Thanks for your thoughtful and poignant comments. I might be tempted to say this is beating a dead horse, except that the horse is still kicking. . . .
I return now and again to the case of Shawn not because I want to hammer him personally or because of the way he treated me, but because his trajectory is illustrative of so many important, heedful issues.
One thing I've mentioned before and bears repeating . . . on the positive side . . . is that it shows how powerful the Truth is, even when held and wielded by flawed hands.
When we attended Shawn's "church" (Bible study) we were yet relatively new believers. At that time he taught and exegeted from the Bible in a traditional, straightforward way. Ironically, even though Shawn has subsequently shown his contempt for the Reformed point-of-view, it was his explanation at C.A.M.P.U.S. one Sunday . . . of grace vs. works-righteousness that convinced me I myself was "Reformed" in my position.
Another disturbing point in all this . . . is realizing that Shawn was not being honest when he presented certain basic traditional Biblical teachings. He was afraid to give his actual opinion and so, just taught what was expected. And the amazing part is that even though he was apparently not himself convinced of the things he was preaching, the inherent power of the truth of them still had potent efficacy. My wife still recalls fondly those early days in her walk, learning more about the Bible from Shawn, yet now we know he harbored and was himself beginning to covet wholly contrary views than what he proferred.
Thus we see the objective power and beauty of revelation (God's Word) working upon someone through the Holy Spirit even where the deliverer is flawed and maybe even apostate.
This is why we can see people becoming born again even if they are in a heretical cult. Many cults use the Bible as a base, and though they twist it and contrive their own idolatrous meanings, enough of the actual Biblical text (and thus, TRUTH) is still there . . . that it can yet work to the good on the listener. If one then is truly born again and the Holy Spirit takes up residence, it is only a matter of time before that person will begin to see the error in the cult and will leave it to pursue fuller, purer expressions and expositions of the truth.
Cults revolve around charismatic personalities and related "spiritual" EXPERIENCES. I think those who yet follow and support Shawn do so because of the power of his personality and from the EXPERIENCE they get by being around and listening to him. But for the one who loves the TRUTH above all--above "spiritual" or personality EXPERIENCE . . . then the plain, un-exciting, non-flashy recitations of some lackluster pastor . . . who nevertheless is preaching straight from the Word of God . . . is vastly preferable. We, of course, are all flawed, so every preacher of the Word is an example of a flawed presenter. But so long as the OBJECTIVE truths of the Gospel are brought, edification and sanctification will result.
It is because Shawn has left the objective truths of Biblical Christianity that he now proclaims that the "way" is SUBJECTIVE, according to one's own lights.
And is this not the cry of the world? "You have YOUR 'truth' . . . I have MY 'truth'" as if "truth" is merely whatever you feel or think it OUGHT to be, rather than WHAT IT IS.
"I AM THAT I AM." is what He decrees.
Not, "I AM . . . whatever you want to think I AM."
The scare in all of this . . . and what I know concerns those of us who have watched it unfold from the front row . . . is that Shawn did indeed wake up and lead many out of the errors of Mormonism. But now he presents those refugees with but another false Gospel. They are hearing from Shawn the same basic message they heard from Joseph Smith: "All of the churches are false, all their creeds are an abomination." Just like Smith, Shawn is telling them that Hell is not so bad--that it really doesn't exist (in the traditional Biblical sense) . . . and that "free agency" is supreme . . . and that Christian traditions have basically all been wrong . . . "until now" with the new (Smith's or McCraney's) revelation!
What confusion and doubt he must be sowing in these new seekers! Why did they leave "the church"? Just to follow a "new" prophet, a "new" revelation? The ramifications of what Shawn is doing are so serious where it concerns others' souls, that I know this is why Jason and many others have tried IN LOVE to reach and warn him away from his present path.
But I fear it is a case of "those who have not--even what they have will be taken away."
For a time there, Shawn seemed to be teetering on the edge. It appears as though he had and taught the truth for a time. But what I fear is that he "had NOT" the Spirit of Truth . . . and so what he did have . . . has been "taken away" . . . so that practically all that he teaches now . . . is from darkness, in full error.
In the same passage of scripture just referenced, God warns "take care what you listen to". --Mark 4:24-25. The great concern is . . . that those who continue to "listen to" Shawn, who have seen and left the error of false teaching (ie., the Mormon church) . . . will lose what light they initially had in realizing that error. Off again into but a different false teaching and more darkness they go, chasing a new pied piper, "ever learning but never able to reach the truth."
Along with Shawn and his family, care over these refugees--this is why we who have . . . must speak, must warn, must make some noise. The TRUTH . . . by definition . . is objective and can be found; and by command--must be contended for. These are not "attacks" on Shawn; these are attacks on error.