Being misunderstood is a risk with any passionate writing. Misconceptions will almost always arise when dealing with painful problems. The status quo will always have its champions. To do good on any level will always strike someone as evil. Such is life.
In this Truth Revolution, from the day I penned the first article, I went in with both eyes open. Perhaps you think me ill advised, but I was not naive. I knew. I always knew what losses might follow the gains I sought. I counted the cost, understood the calculated risk, and wrote the series anyway. I used the picture of Revolutionary War soldiers in the original article for a reason. Forgive the illusions of grandeur, but I saw myself writing like the Founding Fathers did. They paid and so could I. (On the other hand, I never saw myself as that big avoice–hopefully just one small voice in a growing number of voices.)
I offer no apology. I have no regrets for what I have written. I am sure it could have been better in ways, but I will stand by it, such as it is.
Still, misconceptions by good people can happen, just as logical criticisms can be offered up. I would like to address a few.
1. You Give Fodder To All Who Attack A Pastor.
While I have written extensively about pastors or leaders abusing people, that in no way denies that people can sin grievously against a pastor. I am a pastor and have had that experience before myself. Every situation must be looked at honestly, carefully, and Scripturally. Still, we must realize that the extra authority of leadership also demands greater cost, even putting up with more. Our accountability must, then, be higher. We can do more damage from a position of authority than those who do not have it and that must be taken into account.
2. You are hurting Independent Baptists.
I remain convinced that those of us who address our problems instead of acting as if they do not exist do Independent Baptists the most good. My goal is not to destroy but to salvage. Still, my first prerogative is to be true to Scripture and Christ. His Name is more important to me than the name Independent Baptist. As it turns out, there is no shame besmirching His Name while there is in too many of the groups in Christianity including our own.
3. You are encouraging those leaving the Independent Baptist world.
I am aware some are leaving. There have even been a few isolated cases, I am told, where someone hands a printout of one of these articles to a pastor while walking out the door. That was not my original purpose, but even if it is done in a case where the church member is wrong that no more makes this series look bad than someone quoting the Bible out of context makes the Bible look bad! We must remember, too, that people leave. We must let them leave without harassment. It is only cults that do that! Letting them leave in peace is normal and allows them to more easily come back if they ever choose.
4. You are harming the good pastors.
One of the really good guys said, “how are if ever going to get out from under this if we keep discussing it.” It can only hurt us, though, if we are guilty of it–that is the beauty of “independent.” When we pastors are faced with criticism, we have a process to go through. First, we must examine ourselves to see if it is true, and if it is, we should fix it. If it is not, we must let it go realizing that we are partaking in the sufferings of our often-critiqued Savior. The truth is, we should just do right and lies won’t stick except with folks who have issues anyway. Let’s treat our flock with such love that any discussion of abuses could have no effect on our people because they know better about us. Lies can never alter truth anyway.
5. Do you even think you are accomplishing anything worthwhile?
I am not in a position to know the lasting effects of this series. It probably will be completely forgotten in ten years. I get letters from people who say it has helped, but that is, I know, anecdotal evidence at best. Maybe it helps a few; is that worth it?
I will just leave that to the Lord.
Find all articles in the series here.