The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, ESV)

So, Who’s Really Selling Hate?

Apprising Ministries is pleased to point you to an article by Sandy Simpson of Deception of the Church, who was among the very first people to show kindness to me when AM first came online late August of 2005; I’ve never forgotten that and I appreciate his labors in the Lord very much. Simpson’s article below addresses the subject of how Emergent Church leaders, and anyone simply wishing to marginalize a ministry, are using the derogatory term ODM. It’s shorthand for “online discernment ministry”; and once it’s been slapped upon a given website, it then becomes one of the new lepers.

No longer does one feel they have to deal with the substance of what that so-called ODM may say, no matter how copious the evidence presented; instead, the writer is deemed worthy of disrespect and considered an ignorant “fighting fundy” with as much to offer the church as a Fred Phelps. Consider the following from “Phoenix Preacher” Michael Newnham in the comments section of his post Selling Hate, which specifically concerns this online apologetics and discernment work and Lighthouse Trails Research (LTR). LTR, also a publishing company, has been a pioneer in this field and AM is an outreach on the local church where I’m pastor-teacher.

Pastor Newnham says, “I’ll be blunt…I think that these people are being used by hell to divide and weaken the church [1]; as well as:

(Online source)

Interesting; one can only imagine what the reaction would be had I said something like the above. Newnham also quotes me from my post Emerging Church Theologian Leonard Sweet And Calvary Chapel Of Albuquerque where I said issues such as those surrounding this Saga of Sweet, and his allegedly being asked not to speak at CoA, is becoming a good example of the very real reason why Jesus has sent forth online apologetics and discernment ministries in the first place. Newnham opines: “Jesus didn’t send out these ministries. It’s past time to call these what they are… parachurch entities based on selling hate and fear.” [2]

His speculations about our “selling hate and fear” aside, Newnham has now placed us upon this ground: Either I know, as the pastor of my local church, what Jesus has asked us to do with this Apprising Ministries website—which was quite literally given to us by someone who felt the Lord wanted them to buy the domain and set it up as “an Internet pulpit” for me—or pastor Newnham does. He then continues with his ad hominem versus LTR and myself:

Without a continual creation of contrived religious bogey men these hacks would have to find a real job. They make their money dividing the Body of Christ and demonizing brethren who disagree with their myopic view of the faith… They aren’t interested in truth, they’re not interested in the Body of Christ, they’re interested in having an income. (Online source)

Apparently the crux of the matter for Newnham is, “Leonard Sweet denounces the ‘new age’ teachings they brand him with and he’s publicly criticized the emergent movement.” Really; I monitor the neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church very closely and, up until now, I seem to have missed Sweet’s public denunciation of the new version of newer postmodern form of big tent Progressive Christianity, which his friend EC guru Brian McLaren began laying out more systematically in his latest book A New Kind of Christianity. My own position is stated well by an actual man of God in what Charles Spurgeon says below.

Speaking about the modern liberalism of his day Spurgeon wrote:

A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!…

A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watch-dogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory, and man of his hope. For the present it behoves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord.
(Online source)

In other words, if you’re in the faith, you’ll come right out and say so; e.g. no one could ever miss where I stand, because I have clearly stated what I believe. Have you made the time to read the comment sections concerning what men like Leonard Sweet, or Emergence Christianity rock star Rob Bell, are teaching; it’s filled with person after person saying this: Well, what I think he was saying is… Which now brings me to Sandy Simpson’s article On Emergent Church leaders calling apologetics and discernment Online Discernment Ministries (ODM) where yesterday he lays out the other side of this story:

It does not surprise me at all the prominent Emergent Church (EC) leadership and other associated with that movement would use name calling as a way to try to shut up opposition to their false teachings.  This is typical for Christian liberals.  Rather than answer to what they have been writing in their books and teaching on in public for years, they resort to name calling.  The term they are using lately is ODM meaning online discernment ministries. 

They use that term in a disparaging way but the term itself shows that they do not know how to do research and are not interested in the facts about many apologetics ministries.  They did not bother to find out that many discernment ministries, such as mine, were around not only before Twitter, Facebook and blogs but around before there was even a viable Internet. I was posting discernment articles on a BBS (bulletin board service), for those of you with long memories, long before the Internet came to my area of the world. 

By area of the world I mean I have been a commissioned foreign missionary since 1989 and my parents since 1962… Not only have the EC leaders “dissed” me but also hundreds of other ministries whose careful research and articles are posted on my Deception In The Church web site.  None of those I associate with are little conspiracy theory nuts who run web sites out of their garages.  Most of those associated with my site, whom these EC leaders are trying to sideline, are pastors (some with large churches), teachers, missionaries, apologists, professors and other concerned Christians. 

When they write articles they give citations as to where the quotes they are using can be found and are very exact in their criticisms, yes, criticisms of false teaching and false prophecy… Leonard Sweet recently used the term ODM in an alleged attempt to justify himself.  He tried to defend himself to say he believes in the core doctrines of the Church.  What he did not say is how his books end up denying most of the core doctrines; in particular the nature of God and the condition of man. 

I am not telling people to necessarily listen to me.  They can read the quotes in the following article and decide for themselves if Sweet is a true Biblical believer.  We don’t judge his final salvation but we can judge whether or not he is teaching heresy and if we should then stop listening to him and reading his books.  I leave that up to you.  I have made my decision BASED ON THE FACTS! [see] Leonard Sweet Quotes compiled by Sandy Simpson, 3/10 (Online source)

You can read Sandy Simpson’s article in its entirety right here.


1. http://tinyurl.com/26kbw2v, accessed 5/15/10.
2. Ibid.

HT: Surph’s Side

See also: