NewSpring’s curious silence 63

I don’t have much more to say about this whole thing, but I’m surprised at how quickly NewSpring’s leaders seem to have gone to ground after their big splash on Friday afternoon.

I’ve learned that they actually sent their statement as a press release to the local newspaper, intending to get this on the front page last Saturday, though after I told my side of the story their communication apparatus has completely stalled.

Although the staff on every campus have been told they may not visit this site, there must at least be someone who has taken a peek at my rebuttal of their statement. Their official blog is still displaying exactly the same text as it did on Friday. Here, in order of ease of correction, is what I’m waiting for them to fix.

  1. The meeting was in April, not February. This is a no-brainer, and anyone who goes back to my February posts can see that NewSpring wasn’t even on my radar. You can also see Brad Cooper’s comment from March 7 inviting me to meet him for coffee. This is such an insubstantial change, why wouldn’t they make it, unless they want to pretend that my rebuttal doesn’t exist?
  2. There were four active harassers. I really don’t understand why they repeatedly refer to three rather than four harassers. Was this just a mistake? Is there one they dare not talk about? If they really believe there were three, perhaps they’d have been smart to have asked me for a few more details on the day they fired Maxwell.
  3. I didn’t seek to denounce the church from the pulpit. Their insistence that I did could only have been arrived at through a torturous process of misinterpretation. I challenged their attorney on this point on Friday night and told him that I expected them to correct this. The longer they leave this unfounded accusation on their site, the more it appears they really want the world to believe this about me.
  4. I didn’t email Wilson about the adoption. A search through their email archives will make this obvious. They probably understand how that error puts their claim of noninvolvement in question, so they might be reluctant to acknowledge their mistake by being seen to correct it.

I don’t expect to agree with every aspect of their statement, but these are four points that they already have enough evidence on hand to fix.

It’s been six days since they asked everyone to read it.

How many more days will we need to wait until they bother to get it right?

63 thoughts on “NewSpring’s curious silence

  1. Jay Dec 14, 2009 7:04 pm

    Chris,

    Of course I forgive you, friend. What kind of Christ follower would I be if I didn’t? I understand that this board is emotionally charged because of the subject matter. I know I am guilty of being too brash at times as well. If you feel that I have been that way towards you, I would hope that you would grant me that same courtesy of forgiveness.

    I appreciate your acknowledgement of my attempts to keep it civil. That’s all I want. A civil conversation. I think fighting about it only perpetuates the emotional aspect of it. When emotions run high, logic and reason tend to run low.

    As for the sin aspect of this discussion regarding PN, I would say there are two things that one must consider.

    1. The constant berating of other followers of Christ. The lack of compassion, love, and understanding that he has shown in that department, though indirectly towards a specific target, is not congruent with the teachings of Christ. Granted, one could (and probably will) argue that Dr. Duncan could be accused of the same thing. There is a key difference, however, in the way that they go about their criticism. This, once again, will probably be debated, but would you not agree that the styles of criticism are different? The violent and often vile rhetoric that PN uses is a far cry from the systematic and Scripturally defined criticism used by Dr. Duncan.

    2. The next, and most important, problem facing PN is the problem of accountability. Just as a shepherd is accountable for his flock, a pastor is accountable for the people of his church. This is a very important principle, that cannot be misinterpreted. The spiritual leader of a household is held very much accountable for the actions of his household. This includes himself, his spouse, and his children. Whatever he does or they do while a part of his household, he is held accountable for by God. It’s a huge responsibility. This is why he must teach them in the ways that parallel the teachings of Christ and the Bible and help guide them in that path.

    The same principle applies to the pastor and the church. Granted, PN can’t and shouldn’t be able to know every little detail about his church. It’s impossible. He can’t know who’s sleeping around, who’s got a drug addiction, ect. So where is the link? The link lies within the teaching. As long as PN teaches that all of those things are wrong, he cannot be held accountable for the actions of people not willing to accept his teachings. In the case of Dr. Duncan, PN should have done a better job of teaching love for those who oppose us. He should have done a better job of not painting people like Dr. Duncan into the image of “the enemy.” As for the comments about being unsaved and what not, a pastor should have never made a statement that brash. When a very influential person teaches in this manner, things get dangerous. This is the explanation for what happened.

    Likewise, even if we were to take away the entire religious aspect of it, PN and NS would still be accountable. If a person slips on a puddle in a Wal-Mart and no “Wet Floor” sign is present, that same person doesn’t sue the negligent employee. They sue Wal-Mart. It’s a very simple concept. In taking on the responsibilities of a corporation the size of NS, PN takes on the full weight of the actions of himself and his employees. Just like the spiritual leader of a family.

    3. Back on the subject of sin. I feel as though PN may have known about this situation well before any actions were taken by NS. I know this is a matter of opinion, but it almost seems naive to think that so many people around PN could have known about it and known Dr. Duncan and he still didn’t know what was going on. I mean, Anderson is a small town, and even as big as NS has gotten, it’s still not the biggest church in the country or anything. Unless PN is completely shrouded and protected from things like this (if he is, there is a problem), he knew at least a little of what was going on. And if he knew that this was happening to another follower of Christ, or another human being for that matter, he committed a sin when he did not act to stop it. So did anyone else that knew what was going on.

    With all that being said, even if a person can successfully argue that PN committed no sin whatsoever in this whole situation (I don’t think that is possible), it would definitely be impossible to Biblically and/or legally absolve him of all accountability. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Peace,

    Jay

  2. Chris Dec 14, 2009 8:51 pm

    Jay,

    Thank you for the response. I don’t feel that you have stepped outside the bounds of Christian brotherhood.

    I find your point 1 compelling and would agree with your assessment. The sticky point for me is that PN didn’t publicly call out JDuncan, however it isn’t beyond possibility that staff meeting discussions included the “critics” name. My other belief is our public lives are often poor reflections of our private lives. I.E. If one struggles with a sin (anger) privately then publicly they are often less angry it’s a facade of the heart. All that to say I believe that PN probably said more privately because he said so much publicly. Therefore I NOW agree that PN should issue an apology to JDuncan. I don’t believe that the personal apology should be public but I DO think that PN should publicly acknowledge that the “We don’t fight critics sermon” was a little more like “These people suck but don’t lash out with what you humanly want to do”. The latter is like a kiss from your sister; a nice thought but really icky!

    Theologically I can’t speak to where PN lines up. I honestly don’t listen to him. The only things I’ve seen are quick 2 minute videos on YouTube. So…I can’t speak to JDuncans claims about his theology being skewed. As someone who preaches; I would hate for someone to use 3 or 4 minutes of my recent sermon to create an argument against me. I would prefer that they use the entirety of my life and not one sermon illustration. Perhaps this method is a greater indictment of PN but again I can’t speak to that.

    In regards to point 2 I’m hesitant to assume NS accountability structure. I think you’ve addressed the difficulty of this with a church the size of NS.

    Point 3 I’ve addressed.

    I’m adamantly opposed to Christians suing each other. Equally opposed to using the methods of the world to resolve issues among brethren. I think we should strive for more.

    Anyway my 2 cents.

    Peace,
    Chris

  3. Jay Dec 14, 2009 10:22 pm

    Chris,

    I appreciate all of your counter statements, and I am glad that you are really taking the time to think all of this through. I’ve tried to read and reread what has been said by both sides, and my reaction has varied a number of times. I only wish everyone who commented on here, whether I agree with them or not, would grant this case the same courtesy. I think that is the best way to come to a compromise of minds.

    Also, I feel that if you came to know a little more about PN and NS, you’re opinions may change even further. I’m not going to say PN is a bad guy that is hurting people, but I feel like there are some areas where he seriously needs to improve his doctrine and methods. Some of the things he says really scare me. I know he does a lot of it for shock value, but there is a line. I’m of the belief that the Gospel is so shocking and beautiful by itself, it doesn’t need an imperfect person like me or anyone else to do something outrageous to motivate people to pay it attention.

    I feel like a great deal of what he tries to do is seeing how many people he can get through the doors and saved. Just like any marketing plan. i.e. How do we get people here, get them to spend their money, and leave? I know the idea sounds nice for a church, but if you aren’t creating a life long/eternity long change in a person, what do the numbers mean? That is the whole point of a church. Not just to spread the Gospel, but to cultivate members of the body of Christ.

    They are the only church that I’ve ever heard use the term “salvations.” As in, “we had 40 more salvations today! praise God!” The problem being that there is no plural form of the word salvation. I think that’s because salvation is meant to be a true and personal thing, rather than another statistic.

    But all that of course, is a completely different topic and subject for people to make their own assertions about.

    As to the topic of Christians suing each other, I have to say I am really at a loss on that one. I can’t blame you for being opposed to it, because it is certainly an interesting and sticky situation. I’ve thought about it a lot too. I would rather see NS settle with him personally than this go into court.

    I’m with you, though. The best place for them to start is a thorough and Spirit led apology.

    Peace,

    Jay

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