"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Agenda Check: Gospel Coalition and ISIS Brutality

Gospel Coalition editor Joe Carter wrote an article yesterday questioning reports that ISIS terrorists were murdering and mutilating women and children in Syria and Iraq. I'm sure Mr. Carter and others have good motives, but disputing the brutality of ISIS is similar to Europeans denying Hitler's massacre of the Jews in World War II.

Monday afternoon, August 11, 2014, Senator Tom Coburn, United States Senator from Oklahoma, told a large crowd at the Enid event center that the Central Intelligence Agency has shown him photographs of over one hundred men, women and children that have been brutally murdered and beheaded by ISIS terrorists.  If the Gospel Coalition wishes to argue that 'adult men' have been beheaded, but there are no public photographs that women and children have been mutilated in this manner, I would remind Mr. Carter what he already knows to be true:  All life is precious, regardless of age or gender.

I think Senator Coburn has much more direct knowledge of the happenings in the Middle East than an evangelical on-line editor attempting to ascertain the truth of ISIS brutality from his office in New York. In my opinion, Mr. Carter and the Gospel Coalition have rushed to judgment - again. I will not presume to know the agenda of the Gospel Coalition, but it cannot be denied that there is one.


(Edit: After re-reading the last sentence above, it seems to imply that the agenda for the Gospel Coalition could be a negative one. I apologize. Mr. Carter has commented on this post and clearly stated that his agenda is to insure that false reports are not circulated via the Internet. I believe him.)

53 comments:

Nicholas Myra said...

Perhaps Carter is troubled that the actions of the United States (invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam) are responsible for the rise of this abomination known as ISIS (which is true), so he is trying to downplay it.

Victorious said...

Incredible! Over 300 comments, but the one that caught my eye was his 4 hrs. ago:

I don't require "unquestionable empirical evidence." I just require some evidence. Just about any evidence will do. Is it truly asking that much to have some actual evidence to back up some claims?

Can't help but wonder where he thinks he might find "actual evidence?"

Again...incredible!

Nicholas Myra said...

Related to my previous comment, many SBC leaders supported the 2004 invasion of Iraq:

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/sbcs-evangelistic-claims-for-iraq-war-fell-apart-cms-20585-printer

http://erlc.com/article/the-so-called-land-letter/

Other Evangelicals did as well. And there are some who are still making embarrassing attempts to defend and justify that invasion ten years later.

Nicholas Myra said...

I wonder why Carter even posted that at the TGC instead of the more politically-oriented Acton Institute site where he also blogs?

Wade Burleson said...

Nicholas,

Maybe.

However, to deny beheadings, rapes, crucifixions, and the burial of people alive is like ignoring the massacre of Jews by Hitler because the Jews never should have killed Jesus.

Who cares WHY there is brutality right now. What matters is that brutality stops.

Nicholas Myra said...

Amen, Wade. And I pray that God will put and end to groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, and all the others, whether by military or any other means.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Thank you for saying this.

Joe Carter said...

I can't speak for the rest of TGC, but I certainly had an 'agenda' when I wrote that post: "Do not spread a false report." (Exodus 23:1)

Over the weekend many evangelicals were spreading a false report (in the form of misleading images) that they had picked up from a Catholic website. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still believe that Christians have a duty to champion the truth.

I've never denied beheadings, rapes, crucifixions, or burial of people alive when their has been eyewitness testimony to that effect. I assume you don't believe we should spread false rumors so I'm really not sure, Pastor Burleson, why you seem to disagree with me.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Joe.

I think we can agree on that one.

Wade Burleson said...

We can also agree the gospel changes lives.

It's the military that seems needed in this situation - in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Don't you really have to feel sorry for a man like Joe Carter ? Do you know how much proof it would take for Obama to do anything in Iraq ? It is people like Joe Carter who have convinced me to leave the church. It must be nice to live in his ivory tower and quote bible verses which say nothing. Perhaps someone could send Joe a severed head. Then I could quote the bible and say " thou shall not kill ". And let us not rely on any Catholic reports as we know they are not really Christians.

Joe Carter said...

It's the military that seems needed in this situation - in my opinion.

I completely agree.

Anonymous: It must be nice to live in his ivory tower and quote bible verses which say nothing.

When I was in the Marines, I had to decide which young men would go to Iraq, not knowing when they'd come back. I had no qualms about it then, and I wouldn't have any qualms about sending troops to put down ISIS today.

And let us not rely on any Catholic reports as we know they are not really Christians.

I never said Catholic couldn't be relied on. I was referring solely to one particular website, Catholic Online, that was spreading false information.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Carter,

Thank you for your comments.

I've tried to not go to motive, but after re-reading my last sentence, I believe I have been unfair to you.

I am making an edit and will apologize to you and thank you for your comments.

Blessings to you, your family and your ministry.

Victorious said...

I'd like to add that many crimes lack "eyewitness" testimony; i.e. rape, domestic violence, abuse of children, theft, etc. But when a multitude of voices attest to atrocities being committed, we should accept their reports as credible and worthy of intervention.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

The "Gospel" Coalition got it wrong by publishing this article this way at this time. Instead of a compassionate piece about real events with a small section urging caution about fact checking the confusing images and information (and being careful with social media as a "source" for accurate information) they released a piece that put doubt on actual testimony of those heavily emotionally involved and then in the comments on one who is actually there.

Anonymous said...

I was finding it pretty difficult to understand why the article by Joe Carter had gotten over 300 comments. I read it yesterday morning and thought that, yeah, he's right. Clearly, we're all in touch with the depravity of mankind and that's why we rush to believe these reports and of course we all need to be reminded that a lack of evidence is not an absence of evidence, however, it does seem a bit ironic to me that folks are accusing Carter of saying and believing all sorts of things regarding this situation when the statement of his article is directly in front of them. For the record I do not doubt the reports. I would think there are much worse things happening there than we can possibly imagine.

Anonymous said...

@ Nicholas Myra,

Actually, it is the withdrawal from Iraq in 2010 and the lack of action in Syria that is "responsible for the rise of this abomination known as ISIS".
jc

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Burleson,

The Gospel Coalition is a collection of different writers/leaders who are allowed to comment for themselves as long as they believe in the basic beliefs of TGC. To take Mr. Carter's opinion piece as the official policy of TGC is incorrect. As Mr. Carter prefaced a comment here: "I can't speak for the rest of TGC".

And apparently, you've misconstrued what Mr. Carter was trying to achieve, as he doesn't deny the atrocities and thinks they should be stopped.

So, you've misinterpreted what he wrote and then projected that misinterpretation onto entire TGC. Those kind of tactics remind me of The Wartburg Watch. It's unfair, uncharitable, and untrue. Maybe you wouldn't have made this mistake if not for associating with TWW. "Bad company corrupts good morals."

Anonymous said...

^ forgot to initial my comment:
jc

Victorious said...

I think your comment about TWW served as your signature...smile

But thanks for confirming it.

Anonymous said...

Victorious:

We would never have guessed in a million years that was JC. LOL!

Anonymous said...

JC:

Know that Jordan Hall has publicly repented of the hurt he has inflicted on other Christians--will you be the next one to publicly repent of the hurt you have done to others???

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, TWW. What a toilet that place is. It's the ultimate mob mentality. A topic gets posted about someone and regardless of any intimate knowledge about said topic or person the regular cast of characters there Hate it! or Hate them! It has it's place and serves it's purpose but folks need to take the blinders off now and again and acknowledge the drama and outrage factory that the place is. Sorry to be so off topic. It just had to be said.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

The lack of empathy and solidarity with other human beings among professing Christians saddens and appalls me.

yeoberry said...

@ Anonymous (Tue Aug 12, 10:31:00 AM),

Cite, specifically and with multiple documentation, how I've hurt others in a way that needs to be repented of.

J.D. Hall's comment was mature, humble and the hallmark of how a Christian should respond in his situation. If the purveyors of TWW, Caner, and others who have cynically used the Caner tragedy to further their agenda would respond in a similar way, we would have true reform. Don't hold your breath.
jc

Anonymous said...

JC:

It is all about agenda to you.

yeoberry said...

The Joe Carter article exemplifies what I so dislike about the current culture of commenting among the "intelligentsia": everybody has got to be the smart guy, making some original argument, expressing some novel idea, taking exception. Yes, Carter recognizes, "There is no doubt that ISIS is persecuting the Christians in Mosul and other areas of Iraq." So what's the point? Just to argue over whether or not they are beheading Christian children? Mr. Carter could have written to decry the atrocities, support some kind of forceful action to stop them, while cautioning against exaggerated claims that ultimately hurt the cause (because then people start to doubt all reports of the atrocities.). But that doesn't look so smart. I wish commentators would keep in mind that there are more important things for them to do than to look smart.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

http://www.liononasnowyday.com/news/message-vicar-baghdad/

Debra LeCompte said...

I have done some research on Mr. Carter, because while I was only mildly annoyed at the ignorant and arrogant argument Mr. Carter made, I am a very close friend of Canon Andrew White. He has served as my husband's pastor for the past three and half years in Baghdad Iraq where my husband has served first with the US Army, and now with the Department of State. He is my husband's dearest friend as well. I have intimate knowledge of the pouring out of his life, health, and personal resources, as love offering in the name of Jesus Christ for the people of Iraq. My husband retired from the military as a colonel, and an honor graduate of the West Point, and the Army War College. He has a top secret security clearance with the government. I cannot understand how in the world this man, who claims the name of Christ, can malign in the manner he has the reputations and credibility of two servants of God. Mr Carter is completely in error, and those accusations that Canon White somehow influenced the US to enter into a war by Claims of WMD in Iraq should be considered ludicrous by anyone who reads them. My husband belly laughed it was so completely a foolish statement. I have found several other articles by written by Mr. Carter which could harm the reputations of Christians. I do not believe this man is committed to the Lord.

Debra LeCompte said...

He is a self serving opportunist, who cares nothing for the suffering of God people, or the reputations of those who do.

Debra LeCompte said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra LeCompte said...

Mr. Nicholus Myra, respectfully, if you are going to comment in such a manner concerning the War in Iraq, and you are not informed enough to know the year the United States invaded, I would suggest that perhaps you should take more time to inform yourself, especially as the state of affairs in the Middle East is a threat to all the people of the world, including you, which was growing on 911 and continues to grow.

Debra LeCompte said...

Joe Carter, you spread false information.

Debra LeCompte said...

Mr. Carter, I would very much like to continue our discourse, but it appears you have taken down the article now. First, you had the perfect platform and opportunity to deliver such an important message that we should never just accept information put out by any organization, institution, media outlet,individual, or government without first carefully and prayerfully seeking out as much as possible the verified by reliable sources information which is available. Always we should "try" the spirits. You blew that opportunity when you publicly "suggested" that the information that children were beheaded in Iraq by IS could be exaggerated and was being put out by at least two sources you specifically named. Mr. Arabo and Canon Andrew White were the two men you insinuated were putting out perhaps exaggerated reports because they had agendas. Now you prettied it up... you danced all around indicating you were sure they cared for the people of Iraq, but your message was clear. After much criticism concerning your slander of the two men, and yes Mr. Carter, you did slander them. Ask anyone who read your article, which could have so easily delivered a much needed message, had you just not named anyone as suspect of delivering less than accurate information. I thought after the amount of criticism you received you would apologize. Any intelligent person knows that ideas put out of reliability issues in people, regardless of whether there is any supporting evidence given, will be taken by some as the actual truth of the matter.

Debra LeCompte said...

That was the very point you were cautioning against. Then I almost dropped my teeth when you posted after significant amounts of criticism concerning this, OK, I didn't want to have to do this, but in 2002 Canon was running all over the place saying there were WMD in Iraq, and that influenced the invasion by the US of Iraq, or words very,very, close to that. I thought you made that ludicrous statement out of uninformed ignorance, but then I stumbled upon this blog where you commented that you had served in the Marine Corp for 16 years. Sir, by the experiences of that service, you had to have known what an exaggeration that was. You basically accused Canon White, a brother in Christ of being responsible, by putting out false information concerning WMD, of causing the war in Iraq. Further, due to your military service you have to know the truth concerning WMD in Iraq. You had to have had some exposure to the content of the Wikileaks documents, which sent Bradley Manning to prison and other information now very commonly available everywhere. You firmly state that anyone who still believe that WMD were in Iraq is without credibility. Surely that tells me how you label me, however I sleep the nights that his service to this country does not deny, next to a man who very much is an highly educated in all matters of the War on Terror, and highly experienced having spent five and a half years in the Middle East in service in the Army, and now the State Department, who has top secret security clearance, and has lived and served in Iraq for three and half years, who says you are wrong in every argument you have made.

Debra LeCompte said...

You are without excuse for putting out that idea concerning Canon White influencing our government to go to war, as surely in your own military experience, you have had extensive exposure to information of how our military and government collects intelligence information, and the decision process they use concerning that information. As I have posted, I know Canon White very personally, he has been a guest in my home, and my husband's pastor as he served in the Middle East. My husband has extensive knowledge of Andrew's work for the Lord in Iraq, of his many sacrifices of love, even as he battles the disease of Multiple Sclerosis, for these people, and of his excellent reputation the world over. How can anyone as intelligent as you are, serving in the position that you are, with the experiences of life you have, try to say you have done no harm to these two men of God? What God honoring purpose could you possibly have had in what you did? At first I thought your behavior an unintentional mistake. However, you refuse to back down one bit. You have done harm, extreme harm. You know full well the challenges of raising money to support the ministries of the efforts before God to the Christians of Iraq. You have done harm Sir, and you will not acknowledge that, nor make an effort to make amends. I am old enough to be your mother, and you sent me a message that I am displaying behavior "unbecoming a Christian, and making efforts to slander you. I am presenting facts publicly concerning your behavior, which is not the model God presents as being what is needful when two brothers or sisters in Christ disagree. That you know that instruction full well, is something I am fairly certain of. Yet without regard you named two men publicly as suspect of having personal agendas. They are both very well regarded experts on the Christians of Iraq, and that expertise is born of their love and service to all the people Iraq. As I have researched your work online, these are not the first two Christians you have without warning or discussion with them, publicly criticized. I urge you to carefully self examine all you have done, and your motives, before the Lord. I am spending the time to challenge you concerning this matter for two reasons, first in the care and support of the two men serving the Lord with efforts I highly suspect you can't imagine the requirements of integrity and personal sacrifice are required, plus a great love for the people they serve. Secondly, because someone needs to confront another man of God, you, and redirect with the love of God, your behavior. Since I am old enough, as I said to be your mother, and have been a Christian longer than you have been alive, and God has instructed me to, I am taking the time.

Debra LeCompte said...

I think in light of fact that so many of your brothers and sisters in Christ have confronted you, that you should consider the possibility that you are in the wrong.

Anonymous said...

Now that it is known that the WMD campaign against Saddam was only a ploy to hang the bad guy, and that it has backfired, it is no crime to warn against spreading false reports. That overzealous acts to spread Christianity all around the world, at all cost, even by initiating dirty wars and unending civil strife, do not serve Christianity either.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Being wrong is not acceptable at The "Gospel" Coalition. They also stand with institutions who refused to report child sex abuse as mandated. But that's as off-topic as comments about WMD. I'm sorry to be cynical, but truth really doesn't matter to Joe Carter as much as he says. Otherwise he would have been trustworthy to leave his comments on my blog FB page up instead of deleting them when I engaged him publicly. People who care about truth don't have to cover themselves or hide. They can also apologize when they learn more of a matter.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

(To clarify, Joe engaged me on my blog FB page about CSA, accusing people of exploiting victims by using a hashtag standing with them. Our conversation appears to be archived by Facebook, and he removed his comments. I find that very sad. It means I do not trust TGC as a rule and keep screenshots if everything now. I don't read TGC articles but this one came to my attention for its callousness. The "Gospel" Coalition has lost all authority to speak to human suffering, especially as regards children.

Joe Carter said...

To The Blog bites better than the Bullet:

If you're going to talk trash about fellow Christians, at least have the courage and decency to use your real name. It's cowardly and unbecoming of a believer.

Thanks,

-Joe

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Warning to factcheck and not be led astray by propaganda by ISIS or poor reporting by tabloids should come in a context of overall grief for those suffering. This piece discredited people in pain.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Melody Kay Young
I used that name in my comments on your article and this is the name from my blog page. I am telling what happened. That is not trash talk however you wish to frame it but angers and saddens me that Christians can behave this way.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Further to that, I am not open to bullying. God sees everything you do even if you delete it. I want nothing further to do with anyone who is willing to engage and then not be trustworthy to leave what they say standing. I don't play those games but I do protect myself. I'm glad you've heard my concerns and I pray you will take them on board.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

"Warning to factcheck and not be led astray by propaganda by ISIS or poor reporting by tabloids should come in a context of overall grief for those suffering. This piece discredited people in pain."
(Just to be clear, by "this piece" I mean TGC's piece by Joe Carter, not Wade's.)
Melody

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Thank you for saying this.

Anonymous said...

Please read and consider signing the letter posted at http://IraqRescue.org

badia nicola said...

ISIS is the creation of the Israeli Mossad. Israel trained the top organizers so Israel can watch the Arabs worlds kill each other's. Israel wants to keep everyone busy to keeps the genoside of the Palestinians. Israel plan to cleans Palestinians ethically for Israel to have a pure Zionist state. Even president Obama repetetly said and I quote" Israel is a Jewish state and Palestinians has to accept it". ISIS did not just appear in one day ??? No it was planned since 1998 after the prime minister of Lebanon Al Hariri was assassinated. Use you immagination now.

Dave said...

Too many people making pious comments from the states that are not living in the Middle East. Just a question but has the Gospel Coalition questioned the use of false photos that Hamas puts out when they claim Israel's brutality that are from other countries and times? What is happening to believers and non-Muslims in the Middle East is Atrocious!

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

I think this needs to be seen by many. It is shameful to cast doubt on those who speak truth, however imperfect we all are. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152671512321369&id=617111368&set=a.65409196368.79084.617111368&source=48

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Finally, Joe, an apology is warranted to those you have trashed, Debra being one of them. I expect nothing from you, but I am here if you wish to make amends for accusing me of cowardice. You have no idea how much courage it takes for me to say anything at all. But things must be said, and I answer to God for my motives. You have no right to attack shy or caring people just because you dislike us giving you pushback for your actions. I have unblocked you on twitter should you care to discuss publicly. I will never have a private conversation with someone willing to play the spiritual guilt card when they are rebuked. Despite my strong words now, I have been praying for you and pray for you as a brother.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

It's been a year, and on occasion I have in fact blocked members of TGC, including Joe, for various reasons. I have heard nothing further from Joe Carter anywhere online, so I'm assuming nothing further will be said. I'd love him to have the last word here and I hope to give him a big hug in heaven someday as a brother and not an adversary.

For now however, I will likely not be listening to anyone from TGC due to the deletion of comments I mentioned and TGC's refusal to unblock people for desiring empathy rather than rhetoric about abuse. Much trust has been lost, and one year on, I do still wonder if that was a reason why the reaction to the fact-check article was so strong.

Debra LeCompte said...

Meanwhile the suffering grows everyday, and Canon White and the other gentleman maligned in the original article continue their labors and efforts for the persecuted. Canon White spoke on the BBC just this morning. God will help and bless both of them in their work. I look to my Lord God, and to my own life, that God would show me any way in me that displeases Him, and by His grace help me to root it out! I also have found my own place of service directly with the flood of refugees pouring into Germany where I presently live. I know too that our Lord is coming soon, and all the suffering will end forever, for His plan of ending forever all sin and the suffering it brings will be brought to fruition. This suffering will pass, and God's promises in Hebrews 12 should encourage us all, and these times are just the fulfillment of His promises...


Luke 21:10 Then He told them: “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for you to witness. 14 Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of My name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance gain your lives.

Take courage if you are one who is in suffering... Christians around the world are praying for you, seeking to aide you, and doing so in the name of our God and our eternal family. We have already overcome, the victory will be soon, and our God will be with each of us until the end! Then we will spend eternity in the presence of the love of God. See you all very soon!