Friday, July 22, 2011

When Did the Church Lose Her Heart?

I cannot embrace online (or offline) savagery emanating from doctrinal aficionados and aimed at the struggles of sinners, both professing believers and non-believers. The dry eyed verbal dismemberment is both heartless and void of any compassion that should be shown by imitators of Jesus. We all deal with self righteousness, but when it accepted as a normal, and even God approved, form of attitude and communication, then it has become a clandestine agenda. There are many instances of this, and I will use one as a corrective lesson for us all.

There is a young man named Randy Potts who is admitting to having an attraction for men. I guess this would not make any real news, except that this young man is the grandson of Oral Roberts. But let me be clear about two things. I take serious issue with the entire Robert’s theology and teaching, and I consider him to be a false teacher. Whether he knew Christ as his Savior is above my pay grade.

Also, I cannot accept homosexual behavior as consistent with the Scriptures. It remains clear what God has said about such things. But I have never struggled with such feelings and therefore cannot pound my doctrinal chest while eviscerating others who do. Redemption is for gays too.

I would direct you to an online discernment site called Apprising Ministries. It is administrated by a pastor named Ken Silva. This site calls into question the teachings of such men like Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, and many others. Many times his articles correctly identify doctrinal compromises and even heresies taught by such men. Even though I might take issue with a site whose core purpose is heresies, I still have benefited in reading some of the posts. And of course there are no posts in these type of sites that deal with their own lack of spiritual power because doctrinal orthodoxy is defined as absolute spiritual power.

But when they take it upon themselves to castigate sinners and magnify the moral failures and struggles of believers and nonbelievers alike, then I believe correction is in order. When this young man named Potts came out as gay THIS ARTICLE APPEARED. Yes, the feeding frenzy had begun. Of course the titillating factor that he was the grandson of Oral Roberts just added another juicy element to the spectacle. Now if you read the post and were able to wade through all the self links which are prevalent in all his posts, then you can understand the tabloid nature of such communications even when camouflaged as some kind of watchtower journalism.

Oral Robert’s oldest son was rumored to struggle with same sex attractions and as reported in Silva’s post he committed suicide. Well at least we can take comfort in the fact he didn’t try to justify his attractions. A gun to the head is better than a gay agenda. I am sure many so called orthodox and fundamentalists took secret and overt delight in the Robert’s family tragedy. But highlighting the family tragedies of non-orthodox preachers is not unusual, and in fact it has become big game territory in the online jungle of “look what others are saying and doing”.

But this latest online discernment service goes way beyond the usual moral and doctrinal hubris that passes as courageous stands for God’s truth. This crosses any authentic line which could by any stretch be identified with the spirit of Jesus. These kinds of public admissions, especially when it is of a gay nature, are relished by sites like AM, and they gleefully pounce upon these opportunities to tout their Scriptural exegesis and the indispensable informational service they provide. I cannot resist: It’s like throwing chum into a shark infested water. And when the subject of such heartless attacks references those sites, as in Pott’s case when he tweeted about Ken Silva, that is online discernment gold!

So the next post (you knew there would be more forthcoming) was a satirical swipe at this young man POSTED HERE. How compassionate. How loving. How humble. We are all so broken about the struggles of others, even if they are counter to what the Scriptures teach. Of course none of us ever do what the Scriptures teach against, or don’t do what the Scriptures do teach. And none of us struggle with sin on any level. The “Lord be praised” we continue to walk the narrow path of almost perfectionism while carrying the necessary bag of stones needed when opportunities arise. And we will admit to just enough nebulous personal sin to keep our orthodoxy intact.

But as void of pathos for the lives of others are contained in those two posts, the current post must be placed in the self righteous hall of fame with a special recognition of manipulation through the leveraging of the failures of others.


Wow. Just wow. Now the life and struggles of the young man named Potts can be used to both tout the increasing readership of your site, as well as shamelessly plugging for money. Do you see what has happened here? I mean just the first sentence is an incredible moment of self serving rhetoric.

As you know Apprising Ministries is blessed by God to be one of His leading online apologetics and discernment works helping to blaze a new mission field that was previously largely unused.”

If you cannot see the palpable self righteous spirit in those words than I probably cannot help you see it. Blazing new mission fields? Never mind. Those words were written by the administrator himself. But to use Randy Potts in your post title in order to peak the interest of the readers, and then go into your reader count, is unconscionable. And then when you post positive choir e-mails to launch into a plea for funds it is carnal genius.

Yes, I disagree with the emergent theology and the health and wealth movement and many other segments of evangelicalism. But it breaks my heart when young men like Potts abandon the struggle and surrender to themselves. But it makes me sick when I see online discernment “ministries” use those personal travails as leverage for their own purposes and as nourishment for their reader’s flesh. I am guilty of much, and I struggle with self righteousness and other sins, but I will quit blogging if I ever sink to feeding upon the sins and struggles of others, and if I ever stop challenging myself and my readers to deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords of their own spiritual tents.

A final note: Please do not send money. (I know, self righteousness by me.)


Ken Silva said...

"if I ever stop challenging myself and my readers to deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords of their own spiritual tents."

If you cannot see the palpable self righteous spirit in those words than I probably cannot help you see it. Never mind. Those words were written by the administrator himself.

Rick Frueh said...

My post was to help the readers. I never seriously entertained the thought that you would receive any correction. Keep searching news outlets for more sensational articles which can be used to promote your "leading online discernment site".

Perhaps Miley Cyrus will come out as a lesbian. What a fund raising coup that would be! The bottom feeding is a veritable smorgasbord.

Ken Silva said...

Way to deal with the subject Rick: Hypocrisy on your part.

But then again, I know you well enough that I never seriously entertained the thought that you would receive any correction.

DMG said...

You've got Silva wrong. Exposing the darkness is not a enjoyable, self-righteous task. The Lord commands us to do so.

The comments in the blog here are no better than pointing fingers at another brother in Christ.

'Maybe some self-righteous, plank-eyed condemnation going on here also.? That will "help the readers"?

What ever happened to confidentially going to your brother if he has offended you in any way?

Ps. 101:5
Rms. 12:3-5
1 Cor. 3:18

what does scripture say here?-> "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." Eph.5:11

Who is judging who?

Rick Frueh said...

The comment section is open.

John Marsh said...

One thing for sure Jesus would be eating and drinking with Randy Potts. What a wonderful conversation and time that would be.

Rick Frueh said...

Exactly, John. Jesus would not have posted about His sin, He would have reached out to Potts in redemption. When we amplify the sin of others we consciously downplay our own.

He came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Ken Silva said...

"He came not into the world to condemn the world,..."

Has anyone read John 3:18?

Rick Frueh said...

Exactly! That is why we are not called to condemn because the lost are already condemned. You got that correct.

That is why we are called to preach the gospel to every creature, not go around and catalogue their sins.

Ken Silva said...


It's pretty obvious that you're just not that familiar with what I actually do.

Please don't make judgments about, and ascribe motives to, things you really don't understand, ok.

The truth is, after pointing out Randy Potts had shared the sad story of his uncle's suicide in his sermon, I said:

"Having a younger brother who committed suicide not too long ago I know firsthand the pain that Potts continues it becomes painfully obvious that his uncle’s suicide has hurt him very deeply; and we do pray for him.

May our gracious God grant Randy Roberts Potts repentance and forgiveness of his sins in Jesus’ Name, which will bring him the peace he seeks."

Perhaps in haste to paint me as you have you may have missed that.

Rick Frueh said...

If that makes you feel better then so be it. A few sentences does not erase the overall tone of your posts, including satire, and it is obvious to everyone that your underlying message is not that your site leads in prayer and redemption, but that you labor in the Lord to scour the media and share unpleasant personal conflicts with those who appreciate such things.

You may defend your words if you wish, but when you attach a fundraising plea and an increase in blog visits count to a post about a young man who has same sex attractions, then your motives are suspect at the very least.

I did not paint you in haste since I have known you for several years. How long have you known Randy Potts?

Ingrid Schlueter said...

Rick, this post is rich in irony. The "overall tone" of your posts about me through the years has been pure vitriol. In fact, I would go so far as to say you were one of the worst bullies at for years--the worst because you draped your hatred in false piety and claims of love and concern. You never missed an opportunity to mock, ridicule, jeer, criticize, gossip and slander. Ken Silva is showing the ultimate love by caring enough about Randy's soul to speak truth, and unlike you, Rick, he isn't a double-minded hypocrite. He is consistent. You are all over the map depending on which way the wind blows. Thank God for Ken Silva's clarity when men like you are sowing nothing but confusion.

Rick Frueh said...

And the ranks close with a woman rebuking an elder. How orthodox. This was between ken and I, and your continuing dredge of past issues reveals your unwillingness to let it go.

Ken, and especially you, Ingrid, are what is wrong with the internet version of Christianity. And your definition of redemptive love is at odds with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But I am happy to see you run to Ken's defense. If one of my sons comes out as gay, I will notify you immediately so you can show him some "love" by posting about him.

Ken Silva said...

"you draped your hatred in false piety and claims of love and concern. You never missed an opportunity to mock, ridicule, jeer, criticize, gossip and slander."

Well said Ingrid. Iclarly showed him the context from which my later posts concernig Potts sprang. Potts chose to get snarky with me afterward, his choice.

Yet, like you just said, Rick responds with the self-righteous judgmental comment to me above,

"your underlying message is not that your site leads in prayer and redemption, but that you labor in the Lord to scour the media and share unpleasant personal conflicts,"...

As his pals at PPP would say, now he's the Holy Spirit who knows all things. Nay Jesus forgive him for mocking one of His pastors.

Rick Frueh said...

The comment section remains open.

Ken Silva said...

"The comment section remains open."

Isn't this being self-serving statement? You're the man for not shutting it down?

Hmmm. You should repent for misjudging my motives because the evidence in this case really does prove otherwise.

Rick Frueh said...

A joke, Ken. Really. I don't believe I've ever shut down a comment section. Probably because my comment sections are usually small and run their course.

Ken Silva said...

Seriously though, you really shouldn't judge Ingrid's motives, or mine. It's not your place.

Say what you will about me but I never judge people's reasons for their spiritual monkey business, and neither should you.

Anonymous said...

Ken and Ingrid, when will you repent?

Peter said...

I'm with Rick on this. Ken's posts (in other cases as well) do come across as being written in the wrong spirit. It's a common problem with discernment ministries.

Rick's recent post on "Only Half Orthodox" is very relevant here. The character and mind of Christ are just as important as your statement of faith.

Anonymous said...

Oh my...
I can almost hear their teeth gnashing. Ken and Ingrid are showing their true natures.

I used to listen to Ingrid on the radio once in awhile but her self-righteous tone was just more than I could take.

Rick, I've never known your articles to be anything but humble and truthful. You have taught us so much and I thank you.
May you always prayerfully go with God in all you do and say.
In a conflict like this it is easy to stray from Christ's teaching and I pray you don't do that.


Anonymous said...

I am not an "imitator of Christ." (Neither are you, by the way).

I am nothing more than a living example of God's immeasurable and boundless mercy.

There are no imitators of Christ. It is the height of arrogance to even think such a thing, in my opinion.


Rick Frueh said...

Eph.5:1 - Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; (NASV)

It appears 6 or 7 times in the New Testament. We all fall short, of course.