What Should We Make of Crusading Bloggers?

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Are crusading bloggers cleaning up the church by exposing abuse and corruption–or are they spreading gossip and lowering the standards of journalism? This Saturday on The Roys Report, Julie will explore this topic with Scott Bryant and Ryan Mahoney, authors of The Elephant’s Debt–a blog critical of James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel. Also joining the discussion will be Jessica Hockett, a prolific micro-blogger on Twitter.

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6 thoughts on “What Should We Make of Crusading Bloggers?”

  1. The overarching concern related to lawsuits for Paul was that genuine Christians should prefer to be wronged rather than to drag the church through the mud in secular courts. He felt it was ridiculous that such matters could not be settled within the church, and that regardess, Christians should be willing to let it go. I believe this general principle applies just as well to journalism and broadcasting church matters to the public. Please note that I am not referring to matters which are rightly matters for law enforcement, such as theft, assault, etc. I am speaking of character and integrity isuues, doctrinal issues, etc.

    Secular journalism has no such concern. If a fact is objectively true, it is fit for print, period. It doesn’t matter who is injured or what is destroyed. And, optimally, it is completely, utterly dispassionate and impersonal.

    Those engaged in secular journalism should not conflate that endeavor with minstry or doing “the Lord’s work” or the work of the church body, etc.

    1. Jessica Hockett

      I agree that it’s ridiculous that some churches can’t act righteously and settle matters in the church by doing what Scripture so clearly tells them do when it comes wolves, false teachers, and unrepentant disqualified Elders, whether in the pulpit or in leadership.

      I Cor 6 does not mean that if Christians can’t settle the “matter” of abusive leaders in a church, then they should just “let it go.” Where does that leave Ephesians 5:11? If a believer has knowledge of fruitless deeds of darkness in a church, and the church leaders won’t respond to private pleas for the Elders to expose the wrongdoing/wrongdoers, then knowing about those deeds–and doing nothing about them–seems to be the equivalent of “having fellowship” with those deeds.

      It seems you’ve created two categories: criminal offenses and character/integrity/doctrinal issues. What all falls into the latter category that could not rightly be called disqualifying behavior for an Elder and/or false teaching? Sometimes wolves and false teachers engage in illegal acts; other times they don’t (or the hard evidence is elusive). What are you saying should be done in the case of legal but immoral/unethical/disqualifying sins by an Elder or leader against a believers/a church? Nothing? Just let it go? Besides Elders–who may very well be corrupt themselves–whose duty is it to warn and protect the sheep?

      1. Obviously when a law is broken, the church has a legal obligation not to be criminally complicit, whether they ultimately elect to press charges or not. That they are a church in those circumstances is irrelevant. That’s the distinction I was making.

        On matters of concern to Christians, but not the authorities, it has to be called out according to scripture. If it is disqualifying, the individual has to be removed from ministry. But I think the Bible recognizes that in the end, we can’t force someone else to do anything. When confronted with unwillingness to obey to God’s Word, the prescription from the Bible is separation. Get out, and get back to work on the Great Commission. God will deal the tares and the undiscerning/disobedient believers left behind.

        We can’t “force” compliance. That’s not our job in anything from church to marriage. We can only call faithful people away. Jim Bakker is still preaching. Jimmy Swaggert is still preaching. Just about every disgraced or off-base pastor is still preaching and collecting money. At this point, the problem is genuine Christians who still listen and give, and that’s what believers should be focused on. The antichrists will always be there.

        In the United Methodist church, one problem is false teachers who are preaching and leading in ways that are at odds with the Word. But the reality is that if individual believers would refuse to sit under and give to disobedient leadership, most of those off-base United Methodist churches would have been turned into coffee shops already, and the faithful churches would be free.

        Every church is doing things I don’t like and disagree with. My job is not to run around demanding that they change it and protesting in front of their buildings. I just don’t go there, and I speak out from the Word about things that are unscriptural. I don’t know if you knew this our not, but the Catholic church has a guy who dresses like a wizard and sits on a gold throne, purporting to speak for God and letting people kiss his ring. Maybe we could have some crusading journalism about that.

    2. Susan Vonder Heide

      Certainly a Christian journalist should not be motivated by sensationalism but when the topic is something of legitimate concern to the body of Christ and when the reporter is accurate and fair, there are situations where reading somebody’s reporting is the only way that people in the church pew or donors to a Christian organization can find out what is being deceptively concealed.

  2. ONLY the TRUTH will set the Church free. Whispers and works in the dark never will. Scripture encourages, challenges, admonishes, AND confronts.

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