Tackling the issue of when Christians are silent on corruption. What happens when Christians choose to look away and not do the right thing. Why the world sees through their behavior. I write about this after watching the shifting polity at McLean Bible here in the Washington, D.C. area. When people are silent on abuse or unethical situations then in time they became enablers. Its hard to speak up yes, I did it both with Redeemer Arlington and Fairfax Community Church. But one must speak up in the end.
“Before the military coup in Chile, we had the idea that military coups happen in Banana Republics, somewhere in Central America. It would never happen in Chile. Chile was such a solid democracy. And when it happened, it had brutal characteristics.”
“If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the Gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see Gospel built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being Reformed, basically being something like this New Calvinism.“
Then Jesus wept.
John 11:35 NLT
Why you break the story of what is going on at McLean Bible. Each person in this photo is why one speaks up.
These past few days at The Wondering Eagle I have been writing about the coup going on at McLean Bible. I attended McLean Bible yesterday morning and the slick dishonest behavior by Dale Sutherland came through before he introduced David Platt. From what I observed at the Town Hall meeting on September 21, I have a feeling in my gut that something dark and sinister went on behind on the scenes at McLean Bible. You can read more in “An Overview of McLean Bible’s Townhall Meeting; Plus is McLean Bible Controlling the Question Process?” and “The Theological Coup Taking Place at McLean Bible and Why The Wondering Eagle is Calling for David Platt to be Rejected for the Health of the Church.” What is going on at McLean Bible is dark and more representative of what you would find in Chicago city politics. But before we get into that aspect let’s look at one of the issues that makes evangelical Christianity so profoundly sick and diseased today. And that is the topic of when Christians stay silent on corruption.
When Christians are Silent on Corruption
I have written about this topic in different ways. For example in the following post I ask the question if Christians have a warped sense of what peace is? And is that warped sense of peace why much of evangelicalism is so profoundly toxic? Is that why there is no peace in many evangelical churches? You can read more in “Do Evangelical Christians Have a Flawed Understanding of What Peace Is?” In another post I also wrote about why people like myself wrote about church corruption issues. I see people who write about these issues being ahead of the curve and seeing the problems and having a greater understanding of the issue than many pastors, ministries, para-church leaders or Christian counselors. In the following post I look at how there was resistance to the creation of the United States National Park Service but the vision of some was far ahead of its time. “Why Write about Church Corruption, Systemic and Systematic Issues? Lessons from the Creation of the National Park Service in 1916.” Then there is this other post that talks about how its best for the church to hang out its dirty laundry and deal with problems in a very public manner. Sometimes when Christians say that the image of the church or the cause of Christ must be preserved and you stay silent you cause more problems for the Christian faith. What happens instead is that those who tow that line undermine the Christian faith altogether. What occurs is that silence enables questionable activity and that empowers questionable people. Being silent in my view is being complicit in the end. I am not being a fundamentalist, instead I am being realistic. To read more about this go to “Why the Modern Evangelical Church Needs to Air its Dirty Laundry: Lessons from the Challenger Disaster and Ronald Reagan’s Call for Soviet Transparency.”
Yes Its Hard to Speak Up I Know, But Speak Up One Must
I know why people are tempted to stay silent. I also understand how hard it is to speak up and challenge a church or a popular minister or question the actions of someone like Dale Sutherland who I believe is the key to the situation with the hijacking of McLean Bible. Yes its hard to speak up and blow the whistle. Its even harder when people think churches like McLean Bible have a legitimate church government when in the end they do not. This is quite frequent and happens in many churches not just in the Washington, D.C. area but across the United States. I have written about two difficult situations that I blew the whistle on in a very personal way. I wrote about my attempted recruitment to Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. I wrote about how I learned why rape and sexual assault is a problem in the military when an Air Force Captain who was discipled by Jordan Kauflin made a false accusation that threatened my name, ability to earn income and more. That is “sound doctrine” in Neo-Calvinism. You can read more about this which I pour out to the world in both “How I Managed a False Accusation Given Birth to by a USAF Captain and Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington for 408 Days” and “An Open Letter to Andrew White.” But it doesn’t end with Redeemer Arlington in my case but also goes to Rod Stafford’s Fairfax Community Church. I was the one who stumbled across the situation that Rod Stafford had hired and placed in a critical role a violent sexual offender on the Virginia registry. I knew that the church was being dishonest and misleading people. I blew the whistle and contacted SNAP which lead to protests and more. That happened when I wrote about Erik Nickle in this following post. “Why Does Fairfax Community Church have a Care Director on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry?” Or my letter to Rod Stafford in “An Open Letter to my Former Senior Pastor Rod Stafford (Fairfax Community Church)” This situation at Fairfax Community Church still is playing out and I am still writing about these problems. I write all this to say that yes, its’ hard to speak up and speak out. I was frightened, afraid and scared. I have been there and had to do the same thing. But I couldn’t live with the consequences of know that I could have prevented someone from being sexually assaulted, or entangled and hurt in a questionable church like Redeemer Arlington. If I was silent in these issues then I would be complicit. My conscious is what guided me, and you know in the grand scheme of things I was vindicated. When I get an email from someone who says, “I was thinking of getting involved in this church, but then I read what you wrote…we decided to stay away.” That tells me that I did the right thing. That is why I do what I do. I will never find peace in my mess but maybe a way is to prevent others from going through the crap that I endured. Maybe that is the way for me to find peace.
Program from my Mom’s funeral…
Why People Should Intervene…
It absolutely astounds me that so many Christians will talk about the glory of God, or displaying God’s will while there is wreckage or hubris in its wake. It profoundly baffles me that someone like McLean Bible elder Tom McMahon can stand before the church like I witnessed at McLean Bible on September 21, 2017 and talk about giving an account to the Lord when the effects of this disaster are just the opposite. The fact that people could be ensnared in 9 Marks membership covenants, burned out or fried troubles me. The fact that in the future people will walk away and say “fuck it” to the faith because of how much they were fried is disturbing. And as a result they are done. These are the reasons why you intervene. Look at that picture I took in the McLean Bible lobby on Sunday morning up above. Study each face, look at the people and contemplate that spiritual abuse is going to be affecting them in the near future. That is why you speak out and should intervene, Again let me draw from my mess with Redeemer Arlington that I think discredits McLean Bible. When Redeemer Arlington joined the New City Network my blog was also going to write more about McLean Bible. It was inevitable, especially if the church brought Redeemer Arlington under its wing. And so I continued to write about it. I wrote about how I learned rape and sexual assault is a problem in the military. I wrote about the PTSD that followed and the pain that endured. Then tragically I wrote about how this issue dragged into my Mom’s hospital room as she was ill and dealing with the illness that would take her life. My Mom would be dealing with delirium and one day ask me about my efforts to secure new employment because of what happened, and then the following day couldn’t recognize her own son. I wrote about this painful situation in “Was Redeemer Arlington Removed From McLean Bible’s New City Network? The Wondering Eagle Asks Why? Plus how Spiritual Abuse from Redeemer Affected My Mother and Popped up in Her Hospital Room When She was Ill.” The fact of the matter is that you intervene so that stuff like what I wrote about, and will write about in the days, weeks and months to come wouldn’t come to fruition. The question is…if McLean Bible in the end isn’t going to care about spiritual abuse popping up in the dying process of my Mom, then are they going to care about Dale Southerland allegedly doing a coup at McLean Bible which is what I believe is happening? For me it was telling that as Redeemer Arlington affiliated with McLean Bible and as I wrote about it no one from McLane reached out to inquire or say, “let’s talk.” Jesus once said blessed are the peacemakers. In the evangelical world the peacemakers are damned to hell. But when so many people at McLean had the opportunity to inquire and did not then that speaks volumes about the direction and health of this church.
The fact of the matter is that when McLean Bible is more consumed with their perceived image than in doing the right thing their image takes a massive hit. The world sees through the bullshit and really no one is fooled. The disturbing aspect about this post is that that some of the staff at McLean Bible are going to be more upset about some of the language than over the fact that spiritual abuse popped up in my Mom’s hospital room, or that Dale Southerland allegedly worked at pulling off a coup at McLean Bible. If that is how McLean Bible is going to operate, then its just best that it shut its doors and become a parking lot. Because the fact of the manner is that many atheists and those in the secular humanist realm will look at what is going on and their atheism will be rightfully validated. There are legitimate reasons for being an atheist and it happens in situations like the one playing out now. Shady backroom style Chicago politics is an affront to the Christian faith. The inability of Christians to police and clean their own world is why the evangelical Christian faith is largely fraudulent. Doing the right thing is hard, but in the end it pays dividends and works itself out in the course of time. The Wondering Eagle is going to be writing quite a bit about McLean Bible. As this church is hijacked if any refugees from McLean Bible want to help me write this blog they are welcome.