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

Blame Is Not a Game: JD Hall, Ergun Caner, and the Tragic Suicide of 15-Year-Old Braxton Caner

"The bell tolls for me..."
I have never met JD Hall or Ergun Caner.

My heart goes out to both men.  My wife and I are sending a check to Ergun and Jill Caner to help them with any unexpected expenses associated with the tragic suicide of their fifteen-year-old son, Braxton. The note we attach will remain private, but it expresses to them our prayers on their behalf.  No answers. No wisdom. Just an expression of love and support.

In my office I keep a file of suicide notes from all the suicide scenes where I've ministered as a police chaplain to family members left behind. Every now and then I go through and read them. Every time I read a note, I remember a family with whom I've shared an experience of pain. The most agonizing part of working a suicide is the conversation that must take place with family members of the deceased. 

I cannot remember ever talking with a family when I did not say something along these lines:
"I know you are hurting. I wish I could take your pain away. I can't. But what I can do is tell you that you are not to blame for the death of your loved one." 
I would then explain that in the coming days some friends, co-workers, and even a few family members will begin  playing 'the blame game.' Ignore them. It won't be easy. However, every time someone attempts to place blame, remember what I am about to tell you right now: 
"The only person responsible for this death is the one by whose hand this life ended."
When I heard about Braxton's suicide, my heart broke. It broke for the Caners. It also broke for another person - JD Hall.

During the first week of July I read about an on-line Twitter exchange between JD Hall and Braxton Caner. It was brought to my attention by Peter Lumpkins who wrote about it.  The tweet exchange between JD and Braxton occurred over the course of just a few minutes, consisted of a handful of back-and-forth tweets between Pastor JD Hall and 15-year-old Braxton Caner, and ended just as quickly as it began. It never should have happened. The exchange is still a matter of the public record. Anyone can read it. Pastor JD Hall never should have 'called out' Braxton Caner for 'immorality' via Twitter (why does JD get to define 'immorality' for Braxton?). Pastor JD Hall never should have asked Braxton if "he spoke Arabic at home" (Come on).  Pastor JD Hall never should have told Braxton to 'call him if he ever wanted know the truth about his father" (I don't blame Ergun for wanting to punch Pastor JD).

It was stupid behavior on JD's part. It was foolish behavior. I would call it sinful and selfish behavior.

A few years ago, the same thing happened to me and my kids. We were attacked for 'immorality,' 'dishonesty,' and 'hypocrisy.' I am not unfamiliar with people attacking a 'high-profile' person with whom they disagree through their children. It's not pleasant. It's not Christian. I get it.

I did not know JD Hall, so when I read Peter Lumpkins, I went to JD Hall's blog to read what he had to say about the Twitter exchange with Braxton. Surprisingly, I read an apology. When I looked at the time line, I noticed that the apology was posted less than 48 hours after the Twitter exchange took place. Here's what JD Hall wrote:
"As I said on Friday's program, I regret pointing people to the material or behavior exhibited on Caner's son, Braxton's Twitter account. That was a distraction, and I should have contacted Caner about it. I did reach out to one of Caner's associates, but apparently didn't give enough time for him to amend the situation. Again, I should not have done that.
I've asked for people "chapter and verse" why it's wrong to point out publicly his already-public behavior. I've thought a lot about it. Proverbs 17:9 says, “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Well, Caner and I are not exactly, "close friends" but the point is salient. While it was in no way an "attack," Braxton wasn't a public persona even though his tweets are public, and now even more are aware of the various things mentioned in the above blog post. Likewise, I shouldn't have interacted with the boy those couple times once the original tweet was made.
Finally, I gave credence to the rumor in a tweet relating to Caner's marriage which I should not have mentioned, even in passing. That, I will go so far as to say is sinful. So, thinking my email address already blocked, I've reached out to a mutual friend of Caner and myself to give an apology to make sure he gets it. If someone wants to beat me over the head with this apology or the way it's worded, then I apologize for that, too."
When I heard that Braxton died, my heart went out to the Caner family and to the Hall family. Last Sunday, right before the early service at Emmanuel, I googled JD Hall, found the contact number for his church in Montana, and called. The person on the answering machine said, "Hello, this is Jordan... "so I thought I might have the wrong number. However, after realizing that the J in JD was probably Jordan, I left a message, telling Jordan I was praying for him and his family. Remember, I've never met or spoken to Jordan (the name used by his friends).

Jordan called me back Sunday night.

I spoke to a hurting man.  The death of Braxton has hit him hard. At the time, not much had been written on-line about JD being responsible for Braxton's death. The only thing I had read was from an atheist website. Yet, I told Jordan that it was more than likely that in the coming days and weeks a number of  people would write articles about Jordan being 'responsible' for Braxton Caner's death.

Jordan Hall is no more responsible for the death of Braxton Caner than Ergun Caner is responsible for the death of Braxton Caner. I gave the same speech to Jordan Hall that I've given for decades to family members of loved ones who have died. If someone says to me, "But wait a minute, JD Hall is not a family member of Braxton? Why does he need to be told he is not to blame?"

Because he is a human being who had an interaction, albeit unwise, with a young man who committed suicide. All of us have 'unwise, foolish, and stupid interactions with others'  Not all of us commit suicide. Pastor JD Hall is a brother-in-Christ with Braxton. He did have a relationship with Braxton - albeit a poor one via social media. JD Hall needs to hear the same thing the family of Braxton Caner should be hearing. I'm sure, like every parent, there have been 'unwise, foolish, and stupid exchanges" between the Caners and their kids - just like there's been some between my wife and me and our kids - but Jill and Ergun Caner are not responsible for Braxton's death.

I remind those Christians who disagree with me about JD Hall not being responsible for Braxton Caner's death of three things:

(1). The Twitter exchange was stupid, foolish and unwise, but anybody who would quantify the exchange as cyber-bullying probably needs to be shown other examples of cyber-bullying.
(2). Jordan Hall apologized within 48 hours of the exchange.
(3). Nobody knows why Braxton Caner committed suicide, and assigning blame to Jordan Hall and/or Ergun Caner is both unwise and unhealthy for everyone involved.

I am not a friend of Jordan Hall. I am not a friend of Ergun Caner. I am a brother-in-Christ to both. My heart broke when I heard of Braxton Caner's death.
"Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee..." John Donne, Meditation 17
Friends and family of Ergun Caner may feel the need to blame JD Hall. Friends and family of JD Hall may feel the need to blame Ergun Caner. People who have personally experienced the subtle power of spiritual abuse and who have no relationship with Jordan or Ergun may be quick to blame Jordan Hall.

Blame is not a game.

Only God knows why Braxton Caner took his life. My encouragement is to lift up the Caner family in prayer, as well as the Jordan Hall family in prayer, and spend our time focusing on how we can help both.

169 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

For those who ask me about disagreeing with my two wonderful friends, Dee and Deb, at Wartbburg Watch, I respond: "True Christianity is never about conformity. I respect Wartburg Watch and what they are doing for the kingdom. Real freedom is the ability to love and respect one another in the midst of disagreement."

And, who knows? They may be right, and I could be wrong. Obviously, I would never have written this post if I believed I was wrong, but I am open for correction, and only write out of principle, not personalities.

The Squirrel said...

Amen, Wade. Thank you for writing this and injecting a dose of sanity.

I, too, was struck with deep sorrow when I got the news of Braxton's death. I got that news by phone from a shocked and sorrowful JD Hall, who is my friend.

Ever since the whole Caner thing started back in 2010, the Caner family, especially Braxton and Drake, have been in my prayers. Braxton's death grieves me deeply. The pain the family must be enduring is unimaginable. They need our prayers and our support. Playing the blame game is not helpful in any regard.

Thanks again for writing this.

Squirrel

Anonymous said...

2). Jordan Hall apologized within 48 hours of the exchange.

Directly to Braxton and his dad, too?

The Squirrel said...

Anonymous, JD, believing his email to likely be blocked or deleted unread, sent a message of apology to Ergun through a mutual friend. The apology was directed to both Ergun and Braxton. That is my understanding, but I have not been privy to the exact contents of that communication.

Squirrel

Rich Pierce said...

Like a breath of fresh air. Thank you for this Wade.

Blessings

Anonymous said...

As someone who has known Jordan very well for many years, I appreciate this fairness for the benefit of his Christian extended family, for his children, his wife, and most of all for him. He is made of good stuff and this is, no doubt, breaking his heart. To see fairness is very encouraging to many I know who are close to and love Jordan. He loves the Lord passionately and serves Him well.

Anonymous said...

There is also documentation that JD was doing these tweets while his own child was in NICU.

And a public apology tweet that he was wrong sent to Caner and Braxton would have been seen by all. Also the others who "piled on" with him.

JD has a reputation he worked hard to earn. This blog post is not going to change it.

And I am anon because I do not want to be 'targeted' by him in the future.

redgoatee said...

Can't believe I'm actually gonna comment on this. I'm almost as anonymous as TurretinFan these days when it comes to social media.

My brother committed suicide when he was 15, I was 17. My heart and prayers go out to the Caner's, and I really appreciate alot of what Wade has said in this article.

the circumstances surrounding young Braxton are eeriely similiar to my own brother's suicide. Good looking kid, very athletic (my brother was getting small college scouts looking at him his freshman year of football), smart, had the girls chasing him, etc. Left no note. Hung himself.

I can tell you without a second of reservation that JD Hall's tweets had nothing to do with Braxton's suicide. If anything, it looked to me like he "gave as good as he got" as several others have already pointed out. Not to mention, those tweets were nearly a month prior to the tragedy. Something much darker than a 5 minute tweet exchange was going on in Braxton's life, and we may never know. I hope the Caner's get some answers. To this day, we still don't know why my brother killed himself. And that was 21 years ago.

Anonymous, I'm not following your rhetoric regarding JD tweeting while his kid was in NICU. I have three kids, usually when something happens when their born, you're typically sitting around not doing much. Plenty of time for just about anything. Also, the apology was as public as anything, put right on his blog where all could see. So, not following you there either. JD's tweets are most likely blocked by Caner, so blogging an apology would have been better.

I think what is going on here is pretty obvious for all to see. And it's descipable. People are using the tragedy of Braxton Caner's suicide to railroad and throw JD Hall under the bus (as well as Dr. James White who is getting some of this too) because they don't like him, don't like his theology, don't like Montana, who knows the reasons.

But it's so ridiculously obvious. People should be ashamed.

Rhology said...

What redgoatee said. Great comment.

Victorious said...

All I can say is that scripture is replete with individuals who have said and done things they've later regretted...and so have I. Blame accomplishes nothing but compassion, understanding, and forgiveness hopefully brings healing to all parties.

I can't imagine the grief of losing a child in this manner...

Paul said...

I agree with the gist of your comments Wade. It is easy for either side to assign blame on someone. I think a large part of the issue relates to JD's general attitude and approach. I am reformed and yet I distance myself from him simply because of how he comes across. I know many others who do the same.

While he "apologized" in the section you cited in the blog, the apology comes across less than sincere and almost dismissive. He, and more particularly his followers, went on for days after his supposed apology to justify JDs actions. One of his closest affiliates just spent a large part of a day on Twitter defending his statement that only those who called Ergun to repentance have the right to pray for him. JD was silent.

The only "sin" to which JD has confessed was lying about Ergun's marriage. At best he claimed his interaction with Braxton was unwise but again those closely affiliated with him continue to this day to defend his actions toward this minor.

While I do not blame JD for Braxton's death, I do think it would help matters for him to admit publicly he was wrong. And it would help even more for his closest friends to stop the madness. Some might speculate that the words and actions of JD's closest cohorts might reflect the true feelings of JD on this matter. If not, he should say otherwise.

The true evidence will come in the future. James White has already indicated he will remain quiet until the need arises again. I'm guessing that need will come sooner rather than later. I pray otherwise.

I was involved in some of the initial conversation regarding Braxton back when it happened. And I was shocked how JD & co continued to defend his actions even after his apology. I am guessing to this day he would refuse to call it sin and ask for book-chapter-verse.

I think a large part of the skepticism regarding JD's apology stems from his constant belittling and attacking of godly men. When you create that context, it is difficult for people to believe your sincerity - especially when no heartfelt true repentance has been demonstrated.

People simply want to see from JD what he constantly demands of others.

Anonymous said...

What Paul said. All I know is JD and friends tweets did not HELP. They attempted to divide a teen and his father.

And JD and the pulpiteers have a history and a reputation.

Anonymous said...

Redgoatee said:"I can tell you without a second of reservation that JD Hall's tweets had nothing to do with Braxton's suicide."

And how do you know this?

Anonymous said...

Jesus said, "If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." I note that He did not say, "...if he repents, and if you believe the sincerity of that repentance, forgive him." No, instead, Jesus continued with, ""And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17:34)

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

I'm glad to see another side to the whole situation. I don't think it excuses how JD and others interacted with a minor. I say that as a Christian, a parent, a former teacher and a professional mentor, not as some sort of angry heretic who blogs to tear people down, as some might accuse me of being.

I dislike the way in which JD's friends have gone about defending him on twitter, rather than supporting him in his apology and showing love and respect to the Caner family and those who disagree with what happened.

This is not something that can just be apologized for and forgot; it must be processed and changes must be made.

There is a real lack of care for other human beings evident in the way JD and friends have interacted with many that makes no sense for Christians.

Christians are known by their love, are to gently instruct, weep over the lost, and follow Christ's example towards sinners, of whom he was a friend.

I have been going through some difficult things at home (military and surgery-related), but I am still responsible for how I conduct myself publicly, as we all are. I hope that will not be used as an excuse for JD. I am glad to hear he is taking time to grieve and process this.

I do not believe he is to be blamed for anyone's suicide. I do believe he is responsible for his actions at the time, and for his methods of "calling to repentance", and I would hope this causes some self-examination amongst those who "evangelize" by negative attack.

I would love to see a humbler approach from all his associates towards others on twitter and beyond, including how they treat fellow believers with whom they disagree.

I have seen some terrible attitudes and behaviors even after this event, and do not feel safe around any of these guys to have a reasonable conversation/interaction. My words may be twisted or my love for Christ might be questioned simply for my disagreement with how they do things.

I pray JD can be a voice for change within his subculture of Christianity. It has turned many off, whatever we think of Caner's behavior or attitudes.

I am glad for this post because I hate to see any human being crucified for something they cannot control. There are a lot of angry people right now, and that is part of a grieving process.

I pray for good to come out of this in honest conversations and freedom to disagree. I also mostly pray for the Caner family as they grieve their tragic loss.

yeoberry said...

Thank you for the excellent article and your pastoral concern for both Caner and Hall. I'm challenged especially by your compassionate out-reach to Hall.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to be anonymous in this case because of the details that shall be revealed.

I attempted suicide while in high school. The cause? Not one thing, but a series of events that piled on. Did I take pills and run the car in the garage because the cute girl in 5th period laughed at my short stature once? No. But it was on the list.

Did JD's stupid behavior make Braxton do what he did? Probably not. But speaking from experience, it was quite possibly on the list. The last thing JD wanted to do is live with the gnawing guilt that while he might not have been the root cause, he surely didn't help. He was, after all, just another brick in Young Caner's wall. His guilt lies in knowing that it didn't have to be, and that is his fault.


(Apologies to Mason, Gilmore, Waters & Wright?

GMurray said...

Wade,
Thanks for comments and compassionate response to this tragic situation..
Well needed & hope well received.

GMurray

Victorious said...

...and we cannot demand that brothers and sisters apologize or post words of regret using the words or express the attitude we might want from them. We can't know what's sincere and what's not based on our personal preferences.

Just my opinion.

Paul said...

Wade - just out of curiosity, have you listened to or read the transcript of JD's radio program from July 4th when he talked about this incident?

It might help shed some further light on the skepticism regarding the sincerity of JD's apology.

It can be found at the bottom of the Wartburg piece - before the gazillion comments start.

Anonymous said...

Since Wade and numerous others emphatically state that we can never know for sure why Braxton took his own life, then I don't see how you can be so sure that what JD said didn't cause it. The one thing that you do know for sure is that it certainly didn't help a young man to hear those things coming from an adult Christian.

We'll know when we get to Heaven and I imagine some will be ashamed of how they have over-analyzed this tragedy.

Wade Burleson said...

redgoatee,

Your comments regarding your own personal loss are very powerful.

yeoberry said...

At the time JD Hall wrote his blog article about Ergun Caner's son, I posted a comment asking him to take it down. I didn't believe we (critics of Caner) should bring the family into the controversy. When I heard news of the tragedy, almost a month later, I too felt horribly for Hall because I knew that some people (including those with bad intentions) would take advantage of the tragedy to blame Hall and the entire reformation movement he sides with.

I'm grateful for this article that it may help stem that Blame Game tide.

redgoatee said...

Thanks Wade. I appreciate your fairness and your spirit in this terrible tragedy.

I've been on all sides of loss, and can deeply emphatize with Ergun and Drake Caner, having lost my brother, and 20 years later my dad died, addicted to pain killers and unable to face what his youngest son had done. He too basically killed himself with pills, just did it long and drawn out over 20 years (man I hope Erun Caner doesn't go that route), and then last fall, faced the loss of my own child, my son who was stillborn a week before his due date.

So ya, I can say with much experience, it would seem to me that the motives behind those trying to lay blame, in any amount be it large or small, at the feet of Hall, are pretty obviously suspect. Again, speaking from personal experience, suicide comes from a dark place that grows and festers. the 5 minute tweet exchange didn't "push Braxton over the edge" as some have suggested.

Such a terrible tragedy for all involved.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Thank you. Would that the community could relate based on the sensibilities offered through the quote you used from John Donne.

Any man's death diminishes me
because I am involved in mankind.
Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. . . .
----John Donne. From his 1624 Meditation 17, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

The narsisstic and self-centered, and who isn't, might stumble over the first line and may never recognize the second. Sure would solve a lot of problems if we caught on. But, in a "…going for the jugular" kind of world, I'm not holding my breath.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

I can only applaud the tenor of your article, and pray that it will be used in the hearts and minds of those who have not understood grace as you obviously have.

Many Christians have a penchant for pride in grace received in Christ, but an inability to exercise that same grace towards the wounded/sinful, such as themselves.

Grace received, and grace offered is what being in Christ is all about.

Tom Kelley said...

Amen, Wade.

Bob Cleveland said...

What if it were true that everything we see, everything we feel .. for whatever reason, and whatever we experience goes into making us what we are, what we feel, and how we act? What if every interaction with someone else has its effect on who they are and what they do?

Wouldn't that make everything we do and say to others very important? Wouldn't that cause us to exercise much care on what we do and say?

Isn't that how Jesus' followers should be, anyway?

Wade Burleson said...

Paul,

You make some valid points. Everyone has rough edges. I learned a long time ago that measuring sincerity is a very difficult job. I try to love people enough to take their words at face value.

Anonymous said...

" I try to love people enough to take their words at face value. "

While ignoring a long term pattern of behavior?

Anonymous said...

Some of these people who have such a hatred for Caner will never be satisfied. Sad thing for Christianity and the worst part is that they try to cloak all they do in a robe of righteousness. Sorry to disappoint them but that won't work when brought before the Lord.

Kay said...

Wade, thank you for your post. I agree no one can lay blame for this young man taking his life, but this tragedy has stirred up a reaction for many who have encountered and endured the Pulpiteers in varying degrees over many months.

I am not an Ergun Caner fan either by any stretch of the imagination.

We have seen ugly on both sides.

Something is missing from your list.
Yes, Jordan Hall apologized within 48 hours of the exchange

…and then left online a derogatory blog post and audio accessible to anyone searching Braxton’s name. By JD's own admission on his August 7, 2014 online program, he took the blog post down after a request came from TWW and only after talking to someone wiser than him telling him to take it down (his words).

There is no doubt the twitter feed, blog and audio caused damaged to this young man’s reputation and sent poison, now forever preserved in the digital archives, to an unmeasurable audience. The unsuccessful attempt to remove this material from the internet came after Braxton took his own life.

In like manner, following the example of Fred Butler and others who have asked their inquirers recently, (what if this young man were CJ’s son), I would ask of the Pulpiteers, if Braxton were the grandson of Johnny Mac or Phil Johnson would you have addressed him publicly in Twitter, in your Blog and in audio with your attack?

I shudder to imagine how the leaders of Pulpit and Pen “activated” their “army” (their words) with the Braxton Caner story.

Their words:

THE PULPITEERS

The Pulpiteers are a unique group of rabble rousers that use their social media to get out the Truth about evangelicalism’s need for Reformation. They are a Gospel-centered army, using their social media to advance the cause. They follow the Pulpit & Pen blog, subscribe to the podcast, and receive email alerts about how they can be activated at a moment’s notice to spread time-sensitive information in their spheres of influence.

To become a Pulpiteer, click on the link “Become a Pulpiteer” on the homepage and you’ll start receiving updates.

Wade Burleson said...

Kay,

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Google my site for "Spiritual Abuse." I understand bullying is not nice - anywhere. You have no disagreement from me.

I think, however, where we may part company just a bit is a disagreement over JD Hall removing his Braxton Caner post (as requested by some), only then to have people -- even those who asked him to remove it -- to repost it online for all to see and act as if he was trying to hide it. It seems to me he removed it out of respect for those who asked. The Twitter conversation remains a public record - and it should. The blog post should be a part of the public record too.

I do not believe JD Hall should have taken his blog post down. In fact, the right thing for him to do (in my mind) was to keep it up and keep the apology (written later) attached to it. Some wish to debate whether or not JD's apology was sincere. Regardless, there was an apology.

I think this tragedy may very well teach all of us some hard lessons on interpersonal relationships and communication.

Again, thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Hall is not responsible for Braxton Caner's death. Did his incessant attacks on Ergun Caner contribute? Perhaps but that is something we will never know. What we do know is Hall was on a mission and he is now reaping what he has sewn in terms of his vitriol towards others with whom he has disagreed.

As one whom Hall has lifted material from Twitter and used in his attack of Caner, I find it difficult to have sympathy towards him while the Caner family grieves. Is Hall truly a hurting man hit hard by the death of Braxton Caner? I suppose your readers will have to take you word for that and I have no reason to doubt your sincerity in making such an assertion. Hall's sincerity, on the other hand, is quite questionable. Time will tell just how hard he has truly taken this tragedy.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I have seen the vitriolic attacks on Twitter, etc... They go both ways, back and forth, etc...

The Caner family, obviously, is devastated. Compassion, love and prayer for all the Caners - period.

I'm just offering that maybe God is breaking through to another man, and possibly the vitriol is subsiding. Maybe? I'm just asking people to not blame anyone for Braxton's suicide - Ergun Caner or JD Hall - and trust that these horrible events are breaking some people.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Wade. This is a tragedy all the way around. Heartbreaking.

I have never heard of JD Hall until now, so I know nothing about him. But getting into exchanges on twitter isn't a good thing to do, particularly with a kid. Social media is really dangerous, and this is another illustration of it.

It was somewhat ironic to see TWW wanted Hall take his post down, but then reprinted the very post that they wanted removed. It seems to me you can't have it both ways. If you don't think the post should be up, then don't repost it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Burleson,

While noting your flattering words toward Dee and Deb of the Wartburg Watch (TWW), I believe their opportunistic response to this tragedy, in contrast to your wise and pastoral one, reveals their true colors.

When they announced, last week, that they were going to do a story on the Caner tragedy, I had a glimmer of hope that they might reach for something both truthful and uplifting, perhaps about the damage caused by the showmanship required for success in revivalism, or something like that. But I suspected they would use it as an opportunity to go after a Christian leader they disagree with. My suspicions were confirmed. In this instance, it is they who are guilty of "theological thuggery", blaming Hall for the tragedy.

And the grievous ironies don't stop there. You are right, "Real freedom is the ability to love and respect one another in the midst of disagreement." TWW is utterly devoid of such love and respect. While targeting those they accuse of being abusers who suppress others, they routinely censor and ban people from their blog who dare challenge them with facts. They apparently only object to spiritual abuse and suppression when they aren't the ones dishing it out.

Further, I have little doubt, given the vitriol and lack of restraint they've shown against those they've targeted, that had they discovered the child of one of their targets behaving on-line in a way they object to, they would have behaved just as Hall did (or worse). Their objections otherwise may only be an expression of ther self-righteousness of self-appointed judges.

I hope you're right that this tragedy results in many Christians rethinking their on-line relations. I hope we see that in a dramatic change in attack dog sites like TWW. I challenge them to begin that reformation by removing their blame-game article targeting JD Hall.

Sincerely,

John Carpenter (aka "yeoberry")

Paul said...

I guess the sincerity of JDs apology will be demonstrated in the weeks to come. The context, timing, and tone of apologies must also be considered. JD did confess to the sin of lying about Ergun's marriage. And he indicated his exchange with Braxton was unwise.

In my opinion, the sincerity could have already been demonstrated. He has chosen to remain quiet. But his friends speak loudly and clearly. Therein rests a large part of the issue.

Time will tell.

Wade Burleson said...

John,

Typically 'spiritual abuse' comes from those in 'authority and power.'

I have a great deal of respect for Dee and for Deb, two very smart women who think for themselves, are not afraid to challenge status quo, etc...

I also don't disagree that their words are sometimes sharp and biting. However, think with me for a moment and answer three questions for me.

(1). Do you value the personhood and ministry of these two women, Dee and Deb (Wanda), as much as you do the personhood and ministry of men like Phil Johnson, JD Hall, and others?

(2). Do you believe that spiritual 'authority' comes from gifting and service and not gender and status of 'office'?

(3). Are you prepared to acknowledge that Dee and Deb have influence in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ just like the men you admire who speak for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ?

If you answer "yes" to all three, and show the same respect to these women as you do your male friends, then I could possibly agree with your assessment: "They apparently only object to spiritual abuse and suppression when they aren't the ones dishing it out."

Sometimes, those who are hurt scream for attention - I make it a policy to never offer a suggestion to stop screaming when I see hurt - only if the person screaming is acknowledged by those in the room as a leader.

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wade,

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

First, administering a popular blog is, indeed, a position of authority. And I believe Dee and Deb do so abusively (the blaming of a pastor who holds to theology they disagree with for the recent tragedy being an example).

1) I value their personhood but I don't see that their "ministry" is beneficial. It appears to be driven by an agenda to attack expressions of authority, especially by those they disagree with. I respect JD Hall's zeal and ministry but . . . (as above). I'm not really a supporter of Phil Johnson (whom I've criticized in public, The Christian Post).

2) Authority itself is a spiritual gifting for the purpose of serving God's people. I believe scripture teaches both that women can have effective ministries in the church and that the eldership of the church is reserved for men (1 Cor. 11:2ff, 1 Tim. 2, etc). Under the umbrella of the church's eldership, women should be enabled to minister. I don't know the church membership status of Dee and Deb and whether they are members of a church which would provide them with wise accountability. If they aren't under any such accountability, I doubt they should be trying to hold others accountable.

3) Yes, they have influence. I believe it is detrimental.

I believe they operate a blog that appeals to one of the worst impulses in American religion: the hyper-individualistic scoffing at authorities (what in 1 Cor. 6:9 is called "reviling"). Both Hall and TWW are trying to do the same thing: hold the church to account and encourage reform (as they see it). I think Hall got carried away into foolishness (as I believe he admitted). But generally I still support Hall's goals. I believe TWW has also acted foolishly -- as I believe your article well describes. But I doubt they'll ever admit it. And some day, someone may be physically hurt by their jihad too.

Sincerely,

John

Wade Burleson said...

John,

Thank you.

I believe the more Dee and Wanda understand the influence they have - similar to what you have described - the more they will moderate what you perceive as their vitriol.

Let me remind you, too, that their commenters do not speak for them.

And, before someone asks that their comments be moderated, I would ask that those who desire it realize telling commenters -- many of whom have been abused by people in positions of 'authority -- to stop screaming is not necessarily helpful.

Thanks for the dialogue.

Christiane said...

there are no words that can go to the depths of sadness felt when young people die, whatever the reason

don't ever blame a child for committing suicide because they don't have the full judgment to realize the permanence of what they are doing . . .

Wade is right that we can never know what haunted the Caner child and led him to do as he did,
but I have thought about it that we all bear the responsibility of our words . . . we say them, but then we cannot control the damage they do, and even if it was not intended, our words may have injured someone . . . we cannot know the pain we cause, and that responsibility weighs heavily on us to speak with concern for where our words will go and how they will affect others. God have mercy on us all, and help us to amend our pride and our foolish ways, and lead us to help young people who may be vulnerable to self-harm . . . there is much that CAN be done for them before it is too late.

some thoughts, many prayers, much sadness . . . much hope for better from us all

Anonymous said...

HI Wade,

Yes, you're right. I'm not at all referring to the commenters but to the actions and words of Dee and Deb themselves. They target leaders with theology they disagree with, encourage rumors about them, insinuate blame (as in this case), assume the worst, take complaints against their targets at face value while expecting us to give them the benefit of the doubt. They insist that they would never get carried away as Hall did and their mere word is supposed to settle the issue. But if one of their targets is defended, they give no such benefit of the doubt. They routinely censor posts of commenters if they dare defend a target and will ban commenters for straying from their definition of orthodoxy. They've now cynically chosen to use this tragedy to further their theological agenda. It's not the commenters who need to stop. It's the abusive TWW. Unlike you, I'm not at all optimistic that they will reform themselves. Hypocrites rarely do. I believe the more attention they get, the more abusive they will become because fundamentally I believe they are bullies who have appointed themselves to be judges and are desperately seeking to fight any authority who will challenge their radically individualist autonomy.
Regards,
John

Anonymous said...

By the way, one of the reasons I'm commenting here and not at TWW (besides to commend you for the excellent article), is because I'm banned from commenting there -- such is their love of "freedom".
John

Victorious said...

And some day, someone may be physically hurt by their jihad too

John, sometimes the pendulum swings too far in an effort to correct abuse. But in view of the denial of an atrocious problem among believers, the internet has provided a voice to many who have been systematically silenced while under that mythical "umbrella" you speak of.

In time, the pendulum will swing as it was meant to in balance and it will be thanks to those who are appalled and outraged by abuse.

Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

HI Mary Ann (aka Victorious),

You could very well be correct. Except you over-looked one thing: the abusive (and therefore hypocritical) behavior of TWW (and others like it). I'll believe such people really care about "abuse" when they stop being abusive; I'll believe they're really interested in "freedom" when they give it to people they disagree with. Until then, their self-described cause is just a smoke-screen to hate people.
jc

Rhology said...

I agree with most of what John is saying about TWW and SSB. They have treated me very badly, unjustifiably so.

Wade Burleson said...

John,

You mention a 'theological agenda' that Dee and Wanda have.

I must politely disagree.

I think their only agenda is to help hurting people, expose authoritarian spiritual abuse, and be a voice for the marginalized (women, kids, etc...).

Dee, Wanda and I do not agree eye-to-eye some major issues theologically, but we have a warm, open and accepting friendship. They do not have an agenda to change my views, nor I theirs.

So, I don't deny you see them as having a theological agenda - I get that - I just politely disagree with you.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Mary Ann (aka Victorious),

My wife said to me the other night when reading a couple of your comments - "Victorious gets it."

Thanks for your insights.

Wade

Victorious said...

I'll believe they're really interested in "freedom" when they give it to people they disagree with.

I don't believe "freedom" is their focus. They've stated over and over that their focus is compassion for those abused. In light of that purpose, exposing abuse/abusers becomes necessary and rightfully so. Therefore, when some comments defend the abusers, it goes contrary to their focus and has the appearance of perpetuating and/or excusing it.

Your example of the "umbrella" doctrine plays a large part in the problem of abuse and must be exposed as the faulty premise it is. I strongly believe once this type of male/authority - female/submission is corrected, there will be little need for voices such as those who bring abuse to light and speak loudly (if necessary) to show the error and it's insidious result.

Victorious said...

Thanks for validating some of my thoughts, Wade. Thanks to Rachelle as well.

Much appreciated!

Bob Cleveland said...

For those who hold ill will against JD Hall, consider the following:

1)It will ALWAYS be true that he said what he did, to Braxton Caner.
2) Braxton Caner will ALWAYS have taken his life as he did.

I doubt anyone reading this would want to trade places with Mr. Hall, with that in his memory.

Rhology said...

There are those who don't think that Hall did anything wrong when he talked to Braxton so briefly, or that he said anything wrong when he did so.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wade,

I respect your point of view, especially the respectfulness with which you express it. However, I note that TWW's targets are consistently of the same theological bent (including JD Hall). I'm not a believer in coincidences. Plus, the are simply abusive in the way they administer their blog. Finally, one of the most abused groups of people today are pastors. Dee and Deb employ the same strategies, innuendo and self-serving rhetoric as those that abuse pastors.
jc

Anonymous said...

JC and RHO:

IMO your views of TWW are incorrect and only a small minority.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Ann (aka Victorious),

Again, you've ignore the FACT that TWW is itself abusive. Deb and Dee are abusers. They use other people's purported suppression and tyranny while they suppress those they disagree with. Their claim to "compassion" is one-sided and likely just a cloak for their agenda. Show me their compassion for JD Hall. Pastor Burleson showed us his.

As for authority in the church, 1 Timothy 5:17-19, Hebrews 13:17, etc., are pretty clear. It's not male/female but elders leading the church (with accountability). I believe what inspires TWW is a commitment to radical individualistic autonomy that is deathly afraid of the Kingdom of God. It is, after all, the kingdom (i.e. the rule) of God we are to seek first (Mt. 6:33), not our autonomy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous (at 12:37:00 PM),

Did you ever notice that are few dissenters at TWW? That's probably because they will censor or ban people who disagree with them. It's a hate site that abuses leaders who challenge their commitment to radical individualistic autonomy. Hence they lost interest in the Ergun Caner scandal after he was driven out of Liberty; no reporting of him going to Brewton-Parker and only one of his frivolous law-suits (because it benefited bloggers). But when this tragedy affords them the opportunity to pour scorn on yet another Calvinist, they are all over it, cynically blaming it on a Calvinist. And if you try to challenge them on their blog, be prepared to have your comments edited if not completely banned, all while they smugly congratulate themselves on their "compassion" for the abused.
jc

Anonymous said...

JC:

This is not about Calvinism IMO.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (at Fri Aug 08, 12:49:00 PM),

What do Mark Driscoll, 9 Marks (Mark Dever), CJ Maheney, John Piper and now JD Hall all have in common?

Again, I don't believe in coincidences.

Anonymous said...

You said:"Again, I don't believe in coincidences."

What do you believe in then?

Victorious said...

Again, you've ignore the FACT that TWW is itself abusive. Deb and Dee are abusers. They use other people's purported suppression and tyranny while they suppress those they disagree with

Deb & Dee are administrators of that blog and have every right to set the boundaries. I posted a comment over at Watchdogs that was deleted and I respect his right to do so for whatever the reason.

As for authority in the church, 1 Timothy 5:17-19, Hebrews 13:17, etc., are pretty clear

You don't have to look very far to find many who will disagree with your interpretation. You might start with Wade and his father's blogs.

radical individualistic autonomy

the kingdom (i.e. the rule) of God we are to seek first (Mt. 6:33), not our autonomy.

I'm thinking this sounds strange coming from one who advocates individual male authority and chides two women who aren't under the "umbrella" of someone's "radical" autonomous authority.

Sorry to disagree, but the strongest Christians I know are those who stand up against evil, oppression, error, and abuse and often stand alone. I doubt they would be offended by being called radical or autonomous.

Thanks for the dialogue. We're not likely to agree, but you have every right to your opinion as do I.


Christiane said...

Christians have a moral duty to help innocent people who have been injured OR are being injured.

That is a part of our faith, that we come to the aid of those in need of help,
not for 'credit' but because it is the right thing to do and is pleasing in the Sight of God:

". . . and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday"

(from Isaiah 58)

the Jewish people have a saying from the great rabbi Hillel of blessed memory
that is profoundly Christian in its ethos, this:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am not for others, what am I?

And if not now, when? "

(Hillel)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Ann (aka Victorious),

Yes, of course, they have "every right" to be thin skinned tyrants who can't tolerate dissent on their blog. But if they do that in the name of spiritual "freedom", freedom of conscience, etc., they're hypocrites and abusers who need to be exposed.

As for 1 Timothy 5:17-19, Hebrews 13:17, etc, the issue of headship: I had a professor who wrote the book on evangelical "feminism" (Paul K. Jewett) and had it force-feed to me at Fuller Seminary. So I can probably make a better "egalitarian" argument than most egalitarians. I just know it's wrong. But sex really isn't the issue. Dee and Deb's hypocritical, abusive behavior would be wrong even if they were men with lofty titles.

Where have I ever advocated "individual male authority"? Anyone who knows 9 Marks, John Piper, etc., know they (we) believe in multiple elders with some congregational accountability. Apparently, you haven't gotten to know the position you believe is okay to abuse and suppress.

Yes, the strongest Christians stand up against "evil, oppression, error, and abuse and often stand alone." Now, let's see you do it. Stand up against the abusiveness of TWW. Call out their evil of blaming this Caner tragedy on Hall, simply to further their erroneous theological agenda. Go to their blog and be willing to speak the truth to those tyrants and stand alone, even if they ban you. Join those who are willing to speak truth to power: the truth of God's Word against the power of the tyrants of TWW.
jc

Victorious said...

So I can probably make a better "egalitarian" argument than most egalitarians. I just know it's wrong.

Egalitarians impose no limitations on you or others who believe in a hierarchy of persons. Those who advocate a hierarchy, however, impose strange and erroneous limitations on those under that "umbrella" you speak of. Egalitarians advocate freedom for all. Hierarchalists advocate lack of individual freedom.

Where have I ever advocated "individual male authority"?

You've made it fairly clear how you feel about egalitarians since you mentioned headship and authority under an umbrella. If you're not complementarian, may I ask your position on male/female relationships in the home? Perhaps I misunderstood and you only believe women need to be under authority in church?

Call out their evil of blaming this Caner tragedy on Hall, simply to further their erroneous theological agenda.

Again, John, you misrepresent the focus of TWW and attribute their strong stand against abuse and oppression as an "erroneous theological agenda."

But isn't that a focus we should all have?

"Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Isa_58:6








YerPope said...

The biggest problem with the "blame" being wrongly assigned to Pastor JD Hall for "bullying" and being personally responsible for the suicide of Braxton Caner, a horrible tragedy that we all agree is the case, is that there are those like Todd Starnes who used this tragedy as an opportunity to publicly, blatantly misrepresent the facts, and to slander Pastor Hall and Dr. James White with a cavalier attitude that did not consider the truth or the consequences of his slander to himself and others, and that there were others who irresponsibly played party to slander by re-posting it on their Facebook pages, such as radio talk show host Steve Deace did. Such ease at slander tends to convince me that they are not familiar with the Epistle of James that strongly condemns the evil of slander.

Christiane said...

it is always heartening to see women AND men stand up to bullies who hide behind pastor's robes inflicting oppression in the name of Christ

everyone knows who the bullies are by the damage done to their victims, and the damage ranges from spiritual to material and is truly shocking for people of good will to witness

but if a person in the 'victim' category speaks up against a powerful bully with following, that person is criticized by those followers and labels are cast and names are thrown at the victims, like in a court room

I guess it's to be expected. My goodness, in my Church, some 'conservatives' were vocally appalled when Pope Francis knelt down and washed the feet of a woman prisoner (and a Muslim woman at that);
and in doing so, he washed away centuries of hubris and pride and wrong-thinking that has injured our people, male and female

everyone can make a difference, from a former woman victim speaking out exposing a bully to a world religious leader honoring Christ by washing the feet of a prisoner, a female Muslim prisoner . . .

it takes courage and people like Dee and Deb and even our dear Debbie Kaufman . . . these people are the strong ones, the survivors, the ones who make it their work to help oppressed people in spite of the name-calling and abuse they will endure from the followers of bullies . . .

can former victims 'over-react'?

are you kidding?

God Bless 'em!!! forever and ever
and may they always be strong for those who are hurting at the hands of those who mock Christ in their oppression of others

end of rant from inconsistent, silly me :)

(and yes, I DO pray for the healing of those bullies, too, and wonder if 'they know not what they do')



Anonymous said...

Just print what Hall said to Braxton and then leave it alone. You people on here sound like a bunch of Pharisees trying to be more spiritual than each other with all of your fake righteous indignation.

Christiane said...

I rest my case.

Paul said...

I have to admit it makes me chuckle when one of JDs cronies talks about the dangers of slander. This whole episode started with the slander of a teenager.

Rhology said...

I thought it started with JD Hall tweeting a teenager. It's not slander if it's all true. Have you seen his Twitter feed?

Educate yourself.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

It seems to this sinful creature that there are a lot of Americans who have deformed hands: They can point the finger at others without three finger pointing back at themselves!

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I talked to the father of a young man who took his life just a few short days ago. I was reminded that 75% of marriages involving parents who spontaneously lose a child by death end in divorce. I was also reminded of the "clean up" that takes place afterward: the closing of bank accounts, Facebook and Twitter pages, the care of a destroyed mother, a questioning brother, and a hurting girlfriend. And, let's not forget, the father who lost "his boy." There will be no more "Friday Night Lights" in Aledo, TX for this crew. No more WrestleMania's to attend TOGETHER. No high school graduation. No college selection trips. No proposal. No engagement. No wedding. No marriage. No grandchildren. No more family trips to the beach. No more nothing. It's over. The living will live on, but in no way will they live on as they once did in the days before. "Tragic" seems so lacking.

What there will be is a long lifetime of lasting pain that will never go away. As hard as you try, you cannot imagine what this family is going through. It's "something different every day," I'm told. There will be trips to the mailbox where a letter lies addressed to the young man by the unsuspecting. There will be photos walked by of the dead. Every time the girlfriend is publicly seen by the family, thoughts will return of what might have been. There's a truck parked in the driveway with no driver. There's a bedroom with no occupant. There are clothes with no body to fill them. Shoes and socks with no feet. A backpack with no one to carry it. There's an extra seat at the dinner table and in the SUV. There's a brother...without a brother. A death with no confirmed explanation.

I had no idea who some of the "participants" in this tragedy were until I got the call about the suicide of this young man. At this point, I have nothing to add about any of them. But, what I would like to see is this: A call to unity by those with the platform to end this war of words between all parties. Quite frankly, and putting it in "nice" words, I'm sick of it. I will never be ashamed of Christ, but I am utterly ashamed of some "Christians." Why would a lost and dying world, based on what they see in some of us, ever want to BE one of us? Our example to them, quite frankly, sucks. No, it's far worse than that. Many times WE are the only picture of Christ they will ever see, and we just look like a negative to them in a darkroom.

There's plenty of blame to go around on all sides. If you can't agree to that then you will simply remain part of the continued problem. While I will not blame anyone for this tragedy, the possibility remains that the pointing of fingers led to the pointing of a gun. Which led to the pulling of a trigger. Which led to the loss of a 15 year-old-young man. Which led to a scream. Which led to call. Which led to a morgue. Which led to a coffin. Which led to a hearse. Which led to a funeral. Which led a family to the moment when they tucked their child in for the very last time.

Which led me to write this...

Please, pray for this family. No, blame is not a game. If it were one, we just all lost it. Badly. And, regardless of what side you stand on, the next move is yours. Decide who you are going to be. And how you would feel if you could for one second enter the lives of this shattered family. As the body, I'm confident we can do better. We must.

Anonymous said...

This reads similarly to a post on Craig Daliessio's blog. Craig, is this you?

Anonymous said...

No, I am not Craig D. I just have no desire to become known.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Ann (aka Victorious),

Yeah, that's what the "egalitarians" say. It's self-serving. They will impose their way on others, even insisting that others use what they call "inclusive language". When they take over a seminary, those who believe what God's Word says are prohibited. Students who disagree are penalized. Etc. God is patriarchal.

The problematic word is "individual". Bible-believers typically believe in a "plurality of elders"; some, like Dever (9 Marks) in congregational accountability.

TWW only takes a "strong stand against abuse and oppression" when it is being dished out by others. They themselves abuse and oppress others. Someone needs to take a strong stand against the theological thuggery of TWW.

Nice Bible quote. Now apply to the bullies of TWW.
jc

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Ok, I'll bite. You stated, "This whole episode started with the slander of a teenager."

Now, please cite a slanderous statement by JD Hall of a teenager, keeping in mind that it must be a factually false and defamatory statement. Go.

(p.s. after you've realized you're unable to cite a slanderous statement, please reread Pastor Burleson's article and then reflect on the fact that "this whole thing" began when Ergun Caner decided to build a career on falsehoods without which Hall would never have been so (righteously) incensed at Caner.)
jc

Anonymous said...

JC:

You said:"The problematic word is "individual". Bible-believers typically believe in a "plurality of elders"; some, like Dever (9 Marks) in congregational accountability."

Do you know who the Bible-believers are and who is not?

Anonymous said...

Don't guess it'd do any good to suggest to everybody--and I mean everybody--just to mind their own business from now on. I know it takes all being grown-ups to do that, which is why so much blogging had been done about Caner in recent years and well before this tragic matter--but can't God Himself handle it when we don't? It's like preacher-speak or something; preachers reaching the place where they're somehow always compelled to address a matter even if what they say is completely dumb (been one, done it--so keep your replies about it to yourselves, please). Sad. Unnecessary.

Nicholas said...

@redgoatee

James White is not a "Dr."

Cross Stitch said...

Pastor Wade...I learn so much from your teaching...do you have a clone anywhere in NW ARK.??

Wade Burleson said...

Cross Stitch,

No, but if my wife and I could clone Beaver Lake, we would bring it to northwest Oklahoma! We spent a couple of days at your fair lake last week, and it is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!

:)

Diane said...

"I thought it started with JD Hall tweeting a teenager. It's not slander if it's all true. Have you seen his Twitter feed?

Educate yourself."

Slander-perhaps not. But was it gossip? Yes.

Wade Burleson said...

Of interest.

Tim Guthrie posted on this issue at An Open Letter to Pastors - Stop Ministry Bullying!

I responded to Tim's article with this comment - not sure if he will be able to post it, so I am doing so here.

_________________________________

Tim, I hear your heart, and your sentiments are admirable. I respect what you do for the King and His kingdom. I have just a question, and it is truly asked in a spirit of love and compassion for you and the desires you articulate.

Tim, could it not seem to some that you are 'bullying' James White and Jordan Hall with this post via social media? Again, I'm not accusing, just asking. Let me offer a couple of examples from your writing...

(1). Their master teacher(James White) ... partners with Muslims. They (and he) partner with thugs.

That could seem inflammatory to some, particularly to those who know James White (I don't), and see him as a Christian minister who is known for debating Muslims, not partnering with them.

(2). If you want to know the real truth of James White, ask his sister...

I'm just asking, Tim -- I'm not making any accusation -- genuinely asking a question here. I respect, again, your sentiments about calling all ministers to stop bullying. Here's what I'm asking - How is the statement "if you want to know the real truth about James White ask..." any different than telling a family member 'If you want to know the truth about your father ask ....'?

(3). "We good men who are on this earth charged to lead in reaching this world for Christ must speak out and not stop until the bully tactics cease."

Amen, Tim, amen. Again, I respect your desires, and I am only commenting to ask if possibly one man's 'speaking out' is another man's 'bullying.'

I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of stuff must stop. I'm wondering (truly wondering) if sometimes we all have a hard time seeing the bully in all of us.

Me included.


The Lord's continued blessings and mercies to you, your family and your ministry.

Wade Burleson

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

It appears to me that Tim does not see he is guilty of what he accuses others.

He is playing the role of a bully.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

I was trying to refrain from making a judgment and simply asking Tim what he thought.

It's like I wrote about a few days ago - it is utter folly to demand other people repent, because as Oswald Chambers said, "Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person."

It seems to me that we are called by Christ to love people in their sin, regardless of their repentance.

Wade

Tom Parker said...

I assure you I love Tim, but I do not like his bullying habit.

He has a habit of being a bully IMO.

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that we are called by Christ to love people in their sin, regardless of their repentance."

Which enables more abuse. The sociopathic abusers love guys like you. Cheap repentance, easy forgiveness.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

You misunderstand.

Love does not mean 'enable.'

It means you love people while you send them to jail. It means you love a son who is a drug addict enough to intervene. It means you love a bully enough to speak to him as a human being while you draw the line in terms of bullying.

Again, love means you treat people with dignity, respect, and worth - regardless of their repentance.

Anonymous said...

I just read Tim Guthrie's post and its no different than the people he condemns. Hopefully he will send a copy to the Wartburg Watch since they are so skilled at bullying themselves. Why do people who practice bullying try to come across as so pure and righteous in their blog posts condemning that which they themselves do on a regular basis. Its like all of the bloggers are racing to get to the front of the line of "Who is most spiritual."

Debbie Kaufman said...

"Cheap Repentance and forgiveness"


Anonymous: It wasn't cheap, it cost Christ his life for a season. But then He rose from that grave. He did it all for the love Wade describes. I forget that at times to my detriment.

All I know is this, a beautiful 15 year old boy took his own life. He was in so much pain and decided that death was better than living this life on earth. I am crushed. He is not coming back, he will not be here to continue playing football, make memories with family and friends. He will not marry, have children or grandchildren.

I am grieving with the Caners and family. My heart is broken, but not half, as much as theirs is. JD's heart is broken as well.I had no doubt it was when I heard the awful news.

For either side to continue in this blaming is a even greater tragedy. It does not heal, it tears apart the Body of Christ who should be coming together praying for the Caners because no parent should have to bury their 15 year old child.

This is all getting ugly and yet a 15 year old child is gone by his own hand, leaving behind a full life and a broken, grieving family. That is the greater tragedy.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Anonymous said...

I missed the part where Tim contacted their children personally to condemn then offer to tell them the truth about their dad.

Anonymous said...

Debbie, you missed the point. Wade is offering up cheap grace, easy forgiveness.

Wade Burleson said...

Debbie,

By the way, I had never read the comments in the post Jordan Hall wrote about Braxton Caner until this morning.

You did a wonderful job of showing the men in that forum where they were wrong in sending messages to Braxton via Twitter. I also noticed that your comments came a day before the apology posted to the site.

Appreciate what you said and what you wrote and the spirit in which you spoke to these men. I don't know if you played a role in bringing them to an understanding of the wrong in what they did, but you sure spoke to me.

Wade

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thank you Wade.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I'm just asking people to not blame anyone for Braxton's suicide - Ergun Caner or JD Hall - and trust that these horrible events are breaking some people.



Amen.

yeoberry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yeoberry said...

A few facts:

1. James White is one of the finest apologists alive today, both for the scholarly value of his work and the fact that he engages topics relevant to the church that few other apologists will touch (like King James Onlyism). He took the lead in exposing Caner and has done so in an appropriate way. He's also never tried to bring the family of Ergun Caner into the controversy and took no part whatsoever (that I've seen) in the infamous twitter exchange nor did he use the facts about the boy as fodder against Ergun Caner. When the news about the tragedy broke, he posted an article that is, like Pastor Burleson's here, a model of Christian compassion and pastoral wisdom.

He is co-writing (I believe) a book with a Muslim about the differences between Islam and Christianity. That speaks highly of his ability to deal charitably with people he disagrees, even publicly debates.

2. If some are trying to bring White into this tragedy, it demonstrates that some are trying to cynically use this to accomplish what Ergun Caner's frivolous law-suits could not: silence the truth-tellers.

3. It's not "folly" to ask people to repent, unless by "folly" one means the "folly" of the gospel. Jesus's message and the gospel today contains the command "repent." ("Now He commands all people everywhere to repent", Acts 17:30.) But it's true, in the Chamber's quote, repentance is "the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person." It is a gift from the Holy Spirit. But we're to tell all people to "repent" while praying that the Holy Spirit gives that gift liberally.

4. Pastor Burleson is correct that we love sometimes by imprisoning or drawing lines for bullies (like the bullies of TWW). In 1995, at the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2, I heard a German Lutheran pastor speak of how the allies "liberated" Germany from the Nazis. Sadly, to love Germans then, we had to kill some Germans. The world is that fallen.

There was no cheap grace in Pastor Burleson's statement.
jc

Very Sad said...

Wow, so sad. Glad your posted about this. God bless.

Anonymous said...

JC:

You keep calling TWW bullies. It does not make them, just because you say it. IMO they are not bullies.

yeoberry said...

@ Anonymous (Sat Aug 09, 03:43:00 PM 2014)

TWW is trying to pin the suicide of a teenager on a pastor who foolishly engaged in a tweeter interaction with him almost a month prior. The probable reason: the pastor happens to espouse a theology they hate. TWW are bullies, even theological thugs. It's not just me saying. It's the facts.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Might I observe that our own miserable predilection as sinners causes us to believe, we who claim to be Christian, are qualified to act as judge and jury over the sin of another.

There is something terribly awry in our hearts when we are so freely able to condemn in others, what is common in us, rather than be empathetic as fellow wounded.

How can those who are "in Christ" be so adept at the pagan art of shooting the wounded, instead of seeking to heal their wounds?

Anonymous said...

JC:

You said:"The probable reason: the pastor happens to espouse a theology they hate."

The key word is probable and I do not believe they hate the theology of that pastor.

You say it is facts, but IMO you and others that do not like TWW are conjecturing.

Cross Stitch said...

"....if my wife and I could clone Beaver Lake, we would bring it to northwest Oklahoma! We spent a couple of days at your fair lake last week, and it is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!"

Thank you...I've grown up and still live near Beaver Lake since the late 60's..we still love "playing on and near it". :)
Well, since we can't clone....I guess we'll just have to resign to visiting each other's blog and lake. smile

Kay said...

yeoberry said...

"TWW is trying to pin the suicide of a teenager on a pastor who foolishly engaged in a tweeter interaction with him almost a month prior. The probable reason: the pastor happens to espouse a theology they hate. TWW are bullies, even theological thugs. It's not just me saying. It's the facts."

Yeoberry, please back up your accusation with actual quotes from Dee or Deb, not the other people who have posted or the stories sourced in their reporting, but their actual words. I've seen several comments from them saying no one can know for sure, cautioning people not to lay blame using words like murder, and announcing certain comments were not posted because they violated the guidelines of the post. I believe they have stated JD Hall was wrong in going after Braxton on twitter, but even he has admitted he was wrong. Please back up your statement that they are pinning the suicide on JD Hall. You and other pulpiteers have lost credibility and cannot expect anyone to take your word as truth. Given the well documented tactics of the "army" of pulpiteers, evidenced by your words and the others' own words online, it is difficult to accept your accusation when you say "TWW are bullys".

Anonymous said...

"The probable reason: the pastor happens to espouse a theology they hate."

That makes no sense. Wade is their blog pastor and he is a Calvinist. If they hate that theology why would they have him as their blog pastor?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul- thank you for your comments. Hopefully the lesson for Mr. Hall will be learned.
1. You don't engage publicly a 15 year old, especially one that you have zero investment in.
2. Our words matter greatly.
3. His entire attack over the past years of Mr. Caner has seemed like a personal vendetta, and lacking in grace and humility.

Mr. Hall's comments may or may not have influenced Braxton, but if Mr. Hall had not shown such gross lack of judgment, which got worse when challenged, we would not be having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

First, I'm not a "pulpiteer" and am in no way associated with Hall's blog or movement. I've commented there a few times. Go through their blog and see how many times you find posts by me, John Carpenter.

Second, when Hall first put up the blog article about Braxton, I posted a comment (which I don't think made it past moderation) asking for him to take it down. When, a few days later Hall apologized for involving Braxton, I, like Pastor Burleson here, found his apology convincing enough to drop the issue.

Third, TWW has a verbose article entitled "theological thuggery" tying Hall's engagement with Braxton to his suicide. They call his apology "disingenuous at best" for no reason. They also twist James White's words, about a week prior to Pastor Burlseon's similar article here, saying that we shoudn't be placing blame, as an attempt to tell people to "move on", to cover up what they insinuate in the responsibility of his party. They are trying to put the tragic death of a teen on the hands of a pastor (and by extension of all those of similar theology), completely consistent with their regular behavior of attacking pastors.

@ Anonymous (Sat Aug 09, 08:18:00 PM 2014)

It's news to me that Burleson is a "Calvinist". I'd like to see him confirm that since he has blog articles entitled kissing Calvinism goodbye, etc. Besides, Burleson is not a complimentarian. To ignore the fact that TWW targets those of theology that challenges their radical individualistic autonomy is to bury one's heard in the sand. Even in the comments about this Hall issue, they couldn't keep themselves from making some smart-alecky pot-shots at John Piper.
jc

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous (Sat Aug 09, 08:18:00 PM 2014)

That didn't take long: Burleson is NOT a Calvinist. He wrote, "Of course I believe in "synergism.""
{Sat Jun 08, 09:44:00 PM 2013).
jc

Anonymous said...

JC:

You seem awfully fixated with TWW and keep making the same complaints against them in many of your comments. We get it! Maybe they do not let you comment there because you can not behave yourself in your comments. If that is the case then they have the right to not allow you to comment at their site.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous (Sat Aug 09, 10:05:00 PM 2014)

Do you realize every abusive cult argues in the same way: so-and-so can't behave himself so we have to suppress him. I challenge their premises and their baseless accusations. They can't tolerate it and so oppress. In this case, they've cynically taken advantage of the tragic death of a boy so they can smear yet another pastor committed to the Biblical theology they hate -- all the while hypocritically claiming others are theological thugs.

If you believe TWW's self-serving claims to be self-less servants of the down-trodden, I have a Basilica in Rome I'd like to sell you.
jc

Mr. Inflation said...

Wade,

Sadly, during the last 8 months or so, I repetitively suggested to JD, that he had exhausted his point in several of his postings. He also had a lengthy and distasteful dialogue with a different teenager within Ronnie Floyd's church about a questionable video.(I think the May post with about 128 responses)I think I suggested JD call the elder's of Floyd's church rather than continue on.

I have suggested his tactics are at times predatory with his redundant criticizing of certain people for weeks and in some cases months when he repetitively force feeds his claims.

When I questions his heavy handed tactics and Methodology (but not disputing his claims) I was mostly ignored although JC aka Yeoberry severely rebuked me for questioning the repetitive nature to what I referred to as toxic heavy-handed tactics while being accused of being supportive of Caner. I literally had to over explain myself to JC and a couple of Pulpiteers that I was Caner-Neutral as I wasn't familiar with Caner and that I was specifically suggesting their repetitive attacks lacked love and they were acting like adversaries that hated each other rather than brothers that loved each other.
(I didn't even see any evidence of "tough love" which is what they claim to embrace)

I hope these guys will for once exercise some faith, back off and learn to lean on the Holy Spirit to carry their burdens rather than take matters into their own hands and mistreat and verbally abuse their prey.

In my inquiry to JD's tactics it was also suggested that it was me guilty of judging not them. I have to pinch myself because my intent was for these guys to simply tone it down, not to judge them.

Brother in Christ
Mark

Anonymous said...

What in the world is a "blog pastor"? That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.

Anonymous said...

Other than a bunch of bloggers, I have yet to meet a Christian or a Baptist who even cares of knows a single thing about Caner. Seems like a lot of people are fighting some imaginary war that doesn't even exist except in their own minds and blogs.

Mr. Inflation said...

Anonymous,

If you happen to be yeoberry and you commented @ 8:18 p.m. to Kay go ahead and read Mr Inflation's 10:48 post. The few times JC may have admitted to being a contributor to Pulpit, for the most part was more supportive of Pulpit and Pen's repetitive toxic methodologies than not.

As a matter of fact JC was hurtful to me when I suggested things were getting too toxic.

Wade Burleson said...

JC,

Years ago the Baptist Messenger asked me and Herschel Hobbs to write side-by-side articles for the state paper on the 5 points of Calvinism. Hobbs opposed the doctrines of grace; I defended the doctrines of grace. The title of my post was "Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But...." The reason I do not like to be called a Calvinist is because I follow Christ and much prefer being called a Christian, and I believe the Bible, not a system of theology. Further, many so-called "Calvinists" of today hold to a low-view of women, a high view of Old Testament Law, and a rigid legalism that is antithetical to all I believe the Bible teaches about New Covenant redemption in Christ. Nevertheless, I am firm on the five points, and believe the only way a person can 'opt out' of Calvinism is by being a universalist simply because I see the Bible teaching Christ actually saves those for whom He died. Herschel and I were friends though he was at least a generation older than I. I have never considered the finer points of soteriology to ever be a point over which Jesus followers should separate in terms of fellowship. Some of my best friends are Arminians. The quote you give in your earlier comment about 'synergism' is based on my belief that when a person has faith - it is his or her faith - not Christ's faith; but of course, "in the day of HIs power, His people are made willing."

I would hope that you could 'tone it down' when it comes to TWW. Those ladies have no theological agenda. They simply wish to be a voice for the outcast and a defender for the defenseless.

Thanks

Kay said...

John Carpenter, M.Div., Th.M, Ph.D./JC/Yoeberry

Hi John, I took your advice and even went further in my searches to find you have quite an online presence. I see you are a huge fan of 9Marks and White, dislike MacArthur and Johnson, at one time defended Driscoll and much more. You've called for Caner to repent and written about his "sins". You do seem to enjoy stirring the pot in the various comment sections on a variety of sites. =)

To be honest with you, I don't understand the crusade against Caner. I've said before I'm not a Caner fan, but this obsession to force repentance from him is strange to me. I know you believe God is Sovereign so do you not believe the Holy Spirit is able to do the work in Caner's life without help from the endless online confrontations of mere men and women?

I didn't see evidence that you are a pulpiteer officially and I apologize for assigning you that label.

As for TWW, in my opinion Theological Thuggery is a good label for grown men, pastors, strangers, who usurp the role of a parent by directly engaging a 15 yr old kid, and I would think the same even if Braxton hadn't taken his life. I may as well add, if I ever caught Fred Butler and Gene Clyatt talking to my 15 year old son about about swimwear and Christian women in underwear, I'd be livid.

As for John Piper, I wish someone would take his electronic devices away. It's creepy enough he was down by the river watching teenagers make out. Why did he need to tweet about it.

All that aside, it looks like you have a really nice congregation and family. I enjoyed your wedding video, the piano concerts and even listened to some of your teaching. Even though we are not on the same page doctrinally, I do pray the Lord blesses your ministry, gives you many opportunities to present the gospel to the lost and gives you much to focus on within your flock and in your community.

Anonymous said...

JC:

You said to me:"I have a Basilica in Rome I'd like to sell you."

How much is it I might be interested?

LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi Wade,

You're certainly right: "the only way a person can 'opt out' of Calvinism is by being a universalist simply because I see the Bible teaching Christ actually saves those for whom He died." That's an excellent point. And I agree that most of those today who call themselves Calvinists are too wrapped up in their theological system and traditions.

As for TWW, as above, they usually go after those of a particular theological persuasion. Their attempts to blame Hall for this Caner tragedy being another example. I'd encourage you to do some study of pastor abusers (i.e. those who abuse pastors). Dee and Deb utilize their tactics: throwing out innuendo to cause disaffection with their targets and then sitting back and letting other hot heads make even worse accusations, for whom they've created the toxic environment. Pastors are some of the most abused people in our day and Dee and Deb are pastor abusers writ large; they are creators of outcasts and abusers of the defenseless.

I know of a pastor who was being hounded out of a church, going to the birthday party of an 18 year-old the night before the persecutors were set to vote him out on trumped up accusations. The parents of the 18-year old were obviously dysfunctional and couldn't manage to look like a supportive family even during the birthday party. The next evening, the mother of the girl the pastor went to the party for, came to the church business meeting and told the church of how "abusive" the pastor is. Had she ever seen any evidence of "abuse" from him. No, of course not. Just the night before she saw the opposite. But one of the agitators told her he was abusive and that's all that mattered. She took their word for it, even over what she had witnessed herself. Dee and Deb are like those agitators and in our culture there are plenty of people who will believe their poison even over what they witness themselves.

By the way, this is largely a white-American ethnic weakness -- the assumption that the person in authority must be wrong, and should never be given the benefit of the doubt (the assumption which allows TWW to flourish). Other cultures generally aren't so naive. I once joked at our church's members meeting that I'd like for our church to become a black church . . . it's better for my job security! :)
jc

Wade Burleson said...

Kay,

That's civil dialogue on the Internet. Thanks!

Wade Burleson said...

John,

I have a relationship with Dee and Wanda. We talk about these matters.

They love people. Period.

Many accuse me of disliking Paige Patterson because I've written against his policies and practices.

I don't dislike Paige - I LOVE the man. He is funny. Fun to be around. Interesting and tells a lot of stories.

I dislike his view on women. I dislike his policies of spiritual authoritarianism.

But I really like him.

So, sometimes I think what happens is when we write about THINGS we don't like, people assume we don't like the PEOPLE who hold to these things.

Not true.

And I know you know this not to be true.

I'm trying to tell you that you are making some assumptions about Dee and Wanda that are not true.

I can see WHY you believe what you do about them, but similar to what Kay has just done for YOU, get to know those TWO ladies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

Wow! You even watched my wedding video! That's funny.

By the way, why do you put "sins" in quotation marks regarding Caner? Do you believe that lying (about major events in one's life-story, over almost a decade, to the point of spouting gibberish that one says is Arabic, to profit off of 9-11) is a sin?

I've written an essay about why the Caner issue is important that I hope is published somewhere. The issue is obvious: lying is a sin. God says He hates it and that all liars go to hell. That we in our culture don't take it so seriously is only a problem with our culture. Christians who take God's Word seriously, therefore, take the Caner issue seriously. It's that simple.

You don't stop calling for repentance just because someone doesn't do it the first time they are asked.

Piper made an observation (which you've twisted to insult him). Christians not only take lying seriously but also sexual purity. Piper is a Christian.

Thanks for the well-wishes and I'm sorry that not all of my son's piano recital was on video. He did an excellent job!
jc

Anonymous said...

Hi Wade,

My conclusion about TWW is based on getting to know them -- and other pastor abusers. Again, the abuse of pastors is a far, far under studied and discussed topic, a epidemic disease that is eating away at many of our churches. And I believe TWW is a major carrier of the infection.

By the way, last Spring I got an e-mail out of the blue from Dee Parsons asking about my doctoral dissertation and the Puritans. I thought it was odd but took it at face value and offered what resources I could. I had a suspicion that she was looking for information to try to discredit my academic credentials. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I sent her two e-mails with various information in response to her inquiry for which I didn't get so much as a "thank you" response. I now think she was looking to do a hit piece on me.

I understand they help promote your ministry and that's fine for you. Just be careful. People like them are liable to stab you in the back if they find a reason. Sweet ladies only looking out for the "outcast" don't dish out the toxic brew that is TWW's stock-in-trade.
jc

Anonymous said...

JC:

You can not even see that you attack TWW in almost every comment you make. This is not about abuse of pastors.

Could it be you are obsessed with any site that might point out the abuse of pastors of their members especially women?

Anonymous said...

"As for TWW, as above, they usually go after those of a particular theological persuasion."

Are you referring to Calvinists? I have to assume you are. That is patently ridiculous. Their blog pastor, Wade, teaches there once a week and as you see from this thread, is a 5 pointer. And they have been strident to ask folks not to trash Calvinism in comments.

They "go after" abuse no matter where it comes from. Right now, much of it is coming out of YRR/Calvinist groups. That is simply because that is the big movement now. They have given equal play to Non Calvinist abuse whether it was Patterson, Caner, IFB, etc.

Anonymous said...

Go read the TWW for yourself and then make up your own mind without taking the word of bloggers. I did and I concluded they are toxic. Just because you talk to someone on the phone doesn't mean that you know them. What they write tells you what they are.

Remember, each is entitled to their own opinion and this is mine.

Anonymous said...

"I've written an essay about why the Caner issue is important that I hope is published somewhere. The issue is obvious: lying is a sin. God says He hates it and that all liars go to hell."

Protecting child molesters over a long period of time in a "family of churches" is also a sin. Blackmailing your cofounder is also a sin. So why not the same effort expended on Mahaney?

Are innocent children who were told by SGM pastors to forgive their molester because they are just as big of sinners as the molester, not worthy or something?

Anonymous said...

John,

If you want to remain a pastor you have to wear big boy pants. It is not for everyone and expecting people to come and "obey" an "authority" because you have a christianese title is ridiculous. You sound like Driscoll.

You also sound like someone who resents American culture because we do not want a "king" to look to. We became a nation of "laws" not a nation of rulers who decide for us.

The same for church: only King Jesus, please. You are coming off as someone who resents that people are free to think for themselves. And yes, they are free to be wrong, too. They are not free to just break "laws" but they are free to question anyone in a leadership function.

Anonymous said...

Anon

Sun Aug 10, 08:22:00 AM 2014

Your response to John is spot on.

He wants to be an authority and we will not let him be ours so this makes him and those like him consider us sinners.

I would not want a Pastor like JC, but that is just my opinion that John correctly stated he is allowed to have, but so are we.

Anonymous said...

"I can see WHY you believe what you do about them, but similar to what Kay has just done for YOU, get to know those TWO ladies."

Wade, I so appreciate the encouragement to get to know someone personally with whom you disagree theologically. This takes time and effort.

I think if Dee and Deb did more of this at TWW, they'd have a lot more respect, love, and grace towards the folks they profile. It is not evident by many of their repetitive comments that they would think these same people are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Much of what they write about is true and necessary to expose (especially the child sex abuse), but sometimes I don't think they realize within the walls of the Wartbug they themselves have ironically risen to celebrity status, and have their own fanboys and posterchild. Who will watch the Wartburg? Ken

Debbie Kaufman said...

A few years back, I had the privilege of meeting Deb and Dee for a meal as they were visiting Enid. I could have spent hours talking to them. I still could. I was impressed by their compassion for others.

I too admire what they are about in giving those who have been hurt in the church a voice. Something they did not have before. I don't always agree, but that does not diminish my admiration for these two women. I say the same for Julie Anne of the Spiritual Abuse Sounding board.

Christiane said...

Hi ANONYMOUS,

you wrote this: "Are innocent children who were told by SGM pastors to forgive their molester because they are just as big of sinners as the molester, not worthy or something?"

I'm wondering what kind of religion would do something so evil. Did this really happen at 'SGM'? Was it a part of their teaching ?
Profoundly evil to hurt children twice in this way. How can people think this way and call it 'Christian' ??

Anonymous said...

"Much of what they write about is true and necessary to expose (especially the child sex abuse), but sometimes I don't think they realize within the walls of the Wartbug they themselves have ironically risen to celebrity status, and have their own fanboys and posterchild. Who will watch the Wartburg? Ken"

They make no living off their readers. Their readers have invested nothing to comment there as does a pew sitter at a church who tithe to pay the pastor and the building. Their readers are not required to sign any membership covenants.

They do not position themselves as pastors or theologians. they have their opinion but are not "preaching" to their audience who is allowed to question them civilly in my experience.

The blog is more like their open backyard where people are invited to come yet they have a right to make the rules.

Even suggesting someone needs to "watch" them seems strange. How would that work on their own blog?

Those who are "watching" can go disagree as much as they want on other blogs if they cannot disagree they way want there.

It is called Freedom and that freedom is something about the Neo Cal movement that bothers me the most. They seem to think Freedom is dangerous for everyone else but them.

Anonymous said...

"Even suggesting someone needs to "watch" them seems strange. How would that work on their own blog?"

There is a big move in Neo Cal circles to make all para church org or "Christian" groups/entities submit to a local church pastor or Christian authority or they are in sin.

They are extreme authoritarians. Come to think of it, much like Calvin's Geneva!

Christiane said...

so sad that what brought many people closer to one another in spirit was the death of an innocent . . .

I need to think about why this is true, and why it seems to cut so deeply through 'divisions' to some central core we all share of compassion and kindness towards suffering.

That child is with Our Lord. His parents and brother will see him again.

As for us, we need to think for a while how it is that his death brought some healing by generating everyone's compassion for the suffering of Caner and his family.
What is the lesson of this?
And what is it in us that it took something like this to see that we were capable of feeling such compassion for another soul? Who are we in this tragedy? What does God teach us here?
And have I been opened to amending my perspective in response? May God have mercy on us all and most especially on the vulnerable young among us. We must remember that the children are listening. If that doesn't change the equation, then we MUST be held to account for our failure to acknowledge our responsibilities to them.

Kay said...

Wade wrote: "So, sometimes I think what happens is when we write about THINGS we don't like, people assume we don't like the PEOPLE who hold to these things.

Not true.

And I know you know this not to be true."

Wade, this is an important point.

John, this just happened with my last post to you. I said, "As for John Piper, I wish someone would take his electronic devices away. It's creepy enough he was down by the river watching teenagers make out. Why did he need to tweet about it. "

and you responded, "Piper made an observation (which you've twisted to insult him). Christians not only take lying seriously but also sexual purity. Piper is a Christian."

Obviously I didn't give you enough information if you drew that conclusion. While I probably disagree with Piper in the same areas I might disagree with you, my intention was not to insult him.

Here is my concern. John Piper has an incredible life of ministry, well published with a huge online library of messages and resources. I have read some Piper, sent hurting friends one of the Piper articles over the years and probably still have a couple of his books in our library.

However, as a believer who is serious about sexual purity, I have to ask why, why, why would he tweet something so strange in a forum where he cannot explain himself in 140 characters, especially in this age of heightened awareness of sexual abuse in churches and on the heels of the tragic death of a 15 year old and the twitter fiasco. And I still wonder why is he "watching" teenagers. He could have made his point without that information or action.

It's frustrating. Some people will remember him by his tweet and the parodies it generated and might miss something helpful in his life works.

In the same vein, why would a person who has a high position in a high profile ministry that reaches around the world, engage a 15 year old on twitter, someone he didn't know (and I am not referring to JD Hall here)? How does that help his ministry? How does that uplift the name of Christ? I am guessing it was of no help to Braxton.

To answer your other question, I put " marks around sin because I have not kept up with the Caner story until Braxton's death and when reading through the blogs - like I said before - there is ugly on both sides. It's hard to distinguish truth from embellishments and exaggerations on both sides.

I should add that I am the first to admit to saying and doing stupid things that do not uplift the name of Christ. I strive to learn from my sin, confess and know I'm forgiven. I truly believe the Lord will use all for His perfect plan and purpose and I believe that is true for all the situations we've been discussing here as well.

That said, I can't help but desire that high profile ministry people would be extra careful in this age of instant, world wide access to what they say and do. All of us who are believers, sinners saved by grace, and especially high profile ministry people need to strive to be above reproach. No matter the flavor of Christianity, all have a target on their back visible to those who disagree with them. In my opinion, they shouldn't be the one shooting themselves with arrows.

Sorry to be so long, but I wanted to clarify my previous comments.

I'll check back occasionally and see if you have any new videos of your precious children playing piano. =)

I hope you are having a blessed Lord's Day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

I appreciate the earnestness of your post and the affirmation of the importance of sexual purity and your very charitable tone.

Your misinterpretation of Piper is that you said he watched teens making out. Actually, his tweet said he watched them driving away from the river. There's a difference. Watching people making out may indeed be "creepy". Watching people and observing their demeanor milling about in public does not suggest creepiness. Piper's main theme is the greater happiness of being a believer in Jesus. His statement is consistent with that.

As for the Caner debacle, if you're not knowledgeable of it, that's fine; there's no fault in that. But don't you find it strange that someone could write a best-selling book, be the dean of one of the largest seminaries, now the president of a SBC college, have conducted seminaries and conferences around the country and now be proven to be a complete fraud, that the "Arabic" he purported to quote was gibberish, that his claims to have been trained to be a terrorist, raised in Istanbul, etc, were completely fictitious -- don't you find it strange that that story isn't more widely reported?

For more details, see the facebook page ErgunButchCaner.: https://www.facebook.com/ErgunButchCaner?ref=hl.

I really like your last full paragraph, beginning with "That said," . . . . I think it shows a genuine Christian spirit.
jc

Anonymous said...

To some of the "Anonymouses" above,

I try to sign or initial all my posts. I'm not the "Anonymous" (of 08:10:00 AM) who affirmed that TWW is "toxic".

As for the Maheney/SGM controversy, I admit my ignorance. I generally don't pay attention to second-hand reports and accusations that can't be confirmed. Are there multiple youtube videos showing Maheney covering up child sexual abuse? If not, then how do you know he's guilty? Because TWW told you? 1 Timothy 5:19 specifically tells us not to accept accusations against an elder unless they are confirmed by multiple witnesses. Neither I nor Mark Driscoll made that up. It's what the Bible says. Yes, I know it's totally contrary to white-American culture where we're taught that authorities can be slandered routinely. But God said it. If it were applied, it would shut down TWW.

TWW only purports to be for "freedom." That's what makes the authoritarian way they run their site hypocritical. They suppress speech that challenges them.

I suggest this as a memory verse for several of you "Anonymouses":
"Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses." (1 Timothy 5:19.)
jc

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 11:27:00 AM 2014)

The Lord Jesus is "an extreme authoritarian". He tells us, "He will rule them with an iron scepter." (Rev. 19:5). Yes, the saying "rule with a rod of iron" comes from the Bible, about Christ. He tells us to see "the Kingdom" (the rule) of God, above all. If, above all, you're seeking your own individualist autonomy, then, I'm sorry, you've chosen the wrong religion. You might want to try Baha'i.

That being said, no sinful person can be entrusted with that authority because they will abuse it. That's why we need accountability. That why the propagandists of TWW need to be accountable to someone.
jc

Tim Lee said...

When Pastor JD Hall called me Benedict Arnold I blocked him on twitter and soon forgot about it. However when I saw the conversation that he initiated with Braxton I was incensed. I knew Braxton. I had been around him scores of times. He attended our teen camp last summer and made a decision the night Tony Nolan preached.

When his dad preached at our home church in Garland a few months ago Braxton came with him. He came directly where I was setting. Braxton was a gentleman. He looked me in my eyes when we spoke. He shook my hand with a firm handshake. He always said yes sir or no sir and spoke to adults with respect.He set down next to me and we shared a bible.

Braxton had a contagious smile that could light up a room. He was fun to be around.

I am a PK (preachers kid) my kids are PK's. Sometimes pressure Is placed on PK's either knowingly or unknowingly . I remember I was 16 when one of my dad's deacons made the statement that all PK's hate to hear. "Well, you are the pastors son and you should know better." It's enough to make you resent your dad being in the ministry. But Braxton enjoyed being around preachers.

When I saw what Hall was doing I was angry and in my opinion the worst thing he did was to invite Braxton to a private conversation about Braxton's dad. My antennas went sky high Braxton didn't know Hall. My children have and I too have warned my grandchildren about strangers time and time gain. One of those warning include strangers on the internet. If a grown man sends any of my grandchildren a message wanting to talk privately to them I'm immediately thinking pervert,sneaky, sleazy etc. The next thing after I think that is I'm either getting in my vehicle for a trip to visit this creep or I'm getting on an airplane to go see him. As I arrive on his property I will call the local authorities for a heads up.

Does anyone think Hall had good motives in mind when he tried to get Braxton to go private with their conversation? This is a guy who called a Marine combat veteran that gave his legs for America a Benedict Arnold! This is a man who seemingly has had a hatred for Braxton's father. Give JD Hall the benefit of the doubt on this? Not on your life! He deserves no such thing.

Hall is a bully plain and simple. He has some kind of "Downgrade" system on his website with people he disagrees with. He has "downgraded so many people there's no way you can keep up with it. It's the ultimate in Phariseeism.


JD Hall spent nearly all his time calling people out with what he perceived to be their wrong. He loved to "downgrade" people. I mean he took delight in it. Problem was he could never see that he was downgrading himself in the process.

Anonymous said...

JC:

You used the term "Anonymouses" in one of your comments. What is that?

Are you trying to use some humor--you are capable of humor are you not?

Anonymous said...

The Lord Jesus is "an extreme authoritarian". He tells us, "He will rule them with an iron scepter." (Rev. 19:5). Yes, the saying "rule with a rod of iron" comes from the Bible, about Christ. He tells us to see "the Kingdom" (the rule) of God, above all. If, above all, you're seeking your own individualist autonomy, then, I'm sorry, you've chosen the wrong religion. You might want to try Baha'i."

No, I will stick with 1 John. All true believers have "anointing" and the indwelling Holy Spirit. The LAST thing we need to do is follow some man who cannot be our Holy Spirit for us but believes in his "authority".

Jesus Christ is my authority.

You really have been listening to Driscoll way too much. You should get out more.

Anonymous said...

"That being said, no sinful person can be entrusted with that authority because they will abuse it."

You should stop all that sinning, JC. The resurrection means we can live a redeemed life. You CAN grow in Holiness. But if you believe Jesus obeyed for you on the cross, sanctification is a moot point for you.


"That's why we need accountability. That why the propagandists of TWW need to be accountable to someone."

They are or will be. King Jesus.

You really have a problem with Freedom.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 03:18:00 PM)

"Anonymouses" is my guess of a plural for Anonymous. Should it be "Anonymice"? :)

@ Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 04:41:00 PM)

If Jesus is your authority then you will find elders to submit to and obey as He has told you to (1 Tim. 5:17, Heb. 13:17).

@ Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 04:43:00 PM)

If you think you can grow out of sinning, you don't believe 1 John 1:9 -- and you're very dangerous. It's the people who believe they've grown free of sin who think they can be trusted with absolute authority over others. And then the sin really shows.
jc

Anonymous said...

"If Jesus is your authority then you will find elders to submit to and obey as He has told you to (1 Tim. 5:17, Heb. 13:17)."

CJ Mahaney's favorite verses. Well done. You might want to do a Greek study on Hebrews 13:17 as translators were laboring under a church/state mentality. much as you have.

"If you think you can grow out of sinning, you don't believe 1 John 1:9 -- and you're very dangerous. It's the people who believe they've grown free of sin who think they can be trusted with absolute authority over others. And then the sin really shows.
jc"

Actually, I find people who think they CANNOT sin less and less as their "eat meat" and abide in Christ are very scary. I believe them when they say they are the worst sinners.
And I avoid. And I keep my children out of their churches. Not safe. Because they always have a ready excuse for evil. They cannot help it.

yeoberry said...

Hi Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 06:44:00 PM),

Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες, ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες, ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτο.

Obey those leading you and submit to them for they watch over your souls as [ones having to] render an account; in order that with joy they may do this and not [with] groaning, for that [would be] unprofitable to you.
Hebrews 13:17
my translation (with the help of an interlinear and on-line dictionary as Hebrews Greek is difficult.

I didn't say we can't grow and sin less and less. But we will always have the sinful nature to deal with as Romans 7 describes. "If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives." (1 John 1:10). There is no sinless perfection in this life.

yeoberry said...

I once saw someone critiquing a C. J. Maheney sermon on Hebrews 13:17. Their problem wasn't with Maheney's opinions but with what the Word of God says. Hebrews 13:17 (and much of the NT teaching on the church) shocks those committed to radical individualistic autonomy.

Anonymous said...

John:

You and those that think the way you do want to hold people accountable in a way that Jesus never planned. The abuse that is being done by pastors and elders is massive. That is why we need the internet and places like TWW.

Anonymous said...

" "If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives." (1 John 1:10). There is no sinless perfection in this life."

Who said anything about sinless perfection. We die. We are in corrupted bodies. We choose to actively commit sins or not.

I am hoping you read the rest of 1 John 3:

6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

I will stick with my studies on the translation word choices for Hebrews 13. Thanks anyway, Your Royal Elderness. :o)

yeoberry said...

@ Anonymous (Sun Aug 10, 07:32:00 PM),

Speaking of the Lord Jesus: have you considered that the only direct instruction He gave to the local church (by name) is, in fact, about holding members accountable (Matthew 18:116-18).

Please share with us how you know what Jesus planned.

The abuse being dished out to pastors by people like TWW is massive.

Anonymous said...

JC:

You say: "the abuse being dished out to pastors by people like TWW is massive."

You can say that a billion times and that will not make it true.

The abuse of pastors by trying to control the lives of church members--now that one is massive.

Bridget said...

Wade -

For someone who has spoken against authoritarianism, you sure are quiet. It seems your blog has been hijacked ;)

Mr. Inflation said...

JC,

You might want to comment on a post sent last night I wrote to Wade at 10:48:00 I know you are concerned about abuse.

I'm also concerned about the repetitive and predatory abuse and also the tone that shows not a speck of even "tough love" abusers proclaim to have.

In Christ
Mark

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark (aka Mr. Inflation),

I saw that I have no recollection about what you're referring to. I think there's something wrong when someone is (1) knowledgeable of the Caner debacle and (2) unconcerned about it. Anyway, I've already responded much, much too much here already.
jc

Mr. Inflation said...

JC,

Go back to February 12, 2014 on Pulpit.

Look, I moved to rural Alaska in 2006, and am originally from Spokane. I didn't become aware that Caner even existed until I looked up Spiritual Abuse and ran across Peter Lumpkins about Stealth Calvinism. And a post regarding JD's tactics that Peter wrote about that aroused my curiosity to look up Pulpit/Pen.

When I stumbled across JD's blog he was in full swing of his never ending repetitive insults.

You and I became acquainted when I merely questioned JD's redundant Methodology which was by appearance lacked love or even what you guys later proclaimed "tough love".

You condoned the hateful Methodology with a "yea but do you know what Caner did to deserve this?" attitudng oe.

What I was seeing was a bunch of guys that was in the process of going too far, who lacked faith by taking matters into their own hands rather than leaning on the Holy Spirit to carry your burdens.

Then you preceded to attack me for supporting Caner's views when in fact several times I said,, I was Caner neutral.

Take a little responsibility for the way you treat people. I was offering a way out for you guys by simply suggesting that you needed to tone down your rhetoric.

In Christ
Mark

Wade Burleson said...

Bridget,

Shouting down shouters makes you a shouter.

Jesus was silent before Pilate, and it would be hard to give a better example of abuse of power.

I may be quiet, but I definitely know what I'm doing. Thanks for noticing.

Anonymous said...

Until you have been a pastor you really have no idea of what disgruntled church members can do to your children. Someone in our church sent a very exlplicit pornographic picture of two people having sex--but they photoshopped my wife's face onto the woman. They then mailed the picture to my 9 year old son. Thankfully I noticed the envelope in the mail addressed to him and opened it. That was probably one of the sickest days in my life as a pastor but one for which I was thankful that I was able to intercept the package before my son ever saw it.

Just letting you know that some evil people feel free to harass and persecute pastor's children because they don't agree with their father.

Kay said...

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=81114049210

Gene Clyatt @Shinar_Squirrel · 44m
JD Hall releases a statement regarding the Braxton Caner suicide http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=81114049210 …

Anonymous said...

Question:Do we cross a line when grown men tweet teenaged boys?

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses." (1 Timothy 5:19.)

Exactly the verse Paige Patterson misapplied to dismiss the abuse of women and teens by Darrell Gilyard. Sickening.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Do we cross a line when grown men tweet teenaged boys?

Depends. If the teenaged boy's account is public and the exchange isn't inappropriate, not necessarily. When the grown man invites a teenaged boy to e-mail him? Yeah, he's definitely crossed the line.

It sounded like "the child" was rather enjoying sparring with "the adult."

Maybe @braxtoncaner89 · Jul 3
Apparently I'm a "child". Lol cool.

Maybe @braxtoncaner89 · Jul 3
Lol seems like I'm popular topic nowa days

Maybe @braxtoncaner89 · Jul 3
People will criticize you, but will never stop and look in the mirror...Pretty good for a child, right?

Anonymous said...

" It sounded like "the child" was rather enjoying sparring with "the adult."


And this means what, to you?

Anonymous said...

Wade, You don't have to "shout". Silence implies agreement unless you are Jesus Christ, I suppose. Silence concerning Mahaney from SBC leaders certainly looks like agreement. Silence always looks like agreement. Elie Wiesal has a great quote about this very thing.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Sometimes silence is good (Jesus before Pilate, and He definitely was not 'in agreement'), and silence sometimes is not good.

I have not been completely silent, but I haven't shouted.

It seems I haven't spoken to the degree that you deem wise. I understand. Disagreement, as always, is healthy.

We disagree.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ Sun Aug 10, 11:21:00 AM 2014

I am not the best communicator by any means, so forgive me if I came across as upset or off-the-wall in that post of mine.

I am not a blogger or a pastor - far from it. Am more of a "nobody" who loves Jesus. On one hand, I've benefited and identified with TWW because of 25 years of non-stop abuse from pastors and local churches, but on the other hand, have not been able to make complete sense of how someone truly can walk in the Spirit, yet continually "dissect" the myriad of problems in the body of Christ and make a constant diet of it without feeding the flesh/ego, or deceiving one's self in some way, shape or form. I think I've been guilty of this often times.

In some real sense, the more I read the more critical/cynical I tend to get underneath it all, yet, I'm not saying people should not think about these issues or have the platform to share their experience or converse about it with others who identify. I have been told by the readers to quit reading so much if this seems to happen. Fair enough. And I have - though I still peak on occasion. ;) I had good friends who are pastors involved in the movements they constantly address and have found myself over the last year less likely to pray for them.

And it's not always been about what is said that bothers me - it's probably about the lack of what isn't boldly stated or referenced in the articles. Constant reminders that the rest of us would be doing the same or worse if it weren't for God's Sovereign Grace in our lives. Grace Grace Grace. Respect Respect Respect. Love Love Love. The mindset found in Phil. 2:3&4 has to prevail.

Lastly, cut it any way you'd like, but I think dissection of people's errors (especially those who love Christ) is an inherently dangerous business to be in - much like the atmosphere pastors create where they have more and more power and give in to the temptations little by little along the way - it will catch up to those digging for truth to be told in the next story to post. Obviously, there is a spectrum of evil involved in some of these stories from the horrendous to the not-so-good, so part of me sees the benefit of the really bad and less of the not-so-good.

Sean Connery said, in the movie First Knight, "Oh, hey, I take the good with the bad, together. I can't love people in slices". Dissecting people's lives and statements into pieces without the constant reminders that they are entities loved by Jesus, makes the rest of us more likely to not love, respect, or honor them as we should, and to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. It's the prime breeding grounds for self-righteousness and it's varying forms.

Just my .002 cents!



Mr. Inflation said...

JC,

I'm glad you finally recognized that silence in your case is better. (it will in the end stimulate more silence in all of us)

In your short statement to me last night you side-stepped your role on verbally abusing people, including me for rebuking your tactics. You ignored my confession of not even knowing Caner or how I came to stumble onto JD's Blog.

You also ignored commenting on my witness to the unloving tactics that you are apart of in pursuit destroying someone rather than exercising some faith when raising a credible concern and then leaning on the Holy Spirit instead of recklessly taking matters into your own hands.

Again, you need to assume some personal responsibility in how you treat others.

In Christ
Mark

Kay said...

This link has the JD Hall transcript for today’s audio release.

http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/29066-pastor-repents-for-interaction-with-suicidal-teen

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous 2:48 PM August 14, 2014

You should start a blog.

I'd read it. :)

Anonymous said...

I too have been "bullied" by Jordan on social media. The difference is I'm a grown woman, secure in my identity in Christ, so I just laughed when he told me my opinions on church matters aren't important because I'm "just a stupid, emotional woman." I truly believe he's broken by what happened with Braxton, and I pray that this is the catalyst for change in how he treats others.

Dave May said...

I will not tell my whole story here. I will just thank you for your perspective. I was severely bullied by my own pastor. Slapped, shoved, publicly humiliated, blamed in front of my wife for the lose of our unborn sin due to "unconfessed sin" even when I left the church he hounded me.

It was a horrible experience. I think Mr. Hill made a mistake, and it is not clear we can blame him for the young MR Cantor suicide. At the same time we really do need more grace, more accountability, and more of the image of Christ even in our pulpits