Thinking Out Loud

May 10, 2018

Christian Spokespeople Who Are Jerks: When They Die, New Ones Replace Them

One podcast calls them “crazy uncles.” To others they are an embarrassment of the highest order.

Exactly 7 years ago, I wrote,

Christians everywhere: Meet your new spokesmen. These are, as far as the media and many of your un-churched or non-Christ-following friends are concerned, the people who represent everything you believe and stand for. Meet Harold Camping, Terry Jones and Fred Phelps…

…Notice anything?

The point that day had more to do with men in gray suits. Others would quickly want to add Pat Robertson or Jack Van Impe. Non-Reformers aren’t too impressed with John Piper, either.

But as each of these exits the world stage, as we all will do, it seems disappointing when new ones step up to replace them. Some don’t really fit the suit — and these are invariably males — but the effect is the same. Others are so young, but are already on a clear trajectory for crazy uncle status, like the one we’ll examine today. Others are so called “watchdogs” like the self-righteous, Pharisaical Chris Rosbrough. Others, like Ed Stetzer enjoy a measure of acceptability within a large denomination such that people miss how totally obnoxious and self-absorbed they truly are. Then there’s the religious snobbery of Johnson, Phillips and Turk, which, I assure you, is not a pop-rock band from the ’70s. Or the snarky, sarcastic, caustic, infantile attitudes of the guys on the Happy Rant Podcast. And then there’s the bullying tactics of J.D. Hall which some felt led to the suicide of a pastor’s 15-year-old son.

And how on earth do we compile such a list without considering Jerry Falwell, Jr.?

(At least Joel Osteen smiles. It is disarming and goes down better than anger. None of the people listed so far would be considered affable.)

But today is about Seth. I’m not even going to dignify him with a last name.

It all started when Beth Moore decided to post a letter to the male Christian leaders who have marginalized her over the years because of her gender. I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Moore and don’t get me started on her relationship to that Baptist cash cow known as LifeWay.

She does not however, deserve the behavior — the word crap comes to mind — she’s had to put up with over the years; nor did she deserve this response from the aforementioned Seth:

“Be silent…  I detest you… you are awful… Be Gone.”

I am not going to include a link here, but trust me, the above doesn’t tell you the whole story. I’d print more, but why should everyone reading this have high blood pressure? His seething hatred for Beth Moore was so 180-degrees absolutely removed from anything resembling the character of Jesus that ought to indwell all of us, that I would at this stage suspect his status as a follower of Christ.

…and that’s when it dawned on me.

Fred Phelps may be gone but his spirit of condemnation and judgement lives on in the life of people like Seth.

When the jerks die, new ones simply step up to replace them. This a tragedy on so many levels. Worse, Seth doesn’t see it. He is, in his mind right after all. He has no apologies to make, no comments to backtrack on, no blog posts to delete.

NIV.1 Cor.13.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

What an absolute mess the Christian church finds itself in when someone can appoint themselves a rogue judge and jury and there’s no mechanism in the body of Christ that can shut them down and shut them up.

The danger of course is how we respond to Seth, though everything in me would want to respond to him as he responded to Beth Moore; something like, ‘Be silent…  I detest you… you are awful… Be Gone.’

Instead however, I offer this: Seth, repent. Repent of who you are, who is controlling you, and what you are becoming.



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