I realize that I am running a great risk posting the comments I am about to make. I realize well that it is not wise to cross certain Defenders of the Faith in the world of blogs. I realize full well the power of blogdom to ruin lives and to be judge, jury, executioner, prosecuting attorney all in one. But I recall that somewhere in the Scripture that Christians claim to live by, we were told to be full of grace. Oh, I have no doubt that we are to make judgments about one another to a certain degree (see 1 Corinthians 5:12-13). But I think it is this very Scripture that bugs me a little when it comes to some comments that I have been reading about a certain preacher named Tim Reed and a certain blogger named Ingrid Schlueter.
Evidently, there have been some barbs tossed back and forth between the two. Also included in the mix is Ken Silva at Aprising Ministries. Oh, and there’s also a rather lengthy post here at Old-Truth. I have a couple of thoughts about this since Tim Reed and I share a similar heritage in the so-called Restoration Movement churches. In fact, I went to college just up the road from the church Reed preaches among.
First, let it be stated that I am in no way defending Reed’s ‘drive-by’ comments or his use of derogatory language to designed to insult Ingrid, Ken or the author of Old-Truth. If in fact Reed is saying such things, well, he should be ashamed of himself. I preach in a Restoration church and I am only too aware of how difficult it has been in the history of our denomination to get our message across to people and to be accepted as sincere disciples of Jesus within the evangelical world. The last thing our denomination needs is set backs. I fully understand Reed’s point, but I think there is a better way to dialogue with those whom we disagree. So, I am not defending him in that respect.
Second, on the other hand, neither am I calling out Schlueter or Silva or Old-Truth for pointing out his (Reed’s) apparent lack of class (although, to be sure, I don’t see where in Scripture a lack of class is considered a sin or even name calling. I did read something about unwholesome talk, but none of them are quoting Scripture). It is one thing entirely to point out that some bloggers are beyond arrogant in their presumptuousness and in their judgmentalism. It is something else to merely ridicule them with salty language and other verbiage that does not befit a minister of the Word of God; Reed should hold himself to a higher standard even if he is a self-proclaimed watchdog of the watchdogs. Old-Truth is right that Reed doesn’t advance his cause by being immature. I have read some of Reed’s blog posts and he seems to be rather intelligent–someone with whom I could have a great conversation about aspects of the church that need to be changed, corrected, or otherwise done away with entirely. For that matter, the four I have mentioned so far have a lot to talk about in this regard. However, and here’s the point…
What is wrong with this picture? Ingrid at Slice of Laodicea has, in my opinion, really stooped to a new low in her recent post concerning Reed. I don’t know how she found it, but she dug up some post that Reed evidently made at some Gaming message board. I seriously wonder how much effort went into digging up the quote–which is a rather ridiculous quote from someone claiming to be a minister of truth. But what is worse is that she says, “If you want a taste of the new pastors today, here you go.” She then reproduces the quote.
Here’s the rest of her post sans the quote by Reed (I have linked it, so you can check it yourself):
A pastor, friends. He calls himself a pastor who sends out “vulgar missives” where he insults another with a claim of having had sex with his opponent’s mother, using what he calls “anatomically correct terms.” I understand Pastor Tim Reed’s vulgar attacks on me and Ken Silva in a far clearer light after reading this. We now have men in the pulpit who are showing by their fruit that they are enemies of Jesus Christ. Why are they enemies? Because they embrace the moral filth that Jesus died to save us from. Those who love Christ and His true church will warn about “pastors” like this.
Now, she is writing about one person, one man, one pastor, one preacher, and yet she says, ‘We now have men in the pulpit who are showing by their fruit that they are enemies of Jesus Christ.” No, you don’t know what men in the pulpit are doing. You have no idea what it means to stand in a pulpit week after week and preach the Gospel. You sit behind a mic or a computer monitor and contend for your versionof the truth from the relative safety of your home or office (did I read that you don’t even consider yourself an evangelical Christian; yet you judge it? Did I read that you criticize Britany Spears and the Church that decided to write her letters to tell her about Jesus? Can you have it both ways?) You have a man who has made some poor decisions with respect to his language and the manner in which he uses it. You don’t have men who have somehow failed in their calling. It is a terrible thing you have done to judge any or all of the ‘new pastors’ because of one man’s transgression (s).
Men, friends. Is ‘pastor’, ‘elder’, ‘apostle’, ‘prophet’ Slice really saying that the only menwho are in pulpits nowadays are those who are enemies of Christ? Is the Watcher saying that those who are imperfect by her standards are disqualified from preaching the Good News? (I wonder where Paul the Apostle would be in her book. He calls his former way of life in Judaism something equivalent to ‘crap,’ Philippians 3; and in another place told certain Judaizers that he wished they would emasculate themselves. Have you read Scripture and the language it uses?) Is Slice really suggesting that Reed does not love Christ because he insulted her? Is she really suggesting that the Lord’s servants stand and fall before her judgment? To his own master does a servant rise or fall! There is a big difference between taking someone aside and quietly rebuking them and telling them to grow up and something else entirely to call their salvation, which the Lord Jesus himself secured at the Cross, into question.
I like much of what Slice of Laodicea has to say. I visit the blog two or three times a day looking for updates and quotes. I enjoy reading much of what Pastor (I don’t know if the ordained Silva preaches behind a pulpit each week or not) Ken Silva has to say at Apprising Ministries. I don’t know Old-Truth (or whether [he] has a pulpit either) so I don’t know if I like [his] stuff or not. But I have a couple of questions for the three who operate these blogs and a couple questions for all parties involved.
First, to Slice. Are you now without sin that you have the right to cast judgment on Reed? Do you really have the right to cast the first stone? Are you really suggesting that you are the ultimate arbiter of who does and does not love Christ? By whose measuring rod do you make such a decision?
Second, to Pastor Ken. Because you seem so well acquainted with the Word of God: Isn’t it a blessing to be insulted for the Name of Christ? Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are you when people say all sorts of things against you because of me?” Are we now to return insult for insult? Or shall we now bless when we are cursed?
Third, to Old-Truth. Do you think that you have advanced the cause of Christ by printing the name of the Church that Reed preaches at and judging his entire denomination? Do you think that all the people whom he leads in worship are somehow guilty of his infractions; his sins? Do you think that his entire denomination is somehow demeaned by his behavior? (We should be happy that not all Baptists are guilty of the sins of Baptist preachers, and not all Presbyterians are guilty of the sins of Presbyterian preachers, etc.)
Fourth, to Tim Reed. Do you really think you are helping your cause by acting so immature? Do you really think you have a defense by using the language you use? I understand well the desire to connect with people at their level, but the sinners with whom Jesus ate came to Him and enjoyed His company. He elevated them; they did not lower Him. Maybe you should try to raise the standard of your conversation.
Fifth, where is the grace? Seriously. This is one of the main issues I have with all of blogdom–and especially this case in particular. I wonder what it is that the people who are not Christians who read these blogs of Christians think about Christians and Christ after they read these blogs? I can’t believe Reed publicly says the things he says about Ingrid, Ken, and OT. I can’t believe they have responded with nothing better.
Sixth, are there not people dying every day and going to hell? Is there not something better we can do with our blogs? Seriously?
What is all this hatred? (That’s what it is.) What is all this questioning of someone’s credibility or someone’s standing before Christ? What is all this childish name-calling? Why can’t there be honest, adult conversation and dialogue? Look, I’ll debate any of these people, for example, about Harry Potter books any day of the week because I happen to think they (at least Slice’s author) are wrong about them. On the other hand, Slice’s author happens to think I am wrong too. Or, I’ll debate the (de)merits of the Reformed doctrine of election (or any other aspect of TULIP Calvinism) which is absolutely horrifying and unbiblical. But just because I disagree with those who hold to it doesn’t mean we are not together in Christ. Nevertheless, isn’t there room for adult conversation? Isn’t there room for opinions? Isn’t there room for love? Shouldn’t all of our conversations be salted with Grace? Are any of us so without sin that we have a right to sit in the sort of judgment that calls one person who preaches the Gospel an ‘enemy of Christ’? Is that really what grace is about? Are either of us lost because we do or do not read the right books? Seriously, is there any room for grace among these watchdog types? I think God’s grace is enough for us all, but also think that we’d rather be right than for God to be Justified and Justifier. I really don’t think Christians like grace at all. For all we talk about being saved by it we sure don’t want to live by it when it comes to our theological mountaintops. We’ll die for our Calvinism, but nor our Arminian brothers and sisters. Sad. How did I hear it said? The Church is the only army in the world that shoots its own wounded. Sad.
Jesus said one time, ironically on the night he was betrayed, the night before he died for all our sins, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus could have mentioned a lot things in that space, but He chose to tell us, over and over again, to love one another. Well, if we demonstrate that we are his disciples when we love one another then whose disciples do we demonstrate ourselves to be when we hate each other? Here’s how Old-Truth ends [his] post:
It’s interesting that a foundational slogan of the Restoration Movement of which Tim Reed subscribes is “In Essentials, Unity. In Non-essentials, Liberty. In All Things, Charity“. That kind of talk sounds good on paper, but when somebody doesn’t agree with where the essentials begin and end, then charity is quickly abandoned in favor of the pursuit of a pound of flesh. In the end – Tim Reed’s treatment of Christians who have differing convictions than his own, will likely prove to be his undoing. Aside from the obvious pastoral incompatibilities, his methods bring a more revealing spotlight on his own public behavior than on the behavior of those he calls-out, name-calls, and watches.
This is a danger that I think was understood early by the likes of Dan Kimball who is an Emerging Church advocate with similar complaints as Tim Reed, yet Dan seems to be able to eliminate his own conduct as a potential point of focus for his opponents. The Dan Kimball types do this through actually trying to follow the bible’s pastoral directives (ie: being self-controlled, kind to everyone, and not quick-tempered or arrogant). So while I usually disagree with Dan and the Emerging Church, I can at least listen to his views and appreciate his genuine attempt at humility. Conversely, I would venture to say that there are a good number of people who no longer even hear what Tim Reed is protesting against, because they can’t get over the glaring lack of the fruits of the Spirit that accompany his protest. (Emphasis mine.)
I think that is precisely Reed’s complaint. It’s not only Reed who cannot tolerate other people’s opinions, but it is the people he is complaining against who cannot, indeed, will not, tolerate others’ opinions. Honestly, there is guilt here on both sides. Reed, to be sure, needs to mature a little (or a lot). He needs to speak with no unwholesome language only those things which are useful for building up the Body of Christ. The rest need to speak the truth in love. All need grace.
None of this is doing anything to advance the cause of Christ or to build His Kingdom. In my opinion, both sides are doing all they can to tear apart the very fabric of that which Christ died for: Oneness, Unity, Love, and Truth; the salvation of the World; the Glory of God; the Exaltedness of Jesus Christ; the Triumph of the Lamb! If we cannot speak the truth in love, then we are mere legalists who have left no room for grace. And if we have love without truth, then we are mere sentimentalists. I’d sure like to see Bro. Reed use his creative energies to uplift people instead of tear them to shreds with his sarcasm and language. I’d like to see Slice and Silva use their considerable influence to train up people in the way they should go with grace and love instead of not.
ps–I know I’m setting myself up for a dismal day with this post. But I cannot help it. I’m not trying to pick a fight with anyone, but I’m trying to bring some peace to this part of the Body of Christ. I’m not saying I’m perfect; I’m saying none of us are. There is so much hatred in the world that I wonder why anyone would want to find refuge in Christ, let alone the church. If this is what the Church is to people, why would anyone want to be a part of it? There’s more love and grace in Elk’s meetings or AA meetings or a Major League Baseball game.
I’m calling on both sides to fix this publicly. There needs to be some growing up on both sides, some repentance, some forgiveness, and some clearing up of the real issue at hand which is: How can we best Lift up the Name of Jesus in this desperately, spiritually perverse world in which we live? Are not all sides involved concerned with the Gospel? Do they not all, in their respective ways, preach the Crucified Lord Jesus? Then why enmity?
“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2) For the sake of Christ, clear up this matter and end it. Let forgiveness and grace and peace reign.
“Let he without sin, cast the first stone…” And one by one, they started to walk away, the older ones first until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. I ask you sincerely, when it is all said and done, won’t it be us and Jesus, one on one, with no one else left? Won’t Jesus ultimately be our judge? “Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”