Non-Pastor's Apology For A Hateful Pastor

I’ve been a minister for twenty years…With each passing year I’ve watched the Church I love become polluted. I’ve watched it slowly grow more and more malicious, more and more bitter, more and more toxic. I’ve watched it devolve into something that often barely resembles Jesus—and it’s been heartbreaking.” – John Pavlovitz

And so, the good pastor penned an apology on behalf of those responsible for destroying his beloved church.

The church ‘barely resembles Jesus’ because THE CHURCH IS NOT JESUS.

The church is actually, Jesus’ Bride.

A guy is a minister for twenty years and hasn’t figured this out?

How is the church more malicious today than it was back when it was nailing Jesus to a cross?

It’s not clear on whose behalf he is apologizing.

But they’re very bad people!

Polluted, malicious, toxic, bitter people.

The kind of people that really need Jesus.

Horrible, despicable, vile sinners!

They’re breaking his heart!

How do you fix a broken heart?

You write a few dozen sanctimonious paragraphs scolding the bride that Jesus adores.

To be fair, it’s not all churches that are toxic and bitter.

It’s just those OTHER churches.

The churches where Pavlovitz isn’t on staff.

The pastor says:

I’m sorry that the brutality and hypocrisy of Christians has caused you to wash your hands of a benevolent, humble Jesus who is really nothing like them.”

Jesus is nothing like those people.

Jesus is like you, right Johnny?

I’m giving you a new commandment…to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John Pavlovitz   Jesus Christ

Of course,  Jesus only had three years in ministry.

So you’ve got seventeen more years of experience than Jesus!

I’m not a fan of your blog, Pastor Pavlovitz.

You’re a pandering political progressive parading in pastor’s pajamas.

You go on and on about what Jesus thinks yet never quote Jesus’ words.

You never cite scripture while assuring me that the Bible informs your opinions.

Next time you want to write an apology, write one for the guy in your mirror.


A flawed, discouraged, reluctant, but still striving ‘non-pastor’.

49 thoughts on “Non-Pastor's Apology For A Hateful Pastor

  1. Thank goodness you deconverted. It must be such a relief to be out of all this shit at last, right?

    I am still waiting for you to write an official post , or comment stating how you finally realise that the character Jesus of Nazareth was nothing but an itinerant 1st century rabbi … and little elkse.

    When are you going to repudiate all your former Jesus claims, JohnB?

  2. If anyone would like the link to Ark’s Corner of Shame, let me know. We do not respond to his nonsense here–where the adults are trying to talk. (He never, ever, ever, EVER stays on topic, so we send him to time out, where he can yell and spit and hurl insults to his heart’s content.)

  3. Matthew Cross says:

    Typically, when I hear that the Church should look like Christ- it is because of the notion that we are the Body of Christ.
    But probably the underlying reason why JP doesn’t say “Bride of Christ” for the Church is because he thinks “Husband of Christ” is just as hunky-dory. Just speculation though.

  4. DB says:

    I’m familiar with this so-called pastor. He befriended friends of mine (life-long christians) when they were grieving the loss of their baby. They were of course dealing with anger toward God and this man convinced them they didn’t have to be angry at God because God isn’t actually in charge of everything. Under his tutelage they have gone from strong believers in Jesus to New Age minded people who still claim to be christians but believe all other religions are also valid and can get you to heaven. His method was to talk to them about how their baby isn’t really gone, but is still in their house as their “little guru”, guiding them and giving them wisdom. It’s horrible to watch, but he was there at the right time and told them what they wanted to hear, that they didn’t have to let their baby go. Ultimately, the responsibility is on them for believing them, but what kind of pastor takes advantage of a grieving family like that?

  5. Gene says:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgement has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2Peter2:1-3

  6. Dave says:


    I did a little digging, and that guy is a kook. A cult leader in the making, if not already made.

    I am still a captive to the truth of Scripture.

    If Scripture says it plainly, who am I to disbelieve?

    I have to own the hard stuff of the Bible along with the easy stuff. I embrace the creation narrative, because it is there, and Jesus certainly seemed to believe it. Likewise the Exodus, the historical figures in the Old Testament.

    It is the very things that people ridicule that seem to be the important things.

    If the creation narrative is but allegorical, and Adam but a symbol or work of fiction, then the origin of sin is in question. Then Christ would be called the Second Adam as just a word picture, and not literally the promised Seed of the woman Who will crush Satan’s head, sinless and thus able to forgive sin.

    God put Scripture together for a reason, and included what He did and why He did for a purpose. I am called to preach the whole counsel of God, not just the stuff that feels warm, fuzzy, and able to fit into New Age mumbo jumbo.

    “Here I stand. I can do no other. I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me.” – Martin Luther paraphrased


    Acts 20:27 (ESV) – for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

    • Personally, I think the questions of what to believe and which sources to trust are part of the journey toward God. All of us need to ask these questions of how much the Bible is literal history and how much it may be figurative (just as Atheists must question how much they trust what they’ve been spoon-fed about evolution). My issue with Pavlovitz is that he’s still telling people WHAT to think, instead of teaching them how.

      He writes for a mostly-emotional audience, and none of them seem to question what he says, ever. Instead of a dialog, it’s a new brand of “Accept What I Say, Because I’m a Pastor” religion.

      • Dave says:


        I hear what you are saying. I just have concerns that when someone picks and chooses what parts of Scripture to treat as the real deal, at the end, they are going to be left with no certainty of anything in it at all. And without Scripture as our measure of truth, we are left with our feelings, or just the revelations from nature that God has provided. That is enough to condemn men, but not save them.

        I have no issues with the Creator of the Universe being having the power to give us the perfect revelation He desired. If he can set the stars in place and create life, He can certainly do it in seven days. The One Who can bring the dead to life and provide salvation can raise up Moses to lead the people from Egypt to wander in the desert for forty years.

        Before I ramble further, I shall cease. You get my gist, I am abundantly sure.


        Amos 5:6-9 (ESV) –

        6 Seek the Lord and live,
        lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
        and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
        7 O you who turn justice to wormwood[a]
        and cast down righteousness to the earth!
        8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
        and turns deep darkness into the morning
        and darkens the day into night,
        who calls for the waters of the sea
        and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
        the Lord is his name;
        9 who makes destruction flash forth against the strong,
        so that destruction comes upon the fortress.

      • Dave says:


        What I don’t get is why these kind of folks don’t just declare they are starting a new religion and make up their own sacred writings, come up with a name for their god and their savior, and not try to hide under the blanket of Christianity.

        Then they can be honest with their following a different god that the God of the Bible, and are following what amounts to some other Jesus and some other gospel.

        I guess i really do know why… they are false teachers, preying on those who are not veterans in the faith. Scripture warned us of those, as others posted. They are deceivers and deceived, and are in danger of severe Divine Judgement (needs to be capitalized, methinks, due to its serious nature).

        I am a student of Scripture. But I do not worship the Bible like an idol. I worship the Author of the Scripture, and depend on His revelation to keep me from false teaching, false practice, and a false faith that is no faith at all. Deferring to the Word of God’s content over my own feelings and opinions keeps me humble. No amount of learning and study and Bible degrees puts anyone above the simple and clear message of the Bible. We do not defer to wise teachers or popes in the end, but the Scripture when issues of doctrine and practice arise.

        And amongst all this love. Nonessential doctrines (like modes of baptism, cessationism, and the like) should never divide believers.

        That is one of the things I enjoy the most about the blog, that we have consensus on the things that are most essential. We represent different stripes of believers. Ain’t too many Calvinists hereabouts. Does not bother me one lick, as we stand for God and salvation by grace through faith together.


        2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

        • … I know why they borrow what they want from the Christian Holy Text. It’s because there has never been a more relevant and useful one. It’s Truth. And twists on the truth are more powerful than whole, made-up lies. 🙂

    • John Branyan says:

      If I get close enough to Pastor John’s church on a Sunday morning, I’m definitely going to drop in. I’m curious about what the people are like when the pastor(s) are such radicals.

  7. From the link Dave provided:

    “Pavlovitz came back and added an 11th thing he doesn’t believe about the Bible… He basically thinks it’s rude to quote Bible verses… [But] In an e-mail I received from him (referenced below), he told me that I was acting unbiblically. When I asked him…which passages he thought I was disobeying, he replied, but gave no references.”

    See, THAT is what bothers me about Pavlovitz. He’s a dogged Fundamentalist; he just happens to be the anti-Bible breed instead of the Bible-worshipping one. Two sides of the same coin.

    But, I don’t care who you are, if you can’t defend your own statements, I get annoyed. Anybody can be a skeptic. Anyone can question traditions or provide a list of things they “don’t” believe. It’s much harder to think through and defend what you DO believe, and I’ve never seen JP do it.

  8. Carmen says:

    If you think you can hold any kind of candle to John Pavlovitz you’re delusional (not that I ever doubted it).

    He has everything you haven’t got, Branyan. Intellect, insight, and above all – humility. That’s what makes him so popular. Your brand of seething superiority is indicative of one thing — jealousy. The old green-eyed monster’s got you by the balls, Branyan.

    OWN it.

  9. Carmen says:

    You know, John, jealousy stems from a low sense of self. In order to tackle the green-eyed monster, you could try asking yourself a few questions – “Why do I feel threatened?” “What am I fearing will happen? and “What does this feeling remind me of?” – they might help.

    Recognizing and embracing your feelings of inadequacy would be a mature first step.

  10. I feel your pain, John, I’ve been trying to engage John P. for a while now. He’s only good for one reply no matter how detailed and respectful my questions. He’s a more militant Rob Bell wannabee. The reason he doesn’t use scripture to buttress his arguments is two-fold: A) He can’t find it in context to do so and, B) He doesn’t believe the Bible IS scripture. He says so himself in other blog posts. He claims to be a “red-letter” follower of Christ, but he’s all about evangelical and Trump bashing because he’s heartbroken about the election result. He’s disappointed, angry and frightened about the coming Trumpapocalypse. John P. is the ultimate itching ear scratcher (2 Timothy 4:3) and is giving disaffected believers exactly what they seem to want to hear. I pray for him—that it doesn’t end up better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck (Luke 17:2). Anyway, good post—IT’S the stuff that needs to be said.

  11. Shultz Lu says:

    Question: In your mind who is more sanctimonious, Roy Moore or John Palvlovitz? Isn’t Roy Moore a horrible, despicable, vile sinner? Or do you think John Palvlovitz is more suitable for that description? Do you believe the accusers of Roy Moore are all liars?

      • Shultz Lu says:

        I can say for myself I have never done anything like Mr. Moore did in my 50 years of life. It’s unfair to compare me to Mr. Moore. When you put the Ten Commandments in your court room aren’t you suppose to be a god fearing person?

          • Shultz Lu says:

            I think Moore is the type of person Palvlovitz has been criticizing. Look how many avid supporters are there for Mr. Moore. Should we all shut up because we are sinners, too?

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Anybody who’s not Roy Moore shouldn’t be writing an apology for Roy Moore. It takes zero bravery and humility to list everything someone else is doing wrong. Pavlovitz’s entire post is patting his own back, for not being One of Those Christians. (He’s much better!)
            Hey, that’s almost exactly the message Shultz was sending, when he wrote, “I have never done anything like Roy Moore did in my 50 years of life.”

            Congratulations for not sexually assaulting anyone, Shultz… But, yes, you HAVE done something wrong at some point. You’ve done something about which you feel shame, or at least should feel shame. And, much like Roy Moore, you’d rather gloss over that. It’s easier to focus on some celebrity or politician whose sins seem worse than to own our personal wrongs.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            It’s sad how comment threads get derailed sometimes by people with agendas.

            On behalf of Shultz, I apologize. 😉

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