I've been super busy at work lately, but I promise you, there will be MUCH more analysis of this past Wednesday's sermon (8/5/09). It's quintessential Ed Thomas, and a wonderful window into the mindset of the CFCMI Leadership (a major area of study on this site).
So, I'll be quick now, with just three points, but look for more later...
1. Analyze the sermon yourself. Just click here for the text of the sermon, and then navigate to the Stop and Ask Yourself... page and bring up the first two sets of checklists (Ten Warning Signs and Checklist of Cult Characteristics). Compare the "11 Commandments" with the Warning Signs/Cult Characteristics...I think you'll find about a 75% correlation factor, or better.
2. Check out this quote. I'll let it stand on it's own...like I said, quintessential Ed Thomas:
"The leadership must answer to God. We don't have to answer to you. The final answer belongs to God. If the leaders have to (do) something that is unpopular because it is righteous or holy or simply the right thing to do, you have a choice. You can be like Absalom and sit outside, or you can trust God and stay inside." (Quote courtesy www.pillars.net)
3. Final point, look at the immense inward focus of the entire sermon. I call this the "Self Licking Ice Cream Cone" syndrome. The church and it's leadership reign supreme, everything and everyone must subordinate to it, no matter what...it takes at least 11 commandments (not tips or guidelines, mind you, but "commandments") to get that done. Isn't it funny how Jesus was able to sum things up with just two: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself? I wonder why he failed to mention pastoral subordination, giving all your time and money, and making sure you didn't get caught without a smile on your face.
BTW, I can't wait to talk about the offering/church budget comments, but that will have to wait for a later date.