The Imprecatory Invocations of AHA
The grand poobah of the organization, Abolish Human Abortion, had some things to say about me and others (Joseph Spurgeon, James White, Tony Miano, Jon Speed). Those things include:
…calling us “wicked, evil, totally screwed up, hateful, murderous men.”
…saying we have “terrible, sycophantic eyes”
…saying we have “done nothing to push back darkness or done anything to stop evil”
…calling us wicked (x11)
…calling us “enemies of the church of the living God.”
…saying we are “sick, evil people.”
…saying we have “taken a dump and urinated on Christ.”
…saying we are attacking Christ
…I (JD) sound like I’m MSNBC or Planned Parenthood
…I (JD) am a “pathetic Bible teacher.”
…I (JD) said that there are NO abolitionists that are members of churches
…saying our churches have no salt or light
…calling us “foolish, lying people”
…calling us “wicked wolves” (x3)
…saying the “filthy articles” from me, Tony Miano, and James White tickle the ears of those who are against abolitonism
…prays that God brings swift judgment and punishment upon us, asking that God “judge us” and make us sick
…saying we are fleshly and apathetic
…saying we have the appearance of godliness, but deny the power of the Gospel
…saying that “[our] sycophants are twice the sons of hell that [we] are”
…saying that we are “little minions” trying to “murder” them
…calling us, “wicked, evil, lying sacks of filth.”
…calling us, “wicked, evil, perverse, wicked wolves”
That’s not all the insults. I kind of gave up about 2/3 of the way through. I just wanted to give a few facts, and then make a comment about T. Russell Hunter, as I know he’s been widely criticized for calling down fire and brimstone upon us, and Dr. White and others have and will address it more fully.
First, the facts:
Fact 1: Emilio Ramos, James White, Tony Miano, Jon Speed and myself aggressively and explicitly denounce abortion as murder. All men consider it among the greatest evils of our age. And all men believe, under every circumstance and without exception, it is murder to electively take the life of an unborn child. I don’t know anything about this Joseph Spurgeon fellow, and can’t speak for him.
Fact 2: At least Speed, Miano and myself have preached outside abortion mills, and condemn the practice as an abominable sin and proclaim the Gospel as the means of forgiveness. Emilio preaches regularly in the open air at a public university, and condemns abortion in that context.
Fact 3: Pointing out the foolishness (and scariness) of two convicted arsonists ( who police characterized as domestic terrorists) who once belonged to an anti-organized religion cult, now protesting a church with an organization that has earned the stereotype of being anti-organized religion is hardly denying the Gospel. Neither I, nor anyone else, has the obligation to believe as factual someone’s conversion testimony under the charge of Gospel-denying, especially when it seems that their underlying ideology hasn’t changed. So long as convicted domestic terrorists are present in the anti-church protests, people have a good reason to be concerned. If Paul had continued to persecute the church, there would be a good reason to doubt his conversion testimony, too. The “once a terrorist always a terrorist” was a question baited by an AHA member, and they mistook an answer for a different question as agreement with their statement. The rumor then went about wildly. Clearly, God changes sinners through the transformative work of regeneration. However, a redeemed child molester shouldn’t work in a daycare. A redeemed larcenist shouldn’t serve as the church treasurer. A redeemed church-bomber shouldn’t be yelling at churches on the picket lines.
Fact 4: I did not say or write that “no abolitionists have churches.” I have repeatedly, extensively, and explicitly said the precise opposite:
Fact 5: While some of the men criticized may hold to incrementalism, others (like myself) hold to abolitionism.
Fact 6: While some of the men criticized disagree with the Church Repent project In Totalis, others (like myself) don’t rule out the principle or practice entirely, and believe it depends on what organization is being protested and why.
Those facts being hence addressed, here’s a word of caution about criticizing T.Russell Hunter’s video.
We should not criticize T. Russell Hunter for being passionate, for being emotional, or for being intense. The topic of conversation here is the limb-by-limb amputation and brain-sucking, skull-crushing, imago dei-killing homicide times 60 million (and more, counting death by poison) in our country and under our authority. That should make a man passionate, emotional, or intense.
We should not criticize T. Russell Hunter for being inarticulate. We should not idolize loftiness of speech (1 Corinthians 2:1). And, that’s an exceedingly good thing, because Hunter didn’t exhibit an ounce of it. Hunter is not a vocational or professional orator, and although he stumbled and faltered in his words repeatedly, often times lacking a clear coherence, if criticism is focused upon the delivery of his diatribe, its content will surely be lost on us.
I am gravely concerned that the bulk of criticism has been built upon those two things. I remember several years ago catching a program on the hotel television in which a group of women and a gay guy sat around critiquing the wardrobe of stars on the red carpet. They sat around cackling like hens about one actress in particular (who is famous for loving whales and hating God) and how ugly her dress was. I remember thinking to myself that their criticism might be better directed toward the ugliness of the soul inside the pantsuit, and not whether those stripes made her look fat. If the criticism of T. Russell Hunter focuses on whether these were crocodile tears or real, or whether he sounded “unhinged” or whether it sounded like a meltdown, we’ll miss the point altogether.
There are a few points to ponder, and possible admonitions that I hope will be well received. I write this toward those in AHA:
Consideration 1: Do you suffer from the Elijah syndrome? Are you under the impression that you are the only one who is left and who is on God’s side? Remember what God told Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18? Seven thousand had yet to bend their knee to Ba’al. He was just too blind and selfish to see them there. Your organization, club or church are not the only elect left and are not the only remnant. Sometimes, it is best to stop acting like you are the last, best hope.
Consideration 2: Understand that disagreeing with your methodologies is not the same as attacking Jesus. As for me, I’m an abolitionist who isn’t ready to whole-sale reject the necessity of preaching outside a church. I differentiate between a church like FBC Blanchard, whose pastor supported the deacon building an abortion clinic, and a church that would have disciplined the deacon with an extreme prejudice, like Heritage Grace Community Church. Others, like Ramos who called himself an obliterationist, desire the complete abolition of abortion, but are willing to accept an incremental approach. We get that you fundamentally disagree, but does that position make them enemies of Jesus?
Consideration 3: T. Russell Hunter very explicitly prayed for imprecatory consequences for these men and accused them of all kinds of wickedness and called them names because – and I quote (I wrote it down) – they called [the protesters] sinners. Bro, though. That’s exactly what you were doing to Heritage Grace. Like, exactly. Are you being introspective or cognitively dissonant?
Consideration 4: If you want to call the church to repent, then AHA should show us how to repent by demonstrating repentance. Hunter has suggested the protest was perhaps wrong (from a tactical or methodological perspective) or boneheaded. Guys. Show us what repentance looks like. Lead the way.
Consideration 5: Know the difference between brethren you disagree with and wolves that need to get shot. Hunter several times affirmed the presumed salvation of several critics, while lambasting them with every kind of pejorative. I absolutely 100% affirm that you can criticize someone who you believe to be a genuine Christian (and if you know me, you know that). Criticism is not unbiblical. However, Jesus said that we’ll be known by our love for fellow disciples (John 13:35). If you speak the truth, but don’t do it in love, you’re a noisy gong and clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). If anyone says they love God but hate their brother, they’re a liar (1 John 4:20). It’s easy and common to say, “We say these things out of love.” But, bruh. Look at that list of insults above. You don’t say those things that way out of love. I’m a polemicist, and one of the most important parts of my job is knowing the difference between a goofball Christian who needs to be admonished about something and an honest-to-God (literally) wolf in sheep’s clothing or outright heretic who needs anathematized and marked. AHA really, really needs to work on that.
Consideration 6: Without the wisdom to grasp those first five considerations, it’s probably time to be a little-a abolitionist. Being antagonistic or adversarial to the Church Universal at large is to be antagonistic and adversarial to Christ. Speaking of imprecatory prayers, that’s not a good place to be.
All that being said, bless T. Russell Hunter. I wish him only grace and peace and don’t desire to return tit for tat or evil for evil. Bless him.