Polemics ministries already face the oft-painted and unfortunate caricature of being “hyper-separationists” and “fundamentalists” who can’t play nice or get along with others. In spite of reiterating that we can find good things in the ministries of men, we may often criticize for one reason or another, still some accuse us of anathematizing people “just for disagreeing with them.” Of course, if we disagree on matters of primary importance (like Justification, for example), we may very well exercise Galatians 1:8 and “let them be accursed.” But in today’s over-emotional and feeling-fueled religion of pop-evangelicalism, any criticism is taken as the harshest of treatment. This mischaracterization of most polemics ministries is our cross to bear, so to speak. However, there are living, breathing people who resemble the false caricatures often painted. They are rare, but they do exist. The YouTube host known as “Josh Chav” and “Servus Christi” happens to be one of those rare critics that really does fit the mold of the dead-to-reason, impossible-to-please, hyper-separationist that they make us out to be.
First, I don’t know this guy’s real name. Is it Josh Chav? I genuinely don’t know. I haven’t paid that close attention to him. I was aware of his woeful attempts at rightly dividing the Word of Truth, so far as they pertained to his attacking of some of the Church’s most gifted and trusted ministers. Oddly enough, those most notably in the cross-hairs of this rogue faux-discerner are the very ones who are the best at discerning truth from lies. And so, being aware of his attacks on Justin Peters, Phil Johnson, John MacArthur and others, I reached out to “Servus Christi” via a series of phone calls. At the beginning, I presumed in the best Christian charity that I could muster that he was well-meaning. By the end, I determined he was an incorrigible exile outside the local church who had all the business doing discernment work as a cat has criticizing indifference.
Servus Christi’s thesis is this, as best as I can summarize it, as follows:
We are told to have nothing to do with false teachers, in places like 2 John 7:11. To embrace or promote a false teacher is to take part in their false teaching. Therefore, anyone who embraces someone who embraces a false teacher is equally taking part in their sin, which is equal to the sin of the original false teacher. Therefore, anyone who embraces anyone who embraces someone who is a false teacher is equally taking part in their sin, which is equal to the original false teacher. Then, repeat this ad infinitum.
Therefore, in Servus Christi’s view, Justin Peters is in sin for recommending John MacArthur, because John MacArthur is in sin for recommending Albert Mohler, because Albert Mohler has recommended Rick Warren, who is himself a religious huckster and ne’er-do-well. Therefore, Servus Christi argues, anyone who has recommended MacArthur in virtually any capacity is taking part in the sins of Albert Mohler. As I tried to explain to Servus Christi through the barricades of his indomitably unconquerable ignorance, this is more akin to the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” than sound exegesis. The “Six Degrees” notion claims that no person on Earth is further apart than six degrees from another person.
The unsupported assumptions of the Lone Ranger pseudo-Christian, Servus Christi, include the following:
(1) That the one embracing the heretic in 2 John 7-11 is literally no different than the heretic, and that “taking part in” means an equal share of guilt,(2) that the admonition of guilt-by-association as laid out in 2 John 7-11 is applicable and reapplied ad infinitum, (3) and that there is no difference between being a heretic and being troublesome or problematic.
These unsupported assumptions by a man outside Biblical authority in the local church (which would surely temper the misguided religious recusant) have led him to “expose” men in various formats including John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Phil Johnson, Todd Friel and like a polemicist untimely born, myself. You can find an example of his manic rants here. In all of his vociferous volleys of vitriol launched toward these men, there are two things in common. Firstly, all are known for being champions of discernment, which is worth mentioning to determine whether Servus Christi works for the powers of Light or darkness. Secondly, Servus Christi impugns all the men not on their embrace of heretics, but because of their commendation of men who have commended men who have commended men who Servus Christi counts as heretics.
NOTE: I firmly believe that “guilt by association” (as known as the Doctrine of Godly Separation) is a Biblical concept found throughout both the Old and New Testaments, and anyone who says otherwise needs to read their Bible. However, guilt-by-association cannot be applied ad infinitum. I also have
reservations (no, that’s not it) strong feelings (nope, still no) strong criticism for some of the men who have been mentioned in some of Servus Christi’s self-ordained ravings. And, as I tried to explain to Servus Christi, I can freely acknowledge my trepidation or apprehension or even displeasure regarding so-and-so #1 inviting so-and-so #2 to a conference when so-and-so #2 has embraced so-and-so #3. However, due to the laws of sanity and rules of common sense, I don’t think John Piper commending Beth Moore at the Passion Conference or Francis Chan commending Mike Bickel at IHOP is the same as John MacArthur commending Albert Mohler who commended John Piper who commended Beth Moore. I even agree that – based upon the extremeness of one’s heresies, a second degree might theoretically be added if it demonstrated a lack of discernment so great it could not be explained by a momentary lapse in judgment; in other words, if someone endorses outright heretics like Benny Hinn or Bill Johnson (I’m looking at you, Michael Brown) it is different (and worse) than someone endorsing Russell Moore, who although not a heretic, is definitely problematic. I would also add that correcting the wheel into the opposing ditch (believing that there is no call to separation) is equally as troubling as Servus Christi’s inanity.
As a general rule of thumb, the dumber an argument is, the easier it is to prove wrong. And because inconsistency is (1) the sign of a failed argument and because (2) Servus Christ’s entire Internet schtick is based upon perceived inconsistencies of these men with whom he takes such great issue, I wanted to demonstrate exactly how dumb his argument is. I will do so by showing only two screenshots.
The first is from the Servus Christi’s website, under “Recommended Resources.”
The second screenshot includes recommended resources from Apprising Ministries.
Servus Christi says Justin Peters is bad for recommending John MacArthur, who is bad for recommending Albert Mohler, who is bad for recommending (ostensibly) Rick Warren. However, Servus Christi recommends the late Ken Silva’s Apprising Ministries, who recommended…Justin Peters and John MacArthur.
[Contributed by JD Hall]