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Oct 07, 2013

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Lydia

I saw this, too. Read both his Orwellian article and Meffords response.

What is even more interesting is the twitter convo between them. Carter accuses Mefford of "bearing false witness". Sound familiar? I have seen that so much from that wing of the SBC as it is becoming somewhat comical. Like the "Ministry of Truth" in 1984. It is like they went to a Re-education camp and were taught to repeat it over and over to those who question them. (All I hear is "Liar Liar, pants on fire!" from grown men)

But the question remains...what CAN Mefferd bear false witness concerning his piece since he was purposely so vague?

These guys are positively Orwellian. When one starts with such a vague premise that basically only communicates: Shut up. We will decide what is appropriate speech and what isn't but we won't tell you upfront, where else can one go?

They actually believe they are wise and "biblical" and that is the "gospel". They are the specially anointed ones appointed to teach God's ignorant. (Sorry for the Mohler paraphrase but it reminded me of that)

This was nothing but an attempt to silence people using his position.

His piece was such a vague rebuke as to be meaningless. There were some kool aid drinkers who hopped on board in the comments but what on earth were they agreeing with? Strange they don't even question. But that is the state of the non thinking these days.

Is Joe trying to tell us that any negative truth is "slandering the Bride of Christ"? Who knows. He gives us no concrete examples to even shore up his premise.

Perhaps they are still trying to micromanage their huge CJ PR failure with a blanket vague rebuke?

And now this guy is in Washington as ELRC communications? Seriously? This is how he "communicates"? These guys know nothing but control, control, control.

Isn't the word LIBERTY in the name of that entity? Liberty for whom, I might ask?



Max

Mr. Carter's piece is a subliminal message which is not really directed to 350,000+ congregations, but to a smaller crowd of grassroots Southern Baptists who are voicing concerns about the YRR movement. An old psychological tactic to shame a few by disguising it as a plea to the masses. Mr. Carter is probably wearing a gold star this morning from The Gospel Coalition for his post.

By the way, the genuine Bride of Christ is still alive on planet earth ... a remnant which is trying very hard these days to contend for the faith without being contentious. This Church within the church would never criticize the Bride, but stands ready to challenge that which would prevent others from entering in. Mr. Carter’s assertion that “Only God attends every church service in America” speaks to his spiritual intellect … sadly, many places are doing church without God! While he may call it “foolishness” to think this way, the Lord indeed gives His Bride the “inside scoop” by the Spirit to stay eternally alert. But Mr. Carter does have one thing right – the Church is under attack by the church!

Scott Shaver

Thank you guys for picking this up.

I read the article over the weekend and was honestly a little disgusted by it. I was very kind in the comment I posted however. For me anyway.

Just mentioned it sounded like the "confessions of a professional church hopper." Turns out the guy readily admits that's his background for this kind of rebuke."

Go figure.

Scott Shaver

I like Russell Moore. He has connections with one of my close friends. But as much as I like him, he's 0 for 2 out of the gate with this new ERLC gig.

The Joe Carter thing is number two. I don't think his comments about the theological deficiencies of the sitting Pope were all that well advised.

Christiane, who posts regularly on this site and gives a great Catholic witness on blogs, suggested that Russell talk/meet with the Pope to try get a feel for the rationale behind some of his recent public statements which caused unrest among fundamentalist Christians.

I think that would have been a good idea.

Would be interesting to know if Catholic/SBC public relations have improved or declined in last 20 years.

Bill Mac

Scott: It's an interesting question. My experience in the SBC is, overall, that Catholics are simply not Christian. That is not my view but that is certainly my impression of the prevailing view.

It won't surprise you to learn that I don't see a big problem with Carter's piece. I see his point, but I see Mefford's also. Carter says don't use hyperbole, and Mefford says hyperbole is ok. I doubt this is causing Moore any concern.

Joe Carter

What prompted this piece?

In the second paragraph of my article I note that it has been happening (at least that I have noticed) "for years." Nothing new necessarily prompted the article.


Who is he complaining about?

Among others: me. As I wrote, "I confess to having used it myself, and on a regular basis."

Why is this issue so alarming that Carter posts it on perhaps the most visible, well-trafficked website for Young, Restless and Reformed types?

Because as part of my duties as an editor for TGC, I write two posts a week on whatever I can think to write about. That was just something I thought to write about.

For my part, it has a cryptic aura about the post.

Really? What is so cryptic about saying, "Let's not make broad-based, evidence-free claims about churches that we have no knowledge about." Seems rather straightforward to me.

Mefferd identifies as "straw man fallacy."

Mefferd has merely shown that she doesn't understand much about logic. She lays out my argument is syllogism form and says Premise #1 (Some Christians claim that “no one” is talking about an issue.) is false. But that premise is not false, as she herself admits: "Surely Carter understands English semantics and metaphorical language. When a Christian claims “no one” is talking about an issue, that’s a slightly hyperbolic way of saying “not enough” people are talking about an issue."

Notice that she doesn't claim that my premise is really false, only that people are speaking in a "slightly hyperbolic way." But hyperbole is by it's nature inaccurate. It is, by definition, an "obvious and intentional exaggeration."

But Ms. Mefferd (and many others) want to have it both ways. They want to be able to make broad-based, knowingly inaccurate claims about all churches (including yours and mine) and then say, "Well, people know we are exaggerating." Indeed, it is that type of exaggeration that is slanderous. In James 4:11 we are told, "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another." It does not say, it's okay to slander one another if we are doing it under the cover of hyperbole.

Mefferd applies Carter's reasoning the the Reformation:

Meffered's grasp of history is not much better than her understanding of logical fallacies. Luther never resorted to such rhetorical excess because he was already well aware that such criticisms had been made for decades by the Christian humanists in the RCC.

Perhaps he now wishes he'd had Janet Mefferd on his short list to consider.

Cute. : )

Let me say that I don't think you really disagree with my main point at all. But let me put it to the test: Do you think we are justified in making broad-based accusations against all American churches? In other words, when someone says, "American churches do not preach the gospel", does that apply to your church? Do you think we are allowed to slander fellow Christians as long as we can claim we are speaking hyperbolically?

If not, then we are in agreement.

I also suspect that your reading comprehension is better than Ms. Mefferd's. Take, for example, her claim that:

"Unfortunately, Carter seems to think that if only a few Christians speak up on an important concern for the church, that neutralizes any significant culpability on the issue for the church at large."

Nothing in my article even hints that this is true. But Ms. Mefferd isn't really concerned about what I wrote. She's merely using my article as a whipping boy so that she can defend the reckless and counterproductive assertions made by Boz Tchividjian.

Some people might assume that you are doing the same thing, using my article as a way to bash the ERLC and Dr. Moore. But charity forbids me of believing that is true.

Bill Mac

It looks like at last count there were about 64 responses. I counted about 19 that were negative, and 7 of those were from the same person.

Scott Shaver

"Because as part of my duties as editor for TGP I write two posts a week on whatever I can think about."

Maybe not thinking is part of the problem.

Mefferd seems to make a lot more sense in print than does Carter.

IMO.

Perhaps instead of writing on what you think about, perhaps you should write on what you do KNOW about. The word "slander" seems to be extremely in vogue with these soft-skinned Christians of the new SBC.

The love to be on the giving end of correction and rebuke, but not real keen about being on the receiving end.

Calling the reasonable efforts of Christian people to "discern" the spirits clamoring for their religious loyalty, money, and the minds of their children is not only an irresponsible statement. It contradicts scripture.

Maybe as an "Editor" for TGP Mr. Carter should write on what he KNOWS about as opposed to what he "THINKS" about.

Scott Shaver

Misprint, Calling "slander" the efforts of Christian people to discern the spirits ...

Scott Shaver

Bill Mac:

I have to agree with you about what seems to be the current prevailing view of SBCrs toward Catholics. I've not heard of anybody occupying official leadership positions in the SBC (that I know of)who has come right out and stated Catholics are not Christians, but I have seen literally hundreds of such statements from young (maybe some of them not so young) baptist pastors on blog sites. I think you are correct.

20 years ago, there was some real progress being made in Baptist/Roman Catholic dialogue which recognized the unique contributions of both traditions to Christianity.

Dr Landrum Leavell, as president of NOBTS befriended the Catholic Church in New Orleans and even made a Roman Catholic layperson the chair of one his endowment raising committees.

Leaders like Dr. Leavell had disagreements with the RCs but I doubt he would have ever referred to them in any way as non-Christian.

We (SBC) have regressed in our ability to dialogue and establish relationships with those of other faith traditions. At the same time, we also seem to be shedding ourselves of a lot of Baptist folk who refuse to bow at the altars of Calvin, confessionalism, and willful ignorance.

Scott Shaver

Joe Carter:

If hyperbole is as you describe "by nature inaccurate" and by definition "an obvious and intentional distraction", why did Jesus employ hyperbole in his teaching methodology?

Was he being dishonest?

Joe Carter

Mr. Shaver,

The word "slander" seems to be extremely in vogue with these soft-skinned Christians of the new SBC.

It was also in vogue with the writer of the book of James. Was I wrong to let Scripture be my guide on this issue?

Calling the reasonable efforts of Christian people to "discern" the spirits clamoring for their religious loyalty, money, and the minds of their children is not only an irresponsible statement. It contradicts scripture.

So let me see if I understand you correctly. When someone claims that all Christian churches in America are failing to do [insert problem here], that they are "discerning the spirits"? Are you saying that your church is guilty of not preaching the gospel, not caring about the unborn, not caring about persecution, not caring about sexual abuse, etc.? Those are claims being made about your church (assuming you go to church in America). Are you really saying that the people who makes those claims are just "discerning the spirits?"

Honestly, Mr. Shaver, I think you simply looked at my associations (TGC, ERLC) and decided to oppose me based on my "team colors." You certainly don't seem to be engaging anything I actually wrote. It's a shame this sort of tribal mentality is still going on in the SBC, but I guess some things will never change till the Lord returns.

Lydia

"I see his point, but I see Mefford's also. Carter says don't use hyperbole, and Mefford says hyperbole is ok. I doubt this is causing Moore any concern.'

I afraid I did not see his point at all. But now that he has commented I understand he was sharing some sort of stream of consciousness thinking piece that seems to be envogue with that set today.

Not sure what the take away is except that some people, somewhere, like himself, are slandering the Bride of Christ. And then he claimed on twitter that Mefferd was "bearing false witness" for daring to respond. How pious and holy he must feel himself throwing that one out. That is the accusation de jour for the YRR.

I suppose that rebuke usually works for him in the narrow world of his movement?

I am simply stunned we are paying big salaries for such thinking and behavior to represent us in DC,no less,where there is plenty more of that to be had. You will fit right in with Obama's vague blanket rebukes.

Not sure how Bill came away with Carter saying don't use hyperbole when he does exactly that with the vague slander rebuke to anyone, everyone, no one, perhaps. And accusing Mefferd of bearing false witness. Now we can add her lack of logic to the list. It must be good to be king.

Just one or two concrete examples out of the stream of consciousness thinking would have been a bit helpful. But dangerous, too. That would be manning up, now wouldn't it.


I do wonder, though, if the true "Bride of Christ" protects child molesters or protects and promotes those who protect child molesters. Now that might make an interesting article. Carter should try that one for his next stream of consciousness writing piece since he is an editor of TGC that put out a statement supporting Mahaney but did not have the nerve to write later just who did not support that statement. Wonder if Carter would tell us here?

Perhaps high paying jobs would be a stake. But it is a "religious ethic" issue.

I suppose we should expect them to always be vague when it comes to such trivial things as protecting those who protect child molesters and accusations of "slandering the Bride of Christ".

Are there any adults left in the SBC?

Mary

Those ad hominem's from Carter against Mefferd are a disgrace. Not a very good commications anything if he can't respond without such personal attacks. But it does show that the YRR is all about silence dissent - just attack those who call you out.

Scott Shaver

"Charity" forbid him thinking that Pete's post is an attack "bash" on Dr. Moore and the ERLC.

If "charity" forbids you from thinking such a thing Joe, why did you mention it in print for the whole world to see?

Words, words .... and more words.

Looks like the biggest "bash" against ERLC (if that's the way you interpet it) has been wrought by your own hand.

Scott Shaver

There you go "THINKING" again Joe.

Yes, if in hyperbolic language they say "All churches" I would take it to mean churches which are actually guilty of the charge leveled.

I've been around long enough to understand and not get upset over such hyperbolic nuances of meaning. And for what it's worth, even with all your protesting, I still think you were trying to fry an unnamed fish in the oil of condescending rhetoric. That's my opinion based on observation and the language employed and you can call that "slander" from now til the world looks level.

Be my guest.

Just because you call it that don't necessarily make it so ....Joe.

If slander is a concern, you might want to rethink involvement with internet blogging. Big sea with a lot of ravenous fish out there ... you up for it?

If tribal mentality afflicts those who are not in agreement with your various organizations of preference Joe, what kind of mentality do your preferred organizations exhibit?

They certainly don't seem to be impressed with landmarks set by previous generations in SBC life. They don't seem particulary impressed with non-reformed Baptist theology or its adherents. They're not particulary impressed with anything that smacks of "tradition".

All this is well and good but constitutes a young tribal mentality of its own ...don't you think?

Scott Shaver

Maybe tribes are good things. Nation of Israel had twelve of them.

Joe Carter

Lydia: And then he claimed on twitter that Mefferd was "bearing false witness" for daring to respond.

No, I did not claim on Twitter that Mefferd was "bearing false witness" for daring to respond. The way you toss off such falsehoods, Lydia, is shameful and unbecoming of a Christian.

Let's look at what I really wrote. In reply to a comment about Mefferd's article, I wrote:

So @JanetMefferd thinks bearing false witness is okay because people understand hyperbole? Not a very biblical position.

I was not accusing Mefferd of "bearing false witness for daring to respond." I was inquiring whether she was really going to stand by the implication that she makes in her article that it's okay to exaggerate claims about Christian churches because everyone understands it's an exaggeration.

In her article she defends Boz Tchividjian's reckless claim that evangelicals are actually worse than Catholics when it comes to staying silent about sexual abuse in our churches. What evidence does she present to defend such a claim? None. Does she explain how such a claim could even be substantiated? No, she doesn't. Instead, she merely claims that evangelicals are covering up sexual abuse in a way that equals the thousands of cases that were reported in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now does Mefferd thinks this a problem in her local church? Probably not. Instead she is implying it is a problem in other churches, ones that she has never attended. Making such claims, even under the guise of hyperbole, is bearing false witness. That is why I was asking her to clarify her claim.

And I have to say, the fact that so many people seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to case aspersions on other Christians and other congregations without a shred of evidence to back their "hyperbolic" claims is shocking and shameful.

Not sure what the take away is except that some people, somewhere, like himself, are slandering the Bride of Christ. . . . That is the accusation de jour for the YRR. I suppose that rebuke usually works for him in the narrow world of his movement?

Claiming that you are not sure who is slandering Christians while slandering an entire group of Christians (YRR)? Do you even read what you write?

Not sure how Bill came away with Carter saying don't use hyperbole when he does exactly that with the vague slander rebuke to anyone, everyone, no one, perhaps.

You might want to slow down and actually try to follow the argument. The problem is not with hyperbole. The problem is with hyperbole that slanders entire groups of Christians. Since you are willing to slander Christians without even resorting to exaggeration I'm sure you don't have a problem with that form of defamation. But that is the issue that is under discussion, not whether hyperbole can ever be used properly.

I do wonder, though, if the true "Bride of Christ" protects child molesters or protects and promotes those who protect child molesters. Now that might make an interesting article.

Okay, I'll start by asking you. Does anyone in your church protect child molesters or protect and promote those who protect child molesters? If not, why do you assume the problem that does not exist in your church is rampant in others?

Carter should try that one for his next stream of consciousness writing piece since he is an editor of TGC that put out a statement supporting Mahaney but did not have the nerve to write later just who did not support that statement.

You seem to by implying that Mahaney is protecting child molesters. Maybe I'm misunderstanding so let me ask you directly: Are you publicly accusing Mahaney of protecting child molesters? (If so, I really, really hope you have some hard evidence to back up such a potentially libelous claim.)

Mary: Those ad hominem's from Carter against Mefferd are a disgrace.

What ad hominem attack have I made on Mefferd? (Before you answer you might want to look up what ad hominem means and what actually makes it a logical fallacy.)

But it does show that the YRR is all about silence dissent - just attack those who call you out.

Who are you people? I'm shocked that fellow Christians -- much less fellow SBCers -- would toss off such despicable claims about other Christians simply because they hold to a Reformed theology.

If "charity" forbids you from thinking such a thing Joe, why did you mention it in print for the whole world to see?

To offer him the chance to show other folks -- people who might have thought that and got the wrong impression -- that his post wasn't just another potshot at Calvinists.

Lydia

"When someone claims that all Christian churches in America are failing to do [insert problem here], that they are "discerning the spirits"?"

WHO is claiming this besides yourself? Give an example, for crying out loud.

Did anyone ever tell you that blanket vague rebukes never work except maybe to make you feel good. The people who might be guilty of what you claim won't recognize themselves or have rationalized it away that when they do it, it is "biblical" and those who don't do it will think you are talking about them. It is divisive and meaningless. It accomplishes nothing. And it is cowardly.

I can say that leaders such as Mohler, Dever, Duncan (and many other Reformed leaders) and some TGC leaders promoted and defended the Shepherding cult Apostle, Mahaney. That is not slander or hyperbole. It is all true. (Including the embarrassing Facebook statement they deleted)

"It was also in vogue with the writer of the book of James. Was I wrong to let Scripture be my guide on this issue?"

I don't think scripture was your "guide" as much as your gleeful "club". Same with that ridiculous charge of "bearing false witness" you guys throw around all the time.

Mary

Joe maybe you should look up ad homineum. Declaring that Mefferd knows nothing about logic or history is an insult. What you keep demonstrating here is that you cannot communicate without being condescending and insulting ie suggesting I have to look up the phrase which means "against the man" in Latin. Perhaps it's you Joe who just isn't very good at communicating.

Joe Carter

Scott: Yes, if in hyperbolic language they say "All churches" I would take it to mean churches which are actually guilty of the charge leveled.

In other words, "all" does not mean "all", it means some vague "some." Has postmodernism now infected the SBC to the point where words no longer mean anything?

If slander is a concern, you might want to rethink involvement with internet blogging. Big sea with a lot of ravenous fish out there ... you up for it?

Yeah, slander of Christians is a concern for all people who want to live as the Bible commands. That would include me. And yes, there are a lot of "ravenous fish" out there. I'm just surprised when the ravenous fish are also followers of Christ.

If tribal mentality afflicts those who are not in agreement with your various organizations of preference Joe, what kind of mentality do your preferred organizations exhibit?

Well, in my tribe we don't sit around and make broad-based dishonest assertions about other groups.

Lydia: WHO is claiming this besides yourself?

Mr. Shaver (see his comment above).

Did anyone ever tell you that blanket vague rebukes never work except maybe to make you feel good.

My rebuke was anything but vague. It was rather clear that I was rebuking people who made a certain type of claim in which Christians were slandered under the cover of hyperbole.

. . . defended the Shepherding cult Apostle, Mahaney.

Defended him against . . . what? What are you claiming that he is guilty of doing? (And I really hope you have some actual proof for whatever charges you bring.)

I don't think scripture was your "guide" as much as your gleeful "club".

So you can see into people's hearts and minds now too, right?

Same with that ridiculous charge of "bearing false witness" you guys throw around all the time.

Who are you referring to when you say "you guys?"

And if I may be so bold as to tell you what your friends apparently won't: Your comments on social media (and not this comment thread) are unbecoming of a Christian. I think you need to take a break and read over some of the things you've been saying. You seem to be more interested in scoring points for your "team" than in honoring our Lord by engaging in a charitable discussion.

Mary

Joe the problem you're having is we know who YOU are and you are using the same tactics the YRR always use, but it's not going to fly. I'm kinda surprised you've haven't been called off Peter's site by Moore. You are demonstrating very nicely that everything said about the YRR is correct. The only thing you know how to do is attack, attack, attack. And my attorney husband says you might want to look into the actual legal definitions of "slander" "libelous claims" because you obviously don't know what you're talking about when you throw those words around. Of course attorney's are professional writers who understand the meanings of words and how to effectively communicate. Unlike say a Director of Communications (snark)

Scott Shaver

Joe, that's another buzz word with Mohlerites "Postmodernism".

Carries no weight with anybody except hypercalvinists and reformers within the SBC after all its political misuse of the past two or three decades.

Actually, you suggest a new kind of "postmodernism" where words can only mean what you and a few annointed others say they mean....isn't this what your REALLY MEAN.

Your tribe does not sit around and make broad-based "dishonest" assertions about other groups? Really?

Exhibit A "The Daily Bleat" (now defunct)

Shall I go on with the list of Exhibits Joe or do you really want to descend into this kind of dialogue. I'm up for it (down for it, whatever) if that's what you really want to do, but you stand far more to lose in this mud-slinging than I do.

I am no longer dependent on churches and the good will of denominational leaders to put food on my table or clothes on the backs of my kids.

peter lumpkins

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your comment. My apologies for not getting back sooner. My son is in town for a short span before heading back to Sweden. So we had to get our fill of Mexican cuisine. I see others have accommodated you, however.

Glad you responded to my few questions I had about the article.

If I may…

You first suggest you noted “it” has been happening “for years” which becomes the first indicator for me concerning what I dubbed the “cryptic aura” about the piece. Speaking only for myself, your scenario is so grossly vague how could anyone be expected to genuinely connect with the scenario? Presumably from what I read, you purposed to connect with your readers. In short, speaking again only for myself, your scenario which you presumably ask us to believe is factual, lacks teeth, lacks credibility.

What is more, the way you framed the scenario is obviously tilted to your side of the table. While “Step 1” is clear enough, the following two steps seem jaded to say the least. You place into the mouth of your phantom critics—critics who nonetheless, according to you, have been at it “for years”—a complaint about how “[since] no one in our churches is talking about” X, it follows for them that they a) act the role of educator; and b) function as Old Testament prophet, and they complete this duel role by explaining why the issue matters and why the church must stand up and speak out about it” (embolden added here and above).

In response, you have the critics complaining first about their churches’ silence (i.e. “our”) and leaping from what’s not going on in their churches to what’s not going on in the church, an obvious non sequitur. But I’m not sure that’s what you’ve communicated is the issue with which you’ve contended.But if it is, why not point out the leap in logic for what it is--non sequitur –rather than making it into a moral issue, perhaps blasphemous issue is a better descriptor, by claiming the phantom critics slandered Christ’s Bride? Why not correction rather than condemnation, Joe?

On the other hand, if the phantom critics did, as you indicate, only claim their churches were silent about X, then how do you know they are wrong unless you actually know more about their churches than they do? Perhaps your hopping around so often to hundreds of churches with various theological persuasions, over three dozen of which you claim count you as a “member,” has forged in you but the proverbial mile-wide-inch-deep perspective on what’s happening in many churches but no substantial knowledge of what’s happening or not happening in any church in particular, especially their churches. Perhaps it is you who’ve now slandered them (i.e. if it is possible to actually slander a phantom group of people) by presuming to know what’s going on in their churches more than they do.

That’s partly what I mean by your post being vague or cryptic if you will and why it’s a poorly communicated piece, Joe. You set up a scenario right in the beginning that comes across as if you made it up as you went along. Not that it has no basis in reality at all. Like I said in the OP, it sounds as if you had a tangible example floating around as the backdrop of this piece. Unfortunately we don’t know what it is or even if you characterized it accurately without tilting it toward your side of the table.

Nor might I add is it necessary to claim the phantom critics act the role of Old Testament prophet whatever you mean by that. Just because someone speaks out where they think others don’t is no reason to make them into self-supposed OT prophets, prophets who, when speaking “Thus saith the Lord” spoke infallibly, hardly a disposition normally advocated in any mainstream evangelical circles with which I am familiar. If you accuse them of this, you need a lot more evidence than you’ve presented. Hence, again, perhaps it’s you who’ve slandered the phantom critics (i.e. if it is possible to actually slander a phantom group of people).

Next, you suggest you’re talking about yourself in the piece—‘As I wrote, "I confess to having used it myself, and on a regular basis."’ Well, if this is a confessional, Joe, it’s a pretty hollow one. If’ you’ve regularly slandered Christ’s Bride, what in the Sam Hill are you doing working for Southern Baptists? Why is my church helping to pay for your salary at the ERLC? Did Dr. Moore know you regularly slandered God’s church when he hired you?  Was your habit of slandering God’s church discussed in meetings with him before he hired you? Did the trustees know you regularly slandered not only our churches but the church at large when they approved you?  What particular articles can you point to for us where you slandered God’s church? Have you publicly repented of this literary crime? I’d like to know. And, I’m  sure other Southern Baptists would like to know where you’ve slandered the church of Jesus Christ. Please inform.

Third, you seem to indicate the theme just kinda popped into your mind to write about in order to fulfill your 2-posts-a-week duties. I believe you. As I’ve noted above, from the way I see it, the scenario is so vague (cryptic) not to mention mangled it had to have just popped into your mind.

Fourth, you ask, ‘“What is so cryptic about saying, "Let's not make broad-based, evidence-free claims about churches that we have no knowledge about."’ Well, nothing. But not a single substantial word in your aforementioned commentary on your post is actually in your post. Not one meaningful word. You’re assuming that’s what your post clearly communicated. But what I wrote above challenges your assumption, Joe. You didn’t communicate your self-described angelic proposition. You most certainly did not just suggest we all not make broad-based, evidence-free claims about churches that we have no knowledge about. Please. You bit down and bit down hard and drew blood. You implicated phantom critics of usurping God-ordained authority by self-appointing themselves as God’s infallible prophets and ultimately slandering Christ’s Bride. To make it out as if you just were cautioning people to make sure they don’t broad-brush without sufficient evidence is grossly skewed. Try again.

Fifth, you claim Janet Mefferd shows she doesn't understand much about logic. I’m not so sure she is as ignorant as you presume, Joe. While you righty claim Mefferd judged as false your premise ‘Some Christians claim that “no one” is talking about an issue,’ you wrongly make her contradict herself by asserting “But that premise is not false, as she herself admits.” Not so. Mefferd clearly judged the premise to be false as you claim but she also explained why it was false. In her words right before stating the syllogism, Mefferd writes “[Carter] starts by misrepresenting the claim and then attempts to refute a claim that he’s failed to prove actually exists.” The reason the premise is judged false is because it misrepresents the claim.

Thus, Mefferd concludes at the end of the syllogism “The premise is false, and so the conclusion is false.” She could just as well have said, “The premise [i.e. claim] is misrepresented [and therefore false], and so the conclusion is false” if this would have made you feel better. Even so, your attempt to use her extended explanation about "slightly hyperbolic” usage of “no one” as a way to make her contradict herself is clever but clearly fails I’m afraid.

You assert, “Notice that she doesn't claim that my premise is really false…” Uh?  Since you raised the issue, let’s talk contradiction. You just stated earlier, “She… says [my premise]… is false.” Now you say, “she doesn't claim that my premise is really false…” Well, which is it, Joe? The fact is, she did claim your premise false, really false. And, your premise was really false because, in her mind, it really misrepresented the claim presumably being made. Thus, you just revealed the pound of rhetorical bologna above where you implied Mefferd contradicted herself.

Next you make a ridiculous deduction from what’s thus far been suggested—“But Ms. Mefferd (and many others) want to have it both ways. They want to be able to make broad-based, knowingly inaccurate claims about all churches (including yours and mine) and then say, "Well, people know we are exaggerating." Indeed, it is that type of exaggeration that is slanderous.”

Joe to deduce this condemnatory moral indictment of Mefferd from what Mefferd wrote thus far is undeniably absurd.

First of all, how do you know what Janet Mefferd wants? Have you spiritual perception to peer into her heart to know with certainty she desires to knowingly make inaccurate claims? Who appointed you as a discerner of Janet Mefferd’s desires and wishes?  We’d like to know. Furthermore, you not only judge her heart to knowingly want to make inaccurate claims, on the basis of your apparently infallible knowledge, you judge her slandering presumably the church, and, if we take Christ’s words to Paul in Acts 9 as precedent, slandering Christ Himself. Morally indicting Mefferd on such flimsy reasoning is not only unwarranted, it's hard not to judge it graceless if not downright mean-spirited. Why would you do this? Embarrassing, were one to ask me, coming from an employee of an SBC entity.

What is more to deduce the conclusion that Mefferd’s words necessarily imply “it's okay to slander one another if we are doing it under the cover of hyperbole” is nonsense. I suggest you go back and re-read logic yourself, brother, because you’re making some asinine inferences which the language employed does not seem to require. Why would you think this of her? What evidence can you produce which necessarily implies such a hideous inference?

You assert “Meffered's [sic] grasp of history is not much better than her understanding of logical fallacies.” Your proof? Because, according to you, “Luther never resorted to such rhetorical excess…” Excuse me, Joe, but you completely ignored the point Mefferd made pertaining to Luther. Her main point  (placed in italics for emphasis) in citing Luther was a counter point to your confusing assertion that “the surest sign that thousands of Christians in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it.” I suggest you read a little more closely before you judge so harshly.

Finally, you query to me:

“Do you think we are justified in making broad-based accusations against all American churches? In other words, when someone says, "American churches do not preach the gospel", does that apply to your church? Do you think we are allowed to slander fellow Christians as long as we can claim we are speaking hyperbolically?

If not, then we are in agreement.”


Put like this, perhaps we are basically on the same page. But as I showed above, Joe, much of this you didn’t say in your original post. You only presumed you communicated it clearly. Even so, you failed to communicate much of this. In addition, you skew what’s been said by inferring some one is arguing that we are allowed to slander fellow Christians as long as we can claim we are speaking hyperbolically. This is bogus and frankly stupid. Who would argue such an absurd proposition? You have illegitimately inferred this ignorant deduction. Either prove the words spoken necessarily imply what you say or drop the absurd accusation, Joe. No one argued this. And certainly Janet Mefferd would not argue this preposterous claim.

One of the main problems with your thesis is you argue your point in vague theory. No one really knows exactly what you’re arguing in your OP because you don’t tell them exactly. We have no example to chew on. You put up a vaguely theorized scenario which happens to all fall in your direction as it’s teased out. Now in your commentary on your post you appear to suggest all you were really asking in principle was ‘…when someone says, "American churches do not preach the gospel", does that apply to your church?’

O.K. let’s consider that. Frankly, I get that frequently from your community. It’s been noted several times from YRR/Strict Calvinist types that churches like mine don’t preach the real gospel for if it did it’d preach TULIP. And, I’ve raised my voice more than once for over-generalizations along those lines.

More significantly, tell, me, Joe, do you think the following remarks slander Christ’s Bride?

  • “We've lied about the nature of homosexuality” – Al Mohler
  • “Most churches in the South aren’t churches, but grocery stores” – Tim Keller

That’s just two of countless very well-publicized examples I could offer, Joe. Now please tell us: did Al Mohler and Tim Keller slander Christ’s Bride with the unimaginably, unproven assertions they made?

What is more, by arguing your point so tenaciously, you really make it easy to weigh your theory and find it wanting. What sense can we make out of the following statements (all embolden added):

  • “The greatest misconception in most churches today is that if we simply give good directions, we can delegate the work of the ministry and expect good outcomes” --MATT SMETHURST. Really, how does Smethurst know this is the greatest misconception in most churches? Did he personally visit 51% of the 350K congregations?
  • Most churches do not practice any church discipline whatsoever” –Trevin Wax. How does Wax know at least 51% lacks any discipline at all? And, given Wax’s words, it appears like he embraces discipline as a non-negotiable mark of the true church. If so, then might we infer that 51% of churches are not true churches at all since they lack any discipline at all? Given your premises, why not?
  • “Even the Gospel content in most churches has trended toward “personal salvation,” so we cultivate the value of a private, isolated faith” – Jared Wilson How does Wilson know this, Joe?
  • “Prayer meetings are almost empty in most churches.”—THABITI ANYABWILE. Says who? In our church about 40% of Sunday’s attendance show up on Wednesday night prayer meeting. I suspect it’s similar in hundreds and perhaps thousands of small churches all over Georgia alone! Is Anyabwile slandering churches like ours with his broad-brush, unproved claim that most churches are almost empty at prayer meetings?

I could go on endlessly, Joe. The point is, you’ve basically committed overkill in your literary assessment. None of the above statements are accurate. But it doesn’t necessarily follow any of the above is slandering God’s church because of the generalizations they’ve made. I think one has to keep in mind the point the author is attempting to argue and exactly what he or she is attempting to suggest by the generalization. But, given your vigorous defense of your point and the subsequent harangue toward Mefferd, I think your point requires you indict the above men with slandering because they spoke inaccurately; and surely your position requires you indict Mohler and Keller as slanderers with the same vigor and force you indicted both your phantom critics in the OP as well as Mefferd on this thread.

But…

I don’t think you will…

Thanks for the extended dialog with others on this site.

With that, I am…

Peter 

Andrew Barker

Scott: "Maybe tribes are good things. Nation of Israel had twelve of them."

I think Joe Carter has just given us the diatribe!

Scott Shaver

Make that 13 tribes instead of 12 Andrew. LOL.

Eric

Good counter point regarding Mohler and Keller quotes.

Dee

OK, now I am mad, really mad!

Carter throws pot shots at Mefford and Tchvidjian who have done more to expose child sexual abuse in churches than anyone who purports to practice "gospel discernment" in TGC. Oh dear...did I slander?

Mefford says: "There also has been an effort within this general camp of individuals to try to intimidate me into not talking about this case (SGM) on my radio show." Is this a form of "gospel strong arming ?"

We will be covering this on our blog as well. We documented 178 days of "gospel golden silence" by TGC on this matter. Then the "gospel response" was even worse than silence. Good night, what codswallop!

And, yes, that tweet by Carter did imply "bearing false witness" on the part of Mefford in an off handed, plausible deniability sort of way.

Good for you Peter. I admire your concern in this area.

Max

Whew! What an exchange! I've been out and about and just now catching up on the comments. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Mr. Carter admits that he has “been around” … apparently on a long journey looking for the right church, a denomination which meets his evolving belief and practice, a gathering of God’s people where he can find rest and kindred spirit. He has wandered to and fro and experienced the gamut of theological diversity in American Christendom. In his search, he has sampled a large slice of organized religion, holding concurrent membership in three dozen churches of various stripes (did ERLC know that?). With his new assignment, it’s not clear if he has arrived at his destination by making reformed theology and SBC his final home or if he will decide to move on down the road to add yet another sect to his resume.

Hmmm … and we are to accept “his” rebuke that those who question, those who discern, those who contend as the Spirit leads are instead slandering the Bride of Christ?! These are communication skills gone amiss to intimidate and manipulate – to silence and distract. Could it be that Mr. Carter's post is not really a broad brush stroke directed at Christians at large, but focused on those who express concerns about his particular theological icons ... an attempt to shame grassroots Southern Baptists concerned about the YRR movement into shutting up? His accusations have now made him the subject of another “pet cause” and confirmed yet again that Nashville is in trouble. Many of us will now be watching for future articles by Mr. Carter to gauge the drift at ERLC. Good Lord, when will this arrogance come to an end in SBC ranks?!!

Andrew Barker

Scott: Could be the lost tribe then? ha ha!

Tim Rogers

Peter,

Sorry for being late to the party. Wow!! Am I believing what I am reading? Please tell me the new Communications Director at the ERLC has not written an article dissing two evangelicals that have tried their best to expose child abuse in the evangelical world. Please tell me the ETHICS at the ERLC has not been relegated to the Good-Ole-Boy network. Also, please tell me the Communications Director at the ERLC is not getting paid full-time with CP funds and also maintaining his full-time position as editor of the Gospel Coalition website. Why are we paying him for a full-time position and he also has another full-time position?

Please tell me this is not so.

Mary

Tim, somebody should consider poor Mr. Carter's health! Two full time positions is just too much for anyone. How can he take care of his family working two full time positions. Two full time positions = something has to suffer in your life. Can you really do a good job at either position when you have two full time positions? Maybe one of the good ol' boys will look into this.

Serving Kids in Japan

Mr. Carter,

You've claimed that you wrote "Stop Slandering Christ's Bride" with no particular issue in mind. So I find it curious that, more than once now, you've singled out Boz Tchividjian and his "reckless" claims about abuse of children in evangelical churches. And wasn't he on Janet Mefferd's show recently?

Pardon the expression, brother, but your slip is showing. ;) Or, at least, your TCG affiliation is.

Are Mr. Tchividjian's comments among those you would consider "slanderous"? I hardly see how that can be so. Slander involves not just the making of untrue statements, but also the intent to harm someone by defamation. Even if Boz's claims aren't true secundum litteram, I fail to see how he intends to hurt or ruin anyone. His intent, as far as I can see, is to protect children in American churches, and wake others up to the importance of doing so. How can that be slander?

As for his claim that "evangelicals are actually worse than Catholics when it comes to staying silent about sexual abuse": While I have no way of knowing statistically whether that's true, I can think of one way in which that claim makes sense. The sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church came to light some decades ago. Christians everywhere have had the opportunity to see the mistakes made by the RCC, and learn from them. If the allegations against Sovereign Grace Ministries are any indication, it would seem that Mahaney and company haven't learned anything. By handling criminal matters in-house, maintaining secrecy, and putting reputation above all else, they've repeated the same mistakes as the Catholic Church, and forced unnecessary suffering on Christians and their children.

EMSoliDeoGloria

I'd be really interested to hear / see Mr. Carter's response to Mr. Lumpkins last comment.

I read TGC regularly via my feed reader. I read Mr. Carter's post, which has generated all this controversy. My first thought was, "who exactly does he want to shut up?" I normally appreciate Mr. Carter's writing. His 9 things articles are often informative and helpful and I've used some of them professionally. But with this one, it didn't really occur to me that he literally believes that the phrase "no one" should be avoided and was just exhorting people concerned about Christian response to certain issues to be less categorical. As far as that goes, fair enough, but even so, the scolding tone was hardly necessary.

I looked the article over and moved on. Apparently others didn't. As a friendly reader, Joe, I think some of the criticisms of the post are fair. Maybe you did do a little of what you accused others of doing. Maybe you could have been more clear yourself. Maybe you could have also discussed how individual churchmen and women can constructively deal with a desire to see their church (or many churches) improve in their handling of some topic. Anyway, if some brothers and sisters are calling you out on this article, there's no need to be defensive. Words are your stock and trade. Mine too. We are bound to make mistakes now and again. Why not just correct them with the same humility we'd want when others respond to our correction.

That's half the issue w/ SGM too. While some people might never be satisfied, most of us who have moved on from SGM just wanted to see leaders behave with the same humility and lack of defensiveness when THEY received legitimate correction that they had taught US to respond with for so many years. We wanted to be able to follow our leaders as they followed Christ. In a pretty big crisis, we couldn't.

Patrice

Joe Carter, your original post was shambly, but shame on you for insulting, on this thread, the work that Boz does. It is those abused children who are the Bride of Christ. To think they aren’t at the center of the gospel and the reason that Jesus came is to misunderstand your faith.

And this directly bears on your little digs about slandering (in the true sense of the word, not the way you freely use it) CJ Mahaney. The issue on this thread is not whether Mahaney has/hasn’t protected child molesters. The issue is that the great majority of leaders in the institutional church have not firmly placed themselves on the side of those who have been abused. Very few anywhere; so few that you think it’s ok to pick on Boz.

Publicly supporting abuse victims is easily done even in a situation as the Mahaney fiasco, and doesn’t even require that one take a stand in the particular case which hasn’t wound its way through the courts. But not only did your bunch not speak up for the children, a few among you threw public support behind a man who is at the center of accusations. You do not realize that the Body of Christ is those children. You leaders may be too, I don’t know, but one thing is incontrovertible: Jesus stood by the hurt and powerless every single time.

Moreover, if you think hyperbole is a result of postmodernism, you are ignorant of the Bible which predated postmodernism by a few thousand years. Hyperbole from King David through the prophets through Jesus and Paul! It is part/parcel of that culture. Just look at their calligraphy and architectural ornamentation, for eg. Your scolding smacks of Western industrial literalism, which is fine if that’s your perspective, but not to be able to appreciate anything outside of it shows a lack of knowledge about the art of words. In my book, that would disqualify someone for a communications position. I'd get up to speed, if I were you.

Lastly, you act condescendingly throughout this thread and particularly to the women. Why, Joe? And it is simply weird to think you are being bold when you rebuke Lydia *on behalf of her friends* (at 10/7/6:28pm) for her comments on broader social media. My father did that to me when I was a child and it was creepy back then, yet here you are doing it to another adult, a peer-in-Christ. Sheesh.

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