Bill Riedel writes an article for The Gospel Coalition that warns of both a gutted and truncated gospel. The article in light of how Redemption Hill handles its problems or behaves reveals the flaws in this church. Once again the emperor is naked. Its time for the emperor to stop walking around with his exposed ass cheeks on Capitol Hill.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Bill Riedel’s Redemption Hill is an Acts 29 and EFCA church here in the Washington, D.C. area. This is a church that is having problems. Abuse and concern by people who once were involved raise questions about Bill Riedel’s control issues. You can read about that in, “A 2 Year Attender Leaves a Concerning Google Review of Acts 29 Redemption Hill in Washington, D.C. and This Blog Would Like to Get More Information.” Then there was another comment by a female that dealt with how women are treated at Redemption Hill. You can read that in, “A Female Encounters Fundamentalism at Bill Riedel’s Redemption Hill in Washington, D.C., and an Acts 29 Church Goes into Damage Control.” Then there is the growing relationship between Redemption Hill and Redeemer Arlington. This blog was triggered out of a spiritual abuse situation that grew from a person in leadership at Redeemer Arlington. It was a situation in which a leader at Redeemer and Air Force officer years ago taught me why rape and sexual assault is a problem through a false accusation he triggered. You can read about that in this blog’s archives. To read more about the relationship between Redeemer and Redemption Hill you can do so in, “Looking at the Relationship Between Bill Riedel’s Redemption Hill and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington.” Recently Bill Riedel wrote another article for The Gospel Coalition called, “Don’t Gut or Truncate the Gospel.” Let’s look at that article and then let’s analyze it in the context of the issues at Redemption Gill church.
Bill Riedels’ “Don’t Truncate The Gospel.”
Bill Riedel writes an article that deals with how to present the Gospel especially during times of racial strife and unrest. Bill claims that too often people are discipled by political perspectives and platforms. And pastors are responsible for avoiding the political rhetoric. The Gospel narrative according to Riedel is creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Churches that focus on restoration and creation result in a social gospel. They minimize Jesus atonement on the cross and they don’t preach about people being sinful for fear of offending people. This is what a gutted gospel is and this is how Bill Riedel ends this section. “This is the temptation of the Christian left. Follow it, and you might make disciples, but not of Jesus. The irony is that this focus looks to politics as savior. The perspective fails to account fully for human depravity and the need for a personal encounter with the Son of God. So it works to implement Christian perspectives without a call to Christ.”
Meanwhile a truncated gospel emphasizes fall and redemption. In this scenario the message is , “You’re a sinner. repent!.” And that is where it lies. As a result they miss opportunities to minimize oppression and be a force multiplier for the Gospel. Here is what Bill Riedel writes. “The irony here is that over-conflation of civil religion into politics has wrongly divided biblical Christianity from speaking into politics at all. Calls to “Just preach the gospel!” are often more concerned with personal rights than the collective good, ignoring that the gospel is bigger than our individual salvation stories. This is the temptation of the Christian right. It’s a truncated gospel that fails to connect Christ’s work on the cross to his work through his people. Cries of “Just preach the gospel!” in the face of racial injustice too often represent a failure to love our neighbor. We’re still stuck asking Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).”
What needs to happen is that to combat racial injustice church planters have to represent the entire Gospel. He goes on and says the following. “All things are made by God to reflect his glory, and all people bear his image and likeness and are worthy of dignity and love. All creation has been affected by the power and dominion of sin. Total depravity means that every person, and the structures and systems of this world, are bent by sin.” He calls on people to educate themselves about blind spots and to look at at ways to preach the gospel. Again this blog encourages you to read the article Riedel composed for The Gospel Coalition.
Bill Riedels’ Gutted Gospel
When I saw this article and what Bill Riedel communicates as “The Gospel.” Part of me wanted to laugh, while another part wanted to throw a pen across the room. Here is the problem…Redemption Hill isn’t living these values out and the outside world sees these issues. Bill Riedel might as well go out buck naked, with his ass cheeks exposed to the world and might as well march up and down nearby Pennsylvania Avenue. The honest truth is that Redemption Hill guts the gospel every day by their existence and how they operate. People leave Redemption Hill and leave negative reviews on Google that are warnings of spiritual abuse and problems in this church. Does Redemption Hill try and be a peacemaker? After all didn’t Jesus say blessed are the peacemakers? If Bill Riedel can’t make peace or build bridges with people who have left his church hurt how can he address the issues of racial injustice? Quite simply he can’t. Maybe he thinks he is making a difference but instead he just perpetuates the problem.
Then he ignores and silence his critics of those who have questions. This is an Acts 29 church that silences dissent on Twitter and blocks people left and right. Whereas Jesus responded to questions with questions Bill Riedel responds with an iron fist. But of all the problems mentioned above what this blog considers to be the most sickening is to throw a lifeline or means of support. to an abusive or questionable church. I mean Redemption Hill is a church that has actively worked to help churches that abuse and hurt people. Only a sick organization would act like that in the Washington, D.C. What Bill Riedel has done is empower churches like Redeemer Arlington which reveals that he doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the Gospel. If he did he wouldn’t empower those who wound and hurt it. This blog’s main contention is that people need to cease thinking of churches like Redemption Hill as a church, and instead think of it as a business out to make money. When you consider the model the use, church planting, partnering with abusive churches and more you quickly realize that in the end this is all about money. Despite what Bill Riedel writes at The Gospel Coalition, Redemption guts the Gospel every single day. And because of that this article Riedel wrote doesn’t endure scrutiny. When this pandemic is over if Bill Riedel wants to meet and discuss the criticisms and more this blogger will be happy to meet and discuss. I certainly don’y hide behind a computer screen.