Chicken staringYou have to wonder how long it will be before someone considers taking some kind of legal action against false discernment sites which are only interested in defaming targeted churches and ministers.

It’s one thing to point out perceived doctrinal error using scripture, or discuss arguably questionable methodology or antics, but quite another to defame people simply because you feel you can get away with it.

The Word says that brother should not take court action against brother, but there has to be a point at which the perpetrator of defamation, even if they claim to be Christian, is seen to be outside the Body and therefore not in a position to be corrected by those in authority, especially if they persist in working against the standards set in scripture for dealing with a dispute between Christians.

This is well outlined in the following statement at chookwatchcentral, a rather bizarre site aimed at any and all successful ministries and pastors.

‘Take-Over – a hostile, tyrannical, immoral, unethical, unbiblical or illegal way in which a ‘church’ schemes, re-brands and takes over another church. The move is usually presented as a surprise and often occurs when the members of the congregation, (whether they are the pastors, elders or laymen), have no say in the matter. The take-over is presented as the best way forward for the church.’

This is a very accurate definition to describe how churches like Hillsong and C3 rebrand churches into their movement.

The ‘source’ named is a site which aggressively redefines words and phrases to suit their own narrative, which makes it just the ticket for chookwatcher, who must spend hours upon hours googling for antichristian propaganda to mix into his leaven of apostasy.

Here, then, in calling this ‘a very accurate definition’, is chookwatcher calling Hillsong and C3 ‘hostile, tyrannical, immoral, unethical, unbiblical and/or illegal’ in its dealings with churches that willingly and openly seek to join their movements.

The chookwatcher ‘team’ has issued an outrageous and scandalous claim. These chooks need to pull their heads in. Seriously. They are now so self-inflated with pride and overconfident in their rantings that they feel secure and self-satisfied enough to say what they want about people and churches without fear of correction.

Don’t they realise that they are not as anonymous as they think they are? Mercy and expedience are one thing, but allowing the constantly discourteous to take things too far is quite another. When does seventy times seven become destructive towards the one being forgiven? When is it considered inexpedient to allow a person to be the leaven that ruined the loaf?

You have to wonder who is in oversight over the chookwatchers, or if is this an oversight they have allowed for themselves to give them license to defame people irresponsibly, because clearly they are not accountable to anyone but themselves.

And where are the mature, non-schismic voices on their ‘team’ who can curb the feckless from their zeal for childish malice? Are they AWOL, not interested in accountability, or were they never present anyway?

No simple matter to join C3 or Hillsong

To answer the falsehoods contained in the above definition of ‘take-over’: It is actually not a simple matter to connect with a movement like C3, for instance. There is no ‘assimilation’ at all. It is a mutual agreement made between consenting parties. There is a high level of integrity and courtship.

There is a long term arrangement by which both entities are on probation with each other – at least a year – before anything is signed off. It may take years before a church finally decides to lock into the movement. There is a very strict code of ethics, and there has to be an understanding, including the involvement of the congregation’s board and members before any such arrangement is undertaken. The church can leave any time it wants by mutual consent.

Once connected, churches remain autonomous and deal with their own affairs, vision, mission and legals. Part of the arrangement means that the church agrees to comply with all not-for-profit regulations and agree to high standards of accountability for overseers. But there is no interference, nor demands. Apart from a small administrative levy there are no financial obligations. There is a sharing of ideas and of vision.

Hillsong operates in a slightly different way, and I am unaware of the exact details, but, again, all parties need to agree to the partnership. There is no ‘take-over’ at all. It is a joining of forces for the sake of the gospel.

Most Hillsong churches, like C3 churches, are planted from scratch, but some established bodies link with these movements for any number of reasons, including becoming part of a wider body and the ability to locate a like-minded church in other cities and centres globally.

The reasons for joining these movements include co-operation, partnership, accountability, the common goal of furthering the gospel, and creating an environment for increase in an atmosphere of faith, hope and love.

Unsavoury intentions

By contrast, the chookwatchers‘ ‘team’ ethic is to pull people down, remove Christians from their churches, spread rumours and defame believers they take exception to. When they skim the web for fodder, such as the listed source’s fake definitions, they immediately vomit out a sensationalist story like this one.

They can no longer be taken seriously as actual Christian brethren. The key to being brethren, according to Jesus, is to love one another. “By this men shall know that you are my disciples,” He said, “that you have love one for another.”

There is no scriptural love shown by the chookwatchers or their supporters towards anyone connected with C3 or Hillsong. Even when they claim they are ‘correcting’ people out of love they are pulling the wool over believers’ eyes. That is not correction. That is backbiting and sowing discord.

In fact they deny that folk from Hillsong or C3 are brethren, anyway, so we have to assume that the scripture about not taking brethren to court no longer applies.

1 Corinthians 6:1-9 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Look, in a manner of speaking, they have already broken this scripture anyway because they have taken their targets to court themselves – the court of the world wide web.

They have denied the very scripture that, hitherto, has protected them from any legal challenge. They have themselves broken contract with God by judging the brethren in the court of the blogosphere.

They are indeed showing themselves to be of the stock of of the accuser of the brethren.

Lord have mercy on them all.