I don’t understand, is why you would purposefully make a decision that you knew would hurt the church of God, you spent your entire life leading.”

Exacerbating matters, Thompson removed Lyons’ son, Sam Lyons, who had served as an associate pastor at Ashburn for nearly 45 years. According to Thompson—and a written confession by Sam Lyons—Sam was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a female member of the church, “which was not adulterous but was so wrong.”

Yet Sam now says he felt “under pressure” to make the statement and that the relationship was never romantic.

Thompson claims the departure of Sam Lyons is part of the “much deeper story” of problems he has uncovered at Ashburn under the senior Rev. Lyons. “There is behavior that our leadership has tried to hold him accountable for, and instead, he continues to lash out, and continues to recruit people to attack us.”

Among the behavioral problems Thompson cited was a scandal involving Lyons’s other son, Charles, who pastored another congregation, Armitage Baptist Church. In 2019, the 68-year-old Charles resigned from Armitage, which he had led for 45 years, after confessing to sexually abusing a family member when he was a teenager. 

Vernon Lyons still attends the church when he’s not guest preaching at other churches, but his continued presence generated the excommunication charge, and Wednesday’s 8:00 p.m. meeting, which will follow a 7:00 p.m. service.

“The pace of excommunication has accelerated tremendously”

Like many independent, fundamentalist churches, Ashburn Baptist Church has long practiced excommunication of members who fail to meet the expectations of its church covenant. According to letters provided to The Roys Report ranging from 2007—2013, members have been excommunicated for “failing to tithe,” “filing for divorce,” and “failure to attend the regular services of the church.”

David Montoya, a former Ashburn member, contends that under Lyons, offenders had a chance to defend themselves before congregants voted anonymously on each case. But under Thompson, Montoya said, “The pace of excommunication has accelerated tremendously.”

Montoya left the church in June 2020, after he and five other members were charged with sowing division. Montoya said the congregation initially voted not to excommunicate him and the others. But he said Thompson recharged the group four months later, and by that time, most of those charged had moved on to other churches.

Montoya describes the heartbreak members are experiencing, but says that as a former  Mormon who was baptized at Ashburn in 2015, his decision to leave the church was a “cake walk.”

“When things got abusive, I had already walked down this road before in leaving the Mormon church,” he said.

One of several excommunication letters Ashburn Baptist sent to members under Pastor Vernon Lyons’ leadership.

When asked about the recent excommunications, Thompson alleged that over the years, Lyons has “weaponized the church covenant” to excommunicate those he didn’t like. When asked if Thompson is doing the same thing, Thompson replied, “Scripture says you live by the sword, you die by the sword. . . . I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done for 70 years.”

The church’s implosion has been brutal for everyone involved.

Lyons said he’s seen beloved, long-time members depart “to the four corners of the compass.” He has watched the church decline over the last two years. He saw the church cut off support for a missionary in Israel Ashburn had supported for a decade. In at least one case, police were called to the church to settle a dispute between members.

“Since (Thompson) has come on, we’ve had a frightful exodus,” said Lyons, who declined to indicate what he would say when he speaks at tonight’s meeting on his excommunication. “Things have been roughly cut in half. Sunday morning is like a ghost town. It’s a great grief, but the church is what’s crucial, not me.”

Thompson, on the other hand, said he’s simply defending the church from Lyons’s assaults. He added that the founding pastor has been involved in “two years of antagonism and division, and those within our church are very aware of it.”

UPDATE: Ashburn Baptist voted to excommunicate Vernon Lyons by a vote of 46-9 on Wednesday night. Votes were cast anonymously.

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83 thoughts on “Grieving Pastor Faces Excommunication from Chicago Church He Founded 70 Years Ago”

  1. From the article: Thompson replied, “Scripture says you live by the sword, you die by the sword. . . . I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done for 70 years.”

    This is a reference to Matthew 26:52. Jesus is criticizing Peter for using his sword against the servant of the high priest. Hardly a proof text for how to govern a church. Tells me what I need to know about this situation.

  2. Julie Roys, I have appreciated your columns on Harvest Bible Chapel and RZIM, among other topics. Today’s column makes me wonder the following: What are your objectives — that is, what do you hope to achieve — when you (or your colleagues) write about a person or an organization? Thank you for your consideration.

    1. This is a story I took on only because multiple people urged me to look into what was happening at Ashburn. Given Pastor Lyons long history in Chicago, and the unusual turn of events, it seemed newsworthy. Steve Rabey and I certainly found more than we anticipated. We wrestled with what to do with the story and decided the best thing to do was to just report all sides without comment. I have a feeling there are a lot of lessons to be gleaned from this sad account, and over time, those will become more clear.

      1. Hi, Julie Roys. Thank you for replying to my questions. Would you please expound on your objectives — that is, what you hope to achieve — when you pursue a story?

        1. Crystal L Brooks

          She is Reporting the Truth to help Restore the Church. She’s a reporter and a very good one. I’m not sure if you have perused her site, but check out the “About” section. https://julieroys.com/about-the-roys-report/. That should help you. Like any good reporter, she reports the facts. It’s great to see good reporting without the writer injecting their opinions or bias for a change.

      2. I appreciate your reports. I would just like to see more equal coverage for women that abuse or cover up abuse. I don’t believe men are the only abusers yet the media hardly touches the subject when it comes to women! Look at all the women that cover up for these guys. They are just as guilty and should not get off. Women tend to abuse children more than men when it comes to stats. I know it is hard to see the female gender as a predator but it does happen in our churches. The behavior is wrong no matter who does it. Please take time to consider my request. Thank you.

    2. James Lutzweiler

      David,

      Do you not wish to be warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing? I do. Are you a new Christian? Have you ever noticed that St. Paul named names? Julie is to be honored and thanked for turning a spotlight on a man who ordered this founding pastor out of his office with two weeks notice. Do you realize by secular standards you could not do that to a renter who paid late?

      James Lutzweiler

      1. James Lutzweiler, Julie Roys is persistent in asking questions and seeking answers. I admire this in her, and I hope she will expound on her objectives in covering a story.

    3. Sick of the heretics

      Her objectives is to expose the evangelical industrial complex for all its greed. I don’t care how many books or CDs these grifters sell. It’s supposed to be about a humble life and lifestyle. There is NOTHING humble about any of these mega church grifters. All will hear God say “I never knew you”. Keep kidding yourselves you wolf in sheep’s clothing just keep kidding yourself. I now attend a small congregation with a part time pastor. Remember it’s where two or more are gathered in my name. Not where two or more in the THOUSANDS and put on a rock concert. Most pastors act they have anger management issues or impulse control issues. Nobody is fooled and especially God.

      1. I’m pretty sure one thing that cannot be said about Vernon Lyons is that he was like one of these grifter pastors. I’m pretty sure he was very frugal and lived a humble life and I heard he gave 90% of his income back to the church, but not sure how accurate that is.

    1. Pure evil now runs that church. Makes me very sad. Nobody is perfect and both Pastor Sam and Pastor Lyons are amazing kind people. So disgusted.

  3. James Lutzweiler

    I just came across this report. Thank you, Julie, for picking up the story. The church at large needs to know about the conduct of Tommy Thompson. I support Vernon Lyons 100% and will be back soon at this site to support those words. I have known him since at least 1967 and have treasured his fellowship and his leader ship.

    Later,

    James Lutzweiler
    Archivist (1999-2013)
    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

  4. MARK AUGHENBAUGH

    This church excommunicated someone for not tithing. That seems crazy to me. I do not think that one can support tithing as a NT mandate for the local church. Not sure what to make of all this based on the limited information available. Glad that I don’t have to know and that God does know.

    1. When becoming a MEMBER there are promises made to tithe along with many other oaths and they sign that document. It’s a broken promise my friend. A breach of covenant. If anyone breaks the oath of a position they take like in any membership. they also have agreed to the consequences.

      1. From my experience I was told I couldn’t serve because I was wearing pants, and I got “excommunicated” because I wasn’t tithing and for my lack of attendance. But what wasn’t considered was that I was out of state in college and I didn’t have a job. And this was after many years of giving countless hours to the youth ministry I was involved in there. There was some good in this church, yes, but the way things were handled a lot of the time was very wrong.

        1. This sounds like a more accurate account of some of the problems with the way Ashburn was run. Some of these other accounts I find hard to believe.

    2. James Lutzweiler

      Mark,

      Churches have covenants. Covenants have provisions. A church is free to forbid gum-chewing on Thursday’s, if it wishes. And if you sign up and don’t keep the rules, there are a thousand other churches you can go to and be happy till Jesus comes.

      James Lutzweiler

      1. One Salient Oversight

        “A church is free to forbid gum-chewing on Thursday’s, if it wishes.”

        But the church belongs to God, and God doesn’t forbid that. Churches are not countries that can do as they please. They must be accountable for their actions.

        1. Couldn’t agree more. I recall an issue with a church requiring circumcision in the bible, which led Paul to question whether they were following the gospel anymore.

      2. Interesting comment, James. Your clarity on that matter is appreciated. Under that type of hierarchical system Jesus would probably have been excommunicated for eating with sinners as that would have been considered a far more serious matter than chewing gum on Thursdays. (Mark 2:16)

    3. In many if not most Independent fundamentalist Baptist Churches Tithing is considered a sacrament that must be obeyed. They also often will say that baptism is not necessary for salvation. But, if you are not baptized (Full immersion in a public manner by a Pastor and often by that pastor of that church), than you are not saved. Every Independent Baptist Church that I have ever been to holds that same position. Lots of intransigence and self-righteousness and personality driven too. Often A KJV only Bible too. What they generally seek are Families with a lot of children, attending A Home School or at their own Church School, Sunday best wearing, family structure. If you dont or cannot meet that standard you are often ostracized or feel as though that you are. For those of us who have problems with depression and paranoia schizophrenia such Churches can drive you to a deep, dark depression. Stay away from mega Churches and independent fundamentalist Baptist churches.

      1. That is sad commentary Dirk but I do not doubt that what you say is true. I wonder if such groups are as zealous to enforce rules against gossip and gluttony as they are against not tithing to the church. Or perhaps the gossips and the gluttons are given a pass.

      2. And people wonder why the under 30 age group are avoiding church. The problem with Christianity is every pastor has their own interpretation of the Bible. And they ALL know they are interpreting it correctly. Nothing but control freaks who have done more harm than good. And at 67 I don’t want or need the nonsense. Hell fire damnation types are the cause of most division or the let’s turn every service into a rock concert of hooting and hollaring and dancing like fools claiming it’s the Holy Spirit. Shameful nonsense.

      3. You are saved by grace through faith, not baptism. Jesus told criminal on the cross next to him he would be with him in paradise. He was never baptized.

  5. The enemy is always easy to spot (when you have eyes that become opened) Pastor Lyons was ordered to vacate his office of countless years last year with a few day notice after a COMPLETE shut down of the church when COVID hit. It was last April right around Holy Week. And, this Easter even considering throwing him out on his ear during Holy Week is no coincidence. Tell me how bad he was to receive that treatment??? Let’s ALL be sure to look squarely in the mirror and drop to our knees in repentance.

  6. Thompson is doing what any shepherd should do when he discovers a wolf in sheep’s clothing among the flock. A wolf always has many victims. The most notable of Vernon Lyons’ victims was his own wife.

    Though not terminally ill, when my mother needed acute care, my father deceptively took away all professional medical care.

    Note: deceptively, because he led people to believe there was proper care being given after he brought her home. But, in fact, he had cut off communication with her doctor and had no nurse monitoring her pro time, though she was on a blood thinner.

    When an unauthorized nurse, member of the church, came to do an 8 day delayed pro time/INR it revealed an emergency level that could cause a stroke. Still no doctor was called and the next day she showed symptoms of a stroke. She died 3 days later.

    Julie, the term “grieving” and “tears” are not an apt description of anything related to my dad. He prides himself in his lack of emotions. But of course both his pride and lack of emotions make him very dangerous —even now as he continues a self promotion campaign.

    Sorry for all who are being subjected to the ugly truths that should have been resolved within our family. But I see him still deceiving and causing harm to more people and the church.

    Too much coverup! We should not imitate the predators in the flock who can’t operate without out it. We can not be safe with it!

    1. James Lutzweiler

      Readers,

      When evaluating the comments of Thomas Lyons, keep in mind he took his own father before the church and lost his case. Let us see if Thomas Lyons can find a medical official to sign his name to the evaluation of someone with no such credentials.

      James Lutzweiler

      1. Correction: to the deacons not the church. Who by their own response did not talk to my mom’s doctor and based their final conclusions on the testimony of people they trusted at the time who were ALL complicit In some way or other. Also, years have passed and given the same information some may now have quite a different response.

        https://thoslyons.wixsite.com/rethinkthepastevisit/post/5-deacons-response

        Jim, I based my report and conclusion on what I learned from my mother’s doctor who signed the death certificate giving stroke as cause of death. Your red herring argument does not negate any of the undisputed facts that have been posted publicly for years.

  7. Ponder this…..What might your offspring say about you? You appear to be a “young believer.” if you’re a believer at all….Read the 5th commandment, over and over and over.

    1. Michael Borkowski

      Amen. Didn’t pastor Lyons daughter Martha move in with them to help her round the clock until she passed?

      1. James Lutzweiler

        Funny Tom Lyons left out this critical fact which he well knew but which did not fit his narrative.

        James Lutzweiler

      2. She was not living there at the time. She came in for 5 hrs a day. She had some experience with home care but no training. She did a great job with what she knew which was not adequate for an acute care patient. My dad sent a clipboard around for volunteers to come to cover afternoons. When one of these came, she said she wasn’t prepared to see my mom in such a bad way. I asked another who was a nurse if she could do a blood draw that the doctor had told me he wanted. Her response was she had no authorization to do so. Each person involved knew only a part of the truth and was lead to believe the pastor was a wise and loving husband who surely is pursuing what’s best for his dear wife.

    2. You fool using that commandment as a weapon of mass destruction. Heard that nonsense so many times. How about if your parents suck at being parents and do more harm than good. Only a self righteous most likely abuser would use that commandment to demand a child adhere to a dominant and bully parent.

      1. This reminds me of the situation with my dad. To everyone outside our home, he was wonderful, funny, giving, marvelous, etc….. I have had more than a couple people say how wonderful it must be to have him as a father. Behind closed doors, it was 180 degrees different. But nobody else saw that side, so nobody believed.

  8. Crystal L Brooks

    No wonder the recent Gallup poll shows that for the first time, attendance at church is below half in the United States. You know it’s bad when Rev. Lyons own son gets on here and criticizes his father. Clearly he no longer honors him. He put his father’s sin out here for everyone to read. This is a sad situation and reading his post made it even worse. How disappointed God must be in his creation. And this is who Jesus died for. Lord Have Mercy!

    1. Covering things up is how we got here. Exposing evil is a necessary thing for everyone’s benefit and safety. Shouldn’t there be warning signs posted where there are known dangers?

  9. Julie, usually it seems like you report on situations in which there is no accountability. In this situation there is accountability: a congregational vote. If the congregation wants the man gone, and if the bylaws provide for a vote such as this, and there isn’t undue influence, and if there isn’t voter fraud, then let the congregation decide.

  10. Serving in a Southside church for many years, we met numerous people who had left Ashburn(s) because of extreme legalism and unChristlike, unbiblical treatment by the pastor. Over the years we met many more with basically the same story.

    1. James Lutzweiler

      Denise,

      “Extreme legalism” and “unChristlike unbiblical treatment by the pastor” are way too general statements for any rational person from which to draw conclusions. Too bad these critics could not spell “specific.” And even if they could, I always like to get two sides of a story or even 10 sides, if there are that many. But at least two. I find that no matter how thin I make my pancakes, they always have two sides.

      I have known Vernon Lyons for over 50 years. Not one time has he ever failed to respond to a letter, a call, or an email. He conducted my father’s funeral 51 years ago and it was exhilarating and joyful and well-planned. We as a family still talk about it. He presided over one of the most memorable services in my life just a few short years ago. I attended his Sunday school class as a college student, and I always came away challenged and equipped. He always kept my attention from the pulpit. In recent days he has handled with uncommon Grace some vicious public attacks from one of his sons, attacks that would mentally cripple some parents for the rest of their lives.

      This is what I mean by specifics. Perhaps the critics you listened to were illegalists. Believe it or not, there are rules that Christians are to follow. And now Tommy Thompson and his sheep have gotten rid of someone who kept the rules as best he could. We need more servants of Jesus like Vernon Lyons, not fewer.

      The conduct of Ashburn’s current congregation is outrageous and disgusting. It’s candlestick has gone out. It is poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked —and doesn’t know it! Imagine walking outside today with your privates shining in the sun! Hopefully the lost won’t accidentally stumble in there, looking for salvation and sanctification. Perhaps the gentle Savior might be able to wait a little longer before projectile puking this old pearl of Orland Park out of his mouth, but I don’t have that kind of stamina.

      Sincerely,

      James Lutzweiler
      Archivist (1999-2013)
      Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

      1. Jim the blindness of loyalty has made you stumble into accepting my dad’s image as a substitute for substance. Have you asked him if what’s I said was true, that he ignored the message from my mother’s doctor and didn’t communicate with him till she died?

  11. Some articles you read and think: Wow! A Baptist Church Split because of intransigence and which developed a personality cult! This is one of those articles.

  12. Wow… What a horror show…

    Signing Church Contracts? err… Church Covenants?

    In The Bible? Did any of **His Disciples** ever…
    Sign a “church covenant?” – NOPE…
    ——-

    Excommunicated for NOT tithing?

    In The Bible? Did any of **His Disciples** ever…
    Give a tithe? a tenth? 10%?, from wages?
    Of Silver, Gold, or MONEY? To a church? – NOPE…

    In the Bible, the tithe was always agricultral. NEVER MONEY.
    The seed of the land, fruit of the trees, oil, wine, animals.
    To be eaten, or sacrificed to God.
    ——-

    Two “Titled” pastors? “Titled” reverends?
    Excommunicatng those they do NOT like?
    Live by the sword? Die by the sword?

    In The Bible? Did any of **His Disciples** ever…
    Take the “Title” pastor? Or shepherd? Or reverend? – NOPE…
    ——-

    And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    1. Amennnnnnnnn. History shown time and again these evangelicals are a menace to society going back to burning witches in Salem and stealing land from Indians. They haven’t changed. Greed using Gods word. And the people still giving tithes out of FEAR not love. And aren’t we not suppose to know what the right hand is doing? I only give cash.

  13. Fundamentalism is like taking the “FUN” out of Christianity and putting the “MENTAL” into a negative light. I went to an independent fundamental Bible college and though they preach a that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. They moralized the Old Testament and often make applications from the text where the text never makes! They do not believe in a plurality of elders. They are pastor ran. Most Fundamental Baptist Churches function as in a sense James MacDonald functioned. I went to Mukwonago Baptist Church a few weeks ago with my brother and his wife. They asked me for my opinion. The pastor said that Martin Luther was unsaved and that a plurality of Elders are unbiblical. The polity of fundamental baptist churches are unbiblical! Praying for my brother’s wife. That she sees through the crazy legalism! That she sees the Person and Work of Jesus Christ! I once’s heard if the KJV was good enough for The Apostle Paul then it is good enough for me. Ummm. I was like, “Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.” Sad story but that is the trajectory of Fundamental Churches.

    1. Such is the confidence we have toward God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
      2 Corinthians 3:4-6

      So sad when people think the gospel is just the Law 2.0

  14. If you still think God wants you to “Tithe?”
    You can “Tithe” according to Deut 14:22-26 KJV

    In the Bible, there are at least four different “Tithes,” mentioned.

    You can even find a “Tithe” for **You and Your family**
    To EAT, and Rejoice.

    Yeah, A “Tithe” that belongs to **You and Your family.** Go figure… ;-)
    That you may learn to fear the LORD thy God…
    You’re NOT likely to hear this “Tithe” preached from the pulpit.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-26 KJV (And Deut 12.)
    Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of “thy seed,”
    that “the field” bringeth forth year by year.

    23 And thou (You) shalt EAT before the LORD thy God,
    in the place which he shall choose to place his name there,
    “the tithe” of thy (Your) corn, of (Your) wine,
    and of thine (Your) oil, and the firstlings of thy (Your) herds
    and of thy (Your) flocks; (NO silver, gold, or money.)
    that thou (You) mayest learn
    to fear the LORD thy God always.

    24 And if the way be too long for thee,
    so that thou art not able to carry it;
    or if the place be too far from thee,
    which the LORD thy God shall choose
    to set his name there, when the LORD thy God
    hath blessed thee:

    25 Then shalt thou **turn it into Money,**
    and bind up the money in thine hand,
    and shalt go unto the place
    which the LORD thy God shall choose:

    26 And thou shalt bestow that money
    for **whatsoever thy (YOUR) soul lusteth after,**
    for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink,
    or for whatsoever thy soul desireth:
    and thou (YOU) shalt EAT there before the LORD thy God,
    and thou (YOU) shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

    Yeah, “…bestow that money for
    **whatsoever thy (YOUR) soul lusteth after,** “

    What are the chances these verses
    will be preached from the pulpit? :-)
    ——-

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

      1. KC

        This article says…
        “…members have been excommunicated for “failing to tithe,”
        And that is abuse… There is NO excuse for abuse…

        But, in the Bible, there is NO basis for believers to “Tithe” today.
        Give a tenth, 10%, from wages, silver, gold, or MONEY…
        To a church.

        See a previous comment @ “APRIL 1, 2021 AT 9:14 AM”
        In the Bible, the tithe was always agricultural. NEVER MONEY.
        ——-

        But, many people have been doing this for many years…
        Giving 10% of their wages to a… errr… Corporation…

        A 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible,
        Religious $ Corporation, That the IRS calls church.

        It’s hard for them to believe…
        They have been led astray by “their shepherds.”

        Jer 50:6 – “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
        **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

        And I thought giving them another option from the bible…
        The “Tithe” is for you and your family…
        They can STOP giving MONEY…
        To these IRS $ Corporations…
        Corrupt Religious Systems…
        And still tithe biblically…
        Until they get the…
        Revelation…

        God does NOT need your money…
        God does NOT require you to tithe…
        ——-

        Isa 3:12 KJV
        O my people, they which lead thee
        cause thee to err,
        and destroy the way of thy paths.

        Isa 9:16 KJV
        For the leaders of this people
        cause them to err;
        and they that are led of them are destroyed.

        1. A. Amos Love… agreed! God does not need my tithe! I do not consider tithing a New Covenant theological command. There are principles from the heart as well as motives.

          Paul states in his first pastoral letter to Timothy, “ and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

          And James says, “ What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

          Matthew warns about the dangers of wealth too. It’s a liar. Jesus gives parables about the dangers of it in the Bible. It’s a false hope and yet it is one of the most gracious tools Jesus has given.

          That being all true. I think a tithe of my resources is a tool or place by which my heart has the desire to provide for the Body of Christ. Which, by the way, is essential to the process of sanctification. Sanctification is not a solo-sport. Also as a footnote the New Testament instructions are not individualistic. The commands are for a plurality of people i.e. the church.

          I agree God does not need my money. But His church does indeed! Look at the perspectives in the text. Jesus, others then yourself. Paul states the principles and James states the motives, both are the context within the Body of Christ. Having money isn’t sin but when money has you it is sin. I’m not against tithing. I never wanted to know who did or did not give as a pastor. That pastor overstepped his authority. But I bet anything they are a pastor run church and not a plurality of elders. Baptist polity creates unbiblical control. It is not Biblical for elders/pastor to be in the financial affairs. That’s a deacon issue.

          Giving whether a tithe or what God lays on your heart is a motive issue not a legalistic motive. I understand that some will disagree with me on tithing and really I am trying to be faithful as my knowledge of the text informs me. It should be done cheerfully and out of a reflection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

        2. Yeahhhhh and thank you and completely agree. We have been lied to so pastors can live a lifestyle Jesus would never condone. Thank you thank you thank you. I tithe to people who need. Not to the churches of greed. Live humble lifestyles and you don’t need multi million dollar parsonages. It sickens me when I see these disgusting people abusing Gods word. And technically since they are profiting off another writers work, isn’t that plagiarism?

  15. All I need to hear in this story is founding pastor of 70 years, and independent fundamentalist church to know the truth. You would have to be nuts to take that job. 90 years old and you can’t become the “pastor emeritus”? Mr. Thompson was in a no win situation–good luck!

  16. Speaking of church covenants l. Sorry but that is biblically unsound. Let your yes be yes and no be no! Do not make promises or covenants. Because of scripture and We are fallible. It would be cherry-picking sin if we punished one who does not tithe vs another sin. All sin falls short of the glory of God. They all are deadly. The only promises we can take to the bank is that “All the promises of God find their YES in HIM”. Because of those “PROMISES” We have our citizenship in Heaven! Seriously, we need to renew our minds with the Word. Let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! This church and unbiblical covenants are an example of the need to saturate our minds in the BIBLE, PERIOD!

  17. Good, bad and ugly are adjectives that fit Ashburn probably unlike any other church I know. So many people brought into the kingdom of God through ministry of Ashburn and so many church splits and people leaving over the years because of unloving legalistic leadership many could not tolerate. Interesting thing about Ashburn despite the legalistic fundamentalist aspect many people were new converts or first generation Christians and were more motivated by God’s love than those things. I don’t think there is any way to respond in a black and white way. Even some people who were excommunicated under Vernon Lyons’ leadership or participated in one of the church splits or left for another reason still hold a certain amount of respect for him and hate to see him treated like this. Even for many people who left Ashburn at some point because of mistreatment of people, look back at the good of their Ashburn experience and in the attempt to find new church homes realize there’s no place like Ashburn, no place like the good days of Ashburn that is.

      1. Despite the legalism, God’s Spirit was at that church in a powerful way. I was personally more impacted by Vernon’s children and all my Sunday School teachers. When Tom Lyons would play the piano and sing or when Sam Lyons would lead worship filled with joy, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It shows how fruitful the Word of God is when it is proclaimed.

  18. Elizabeth Moyer

    All, I grew up here and urge you to take a step outside the emotions involved in this situation and think about what this conversation is doing for God’s work. The answer is nothing positive. What’s happening is grieving the heart of our Savior and breaking the hearts of all who have been faithfully serving here, regardless of leadership change. It’s really a shame this publication is providing a forum for promoting decisiveness. Think bigger than yourselves, and turn your attention to the ministry in which you currently serve and go back to the mission of impacting lives for eternity.

    1. Elizabeth,

      I think you have good intentions. But in looking at scripture like the one below:

      “”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

      I must ask you. Is abuse happening here? If so, what do you wish be done? Bring it out? Cover it up under the banner of “for the good of the church”? It is the mentality of covering up negative truths for the ‘good of the church’ that has led to much harm ever since the true church of Jesus was formed. Even Paul publicly confronted Peter at Antioch when Peter’s behavior toward the gentiles became two-faced. (Galatians 2:11-21)

      No man is above reproach or accountability. And may we all value truth enough to walk in it, though it is very difficult to do in sad situations like the one described above.

  19. On the Other Hand

    They make true the oft’ said Baptist inside joke, “What do you have when you have three Baptists forming a church?”

    Answer: A church split and two churches.

    Elderly pastor needs to retire, devote himself to prayer, supporting young pastors, and a little Bible teaching. He suffers from a bad case of “indispensability.”

  20. I read a few earlier posts. My hope is that these Independent fundamental baptist churches who are separatist. BTW. It’s not what you are separated from but as to Whom you are separate to. But, the church at Ephesus had right doctrine but God removed the church. Time for the cult of an independent fundamental church like Mukwonago Baptist Church to go. Pastor Ron Roberts is dangerous!!!

    1. To paraphrase Lt. Renault in “Casablanca”, “M’sieu Thompson, you shouldn’t be so quick to discard church members. They might be scarce some day!”

    2. What actually occurred? Why is Sam’s photo on that site? If Tom is making a false accusation against his brother, it calls into question what he has to say about his father.

  21. A man arrived at the gates of Heaven.

    St. Peter asked, “Religion?”

    The man said, “Methodist.”

    St. Peter looked down his list and said,” Go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

    Another man arrived at the gates of Heaven.

    “Religion?”

    “Evangelical Free Church”

    “Go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

    A third man arrived at the gates.

    “Religion?”

    “Reformed Church”

    “Go to Room 11 but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

    The man said, “I can understand there being different rooms for different religions, but why must I be quiet when I pass Room 8?”

    St. Peter told him, “Well, the Baptists are in Room 8, and they think they’re the only ones here.”

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