chook4So-called self-styled discernment sites like the chookwatchers‘ numerous franchises attempt to convince their audience and supporters that they follow and adhere to Christian principles.

They hold up a banner of their own seemingly deep piety and wrongly use it as a ramrod to condemn others they do not like.

God, in Christ, did not make us righteous through the cross and forgiveness so that we could be self-righteous in judgment of others.

It is easy to observe that many of their articles on their websites consistently contain half-truths, innuendo, suppositions, judgement by association, and opinions based on their own, mainly Reformed, theological stance, as they write article after article about their target groups, which are invariably Hillsong and C3 churches and ministers. This isn’t really any more than an assessment of fact rather than a judgment. It is there for all to see and read.

The churches they predominantly target, however, are widely accepted as orthodox contemporary movements which have made a strong impact on global Christianity in recent years. They have a particular appeal to young people because of the presentation of the gospel and emphasis on worship, but, after more than thirty years, have a large contingent of people who are now in their senior years, have families who have grown up in their churches, and continue to enjoy the liberty of the Word, freedom in the Spirit, the fellowship, and the excitement of rapid expansion they have consistently seen over time.

However, the chookwatchers [CWs] are, according to their own writings, intent on seeking out any controversy, minor slip-of-the tongue, mistaken off-the-cuff remarks, unqualified tweets on social media, or judgement by association with troubled ministries that aids them in compiling a negative dossier by which to continue their unrelenting assault on good people.

Dossier of discontent

The trouble with the negative dossier mentality is that it misses the point of Biblical principles such as repentance and forgiveness.

Because of the emphasis on negativity, the CWs’ dossier is littered with inaccuracies, false claims, innuendo, opinion and wrong doctrine. It is based on more than one flawed premise, beginning with the personal bias and antipathy towards Hillsong and C3 displayed by the CW chookhead. There may, in some instances, be an element of truth to what they claim, but it is almost always laced with tainted opinion which distracts the reader from fact.

In this regard, we know that the adversary will always use an element of truth to attempt to give some credibility to his false accusations of the brethren, and such is the nature of the accuser.

Whenever a Hillsong or C3 commenter writes in to point out an inaccuracy in the claims of an article or a comment by CW supporters this dossier is inevitably brought out and a list of grievances which may date back decades will be produced regardless of whether the Hillsong or C3 commenter is correct in their assessment of CW claims or not. It is simply used as another of their distractions when they are exposed.

No allowance for the blood

And here is the problem in a nutshell. By developing a growing dossier of discontent, the CWs condemn themselves.

They demonstrate, as do many other self-styled online discernment sites, that they do not understand the point of the shed blood of Christ, of the level of forgiveness available to followers of Christ, and the virtue of repentance afforded to those who confess their sins before God the Father.

Having been a recipient of the CWs’ false accusations, I know that if anyone in the same boat was to comment on one of their sites the CWs would have their finger on the trigger to bring up these faked allegations in an attempt to deflect the conversation from their own inaccuracies, try to intimidate dissenters with contrived claims, seek to drum up support from their regular supporters to join in the attack, and perpetuate the myths and memes they have assembled at their site.

It’s happened before. It would happen again. This is the way they work. The pattern is displayed before the whole world to see. It is ungodly, unscriptural and morally devoid of anything Christ-like.

Blood-washed

However, here is the main reason their dossier system is null and void: I am a blood-washed, forgiven child of God.

Every time I take communion I remember with gratitude what Christ has done for me at the cross. I confess my sins, I forgive those who have sinned against me. God the Father forgives me. I am set free from sin and cleansed from all unrighteousness. I am given a clean slate. My sins are cast as far as the east is from the west by the Father. I hold no grudges. I am not guilty. The past is over.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Cleansed through confession. Therefore, the dossier the CWs might hold over me is made null and void. It is largely a false dossier, anyway, but any element of truth used is now under the blood of Christ. I am forgiven. They have nothing on me.

It is the same for every other minister or ministry they have accused. When those ministers take communion, or go before the Father to repent of any sin, they ask God for forgiveness, confess their sin, and determine to walk away from that sin. God is faithful. He cleanses them of any and all unrighteousness. Without exception. That is the power of the blood. That is the power of forgiveness. That is grace of God in action.

Judging the Body 

In fact, Jesus made it clear that if we do not forgive others we will not be forgiven for our trespasses. This is serious. By holding on to a dossier of discontent, the CWs and any other such ‘discernment’ sites are demonstrating that they have not forgiven those they oppose. They line themselves up with the opposer and accuser of the brethren.

Paul takes it further. He lays a strict judgment at the feet of those who refuse to judge the Body correctly.

1 Corinthians 11:26-32 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

The CWs claim that they are authorised to judge the Body. They say their entire modus operandi, in fact, is the very cause of judging the Body, especially those that they target. They seem to attribute to themselves the task of being God’s judges of Hillsong and C3. Their sites are entirely judgement venues.

Yet, according to Paul, if they are judging the Body inaccurately, with malice, with a wrong motive, or without first judging themselves, they are guilty of drinking the cup of Christ’s blood in an unworthy manner, supposing that they themselves participate in communion at some time or other.

Examining ourselves before we examine others

When we participate in the communion we are remembering the Lord’s death until he comes. It is a time of great circumspection and sobriety. It is time when we examine ourselves to see whether we have sinned against God or His people, and whether we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

It is the time when we release any and all offences to God, when we confess sins of commission and omission. It is a grave time when we seek to be made right before the Lord. It is a time of repentance and clearance. There is power in the blood of Jesus to cleanse and release us.

It is a time when we determine not to harbour grudges or keep dossiers against others, even though they may have offended us, or wronged us, or slighted us in any way. It is a time when we can walk away free and uncontaminated by hatred, malice, fear, unforgiveness or contempt for others. It is a deep time of cleansing and restoration.

Liberty of forgiveness

Paul reminds us that an athlete has to run his race with no weights. We are in a race. We have a cause. We are called to preach the gospel to a fallen world with the aim of seeing souls saved from sin. We cannot be encumbered with the weights of unforgiveness, offences, pride or anger towards others.

Forgiveness is a weight-reducing commodity sent from God Himself to help us let go of offences, malice, and vengeance, and it begins with God forgiving us through the work of Christ on the cross. He removes the weight for us by laying the sin of the world on Christ. He bears our burden, and our load is lifted. We take on his yoke, which is light and easy, as he takes ours.

If we do not shed this weight by forgiving others and burying the dossier of discontent we have against them, God will not forgive us, and that dossier of unforgiveness will weigh us down as we seek to condemn others through a contrived and futile list of grievances.

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Whenever you stand praying, forgive. That means the dossier of discontent has to go, or it will be converted to a dossier of unforgiveness by God, and will weigh us down and block any answers to prayer.

Do the CWs pray? Then they should exercise forgiveness or their prayers are pointless. They need to revise their dossier of discontent and not bring up rehashed accusations, false or otherwise. God has helped their targets move on.

It is the same for you or I. Do we want our prayers answered? That is why the emphasis has changed and recent articles here are more generic and less focused on individuals. And some have been removed. We do not want to have a dossier of discontent.

Lately, posts here are more of an appeal for truth and accuracy of reporting by the ‘discerners’, as opposed to innuendo, suggestion, guilt by association and opinion they currently display. We want to move on in hope, faith and love. We all have to grow up. Put off the old man and put on the new.

Discernment revision

That is one of the reasons ‘discernment’ sites like the CWs have to revise their claims at all times. If they are truly pious Christians they need to be good disciples of Christ and exercise right judgment of the Body, if they lay claim to any judgment at all, starting with themselves. They have to exercise forgiveness. They have to offload offences. They have to remove falsehoods, malice and innuendo. They have to bury, burn or rip up the dossiers of discontent.

Psalms 103:8-13 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.

God has forgiven us much. When we were yet sinners He sent Christ to die for our sins so that we could be released from them and forgiven.

How much more should we forgive those who sin against us or offend us. We have no excuse. God has done the greater thing to inspire us  to do what is right. If we do not, therefore, forgive others as God has forgiven us we are not truly His.

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