This is the first in a series of posts reviewing the claims of Bojidar Marinov in his series of articles entitled, “And In One Holy Local Church”: The Ghettoization of Protestantism. I’m not sure how long my series will be but it will be sizable. That isn’t because I love writing. I don’t. It is just that Marinov’s series is a tome. So much so that he turned it into an eBook on Amazon. That fact combined with the numerous problems within his series will require multiple posts.
So, who is Bojidar Marinov? Marinov is a writer, translator, and podcast host. He is very active in what is known as Christian Reconstructionism. He is a Bulgarian national and head of the Bulgarian Reformation Ministries. He is also very active in social media, particularly in Facebook groups.
Why am I writing this series? The simple answer is that several friends asked me to comment on Marinov’s ecclesiology. They know that I’m a strong proponent of the importance of the local church. Therefore, they figured I’d be critical of his claims and they were right. So let’s get to it…
Marinov’s series is framed as a response to a status update that Jeff Durbin posted on Facebook. He begins and ends his series with Durbin. He admits that “this article is a commentary on a quote by Jeff Durbin.” In other words, Marinov literally wrote a book as a response to a status update.
So, who is Jeff Durbin? Durbin is the pastor of Apologia Church in Phoenix, AZ. He is also a cohost on a well known Christian radio show/podcast, Apologia Radio. He also has strong connections to Christian Reconstructionism.
Marinov wants the reader to know that his commentary, “is not in any way an assessment of the person of Jeff Durbin, and it is not in any way an assessment of his ministry.” That seems fair enough, right? It actually surprised me. Marinov is known to be very pugnacious online. He is quick to call people names and suggest that they are apostates. This degree of hesitancy made me think this series maybe wouldn’t be the mess I had anticipated.
Nope. It is a mess. Matter of fact, things go awry in his very next claim. Marinov writes:
“I know very little about [Durbin’s] person (having met him only once), and I know even less about his ministry. I don’t follow it, and what I know, I know it from testimonies of other people. I get the general impression that it is a good and legitimate ministry, rather basic stuff but beneficial to a number of people.”
This claim seemed very odd to me. How is it that Marinov knew next to nothing about Durbin? The reconstructionist world isn’t exactly sprawling. Plus, Marinov’s friend Joel McDurmon had strong ties (at least once upon a time) to Durbin. The likelihood of there being no first person interaction seemed pretty far fetched. So, I did the reasonable thing. I Googled. That lead me to clear evidence that, for whatever reason, Marinov blatantly lied about his relationship with Durbin.
For example, Marinov was on at least four episodes of Apologia Radio (follow links).
The first episode was entitled, “From Communism to Christ.” It was aired in 10/13.
The second episode was entitled, “Murdered Babies & The Militant Church.” It was aired in 1/14.
The third episode was entitled, “A Biblical Look at Immigration.” It was aired in 8/14.
The fourth episode was entitled, “Should We Apply God’s Law Today?” It was aired in 3/14.
In the show notes, Durbin referred to Marinov as “our good friend” and one of his favorite guests. Now, remember Marinov said, “I know even less about his ministry. I don’t follow it, and what I know, I know it from testimonies of other people.” That is clearly not true.
Their interactions went beyond interviews. Marinov and Durbin actually shared the stage and did a Q&A at a conference hosted by Church of the King. Here is the video:
This is information anyone could have easily found. I didn’t have to dig very deep. Now, I will admit that it was strange that these episodes couldn’t be found on Apologia’s RSS feed. But there are reasons for that…
Pastor Durbin explained why on one of my Facebook statuses:
These will be my only comments here. I have a church to care for and ministry to attend to.
1. We removed the interactions we had with Marinov after a period of time viewing his consistently unbiblical and unbalanced behavior. Not a single instance. Countless. I suspect that I do not have to explicate. The patterns of his character are widely known at this point.
2. Regarding Marinov’s claim that he doesn’t really know about our ministry: pure false witness. I have had dinner with the man, spoken at a church and did a Q and A with him, did several shows, had messages exchanged, and extensive phone conversation. Notwithstanding the fact that our last interaction was him messaging me telling me that he understood if I needed to separate from him (due to his behavior) and that my work was what defined his opinion of me.
3. It’s difficult to take his article seriously when the first few paragraphs contain blatant false witness and deception. That’s a fact. He has to answer to God for it and his followers need to come to grips with it. Further, my short Facebook post (the catalyst for his article) wasn’t about AHA. I wrote it about a local problem. Had Marinov done the responsible and mature thing and messaged me (he knows how and has many times before) he would have discovered that and not sat (as he now does) with egg on his face in writing an article with assumptions that are inaccurate.
4. I initially thought that Marinov had a lot to offer and would be a blessing. Now I recognize that he is extraordinarily immature and a spiritual danger to any who listen to him and attempt to follow his example. This is unfortunate. A man with his intellectual capabilities could serve Christ and His Kingdom in powerful ways. His ungodly behavior and faction building coupled together with his perverse views of the local church and any meaningful view of biblical government makes him a significant danger to himself, his family, and his devotees.
I suggest that people contact his old leadership and ask questions regarding his manner of life, doctrine, and departure. Marinov is a man to be avoided not to be emulated.
Finally, we removed his content because we saw him (and see him) as a danger to God’s people. I’m sad to write that. However, he is responsible for that assessment. I pray for his repentance. And I do pray that godly, mature, and responsible men who have influence in his life (if that even exists) would do the courageous thing and start confronting him.
Pastor Durbin backed up his claim with Screenshots of his interactions with Marinov. Here they are:
In the screenshots Marinov clearly refers to Durbin as a friend and that he understands the nature of Durbin’s ministry. This idea that they were just two ships passing in the night is clearly false.
So… let me just say that this review isn’t starting out very well. Marinov’s series is framed around Jeff Durbin and he lies about his relationship with him in the first paragraph. Does this invalidate Marinov’s ecclesiology? Nope, but it is noteworthy.
Why is it noteworthy? When I originally read Marinov’s posts, what stood out to me the most was his deceptive use of sources. Therefore, I lead with the Durbin thing because it was representative of the character of his series.
We will inch forward in the next post by looking at the status update that got this whole thing going.