“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato
A couple of months ago. Todd Wilhelm wrote a post that caused an explosion at Cedarville University. Cedarville University Professor Reportedly Fired From The Village Church For Sexually Abusing a Male Subordinate. This revelation caused a crisis at Cedarville University, calling into question the presidency of Dr. Tom White. Moore was fired (I predict we haven’t heard the last from him.) There were numerous issues raised during this time, including the questionable treatment of women professors and how the university handles sexual abuse and harassment claims by students and employees.
Julie Roys also contributed great posts regarding this situation. Here is one. Pastor Who Oversaw Anthony Moore’s “Restoration” Resigns from Cedarville Church
Miller not only met regularly with Moore for “personal accountability” during Moore’s time at Cedarville, Miller also allowed Moore to preach at his church, and to speak at area youth events.
The situation was so serious that Dr. Danny Akin and Mark Vroegop resigned from the Cedarville Board of Trustees. Todd’s initial story about Moore, White, and Cedarville set off a chain reaction that will continue to dog Cedarville in the years to come. Dr. Akin was complimented by a number of folks on Twitter for his *brave* stand in quitting the Board. Except the really brave stand was the one by Todd Wilhelm who posted the unknown story about Moore’s past and Dr. White’s wish to *restore Moore.* Had Todd not written the story, there would have been no *brave* resignations from the Board. It would be business as usual.
However, as usual, The Gospel Coalition was not pleased by these efforts to expose sin. Once again, they featured an *anti-blogger* post by Caleb Wait: The Church Doesn’t Need Online Watchmen. These guys just don’t quit. I’m beginning to think that writing such a post is part of the admissions requirements for becoming a member of The Gospel Coalition *in good standing.*
Broad brush accusations
These useless posts seem to make an appearance during a time when bloggers are having an effect on major dudebros. However, they play a game called *Why do you think this was about you? How do you know it wasn’t about Pulpit and Pen?” The answer is quite simple. “If it was about Pulpit and Pen, you would have said so.” When I write about a problem, I call it out. So do many of my fellow bloggers. We aren’t afraid to face the blowback and we don’t play games.
Uncomfortable issues for the dudebros.
What’s been going on recently? Let’s see, JD Greear hired *Dr* Bryan Loritts who has a bit of history for apparently covering up for his brother in law’s voyeurism. Then there is the embarrassing issue of *the doctorate.* A number of advocates are questioning this move by JD Greear who appeared to shed a tear during the *Caring Well* conference and then quickly hopped on a new boat, hiring Bryan Loritts as a pastor at The Summit Church.
Then, there was the Darrin Patrick suicide which raised some uncomfortable questions about how fast fallen pastors are being restored.
Ouch. But, unlike our TGC friend, Caleb, we don’t hint, we name. However, we are not trying very hard to become a member of the tribe. We are individuals who care about those abused in the church.
We are called divisive vigilantes.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Before I started blogging, I watched a church which, in my opinion, mishandle a pedophile situation. Many young teen boys were molested. I believe it could have been prevented. I watched another church mishandle the presence of pedophile. Yet the pastor told me that the guy was no problem according to the parole officer. Except, he wasn’t.
Why was I upset? I believe the churches mishandled the situations and put children at risk. They appeared to be more concerned about protecting the image of their churches than protecting the children. As I started blogging, I became aware of Sovereign Grace Ministries (now known as Sovereign Grace Churches) and CJ Mahaney and the many complaints of the coverup of child sex abuse.
Yet, according to Caleb, I have no right to comment on these situations because they are not proximate to me. I am not supposed to care about those being hurt in other churches? I am not supposed to be outraged at the number of people molested in one church or a pastor who was in prison for molestation who is now preaching again or a pastor who thinks it is downright wonderful to marry off a serial pedophile to a young woman.
We can become obsessed by outrage at things happening far beyond our proximate community.
The so-called *vigilantes* are far more Biblical than those in Caleb’s tribe who were fanboys of CJ Mahaney, Doug Wilson, and Mark Driscoll. These dudebros were printing their essays at TGC, inviting them to conferences along with justifying their actions. Good grief. Joe Carter, major TGC dudebro, accused me of libel when I wrote about the victims of SGM. Yet, he has never apologized for his lack of judgment in the matter of CJ Mahaney.
I have bad news for Caleb. You guys were not minding the gates and lots of creeps got inside your churches. Then you spent much time trying to come up with reasons why you supported men like CJ Mahaney. His good buddy, Tim Challies, said it would be poor time management for him to be concerned. So I find it amusing that he would quote Tim Challies who hid behind his computer during that time.
We don’t abide by their coveted church polity.
These ecclesial vigilantes ignore church polity and try to take matters into their own hands
Let me get this straight. if I see churches mishandling sex abuse, I need to step back and let *church polity* take over. Well, I’ve got news for you. In many cases, church polity is used as an excuse to overlook abuse. Take a look at the Karen Hinckley situation at The Village Church. They said she was the one walking in sin for wanting to get her marriage annulled from her child porn husband who was walking in repentance. They tried to *push her under them* (their controlling church polity) and planned to discipline her and wrote all of this in al letter to 6,000 church members.
Caleb, are you seriously trying to tell us that Chandler would have backed off if the bloggers hadn’t written about their dad blasted church covenant and church polity? By the way, we posted all of those sweet emails and texts from the pastors. It totally freaked out Matt Chandler. Nope, church polity can be unjust and I don’t believe that God wants me to ignore what is true and just for some church polity written by weak and sinful men who look for excuses to abuse their church members.
People sometimes believe that bloggers are more authoritative than pastors! He demands authority. Sometimes people follow those who command authority by their words and actions.
Sometimes these online watchmen gain followings, and other Christians begin to see their voices as more authoritative than their own pastors.
What if the *vigilantes* are more biblical than the pastors? What if they are following Scripture as they support the victims and point fingers at abusive churches? Aren’t we to look to Scripture for answers? Look at the people with whom Jesus spent His time. So many of them were abused by the church. Jesus said so in Matthew 23.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
Does Caleb think that bloggers are unable to speak authoritatively on the subject of abuse? That pastors, backed up by church polity, do it so much better? He should go look at the faces here and rethink his paradigm.
Just in case Caleb might think that I don’t believe my pastors are authoritative, he needs to read what the Washington Post said about my view of my pastors.
“God had given me a wonderful, unexpected gift,” she wrote on the Wartburg Watch. Her family had finally “found a church that we love and pastors who we can respect and trust.”
What should worry Caleb more is when bloggers are actually more authoritative than some pastors. For example, John Piper thinks that women shouldn’t be muscular. That baloney is not found in Scripture and Piper is dead wrong (and a bit creepy but read it for yourself.)
It is my opinion that TGC spends a fair amount of time promoting the high position of pastors. So much so that I am beginning to see some effects of this out here in the post-evangelical wilderness One Calvinista wannabe started his sermon in his new church by saying something along the lines of “You are the church members. I am not. I’m in a different position than you are.” I started giggling and received some stares by those around me. Yep. He was born to preach and lead you. You were born to listen and not question.
Years ago, I wrote a post about my daughter who was a firefighter for a few years. It deals with the difference between commanding authority and demanding authority.
Last week I watched my daughter walk fearlessly through a burning building with flames shooting out the windows. She is about to graduate from fire academy, and within a week she will be riding fire trucks, rescuing people trapped in crushed cars, putting out fires, and performing CPR. This mother’s heart fears for her safety; yet, it swells with pride at the thought of her willingness to put her life in harm’s way to save the lives of others.
As I stood next to her captain, I felt a profound sense of respect as I looked at his blackened face and uniform. I know I would quickly follow any order he would give me. Why? Because I know that his life is dedicated to saving the lives of others and that he has my best interest at heart.
At that moment I realized a stark contrast. There are individuals in our lives (like this fire captain) who COMMAND authority, while there are others who, unfortunately, must DEMAND authority. I have been in churches where pastors pound the pulpit, insisting that worshippers look intently at them and listen carefully to what they are saying. I have heard these preachers stridently claim to have “authority” over their church members. One pastor even informed a friend that he (the pastor) was like a “parent” while my friend was like his “child.” There are growing reports of pastors declaring absolute authority over their congregations, disbanding deacon boards, and disciplining church members who dare to question their actions. Note: such pastors must TELL us they are in charge because, for some reason, we don’t seem to recognize their authority as described in the Scriptures. Are we just rebellious children? Are we not following Scripture? Or is the issue far deeper?
When Bill Clinton was serving as President, Mother Teresa visited the United States and was asked to address a joint session of Congress. This diminutive, wrinkled lady spoke of her work amongst the desperately poor. Then she addressed the sacredness of life and the evils of abortion. Members of Congress spontaneously rose to their feet to give her a standing ovation, and President and Mrs. Clinton, supporters of Roe v Wade, were forced to follow suit. Why? Although Bill Clinton was the President of the United States, Mother Teresa had lived her life in service to the destitute.
Mother Teresa had no money, no fancy houses, and no admiring congregation. She had only one change of clothes. When people wanted to meet her, they would have to travel to the poorest sections of the world where they would find her comforting the abject poor. And they came-presidents, princesses, rock stars and the rich and famous. Sure, some of them used her for their own ego but they still had to go there and be confronted with her life.
She never once had to pound a lectern and insist that people listen to her. They hung onto her every word, mesmerized. She never had to inform others that she was in charge; yet, the most influential leaders in the world begged for an audience with her. Sometimes they got it, sometimes they didn’t. People just naturally followed her. They recognized this tiny woman had no ulterior motive. She was called to love and serve.
Then, there is an Almighty God. The immortal took on our mortality. The Creator walked among His creation. And His creation flocked to hear Him speak. Materially, He lived a simple life. He didn’t have a huge church building with a fancy sound system. His followers were not part of an established power structure – they were just non-influential townspeople and fishermen and societal rejects. Yet, crowds surrounded Him wherever He went.
In spite of His apparent lack of social position, those in power feared Him. The religious leaders realized that Jesus easily usurped their authority, and it frustrated them to no end. He didn’t do things the way they had always been done. He even called some of them “snakes” and rebuked them for burdening His people with unnecessary rules. He scorned them for lording their power over those whom they were called to serve; however, even those who despised Jesus were drawn to Him. They just had to see this carpenter who came from the wrong side of the tracks and who was magnetically attracting the masses.
As Jesus Christ died on the cross, He did not demand that others look at Him. He did not lecture spectators about His authority… this Man, King of the Universe. He even spoke kindly to a thief on an adjacent cross. Yet generations follow Him. Why? Because Jesus had no ulterior motive. He did not seek power and wealth. He simply and beautifully loved His people and gave His life for them.
…So, if you are in a church with leaders who insist you follow them, you can be certain they are not in the center of God’s will. The appropriate response would be to leave! If you are in church with leaders who are distant, demanding, and arrogant, please don’t tolerate such ungodly behavior. Leave! Find a pastor who draws you by his sacrificial service to his flock. Find a pastor who would rush into a burning building to save your life. Find a pastor who knows the names of the non-influential members of his church. Such godly pastors are out there because I have known some of these great men of God.
This post is dedicated to my firefighting daughter. She demonstrates the love of Christ every time she puts her life at risk. And she can be sure that if she told me to jump, I would say, “How high?”
Bloggers bear false witness
Those who spend their days building a personal brand on the sins above forfeit the privilege of speaking credibly into others’ lives.
I’ve got news for Caleb. There is this thing called the *law* and I am not allowed to knowingly tell a lie in order to cause malicious harm to another. If I did, I could get sued. There are a number of stories that I haven’t told because I couldn’t say that I felt they were true. They may well have been true but I couldn’t get there. I know a number of other bloggers. I can well assure you that the ones whom I respect go out of their way to be truthful.
Look at how many links you see in this post. I put them there to show why I believe what I say is true.
And since Caleb won’t name anyone, I would say he is smearing (bearing false witness) the entire advocate community. He didn’t prove one of his points. My guess he’s afraid to do so.
Bryan Loritts goes after bloggers.
Just in case you don’t think these dudebros are talking about bloggers like me, maybe this might help. Loritts wrote a screed about bloggers back in May. Now, Loritts has a bone to pick since his past has been raised when JD Greear made him a pastor at The Summit. Well, that move by Greear went over like a lead balloon. I wrote a post about Loritts and Fellowship Memphis in 2016.
It should not have come as a surprise to Greear and BFFs that this was going to be a problem. Loritts was now being scrutinized. Julie Roys wrote Bryan Loritts Blames Bloggers for Darrin Patrick’s Death but Has Vested Interest in Keeping Them Quiet.
Loritts said. “Like, there’s a whole industry out there—blogging, Christian media—that that exists and thrives off of fallen leaders. . . . When I heard that my friend died, my immediate thought was, ‘Evangelicals were an accomplice to his death.’”
However, Bryan Loritts, son of nationally recognized pastor, Crawford Loritts, has a vested interest in keeping bloggers and Christian media silent.
Four years ago, Loritts was accused of covering up sex crimes committed by his brother-in-law while both men were employed by a church in Memphis. And though Loritts has left that church, and tried to put the allegations behind him, major questions remain. And blogs like the Wartburg Watch, Watchkeep, and Wondering Eagle have continued to report on the issue, much to Loritts’s chagrin.
…He complained about a blogger—possibly Wartburg Watch—who had written about Darrin Patrick’s death and had linked to an article questioning whether leaders are getting restored too quickly.
I confess. It was me and I discussed it here. I stand by my comments on the matter. I have been calling attention to the problems of the quick restoration of fallen pastors for many years. No big surprise here. It appears that Loritts believes in restoration for fallen pastors and doesn’t like bloggers who disagree.
Shortly after James MacDonald sued me, two bloggers, and their wives, Loritts came to MacDonald’s defense. Ironically, in a blog, Loritts pleaded for mercy for MacDonald, despite MacDonald’s egregious sins, the many he victimized, and MacDonald’s complete absence of repentance or apology. Loritts also claimed that the white church’s failure to forgive its fallen pastors is a “malady.”
There is one thing that Loritts didn’t know when he decided that we bloggers are to blame for Patrick’s suicide. A number of months, prior to his death, I was shocked to see an email from Darrin Patrick addressed to me. I can well assure you that Patrick did not blame anyone for the problems that he had in his life. He was struggling to make sense of what had happened in him. He was quite kind to me and said he supported my blogging about abuse. I thanked him and wished him well as he processed things. I was deeply saddened, but not surprised, by his suicide. He had so much unresolved pain.
Bryan Loritts should be ashamed of himself for attempting to blame anyone for this tragic suicide. I think this poorly thought out rant had its roots in the fact that bloggers have been following his situation since 2016. D
The review on Twitter of Wait’s article was not good. But, I’m sure Wait got the pat on the back and is now officially *in the club.* I would suggest that they rethink this *blame the blogger* paradigm and focus on fighting abuse in their congregations. There’s way too much out there. I keep hoping it will die down but it doesn’t. They’ve got a lot of time right now since conferences have been eliminated for the time being. I am so grateful that I have found a church with great pastors whose church polity focuses a whole bunch on being kind and encouraging.
Let me end this post with a statement that is based on Scripture found in Matthew.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
You, churches, are a light on this hill whether you want to be or not. Being a light means that you do not get to tell people what they see. They see what is illuminated by the light. Think of blogging that way. We bloggers are telling you what we see. If we are wrong, show us. Stop telling us to shut up. We won’t. We care too much for those let down by the church. Maybe you could join us instead of fighting us.