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. No, Iâ€™m not talking about attacks from emergent church followers or outraged Purpose Driven disciples. 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 the American Family Association by several in the â€œdiscernmentâ€ community. These attacks have also been against me and Christian Worldview Networkâ€™s Brannon Howse. 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. I have been repeatedly told that these issues should stay behind the scenes for the â€œsake of Christâ€. However, those who say this are the same ones who are publicly picking fights with Christian brothers and sisters in the same line of work and using their columns and websites to attack them. This is the reason for my post. I give to you just two recent examples of how some in the â€œdiscernment realmâ€ work.
Example One: I recently featured a very articulate guest on contemplative spirituality on the Crosstalk Show. The show went beautifully and much information was given out in warning to the church. Within a short time, however, the guest received a hostile letter from Paul Proctor, berating her for being on my radio program. He even further challenged her as to how she could let me link to the work at Herescope.com. What mattered not at all to Mr. Proctor was the fact that solid information went out to thousands of people on 87 radio stations because of the guestâ€™s work. What mattered was that the guest had dared to be on MY radio program. Paul Proctor was convinced that he had the right to bully guests I featured on Crosstalk because he believes I am compromised. The guest then received contacts from two others in the discernment realm, friends of Proctorâ€™s, regarding her being on my radio program.
Another example: Bud Press of the Christian Research Service website informed Rev. Ken Silva that if he didnâ€™t stop writing for Slice of Laodicea, (because we were compromised), he would remove his links from his site. Ken refused to be bullied and strong-armed into seeing things Budâ€™s way and Bud removed his links.
What was it about me that had made me so repugnant that Paul Proctor and Bud Press would bully others to stay away from me? Answer: I write for Brannon Howse and the Christian Worldview Network, as does Pastor Bob DeWaay, Mark Cahill, Dwayna Litz, Jan Markell and a host of other excellent Christian writers who care about biblical truth. Because Paul Proctor, Deborah Dombrowski and Bud Press donâ€™t agree with Brannon because, as Proctor sneeringly puts it in his latest column, he is a â€œdear friendâ€ of Tim Wildmon at AFA, I am tainted goods to be avoided at all costs. There was an attempt a few months ago to get as many discernment writers as possible to drop off Brannonâ€™s site through an old fashioned toolâ€”peer pressure. Paul Proctor resigned from Brannonâ€™s site and copied a number of us in on his resignation letter. When I, Bob DeWaay, Jan Markell and a number of others refused to stop publishing the truth on emergent, etc. on Brannonâ€™s site, Paul Proctor and friends were most unhappy. Which leads us to the shameful state of events today.
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. Brannon Howse was labeled a dangerous â€œchange agentâ€, and I was accused of being an adherent to â€œreplacement theologyâ€, despite numerous radio shows on Israel and its importance to the end times. This gossip and slander continues unabated at this hour. Worse still, these individuals are publishing columns and links to columns, like the one on Lighthouse Trails, blasting Tim Wildmon for â€œpromotingâ€ contemplative. These people have been harassing Tim Wildmon for months, demanding that he conduct his decency organization like their own â€œdiscernmentâ€ ministries. They have deliberately sought to find what evil they can on the American Family Association secular online bookstore link that they use for the sale of their own books. The only people finding New Age and contemplative books on Wildmonâ€™s site are the ones spending their time looking for them: Bud Press, Deborah Dombrowski and Paul Proctor.
This is the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language, I have seen recently. Paul Proctorâ€™s language isnâ€™t all that pious, actually, as he calls Tim Wildmon a hypocrite and derisively refers to his friendship with Brannon in his latest column. Paul Proctor and Bud Press are not in a position of authority to demand that Tim Wildmon carry out his organizationâ€™s work according to Bud and Paulâ€™s own standards. We answer to the Lord for our own ministries, not Bud and Paul. Further, the outrageous and threatening behavior of Bud toward Ken Silva in trying to force him to stop writing for Slice is evidence that something is clearly out of control in these menâ€™s minds and hearts. Likewise, Paul Proctorâ€™s troubling of a guest who appeared on my show is way over the top. That is mafioso behavior, not the behavior of a brother in Christ.
At one time I linked to research sites like Christian Research Service and Lighthouse Trails. 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 Paul Proctor, Deborah Dombrowski and Bud Pressâ€™s latest attack on Tim Wildmon 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 contemplative spirituality? If some New Agers 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 contemplative spirituality, meditation, breath prayers and yoga 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.
The public attacks on Tim Wildmon and American Family Association need to stop. The gossip and slander against me, Brannon Howse and Tim Wildmon need to stop. It is because of Brannon Howseâ€™s encouragement that Tim Wildmon has allowed countless programs on purpose driven error and emerging church issues to air on his large network of Christian stations. It is because of Brannon Howse that the truth on these same issues is reaching untold thousands who would otherwise never hear about these matters. I know, because I get the emails from people who read my columns, some of which had never heard of contemplative spirituality, etc. before encountering columns on Christian Worldview Network.
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.
While I’m not in complete concert with this writer, I have to agree with them on many of the statements made in this heartfelt article.