I’m curious if everything in any church is open to being called out by anyone in the blogosphere. What I mean is if there is some church in Lime Ridge, Pa (Population, approximately 1,000 and the town where I grew up) doing something that an individual or any group of individuals believes to be wrong is that open to internet judgment? Be it from Ingrid, Ken, Jim, any of the 1000’s of ODMS or even us. At what point do we as Christians have the responsibility to say, “I don’t know anything about that town or the church and I just need to let it go.” So if Tim Reed, Owosso Mi is sitting in his office surfing the net and one of the three churches in town produces a video about God loving people, is it Tim’s place to put up a hit piece about the failings of that video? Or if Chris L is surfing the internet rather than making drugs safe for us all and he finds one of the three churches in town puts up a piece about the “evils of all music except Classical” –there’s actually a church in the next town over that believes that there–is it Chris L’s job to write something about it here or at his blog warning the readers of conservative fundamentalism found at some church in a town where more than half of the town probably doesn’t have internet?

I’m trying to not say anything about one side or the other here, I’m asking a question about the process. Yes, these thoughts are driven by a recent thread that caused no amount of consternation for all. But I’m serious, what right does someone in Oklahoma or Nebraska have to question someone in Michigan? Now, I get the whole thing that some guy in New Hampshire believes he can question some guy in Michigan because he’s made DVD’s and written books. I disagree with it, but I get the reasoning.

My question isn’t about the “big boys and girls” it’s about the other people. Is it really anyone’s “call” to write pieces about churches across the country? Is that really helpful?

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2008 at 9:23 am and is filed under Original Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

59 Comments(+Add)

1   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 12th, 2008 at 9:35 am

I am right there with you! At what point, does it become gossip and malicious slander when you are not involved in something to offer your opinion on how it should be done. I have nothing against going to someone and questioning how they do something. Accountability is good. If they don’t know you and don’t want to talk to you than leave it at that. There is no need to write your opinion on the internet about someone that is not profitable in building your brother or sister in Christ up.
I know a lot of them get around this by saying they are “false teachers!” To me that is very dangerous accusation. Someone is not a false teacher because they do not believe the same way you do. For some reason this is a hard concept for some to grasp! Our salvation is only up to God. He even says we will be surprised who we see in heaven.

2   Rick Ianniello    http://rianniello.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 10:20 am

Amen!!!

3   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 10:26 am

I see that this is a case of some people wanting to play God and begin The Last Judgment before its time…

They overlook their own belief that God is sovereign… and instead of letting God take care of things “protect Him” from men…

In doing that they deny God in that He is working in others lives…

Even if these people deserve judgment the bible is clear in how to handle them…

Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

By taking judgment out of God’s hands they do not leave room for God’s wrath to work on these people… they substitute their own wrath for God’s.

iggy

4   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 12th, 2008 at 10:31 am

Iggy,
That is an excellent point!!

5   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 10:39 am

Iggy,
I would agree and say that those people are on both sides of the issues.

6   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 10:47 am

I look at it this way:

There are three major issues right now for the watchdogs ( I am a watchman for my flock)
-Seeker sensitive Gospel
-Emergent Church
-Prosperity/word faith movement

Now, if there is a church in a town of 1,000 that practices some aspect of the Seeker sensitive gospel, and makes it known via you-tube or whatever, then it is public and we will use that example as something that we need to look out for. Or, in the case of the infamous ‘body worship’ pelvic thrust, a larger church in a larger town. These are used as examples of why we believe the seeker sensitive movement to be dangerous, not to mention the blatant watering down of the scripture.

In the days of the new church, Peter, Paul, John, Jude, and Jesus warned repeatedly of false doctrines, to keep watch out for them. As a pastor, I must be zealous in my own life first to make sure I am proclaiming the truth, and I must warn others who are in my flock. But my responsibility does not stop there as a Christian leader. It extends to warn those who are proclaiming and teaching false doctrines. Anyone who calls themself a Christian can be called out by another based on Scripture (truth) when they are in error. It is then up to the local congregation to deal with it. Unfortunately, there are so many blinded within those congregations, stuck in error! We as believers must reach out.

The scripture is quite clear, however (and this is where I have been guilty) about warning someone once. That is part of why I had to repent in terms of Tim’s loving his community. I disagree with what is going to be done at that concert, but I should have warned Tim once and left it at that. What happens instead, and you all are guilty of this also, is when Ingrid or Ken warns you, and then you shoot back over and over again. I really liked Erica Martino’s reasoned use of scripture in the one instance, I think it was over Tim’s concert- which really spoke to me about my motives helped me to see how damaging this type of site, and ODM’s can be to the body of Christ if not kept in check.

7   Chris P.    
January 12th, 2008 at 10:49 am

“Even if these people deserve judgment the bible is clear in how to handle them…
Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. ”

Context please;

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The verse you cited has nothing to do with calling out bad teaching or practice, and judging them. If “calling out” is sinful then Jesus and the apostles are sinners.
You may do well to focus on the line “never be wise in your own sight” as you are unable to be wise anyway.

1 Cor 6:
1When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

This is true in all things re: the church.

Once you publish yourself on the net or get your name in the papers you are fair game. All should quit whining and take their lumps; otherwise stay out of the limelight.

8   Sandman    
January 12th, 2008 at 10:51 am

I see where you’re coming from, and agree to a large extent. People should not go off half-cocked on an issue based on lies, slander, innuendo, partial truths, gossip, etc.

Having said that, I also think we have to be careful at the same time about the lengths we’ll go to exclude or disqualify people from the discourse. If people know what they’re talking about and have facts to back it up, I think they have the responsibility and the right to sound off.

It’s along the lines of some people I know who say I should have no opinion on, let alone being in favor of, our being in Iraq becuase I’ve never worn the uniform.

I don’t have to know how to build a clock to tell time or know if a timepiece keeps the correct time.

I don’t have to know how to build a car to know if someone might have a lemon or is getting bent over by a certain mechanic.

If people don’t raise concerns or ask questions from time to time there wouldn’t be much accountability. But I’ve never been a fan of accusations in the form of a question and won’t admit their error if it’s shown to be the case. It’s all in the delivery.

9   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 12th, 2008 at 10:57 am

Perhaps someone could give us an example from scripture that would pertain here. Some place where the watchkitties get their authority from, that is also the authority exercised in scripture over churches. Because I only see a few examples of authority over the local church. All I can think of, off hand are:
Apostles.
Elders.

Neither of which apply to watchkitties. Now, of course you have the Matthew 18 discourse in how to handle sin, but the watchkitties are already off the rails since, at least in dealing with me, they don’t follow any of the steps, and there seems to be an implicit admonition that the confronter and confrontee are part of the same body of believers.

10   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 10:57 am

John,
I partly agree with you and partly disagree. If a church in Lime Ridge is doing something that you believe is wrong. Let’s say that you are FREE WILL and they are REFORMED. You think they are fatalistic meanies. They put a vid up on YouTube so they can put it on their own webpage and you find it. I don’t think you have the “responsibility”(Sandman’s word) to tell your congregation about it or to write about the dangers of the fatalistic worldview citing this little church of 100 people as your source. You have no connection to that church.
There’s a huge difference between the men that you listed (Peter, Paul, John, Jude) and modern day “writers.” The men you mentioned were all writing to people they had pastored or knew about teachers who were there in there in their midst. They had a relationship in some fashion with all of those people. How are you helping your church to grow by pointing out what you believe is a false doctrine in tiny church in a tiny town thousands of miles away from Mn?

11   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 11:01 am

O

nce you publish yourself on the net or get your name in the papers you are fair game. All should quit whining and take their lumps; otherwise stay out of the limelight.

Really, Chris P? How is that helpful? Where is this “rule” found? Is it in the cannons of Chris P?

12   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:06 am

How are you helping your church to grow by pointing out what you believe is a false doctrine in tiny church in a tiny town thousands of miles away from Mn?

I thought I was clear that if someone gave an example of a dangerous teaching on You-Tube, we could use it as an example of error

Looking back, I guess I wasn’t clear. Again, we do live in an age where You-Tube, internet, etc gives us incredible opportunities to spread the good news, but it also has given rise to every wack-job (see Fred Phelps) that has an anti-scriptural agenda. So I will put the question back to you, where does our responsibility, as Christian leaders, end? If the church is not a building, but a body, do we not, as overseers, have a responsibility to the larger body?

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 11:10 am

You make some excellent points, Sandman.

I think I would also add in M.G.’s earlier post on ‘being a charitable reader’ – as a Christian, we have the responsibility to be a charitable examiner when it comes to evaluation of something in a church to which we do not belong.

Because we do not live in that community, and because we are not there to see holistically what happens in that community day-to-day, we should seek to ‘protect, trust, hope, and persevere’ in such things.

This means that we shouldn’t ‘fill in the gaps’ with assumptions of the worst when we watch a clip of a single sermon/skit/song apart from the context in which they occurred.

This means that we shouldn’t characterize cultural differences, preferences, and personal (non-absolute) convictions as ’sinful’, or as something with which to eviscerate other believers. (like with the hyperbolic moans about non-existent ‘pelvic thrusts’ and ’simulated humping’…)

I believe that EVERY church movement in existence has weaknesses – some more pervasive than others. Cherry-picking to accentuate those weaknesses does little to serve the body…

14   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:20 am

I agree Chris L, and since that is true, why is this site here?

It interesting that you say cherry picking, because cherries are fruit, and Jesus said in Matthew 7 ‘by their fruit you shall know them’. You can tell a lot about a church by what they put on the internet for public viewing, pelvic thrusts or not.

Again I pose the question, if the church is the universal body of Christ, and we have access into many more churches now in the internet age, where does a Christian’s responsibility end?

15   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:23 am

And even further-

The internet has influence on my flock, whether I like it or not, so how far must I go to keep watch over the wolves that are getting into my flock’s home by electronic means?

16   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 11:32 am

So I will put the question back to you, where does our responsibility, as Christian leaders, end? If the church is not a building, but a body, do we not, as overseers, have a responsibility to the larger body?

That’s an awesome question, John.
My most honest answer is I don’t know. It seems wrong to me that we have the right to go after every church out there. I do not see any examples of that in Scripture or even precedents. I see the need to teach the people we are responsible to God for and ourselves.
The idea that we need to point out false teaching everywhere we find also seems thin at best. What about teaching the truth and teaching people to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit? As I said, I’m still working through this myself. I know there were some who were offended by it to the point of taking their blog and going home, but I stand by my point that what happens at Tim’s church is between Tim Reed, Owosso Mi his church and God. I don’t see how it’s your’s, Ingrid’s, Ken’s, Amy’s or Julie’s or anyone else’s for that matter. I didn’t see anywhere where Tim Reed, Owosso Mi said that people have to do it that way. There has to be some room for disagreement without trotting out the heresy card. There has to be some room to say, “I’m gonna let God deal with that.” Doesn’t there?
Your building argument seems incongruous to me, in that because church is not a building does not mean it is not a geographic community.

17   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 11:35 am

And even further-

The internet has influence on my flock, whether I like it or not, so how far must I go to keep watch over the wolves that are getting into my flock’s home by electronic means?

That beautifully proves the point I’m trying to make. What would happen if you just taught the truth and trusted the Holy Spirit to help your people? I’m not saying that you’re not.

18   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:38 am

Joe,

How does the internet, television, books, etc. play into the ‘geographical’ church card as it were?

I am struggling through this to, because people and false teachings from all over the world come before me and members of my church on a daily basis.

19   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:45 am

Joe,

Wow, your server is faster than mine….

I do teach the truth, and equip my flock, but, for example, this last week I got a letter from someone in my community about a teaching they saw on the television. They were getting ready to donate to that minister, and start getting into his church. This was a word-faith prosperity guy, about to take money from a granny who lives on social security. I had to warn her, didn’t I?

The seeker sensitive and the emergent teachings that cheapen the gospel are much more insidious. I witness to people, some who claim to be christians raised in the church their whole life, who cannot articulate why they believe, or even that they are followers of Jesus. Some have been told that all you must do is believe in Jesus- and that is not biblical. I can go further, but the point is that I teach truth in my home and in my church, but there are those out there teaching half truths that must be corrected, because ultimately, it affects the whole body of Christ.

20   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 11:47 am

Again, we do live in an age where You-Tube, internet, etc gives us incredible opportunities to spread the good news, but it also has given rise to every wack-job (see Fred Phelps) that has an anti-scriptural agenda. So I will put the question back to you, where does our responsibility, as Christian leaders, end? If the church is not a building, but a body, do we not, as overseers, have a responsibility to the larger body?

To begin with, I would suggest that calling out someone as a “false teacher”, simply based on disagreements with theological systems (with the classic Calvinist vs. Arminian debate) or eschatologies is uncharitable. I am guilty of this, myself.

I would also suggest that ‘piling on’ in regards to cultural preferences is uncharitable. If a church believes it should not use instruments, that it up to that body of believers to decide. If a church has a dance ministry, it is up to that body of believers to decide. If a church believes it should have multiple services with different styles of worship (music, technology, message style, etc.) it is up to them. In the absence of blatant sin in regards to ‘cultural preferences’, the approach of charity is highly important.

If you feel the need to disagree with, say, a far-away church’s dance ministry in order to protect your own flock (because they want to do something similar and you disagree with them), then handle it with your own flock. If you are concerned for the other church, in particular – call them! What is the need to call it out to every other flock out there?

With criticizing movements within the church, I think some care and charity is needed, as well:

1) Seeker-Sensitive: I will agree that there have been some pretty good examples of shallow SS churches out there. However, I know that a number of these (in my personal experience) have learned from their mistakes, and others which do not fit the distorted stereotype of ‘never talking about sin’, ‘watering down the gospel’, etc. Their chief ’sin’ is in their pragmatism regarding evangelism and spiritual growth post-conversion, but I would argue that most of the ones I am personally familiar with have recognized this and changed accordingly, without ditching some of the ‘external appearances’ (like music style, use of powerpoint, use of other technology, use of cultural icons, a la Paul on Mars Hill, to make biblical points) that so irk traditionalists.

2) The ECM: As a movement, the ECM is so broad that most general criticisms end up slandering wide swaths of believers. With specific ECM churches (and the EmergentVillage-associated ones seem to be more susceptible), liberalism and heresy bubble up with some frequency. With others, like Mars Hill (WA) and Vintage Faith (CA) to point out some larger ones, the difference is primarily in style and the eschewing of a-scriptural tradition, which also irks traditionalists (who tend to reside in, but are not limited to, fundamentalist/reformed churchs). Other churches with some ECM similarities, like Mars Hill (MI), are MUCH different than the traditional/fundamentalist churches in their day-to-day operation and how they seek to follow God’s word. They tend to eschew systematic theologies and a-scriptural tradition, but they remain rooted in the scripture.

In short, criticizing the entire movement is uncharitable, and criticizing specific churches may be appropriate within your own flock – or to the one you believe is at fault – but it starts becoming uncharitable when it involves parsing, proof-texting and uncharitable eisegesis of limited data from those congregations.

3) Word-faith/Prosperity Gospel: At its very basis, the message of the ‘prosperity gospel’ is false, and it probably the most dangerous in our highly-materialistic society. It is a message that is pretty easily refuted, without having to ‘name names’. In the case of refuting public teaching in a charitable, Christ-like manner, I’m not sure I’ve seen a better example than of Mark Driscoll’s evaluation of Joel Osteen’s TV interview.

21   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 11:48 am

Joe,

I do trust the Holy Spirit to help my people, but I am here to teach the truth, none the less. In other words, it does not give me license to sit on my hands. It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can teach, and only because of the Holy Spirit that people can receive the teaching. So my teaching is never separated from the Holy Spirit’s power to do it.

22   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 11:51 am

John,
It’s interesting but I have found more blogs and things that I like from people decrying them. For instance, Dave Marriott is an occasional commenter here. I’m not trying to talk for him but I believe I can say that he see a lot of these sites that are writing about churches helpful. What I’d call attacking, I believe he would just call sound doctrine being seen clearly.
I found a site one day from Dave’s blog. He was calling the guy out for what he believed was bad something (I honestly don’t remember). If it wasn’t for Dave I would have never found this guy, now we’ve exchanged phone numbers and we talk on a somewhat regular basis.
This guy is one of many I’ve found in this manner. Truth be told, I would have never found this site if it wasn’t for the more vocal blogs. I know that I am not the only person this is true for so if their goal is expose error on some level they are failing.
Now, I have a question for you; Forget the pastorate for a moment. Let’s talk specifics for a moment. Ken isn’t writing to protect his 10 people, Ingrid isn’t a pastor that I know of. So how does that factor into this conversation? Do you really believe that those webpages, or Jim’s little hit piece (HI Again, Jim!!) is really a “ministry?”

23   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 11:51 am

I agree Chris L, and since that is true, why is this site here?

Refer to this. In short, though, to protect and defend brothers in Christ who have been attacked, slandered or stabbed in the back by other brothers.

It interesting that you say cherry picking, because cherries are fruit, and Jesus said in Matthew 7 ‘by their fruit you shall know them’.

The problem with tying these analogies together is that the “cherries” are often pulled out of context and further distorted by the “watchdog” into something different than they originally were…

24   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 11:53 am

So my teaching is never separated from the Holy Spirit’s power to do it.

So writing a shriek piece about a tiny church in some tiny part of Pa. is empowered by the Holy Spirit? Do you really see that kind of fruit at many of these sites?

25   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Again I pose the question, if the church is the universal body of Christ, and we have access into many more churches now in the internet age, where does a Christian’s responsibility end?

When it comes to criticism of a local church in matters apart from blatant public sin, I suspect that it still ends when you leave the community in which that church exists. If you don’t know the person you are ‘warning’, then that’s probably a good rule of thumb to allow the Holy Spirit to work in people they do know.

So, in the case of the Social Security grandmother, she’s a living, breathing person that you know, so by all means it would be incumbent to tell her the truth of the gospel and the lie of earthly prosperity.

26   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Joe,
I don’t know, maybe in today’s world an internet blog can be considered a ministry. I can’t speak for Ingrid or Ken, but I am a pastor who has four blogs, each that has a specific ministry import. One of them you might call a watchkitty, but it is mainly invested in keeping my own flock aware of different issues. My other three all have to do with teaching, so we can call that a modern day method of communicating to my congregation.

As far as internet ministries not a part of a church, I can see them as dangerous, because of little accountability from a Pastor or a board. You can bet that I am held accountable at my church here if I post anything erroneous. I see value in AP and SOL, simply because they expose error from a reformed perspective. At the same time, I can honestly say I peruse sites like this one to keep it all in balance. Most importantly, I am in the Word of God and in prayer daily to keep the right perspective.

27   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

but I stand by my point that what happens at Tim’s church is between Tim Reed, Owosso Mi his church and God. I don’t see how it’s your’s, Ingrid’s, Ken’s, Amy’s or Julie’s or anyone else’s for that matter.

Hey I promised I was done with that. (Tims church)

28   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I was trying to discuss the issue behind the activity.

29   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I’ve brought it before a few times here, but I think Greg Boyd’s book, Repenting of Religion should be required reading. It know it really made me question my motives for passing judgement on others.

The thing is, finding heresy is like shooting fish in a barrel. I don’t think it’s ever been that difficult to find people who have heretodox beliefs. It’s just a lot easier to do it in the age of Youtube, Myspace, and blogs. Is finding a Youtube video of a church doing something questionable part of a ministry? I would think not. The thing I find ironic is that these things would probably go mostly unnoticed if it weren’t for these heretic hunters. Who really cares what a small church from a small town does otherwise? It’s none of our business.

There have always been busybodies in the Church. These people really just don’t have enough real work to do, so they find stuff to worry about. It’s really not hard to do. I find it’s a temptation to do it from my side as well. I mean, I could easily spend all day finding Fundamentalists I disagree with on the internet, but what’s the fruit in that? I hope that things we discuss here don’t just become spiritual masturbation, but that something good actually comes from it. I guess I hold out hope that I can change, and that others are still open to change.

30   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Chris P,

You prove once again that you can twist anything to mean what you want…

Look at the big picture. If one is worthy of the judgement of wrath on them… then it is God’s place to do so… not yours.

So, let’s look at the context in Romans 12

9. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Now so many times your “people” claim “heretic” on others with a zeal that surpasses most peoples zeal for God… notice that these are not “good” people that Paul encourages to lie at peace with.

IF I am a heretic as you believe then to you I am an enemy of God and am also evil… (this is what I get from your and others) then it is your job to not repay me with evil, but to leave room for God to judge me.

Your job is to love me and be so kind as to heap hot coals on my head as I cannot break you of your loving of me…

That is the teaching and the context… live with it.

iggy

31   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Iggy,
Amen

32   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 12th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Iggy,
Good use of scripture!!

33   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
January 12th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

I love you guys.

34   merry    
January 12th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

It’s not just any small, normal, church though. It’s the ones that put videos on youtube, and advertise on the internet, have nice websites, etc. How would ODM’s know about them to write articles otherwise?

Not saying that putting stuff on the internet is bad. It’s good. But it makes it available to anyone in the world, and therefore open to criticism from people who may not know anyone in the church. I think there’s 2 ways of looking at it.

P.S. Mr. Silva finally admits it! He loves us! LOL.

35   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Maybe this is the start of reconcilliation between everyone and Ken. That would be really cool.

Joe

36   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Merry said,

But it makes it available to anyone in the world, and therefore open to criticism

Who says? Why are they suddenly open to critic’s from the far flung regions of the earth simply because they posted something online?

37   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 12th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I owe Julie an apology. When I wrote this line

I know there were some who were offended by it to the point of taking their blog and going home

I knew it was too far. Julie’s reaction to this thread seemed to bubble up something in me and when that bubble surfaced it came out in that public statement. The statement gained nothing by the modifier and was petty.
So Julie, as I said in the email, Will you please forgive me, I was wrong.
Joe

38   M.G.    
January 12th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

The fundamental problem is that the internet distorts communication. Every person and every ministry on this earth is, at root, multi-faceted. There are strengths and weaknesses, moments of clarity amidst the most egregious of blindspots.

This is the human condition. We are all sinners in need of grace.

The problem with basing one’s discernment on an internet presence is that it distorts perceptions. You don’t *really* see the person, church, or ministry. You see a snapshot, far from your home and normal interpersonal relationships. The distance exaggerates whatever thing bothers you about the ministry, obscures whatever good you may applaud, and makes it permissible, in your eyes at least, to say things you wouldn’t dare utter in real life.

I personally agree with so many criticisms leveled by CRN and Slice. I think the seeker-sensitive model is silly, that Christians embrace too much of what is destructive in this age, and that we are far from the heart of God.

I guess, then, that I part ways with the manner of attack. Post after post, day after day, they beat a drum with a singular message: We know the way, and we are better, wiser, and holier than everyone else. What the Church needs is to be more like us.

I guess it’s just that when I think about the failures of the Church, I think of my failures too. I’m too eager to please non-Christian friends, I look too much like the world, and there are many days that I feel distant from God.

In the end, I suppose there’s a lot of wisdom to Chesterton’s retort when he was asked about what was wrong with the world: He said, “I am.”

If only, somehow, we could see that attitude more often with the ODMs.

39   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

But it makes it available to anyone in the world, and therefore open to criticism

I know that the churches I have attended which used the internet weren’t trying to tout anything to the world at large, but rather to make things available to members of the church, the physical community around the church, and friends and family around the world. Most of the things which get tagged for criticism don’t seem to be things aimed at everyone on earth…

40   Neil    
January 12th, 2008 at 3:52 pm

I don’t have any problem with people critiquing what other churches are doing particularly from a biblical perspective – though I have not thought it through completely. I would assume that watchdogs would say that they are defending the greater cause – the Kingdom.

In a sense I’m giggy with it – just like I would someone posting on the “dangers” and/or inadequacies of Olsteen – for example.

So yes, I would say that there is a time and place for commenting on what’s happening at another church. With the caveats that; a) the more public the “sin” the more public the “rebuke”, b) hunting for examples is a rather negative way to go about it, and c) MG’s law of charitable reading – which is often at odds with “b) as an approach.

Neil

41   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Not that this is the place to do it, but lets talk about things that SHOULD be called out by Watchdogs like Slice, CRN, AP, and, well, CRN.info

Should it be limited to clear heresy, by nationally televised and published Pastors who put themselves out there to be Evangelical (or otherwise) church leaders?

Should it be limited geographically?

Should we have to attend one service, or should we have to attend more to comment on it?

Should former members be able to comment on why they left the church?

Who is going to honestly, and without prejudice, keep everyone accountable?

Should published blogs be off limits, and public books be in limits? (there are ways to keep blogs private, you know….)

I am just wondering how we could flesh this whole thing out. And, who gave Slice, CRN.info, CRN, or AP all this power, anyway? I submit it is those who buy in to the commentary from both sides that feed this type of behavior. If no one commented, no one retorted, would these sites even be in existence?

42   Sandman    
January 12th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

As far as what grounds people have to a long range hack and slash on other members of the body…None. There are better ways of confronting people than putting it all out on blast. That is an instance of when telling the truth can be wrong.

I sympathize with Tim. He’s close to the situation and in his shoes, I’d be taking personally at this point. He’s suffered the slings and arrows of some people whose intentions could be seen as less than loving.

In terms of what I use when I encounter things going on in a church far far away? (Keep in mind Tim and I are practically next door to each other, Joe M is on the other side of town.)

I think of 1 Thess 5:21. Test all things.

Be Berean. Check the Scriptures daily

Test the spirits. See if they are from God.

But even then, I may have reason to address the problem with one in authority, I see no reason to air it all in the public. I become somewhat responsible for what happens as well.

I’d expand, but I have to leave for church now, and I have a Bible study after that.

Later, all.

43   mandy reed, owosso mi    
January 12th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

sandman,

where do you live?

44   Neil    
January 12th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

My opinion posted above left the door open for people to comment on Tim’s situation… that said, discussion the pro’s and con’s of an event is what I had in mind – not the slash and burn condemnation.

Is that too much having and eating the cake?

Neil

45   merry    
January 12th, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Joe M. and Chris L,

Church websites and videos on youtube, etc, from normal churches are usually aimed at their own community, that’s for sure. But the internet is world wide, and most websites can be accessed from anywhere. Web surfers from outside the community may stumble across various church websites if they google the right thing. Obviously a site on the world wide web is open for the world to view. That doesn’t mean anyone outside of that particular community has a right to criticize, but a select few will and have (as we have seen).

Joe M said,
“Why are they suddenly open to critic’s from the far flung regions of the earth simply because they posted something online?”

Having a website that anyone can view increases the risk of criticism, whether it’s anyone else’s business or not. Sad, but true.

Chris L said,
“Most of the things which get tagged for criticism don’t seem to be things aimed at everyone on earth… ”
No, they aren’t. They’re just available for viewing by everyone on earth.

Does that make more sense?

46   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I have not issue with disagreement… but if there is no respect for the other that seems to cross the line of “loving one another” or “being a good neighbor.”

If one then becomes unloving in their discussion we lose sight of the truth and our calling.

God is Love and so we are also to imitate His Love… in that I do not mean as some critique some wishy washy mamsy pamsy love or the pseudo love of “tolerance” which still sees the other as not equal, but to see all men as equal, as sinners in need of a saviour.

What I see is this lack of true humility coming from the OMD’s it is as if they forgot that they are but sinners in the hands of an angry God (to use their own language) that is now saved by grace… they come across as some sort of elitist who was chosen above all others by their own merit…

This does not help the cause of Christ.

iggy

47   E.G.    
January 12th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Frankly, it would be great if Christian authors of various sites of any stripe would focus more on what they saw as positive and Kingdom building things (be they spoken or written word, videos, songs, or what-have-you) rather than continually throwing grenades at each other…

…and in the process, injuring so many bystanders with the shrapnel.

48   merry    
January 12th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

E.G. said,
“Frankly, it would be great if Christian authors of various sites of any stripe would focus more on what they saw as positive and Kingdom building things (be they spoken or written word, videos, songs, or what-have-you) rather than continually throwing grenades at each other…

…and in the process, injuring so many bystanders with the shrapnel.”

AMEN, BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry. I must be calm. *hyperventilates*

49   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 13th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Since I don’t have a “password,” I’m posting here. Were the rest of us not invited to the conversation or this a technical loophole for not blocking commentors per se? I feel really left out here.
8^)>

50   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 13th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Keith,

I’m experimenting with the PW-protected thing with a conversation on what improvements we can make in content and tone, looking for input from the writers. I’m unfamiliar with Wordpress, so it’s also just trying to work with its functionality.

Sorry to make you feel ‘left out’, I just had a few confidential areas I’ve been praying about and wanted to use a blog format with the other writers as an alternative to email….

51   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 13th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Understood. Just raggin’ on ya.

52   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 13th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

FACIST PIG!!!!!!!!!!!

=)~

53   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 13th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Resistance is futile.

54   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 13th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Aye comrade…God save the motherland.

55   Sandman    
January 13th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Mandy,

I’m in Fenton.

56   mandy reed, owosso mi    
January 13th, 2008 at 7:38 pm

you are in our backyard!

57   E.G.    
January 13th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I truly hope and pray that your conversation was fruitful and that it will help to turn this site back towards a positive direction and tone; that this site might set an example to the sites that it discusses, and that it might, in that way and others, be a light to the world.

58   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 13th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Thank you, E.G., for your prayers…

59   Sandman    
January 14th, 2008 at 12:12 am

Yes I am, Mandy. Still trying to meet up with everyone–hasn’t happened yet.

2 Trackbacks/Pings

  1. Church Voices » Blog Archive » Interfering with the local church    Jan 12 2008 / 10am:

    [...] Joe Martino asks the question: So if Tim Reed, Owosso Mi is sitting in his office surfing the net and one of the three churches in town produces a video about God loving people, is it Tim’s place to put up a hit piece about the failings of that video? [...]

  2. A Primer on the Un-grace Gospel, pt 3 or The Problem with Discernment « Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below    Jan 12 2008 / 12pm:

    [...] UPDATE:  Joe Martino has asked the very question that I am making a point about in this series of posts concerning the ‘un-grace’ Gospel. It deals with, at its root, the establishment and authority of the local church. In the comment section below, this is the point I have been debating with the Curator from A Little Leaven. This is a very important question the Church needs to answer in this hour: Who governs the local church? [...]