The Evangelical Free Church does not permit "elder-rule" governance in our churches, and I hope we never do.
Dr. Michael Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Virginia, has expressed regret that he did not step forward and speak out against the unscriptural "Patriarchy" teachings promoted by Vision Forum and Doug Philips. At least Dr. Farris has done so now. It is not easy to detect the subtle differences between the normal, conservative, and scriptural view of male leadership, and the peculiar distortions of so-called Christian patriarchalism. Many of the elements in error in Patriarchalism spring from an over-equating of Israel with the Christian Church, which at its root is an interpretive and theological error. Rules and regulations from Moses' law about family structure are ported over, by the barrelful, into the New Covenant era. There was nothing but a focus on covenant continuity, but precious little alertness to covenant discontinuity. There seemed to be no acceptance of the Romans 14 principle of freedom of conscience on unrequired matters. And for a movement that claims to have the highest regard for God's law, there is (in my opinion) precious little awareness of what is not-law. For instance, the practice of a single woman living at home with her father and mother until marriage might in some circumstances be wise, or best, and certainly is a choice free to be made. But it is not a commandment from God, and those who teach that it is are guilty of being false witnesses of God.
The "Heaven Is For Real" book describes heaven as filled with little kids. But the book of Hebrews describes the saints in heaven as "the spirits of just men (i.e. people) made perfect." Why would God freeze the appearance of a deceased person at the point of, say, eight years old? If you are a Christian who dies at 87 years old, do you look 87 years old in Colton Burpo's heaven? Hebrews 12:23 implies that believers are perfected in heaven, not in a state of non-maturity.
Some preachers relate to a Bible verse the way a drunk relates to a light-pole -- more for support than illumination!
Non-Christians think that we Christians are inviting them to come be miserable, with us because they love the sins that we deplore. But we aren't just asking them to give up their addictions. We are asking them to come enjoy something that is a thousand times better than any drug. The non-Christian's perception of the Gospel is, to a great degree, a projection of their own loves, not the reality of the Gospel itself. But we should be careful not to reinforce their warped perceptions. The Gospel invites everyone to come find happiness. Tell me: what is better than being loved? Having a non-condemning conscience? To no longer being terrified of dying? To have a wise, all-powerful Friend who never leaves you or betrays you? Evangelicals who put down "happiness" may feel that they are opposing modern hedonism. But they are off-kilter. Adam and Eve were happy before the fall; the saints in heaven are happy now. Happy is the man whose God is the Lord!