Home General Church Checking the Church Checkers – Shawn McCraney Doesn’t Understand Contradictions

Church Checking the Church Checkers – Shawn McCraney Doesn’t Understand Contradictions

by Isaac Farley
Church Checking the Church Checkers – Shawn McCraney Doesn’t Understand Contradictions

This article has taken an unusually long time to write – even for me, someone who hasn’t updated his supposedly monthly demonology series in nearly 12 months. The reason for my delay being that this is a monstrous topic and I’ve found myself doing way more research than intended and I wanted to include more detail than what has made it in but several rounds of editing has put this thing on a diet.

Origin story
I was casually reading over facebook one morning before work when I came across a post in a Utah Christian group. The post warned members about a new “McCraney-ite tact” by using a website called checkMyChurch.org to cast doubt on the validity of different congregations. I started looking into the website and obviously if it was associated with Shawn McCraney it was going to be a complete mess. In one of his webcasts, McCraney made an off handed comment about how there should be a website that rates of all congregations as good or bad based on his standards. One of his followers, a woman by the name of Sarah Young took his comment to heart and has started this website that is in question. Young claims to be doing “unbiased and biblical reviews” but it doesn’t take much to find that none of this is true. The framework by which she is rating churches is McCraneyism a sub-biblical-at-best doctrinal system taught by McCraney. Moreover this women doesn’t even VISIT the congregations that she is rating. Seeing the clear problems with this tactic I had a fun idea to do a “church check” on the “church” that Young associates herself with. But first I took the egalitarian move of requesting CheckmyChruch.org review the congregation that I myself attend in Ogden, UT.

Flawed Methodology and Broken Theology
The review of my congregation went online in early May and I will not be responding to it here. Rather I will be discussing Ms. Young’s methodology as a whole and interacting with an exchange we had in the comments of her review. You can read my full comments to Ms. Young here. I will simplify it here for the sake of word count.

Me to Young: “‘I didn’t physically attend the […] service at Living Faith Discipleship Community’ Stop. This should be your whole review. How can you “review” something you know nothing about and have never experienced?

Let me review the next Avengers movie for you but I haven’t actually seen it I’m only going to quote reviews I found online. Nonsense.”

Young to Me: “What more could I possibly do besides physically attend an entire service..” Remember there is a lot of context around her comment. Please go read the whole exchange.

Knowing that I was in the process of writing this review I did not reply to Ms. Young’s comment because I didn’t need a flame war at the time. I know for a fact that she will find this post and for that reason let me share what I would have said to her then.

Me Hypothetically to Young: Ms. Young, you are propping yourself above everyone else, acting like you are the sole arbiter of truth, you presume that you know better than anyone else what makes a church biblical and not. Your ego is large and for that I’d expect you to have the common courtesy to walk in the building before you wash your hands of it. It seems to me that God always sent the prophets to places that need truth (eg Jonah and Nineveh). If I was to write a review of C.A.M.P.U.S. MY STARTING POINT would be walking up to Shawn McCraney, shaking his hand and introducing myself.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Now it’s my understanding that according to Ms. Young’s most recent newsletter to CMC subscribers that she finally has left her home for one of these reviews. Good for her, this is an improvement in methodology. If she keeps it up will remain to be seen.

The Check
To be cute I will break the rest of this writing down into subgroups in a similar way to CMC reviews.

WEBSITE REVIEW
Logging on to the C.A.M.P.U.S. website, I was able to navigate to the bottom of the page and find the address and service times. This is all I needed from the website and will not need to go into as much detail as someone who is only, essentially, reviewing church websites.

THE MEETING
It feels very strange to be writing an article criticising Shawn McCraney because I once look up to him as a pastor-type figure. Yes, I used to watch him on TV. Most of what I know about Mormonism came from the original Heart of the Matter program. In fact waaay before there was a WalkingChristian.com I was a contributor to a website known as SCAEMinistries, the first topic I wrote on for them was “A Critique of Mormon Cosmology.” which was largely based on what I learned about the topic from Shawn’s program.  I was watching when he got kicked off TV for criticising church. Then I kind of forgot about him for a time and was reminded of him when Dr. James White (my favorite Calvinist) on his webcast commented on a scandal that had been going on right under my nose. Shawn McCraney had come out publicly and denied the doctrine of the trinity. After debate with many real theologians, apologists and people who care about Shawn he kept going down the same road and found himself way out in the spiritual wilderness. Today he holds to very not Biblical teachings and is therefore a false teacher. (very detailed links provided below).

When I made it down to the C.A.M.P.U.S. meeting location Mr. McCraney was the first one to pull up and I immediately walked up to his car. I offered him my hand and said “You’re Shawn. I used to watch you on TV. I’m Isaac and I came down to check your church.” We talked for a brief moment before entering the building.

OBSERVATIONS
Upon entering and grabbing coffee and a bagel I talked with a few of the congregants for about 20 minutes. One of the members is openly bisexual and looking to practice  – other members told this person they were proud of their decision. Off in the corner Shawn was talking loudly with other members about how he had gotten drunk that Saturday night and been “drunk texting” people. Getting drunk is a sin (Proverbs 20:1; 23:20; 29–32; Isaiah 5:22, Ephesians 5:18) and pastors are called to a higher standard (James 3:1) Another member told me she loved C.A.M.P.U.S because it was an accepting place to be she said she looked at many denominations and couldn’t accept their “Patrichal bull ****” (her words) and finally closed with “I absolutely will not and could never be part of a church that doesn’t accept homosexuality.”

Everyone was very nice and easy to talk to and you could tell their (over) emphasis on love is genuine and that they intend well. When it was time for service I sat down with coffee in hand.

Worship Service

Mr. McCraney introduced the service and welcomed the first time guests, myself and my associate included. Then they launched into the worship, for which they play a pre-recorded song that is simply the words of the day’s passage set to music. So if the passage for consideration on that day was 2 Cor 13 – which it actually was – they will listen to the chapter sung to music three times and have a moment of silence to reflect on its meaning before the sermon is preached. I actually thought this was really great all things considered. It’s no secret that I am a fan of a certain Christian movement that started in China and this practice of scripture-hymns reminded me a lot of prayer-reading as observed by the Chinese believers.

Let me just say as an aside, just because a false teacher or controversial personality originates a practice doesn’t mean the practice is necessarily false, that is the genetic fallacy. So even if Mike Bickel, the LCM or Shawn McCraney teach prayer-reading or scripture-hymns doesn’t mean it’s a fruitless practice. And I thought this worship nethod was pretty cool.

Sermon


Oh boy – this, this has been one of the most complicated things I’ve ever had to write. On the way back home after our visit my associate and I attempted to untangle McCraney’s muddle mess of a sermon we just had the displeasure of sitting through. The only thought running through my head was “Shawn McCraney doesn’t understand the law of non-contradiction.” McCraney is like someone who went through brain surgery and had the two halves of his brain disconnected, one half controls one side of his mouth and the other side controls the rest of his mouth and they both try to speak at the same time. His views make no sense when you try to use them to build a house on the rock – the pieces do not fit together and I can’t understand how he and his followers cannot see this.

Imagine my sense of vindication when I went back and looked at the actual scholars who have interacted with and tried to correct Shawn have noted the same thing that I did. Dr. James White for example provides these comments in an episode of Radio Free Geneva from September 20, 2018 starting at 10:39 “I mean there’s a huge amount of confusion in Shawn’s teaching there’s no question about that but … To use the word ‘confused’ for Shawn McCraney is the understatement of the century.” or another comment from a former follower of Shawn known as Brother Thomas shared this insight in a series of blog articles on the topic, “The bottom line of the whole thing is that Shawn wants to be able to teach whatever he feels like at any given moment, call it ‘real’ Christianity . . . and never have to answer for it.” Brother Thomas, February 13, 2015

Before I interact his sermon I think the greatest contribution that I could possibly make on this topic, is to try and explain to Shawn and all his potential followers what exactly the law of noncontradiction is. Please know I’m not a professional philosopher unlike my colleague Gil Sanders. So I am a dummy trying to dumb this down even further. Here we go. A contradiction is a term used in the study of logic to describe hypothetical situations when two opposing things are true at the same time and in the same way. Example it is raining in Salt Lake City at 12:05 PM on July 2 and it is sunny with a high of 99 in Salt Lake City at 12:05 PM on July 2 cannot both be true at the same time. There is no possible way. In the same way the old question can God (who is all powerul) make a rock so big He can’t lift it. This is a meaningless sentence, you’re essentially asking “can God do something He cannot do?” It’s just words that can have no meaning in objective reality. Likewise Shawn, many of the things you believe contradict other things you believe and therefore you’re theology doesn’t work – you do not believe reality. Why does it matter? Well God is truth is He not? So if we worship He who is the truth then we must love truth in all ways, shapes and forms. Contradictions cannot be truth. It is literally, physically and ontologically impossible to confirm a contradiction. When John writes that “The word was with God and the Word was God.” The word — word in Greek is ‘logos’ and it means logic, reason as well as word. This means Vod by his nature is reason a d logical because hr is the Word and the Word is logic. So God’s true scripture teaches us that God Himself is logic by his nature. So the truth and the doctrines that He reveals to us MUST be logical, otherwise they are not from Him and they are not true. Now that this is out of the way. Let’s get on with it…

In the video above Shawn first begins interacting with 2 Cor 13 at 10:11. Regarding verses 1-2 he provides the following comments.
” This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
“Remember Paul was a jew of jews, he’s citing the old testament and for some reason he is citing this passage […] about witnesses. It’s obvious Paul has been to Corinth once before so he has resolved to going [TO] them a second time. He says this is the third time I’m coming to you, the third time I’m trying to get to you and he suddently cites this passage out of Deut 19:15. Now, we don’t know why he cites this passage here.”

At 13:09 into the video I must pause and say this with all respect and kindness possible… But Shawn what are you smoking, friend? How clear can it be what Paul means. He says “I’m coming to you a third time and like the Scripture says let two or three witnesses establish a truth.” You claiming that scholars don’t know what Paul means by this and spending several minutes postulating all the possible explaniations is just flat out dumb. don’t know how it could be any clearer that Paul considers his first visit and teaching at Corinth to be the first witness, his second visit to be the second witnesses and this final visit to be the last witnesses necessary to establish what he’s saying as true. He’s clearly about to repeat something he’s already said to them and so he cites the Old Testament as a way of validating his third visit and third teaching. Dear reader I hope the meaning of this passage is as clear to you as it is to me.

At 14:11 while still trying to explain verse 1 Shawn makes the off-handed remark that “That apostolic discipline was for them in that age. We don’t have apostolic discipline now except by the Word that we read and the Spirit in our hearts.” Hold this comment in your mind for later.

Shawn spends the next several minutes responding to verse 2 saying that it was the job of the apostles to discipline the church and keep it together in that day and age. He talks about how one of the ways they did this is by excommunication aka not having fellowship with people who are willful hypocrites. At 18:03 he says “we have some churches today that insist on doing this. The reason it doesn’t work today is because if I excommunicate [someone] from this church … all he’s going to do is he’s going to leave and he’s going to go to Calvary Chapel across the street and if they don’t want him he’ll go down the street to the next one.”

A few thoughts, 1) this passage is not about excommunication. 2) if excommunication is taught in the scripture as proper church practice then it is our obligation to God to follow His word regardless of our modern 21st century environment 3) I have been saying for years now that Biblically speaking there is one church in every city. The Church in our community is made out of the churches in our community. The bride of Jesus is the Community of communities and we need to be doing a better job of getting on the same page with clear issues of sin and work together more often to help councel and edify our whole city not just the 10 people in our Sunday school class. /soapbox

At 18:33 “We don’t have apostolic authority keeping the bride together anymore and so this is no longer effective in a non-apostolic church. Which is why we don’t take it just it was part of the NT church and do it now.” Yes we do still have apostolic authority Shawn, it’s called the Bible. Sure we can disagree on secondary issues but if the Bible is the true word of the Living God then if we seek to honor Him and handle his word properly then believers should agree on 98% of things.

In comment on verses 3-4 at 21:20 “Now these are apostolic words to believers at that time so to get what he’s meaning is really tough.” Shawn if the words of Paul have no relevance to us today then what in God’s green earth are you doing? Why are you standing up there “teaching”? Didn’t you yourself say that the Word is binding on us today when you called it our “apostilic authority” back at 14:11 but every time it says something you don’t want to believe you claim “it’s cultural and not for us today.” This is the height of stupidity my friend.

I’m being 100% honest with this question I’m about to ask Shawn and if you happen to read this I’d love to hear your answer in the comments or via email or whatever. Here’s the question, how do you know that Jesus died for your sins? Will you answer it’s in the Bible? Because what’s stopping someone from telling you that “That was cultural for the church in that day. We on the modern day have no hope.” This problems gets even worse when we take into account that you’re a hyper-Preterist who believes the church stopped existing around 70 AD when the second temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. In that context the case gets even stronger that Salvation and the Gospel was only for people living in the Roman Empire in the first century CE. Your view of the Bible, Shawn, cuts off the branch you’re sitting on. You’re only way out is to contradict yourself…. but as we know now contradictions cannot exist.

At 23:03 Shawn says some good stuff about how Jesus was a man – so weak he couldn’t even carry his own cross. God didn’t give us a super man. He came as an ordinary man. These are good comments.

Commenting on V4 at 24:30 Shawn says “…’we also are weak in him’ Now I’d like to apply that to you but I can’t because Paul is talking about the apostles, ‘also’ and ‘we’ he’s talking about the Apostles himself included not the general population.” OK again my friends I want to be as kind as possible but this is just more abject stupidity. What exactly about this passage gives you any indication that Paul is talking about the apostles only in verse 4? Is verse 5, literally the very next sentence not addressed to the ‘general populace?’ so I can’t understand Shawn’s thinking on this whatsoever. Again Shawn is taking a verse and saying it only applies to one group of people at one time in history. So I have to ask again, if it has no relevance to you today, why exactly are you even ‘teaching’ this passage? Here’s an even more direct question, how much of the Bible IS for us today? Can you put a percentage to it? I’m assuming you’d say all of the Old Testament is out, so there goes 85% of all of Scripture. And you keep chopping pieces out of the New Testament. So really what does have practical application for us today. Is it just the gospels? Or are you one of those that say Jesus was teaching law to people under law. In which case is just the passion story for us today? These are questions that you need to answer.

At 26:12 Shawn shows his true self with this comment, “But for this rea Shawn is a univerasalist a position which is so clearly and obviously not Biblical that it’s incredible that people try to push it. Again I have to say to you Shawn if the whole world will be saved why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s the point? Why did you devote so much of your post LDS life trying to convince Mormons of the truth of Christanity? You contradict yourself in thought, word and deed.

For several minutes Shawn goes on somewhat of a tangent and quotes Philippians 2. My only comment here is at 31:09 he says ” that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So we see that relationship again, in and through God the father working all this in and through Jesus his only son to accomplish for us on our behalf…”
Shawn doesn’t believe the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet he quotes this passge that clearly shows the Father being called God, and the son being called Lord (read God) and but they are not the same person because they interact. And then Shawn goes on to talk about the “relationship” between the Father and Son. Shawn, are you contradictiong yourself again?

Shawn spends some time talking about how we know what we know while commenting on verse 5. I have no comments on this section.

At 42:04 Shawn makes the passing comment “The latter day was Jesus day those were the true latter days we’re not in them now.” Shawn is a hyper-preterist. He believes the whole book of Revelation was fulfilled before the year 70 AD. You have to really wonder why Shawn even bothers with the Bible if he believes even all the future stuff was “for them in that age.” Utter stupidity.

At 42:45 Shawn affirms a version of the doctrine of Assurance. I like John Wesley and I can agree with Shawn’s comments on this.

At 43:26 Shawn says “…if hell exists…” so in the midst of talking about how we can be sure of what we know to be true he also questions a doctine clearly taught in scripture. Contradictions abound with this one.

OK enough I’m ending at 45:00 just a little before two thirds into the sermon. You folks should get the point by now. Let’s move on to my final score…..


Final Ratings
I won’t call them a cult like others have. But Shawn is without a doubt a heretic and needs to read the Bible a lot slower and try to break down some of the big words.

Final Recommendation: Never Attend unless you’re writing a church check!









20 comments
0

You may also like

20 comments

Carol A Hogan August 11, 2019 - 3:02 pm

I think McCraneyism is well on its way to becoming a full blown cult – although, now we see he’s trying to backtrack and minister once again to Mormons, although not in a Christian manner, but in some kind of mushy “universalism” manner. McCraney has lost most of his audience, and this won’t help him at all.

Reply
Fred W Anson August 11, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Friend, there are quite a few typos and errors that are compromising this article.

For a start, the Shawnite website that you’re criticizing in the opening is CheckMyChurch.org (not RateMyChurch.org – which isn’t even a valid URL).

There are also some grammar and spelling errors that need correction.

Just FYI.

Reply
Joe Anderson August 12, 2019 - 3:42 am

As someone who hasn’t really been in the Utah church scene, nor in the James White apologetics circles, McCraneyism has only recently come to my attention, and has been a mysterious subject. Thank you for taking the time to visit his community, analyze his message, and break down that train wreck of a sermon point by point. That was a mess.

I pray that more people will have their eyes opened to see the truth, and will humbly submit themselves to the authority of the Triune God speaking through his Scriptures.

Keep fighting the good fight!

P.s. as someone who is aspiring to be an Old Testament scholar, it deeply saddens me that anyone would completely throw out the OT…

Reply
Shawn McCraney August 12, 2019 - 5:57 am

This is Shawn McCraney. I have neither the time nor inclination to address the many errors and false assumptions this brother has presented here. There are those who will accept his version no matter what and those who will accept mine in the same manner. I will say the following:

We tend to see and hear what we are looking to find. My suspicions suggest that this brother came all the way down to find dirt and was rewarded. Not hard to do where I am involved as I try to be an open book.

Second, Sarah Young and chechmycheck has nothing to do with me other than the fact that I “wished” someone would do what she is doing. I have had to answer her inquiries twice and have been subject to the same visits and scrutiny. I have zero say on anything she presents … in fact, she gives mercy to churches I would attack. The position tgis brother takes about an association with me is false, plain and simple.

Finally, I welcome this brother on my live show to voice his views face to face. I welcome his criticisms in a recorded setting of my character, my contradictions, and any other charge he wishes to put to my name. He has the right to his opinion but I think it only fair he makes them to the man rather than on the internet.

My email is shawn@alatheamedia.com. I hope this brother, who appears to promote that he is a walking Christian, has the courage to withstand me face to face.

I promote faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God to all who will hear. I preach faith and love. My critics are many but most of them will only confront me from a distance. This speaks volumes to character, intent and the genuineness of their professed faith.

Reply
Sarah Young August 12, 2019 - 10:32 am

Isaac,

I’m confused as to why you are using Check My Church as an excuse to bash on Shawn McCraney and CAMPUS Church. If you wanted to do that, you didn’t need me to do it. CAMPUS Church is just one of many churches we’ve checked, and one of few that we recommend, but I thought you were going to show me how my methodology and theology is “wack” and “broken.” I don’t think you’ve done that here at all. In fact, you haven’t answered my Check of your church, Living Faith Discipleship Community, at all. Shawn and I are not working together, so attacking him is a waste of your time if you’re thinking it’s going to somehow absolve your church of scrutiny from Check My Church.

Anyway, I’ll save the rest of my response to this for a more in-depth post on our site, but I’m not going to be arguing with you about non-salvation doctrinal dogmas. That’s not what CMC is about. I will have a rebuttal for you within the next few days.

God Bless.

Sarah Young

Reply
Jesse S. August 12, 2019 - 11:29 am

Sarah,

I’m fine with our church check, we can leave it be. The only points I found that you don’t like are:

1. Topical sermons
2. Believe in the principle of giving
3. Believe in miracles, signs and wonders

1. We do line-by-line teaching, it’s just not our Sunday sermon. Many great preachers, that have done great works in God’s kingdom, are topical in nature.

2. I understand both sides of the coin when it comes to tithes. It is a principle we recommend to our church family, because we’ve found that God blesses those who give (very Biblical). So, while we don’t require tithes, we allow people an opportunity to see what good God will do to those who give. 100% optional and no pressure. The results have been astounding. We have people who give when they’re down to their last dime and somehow they have $500 in their bank account. God moves faithfully with our congregation, so they are absolutely giving in nature.

3. We’ve experienced far too many miracles, signs and wonders to not believe God still moves through His people the way He moved through Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers the believer to do as Christ did. We won’t apologize for believing in God for healing. What is the difference between healing a broken heart and a broken arm to the great I AM? I will pray for the sick, broken and afflicted every time.

My only real problem with your church check is it says it is “unbiased,” which is untrue. Bias means to show personal favoritism. The idea that you alone can label churches however you feel shows bias. The judgments are biased. Everything you write is biased, in my opinion. A true unbiased church check would be something like-

Living Faith
Ogden UT
Pastor: Rachel Cowley
Education: Masters in Pastoral Ministey
Building size: 3500 sq feet
Congregation: 50-60
Sermon style: Topical
Worship style: Modern
Service time: 10:30am
Service length: 2-2.5 hours
Vision statement: Hear and Do Ministry
Nursery: No
Believe in tithing: Yes
Believe in modern-day miracles: Yes

Etc.

People can then filter the results and find a church that more matches their spiritual preference (not that I endorse catering to people in Church Christianity.)

As you can see from your novels of church “evaluation,” this is not the case. I’m not looking for a dispute, just rather stating how I feel in regards to what you’re doing. As Christians, there has to be a better way to call out American Christianity than a blog. I also feel frustrated with most churches I find in the U.S. but we must come together and pray about what is best for God’s bride. Many people are deceived, but if they are, would a blog by someone they don’t know pull them closer to Christ or push them away? We must weigh the affect of our actions very carefully.

In conclusion, I am praying for God’s perfect will for you and your ministry. Maybe this is the answer, but it doesn’t feel right.

Jesse S.

Reply
Sarah Young September 24, 2019 - 1:18 pm

Hi Jesse,

Sorry for the delayed response. I didn’t see this until today, but I’d like to respond to your comments. I’m not sure if you’ll be alerted to my comment, but hopefully you’re able to see it. I wouldn’t want you to think I’m ignoring you.

First, to correct a few of your statements. I don’t disagree with the principle of giving. I disagree with the way many churches teach this principle through pressured, required, and/or other methods of manipulating people to give to their church, such as the preaching of tithing.

I’m not sure where you get that I don’t believe in signs, miracles, and wonders, but what I personally disagree with is the prosperity gospel and other charismatic teachings. This is a minor doctrinal disagreement, and while you are right that it’s a bias that would prevent me from attending your church personally, I do not use this as an excuse to not recommend a church. As you can see on our site we do recommend the Christian Life Assembly of God in Payson.

We take issue with topical sermons because while it’s possible to preach a very meaty and biblical topical sermon that teaches the Word and preaches the Gospel, my personal experience has been that most churches use topical sermons in order to avoid the Bible or to make it more consumer friendly and dumbed down, rather than dedicated to teaching the Word itself.

As I’ve stated several times now within other checks, posts, and discussions with other pastors in Utah, we do have a few very specific biases that sway our church checks and whether or not we will recommend a church in the end or not. These are our biases, which I think are fair.

1. A bias in favor of the Word of God over the words of men.
2. A bias in favor of worshiping God and not men, their accomplishments, or anything that takes away from the glory of God.
3. A bias in favor of Christian liberty and the New Covenant written on the hearts of every Christian, over the Old Covenant Law which put people in bondage to religion, rather than freedom in Christ.

While I may personally have many biases regarding doctrine, topical sermons vs. verse by verse, etc, in the end, the criteria is what our recommendations are based on, and they are not based on my personal biases, but rather on what I think is a pretty objective and fair standard. Perhaps I should adjust the statement that we are completely unbiased to say “doctrinally unbiased” or something similar, but the fact remains that while I am a human with my own personal biases, our recommendations are not based on them. It’s based on this criteria:

1. Does the church serve God, or money?
2. Does the church worship God alone, or other idols?
3. Does the church preach the Gospel, or other man-made philosophies and legalistic ideas?
4. Does the church teach the Word of God, or the words of men?
5. Is the church transparent, or secretive in how it handles God’s money?

While giving churchgoers the information as you’ve listed it is one of our goals and purposes of checking churches, and we do, we still have our criteria, based on which we make recommendations for people. You might not agree with that criteria for whatever reason, or how we write our checks, but there is more to what we’re doing than providing information. We’re trying to help protect our fellow Christians from being preyed upon by churches that seek to burden, control, and take from them. So our mission is twofold: Education/Information + Discernment.

I’m not sure why you have a problem with a blog calling out American Christianity. Writing is something I enjoy doing and I believe I do it well enough to make it the medium by which I should call it out. I’m just trying to use whatever gifts God has given me to do what I’ve been led to do. Other people make YouTube Videos and write books (I hope to do that too), but prayer is not the only way we can address this. While I continue to pray, I believe God calls us to do more than that.

You may not believe this, but the website has actually helped to pull many people closer to Christ. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who were deceived by their own church and after finding our site and doing their own research, they have come to learn the truth. I don’t see how a blog that it written out of love for God and others could possibly push people away from Christ, but maybe you can elaborate more on that thought?

Anyway, with all due respect, I have weighed the affect of what we’re doing with CMC as carefully as I can. I pray about it daily. I ask for God to guide me, teach me, and lead me to His will. If this is not His will for me, my husband, and the volunteers that help us operate CMC, then I don’t want any part of it. We aren’t perfect and have already made several adjustments along the way, but I don’t think imperfection in the attempt to do good in service to God and His people means it’s the wrong path.

God Bless,

Sarah Young

Reply
Fred W Anson August 12, 2019 - 1:21 pm

OK, I’m really confused by Mr. McCraney and Ms. Young’s comments here.

First, when the CheckMyChurch.org website was first introduced by Mr. Young, Mr. McCraney was heartily promoting and endorsing it on HOTM 2.0.

Second, the original version of the CheckMyChurch.org website had a ringing endorsement of CAMPUS – including direct links to its website right on its “About Us” page.

Now we see both Mr. McCraney and Ms. Young distancing themselves from this most obvious connection that the CheckMyChurch website is, in fact, a Shawnite project and initiative that was endorsed by Mr. McCraney both directly and indirectly.

I find this both odd and intriguing.

Documentation of this can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOTMdiscussions/permalink/1378178439005083/

I would further appreciate it if the readers here could and would parse through the HOTM 2.0 videos from around the time that CheckMyChurch.org website went live (around February/March 2019 as I recall) and copy and paste the link and timestamp of when Mr. McCraney was loudly praising and endorsing Ms. Young’s website back in those days here as a reply to this comment.

I would have normally have done this in advance to be thorough in my documentation and supporting evidence, unfortunately, all this broke at a time when I don’t have the time (or frankly the desire) to do so. So some help in this area would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Reply
Sarah Young August 12, 2019 - 1:57 pm

Fred,

Endorsement and agreement doesn’t equal working together or being of one entity. We are not. We have recommended multiple churches, CAMPUS is only one of them. Shawn has promoted us on HOTM because he agrees with and believes in what we’re doing.

We love Shawn as our brother in Christ and we love CAMPUS Church, but we are not working together. Just as we love the pastors of many other churches as well as their churches and don’t work with them. He can endorse us and we can endorse him without being in cahoots together, just as I can endorse any of the other churches I’ve recommended without being somehow connected or linked to them, which I am not.

I’m not sorry if it bothers people that we have endorsed and recommended a church that many legalistic Christians don’t agree with doctrinally in a few areas, and inventing derogatory labels for anyone that agrees with one particular pastor that you don’t like is nothing but a game of religious politics, which I won’t play.

Agree with our recommendation or don’t, but I’m not going to change my assessment based on the legalistic opinions and dogmas of certain groups of “Christians” in Utah. Address our criteria biblically and rationally or leave us be. We’re not going to discuss the doctrinal views of any particular church or pastor. That’s not what we do.

Sarah Young

Reply
Sarah Young August 12, 2019 - 2:00 pm Reply
Fred W Anson August 12, 2019 - 2:24 pm

@Sarah Young wrote, “Endorsement and agreement doesn’t equal working together or being of one entity. We are not. We have recommended multiple churches, CAMPUS is only one of them. Shawn has promoted us on HOTM because he agrees with and believes in what we’re doing.”

This is a strawman. No one claimed that CheckMyChurch and Shawn McCraney and/or CAMPUS are “working together or being of one entity”. However, the fact remains that the assessment criteria strongly reflects the dogma of McCraneyism despite your continued denials that it does. This has been pointed out to you repeatedly and you continue to deny it even though it is blatantly obvious.

My advice, as well as the advice from others that I have seen make this point to you publicly in the past (as I am doing now), is that simply admit it. Just say it, “I’m a Shawnite and I’ve pushing McCraneyism.”

There’s nothing wrong with having a partisan or sectarian agenda, however, claiming that you don’t when you so obviously do is dishonest and bespeaks a lack of integrity.

@Sarah Young wrote, “We love Shawn as our brother in Christ and we love CAMPUS Church, but we are not working together. Just as we love the pastors of many other churches as well as their churches and don’t work with them. He can endorse us and we can endorse him without being in cahoots together, just as I can endorse any of the other churches I’ve recommended without being somehow connected or linked to them, which I am not.”

And the strawmen continue. Tell us, what leaders and churches do you have endorsing and promoting your website other than Shawn McCraney and McCraneyism? It speaks for itself, Ms. Young, doesn’t it?

@Sarah Young wrote, “I’m not sorry if it bothers people that we have endorsed and recommended a church that many legalistic Christians don’t agree with doctrinally in a few areas, and inventing derogatory labels for anyone that agrees with one particular pastor that you don’t like is nothing but a game of religious politics, which I won’t play.”

And yet you ARE playing it. You are pushing the agenda and legalistic dogma and doctrine of McCraneyism – and then denying that you are.

@Sarah Young wrote, “Agree with our recommendation or don’t, but I’m not going to change my assessment based on the legalistic opinions and dogmas of certain groups of “Christians” in Utah. Address our criteria biblically and rationally or leave us be. We’re not going to discuss the doctrinal views of any particular church or pastor. That’s not what we do.”

And again, that is EXACTLY what you do. You discuss and push the doctrinal views of Pastor Shawn McCraney and the particular church of CAMPUS.

Why don’t you just admit, Ms. Young? It’s kinda obvious.

You would gain the respect of everyone if you would at least do that. And the credibility that you have lost by denying might – just might – be regained.

Something to think about, I would say. Please consider it.

Reply
Sarah Young August 12, 2019 - 3:48 pm

Fred,

It’s clear that you believe we are working together or are somehow or another connected, even though we’re not. It’s not a strawman to answer an accusation that’s actually been made, and it has been. Political wordplay won’t work.

How does the assessment criteria reflect Shawn McCraney’s doctrinal views when the criteria doesn’t even address doctrine? If it’s so blatantly obvious you should have no problem showing me how CMC’s criteria reflects this so-called “McCraney-ism” that you’ve invented out of your hatred for a Christian you disagree with.

My only agenda is to promote churches that serve God, not money, that worship God alone, that teach the Word and preach the Gospel, and who are completely transparent. Churches that do this will be endorsed by us, and churches that don’t, won’t be. It’s that simple. We are seeking earnestly to help Christians find good churches that teach the Bible and preach the Gospel, that don’t have financial agendas that will put them into bondage, or legalistic ideals that will enslave them. It’s not our fault, or doing, if CAMPUS Church is one of the very few churches so far in Utah who happens to line up with this criteria.

“And the strawmen continue. Tell us, what leaders and churches do you have endorsing and promoting your website other than Shawn McCraney and McCraneyism? It speaks for itself, Ms. Young, doesn’t it?”

First of all, I didn’t say that other churches or leaders have promoted or endorsed us. I said that if they did, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are working together or connected with some kind of hidden agenda. Stop projecting your own strawmen onto me, Fred, and address what’s actually being said. What I said remains true. We have endorsed multiple churches besides CAMPUS. It doesn’t mean we are “Shaddix-ites” or “Ponder-ites” or followers of the pastors of those churches either.

“And yet you ARE playing it. You are pushing the agenda and legalistic dogma and doctrine of McCraneyism – and then denying that you are.”

I have yet to see a single example of this so called McCraneyistic doctrine that I apparently push and promote. Give me one example.

“And again, that is EXACTLY what you do. You discuss and push the doctrinal views of Pastor Shawn McCraney and the particular church of CAMPUS.”

Not true, Fred. Show me where. Show me how. Give an example. Stop making assertions without anything to back them up. My endorsement of the church isn’t an endorsement for every doctrine that Shawn teaches. I’ve already made that clear. If that wasn’t true, then how can I endorse churches that openly and clearly disagree with those doctrines? Calvary Chapel isn’t a preterist church, but we recommend Calvary Chapel Sevier Valley, who clearly disagree with CAMPUS Church on eschatology. Like I said, it’s not about doctrine. It’s about a criteria that has nothing to do with doctrine.

“You would gain the respect of everyone if you would at least do that. And the credibility that you have lost by denying might – just might – be regained.”

I don’t care about gaining respect from people. I care about showing respect for my God, whether that gains the respect of you or anyone else or not. I couldn’t care less if people agree with my endorsement or rating of CAMPUS Church or not. It’s not about being respected by legalistic Christians who feel entitled to authorize who is theologically sound and who isn’t. Certainly not people who have been openly hostile, hateful, and antithetical to everything I know about Christianity in general. I’ve made our criteria clear. CAMPUS Church meets it, regardless of their controversial doctrinal positions in a few areas.

So does Calvary Chapel in Sevier Valley, Redemption Hill Church in Saratoga Springs, and Christian Life Assembly of God in Payson. I don’t agree with some of the doctrines that some of these churches teach. I don’t know how much clearer I can make this. Doctrine isn’t what we assess, so it doesn’t matter. You want to make a federal case out of our endorsement for one particular church because you and some other Christians hate the pastor, disagree with some of his doctrinal views, and are obsessed with attacking anything and anyone that is affiliated with him in any way.

So I appreciate the dialogue, but unless you have an example of me or CMC promoting specific doctrines (and I don’t mean by recommending churches that hold specific doctrines), I think I’m done here.

Good day.

Reply
Isaac Farley August 12, 2019 - 4:15 pm

Hericies abound eh?

Reply
Isaac Farley August 12, 2019 - 4:31 pm

@Sarah Young

I can’t believe you and McCraney didn’t understand this, but honestly you (probably) didn’t read the article. Let me spell it out guys…

I did not say you were working together or that shawn writes reviews for your site or whatever else nonsense. I reviewed C.A.M.P.U.S because it is YOUR CHURCH. I requested you review my church and then I reviewed the congegration that you are a member of. I understand you live out of state and attend virtually but nonetheless to deny that you are a member of Shawn’s flock is dishonest at worst and stupid at best.

I did not write this because i was mad about your review of LFDC. I went to CAMPUS BEFORE your review came out and i had no idea what you would write. I have been planning on Church Checking McCraney since i first heard about your site and the revview was alway going to be negative because i’m not a fan of Shawn’s heracies. This is not hear me is NOT a response to your review of LFDC and i will not be responding to your check of LFDC that is not the point and it never was

Reply
Fred W Anson August 13, 2019 - 1:11 am

@Sarah Young wrote, “It’s clear that you believe we are working together or are somehow or another connected, even though we’re not.”

Working together? No. Yet again, NO ONE has made that claim. It IS indeed a strawman argument. Mr. McCraney has trained you well, after all, this is one of his favorite logical fallacies too.

Somehow or another connect? Yes, clearly. The evidence from your website – both extant and now deleted says otherwise. Yet again, here are actual screenshots with dates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOTMdiscussions/permalink/1378178439005083/

@Sarah Young wrote, “It’s not a strawman to answer an accusation that’s actually been made, and it has been.”

I’m beginning to think that McCraneyism not only doesn’t just produce blindness as a fruit, but it also produces deafness as well. I have now EXPLICITLY and DIRECTLY stated that no one has made this assertion. Exactly, what was unclear about, ‘No one claimed that CheckMyChurch and Shawn McCraney and/or CAMPUS are “working together or being of one entity”.’? (see my post above from August 12, 2019)

@Sarah Young wrote, “Political wordplay won’t work.”

Political wordplay? Seriously? Oh, do tell, exactly what is this “political wordplay” that has been used here? I can see and find none.

@Sarah Young wrote, “How does the assessment criteria reflect Shawn McCraney’s doctrinal views when the criteria doesn’t even address doctrine?”

Oh wow, you REALLY didn’t just say that, did you? Let’s consider the following page of your website, shall we? https://www.checkmychurch.org/post/the-check-my-church-review-criteria

First, you make five DOCTRINAL assertions that are essential creedal statements (less the “We believe” qualifier lead-in) that are tightly aligned with McCraneyism’s SUBJECTIVE, extra-biblical, interpretation of said doctrines based on the uncited proof-texts that are provided.

You then give the questions that you ask churches which are BASED on those doctrinal assertions. And if the particular church doesn’t adhere to McCraneyism’s stance on those positions they are marked down. Here are some key examples:

“1. What is your church’s official position on tithing?”

McCraneyism condemns and denounces Post Old Testament tithing as an absolute dogma that ALL “biblical” churches must adhere to. However, good hermeneutical cases can be made both for and against tithing. And since this is a non-Essential Doctrine of the faith, churches ARE allowed to disagree on the issue.

Yet right on the CheckMyChurch Home Page what do we find?

A: An Anti-Tithing Sticker being offered that tips its hand on its strong Shawnite bias on the issue. Here’s a link to a screenshot of it: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10215944942282533&set=oa.1378178435671750&type=3&permPage=1

“2. Does your church have a particular set of rules or requirements that members must follow or abide by in order to retain their membership status with the church?”

Again, McCraneyism condemns and denounces ANY standards of behavior for inclusion not only for their own congregation but ANY Christian congregation – even biblical standards such as the prohibition of sex outside of marriage and/or the sexual moral standards clearly established in Biblical Law such as the condemnation of homosexual practices. Again, CheckMyChurch marks down churches simply for having such standards based on its OWN subjective assessment, doesn’t it? Again from that same said page:

‘If a church is more legalistic, we will give it a lower rating, since the Bible says salvation is by grace and the law has been nailed to the cross, but the aim is to share what each church believes and teaches so that you can know without having to attend a month of services before you realize the truth.’

“3. Are you transparent with your church’s financial information? How much does your church bring in through donations and tithing, and how is that money distributed?”

This one is interesting since McCraneyism rails against the lack of transparency of OTHER churches while simultaneously ignoring the lack of transparency of Alathea Ministries, the umbrella financial organization of all things McCraneyism. Tell us, Ms. Young, why hasn’t CheckMyChurch taken Alathea Ministries to the mat for its lack of transparency? It’s an interesting thing to me.

“4. Which denomination does your church align with the most, if any?”

McCraneyism abhors all “isms” as a prevailing and over-riding dogma. And clearly so does CheckMyChurch.

“6. How is your church’s doctrinal flexibility and tolerance? If a member has a disagreement with the pastor or leadership on a certain doctrine, how is it handled? Does the church change its position on doctrines fairly often, if at all?”

Constant doctrinal and organizational change is a hallmark of McCraneyism. Mr. McCraney has even bragged about this on HOTM more than once.

I would simply point the reader to this timeline of heresies as Exhibit A …
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOTMdiscussions/permalink/1203024696520459/

… and this timeline of organizational changes and rebranding as Exhibit B: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOTMdiscussions/permalink/1378466912309569/

“7. Does your church require that its members be baptized? What is your church’s official position on baptism?”

The very presence of this question on this list implies that there is a right doctrinal position on this question and a wrong one. McCraneyism’s position is that baptism should NEVER be required by anyone or anything. Are we surprised that CheckMyChurch holds to this position as well?

A: Not at all.

“8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like in your church.”

And your reviews and judging criteria strongly favor the Shawnite liturgy for meeting and worship services that Mr. Farley documented in his article above. Are we surprised?

A: Not at all.

Evidence for this assertion can easily be found in the section that follows which is so laden with Shawnite language that it sounds like a transcription from one of Mr. McCraney’s HOTM episodes. For example:

‘Is it a worship service, focused on God, on His Son, on the Word of God? Or is a rock show designed to entertain and pull at your heart strings? To give you an emotional experience that’s all about your own feelings and thoughts?

Are the lyrics to the worship songs Biblical, focused on God, the Gospel, or are they more about you and your feelings/experiences?

Are people actually worshiping God during the worship service, or are they having an “experience”? Are people more interested in the emotional impact that the worship service has on them than worshiping God? Are they praising the worship band for the worship service rather than God?’
(see https://www.checkmychurch.org/post/the-check-my-church-review-criteria )

And I will stop there – though I could easily continue. Suffice to say, your CheckMyChurch judging criteria and reviews show a clear and distinct skew toward McCraneyism’s doctrine, dogma, and attitudes. This should come as no surprise since you openly refer to Shawn McCraney as your “Pastor” on the CheckMyChurch website should it?

So why don’t you just admit this clear bias in your evaluations? You’re a Shawnite, seeing the world through the lenses of McCraneyism own it, admit it, acknowledge it, and stop denying it.

@Sarah Young wrote, “If it’s so blatantly obvious you should have no problem showing me how CMC’s criteria reflects this so-called “McCraney-ism”…”

Done see above. And there’s more where that came from.

“… that you’ve invented out of your hatred for a Christian you disagree with.”

Ah, so now I have hatred, simply for speaking the truth? Well in the words, of the Apostle Paul:

“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
— Galatians 4:16 HCSB

Ms. Young, I don’t hate Mr. McCraney, nor do I hate you. However, I do hate your false teachings and the heresies that you both hold to.

@Sarah Young wrote, “My only agenda is to promote churches that serve God, not money, that worship God alone, that teach the Word and preach the Gospel, and who are completely transparent.”

Indeed, all of that according to the standards and doctrine, dogma, and standards of McCraneyism and your own subjective assessment, right?

Yet the fact that you might be wrong or that other positions might be just as biblically valid never seems to occur to you, or Mr. McCraney, does it?

@Sarah Young wrote, “Churches that do this will be endorsed by us, and churches that don’t, won’t be. It’s that simple.”

And? Yes, you would have all churches match your personal criteria of what a “biblical” church is. One must ask Ms. Young, who died and put you in charge? You presume on yourself a position that most other Biblical Christians would never dare to: Judge, juror, and executor.

@Sarah Young wrote, “We are seeking earnestly to help Christians find good churches that teach the Bible and preach the Gospel, that don’t have financial agendas that will put them into bondage, or legalistic ideals that will enslave them.”

Spoken like a true Shawnite. Haven’t we heard Shawn McCraney say nearly those identical words on HOTM?

Coincidence, Ms. Young?

@Sarah Young wrote, “It’s not our fault, or doing, if CAMPUS Church is one of the very few churches so far in Utah who happens to line up with this criteria.”

Thank you for proving my point with this statement.

As we have said from the get-go, you have established CAMPUS as the baseline, using McCraneyism doctrine and dogma as the criteria for ALL other churches.

It’s really no secret what CheckMyChurch really is, is it?

Why don’t you just say it, Ms. Young? Why do you deny it?

@Sarah Young wrote, “First of all, I didn’t say that other churches or leaders have promoted or endorsed us.”

Nor did I claim you did. I made an argument, not a claim. The point is this, Ms. Young, WHY is it if you’re NOT pushing a Shawnite agenda, that OTHER Christian Leaders other than Shawn McCraney have endorsed or promoted your website?

@Sarah Young wrote, “I said that if they did, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are working together or connected with some kind of hidden agenda.”

Well since ONLY one Christian Leader and/or church HAS endorsed and promoted your site, it’s a moot point, isn’t it? However, and yet again, WHY is it if you’re NOT pushing a Shawnite agenda, that OTHER Christian Leaders other than Shawn McCraney have endorsed or promoted your website?

@Sarah Young wrote, “Stop projecting your own strawmen onto me, Fred, and address what’s actually being said.”

Psychological Projection at it’s finest. Duly noted. Ms. Young, if you will note, I have directly cited and addressed your own words point-by-point, haven’t I? It’s pretty hard to strawman when one does that, isn’t it?

However, in the meantime, your chronic straw-manning has persisted. Again, duly noted.

@Sarah Young wrote, “What I said remains true. We have endorsed multiple churches besides CAMPUS. It doesn’t mean we are “Shaddix-ites” or “Ponder-ites” or followers of the pastors of those churches either.”

Well sure. McCraneyism isn’t the only errant, heretical, theologically unorthodox, or generally unsound church out there. Of course, you’re going to find and endorse other congregations that are just as error-ridden and problematic as CAMPUS and endorse them. This is exactly what one would expect to see. After all, isn’t the point of your website to get all churches to conform to the image and standards of McCraneyism?

@Sarah Young wrote, “I have yet to see a single example of this so called McCraneyistic doctrine that I apparently push and promote. Give me one example.”

See above.

@Sarah Young wrote, “Not true, Fred. Show me where. Show me how. Give an example. Stop making assertions without anything to back them up.”

See above along with ALL of my past communication with you in the past. As I was saying about McCraneyism causing both blindness and deafness …
You have been presented with evidence, after evidence, after evidence and argument, after argument, after argument that you refuse to see or consider. And this has been going on since the advent of CheckMyChurch – nothing has changed.

@Sarah Young wrote, “My endorsement of the church isn’t an endorsement for every doctrine that Shawn teaches. I’ve already made that clear.”

Irrelevant point. You only need to agree with the doctrine that applies to ecclessiology and you clearly do. Your judging criteria makes that abundantly plain to see.

@Sarah Young wrote, “If that wasn’t true, then how can I endorse churches that openly and clearly disagree with those doctrines? Calvary Chapel isn’t a preterist church, but we recommend Calvary Chapel Sevier Valley, who clearly disagree with CAMPUS Church on eschatology. Like I said, it’s not about doctrine. It’s about a criteria that has nothing to do with doctrine.”

It DOES have to do with doctrine: The Doctrines of Ecclessiology. Ms. Young, your ecclessiology is Shawnite, through and through as well as point-for-point.

@Sarah Young wrote, “I don’t care about gaining respect from people. I care about showing respect for my God, whether that gains the respect of you or anyone else or not.”

And yet here you are. Clearly, you DO care, Ms. Young.

Respectfully, this incongruity between your words and your behavior needs to end.

@Sarah Young wrote, “I couldn’t care less if people agree with my endorsement or rating of CAMPUS Church or not.”

And yet, again, here you are. Defending it.

@Sarah Young wrote, “It’s not about being respected by legalistic Christians who feel entitled to authorize who is theologically sound and who isn’t.”

Oh you mean like you do in your reviews? I believe that’s a beam that we see in your eye, isn’t it?

@Sarah Young wrote, “Certainly not people who have been openly hostile, hateful, and antithetical to everything I know about Christianity in general. I’ve made our criteria clear.”

Indeed! It is Shawnite in doctrine, concept, and application. That is abundantly clear from said judging criteria.

@Sarah Young wrote, “CAMPUS Church meets it, regardless of their controversial doctrinal positions in a few areas.”

WOW, what an AMAZING coincidence!
(this is called sarcasm in case you didn’t catch that)

@Sarah Young wrote, “So does Calvary Chapel in Sevier Valley, Redemption Hill Church in Saratoga Springs, and Christian Life Assembly of God in Payson. I don’t agree with some of the doctrines that some of these churches teach.”

See above. Already addressed.

@Sarah Young wrote, “I don’t know how much clearer I can make this. Doctrine isn’t what we assess, so it doesn’t matter.”

Ms. Young you are operating in the arena of ECCLESSIOLOGY. Your list of criteria is based on ECCLESSIOLOGICAL DOCTRINES.

If you really believe what you have just said, stated plainly, you’re either ignorant or self-deceived.

Again, you can NOT deal with Ecclesiology without having a doctrinal basis for it.

@Sarah Young wrote, “You want to make a federal case out of our endorsement for one particular church because you and some other Christians hate the pastor, disagree with some of his doctrinal views, and are obsessed with attacking anything and anyone that is affiliated with him in any way.”

No ma’am, I’m making a Federal Case out of the dishonesty and deceit that your website engages in by refusing to acknowledge its unstated Shawnite underpinnings and agenda.

@Sarah Young wrote, “So I appreciate the dialogue…”

PUH-lease, Ms. Young, don’t insult our intelligence. You have vitriolically attacked anyone and everyone who has publicly criticized or challenged your website. Like Mr. McCraney, you clearly do NOT appreciate open, honest dialog unless its positive.

@Sarah Young wrote, “…but unless you have an example of me or CMC promoting specific doctrines (and I don’t mean by recommending churches that hold specific doctrines), I think I’m done here.”

See above. I’m not the first give you explicit, specific examples and I’m sure that I won’t be the last.

You’ve ignored us in the past as well as labeled and attacked us in the past. I’m not really expecting anything new this time around either.

Thank you for your time, and I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, this time you will listen.

Reply
Jason Wallace August 13, 2019 - 7:25 am

Here’s a review I did of Shawn’s errors a few years ago.

“McCraney-ism”

Many former Mormons have escaped the institution, but not the mindset of Mormonism. All their lives, they have been fed stories of how bad other churches are. Protestant pastors have been caricatured at the Mormon Miracle Pageant and in endless stories they have heard from their youth. After years of being told all other churches are wrong, many LDS simply add Mormonism to the list of false churches and embrace atheism. They abandon the claims of the LDS church to truth, but they blindly accept all its criticisms of the Bible and other churches as true. They breathe out contempt for Christianity with the old fervor of Brigham Young and Parley Pratt.

Though the vast majority of those who abandon Mormonism try to convince themselves there is no God, some recognize that they cannot escape His reality. They see the foolishness of an atheism that pretends to find meaning and value in a world devoid of purpose. They instead read the Bible and see an explanation for the world before them. Man is capable of greatness and perversity – – Bach and Hitler, DaVinci and Stalin. They discover that the world was created good, but it has been corrupted through sin.

In that same Bible, they find the one who has come to undo the Fall of man and reconcile sinful men to a holy God – – Jesus Christ. They hear His words and recognize their truth. The problem is that all too often, they do not recognize that they still carry with them the prejudices that were inculcated in them from youth. They view the Bible, Jesus, and His church through “Mormon glasses.” It is into this confusion that Shawn McCraney has stepped. He has been the instrument of helping many people see the errors of Mormonism, but in its place he is teaching a Jesus who plays to these prejudices, but is not the Jesus of the Bible.

Shawn McCraney is a passionate and charismatic man. These traits led to him being thrust into public ministry with very little experience. He has publicly stated that he had only attended five Evangelical worship services in his life before being offered an Evangelical television ministry. He had never even been baptized outside the Mormon church. Evangelicalism’s fascination with “star converts” pushed Shawn into the spotlight without proper preparation. His denunciations of Mormonism and promotion of a vague “personal relationship” with Jesus was considered orthodox enough for his promoters.

Over time, Shawn’s theology has become more clear and more developed. He claims all churches are wrong and all their creeds are “heinous.” He claims that the church has been blinded by “the physical” for 1800 years, but now he is helping usher in a new “spiritual” understanding of Christianity. He denounces churches as trying to insert themselves between the believer and God, and denounces pastors as motivated by pride and greed, while being blinded to the Spirit by their “scholarship.”

Despite Shawn’s rejection of many of the trappings of Mormonism, he has kept much of what made it popular in its founding. The early LDS made people feel pious in their contempt of educated pastors. Instead of “theology,” the LDS claimed to offer direct, personal experiences of God. Christianity was presented as a dark chaos of conflicting opinions. Something new was needed that would unite everyone. The Bible was appealed to, but was subject to what they considered the direct witness of the Spirit. This allowed them to ignore what they wanted from the Bible, while using it to attack their critics. In place of “doctrines of men,” the Mormons offered a vague, personal spirituality and a community that did not make the traditional demands upon them. Over time, Mormonism’s demands became much higher, but they were not so high in the beginning.

Many former LDS have a great personal loyalty to Shawn, because he is the one who opened their eyes to the errors of Mormonism. He offers them acceptance and community when they have lost both from the LDS. This loyalty leads them to ignore the hypocrisy of Shawn denouncing others in the harshest terms, but then playing the victim when someone responds. No one was trying to force Shawn to use the term “Trinity.” He took it upon himself to go on television and denounce the doctrine as “heinous” and “garbage.” He claimed it was rooted in “polytheistic paganism.” When I responded by saying that Shawn was teaching “grave error,” Shawn claimed I would kill him if I could and I would burn him at the stake. None of this was true. Rather than admitting that he had attacked the concept of the Trinity, Shawn tried to claim the whole issue was over “the use of an unbiblical term.” Just as the LDS claim never to attack anyone, many of Shawn’s followers see any response to his charges as “attacking Shawn.”

I named this review “McCraney-ism” because Shawn seeks to dismiss everyone who has gone before him as holding to an “-ism” or being an “-ist.” He, on the other hand, rejects all labels. This allows him to savage others’ beliefs, but then claim he is only attacking the “-ism.” When someone challenges his public teachings, he claims they are attacking “his person.” The reality is that Shawn is promoting a system of doctrine, an “-ism,” as much as anyone else.

Shawn has repeatedly tried to hang the label of Calvinist on me. I hold to the doctrines of grace held by Calvin, Luther, and all the Protestant reformers, but I have been hesitant to embrace what Shawn has described as “Calvinism.” He said of the doctrine that he has “not seen a bigger pile of garbage since the King Follett Discourse.” He says “Mormons and Biblical Christians” are united in their rejection of Calvinism’s “insane doctrine.”

I have heard many followers of Shawn say they don’t agree with Shawn on some things, but they aren’t worried because he tells them not to trust him, but check out the Bible for themselves. This sounds good, until you recognize that Shawn mocks and ridicules every pastor who says he’s teaching error. Though he may allow latitude in individual beliefs, he cannot tolerate any public disagreement with him. Critics are accused of “character assassination.” The subtle pressure in such a community is to conform. Would a false teacher invite someone to test them from the Bible? Most have; Brigham Young said in 1873, “I say to the whole world, receive the truth, no matter who presents it to you. Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test” (Journal of Discourses 16:46).

Shawn dismisses everyone else’s interpretation of the Bible as the “doctrines of men,” while he is just “sharing” what he sees. This plays to the prejudices of former Mormons and others who feel burned by “traditional” churches, but it is misleading. In a recent episode, Shawn asked, “. . . who do I think I am that I could actually spit in the wind of 1800 years plus of religious tradition and biblical scholars and learned men and women and suggest that they have been misled in the way they have applied the Bible to doing Christian life? I don’t know who I am when it comes to this. I might be crazy. I might be a fool. I might be inspired. I’m not sure. But I can say this is how it comes together for me. This is how when I sit down and read it, this is what speaks to me, and I’m going to be true to that. If I’m crazy, discover that and don’t listen to me, If I’m wrong in spots, you can call me out on it and go on and love me, or you can choose to fight it. But just understand I pray to God that it’s from Him and not Satan, who gives me the perspectives, and sometimes I don’t know . . .” This is disarming on the surface, but if heaven and hell are at stake, would he still be teaching others if he wasn’t convinced what he was saying was true? Shawn claims he’s “wrong 90% of the time,” but that doesn’t stop him from denouncing what the Bible teaches and demonizing churches and pastors. It also doesn’t stop him from demonizing the attempts of his critics to specify those errors.

Shawn claims all his critics care about is doctrine, but he cares about love and people. When I appeared on Heart of the Matter, one of his group asked “how many of you here love me,” I didn’t raise my hand. Since the immediate context was Shawn asking if I counted him as a Christian brother, I understood the question in that context and did not raise my hand since I did not really know the man. This was immediately interpreted in the worst possible light and Shawn later claimed that I choose not to love people. He says he thinks it’s unbiblical, but he “respects” my right to do so. I have tried to make clear that I love my neighbors and even my enemies, but I do not love them in the same way I love those of the household of faith. Love is more than a warm, fuzzy feeling for all people everywhere. I show love even to those who mock everything I stand for, including Shawn. I tried to correct him privately over 7 years ago. I have prayed for him for years. I have repeatedly tried to respond fairly and in love to Shawn’s denunciations. I have tried to speak the truth in love, but all that some of his group can see is hate when any criticisms are offered. Their own hatred of their critics seems to escape them.

What makes others’ interpretation of the Bible better than Shawn’s? The Bible is not unclear, and Shawn stands against the united witness of nearly 2,000 years of Christians on basic issues. Many of these Christians, unlike Shawn, could read the Bible in its original languages. These Christians also allow the Bible to interpret the Bible; they don’t impose a meaning on the texts that allows them to ignore passages that contradict them. They don’t let their conception of the love of God trump clear teachings about the wrath of God. Shawn seems to realize the Bible does not really support some of his new teachings, so he is attacking the inerrancy of the Bible as “crazy.” He is pitting the subjective testimony of the Spirit in you against the objective witness in the Bible. For those who recognized that a burning in their bosom was no assurance of truth, this should be troubling. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scriptures and cannot contradict them.

Why does all this matter? First, Shawn is presenting a different Jesus. He has stated that the Lake of Fire is in the presence of Jesus, so unless Jesus has some sadistic pleasure in torturing people, sinners must be ultimately reconciled to Him. He ignores that in Revelation 14, those who receive the Mark of the Beast are tormented “in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.” Shawn says he will not follow a God who creates people He knows are going to an eternal Hell. Since this is the only God seen in Scripture by Calvinists, Arminians, Catholics, Orthodox, and practically everyone in church history, this should be seen as a problem. Shawn has taken the truth that God is love and used it to undermine anything that does not fit his idea of love.

The Jesus that Shawn presents is also a failure. His Holy Spirit apparently failed to lead the church into truth until now. His Second Coming in 70 A.D. (according to Shawn) failed to end the curse or to crush the head of the serpent. Shawn leaves open a “third coming,” but says there’s nothing about it in the Bible. Shawn’s Jesus also fails to resurrect our physical bodies, which makes Acts 17 and 1 Corinthians 15 nonsensical.

Second, Shawn is giving false assurance to unbelievers. He tells them if they have a “personal relationship” with Jesus they’re right with Him, and if they’re wrong, Hell is only temporary. Jesus does offer us a personal relationship, but He also warns us of those who draw near to Him with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. Shawn does not answer the warnings in 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5 of those who profess faith but exhibit sins that show their hearts are unchanged. Jesus indwells His people. They are not free from sin in this life, but there are sins from which they are freed. Shawn uses James 2:10 to dismiss the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5. All sins are worthy of Hell, but there are sins, such as the continued practice of homosexuality, that demonstrate someone has been given over by God to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:24).

Finally, Shawn is robbing Christians of the means God has appointed for their edification. There are churches out there that are no better than the Mormon church, but that does not mean there are none who tremble at God’s Word. As Joseph Smith before him, Shawn tends to paint all churches with the same brush to confuse and frustrate people, so that he can offer an alternative. He plays on the divisions to make people give up on the idea of finding a true church. The irony is that most of these divisions are the work of others like him.

We need more than the community Shawn offers. Shawn says no one can tell someone else they are in sin, because if we’re going to talk righteousness, “you damn well better be righteous.” This is not what Jesus commanded. He established a visible church and said if a professing Christian would not hear it, they were to treated as “a heathen and a tax collector.” This does not mean they are hated, but that they are prayed for and called to repentance. Our Lord, through the Apostle Paul, commands his church to judge a man who married his father’s wife and not to eat with him as a brother in Christ. This was an expression of love that Shawn rejects, and it led to his repentance and restoration.

Many former Mormons tend to view any accountability in the context of how they have been abused. Biblical elders are commanded not to lord themselves over the congregation; they are to be the servants of all. They are warned they will have to give account to God (Hebrews 13:17) for having kept watch over His people.

The Apostle Paul called out Hymenaeus, Alexander the Coppersmith, and a host of others by name for their errors. Shawn is presenting a different Jesus and a different gospel. My plea to you is to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and search the Scriptures for yourself. Brigham Young made the invitation, because he knew most people wouldn’t really test what he was telling them. I plead with you to read the Bible for yourself.

It is not enough to be against Mormonism. It is not enough to substitute new lies for old. It is not enough to claim a personal relationship with Jesus while refusing to do the most basic things he tells us. In the pages of God’s Word, you will find the truths rejected by Joseph Smith and Shawn McCraney, but embraced by countless saints who sealed their faith with their blood. You will find a Jesus far more glorious, and a gospel far more awesome. You will find the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Reply
Isaac Farley August 13, 2019 - 10:18 am

Pastor Wallace thank you very much for your comment. I have a lot of respect for the work you’ve done trying to correct Mr. McCraney. If only he would get ears to hear.

God bless you and your kingdom building.

Reply
Shawn McCraney August 13, 2019 - 10:26 am

Keep doing what you do, Sarah. We know the facts. So does God.

Reply
Isaac Farley August 13, 2019 - 10:32 am

Mr. McCraney you seem like a genuine guy and I learned a lot from HOTM as a new believer 10+ years ago.

But the facts are you’re out of your biblical mind. You’ve lost the basis of the faith and your theology is a mess because of it. These are the facts shawn and God knows these facts.

Jesus loves you friend but you should buy a few books by logicians and try to sort out your worldview.

Reply
Fred W Anson August 13, 2019 - 10:51 am

@Shawn McCraney wrote, “Keep doing what you do, Sarah. We know the facts. So does God.”

Indeed, Mr. McCraney, indeed! And you will both be held accountable in the end as will we all. God is indeed the Judge.

And for the rest of us, in addition to documenting Ms. Young’s errors and fallacies here and elsewhere, your own heresies and errors have been likewise been documented in some detail here: https://beggarsbread.org/?s=mccraneyism&submit=Search

So, not only does God, the ultimate Judge, know the facts, so do we. And they speak for themself.

And the fact is, relative to what the Bible teaches, you are teaching a counterfeit Christianity – and even have audacity to publicly brag it on your show. The Bible that you claim supports you actually indict you. Many people have tried to show this to you directly from the Bible but you appear to be suffering from the same blind deafness that you have infected your followers with.

But yet again, I will just say what so many other people have already said to you Shawn: You’ve taken the wrong road and you need to turn around and get back on the right one. Shawn, you need to repent.

Until then we will continue to put the orange cones and yellow tape around your Train Wreck of a church and ministry.

Thank you.

Reply

Leave a Comment