This is an open letter to the Senior Pastor of Acts 29 Redemption Hill, in Washington, D.C. Bill Riedel’s church acted very immaturely in blocking me on Twitter and I have a host of questions to raise. From asking if that is how men act, to asking the following question. For those who have a history in the EFCA, who are not Neo-Calvinist do we have a place in the EFCA? Bill is going to learn that this blog exists for a reason and there is much about Redemption Hill to write about in the future.
“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”
“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.”
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 NLT
Writing this open letter to you is one of the many items on my growing pile of material to do here at The Wondering Eagle. Early in March I was back in Fresno, California attending to my Mom in a medical crisis. I was helping to feed Mom and when she took a break from eating I went through and worked my social media and noticed that Redemption Hill went on a blocking party against The Wondering Eagle. I wrote about that issue in “Bill Riedel’s Acts 29 Redemption Hill’s Blocking Party on Twitter Is Learned While I am Helping My Mom with Breakfast.” In that post I stated that I needed to write you an open letter. Bill blocking people who have a different view of faith or who ask questions is not a good idea. In the end you draw more attention to yourself at Redemption Hill. That, Bill Riedel, is foolish. Let me get into some of the reasons why acting like that reflects poorly on Redemption Hill.
How Will You Engage those who Think Differently?
Bill we live in a unique city, you and I. Washington, D.C. is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. It has arts, museums, great restaurants, and so much more. That is the positive, now the tough part about living in the D.C. area is that its transitory, hard and difficult. People here are highly educated, and come from prestigious universities. From the University of Chicago, to Princeton, to Yale, to UCLA and other top notch schools you find people with graduate degrees who call this area their home for a brief time. Its unique because you can actually go into a Starbucks, or hamburger joint and hear some detailed conversations that you could never hear in many other parts of the country. As I say that I am not being condescending to other areas of the country either. Here you could hear people talk about the Afghan elections, engineering projects or more. Next time you get a chance go into a Starbucks on Pennsylvania Ave and hang out and just listen to the conversations that go on around you. People think differently and have perspectives that stand out. So let me ask you this Bill….in the Washington, D.C. area which this Christian blogger might state is the Corinth of the United States… how will you be able to function and preach the Gospel if you can’t deal with someone who isn’t impressed with Neo-Calvinism who asks a lot of questions? If you and Jon Rees who I wrote about in “Jon Rees on Twitter and a Question I Have; How will Redemption Hill Engage Culture When Individuals Like Jon Rees Can’t Even Handle Questions or Other Points of View?” behave in such a way, how will you function? Could you imagine Jesus acting in such a way Bill? Could you imagine Jesus on Twitter engaging in a blocking party like Redemption Hill has done? Instead of the sermon of the mount can you imagine Jesus on his lap top looking at his Twitter account blocking away? Do you read about the “Blocking of the Mount” in the Bible? Acting in such a way shows how shallow your Acts 29 church is Bill. If faith is skin deep then you are bound to have problems in the end. Worse the people who ask questions and want to go into depth; well frankly Bill you won’t be prepared to engage them. From theistic evolution to the problem of evil there are some challenging issues out there and if you block first then you are woefully unprepared to engage. People here are smart, fast thinking and quick. It’s the Washington, D.C. culture. This is your backyard, and your home. It is Redemption Hill’s loss that your church chose to act in such a way. Instead of trying to look at things from other angles then you will be focused on tunnel vision Bill. In the end your church will suffer. As I recall you came from Indiana which is much different that D.C. Maybe in Indiana you could behave like this and get away with it. But not in Washington, D.C…people notice.
So Much for Acts 29 Manhood…
Acts 29 is notorious for talking about manhood. For many that means they beat their chest, while simultaneously counting the hairs on their chest. Then they boast of how many cigars and how much beer they have consumed. In other terms think of the Acts 29 movement as nothing but a mixed material arts match. Acts 29 bastardizes manhood just as pornography can warp sex. But here is the thing I find amusing. This Acts 29 church, like others, is all about acting very “manly.” Then it proceeds to act very much like a coward when they behave in this way Bill. When is running from an issue ever a way to act? Why are so many Neo-Calvinists who speak about manhood act like cowards in the end? Well…just between you and me Bill let’s also not forget that C.J. Mahaney also talked about manhood and being the jock, and what did the leader from Sovereign Grace end up doing in the end? He ran! For all the talk of being a man, he ran and hid behind Mark Dever’s ass at Capitol Hill Baptist before fleeing again to Louisville! Now that is manhood, to flee with your tail between your legs Bill! I guess Redemption Hill also chooses to run in their own way by behaving in such a manner in which they block people on Twitter. Maybe another question to ask Bill is this….when Mark Driscoll ranted about a pussified nation; could Mark have been referring to the Acts 29 network instead? Is that pussified nation present when Acts 29 churches behave the way they do? Just a thought Bill, as I am just thinking out loud.
You know Bill writing a blog like this is not easy. This is very much a full time job. I put a lot of time, effort, and work into it to maintain and write more articles. I read a lot, and you have no idea as to how much material I intellectually consume. Then I think and process and listen to a lot of sermons as well. I study them and compare and analyze them in the end. But I don’t run from my readers or critics. Look at the comments that I approve about myself Bill which are both difficult or hostile to me. There are some Kool Aid drinkers in McLean Bible, Acts 29’s Fellowship Memphis or Acts 29’s The Journey in St. Louis. How do I know? Read the posts I have written and read their responses. I don’t run from difficulty Bill. I also acknowledge mistakes and errors that are made as well. So Bill for all the talk that Acts 29 has in the end about being a man; it’s an epic fail as to how they act.
My Concern about Acts 29 in the EFCA
Bill I wrote about the EFCA and my experience in Fresno Evangelical Free. You can read about it in “A Personal Reflection on Fresno Evangelical Free Church; Known Today as The Bridge Fresno.” Then I also had a positive experience in a Free church in Wisconsin which was good. I am deeply concerned about Acts 29 churches being present in the EFCA. One could almost compare them to a virus that is infecting the host that is EFCA. I have a question to you Bill. I am not into Neo-Calvinist theology and I also have a history in the EFCA. Do those who do not subscribe to Neo-Calvinism belong in the EFCA? Do people like me belong in the denomination? All I have to do is look at the EFCA on the Virginia side of D.C. and say no… We don’t belong. From Bill Kynes Cornerstone, to the authoritative John Park’s Ambassador Bible Church, which I used as a discernment exercise, to the direction that Crossway in Manassas is going. Where are people who are not into Neo-Calvinism supposed to go? Are they supposed to become part of the dones?
Part of my concern about Acts 29 is that the DNA of Mark Driscoll is festering and growing in the EFCA. Yes…this is the same Mark Driscoll who spoke that a repentant women gets on her knees and gives her husband a “Gospel Centered” blow job. Then of course there is the “Gospel Centered” plagiarism. Acts 29 to its core is a very corrupt organization. But you cannot say that the DNA of Mark Driscoll is gone from Acts 29 when Matt Chandler’s The Village Church is also making horrific mistakes. First there was Matt Chandler’s church practicing church discipline on a wife who annulled her marriage to a child pornography addict. I have written a lot about that, but you can read the latest post in “Has Matt Chandler’s The Village Church Recovered from the Karen Hinkley/Jordan Root Scandal?” You know what I learned the other day Bill? The Village Church just gave Bryan Loritts a platform. That blows my mind given the allegations of criminal activity and alleged sex crimes that Bryan Loritts was involved in covering up at Fellowship Memphis. Basically Bryan Loritts brother-in-law Rick Trotter was into voyeurism, and as the worship pastor secretly recorded females in the restroom. Its my belief that since at least two of the females were underage and that child pornography was manufactured in a church restroom. Then when he was quietly let go and it was covered up Bryan Loritts vouched for him and helped him get another job at Richard Rieves Downtown Church. There Rick Trotter allegedly did the same thing and allegedly recorded women in the restroom for 2 years. This blog broke the story and went deeper than the Memphis Commercial Appeal did. You can read all that in “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.” Matt Chandler’s giving Bryan Loritts a platform is also on my pile of issues to write about Bill.
Why this Blog Exists
Bill, it wasn’t in my plans to be a writer. That wasn’t my wish and desire. However, on May 8, 2013 my life was drastically affected and I was thrust into the darkest season of my life with a false accusation. An Air Force Captain who Jordan Kauflin discipled threatened my ability to earn income and more. Andrew as I call him was evangelizing a disciple of the late Christopher Hitchens at the time. And yes I was a Kool Aid drinker. This false accusation was never resolved despite an attorney advising me to take up the issue with Redeemer Arlington. I tried, and as the issue dragged on it affected a lot of things. This I believe is why an attorney believed I had a defamation of character lawsuit. It just dragged on and continues today. It put me in a difficult spot and it could have been resolved so easily. So if you have any questions I will direct you to Jordan Kauflin and Eric Simmons. Ask them about the false accusation I endured from the person Jordan Kauflin discipled. Its my understanding that many of the Acts 29 churches in the Washington, D.C. area are close. Plus I have heard some interesting stories from some former members who contacted me. So I intend to write heavily about all the Acts 29 churches in my backyard. From yours to Jason Conner’s Portico Arlington to Justin Pearson’s Sojourn Fairfax. In time I want to explore and write about the Acts 29 network in the Washington, D.C. area. I don’t want another person to endure what I did Bill. Something is seriously wrong when the fruit of someone’s faith is pain, psychological trauma and his career and more is all threatened. Furthermore something is deeply dysfunctional when Jordan Kauflin can’t understand the basic’s of how a false accusation works. All I wanted to do was sit down and talk everything through and resolve it. Is that too much to ask especially for someone who is into John Piper who boasts of how strong his faith is? Its telling Bill when the atheists have more humility and love than the Neo-Calvinists. Had this been resolved Andrew could have asked me to take down the posts I wrote and I would have been okay if he understand what he did and more. This blog wants to prevent other people from going through what I endured Bill. If I have the means to keep people out of Acts 29 churches and prevent them from being harmed, then I will do everything in my power. The Acts 29 network is far from healthy, and my concerns about it come from my experiences with someone who was evangelizing me and watching the organization and listening to its former members. There is a lot more I intend to write about Redemption Hill Bill. Just give me the time and I will eventually get around to it. Despite all I have written I would love to be proven wrong. And Bill that is my challenge to you.
Looking forward to writing more about you Bill