Another day, another attack upon discernment ministries. We must understand that the seeker friendly industrial complex, fueled by the purpose driven cult of personality churches must protect their brand at all costs. One of their tricks is to compromise respected Gospel preachers such as Francis Chan to steal their credibility. Chan may enter into it thinking he will affect them but in the end leaven spreads like cancer. Soon Chan is not just saying he loves Mike Bickle but he is writing threatening articles to any who would dare question false teachers. Since the backlash to Chan’s fall has hit we have seen a wave of articles such as the one above designed to marginalize those that would insist on pure doctrine and biblical foundations. Let us reason together once more beloved as we sift through more attacks on sound doctrine in favor of protecting wolves at all costs.
“There seems to be an overwhelming fascination in evangelicalism with what is wrong. What do I mean by that? It seems that we are more than happy not just to report, but to share, like and comment whenever we see any Christian leader fail in any type of way. The Christian media is often happy to promote these attention-grabbing pieces. Like feeding fresh bloody fish to a group of swarming sharks, the frenzy ensues as web links are made and a new viral news article is born at the great expense of the character of a Christian leader as well as the testimony of Christ. Perhaps you think I am being too critical, but we should think about what we are doing. There is a lost world looking on as we quickly share articles that accuse brothers and sisters of things that are not, in many cases, provable facts. And, more importantly, we never pray or fast for these individuals, we simply feed on their demise for our daily entertainment.” – Greg Gordon
This premise is not only factually inaccurate but wildly ridiculous. Christian media refuses to deal with the issues of discernment and it is left to independent people to write the truth about what is false in the pulpit so that people are not led away from Christ. The key point in his opening is not that people weigh in on failure but that we keep seeing failure in the pulpit. This is like when Ted Haggard was caught in a 20 year relationship with a male prostitute while doing crystal meth and a local pastor opened his sermon that week with “don’t judge.”
Seriously? That is a mockery of Scripture!
There are no swimming sharks and feeding frenzies. There is just the wolf that has been exposed as such and we ought to be about the business of tending to the sheep and not defending the wolves. We do not fast for wolves. We do not pray for wolves. We mark them and take the shepherd’s rod to them to protect the sheep. This is not for entertainment Mr. Gordon. I do not think you are being too critical. You are not being critical enough and your criticism is misguided.
“But it gets worse. Many modern Christian news outlets find their sources with independent renegade bloggers who start blogs in order to criticize and find fault with others, especially a ministry or pastor that has hurt them somehow in the past. The internet is used for many constructive, beneficial things, but sadly, it is also used for many hurtful activities, one of them being to tear down the character of an individual or organization. This could be expected among unbelievers. We think of national tabloids such as the National Enquirer where they look to find the most outlandish accusations or photos and make jest at people's lives. Yet, within the Church are we to do the same practices? Unfortunately, there are a host of Christian bloggers who are engaging in these activities and, worse yet, mainstream Christian internet news have embraced them as the most credible sources of information for the next failure of a Christian leader or organization.” – Greg Gordon
This piece does get worse. The Internet is also used by people like you trying to protect the seeker-friendly industrial complex at the expense of good brothers and sisters in Christ who insist on biblical standards for church leadership. So these discerning ministries take what someone like Francis Chan SAID and combine it with pictures of him SAYING it, and then apply the BIBLE to it. That is why a good many of them are considered more credible than mainstream church news sites which routinely run articles about releasing angels or sneaky squid spirits. Then you compare the one with proof and the bible to the National Enquirer, right.
“These bloggers consider themselves judge, jury and executioner at the same time. In almost every case where they helped to bring about the demise of a Christian leader, their appetite is never filled, and they continually ask for more punishment, retribution and supposed justice on the individuals. Essentially it is never enough, because some of the main motives behind their accusations are things like self-promotion, unforgiveness or seeking popularity and acclaim. Once their articles are published, and they receive the attention of thousands of Christians praising them in their work to destroy the character of a leader, they are propelled into a never-ending pursuit, enjoying all the attention they have received.” – Greg Gordon
Wow. So according to Greg Gordon it wasn’t the fact that Mark Driscoll stole 200,000 dollars of tithe monies to cheat the NY Time bestseller list that caused his downfall.
It was those pesky congregants who wrote about it after he dismissed them from the congregation and then bragged how he ran them over with the Mars Hill Bus. It wasn’t James McDonald who caused his downfall by accepting a million dollars a year in salary while he ran his church into financial ruin and then was caught on tape saying he wanted to plant child pornography on the computer of the people who were exposing him.
According to Greg Gordon, it was the people who dared to write about it. Perhaps the most asinine thing I have ever read from one of these wolf defenders is the notion that discernment ministries do their work for self-promotion while seeking popularity and acclaim! That is the definition of the cult of personality pastors created by the purpose driven church model! Mark Driscoll and James McDonald were entirely about self-promotion! Is Gordon serious about discernment ministries garnering thousands of Christians praising our work? It is largely a thankless ministry as most do not want to hear about the false teaching of their favorite preacher. It is bad enough the Gordon has joined the long line of wolf-defenders but clearly he knows nothing about which he speaks. That is a dangerous mix.
“Yes, I have been personally guilty of reading many of these blogs and at times reading them for no other purpose than entertainment or fascination in what is happening. But as Christian believers, we should be much higher than such things, since Scripture clearly tells us to not entertain a gossiper or person who slanders. Not long ago, I published an article titled, "Francis Chan warns against division in the church." In the article, Pastor Chan gives a great warning from the Scriptures where God says, "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for God's temple is sacred, and you together are that temple" (1 Cor. 3:17). The word picture Francis depicts is someone by the words of their mouth in gossip and slander (or words from their blog) taking a sledgehammer to the very temple of God, which all true Christians are a part of. Imagine, in light of the Scripture shared, what God's response is to one who continually participates in such activities of tearing down another.” – Greg Gordon
While scripture does tell us these things we of course are not talking about gossip and slander. That would imply untruths. Mark Driscoll admitted his crimes. James McDonald was caught on tape. When we write about Joel Osteen or Joseph Prince it is because of what they say or teach. Nothing is made up. There is no slander. There is no gossip. It is ironic that Gordon quotes Chan, a recent fall from grace. The referenced article has Chan saying if we speak ill about Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren or Mike Bickle than we are in danger of hell because of the scriptures he misappropriated. What Gordon and Chan of course forget is the rest of the entire canon of scripture. Romans says that the very presence of false doctrine is what actually causes division in the body. When matched up with the referenced Corinthian verses God is warning us that false doctrine is what destroys the temple. It is the very people Chan and Gordon defend that destroy the temple.
“St. Polycarp, the second-century bishop of Smyrna, says, "Not quickly crediting an evil report against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God." It was part of the DNA and essence of the early church to not slander, gossip or be quick to condemn others. St. Polycarp was discipled by the same apostle John who exhorted believers to "pray" (1 John 5:16) for others who commit a sin, that God would give them life. He did not say write a blog against them or verbally accuse them before others, but pray directly to the heavenly Father who is merciful on them and also on us for all our own failings. What comes up in the mind of many is the question, Can't we judge others or correct them when they sin? My answer is yes and no. Yes, church leaders can be corrected, but it has to be done in the right spirit and the right way. There is not one New Testament Scripture that gives any believer license to gossip, slander or criticize others. Any Scripture relating to correction is through ordained church leaders correcting other leaders and that done in gentleness, prayer and a spirit of humility, realizing we will be judged by the same measure in which we criticize and judge others. A common Scripture is Matthew 18 which instructs us to tell the sins of others "to the church" (Matt. 18:17). What a modern believer conjures up in their mind is the ability to post the sins of the individual on social media and the internet, exposing them to the entire world-wide church, for doesn't the passage say "to the church"? Sadly, that is so far from the truth of what was meant in that passage. Telling it "to the church" was to address it to the ordained leaders and, specifically in this case, to the bishop of the region of the church. To publicly defame other brothers and sisters before all is not only a shame to them but to ourselves for entering into such activities that God does not condone.” – Greg Gordon
What I love about people who teach falsely and those that defend them is the Bible is never on their side and exposing it as such is usually pretty easy. The 1 John verse here is dealing with a brother that is sinning and that we ought to pray for that brother. Other verses also say we ought to correct in love. We are of course not dealing with a brother who sins but rather voracious wolves who devour the sheep of the Lord. Even if we are to say they should be corrected first – they have been. Chan admitted when he first took the IHOP stage that his friends told him not to attend that conference and warned him about Bickle. Do you think Mark Driscoll has not heard the criticism? He knew he was about to be disciplined when he pretended God told him to leave Mars Hill. So please stop twisting the Bible. The Matthew verse he references is the key verse for today and it clearly is regarding when a brother sin against YOU. False teachers have not sinned against me. So he can keep his false authority paradigms and second century figures. We will stick to the Bible.
“Another famous passage of Scripture is found in the writings of St. Paul to Timothy, a young apostle: "Those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone" (1 Tim. 5:20a, NIV). Many take this passage as a personal liberty of a Bible-believing Christian to publicly defame a Christian leader without remorse, thinking, "I am just obeying the Bible!" Again, this passage has nothing to do with Christians speaking before "everyone" about the sins of others but is a clear command of St. Paul to St. Timothy (an ordained apostle) on his authority as a church bishop to bring correction to other ordained leaders in the church. To correct before everyone is a last effort to bring someone to repentance and change. A correction by such leaders is not to see harm but should be done within the context of a local church to bring one back to his senses and right conduct. In no way can this passage of Scripture mean that one can tell it to "everyone" in the world. Rather, the word "everyone" in clear context of this passage is those in a local body of believers.” – Greg Gordon
Gordon continues to confuse verses about personal sin with people who teach false doctrine. This poor assumption is that everyone who says the name of Jesus must be considered a brother or sister. I make no such assumptions. The verse Gordon should reflect to is actually found in Titus:
There is no question what we are supposed to do with false teachers and it is not the “ask them to stop being wolves” theology that Greg Gordon seems to embrace. A wolf does not come around to right conduct beloved. The bible says their destruction is set from long ago. Mercifully, we conclude:
“The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we showing the mercy to others that Christ shows to us? Imagine for a moment the spotlight of God put to your life before the whole world. Picture, if you will, that penetrating light exposing your own sins and failings in the exact measure and in the same manner that you may have exposed the failings of others. The Scriptures do not tell us to criticize church leaders but to pray for them. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8, MEV). That Scripture is not only true for us as believers but also for all church leaders. No one is without fault. Therefore, everyone is absolutely in need of God's mercy continually. Let's be conscious of our own failures and call out personally, "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!" The next time we visit our favorite Christian news website or blog, before we click on the comment button, we should pause to consider whether we are lending our voices to the accuser of the brethren or to the one who is ever interceding for the souls of men.” – Greg Gordon
Christ called the false teachers of His day a brood of vipers and pronounced eternal woes over them. Paul cut them off completely from the body and named them by name.
Mercy is for the sheep Greg Gordon, not the wolves.
This is not about mere fault with a dangling doctrine here or there. We need to have grace and mercy to understand that anyone can say anything wrong in error, especially in public ministries. We are talking about egregious doctrines preached over a multitude of time. People who have had time to consider the path their teaching was on and decided they were either right or they simply did not care. At that point our responsibility is to God’s sheep. Let the Bible drown out the cacophony of noise coming from those that would stand in the gap for the wolves that devour God’s flock.
Choose this day whom you will serve.
Reverend Anthony Wade – April 22, 2019
Anthony Wade is the minister for 828 Ministries devoted to the purity of doctrine