Those “renegade bloggers” in the Christian Post

It was all the way last Monday when this Christian Post article (which you can see here) was posted, which is light years in the world of blogging, but I’ve always been light years behind, so here we are.

The article is worth reading in its entirety as a good example of the accusations used by those who tell us not to accuse. (FWIW, I don’t believe in name calling unless it’s warranted, like what Jesus did to the Pharisees.) Greg Gordon, the author of the article in question, makes accusations like these:

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.

We never pray or fast for these individuals, we simply feed on their demise for our daily entertainment.

These bloggers consider themselves judge, jury, and executioner at the same time.

What about the testimony of Christ?

A new viral news article is born at the great expense of . . . the testimony of Christ.

What is the testimony of Christ, exactly? Is it preaching the Word of God while fleecing the sheep of God, as KP Yohannan did, the head of Gospel for Asia? Would an example of “a news article born at the great expense of the testimony of Christ” be, perhaps, the story of the class action lawsuit against Gospel for Asia, written up in Christianity Today? (It was settled for $37 million, by the way, not exactly an indication of innocence.)

Well, perhaps it could. Because thanks to this tweeter, I found the connection between Gordon, the author of the “renegade blogger” article, and Yohannan, one of the “Christian leaders” Gordon was defending.

Actually, there are many of us bloggers—renegades, perhaps, in that we don’t toe the party line quite as well as we might—who believe that the “testimony of Christ” is in danger by the very people that Greg Gordon is defending.

There is a lost world looking on as we quickly share articles that accuse brothers and sisters of things that are not provable facts in many cases.

Yes, the lost world is looking on; I know that for sure, because some of them talk to me. One of them has actually come to Jesus Christ for salvation, at least in part because she saw through me and my work that what a wolf in sheep’s clothing had done to her (though she could not prove it) was not actually a representation of who Jesus Christ really is. I’ve heard the same from other bloggers. 

Could it be that Greg Gordon, and others, are pointing the finger at the wrong people?

Entertainers and executioners?

We never pray or fast for these individuals, we simply feed on their demise for our daily entertainment.

Daily entertainment? Actually, it is sickening work. If Christian leaders didn’t defraud people, didn’t misappropriate funds (thousands or millions of dollars), didn’t live secret double lives that would shock their followers, and didn’t use the Bible to control and manipulate the people “under” them, then those “renegade bloggers” who don’t follow the party line and expose those wolves in sheep’s clothing would be very happy to go on to other pursuits. This is not entertaining work. Not for me, and not for anyone else I know.

I admit that the praying I do is not so much for the evildoers as it is for the people they have harmed, whom Greg Gordon seems to conveniently ignore. I do a lot of praying for them.

And does Greg Gordon himself fast and pray for the repentance of the individuals he’s defending in this article? I would like to know, but their repentance doesn’t seem to be of much concern to him.

These bloggers consider themselves judge, jury, and executioner at the same time.

This is a truly laughable accusation (even though it’s a familiar one, seeing as how it’s one that’s been leveled at me directly). I’ve never heard of any blogger anywhere making a legally binding declaration of a person’s guilt and a person’s legal punishment. I’ve never heard of any blogger actually executing someone.

But it makes an interesting hyperbole for those who don’t want to truly think about it, you know?

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.

I wonder how many of us he actually knows, to make these sweeping statements. I have to admit, they sound a bit judgmental of a large group of people who are not homogeneous. Bloggers blog with varying degrees of sarcasm, anger, and desire for retribution. Some bloggers, such as Dee at www.thewartburgwatch.com or Julie Anne at www.spiritualsoundingboard.com have been faithfully exposing evil in the evangelical church for many years while becoming more and more known as a safe space for abuse survivors to have their stories honored.

Oh, that gossip and slander . . .

Scripture clearly tells us to not entertain a gossiper or person who slanders.

There is not one New Testament Scripture that gives any believer license to gossip, slander, or criticize others.

Well, I agree that gossip and slander are bad.

But who is a gossip?

Who is a slanderer?

These are words that can be easily bandied about. But telling the truth is not slander. Telling a truth that’s important for another to know is not gossip.

Speaking the truth about wolves in sheep’s clothing who are harming and deceiving others is not gossip or slander.

After all, Scripture ALSO says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Reputation vs. character

The internet is used . . . to tear down the character of an individual or organization.

As I’ve observed elsewhere, it’s impossible for anyone to tear down another person’s character, only his reputation.

And as I’ve observed, stating the truth about someone regarding evil deeds is not “tearing down” his reputation. It is simply assigning to the person the reputation he deserves. Because everyone deserves to have a reputation that matches his character.

Gordon says that when there is sin “in the church” it shouldn’t be told to “the church” at large (on the internet) but only to the local church. But there’s a problem there, when one man (or woman, but it’s usually a man) has gained a nationwide or even worldwide following, outside of any local church. Hmm . . . KP Yohannan would be an example. When “the man” has become bigger than “the church” and no local church is even there to Biblically call him out on his sin, then Gordon apparently believes that nothing should be done.

Mercy . . . for the wrong people?

One of Gordon’s headings in his article is “Are We Lacking Mercy?” His point, of course, is that there should be mercy for the wolf in sheep’s clothing. But in refusing to acknowledge that actual evildoers are being exposed, Gordon may be committing the very sin he decries. There are actually real, flesh-and-blood people who have been harmed by the powerful evildoers in the church.

Who will show mercy to them? Who will show them the compassion they so desperately need? Will it be the Christians who are too busy “not judging” the ones who have committed egregious harm? In another Christian Post article called “Judgmentalism: One of the great sins in the Church,” Gordon makes it clear what he thinks.

It was part of the DNA of the early Church to not . . . be quick to condemn others.

This seems like a good place to say that for one thing, the bloggers I interact with aren’t condemning people (which is left to God); they are simply stating the truth the best they’ve been able to ascertain it.

And in my experience, with the Christian “renegade bloggers” I know, this did not come quickly at all. Many of us spent several years, even in some cases more than a decade, slogging through finding out about evil and the covering of evil before we began speaking. When we began speaking publicly, it was because we felt that we had no other choice.

In fact, it was for the sake of mercy that we began speaking.

But it appears that Greg Gordon would have the very powerful evildoers stay in their positions of power, and one small means of communicating the truth to the larger Christian world—those renegade bloggers—be silenced.

Gordon closes his article with a healthy dose of sin-leveling, making the one who falls in thought, for example, and then turns right back to the Lord, equal in sin with one who, for example, lives a double life of honored pastor on the one hand and playboy with many women on the other hand.

Are we showing the mercy to others that Christ showed to us?

 he asks.

And again I am struck with the importance of this topic. Because while he seeks to protect the evildoers, behind the evildoers are their victims. Sometimes very literally having been used, abused, and tossed aside while the lauded “man of God” goes forward for the “cause of Christ.”

Silently crying out, “Will anyone notice me? Will everyone support him?”

Will we listen to people like Greg Gordon, who tell us to play ignorant and be silent about the evil we see? Or will we show the mercy to others that Jesus Christ showed to us?

Let us stand on the side of truth, justice, and mercy. Because after all, it is the cause of Christ for which we speak.

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Vicki S.
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Vicki S.

Excellent article!

kevin
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Yes. Mercy to the wolf is violence to the lamb

Joel Horst
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What a great observation, Kevin!

T.L.
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T.L.

Amen, sister! Woe to those who call good evil and evil good! Thankful for you!

Bev Sterk
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Bev Sterk

Bless your heart Rebecca! one of my descriptors for renegade and wise bloggers, and those like them, is that they have an “ox goad” anointing (Eccl 12:11)… poking and prodding abusive and irresponsible shepherds to move out of their cushy comfort zone where they are feeding and benefiting themselves at the expense of the flock (Ezek 34)

Sheila Gregoire
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I wonder if he has ever looked at Leviticus 5:1–that it is a sin to NOT testify about what we have seen and heard:

“If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.”

Testifying to the truth is required of us. Covering up the truth is not. It really is that simple.

Joe Pote
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Beautifully written! Thank you!

Quietrunner
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Quietrunner

Simply, THANK YOU FOR YOUR STRONG, SELFLESS, and STEADY VOICE !

Donna M.
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Donna M.

It seems ironic to me that Greg uses 1 Corinthians 3 as a proof text warning to those “renegade bloggers.” I’m no theologian, but it seems to me the main point Paul was getting at in this chapter is those who were following men (to the point of division, argument and jealousy) rather than following Christ. His warnings are indeed dire for those who build on the foundation of Christ foolishly and to those who are arrogant and feel above criticism.

Edith Neumaier
Guest

Yes, People need to read 1 Corinthians in its entirety. Most people who write these things are people who do not even follow Paul’s instructions regarding the church. They erect hierarchies and hide behind it. They are false teachers and as such they need to be treated.

Pake Steve
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Pake Steve

Interesting to note: Of the only seventeen comments on his post, all but 1.5 agree with you. As do I.

Jamie Skelton
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Jamie Skelton

I am so thankful to God for you and your courage ❤️
I know Rebecca is well aware of this, but since she can only shed light on so much error in one post, I thought I’d add a comment to this dangerous counsel of Gordon’s…

“Gordon says that when there is sin ‘in the church’ it shouldn’t be told to ‘the church’ at large (on the internet) but only to the local church. “

Correction — That suppression of truth is exactly how a wolf is enabled to just move to another church to deceive and prey on more people! No, the truth should spread far & wide.

Lori DeHart
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Lori DeHart

I love you-

Rachel Nichols
Guest

We really need to cut out the celebrity worship as western Christians.

1 Peter 4:17

Stephanie
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Stephanie

Thank you, Rebecca. As more abuse survivors and advocates speak, abusers and enablers within the church seem to be hitting the gossip and slander angle ever harder.