McCraneyism 2.0

Posted: November 12, 2017 in Jason Wallace, McCraneyism, Mormon Studies, Shawn McCraney

McCraneyism 2.0

Introduction: On this past Tuesday, November 7th, Shawn McCraney engaged in a long personal attack on a much beloved and iconic Mormon Studies figure: Sandra Tanner. Before reading Pastor Jason Wallace’s response to Shawn below it’s recommended that you click on the video below this intro and watch this attack first hand so you can put Pastor Wallace analysis and critique into its historical context. This will also help you fully appreciate how vitriolic, biased, imbalanced, over the top, and unfair Mr. McCraney’s attack on Ms. Tanner really was. — Editor

by Jason Wallace
Out of my great respect for Sandra Tanner, I hesitate to relate this, but many people do not realize how far Shawn McCraney has gone in attacking Biblical Christianity.

Last night, Shawn dedicated a show to “going after a sacred cow that has been impervious to Christian scrutiny for 40 years. . . 50 years”: Sandra Tanner. What are her great sins that deserve such public rebuke? She “attacked his person” when she privately described him as “an irresponsible leader.” She also “hangs out with Calvinists,” refusing to join him in publicly denouncing the God who sends people to an eternal Hell as “a monster.”

In order to make sense of Shawn, you need to recognize his double standard. He can describe pastors generally and by name as wolves and money-hungry charlatans, but he immediately qualifies that by saying he loves us all as brothers. This supposedly makes everything he says okay. If someone responds to what he says, they’re “attacking his person.” When he denounces people by name on his Internet podcast, that’s different from someone responding to it on the Internet. He’s brave, but we’re supposedly cowards. It’s striking that you can say almost anything about God, and Shawn seems fine with that, but if you dare say that Shawn is wrong, that is the highest blasphemy. Shawn can say Shawn is wrong, but no one else can.

Shawn has a new theme with which he opens his show; he presents himself as a new Martin Luther.* The reality is that Shawn is the antithesis of Luther. Martin Luther was a brilliant scholar who had no fear to debate his opponents. Shawn won’t debate James White at all and only allows critics who challenge him to do so on his terms. Martin Luther was a reformer, recognizing that the church of his day had wandered not just from the Scriptures, but from the historic faith of the church. Shawn isn’t a Reformer, but a Restorationist. He essentially argues for a great apostasy and claims he’s restoring the Holy Spirit to the church. Martin Luther argued for Scripture as the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Shawn puts his private revelations above Scripture. Luther disagreed with Shawn on Hell, the Second Coming, and the nature of the church. The reality is that Shawn has far more in common with the enemies of Luther, the Zwickau Prophets, than with Luther.

Shawn may take my attempts to love even my enemies as cowardice, but I want to make clear that I go much further than Sandra. Shawn is not just an irresponsible leader; he is a heretic. He is not my brother in Christ. Jesus said if anyone won’t hear the church, they are to be treated as a heathen and a tax collector (Matthew 18). Shawn refuses to hear any church anywhere. Simply saying he is a Christian doesn’t make Thomas Monson one, nor does it make Shawn one.

People need to recognize that Shawn has essentially repackaged Mormonism. He claims all the churches are wrong. All their creeds are “heinous.” The God of historic Christianity is “a monster” (a claim also made by Joseph Smith). Pastors are all in it for the money (cf.”hirelings of Satan”). There was a great apostasy, but now he’s restoring the Spirit. He claims to have the “best approach to Christianity on the face of the earth” (cf. “only true and living church upon the face of the earth”). Shawn is labeling his show “Heart of the Matter 2.0.” The reality is that he is presenting Mormonism 2.0. He is not the new Luther, but the new Joseph Smith. He uses a few bad churches to condemn all churches. He may not have temples and tithing, but he makes people feel pious in their hatred. He helps them rationalize all this as love while breathing out contempt.

Shawn has called me a coward for denouncing his teachings on the Internet, while “boldly” denouncing me on the Internet. I will gladly confront him in person whenever he likes. I could not care less what he says about “my person,” but I will defend the glory of the Jesus of the Bible with everything in me. Instead of picking on Sandra Tanner in absentia, how about we argue this out face to face?

* Editor’s note click on the image below to see this new, referred show intro. 

A meme based on Shawn McCraney’s new show intro for HOTM 2.0. Click on image to view the full video.

Final

Comments
  1. Those who are unaware of the sudden slide into heresy that Shawn McCraney underwent between the years 2012-2014 that have resulted in him becoming a heretical false teacher may find this summary article of some value: https://beggarsbread.org/2015/06/28/beggars-bread-position-and-policy-statement-on-mccraneyism/

    This article also contains a full set of links to archival articles that document in deep detail each of the issues discussed in the summary article. This page acts as a sort of portal page for those looking for a complete data set regarding the current issues surrounding Mr. McCraney and aberrant, rebellious, and error-filled sectarian movement that he has created.

    Thank you.
    Fred W. Anson
    Publishing Editor, Beggar’s Bread

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  2. […] Wallace “McCraney-ism”, March 2015 “McCraneyism 2.0”, November […]

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  3. konroh says:

    Which is worse in your mind, that Shawn’s not a Calvinist or that Shawn’s not a Trinitarian?

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  4. The author of this article, Jason Wallace, issued the follow-up statement on his Facebook on Tuesday, November 14th at 7:45AM Mountain Time:

    Will Shawn McCraney “Apologize”?
    Last Tuesday night on Heart of the Matter 2.0, Shawn McCraney announced he was “going after a sacred cow that has been impervious to Christian scrutiny for 40 years. . . 50 years”: Sandra Tanner. Word had gotten to Shawn that, when asked, she privately described him as “an irresponsible leader.” For “attacking his person,” he proceeded to publicly challenge her honesty. He questioned whether she was being truthful to people leaving Mormonism about the things he finds abhorrent in Evangelical Churches. He questioned her integrity, asking whether her refusal to join him in denouncing all churches was based on the money they supposedly gave her.

    The question for today is whether McCraney will follow his past pattern and issue an “apology” tonight. I put the term in quotes, because of Shawn’s history of apologies. On the January 1, 2013 Heart of the Matter, Shawn declared, “as of tonight at least for 2013, we are done with Mormonism… when it comes to my presentation beginning next week I am going to go after another group. I’m going to go after that group with the same amount of tenacity, the same amount of rudeness, the same amount of indifference to people’s feelings…That group is primarily going to be American Evangelical Christianity.” Shawn then described pastors as money-hungry and evil and described churches as hindrances to people’s relationships with God. He was clearly filled with anger and contempt.

    When TV20 then canceled Heart of the Matter, Shawn issued this apology. . .“I apologize for my tone. In speaking to the Body (no matter how off-putting I find some activities going on within it today) I am from the Word commanded to use kindness (1st Peter 3:15). I was not kind. Being in sinful flesh (Romans 7) I failed. Please forgive me. I completely accept responsibility for my sinful demeanor and also the end-result resulting from it” (Shawn McCraney, UPDATE-Wednesday January 23rd 2013).

    On the July 7, 2013 Heart of the Matter broadcast, Shawn spent the whole show apologizing for the way he had gone about things and said he would no longer be attacking Evangelical churches and pastors. When these apologies failed to get him back on TV20, he returned in October to demonizing pastors and churches with the very same accusations as before. His attacks were not against a few bad churches and pastors, but against all “physical” Christianity.

    Shawn has apologized many times, but he also keeps doing the things for which he apologizes. For all his supposed attempts at kindness, he continually portrays his critics in the worst terms. When I said he was teaching “grave error,” Shawn declared that I wanted kill him and burn him at the stake. On his October 31st show, he called pastors “wolves,” but then immediately insisted he “loves them as brothers.” Though he speaks out of both sides of his mouth, Shawn’s apologies allow his followers to rationalize that he is actually a humble man.

    It is easy for Shawn to use a few bad examples, like Joel Osteen, to demonize all pastors, but Sandra is a very gracious lady who has been very kind to Shawn and a host of others. Many of his followers know Sandra and will not support him in treating her so badly. I believe he has put himself out on a limb that will cost him. Because of Sandra Tanner’s well-earned respect, I would be surprised if Shawn doesn’t apologize tonight. The question I have for his followers is, in light of all his previous “apologies,” what would this one really mean?

    If he admits he was wrong to be so harsh with her, is he prepared to admit the same about his other critics? If he admits he was wrong to question her honesty, is he prepared to admit the same about his other critics? If admits he was wrong about her being motivated by greed, is he ready to admit the same about pastors?

    If he admits to any or all of these, will there be any real change in the future, or just a brief lull before he starts his attacks on Sandra and the rest of us all over again?
    (link to source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213988359524450&set=a.3951939278289.170198.1274367120&type=3 )

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    • On Wednesday, November 15th, the author of this article, Jason Wallace issued this statement on Facebook after Shawn McCraney’s November 14th HOTM show broadcast. In this show, Mr. McCraney not only failed to issue an apology for his November 7th attack on Sandra Tanner, but went to attack her again before also turning his guns on Mr. Wallace, Terry Long (the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel, Salt Lake City), and just about anyone or everyone else who has ever publicly criticized him or his teachings. Here is the aforementioned statement:

      The Church of Anti-Mormonism
      I’ve been asked why I bother to respond to Shawn McCraney. In Shawn’s mind, I’m attacking him from jealousy, since he describes me as a “Salieri” to his “Mozart.” Despite Shawn’s high opinion of himself, I don’t see him as a genius, but a boastful, ignorant man who calls the God of the Bible a “monster.” I feel compelled to defend the God I love. I have also been encouraged to see people credit my witness in helping them abandon Shawn’s cult for Biblical churches. But there is another reason that I believe it’s important to respond to Shawn – – he is the poster boy for the “Church of Anti-Mormonism.”

      Because Mormonism is the majority faith in Utah, it shapes how even non-Mormons think about religion. Mormons have church membership, leadership, calls to holiness, Sabbaths, tithing, and a traditional form of worship. Non-Mormons often reject all of these. Many embrace a “personal relationship with Jesus,” divorced from a visible church. Since Mormons have authoritarian leadership, non-Mormons often stress a radical individualism without personal accountability.

      Since LDS equate holiness with avoiding coffee and alcohol, non-Mormons tend to downplay any holiness in favor of “freedom in Christ.” Since the Mormons have a Sabbath, any Sabbath must be legalism. Since Mormons use tithes to control access to the temple, all tithing must be rejected. Since Mormons sing traditional hymns, worship must be a rock concert with laser lights and smoke machines for it to be “real.”

      Mormons worship another god and follow another gospel, but this does not mean everything they do must be wrong. They are a counterfeit church that bears at least some resemblance to the the true. People in the New Testament were baptized not just into Christ, but into a visible church, which Jesus commanded them to hear (Matthew 18:17). Just because Mormon leaders lord themselves over their people, that doesn’t mean there is no leadership in the church. Jesus had his apostles ordain elders in every city (Titus 1:5). The elders were not to lord themselves over the people (1 Peter 5:3), but the people were to submit to them (Hebrews 13:17). Holiness is not found in “touch not, taste not (Colossians 2:21),” but it does involve keeping ourselves from sexual immorality (Acts 15:20) and keeping ourselves unspotted by the world (James 1:27). Freedom in Christ involves not only justification (freedom from the guilt of sin), but sanctification (freedom from the power of sin). Just because the Pharisees and Mormons abused the Sabbath and tithing doesn’t invalidate them. The Sabbath was supposed to be a delight (Isaiah 58:13). Jesus condemned the Pharisees for tithing of the smallest spices and neglecting the weightier matters of the law, but he said, “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Matthew 23:23).” Worship is not only in spirit and truth (John 4:24), but with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).

      Shawn is simply an extreme, “grunge” version of what defines a lot of non-Mormon religion in Utah. He seems to recognize that his Christianity isn’t really Biblical. I think that helps explain his full preterism. By claiming that the Second Coming was in 70 A.D., he can ignore anything that conflicts with his totally “spiritual” religion. All these things passed away with the Second Coming. By attacking “Sola Scriptura,” he can also add new revelations that allow him to redefine things according to his desires. The irony is that in the end, McCraney’s “Church of Anti-Mormonism” ends up looking a lot like Mormonism.

      Not all of the “Church of Anti-Mormonism” is as radical as Shawn, but it is so clearly unbiblical that it helps Mormons justify staying in Mormonism. Instead of overreacting against Mormonism, we need to proclaim the whole counsel of God – – a Jesus who saves us in our sins, but also from them – – the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
      (see https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213996268762176&set=a.3951939278289.170198.1274367120&type=3 )

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