Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Does Sharper Iron Allow for the Name of Christ to be Sullied?

Bob Jones University (BJU) has posted a position paper under the title, The Position of Bob Jones University Regarding the Membership of Dr. Chuck Phelps on Its Cooperating Board of Trustees.

Today we will consider excerpted portions of the BJU position statement. From these excerpts we will demonstrate a pattern of disconcerting actions of Sharper Iron (SI) site publisher Aaron Blumer, SI administrator Jim Peet and the SI team for what has been to date their allowing for and participating in an Internet lynching of a Christian brother. My commentary will follow the excerpts.
Bible-believing Christians frequently face the question of how to respond biblically to criticism when it comes at them or when it is directed toward a Christian brother…. In the last few weeks, an environment has been created on the internet in which BJU is being criticized by some people unhappy with the University for having Dr. Chuck Phelps on our Cooperating Board of Trustees. Because of the increasing attention the criticism is receiving, we believe an answer is now prudent….. We believe that the biblical way to approach this information is to get all the facts before judging Dr. Phelps or his actions, including going directly to him for answers to questions…. Bloggers have been quick to judge and condemn Dr. Phelps. But a biblical approach would be an attitude of forbearance toward a Christian brother—not recklessly making accusations of crime or cover up against a man of good reputation before gathering the facts. The biblical principle is to go to the person directly and get facts before reaching a judgment. Dr. Phelps has offered to talk to several of his critics and even shared his phone number, but not one has called to talk with him directly…. The internet posts criticizing Dr. Phelps are a great reminder of the consequences of the negative use of social media—how it can be used to tear down a person’s reputation with little verification of fact…. In conclusion, we cannot overlook the human side in all of this.
•A teenage girl was raped—this is a tragedy.
•A rapist is in jail—this is justice.
•A faithful pastor is being pummeled in social media and his family maligned—this is unjust.
•Our God is being grieved.

(The Position of Bob Jones University Regarding the Membership of Dr. Chuck Phelps on Its Cooperating Board of Trustees)
This week I confirmed that no one from SI has ever called Dr. Phelps to ask for his take on the issues. Instead, Aaron Blumer and Jim Peet have repeatedly provided the venue, allowed for, encouraged and participated in what has often been a high tech lynching of Dr. Phelps. While certain SI site managers may have come to Dr. Phelps’ defense on occasion, they continue to manage a medium that is far from edifying.

Yesterday, SI opened a Filing on the BJU statement. There is no wrong in reporting a significant and newsworthy statement. The problem, however, is that the thread has been opened for what predictably would be a rehash of the same sort of innuendo and hurtful gossip SI has been allowing for many months. At the outset of the thread Aaron posted this statement.
This thread would be a really weird place to post all the old accusations again. Every possible accusation has already been made many, many times. All the reasons for and reasons against have been aired innumerable times. So whatever there might be to discuss (if anything) repeating accusations again would certainly be pointless.”
Aaron Blumer is not so na├»ve to think that because of his statement there would be no repeat of “every possible accusation,” is he? At the time of this writing there are 30 comments in the thread and of course some are a rehash of the same accusations that have been “aired innumerable times.” BJU also came under critical attack. If Aaron were serious about holding back accusations and that repeating accusations would be pointless he would have kept the thread closed to comments or remove any that repeat accusations.

Aaron Blumer has been derelict as a Christian publisher and sinful in his approach to addressing the entire tragic situation. There has been no “attitude of forbearance” whatsoever. Aaron has shown no inclination of forebearance. Aaron (and Jim Peet) have repeatedly allowed for the publication of “reckless accusations of crime or cover up,” which as SI site publisher and owner makes him complicit in the doing of it.
Aaron Blumer and Jim Peet have been enablers of sinful gossip, hurtful innuendo and rumor mongering.
Numerous times Aaron Blumer has acted in disingenuous ways suggesting that there should be no more discussion of the matter, that threads should be closed. Yet, he and Jim Peet repeatedly would not close a thread and/or would simply open a new article/thread to allow for a continuation of calling into question the motives, intent, honesty and integrity of Dr. Phelps. SI is a primary Internet conduit for, “a faithful pastor…being pummeled in social media and his family maligned—this is unjust.

What SI has been a party to is wholly unjust. I am hopeful Aaron will have his senses awakened to what he has done again. I am hopeful that he will, this one time, set aside personal bias of his site, forget about trying to keep a struggling site afloat and instead do the right thing, which would be to pull the many instances at SI where Dr. Phelps’s reputation and his family has been maligned. I am hopeful, but in reality, SI under Aaron Blumer (and Jason Janz before him) has never shown any attitude of forbearance toward or correction of injustice that SI has committed against persons, sites or institutions. Instead, SI is a culture of bias, censorship by omission and playing favorites, which is well documented.

God’s Word (1 Cor. 6:1-8) challenges us that we are not to go to court before the gentiles and lets us know that we will one day “judge angels.” Why is that important to our discussion? Because the open-court communication that SI allows on sensitive matters will only give way for the name of Christ to be sullied. Honestly, SI becomes another 20/20 and the participants share rumor, innuendo and gossip without consideration of the need to confront, restore or edify. How much different would the current situation facing Dr. Phelps have been had the people involved done the right thing and contacted him before contacting the press and/or going on line?

A Personal Appeal
Have you ever wondered whether or not you should be participating at SI? If ever there was ample reason to quit participating in comments threads and/or contributing to it through advertising funds this is it. This incident is just another in SI’s history of its leadership’s bias, playing favorites, besmirching non-favored persons, fellowships and doctrines as well as badgering dissenting SI members. Beginning with its first site publisher, Jason Janz, and continuing through today with Aaron Blumer, SI has been a platform for castigating Fundamentalism with the broad-brush and propping up a compromising, non-separatist evangelicalism. I urge you to consider ceasing from participating at or supporting the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron.


LM

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back Into the Skillet: A Second Helping

In September 2011 I was asked a legitimate question by a regular visitor to my primary blog, IDOTG and the Iron Skillet blog. The question appears in the article, SI, “YOU LIE!” The name of the man with the question is Dave. He asked,
I guess I’m not sure why Aaron must produce an article 100% positive on fundamentalism or be denounced a phony fundy. This standard you seek to hold him to is simply made up.
Dave’s question is based on my open challenge to SI site publisher, Aaron Blumer to- produce even one front page article at SI that is thoroughly positive and uplifting toward Fundamentalism and edifying for fundamentalists. Aaron has tried, but he cannot produce even one example because there are none. Instead SI continually reaffirms it’s open hostility toward Fundamentalism. What follows is my reply to Dave for your consideration.

Dave: This is one reason why I am calling on Aaron to produce even one front page article that is thoroughly positive on Fundamentalism and edifying for Fundamentalists.
SI is a fundamentalist place. We welcome readers of every kind, but remember that SI is about how fundamentalists see the world.”
That is what, according to Aaron Blumer, SI is about and for, Fundamentalism. Instead we get a steady barrage of articles, Filings, Forums and blogroll sites that besmirch and demonize Fundamentalism. For example the article from Steve Davis1 and the KKK inferred Filing I discuss here, and from Kevin Bauder a three part attack (on the names and legacy of Bob Jones, Jr and John R.Rice)2 and his incendiary Let’s Clear on This3 article.

Aaron and his leadership, Jim Peet in particular, obviously delight in not just posting articles like that of Davis and Bauder, but searching the Internet for non and/or anti-fundamentalists’ cannon fodder for SI to ignite. They are finding new and novel ways to use non-fundamentalists to besmirch and castigate Fundamentalism with the broad brush. The KKK article being the latest and surely will not be the last.

BTW, do you know that Aaron offered Phil Johnson’s Dead Right from 2005 referenced at SI as a positive on Fundamentalism? Large elements of that article was widely criticized by Fundamentalists as out of touch and misguided.

Is it unreasonable to ask Aaron to produce just one article from the SI front page over the last six years that was thoroughly positive on Fundamentalism? No, it is not! And he can’t come up with even one, because there are none.


LM

1) SI is a Fundamentalist Place?” The Facade & Veneer Is Stripped Away

2) Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship

3) Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

For those who identify with or simply appreciate the best of fundamentalism and still participate at SI I would encourage you to consider ending your active participation there. Your participation is somewhat of a lifeline for SI to continue its crusade on behalf the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism (ce), promoting a convergence with the star personalities and fellowships of the ce camp, and positioning against what we find to be the best of fundamentalism’s history, legacy, leaders and practices today. Your participation feeds the SI threads and fuels SI moderators and certain other participants to promote pro-evangelical personalities, doctrines and agendas at the expense of fundamentalism.

I would also encourage the few current or potential advertisers who feel strongly about fundamentalism to consider this: Is Sharper Iron the best place to invest the resources God has entrusted to you? Do you want to reach and/or attract the kind of persons to your college or ministry who frequent and support SI? SI is a site that frequently allows for, promotes, and its leadership happily joins in on, the redefining, castigation and besmirching of fundamentalism. SI, furthermore, heaps lavish praise on the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. SI does not tolerate legitimate criticism of it’s star personalities, preferred doctrinal positions or fellowships. Should those kind of messages from SI be sustained by financial support from fundamentalist institutions?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jim Peet: In the Jaws of a Lion

SI Administrator Jim Peet has a long history of bullying and berating people at SI who's opinions rub him the wrong way. He cites SI policy in selective application to give himself an advantage and silence legitimate discourse that is not favorable to him or SI’s known bias and favoritism. Today at SI Jim closed a comment about Dr. R. V. Clearwaters with this comment, “Not afraid to acknowledge that dead fundamentalists were not perfect!” Dr. Rolland McCune replied as follows.
Jim: On principle only, not my personal fondness for RVC, what, in the name of common decency and all that’s Christian, is the point of introducing Doug McLachlan’s first tenure at Fourth into this discussion? Because (1) knowing Doug (one of the finest and brightest students I’ve had, 1st of a small handful of summas from CBTS) as well as anyone, he would eschew vigorously such an act, (2) coming from a former fundamentalist who converted to a conservative evangelical always carries extreme prejudice both in motive and content, and (3) posting a website for the cyber world to see is nonsensical. Your parting shot that “dead fundamentalists were not perfect” was gratuitous, inflammatory and unconscionable. If this is any kind of resemblance to the apparently newly discovered and coveted kind and gentle fundamentalism, you have discredited them and embarrassed yourself. The mean, bad, unholy ‘ole fundys usually were not as resourceful as you. This is as kindly and gently as I can put it. Comment Here
In his first comment at SI Dr. McCune wrote, “…bare their teeth and draw their swords in defence and propagation of truth itself along with doing so for the innocent and defenseless.

Jim Peet, maybe you just learned what strength under control looks like. Maybe you learned a valuable lesson in humility. Well, it looks like Jim didn‘t learn anything. Instead Jim responded with an exclamation point laden angered reaction. Jim responded with an acerbic, acrimonious and arrogant tone. The only missing part of Jim’s reaction is the threat to ban and pulling the comment* so that he (Jim) could assail the author with impunity, his common course of action when he takes personal offense. (Although no telling what Jim might have said if he sent a private message to Dr. McCune.) Maybe the caliber and reputation of the author (Dr. McCune) caused Jim some restraint that is certainly not common to him as SI administrator.

Who might be counted among Kevin Bauder’s contemporary “‘pugilistic and bellicose,’ ‘alpha males,’ ‘big boys,’ ‘bullies,’ ‘chieftains,’ etc.?” Jim Peet’s caustic reaction to Dr. McCune qualifies him for inclusion. And there is nothing about Jim Peet’s teeth and sword that can be considered “a defence and propagation of truth itself along with doing so for the innocent and defenseless.” Bottom line, IMO Jim got his feelings hurt and instead of a careful, courteous response he let his emotions lead the way.


LM

* For prime examples see, SI's Deplorable Moderator Actions Run Off Another

SI Gang-Tackles “Doc” Clearwaters...

Site Publisher's Invitation:
If you are visiting for the first time, or the first time in a long time, I encourage you to review and read any of the other articles you will find in the right column of the Iron Skillet. There are numerous, thoroughly documented articles that irrefutably detail SI’s bias and hostility toward historic, balanced Fundamentalism and its corporate favoritism toward the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism, its star personalities and their fellowships.