The Anatomy Of A Slur
I discovered somebody has written some things about Sound Doctrine, about me, and some other people here, thereby casting a slur on our character. The reason I do this is not to put the person to shame; it’s in hopes that they would repent. As 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “love always protects.” I’m not going to mention the person’s name because the slurs will change from person to person as we begin to preach the cross. And, so I want to protect this person as much as possible and allow them an avenue to repent if they so choose to later on. But, it is important for us to discover how much we slur other people’s characters and to see what a slur looks like so that we are not taken in by them. So, let’s go ahead and pray before we go any further than this.
Father, we ask and pray for this person who wrote this slur and is no doubt spreading it around. We ask, O Lord, that you bring them to repentance and to acknowledge true righteousness before you. We ask, O Lord, that we ourselves would not slur any man and that you would teach us to be holy in all that we say and do, that we would be righteous before you. Amen.
Psalm 15:1 – Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
In other words, who may go to heaven? Who may belong to him and fellowship with the Lord? Who is allowed to ascend to the heights? Who can enter into the prayer chamber to hear and fellowship with the living God?
Psalm 15:2 – He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart. . .
Someone who doesn’t have the truth just intellectually in his mind but has it beating deep in his heart.
Psalm 15:3 – …and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbors no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
The slur, of course, is ever so slight and small, yet it casts somebody in a wrong shadow. It is not a part of the truth. It is true that we have to speak evil of men sometimes, but when we do so, we head into very dangerous territory. We had better be sure that we are dead to self, and that we are really hearing from God before we say anything negative about somebody else.
Psalm 15:4 – …who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord.
This isn’t a mushy compromise where we run around saying, “Okay, I’m not going to judge anybody in a negative fashion,” and we just go around blessing everybody, claiming everybody is fine. When truth resides in one’s heart you are able to look at a man and know whether or not he is vile. You have an initial reaction toward him because you have holiness living within you. But, before we ever open our mouths and say anything negative, let us be sure that we are dead to self and hearing from God that it is time to speak the truth.
We need to have the fear of God in us before we speak anything negative about anybody. Again, I’m not saying that should never speak negatively. I am saying that we better have some fear and trembling before we open our mouth to declare the truth about somebody’s sin. The nature of who we are apart from the cross of Jesus Christ is to lie about somebody else and view his or her actions in such a way that, to us, it is the truth. That is one reason we should pray for these people, because as they watch us they judge us by their own wicked hearts. It is very easy for them to take their own judgments, ideas, and sins and to look at other people with a sinful attitude.
James 3:6 – The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.
A whole world of evil activity and zeal are associated with the tongue. It is one of the most wicked parts of the whole body.
James 3: 6 – It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
This is the nature of what we come up against when men begin to slur us. Their tongues are set on fire by hell. That is the nature of who we are and what we are asking God to deal with in our own lives.
James 3:7-8 – All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
We try to hold our tongue. We try to speak in a certain fashion. It is impossible to do, unless the cross of Christ is doing the work, unless God gives us the power to have tongues that are changed. Until a man has experienced death and crucifixion by the power of the cross, his tongue is set on fire by hell and he hasn’t been delivered from his tongue at all.
James 3:8 …but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
It has to speak. It has to voice its opinion. It has to declare its ideas and opinions. It has to say something about a certain individual. It cannot be silent. It is restless, looking for somebody to poison. It is a deadly poison that we use to destroy other people. So, before we ever speak a word that is negative or cast even the slightest slur against somebody else, we need to stop and say, “Lord, is this what you want me to say? Does it come from you or does this come from my flesh?” Indeed, there will be many times when he will say, “It is true. It does come from me, but don’t open your mouth and don’t say a word about it. It is not my timing and this is not the place to say it.” There are a lot of things that God will show you about other people but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are to go out and talk about it. God wants you to hold it until the proper time.
James 3:9-10 – With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,
We go to church. We speak of God. We sing praises to him.
James 3:9-10- and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
We go out and say, “That person is wicked and vile. This is what their character is like.” We should not be a people going to church, gaining all the truth that we gain there, and then to going out and speaking evil of everybody else. We are going to see that the way we reveal errors in someone’s life is not so much by speaking evil of the lie or declaring the truth with our mouths. We just need to live the truth and that exposes the lie.
James 3:10-12 – Out of the same mouth come praise and cursings. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Let us have a fear and trembling, and ask God to tame our tongues and silence them. Let’s go to Jude.
Jude 1:9 – But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Now, if anybody’s character is worthy of maligning it would be Satan’s. But even when he was going for the body of Moses, Michael did not bring an accusation against Satan. He simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:10 – Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals―these are the very things that destroy them.
The nature of a slur is that it is a gut reaction to something. It is speaking of evil just by understanding something in an instinctive kind of way. There is no research or thought about what you are going to say. It is just voicing an opinion because you don’t like something. It is like a dislike of something that just doesn’t taste right. You just respond to it without thinking about it.
I want to begin to read this slur. I’m going to go through it line for line because it is a “perfect” slur. Paul says:
2 Corinthians 10:12 – We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.
The nature of a slur is that it always begins with “I.” The person doing the slurring is the authority. They are the one who have experience and therefore they have wisdom about their claims. And so, they are the “standard” in the measurement of “truth.”
2 Corinthians 10:12 – We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
A man of truth compares his truth only with Jesus Christ, because only Jesus Christ is truth. But, let me read to you how this slur begins. The very first line, in fact, the very first word of this particular slur begins this way: “I…” He is the standard. He is going to declare to you what he has experienced and what he knows as if he is an authority. He presents himself as if he has wisdom and knowledge about this situation, and people ought to pay attention because of who he is. He does not begin by saying, “Jesus Christ said this…” or “This is what the gospel says…” It is “I” There is a lot of talk like that within the church when people begin to slur or to slander somebody else. They will begin with “I have experienced it. I understand this,” as if we are to pay attention because of who they are. Let me read the first part:
I recently became aware that the leaders of the group calling itself Sound Doctrine Church have moved from Aurora, Colorado, to Enumclaw, Washington, which is close to where to I live in Pacific, Washington. I heard of the group years ago and had a brief item on them in a certain email list in August of 1995.
In other words, he had this experience, he went through all of these things, and therefore he is the authority. We should pay attention to him because of who is and what he has gone through. What is the nature of a slur? They use themselves as the comparison for everything else, not the truth, not Jesus Christ, not the word of the Lord. Next time you speak about somebody else, if you are saying “I,” you are not speaking by the power of God at all.
In John 5:30 Jesus declares how he makes judgments. If we cannot say the same by the power of the Holy Spirit and by way of the cross and the crucified life, then we are doing the same thing this man is doing. We are saying, “I recently experienced this and I declared this.” It is the height of arrogance to stand up and say, “I am” when God is the only I Am.
John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing;
“My experience means nothing,” Jesus Christ said. “My judgments mean nothing. I can do nothing by myself. I judge only as I hear.” This person does not say, “I heard this from the Lord and he told me this is the truth about this group.” Now that I am preaching on it, somebody is going to rephrase their slander, but nevertheless you are going to have to examine for yourself to discover who is speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit and who is speaking by their own power.
John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him to sent me.
Every piece of slander and slur is self-serving. When you are speaking evil of somebody else, ask yourself, is it serving you or the truth? Is it benefiting the person that you are declaring it to or is it benefiting your own ideas, opinions, and what you want to say? Is it making it you feel better because your tongue is restless and you just have to say something negative? Is the fire of hell burning so hot within you that just have to declare something about somebody else before you can rest, or is the Holy Spirit calling you to speak? Are you speaking what God has told you to speak? Are you speaking what he has whispered in your ear or only what you are judging by your own opinions? One more time:
John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing…
That is the nature of the cross that must work within us. We have to be a people saying, “I can judge nobody. I can judge nothing, no situation or circumstance, unless I hear it directly from God.” Every time we open our mouths to declare anything about anybody without hearing it from the Father, we are gods acting like we know what we are doing.
John 5:30 – …I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
This slur is self-serving. He is trying to cover something up, something that he doesn’t want exposed, some guilt, some sense of shame that he needs to repent of, and so he has to slander somebody else to make himself feel better.
The second thing that a slur does is to appeal to emotions rather than to intellect. Let me read the next part. It says:
Tim Williams heads up the group. Now, he is the author of a book called “Hating for Jesus,” which is currently distributed by Heartline Marketing. It was originally published by another publisher, but is no longer listed on that publisher’s web site.
It is all a total lie about who distributes the book and who published it. But, the facts don’t have anything to do with it. What he is appealing to here is emotion rather than intellect.
You see, when a man is appealing to emotions to get people aligned to his cause, facts are not important. He phrases things in such a way as to draw an emotional response. It is true that I have written a book called Hating for Jesus, but he doesn’t list the Scripture reference here. He doesn’t admit that it is in Scripture. He doesn’t mention the fact that Jesus Christ said these things. He throws it out there in a short sentence and says, “He is the author of a book called Hating for Jesus,” and what are most people’s reaction to the offense of the cross? To be offended. But, he leaves them nowhere to go. He is forming their opinions. He is not enlightening them to the truth. He is not declaring something so they can go back and prayerfully consider before the Lord. What could a person take before the Lord with this? Would they go before the Lord and say, “Lord, did he write a book called Hating for Jesus?” That is a fact. But, where are the Scripture references? Is he bringing out the whole truth? You see, it is a slur. It is a slight hedging of the facts.
Acts 14:19 – Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over.
They seek to win people over by an emotional response.
Acts 14:19 – They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
The nature of a slur is to stir up emotionally rather than rationally. By contrast, let’s go back to the old law. Let’s go to Deuteronomy, chapter 17, because even the old law tells us how to handle the questionable issues that all of us must look at and examine.
By the way, in the slur, he says, “Tim Williams heads up this group,” which is not true. Jesus Christ heads up this group. But, since he is the “standard” and the “judge,” he didn’t ask God who heads up this group. He grabbed for facts that would fit his case and presented it that way.
Deuteronomy 17:1 – Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.
That is, don’t bring anything faulty before the Lord. Let us not have faulty doctrine. Let everything be absolutely true and correct. Let us look for every blemish, every sin, every fault, every error, and let us refine and purify it so that what we are offering the Lord is holy and pure.
Deuteronomy 17:2-4 – If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly.
Now, look at what the old law says should be done; “investigate it thoroughly.” It is not a casual, off-hand experience, or a one-time experience. It’s not calling up on the phone and asking four or five different questions trying to trap the individual in order to get them to respond in such a way so that you can go back out to spread your slurs and slanders. Again, let me quote what he says in the slur. He said, “The book was originally published by another publisher, but is no longer listed on that publisher’s web site.” What does that have to do with the issue of hating for Jesus? Nothing. It was to stir up an emotional reaction. The implication, of course, was that the book was somehow so vile that the first publisher dropped it. That was the response he was after, but those are not even the facts of the situation. Had he thoroughly investigated, he would know that it was not true.
Deuteronomy 16:4-5 – … If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.
If it is to such a degree, if it is so vile, then you must completely destroy it. It is not like you can go out and investigate a few minor details that you disagree with and then walk out and say, “Okay, that person is worthy to be stoned.” Scripture says, if they are advocating something that is the opposite of Jesus Christ, then you must deal with it completely and thoroughly. Now, the responsibility falls back on the person who started it.
Deuteronomy 17:6 – On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.
It has to be thoroughly investigated and you have to have enough witnesses to prove it.
Deuteronomy 17:7 – The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death.
Those make the accusation, those who say they are the witnesses, are to be the first ones to cast the stone. They can’t hide off in a corner. They can’t spread the slander and say, “Now, don’t tell anybody that I told you this. Don’t tell anybody that we talked about this particular item.” When somebody tells you that, you already know that the evil one is at work. If the thing being done is so vile, if the sin is so great, then they should not be afraid to stand up where everybody can ask questions and examine to see what is true, because they would be the first ones to throw stones. But, what you usually find is the slurs and the slanders are stated, and everybody wants to hide for cover and not accept responsibility. It says:
Deuteronomy 17:7 – You must purge the evil from among you.
But, again, slurs appeal to emotions, not to intellect or reason. Think about it. How many people would consider this issue to be so serious that they would take that much time to thoroughly investigate it? Let’s say there is this dastardly book called “Hating for Jesus.” How many people are going to investigate it, to sit down and read every single word in the book? Usually, they get two or three chapters into it, put it down, and then begin to go out and to slander. In order to examine this issue, it is going to require a lot of effort, a lot of prayer, a lot of dying to self and a tremendous amount of investigation to find out if it is somehow a heresy. They are going to say, “It is not worth the time,” and that is the whole point. It is very easy to throw out a three or four-paragraph slur. It is very easy to sling slander, but it is quite another thing to take your time and effort to thoroughly investigate a matter. And if it’s found to be a heresy, to have the zeal and put forth the effort to pick up the stones to stone somebody. This is the point. God is trying to slow it down, because the tongue is on fire from hell. It starts a fire and it destroys a lot of people in its path. Let us not be a people starting fires and let us not put up with those who do.
Again, this is a “gut factor” reaction. Here is the next line from the slur:
Hating for Jesus, hating one’s self and money is a theme of Sound Doctrine Church.
These are gut reacting emotions, aren’t they? Is there any explanation as to what that means? Are there any Scripture references to show that Jesus Christ said we have to hate and despise money? Nor are there any references saying, “Well, I know Jesus Christ said these things and they teach it, but they err over in the way they teach and how they apply it.” It is just thrown out there, and anybody’s first reaction is “That’s vile. That’s wicked. That’s evil. That is not of the Lord.” And so, they play to the emotion rather than causing people to seek out God. And, of course, it is a lie. We only have one theme in this church. Again, the slur says, “Hating for Jesus, hating one’s self and money is a theme of Sound Doctrine Church.” Just listening to one tape, or read one publication and you would know that is not true. Our theme is I Corinthians 2:2. “For I resolve to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That is our only theme. Part of that theme is about hating your own life. Other parts of it are despising money, the proper use of tongues, and the way men and women should conduct themselves in church. A casual look at the web site shows that we deal with lots of different topics.
The whole goal of a slur is to drag other people down into this slimy pit. You want to get them so emotionally wrapped up in it that they can’t get out of it. You want to drag in other people’s character also, as many as you can. I am amazed at how efficient this slur is. Like I said, it is pretty good. If I were going to write a slur, this would probably be the one that I would write because it is very tight, compact, and it drags in other people at the same time.
Williams’ web site at sounddoctrine.org also promotes a book by Athena Dean.
Now, again, what does this have to do with anything about hating for Jesus, hating one’s self or despising the dollar? We are rolling along here with this whole issue of the crucified life, and then all of a sudden somebody else’s character is attacked.
Williams’ web site also promotes a book by Athena Dean who has a web site of her own at narrowway.org. Dean is listed as the administrative contact for a publisher which is described as founded to assist Christian writers in publishing their books and ministry stories.
Again, this has nothing to do with anything we are talking about.
Galatians 4:15-17 – What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good.
Now, this is the whole goal of the slur, because what he is trying to do is to alienate Athena from me. It is trying to say, “Tim Williams is a wicked, vile man who does all this bad preaching about hating for Jesus Christ, and she is also associated with that, so she has to make a choice.” She has to decide if a relationship with Tim is worth the kind of slander that is going around. He hopes to divide so that she will “come to her senses.” The translation is that she will get emotionally distraught enough and stop thinking and stop reasoning about what it means to follow Jesus Christ and say, “Okay, I’m tired of associating myself with Tim Williams and all the slander that is going on.” Then she will be alienated and be zealous for this man’s cause.
Galatians 4:17- These people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us so that you may be zealous for them.
And, that is the whole point―just to take a jab. It is to light a fire in that direction. It is like a man who sits down and calculates, “Okay, what are the exact things I can say to start a fire over here? Then I want to start another fire over there. What is the most trouble I can cause by what I’m going to say?” We do it in a lot of subtle ways with our own tongues. We will say one little sentence and we know exactly what we are doing. Inside, we know we are saying just enough to send somebody in a certain direction. They will take that spark and light it on fire. That is what is going on here.
Galatians 1:15-20 – But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles―only James, the Lord’s brother.
Well, the next line in the slur goes like this.
Williams’ group is totally independent and is very heavy on defining faith as obedience, although it claims to be based on grace.
Now we have “independence.” The trap is, no matter which way you go, you lose. If you are independent and you think independently, that is a crime. But then, if you align yourself with a particular group or if everybody said, “I’m aligned with Tim Williams’ church,” then they would say you are in a cult and you are just following a man. So, no matter which way you go, you lose on this particular issue. But Paul himself said He received the gospel directly from Jesus Christ. He didn’t consult other men, so Paul―since he is independent―would be guilty here also.
Williams’ group is totally independent and is very heavy on defining faith as obedience, although it claims to be based on grace.
Now, I ask a question of this particular slur. How does he know that my obedience is not based on faith in Jesus Christ? What measurement is he using? How does he know that when we say we preach grace and obey by grace that we are not really obeying by grace, but by law? What evidence does he cite? “Although it claims to be based on grace, it must not be” is the implication. Would he know the difference? He should be asking, “Teach me and show me the difference.” Would I look at his life and say, “Okay, you must be obeying by grace and I must not be”? He doesn’t hold his life up for inspection, does he? In fact, we will see here in a moment that he objects to any kind of light being shined on him. The next part of the quote goes like this:
The group’s web site says that true Christianity is a cult and that genuine Christians should be accused of being cultic.
Of course, words begin to become twisted because facts don’t mean anything. I never said that true Christianity is a cult. What I said was if you live Christianity you will be falsely accused of being a cult. He is appealing to the emotional response. Look at the words that have been thrown out: “hating,” “despising,” “despising self,” “hating money,” and “totally independent.” He makes everything seem vile, corrupt, and wicked. Again, he appeals to emotions rather than to facts. He doesn’t say I teach a heresy. He doesn’t say, “This is what Jesus Christ taught, but this is what Tim teaches.” It is not laid out in a factual way within the context of what’s really being said. He just goes for the emotions. Now, the slur goes on to say:
Williams’ group discourages cult-watchers from raising questions about his group. (Or at least his web site has some questions for cult-watchers themselves.)
I make no apology for that. What right do they have to judge? How do I know they can see in the light? Why shouldn’t the same standard that he is applying to me be applied to him? But, you see, he is saying “I.” He is exalted. He has the wisdom and the knowledge. He has a close relationship with God and apparently the rest of us don’t. So, he doesn’t have to come into the light like the rest of us. Throughout this slur he doesn’t cite articles or sources of where he got information about us because that would not help his cause. A man who is bent on slandering somebody’s character will just twist the words, as we saw earlier. But, in Matthew 7:2, Jesus puts it this way:
Matthew 7:2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…
Yes, I have questions for those who come in as cult-busting groups as to what kind of character they have, and why not? If a man is going to come in and ask about my character and my life to examine everything in fine detail, why should I not be permitted to do the same in his life? We are all supposed to walk in the light. None of us are totally independent from each other.
Matthew 7:2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
So, whatever questions they ask of me, I ask of them. If they say they have talked to individuals that are bitter about this particular church and have left, then I want to know some members that have left their particular church and I want to discuss with them why they left. The questions on the web site are just like that. I want a list of all the controversial sermons their pastor has preached and I want to know where they go to church. I want to know the “bad” people that have left and I want to know the “good” people that have stayed. I want to know how they hate and despise money. I want to know how they live these Scriptures based on faith and why they think I am missing the point. The same standard that they have is applied to them.
Matthew 7:2-3 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
They quote that scripture all the time.
Matthew 7:3-5 – Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First, take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
When a man hides and runs for cover, when he will not come fully into the light, when he will not declare his actions, who he is, what he believes, yet he wants to apply all of those standards to you, he is already in sin before he starts.
I want to talk for a moment about these cult-busting groups and the books that reveal the evil and wickedness of individuals or certain religions. Let’s note several things; the Bible does not seek to point out all of the errors of Buddhism. Is there a chapter in Scripture that talks about Hinduism or Taoism? The Bible declares the truth and then the lies are revealed. If I want to become popular very quickly all I need to do is speak evil of another group and then everybody who doesn’t like that group will like me.
I Peter 2:15 – For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
You can get everybody all excited about the Mormons. You can publish a book on how wicked and evil they are and all of the things they say and do that are wrong. You can do that about any particular group. The Church of Christ does it against the Baptists. The Baptists do it against the Church of Christ. The Assembly of God does it against another group. Every church has individuals who have left certain groups and they are bitter toward that group. We could be here all day long comparing different bad experiences everybody has had. How do we show that there is truth and a standard by which people can judge a lie? 1 Peter 2:15 tells us!
1 Peter 2:15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
When I log onto a web site and look at some of these cult-busting groups, I see book after book after book about how bad different groups and individuals are, but I don’t see anything about what we should live in Jesus Christ. I don’t see anything that talks about the things that we should do to be obedient to Jesus Christ and how we should do that by his grace. Because of this I know they are already in sin even before they begin. They should be spending their time, resources, and energy living and demonstrating the truth. We are not going to hang a sign out that says we are against any particular group. We simply say that we love Jesus Christ and teach the standard by which we are trying to live. I guarantee, the lies will be exposed for what they are. That is exactly what Scripture does. It declares the truth. It doesn’t declare all of the lies that are out there. The book would have to be a hundred times bigger to expose every lie. Yet, men will spend their time, energy, and all that they have in order to demonstrate that somebody else is wrong without looking at their own life. When a man says to you, “This group is wrong and that group is wicked,” your response should be, “Then, what you are saying to me is that I should live your life. You have so much of the truth that I should follow what you have.” If you cannot say that and he cannot say that, then he has no business at all speaking against somebody else. Let us be a people living and declaring the truth and having the truth within us, and the lies will reveal themselves for what they are. Paul didn’t go from town to town passing out a book on how to spot a Pharisee. He didn’t go around talking about all the negative aspects of Judaism and the history and the cults. That is not recorded in Scripture. He simply declared the good news of Jesus Christ, and then persecution would break out! We are going to be people holding up the truth. That is how we silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. If you want to demonstrate that a church is bad, then live the truth more than they do. It is that simple!
He hints at the real motive in this next part:
Williams’ group is on Christian radio in the Seattle area.
He subtly tries to alienate “Williams’ group.” So, you will be known as part of the “Williams’ group.”
Williams’ group is on Christian radio in the Seattle area. One has to call in to find out locations of where the group meets.
Pretty sinister off hand! But, we see the way the slur is put out. In other words, the implication is that we are secretive. We hide out. We will tell people we are going to be at one location, but we run to another location. It implies we are underground and we are secretive. Really this is one of those “duh” kind of statements, but it works on most people. What is so “duh” about this is you have to call to find out where we meet, but we are on radio. We are out in the open. People can get all of our literature. They can go to the web site. I have sermons that are in transcript form. People can check it out word for word and order all of the tapes for free. People can get the book. They know what town I live in. They can call and show up. It is anything but secretive! I daresay I couldn’t log on to their church’s web site and find their sermons transcribed to tear them apart in all of the fine detail that I would supposedly love to do.
John 18:20 – “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied.
It is just part of the persecution that is in Jesus Christ. They say, “Oh, there is something secretive going on.” There are still people looking for that little “secret thing” that I’ve got going on. I kid you notthere was a brother in the body years ago who thought I had a Swiss bank account. How do I prove that I don’t have a secret Swiss bank account? But, that’s the nature of people’s suspicions.
John 18:20 – “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.”
I guarantee you that the slurs and slanders are said in secret. These are the very first people who say, “Don’t tell anybody what I’m telling you. Don’t give my name away. Keep it in confidence.” If you have something to say, then step forward and step into the light. We are certainly in the light. As I’ve said before, you can get transcripts of the sermons. The roughest part, the most controversial part of what is preached and lived is right there. Everybody can actually get a copy for free or purchase a copy. But, the real motive has nothing to do with facts. The next line of this quote shows the real motive.
Does the group really belong on Christian radio?
What he’s really asking is, “Does Sound Doctrine Church really teach sound doctrine?” Of course, if I were reading this slur, by the time I got to that question I’d be indignant, too. If I just came upon this and read it, my emotional reaction would be “Of course not! I’m going to call this radio station and get them off the air.” If it weren’t me, I would call in!
I Thessalonians 2:14-16 – For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.
Now, this is the real purpose behind what is going on. They don’t want to hear the truth. They want to silence that truth and keep it from being declared.
I Thessalonians 2:16-18 – The wrath of God has come upon them at last. But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.
The slurs could divide the relationship. They did not succeed, because the Thessalonians realized was the real motive―to silence the gospel. All of this is being said in order to stop the gospel from going forward, from being declared. No other reason. It has nothing to do with the facts.
I hate to bring up Hitler, but I will. Hitler, who was inspired by hell, said “If you repeat a lie often enough, the people will believe it.” So if someone says, “They preach hate. They preach hate. They preach hate.” And they keep saying that over and over again, that slur just keeps building and building into slander. Eventually the crowds will be won overat least those who don’t love the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 – Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
I want to read a little more of his quote here, and see that we come back to “I” again.
The headline I gave to this message is
And I have to agree―he is the one that gave that headline. He is the one who declared it. He did not hear it from God.
“The Hating for Jesus Cult”…
Now we have all the words wrapped up together into one nice little sentence. If you were even trying to get the facts and he says, “What do you think about the ‘Hating for Jesus’ cult?” He has every emotional gut reaction worded in there. People run at the word “cult” in any circumstance. People run from “hate” in any circumstance. So, rather than having a simple discussion about righteousness, holiness and what it means to follow Jesus Christ, instead he is trying to win the crowd over and trying to stir up a riot.
The headline I gave to this message, “The Hating for Jesus Cult” was chosen in part because the group refers to itself as a cult.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 one more time – “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.” There is nothing gracious about what is being said here. There is no attitude of love that protects. He is not offering a love that hopes, a love that clarifies or rejoices with the truth. “But a fool is consumed by his own lips.”
Ecclesiastes 10:13 – At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness
This is madness. Do we literally run around telling people that we are a cult and that we brainwash people here? When I invite people to church, do I say, “Why don’t you come to our cult”? Do I have a sign out front that says, “Sound Doctrine Cult”? Yes, we joke about it with sarcasm because people call us a cult, but we do not call ourselves that.
Ecclesiastes 10:14 – The fool multiplies words.
He just keeps repeating the same thing over and over and over again until people don’t know what they are thinking and they are just reacting.
Psalms 56:5 – All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me.
When a man says, “I have experienced this” and “I have done that,” you already know he is going to twist the character and the words of the person he is going to slander. As a church we do what Acts says in 24:14.
Acts 24:14- However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets…
“Which they called a sect”or cult. Yes, we are called a cult. I mean, right here is the evidence. I am reading it as we go along. I admit it freely. I rejoice in it and the sufferings and slander that are because of Jesus Christ. We agree with all of Scripture. And, if that is considered a cult or a sect, then so be it. Better to be a friend with God than be a friend with men who are enemies of God.
The slur began with “I” and now it ends with the supreme “I.” The one that says, “This group is wicked and that group is righteous. I have made this determination. All of those who are holy and righteous will agree with me.” This is what he writes.
Williams’ group is not associated in any way with Sound Doctrine Ministries in Exeter, New Hampshire.
What does that have to do with anything? He goes on to say:
The Granite State group seems to be a truly doctrinal sound orthodox organization and has a web site at such-and-such address.
And so we began with, “This group is wicked, but this group isn’t even associated with that group.” By whose standards are they righteous and holy? Actually, if they support this man and that man supports this group, I don’t have to go check him out. They are anything but sound. The truth is, they could be right. They could be holy. They could be seeking after God. He could be using them for his own benefit.
Galatians 2:6 – As for those who seemed to be important―whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance―those men added nothing to my message.
They may be right and proper. They may be holy and drawing people close to God. But, if they don’t add anything to the message of the cross, then what value is it? It doesn’t matter what they appear to be, just because he says they are righteous and holy, or he says they are correct. “As for those who seemed to be important―whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance―those men added nothing to my message. Jesus Christ said a long time ago he who is not for me is against me.” It is that simple.
A man who goes around slurring other people is a friend of vipers and has deadly poison. Jesus says:
Matthew 12:34 – You brood of vipers how can you who are evil say anything good?
Jesus Christ says there is not one single thing they can say that is good. Let us be discerning. Let us know that when we come into the presence of a man who slurs the character of somebody else, there isn’t one thing he can say that is good, true, and noble. He can say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” but there is nothing good about what he is saying because he doesn’t say it from the inward parts as Psalms says. He doesn’t ascend the hill of the Lord in order to dwell with God in the truth. He speaks of his own opinion. He speaks of what he can reason and what his instincts tell him, but he doesn’t speak the truth. “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?” Let us run up to that hill and ask God to put a guard over our mouths so that we can speak things that are true, so that we, too, can have the truth.
Matthew 12:34 -…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Look at what is in this man’s heart. This is a man trapped in deep sin. Even if he were to repent and say, “What I said there was wrong,” there is much cleansing of his heart that must happen. This man is trapped in all kinds of lies, not just this lie. You don’t at one moment lie about one thing and tell the truth about everything else. That is not how it works. To be in Jesus Christ means that if I tell the truth for one thing, I’m going to tell the truth in other things. To “ascend the hill of the Lord” means I have the truth dwelling within my heart and that is what my mouth declares. Look at what this man has said and how he has framed it. Look at the expert and see where he has injected his poison.
Matthew 12:35 -The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
Look at what you say and declare. Look at how you talk and how you speak of other people to know what dwells deep within you. Look at how you use the truth about somebody else. Let us not look at this man and say, “Oh, what a vile person he is.” Let us look at our own hearts and our own mouths. Let us ask God to deliver us from our tongues that are on fire, so that we may not commit this sin, Then we may ascend the hill of the Lord and worship him.
Matthew 12:36 – But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
There should be within each of us every single day, a weighing of every word we say before we say it, good or bad. The cross should be working such a fear and trembling that before we speak evil, especially of somebody else, that we know we have heard from God that (a) it is true and (b) that God has told us to say it. But, how quickly we are to gossip, to slur, to slander, to discuss, and to talk about other people’s lives. Now, I’m not saying that we don’t ever declare the truth about vile men, but let us not have careless words. Let’s never just throw them out and become so arrogant that we say, “Oh, I think this. . .”
Matthew 12:26-27 – But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
If this man does not repent, the nature of the way he framed these words will be applied to him and God will take his words in his life and he will use them out of the context of what he really meant. He will take some of the “noble” or good things that this man has done and he will sling it in such a way that it raises questions and doubts about his own character. And, so it is with us — if we are a people of truth, then we will be able to stand before the Lord in truth and we will be able to deal with the Lord, who is truth. “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Think of the standards that you have personally and ask God to crucify them. Think of your own opinions and thoughts, especially with your brothers and sisters here in the body. See how quickly we are to grumble against each other or to voice a concern or to talk about one another. Let us know we have heard from God first. There are things to deal with and wrestle through, but never ever with careless words. One should never write these things and post them for people to read without some very serious crucifixion to the flesh.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, slurs seem so natural to all of us. They seem so minor. We think of slander as being wicked and evil. But, Father, we don’t often think of slurs as being wicked and evil. We ask, O Lord, that you put a guard over our mouths that you open our ears to hear, Father, when to be silent, when to know in our hearts that some things are none of our business. To know, Father, and to hear that when we must speak a judgment that we must have it from you and must not add a single word or leave out a single word. Father, work within us your love and then we’ll know. Crucify our flesh and then we’ll have the power. Most of all, Father, we ask that amid all of the slanders and the slurs that you might give us the grace, Father, to be obedient to all that you have called us to, by your grace and your power, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.