All of man’s knowledge is now only a few clicks away. However, there is also a cesspool of deliberate disinformation in the hands of the Lord’s enemies.
One of our commitments as members of the Koinonia Institute is that we covenant to not speak about other ministries. This is a sound policy for many reasons. We may compare their publications with Scripture, but we do not presume to know the conditions of their heart. Only God knows the thoughts of the heart.1
However, it has come to our attention that there is some really bizarre misinformation being circulated that needs to be addressed.
The Most Painful Sin
Subtle or overt, gossip of any kind is probably accountable for more personal pain and suffering than most of us have any appreciation of. Gossip is a form of betrayal! Common and casual, yet it is hurtful beyond our reckoning.
The Scripture has much to say about gossip. If it is untrue, it is a violation of the commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.2
Even if true, it is still injurious. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.3 Quietly, behind the flurry of daily priorities, its venom does its silent work, undermining confidences, betraying relationships, spreading unseen injustices, and invisibly promoting misunderstandings and distrust.
Unquestionably, its most destructive form is through the unbridled (and unaccountable) megaphone of the Internet. It would seem to be unthinkable that a Christian would be guilty of demeaning those of the household of faith. This is an injury in a class by itself.
The Dark Side of the Internet
All of man’s knowledge is now only a few clicks away. However, there is also a cesspool of deliberate disinformation in the hands of the Lord’s enemies. The Internet serves as a megaphone for the ignorant and malicious, magnifying their incompetence and illogical reasoning and underscoring their lack of capacity for critical thinking. These are self-appointed “heresy hunters,” spewing forth slander and libel, coming to vast conclusions from half-vast innuendos and presumptions.
Ignoring the Biblical Mandate
They are also, apparently, missing pages in their Bible. There is an appointed procedure for resolving issues within the Body of Christ:
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
(We won’t mention their names here so that we won’t also be guilty of their error.)
Railing Against Dignities
In admonishing us to avoid “railing against dignities,” Jude employs the most astonishing example conceivable! Satan himself, as a dignity, is not to be railed against!4 So, we too will simply leave them to the Bema Seat (or the Great White Throne, as appropriate…)
The Five Word Pictures of Jude
Jude uses graphic phrases that are remarkably descriptive:
These are spots [spilas5] in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
1) Hidden rocks: unseen dangers are the greatest hazards to the mariner;
2) Waterless clouds: false promises, but lacking any quenching of thirst;
3) Autumnal trees: barren profession, yet without fruit;
4) Raging waves: wasted effort, producing only noise and chaos; “foaming out their own shame”; and,
5) Wandering stars: aimless course (to him who has no course plotted, no wind is favorable).
Jude is, of course, speaking of apostates. We wouldn’t presume to put our self-appointed adversaries in that category. However, there does appear to be at least five ways to masquerade as an apostate:
1) Adopt an arrogance that is unbridled and without common courtesy;
2) Don’t get distracted by checking actual facts; prey on partial or prejudiced pseudo-information;
3) Don’t get confused by actually checking with the subjects involved;
4) Focus on high-profile targets for maximum damage to others, especially to those who are weak in their faith.
5) Do your best to ignore the counsel of practical advice spread throughout all of the New Testament Epistles. (The most terrifying Scripture: Mt 7:21-23.)
Advice We’ve Received
We’ve been advised “to not engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.”6 But if they stop telling lies about us, we will stop telling the truth about them. However, to set the record straight:
2) We are very enthusiastically supportive of Israel, God’s chosen people (and have some intimate relationships with the leadership there);
3) We have been involved in some highly advanced—but speculative—projects involving very sophisticated satellite support of international Internet, but these communications are subject to government-required classifications (ITAR, et al.). [See “What Is SWANsat?” at the end of article for more info.]
4) We have served on the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy, which we respect and encourage, but have recently withdrawn from due to stewardship reasons.
(When I first committed to a full-time ministry, I suspected that someday I might aspire to be misquoted as much as Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith. Well, apparently I’ve “arrived!”)
On a more serious note, do let us pray that the misguided miscreants find an intimate, Biblically literate friend whom they trust and who cares enough to counsel them and lead them to repentance. Devoutly to be wished. And let us also pray that the lessons from these encounters not be wasted by us.