And it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
(Hebrews 5:11-14, NASB)

The Incorrect Critique Of A Self-Appointed Judge

Since Attack Dogs of Christendom from the August 2007 edition of Christianity Today by David Aikman has now been posted on the CT website I have seen a marked jump in traffic at Apprising Ministries and in email inquiries. I had decided to just leave the article alone but now with renewed interest it seems best that I respond further.

First I will show you specifically what Aikman had to say about Apprising Ministries, share with you rebuttals from a couple of fellow ministers of the Gospel, and then in Part Two I will set Aikman’s wrong record straight. He said:

What disturbs me, however, is the extent to which some Christians have turned themselves into the self-appointed attack dogs of Christendom. They seem determined to savage not only opponents of Christianity, but also fellow believers of whose doctrinal positions they disapprove.

A troll through the Internet reveals websites so drenched in sarcasm and animosity that an agnostic, or a follower of another faith tradition interested in what it means to become a Christian, might be permanently disillusioned.

None of the major figures of American Protestantism in the past quarter-century have been spared from attack, from Billy Graham to Rick Warren, from Tim LaHaye to Robert Schuller. The attacks, moreover, are not reasoned or modestly couched criticism, but blasts of ire determined to discredit beyond redemption the targets of the criticism.

The angriest websites are those belonging to small, but disturbingly visible, fundamentalist Protestant groups outraged that fellow Protestants appear to be holding out a welcoming hand to Catholics or Orthodox Christians.

Leading the charge against alleged ecumenists is Apprising Ministries (AM), a New Hampshire-based group whose leader is Southern Baptist pastor Ken Silva. Rick Warren, according to AM, is a “milquetoast.” Schuller and the late Norman Vincent Peale are “the devil’s duo.” Richard Foster (a leading Quaker writer on Christian spirituality), Brian McLaren (a leader in the emerging church movement), and Joel Osteen (pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston) are “vipers of new evangelicalism” and “whitewashed tombs.” Through the Web, such commentary gains a global audience–Christian and non-Christian. (Online source)

Some Other Voices From Outside Apostatizing Evangelicalism

Both of these men gave me permission to share the letters below, which they have also sent to Christianity Today. We all feel they have about as much chance of appearing in CT as the Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren does to succeed D.A. Waite as President of The Dean Burgon Society.

The first is from Sandy Simpson of the website Deception In The Church. When I first came online two years ago as a complete unknown he was one the very first to offer me encouragement. Sandy writes:

Re: Attack Dogs of Christendom

The reason some so-called Christians (who are really false teachers) are being exposed in public is because these guys and gals have done what they did IN PUBLIC. They are answerable in public just as they were in the first century. We are to mark and avoid false teachers and we are to show clearly that true biblical believers are NOT associated with those who bring down the cause of Christ. How else will unbelievers know the difference between false Christianity and true biblical Christianity? This type of apologetic has always been done and it will continue to be done as long as there are loud vocal unrepentant false teachers cluttering up the airwaves with their heresy.

I would counter .. stop attacking mature Christians who have discernment and start defending them. We are to stand for the truth in love. To whitewash false teaching in public is not love at all, it is hate.

In Christ,
Sandy Simpson
ACT [Apologetics Coordination Team]

And then there’s this from Dr. Bill Jackson of Christians Evangelizing Catholics, who has been so kind to me over the many years I’ve been in ministry. After he sent this to CT Bill then mailed me a copy as well:

Regarding “Attack Dogs of Christendom,” (August 2007), if Mr. Aikman is disturbed by Ken Silva and David Cloud, he should read Matthew 23.

Jesus also instructed us in John 7:24 to “judge righteous judgments.”

Mr. Aikman’s implied approval of all the ministries and men singled out by the “attack dogs” demonstrates a lack of discernment on his part.

If some of their choice of words seems less than civil, I would rather have them shout too loudly than be silent. I liken them to watch dogs whose bark may disturb me, but they are used to warn of real problems.

Evangelicalism is the home of too many men who are silent concerning the grave ecumenical threats of disobedient Christians.

Yours in Christ,

Bill Jackson

Caution: Ministries May Appear Smaller Than They Actually Are

In closing this part out let me also address a couple of issues which surround Aikman’s attack on the Lord’s work here at Apprising Ministries. I certainly have no problem with someone coming hard at me. You won’t catch me whining. And I always try to turn the other cheek; however, left no other choice, then know I am also not afraid to stand by what I have to say in Christ and I won’t shy away from confrontation. My point is; if someone chooses to back me into a corner they just might not like the result.

Above Aikman makes the comment that I am among those “small, but disturbingly visible, fundamentalist Protestant groups.” I will leave the rest of this for my next piece but I think it’s finally time for people to understand that although Apprising Ministries is only a couple of years old it is not as small as he apparently thinks it is. I haven’t felt led to discuss this publicly until now but the time seems right because this also relates to the subject of accountability.

Let the reader know that AM is actually a fully integrated auxiliary of my local church Connecticut River Baptist Church (SBC) and the leadership there helps to oversee it with a separate board of directors which includes three other ministers of the Gospel. In addition to this there are at least four other pastors who are not directly involved with me from whom I also get regular advice as well as counsel. All completely consistent with the recommendations in the Book of Proverbs.

Then out of AM itself also comes Christian Research Net with multiple volunteer contributors who are under my ministerial supervision as General Editor, four of which are also pastor-teachers themselves. AM’s leadership and board oversees all of this as well. And then from CRN extends another website Symphony of Scripture, which is a conjunction outreach from my local church with a few 22 and 23 year-old men from some churches over in Sydney, Australia. There I act as a pastoral advisor.

The Lord be praised that through AM I also have the extreme privilege of personally advising numerous pastors from all over the country. You see the Lord has literally been giving me these websites and people to work with because I have not asked for any of it. God knows that my only goal is to simply do whatever Jesus wants me to do and I actually would rather not have any attention whatsoever. Since God alone is the one Who should receive glory I have really seen no need to broadcast this, though I have disclosed it privately to people when it seemed necessary. I have hidden absolutely nothing and even in the face of many detractors I have maintained proper Christian ethic and not “boasted” of these privileges publicly.

I am only speaking now in defense of CT’s criticism of me regarding proper Christian civility. You should see now the fact is there are many of us who feel as I do. And in addition I am so blessed that through preaching, through encouraging, as well as advising pastors and leaders within many churches, I am actually involved with quite a bit of other types of Christian service. The many people who stand with me and guide me are pleased to let you know that my labor in the Lord extends well beyond my more controversial work in Christ here at Apprising Ministries.