Gather’ round, church checkers. It’s time to prepare for the onslaught of hate we’re about to receive.
We're about to post something serious, and I’m expecting a lot of blowback from a certain church’s devoted followers, as well as the church itself. So in anticipation of that, I thought it would be a good idea to get my response out preemptively.
So, if you’re here because you just discovered our little bombshell and you hate me for it and you don’t believe anything I say, please consider the following.
Personal Attacks Don't Disprove My Claims
It might make you feel better to find something about me you don’t like and justify your hatred of me, but it doesn’t do anything to change the facts of what I’ve presented. In fact, this kind of response to being presented with an argument is called an ad hominem attack.
If I tell you 2+2=4 and you say I look like I just got kicked in the face by a mule, my statement still stands and you’ve done nothing to refute my claim. You’re just angry that I’ve said something you don’t like or agree with, but rather than responding with your own facts or claims, you attack me personally instead, because you don’t have any facts or claims to refute mine, and you want to hurt me.
People who respond to information or ideas they don’t like with personal attacks are both exposing their own inability to reason for their own ideas and beliefs and their inherently abusive nature as individuals. If you have a good reason to disagree with me or have information to refute my claims, why lower yourself to mud slinging? I’ll tell you why: because you’re not interested in polite, Christian discussion. You want to hurt me.
Think about what I’ve claimed, then do what you can to refute those claims. Leave my funny looking face out of it… friend ;).
My Views on Non-Essential Doctrines Are Irrelevant to What I’ve Presented
Another common tactic of haters when presented with ideas and information they don’t like or agree with is the fallacy of the red herring (distraction). Focusing on other things that have nothing to do with what I’ve just presented, like dogmas and doctrines, is an easy way to ignore my claims entirely, and can even be another way of attacking me personally, rather than addressing the argument itself.
Yes, I am good friends with Shawn McCraney, I attended his church, CAMPUS, for its entire existence (both in person and virtually), I was an avid watcher of Heart of the Matter for most of its existence, and now I am a member of cult (Christian Ultra-Libertarians for Truth). I don’t agree with everything Shawn believes and teaches, and since he is an Ultra-Libertarian Christian who claims no authority over me and what I believe as a free Christian, it’s never mattered to either of us.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter when discussing the facts and claims I’ve presented in my Church Checks, Red Flag Reports, including the bombshell we just dropped. If you want to know what I believe as a Christian, we have a Statement of Faith on the website, but regardless of whether you agree with everything I believe as a Christian or not, the facts of what I write in each post for Check My Church remain unscathed, unless you address those facts themselves.
I could be wrong about this doctrine or that dogma that you follow, but it doesn’t make me wrong about everything, and the red herring of dogma and doctrine won’t do anything to refute what I’ve presented to you outside of those topics.
It’s Not Slander if it’s True
A common reaction from those being accused of the things I’ve presented is to call their accuser a liar and a slanderer, which ironically, is itself a lie and a slander against the accuser. Certainly in this case it is, anyway. Unless you can prove that what I’ve presented is false.
Projection is a common practice amongst narcissistic wolves. It’s basically the act of accusing others of the very acts and ideas they practice themselves. Almost like a confession even, if you know that the person doing th accusing is a narcissist, or has exhibited signs and red flags of being one. It’s hypocrisy and confession rolled into one.
So here’s a quick reminder: It’s not slander if it’s true, and you can read for yourself that it is undeniably true. I would have to be insane or stupid to slander a public figure in this day and age. I would get sued for everything I’m worth, which ain’t much, but still. Defamation is against the law, and I take that very seriously. If I don’t believe something to be true, I don’t publish it, and if I believe it, I make sure I can prove it.
Anyone calling my claims slander should put their money where their mouth is, or guard their tongue at the risk of slandering others.
No, It’s Not Gossip Either
Gossip and slander are somewhat synonymous, and just like slander, if you’re telling the truth, you’re not gossiping. This is a common accusation launched against whistleblowers and anyone that exposes the truth when it makes the liars look bad. But it’s yet another fallacy.
Cherry-picking words used in Scripture to condemn people as sinners when someone says something you don’t agree with or want to hear is intellectually dishonest and malicious. It’s actually gossip and slander itself, ironically.
Just as narcissists will project their slander onto others, they’ll project gossip as well. While they’re flinging accusations at you, they’re probably literally badmouthing you and talking about you behind your back in the very next minute.
But lastly on this point, it’s not gossip if it’s in a public forum, not behind the subject’s back. Nor is it gossip if you go to the person you’re talking about before you publicly confront them to try to reason with them in private first. Which is exactly what I do, and most definitely what I did regarding our upcoming Red Flag Report.
Protecting Victims Doesn’t Tear Down the Church, It Builds It Up
My goal is not to tear down the Christian Church. I am a part of it. All believers in Jesus Christ are a part of His Body, of which He is the head. And protecting His sheep, feeding them, exposing wolves, and working to separate the wolves from the flock doesn’t tear down the Church. It builds it up.
The Body of Christ is sick right now. It’s jammed full of wolves in sheep’s clothing. If we don’t do something about it now, it will only get worse. That’s what’s tearing down the Church, people. The wolves. Not the watchdogs. Don’t misdirect your anger. Your church is not THE Church and your pastor is not Jesus. If he fails and falls for being exposed as a wolf, it does nothing to the Body of Christ. It only helps to further strengthen it by getting rid of frauds, liars, abusers, and cult leaders.
Your pastor might be a very good speaker. A great debater. An excellent teacher. That doesn’t make them a good person. That doesn’t mean they’re filled with the Holy Spirit of God. That doesn’t mean they’re even a Christian. Don’t get trapped in the idolatry of your “awesome” church and your “amazing” pastor. Keep your eyes on Christ, because the men you exalt who take authority and power in His name will fail you. And they are not Christ.
This Isn’t About Me
It’s tempting to make this about me. You can hate me and find flaws with me and by making me the problem, you can ignore the real problem. You can avoid the truth that I’ve offered you. Would you believe it if it came from someone else? Someone you know, trust, respect, and love? Think about that, and if the messenger is really what determines whether you believe the message or not, take me out of the equation entirely. Because I don’t matter.
I’m just a medium. I’m a pen and a piece of the paper. A laptop and a website. A megaphone. What matters is the voices of the people I’m amplifying. So think about them. The victims. They’re real. They have nothing to gain by slandering and gossiping about your pastor or church, and everything to lose. They have no one on their side and everyone working against them. It takes courage to stand up and even admit what happened to them because of the vitriol and hatred they get just for suggesting your pastor isn’t perfect.
Consider that, please. Consider where they’re coming from, and why. Sometimes people do lie, for money, for fame, to be malicious, or to protect their pride. The liars don’t always end up on the same side. But we can learn how to discern who is who in these scenarios, and we must not blindly paint everyone in one group with the same brush. It’s not that simple.
Ask yourself what your pastor could do to lose your loyalty and your support. If he couldn’t possibly do anything to cause you to walk away, you’re not in a church, you’re in a cult. If you can admit to yourself that there are things he could do to lose your support, then ask yourself if it’s possible he could actually do those things.
With so much fraud, so much abuse, and so many scandals in the Church today, isn’t it possible that your pastor isn’t perfect? Isn’t it possible that in their powerful and authoritative position of good reputation and stature, they have darkness within them? That they could have let the fame and fortune get to them? That they’ve become prideful, or worldly in some sense?
If you can admit these things to yourself, you can read what I’ve presented more objectively and consider the facts. You can work to discern what’s true, and who is lying. Give the voices I try to amplify a chance, and hear them out before you jump to conclusions or automatically accuse them of being something they most likely are not.
And once you can admit to yourself that you’re not really mad at me or the victims of the wolf’s abuse, but the wolf himself, you can begin to see things more rationally and clearly. He’s the one you should be mad at. Your loyalty to your church wouldn’t have to be tested if the wolf wasn’t putting you in that position in the first place. Your years of service, donations, support, and all other manners of investment into your church and its leadership wouldn’t be on the line if they didn’t drop the ball.
If the wolf wasn’t abusing the flock, their victims wouldn't be exposing them, accusing them, or calling them out. Getting angry at truth tellers rather than the lying wolves is misguided, but I understand your position. You don’t want to feel or look foolish by getting caught following a wolf. You’re invested in his image almost as much as he is.
But you’re not a fool. I’ve been where you are. We all have. No one wants to follow a wolf, and no one wants to feel or look stupid. You don’t want to admit what could very likely be true. The fact is that as sheep, we are very foolish at times. It’s only Christ that keeps us safe, but wolves are cunning and crafty. They’re manipulative and deceptive and ravenous. And they never look like wolves.
In conclusion, try to focus on the facts and the evidence, church checkers, not the people. What matters is the truth, not who is telling it. I am no one. I'm stupid, I'm unorthodox, and I'm a "cult follower". Hate me if it makes you feel better, but prove me wrong while you're at it, if you can. And when you find that you can't, know that I never hated you. And I'm sorry that your pastor lied to you. You're not alone, and you're always welcome here.