Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25
Today, I dedicate this post to the memory of a wonderful Norwegian lady, Jorunn, who epitomized love, grace and honor. This morning, in Oslo, at the age of 89, she went home to her Savior, surrounded by her loving family. She and I had a unique relationship. Although I could not speak Norwegian and she could not speak English, we seemed to be able to communicate our ideas just fine. That was a gift from the Holy Spirit. And she was a gift from God to me.
Three types of truth-Updated 10 PM 2/6-see end of post
The Bible is replete with commands to be honest and truthful. Truth and honesty means that we must always pursue the truth and present the truth. We should give the full story as clearly as possible, without obfuscation. There are several forms of truth. The first sort of truth is giving a factual answer to a question, even a difficult question. "Were you speeding?" "Did you kiss my boyfriend?" "Was that you screaming hysterically when you were stuck at the top of the Ferris Wheel when it broke down?"
Let me clarify that we are not to go around insulting people. "She looks like a beached whale in that dress, bless her heart." Bless her heart is a Southern term that is used so that one can insult another person in a Christian manner.
The second form of truth is giving the full truth about a person or situation. We should not try to cover up an serious matter that has implications for the integrity of the Christian message that is about to be heard. For example, later this week, we will be discussing CJ Mahaney's appearances at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a church in Raleigh. In both instances, he was presented only as an extremely successful church planter and an ace pastor.
However, the recent departure of 15 of the SGM churches was not mentioned. There was no hint of the breathtaking scope of the class action lawsuit involving the lack of response of SGM to child sexual abuse in which Mahaney is named as a defendant. His introduction was truthful to the letter of the law but not honest, giving a false impression of his not-so- pristine record. If an institution is embarrassed by the full truth, then why invite the speaker? But, more on that later this week. (Too late web guys. We have downloaded CJ's talks).
A third form of truth is making sure that the story or fact one is reporting on is true. A few years ago, a pastor, at a former church, told a touching, "true" story about a teacher who was kind to a student which inspired him to become a great doctor. There was not a dry eye in the pews. Except, I happened to know that his story was not true. It was based on a fictional short story in a magazine. So, I dropped him an email and told him that the story he told was fictional and gave him the reference. He thanked me. However, 6 months later, he repeated the exact same story and I happened to be present! I reported the incident to the head pastor who was mad at me and said that story-telling like that is a pastoral prerogative. I asked him if that meant pastors could lie with impunity? I was not well received. I do not like having my emotions manipulated.
Stupid rumors hurt all of us.
I have heard many stories like this get passed around the Christian circuit. Who can forget the "Proctor and Gamble executives worship Satan" nonsense? I confronted more Christians about that hogwash than I care to count. Not one of the people passing the story believed that they did anything wrong! They said they knew it had to be true because they heard it from a "good source." In other words, they had absolutely no compunction about passing on faulty information.
We should never pass on faulty information in order to shore up a particular "religious" position. Better yet, Christians should use their brains when evaluating a piece of information. If it sounds shocking, it should be investigated. It's probably not true.
If such people tell others about the information, and it is a whopper, they will come across as yahoos, worthy of derision by others. And one's fellow Christians will bear the brunt of this judgment. Folks, this stuff makes us look stupid in the eyes of a watching world. That is why TWW makes a point to focus on stupidity. It is our hope that those outside the faith will see that there are some decent Christians who are trying desperately to contain rank foolishness.
As many of our readers know, there are some who now believe that the Pill should not be used as a contraceptive because it may cause abortions. There is no definitive proof for that perspective at this current juncture. So, when there is no absolute "proof" there appear to be Christians who are willing step into the gap and provide their own "understanding." The reason appears to be that there is a deeper agenda that is more important that the truth.
Who is Kevin Swanson?
Such an agenda has resulted in a statement in the past week that has caused an uproar. Kevin Swanson, a homeschooling advocate and host of a little known talk show, made a bizarre and untruthful claim.
Before I get to that, just who is Kevin Swanson? It should surprise no one that Swanson has ties to the Christian film industry through a highly controversial film, Divided, which TWW reviewed at this link. This film also has ties to the NeoCalvinistic Vision Forum and the National Council for Family Integrated Churches and includes the following cast of characters:
- Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis)
- Brett McCracken (Hipster Christianity)
- Tryg Jacobson (founder of Jake's Cafe and Jackobson Rost Advertising and Producer of Divided according to Leclerc website)
- Scott Brown (Director of NCFIC and author of A Weed in the Church)
- Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr.
- Doug Phillips, Esq. (Vision Forum)
- Dr. Voddie Baucham
- Craig Houston (Westside Baptist Church)
- Kevin Swanson (Generations With Vision)
- Paul Washer (Heartcry Missionary Society)
- Geoffrey Botkin
This association continues with an appearance by Swanson at Vision Forum's Reformation 500 Celebration link. He gave a talk called Great Calvinistic Lessons for Homeschoolers of the 21st Century. In case you think he is relegated to the backwaters of Vision Forum, I found that Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips and R.C. Sproul Senior produced an audio series called The Reformation of the Church in the 21st Century – Bringing God Back to Center link.
So who is this guy? From his website link
Homeschooled himself in the 1960′s and 70′s, Kevin Swanson and his wife, Brenda, are now homeschooling their five children. Since graduating from his homeschool and then serving as student body president of a large west coast university, ( ed. note- he does not name the university) he has gone on to other leadership positions in corporate management, church, and other non-profits. Kevin has 35 years of experience in the homeschooling movement and serves as the Director of Generations with Vision – a ministry he founded to strengthen homeschool families around the country. As a father who wants to leave a godly heritage for his own five children, Kevin’s passion is to strengthen and encourage the homeschooling movement all over the world, and to cast a vision for generations to come. For the last 4 years Kevin has hosted a daily radio program – Generations Radio – the world’s largest homeschooling and Biblical worldview program that reaches families across the US and in over 80 countries.
Kevin has also served as the Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Coloradofor the last nine years. He has also authored several popular books for homeschoolers, including Upgrade-10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child, The Second Mayflower, theFamily Bible Study Guide Series, and others. Serving as a passionate supporter of home education, he has been interviewed on hundreds of media outlets, including Dr. James’ Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the Fox News Network.
Note how he describes his program.
The vision of the program is to present life from the perspective of a biblical worldview and within the framework of a relational model of living. Worldview and relationships. There are no professionals on this program. There are no psychiatrists, professional counsellors, (sic) bureaucrats, and seminary professors. But you will find fathers, mothers, grandparents, pastors, and friends. We are introducing modern life to a different social context. We also assume the existence of God and the foolishness of human thought without the benefit of transcendent truth.
The Christian philosopher of the 1960s, Francis Schaeffer, is a major impetus behind our work. His work of 50 years is summarized in this simple statement – modern man is lost and lonely. We are working to provide a solution for both problems – transcendent truth in the context of relationship.
The womb is a tomb for dead babies.
He claims to be concerned about truth. Yet, last week, Kevin Swanson made a statement that is causing a firestorm in the media. Unfortunately, his silly words are being picked up by groups who believe that Christians are represented by men such as Swanson. Sadly, I have been unable to find any Christian blogs calling him on this. That stops now!( Contrary to some sentiments, we are a Christian blog. 0 The following is his statement in question followed by an audio of the statement link.
I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.
If the video does not show up on your computer, please go to this link. We may be having technical difficulties.
Attempts to verify information and contact Swanson
The statement has no basis in fact. Was Swanson taught about the function of the menstrual cycle? I have searched, in vain, for any medical study verifying this shocking statement and have come up empty handed. I have to believe that Swanson had no intent to verify his information since he proudly tells us that no professionals are ever invited to appear on his radio program. I attempted to contact Swanson for a statement but he did not return my phone call which did not surprise me in the least.
Contrary to his claims, I could find no recorded or written interviews with Kevin Swanson, either at Focus on the Family or Fox News. Perhaps they have been deep sixed due to this controversy. However, the Denver Post interviewed Swanson following the shootings in Colorado by Matthew Murray who blamed the writings of Bill Gothard for his actions link.
Gothard's teachings have been criticized by other conservative Christians who allege he has deviated from true Bible teaching and that his stand against rock music — even Christian rock — suspicion of modern medicine, belief in spiritual roots of disease, and opposition to women working outside the home and "evil" toys are wrong. Gothard warned followers in a 1986 letter that Cabbage Patch dolls can cause "strange, destructive behavior."
Swanson does not blame Gothard's teachings for Murray's actions and pointed out that Murray seemed in his writings to be following the example of Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who were educated in public schools. But he said there are home-schooling lessons that can be taken from the Murray shootings.
"If we see some anger issues that can't be dealt with though parental intervention," he (Kevin Swanson) said, "we must learn to seek help."
I find his statement odd since he appears to say that he does not use professionals and psychiatrists on his program. Methinks he speaks with forked tongue. He also seems to deflect blame to the public schools. What a surprise!
However, I did find this video in which Swanson's agenda is revealed. if the video does not show up on your computer, please go to this link. We may be having some technical difficulties.
I believe that Swanson sounds a bit unbalanced and he should seek some "professional" counsel. Better yet, he needs to do a word study on truth and honesty in the Scriptures he claims to represent. He should also tell us what university he attended and link to his "interviews" on Focus on the Family and Fox news.
In the meantime, Christians everywhere should repudiate such frank stupidity.
Addendum: 10PM 2/6/13- We are grateful to thatmom who provided us with a disturbing link to a post that she wrote in which Swanson advocates disciplining children 20-30/day as needed! Once again, I must raise the question of the lucidness of this man's advice.
Lydia's Corner: Deuteronomy 21:1-22:30 Luke 9:51-10:12 Psalm 74:1-23 Proverbs 12:11