The pharisees minded what God spoke, but not what He intended. They were busy in the outward work of the hand, but incurious of the affections and choice of the heart. So God was served in the letter, they did not much inquire into His purpose; and therefore they were curious to wash their hands, but cared not to purify their hearts. Jeremy Taylor
The Christian blogging community has received national attention in recent weeks due to widespread agreement that they are responsible for bringing attention to the Ergun Caner debacle at Liberty University. Until the Internet became available to "average" people, sin in churches and Christian institutions was often buried. Pastors misused their pulptis as "bully pulpits" and silenced Christians who would dare to raise questions about the conduct of Christian leadership.
For many years, Christians, who raised objections, would be "thrown out" of churches or would have their reputations impugned via "whisper campaigns" started by the very leaders who were to serve their congregations. Instead of servant leaders, within certain churches and conventions, the evangelical church spawned leaders of the servants.Such leaders rule with self-assured "authority", running roughshod over their flock.
Can't believe it? Please link to an article we posted about an grandmother who was "perp-walked" out of her own church. The pastor called the police from the pulpit! In the early days of this blog,the more we investigated claims of abuse by church leaders, the more shocked we became. We found pastors making exorbitant salaries and receiving expensive gifts, pedophilia and rape covered up, strange doctrines and self-absorbed,hyper-authoritarian pastors and leaders who stomped on their people for their own selfish interests. As we have interviewed folks, we learned about various tactics of spiritual abuse which are used to keep the membership quiet. Confronting sin was called "gossiping." People were booted from fellowships for simply raising questions about pastoral lifestyles.
Folks, there is rank sin in the evangelical church in America. However, the leaders have latched onto books such as The Cross Centered Life by C J Mahaney and twist its words to claim sin in the body and give the pastors a pass. The SBC is hemorrhaging members and young people are rejecting the faith. I would venture to say that the hypocrisy in the leadership of today's churches is a major factor in these trends. One only needs to read "antitestimonials" at websites such as exchristian.net to see the view of today's churches.
There are still wonderful churches in America, but there are some very, very bad Christian leaders who are hurting the cause for Christ. So, God raised up a bunch of "sheep" who wouldn't take it anymore. Some of these sheep, including yours truly, were on the receiving end of abusive church tactics. We started writing about our experiences. Lo and behold, others started commenting, saying that they, too, had seen issues in their churches, or, even worse, were the victims of spiritual abuse. Many thought they were the only ones who had such experiences. And so, the Fellowship of the Wounded and Won't Be Quiet About It Anymore" was born
Well, the big boys couldn't take it. Acting like the Pharisees of old,they decided that exposing sin was….DIVISIVE! They did not want people talking about these things because it was…GOSSIP! So they got together and all agreed that this "blogging" stuff needs to be stopped. So, the Georgia Baptist Convention voted to "condemn" all blogging that was negative. Funny thing about this resolution. It was aimed at a very brave man who found PORNOGRAPHY on his pastors' (yep, plural) computers and was told to "shut up" about it. Such a response cannot be found in Scripture. In fact, Scripture makes a major point that everything that is done in the dark will be brought into the light.
So, he decided to write about this travesty. Well, it is against the unwritten rules of "sinning pastors" to allow anybody to talk about their naughty, little secrets. So, the Georgia Baptist Convention, at the urging of the former lead pastor in this mess, wrote an anti-blogging resolution. We will be looking at each part of this ridiculous resolution over the next few days. Even the most uneducated can see the motivation and intent behind this foolish resolution. (What are they teaching in seminaries these days)?
WHEREAS, the American people have the distinct privilege of freedom of speech as provided by our United States Constitution, and this resolution is not intended to limit that freedom of speech we all value so much;
It appears that freedom of speech is honored by the GBC so long as it does not impact the GBC or pastors. The poorly educated leaders of this convention have obviously not studied what brought about our Founding Fathers concern for freedom of speech. Monarchies and dictatorships have sought to stifle freedom of speech when it is critical of said leadership. Everyone is happy with "nice" speech that compliments the king. But, repressive leaders would jail and kill those who would dare to speak out against injustice.
King George was not happy when the colonists began to protest his onerous taxes and attempted to jail those who would cause "dissent. The Soviet Union henchmen would jail, torture and kill those who would dare disagree with their totalitarian order. Repressive measures have been used by totalitarian regimes to quell expression of discontent. However, such measures to "control divisive speech" only resulted in revolutions that have changed the face of the world.
The founders of this nation knew that freedom of speech must be preserved at all costs. And they were not talking about "nice" speech. They were protecting the right to deeply and profoundly disagree with the government. Yes, there are some well-defined limits. One cannot yell, "Fire" in a crowded movie theater. But one can organize and decry the President or Congress without fear of reprisal. And that is how it should be. If only "nice" speech is protected, someday the government could come for those Christians who speak out against abortion or other causes.
In fact, it was verbal protests that led to civil rights. In America, the white Baptist churches largely supported discrimination on Biblical grounds. (As an aside, this is how egotistical pastors misuse Scripture to justify their sinful actions). When African Americans and other Christian finally spoke strongly (and not "nicely" ) about the hypocrisy of the church, the church was forced to make changes. Somehow, today's churches forget how Scripture was misused to subjugate African Americans. Churches can often misuse Scripture to justify just about anything and this is how they control people.
So, the major point here is this. Freedom of speech is rarely used to protect nice, happy speech. It is meant to protect pointed and disagreeable speech that often exposes flaws and sin in the entrenched, ecclesiastical bureaucracy.
WHEREAS responsible blogging can be a means of promoting the flow of information and encouragement of our people, but certain people use this tool for divisive and destructive rhetoric at the expense of peace among the Brethren;
I am not sure that the GBC is reading the same version of the Bible that I am. Peace among the brethren is not possible when sin is allowed to fester. This is a Bible verse that many in the GBC leadership should memorize.
Jeremiah 6:13-14 For from the least of them to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of my people superficially saying, “Peace. peace,” but there is no peace.
Jesus called the Pharisees, snakes. That probably upset their day and their peace was disrupted. Oh, that Jesus! Blogging is used to point out the transgressions of the leadership. It is sin of the leaders that is responsible for the division in the church, not the blogs. It is their willingness to seek out power and money that causes pain. It is their willingness to be complicit in the sin of covering up the transgression of the leadership. It is the unwillingness of leaders to deal with their own wrondoings that have spawned the blogs.
Blogs are not responsible for division in the churches. It is men and women in leadership who refuse to deal with their own transgressions.
WHEREAS blogging is also being used by some as a tool for personal attacks upon other Christian Brothers and Sisters, and this critical and divisive use promotes a negative view of the Southern Baptist Convention in the eyes of the society we are striving to reach with the Gospel (James 3:6,14);
What are they teaching in seminaries these days? Who causes the negative view of the Southern Baptist Convention? I say it is those who are sinning who cause the "negative view." Once again, I refer you to exchristian.net. They list every pastor who is arrested for sexual immorality or embezzlement. Maybe they are the ones responsible for the negative view of the SBC? The Bible sees this differently.
Jeremiah 5:26 (The prophet speaking for God):…” for wicked men are found among My people…they set a trap, they catch men.” Then, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority.” (vv. 30-31)
The hypocrisy of the SBC (and the rest of the evangelical denominations for that matter) have resulted in a negative view of the church in America. It's the sin, stupid, not the bloggers.
In fact, bloggers can be credited with exposing sin, hypocrisy, fake degrees, greed, lying, sexual immorality and pride that infects the church in America.
Here is the bottom line. If pastors and leaders would deal with sin, and stop hiding behind the pulpit, the negative view of the SBC might change. It was my own front seat view of callousness and hypocrisy in one church that led to my leaving the SBC. Do I have a negative view of the SBC? You betcha! That view was not caused by blogs. It was caused by my own personal experience.
It was my contact with other bloggers that gave me hope for the church in America. There are actually people out here who care about the purity of the church.Too bad the GBC doesn't place purity over hypocrisy.