Issue: Watchblogging and Watchbloggers
CRN’s Take: (All taken from an article on CRN on 1/26/07. The article was later removed, but it is reposted here. I have removed the names/organizations/websites of individuals involved and the ministry specifics to make it generic.)
There is a campaign of destruction underway in the church. There are lies being passed off as truth; there is slander and gossip and the carnage that is being caused is causing long-term harm to the cause of the Gospel of Christ. [...] Iâ€™m talking about the seamy underbelly of what goes on in the name of â€œdiscernment ministry.â€ I have been in ministry since 1988 and I can say with confidence that the enemy of Jesus Christ has to do very little. The church is really, really good at destroying itself.
This post is prompted by an ongoing attack against [a Christian organization I support] by several in the â€œdiscernmentâ€ community. These attacks have also been against me and [a website run by a colleague of mine in the Christian blogosphere]. The squalor of the dealings that have taken place would rival that of anything you would find in a secular workplace and it saddens me to say that.
Another example: [A watchblogger] of the [name of watchblog] website informed [a supporter/contributor of mine] that if he didnâ€™t stop [associating with my website/ministry], (because we were compromised), he would [take some sort of action against me].
Because [watchbloggers A, B and C] donâ€™t agree with [an associate] because, as [watchblogger A] sneeringly puts it in his latest column, he is a â€œdear friendâ€ of [a member] at [the Christian organization I support], I am tainted goods to be avoided at all costs.
What is most disturbing in this case is the gossip and false information that has been carried by these â€œdiscernmentâ€ folks. One researcher who sought to reconcile with me and who apologized for helping to spread false information was warned ahead of time to â€œbe carefulâ€ if he talked to me. [My colleague] was labeled a dangerous â€œchange agentâ€, and I was accused of being an adherent to [a heretical theological interpretation], despite [evidence to the contrary]. This gossip and slander continues unabated at this hour. Worse still, these individuals are publishing columns and links to columns, like the one on [a watchblog site], blasting [a member of the Christian organization I support] for â€œpromotingâ€ [a doctrine neither I, nor he supports]. These people have been harassing [this man] for months, demanding that he [fall into line with their way of thinking]. They have deliberately sought to find what evil they can on the [website and writings of the Christian organization I support]. The only people finding [hiding heresies] on [this man's] site are the ones spending their time looking for them: [Watchbloggers A, B and C].
This is the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language, I have seen recently. [Watchblogger A's] language isnâ€™t all that pious, actually, as he calls [my Christian brother] a hypocrite and derisively refers to his friendship with [my colleague] in his latest column. [Watchbloggers A and B] are not in a position of authority to demand that [my Christian brother] carry out his organizationâ€™s work according to [A and B's] own standards. We answer to the Lord for our own ministries, not [A and B]. Further, the outrageous and threatening behavior of [Watchblogger B] toward [another colleague] in trying to force him to [comply with his 'discernment' wishes] is evidence that something is clearly out of control in these [watchblogger's] minds and hearts.[...] That is mafioso behavior, not the behavior of a brother in Christ.
I felt that the truth on false teaching and error was most important to get out. Things have reached a point, however, where it is plain that the false teaching entering the church isnâ€™t the most important thing that needs addressing. This situation has been simmering underground for months. With [watchblogger A, B and C's] latest attack on [my Christian brother] today, it has erupted into the face of the Christian public.
Is Christianity just a matter of holding right positions, or should it impact how we relate to each other as believers? Are the commands of Scripture telling us to be tender-hearted and forgiving of one another less important than the verses about heresy and false teaching? Is gossip and slander okay if it is conducted by those knee deep in research on [a doctrine we disagree with]? If [non-Christians] have more personal peace and treat people more kindly than born-again Christians, doesnâ€™t it say something about the content of our hearts? We can rant and rave about [doctrines we disagree with] until weâ€™re blue in the face, but if we canâ€™t reconcile with fellow believers who believe the same things and would prefer to publicly find fault and attack them because they donâ€™t do everything the way we do, we have nothing to share with the world. We become frauds.
When soldiers begin to turn and shoot their own, combat fatigue has set in. No general would long keep soldiers like this in the field. Speaking from my own experience, combat fatigue is a huge menace in this job. I have had to cut back because of my own dangerous level of fatigue recently. How long the Lord will keep any of us in the field if these issues are not resolved, is questionable. Like the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation, we can become very good at discerning error from truth, but when weâ€™ve lost our first love for the Lord Jesus, it starts showing in our relationships. The Lordâ€™s words warn us that he will put our lampstands out completely if we donâ€™t repent. Itâ€™s a wake up call for all of us involved in putting out this information.
My Take: Were I to fill in different names and ministries, I would be hard pressed to write something in more agreement with my own beliefs. The problem is, Ingrid and Ken’s names would be in the place of Watchbloggers A and B, and Slice/CRN would be the watchblog in question. Ken’s shrill (and, fortunately, ignored) brow-beating of Ed Young, Jr.; his lie-filled spewing against Rob Bell; Ingrid’s attacks of anything which smacks of relevancy or “Purpose Driven”. These and more are perfect examples of what she has written about above, but she cannot (or will not) see it. The sheer hypocrisy it took to write that piece is mind-blowing, and I am guessing she realized this and it is why the article got pulled.
Jesus summed up this particular situation best when he noted
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
CRN/Slice does come up with good items from time to time.Â Having good discernment ministries are important, but Slice/CRN, Lighthouse Trails and Paul Proctor are not examples of good discernment ministries.Â They have forgotten the second greatest commandment, and in doing so, they have voilated the first, as well.
While Jesus was a boy, the Rabbi Hillel taught, “don’t do to your enemy that which you hate.”Â When Jesus grew up and was in ministry, he took Hillel’s teaching a huge step further and said to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – and that this was how we were to fulfil the second greatest commandment – to love our neighbor as ourself.
Ingrid – can you not even fulfil the smallest part of loving your neighbor – to not do to your enemy that which you hate (GBA attacks, straw men, vicious mean-spirited attacks on Christians you disagree with)?Â Perhaps you could start there.
I truly do feel your pain.Â I have felt it for a number of Christian brothers over this past year as I have watched you and “Pastor” Silva do the same to them.Â I do not wish you any ill, and I would hope that maybe in this experience you will treat those with whom you disagree in a manner in which you would like those who disagree with you to treat you.