"You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed, You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you're gonna have to serve somebody." Bob Dylan link.
The PR Executive and Janet Mefferd: Who Serves the Truth?
Today, we sent in the ad. We went through every comment left by our readers and did our best to incorporate your thoughts. We needed to keep it to the length of the ad taken out by Lyall Mercer in order to make it economical for us. We want to thank an anonymous reader who contributed the money to place the ad.
It is timely that we did so. Lyall Mercer is establishing an office in the United States since it appears that some of the Christian churches and organizations around here need some image refurbishment.
Janet Mefferd did not participate in the writing or financing of this ad. It was purely a spontaneous response on the part of TWW. However, we did want to defend and honor Janet Mefferd whose character, we believe, was called into question by a poorly conceived ad. Although our ad addresses a couple of the issues raised by Lyall Mercer, we expressed our concerns about Christian public relation firms in general.
The ad will appear on Monday or Tuesday. There may be some minor tweaking of the following submission. We hope that we have represented you well.
This is a paid release to correct a public relation executive’s point of view. In a CNS ad, he claimed that a crisis is occurring within the church which is caused by people whom he labels as “enemies”. He contends the “enemies” use social media to “attack” churches. As an example, he singled out Janet Mefferd, a Christian radio talk show host, who asked Mark Driscoll to respond to charges of plagiarism during an interview. These charges have been well documented by Dr. Warren Throckmorton.
This ad represents the combined thoughts of a number of The Wartburg Watch readers who represent a plethora of church traditions. A few readers are outside the church. While some of us might disagree with Mefferd on certain secondary issues, none would consider her an ”enemy of the church”. She is our sister in Christ.
It is the duty of all Christians to stand up for truth. When Mefferd questioned well-documented instances of “citation” issues, she did not speak for herself. She spoke for many Christians who believe that truth matters far more than image.
"The world has changed," said Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings. The Internet allows the “little guy” to speak truth to the big guy with the money and the microphone.
Come to our blog. Read about rogue pastors, rich pastors, leaders who cover up child sex abuse, minimize domestic violence and those who brag about leaving piles of bodies under the bus.
We believe that when we ignore or gloss over sinful behavior among Christian leaders we become complicit in that behavior. Could some negative publicity be deserved? If so, should a well-oiled PR machine conceal negative publicity that might well be justified?
How can a PR executive or firm claim that it functions in the best interest of the church when it attempts to minimize sin? The true enemies within the church are those who cover up sin and ignore pain. We would suggest that PR firms try to figure out how to manage that crisis because it affects the entire church.
We leave you with this question. Does the Gospel tell us to polish the image of man or to project the image of God?
Ray Ortlund and the Ministry of Advocacy: Who serves the victims of child sex abuse?
Advocacy is different than encouragement. Encouragement is something you do to the person — building them up and strengthening them with your words. Advocacy is something you do for them in relation to others. When the real need is advocacy, encouragement alone can come across as hollow.
In his post, Ortlund refers to the widow in Luke 18:1-8. From the NIV Bible Gateway
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2.He said:“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Here is Ortlund's assessment of this parable. Note how he talks about powerless people.
The parable also implies the advocacy we should assert for powerless people. Every one of us knows someone who has suffered wrong, someone who needs and deserves justice. If we say, “But justice is a misguided goal,” read the parable again. The key word in the text is “justice,” appearing four times. Justice is the very thing Jesus makes prominent. Or if we say, “But there is always wrong on both sides,” read the parable again. Jesus includes no hint that the widow too was at fault.
Ortlund makes a call to put our lives on the line in order to advocate for justice for those who are powerless. He decries cowardice!
to stand by in silence when we could make a real difference for a person under fire is cowardice.
This is confusing in light of Ortlund's history. The question he does not address is "Who are you gonna serve since you gotta serve somebody?" Years ago, this blog started with a simple "prime directive." We stand up for the victims of abuse. We take to heart the simple advice given to us from Barbara Dorris of SNAP. We always keep the victims of abuse in the forefront of what we are doing.
For whom does Ortlund advocate with his life? He was on the committee that exonerated CJ Mahaney, saying that he was fit to be a pastor at Sovereign Grace Ministries. This was with the full understanding of story after story of the alleged cover up of child sex abuse. Where was Ortlund on the issue of the powerless? Was he bravely standing up for the powerless?
Perhaps this commenter under Ortlund's post remembers who Ortlund did not serve. (I do have a screen shot.)
Children and their families, whose lives have been permanently scarred both by abuse, and by the encouragement of born again believers to not report the abuse.
They desperately need our advocacy. Their terror, their violated hearts and bodies and and the hopelessness of their isolation is crying out for the love of Jesus. Let the little children come to me, and forbid them not…
We know that Ortlund serves CJ Mahaney. Here is the statement that Ortlund released along with Kevin DeYoung and Carl Trueman. Too bad that none of them mentioned serving the children. But you gotta serve somebody, right? And ya gotta be brave…
The identities of these men were not disclosed until after they rendered their finding on whether Mahaney was fit for ministry. And here is the preliminary panel's conclusion (drum roll please)…
“We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. Or to put it positively, from all that we have seen, heard, and read, we believe C.J. Mahaney is, at this moment in time and based on those sins which he has acknowledged, still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”
T4G and the Leaders: Who Do They Serve?
Who are you gonna serve? The children and the widows or the guy behind the microphone? Who does Al Mohler, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur and Kevin DeYoung serve? Is it the children? Who are the cowards? Those who serve the children or those who serve the guy with the microphone? This is a picture reportedly taken at the current T$G conference and posted on Twitter by the brother of Ligon Duncan. (DeYoung is certainly leaning rather far to the left.) Wouldn't it have been wonderful to see some of the plaintiffs up there as well? Why weren't they? Guess you gotta serve somebody and they lost out.
All of these men are speakers except for Mahaney who was not supposed to be there. Last year, Mahaney had this to say about his attendance at T4G.
After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.
Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.
My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the undeserved privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect.
What a man of his word! What statement are the rest of these men making? Well, Julie Anne Smith asked Pam Palmer, a mother of the a plaintiff in the SGM debacle to tell us what she thinks these men are saying to her.
Sometimes I am at a loss for words on what to say at the insensitivity and callousness of C. J. Mahaney and the men who support him. What other conclusion can observant people come to when they see a disgraced (yet undisciplined) leader sitting in the front row at such a prominent event other than the men sitting with him approve of his 30+ year record of covering up child sex abuse. ~Pam Palmer, mother of plaintiff in Sovereign Grace Ministry abuse lawsuit.
So there we have it. Who is the PR executive serving? Who are Ortlund, Piper, Mohler, DeYoung and others serving? Who is Mahaney serving? Because we all gotta choose and it looks like we know who, and what, they have chosen to serve.
Mavis Staples & Johnny Lang-"Gotta Serve Somebody"
Point of Light Tribute 2011
Lydia's Corner: Ezekiel 7:1-9:11 Hebrews 5:1-14 Psalm 105:1-15 Proverbs 26:28