First there was Rachel, remember, who made the observation that it was difficult to believe that the chookwatcher sites were run by actual followers of Jesus.
She added that the attacks on Christians by chookwatcher and his cohorts were reminiscent of religious ones who attacked Jesus for hanging out with sinners.
The response to this, of course, was typically brutish.
‘Rachel – we find it hard you even know or even how to love Jesus Christ with the absolute vile [sic] that rolled off your tongue in the above post.’
I guess by ‘vile’ they mean ‘bile’, but nevertheless, it was a strangely defensive and deeply offensive response all at once. It didn’t end there either.
‘Your brainwashed response is nothing more than demonstrating you do NOT know God or His Word.’
No. Rachel was making an observation that was based on the content of the site she was reviewing, and it was neither ‘vile, ‘bile’, nor ‘brainwashed’. It was rather accurate and well constructed without being in the least bit nasty. It was a civilly written piece questioning the motives of the chookwatcher sites.
Rebuked for being over the top
There was more, but it typifies the kind of response chookwatcher comes up with. He was later rebuked by another chookwatcher who advised him to be more conciliatory in future.
Indeed, one would think that chookwatcher would be better placed in a Christian sense, i.e. demonstrating the love of Christ, by having a reasonable conversation with civil commenters like Rachel rather than immediately reacting by making false accusations against her character and motives that they could not possibly prove.
But, as you would expect after this time, chookwatcher did fail to take its own advice, and, within a few days another commenter, Felicity, gave a glowing testimony of being led by God to Hillsong, with no initial criticism of the chookwatchers, only her story.
She was even more polite than Rachel had been, giving testimony of how Hillsong had been helpful to her and her family during a difficult time, and that her husband and young adult children had found a renewed faith in Christ as a result of the ministry, which was primarily centred on Jesus. All good you would have to think.
But what was the chookwatcher clan’s response? Here’s a brief selection.
‘…all that you have written is just a story, and it means absolutely nothing. It’s sad to think that there are so many gullible victims just like you, for whom the penny won’t drop until they are found wanting at the judgement.
…you yourself will also be held accountable for the fate of your children. You will have plenty of time to think about that in the flames, and to rue the foolishness of having followed the Antichrist’s harlot.
Of course you didn’t want to leave there, because they had helped you in your “time of need” – and, as we all know, it’s all about *you*, isn’t it? No wonder you felt “led” to Hillsong which is nothing if it’s not narcissist central.’
So when we help people out during a time of need the person being supported is actually being narcissistic? Poor people are really narcissists, BH? Their poverty, lack, or need is a sign of selfishness? Maybe you can come up with scripture and verse for this theory of yours.
How on earth did you get that level of criticism out of a decent testimony of how God leading a family to Hillsong had helped to restore a family to faith in Him?
And the claim of damnation for finding faith? Where does that come from? What spirit told you to say that?
And the claim that Felicity’s story is just a story, meaning absolutely nothing? You mean God leads people into absolutely nothing when His goodness brings them to repentance? Is that what you’re saying?
How is giving a testimony of God’s goodness a sign of gullibility? Are you saying that when God leads us to a better understanding of His relationship with us He is leading us to judgment? I’m sorry, but your approach makes no Biblical sense at all.
As for chookwatcher, following on from BH, he makes some even more astounding asssertions, as well as some extraordinary claims.
‘It was Satan that led you to Hillsong. Not the Holy Spirit.
…you need to keep your children out of Hillsong youth programs. Those programs are dangerous and leave your kids open to being manipulated and shamed by Hillsong leadership if they disclose personal information about you or themselves. (Please read Hillsong policy. They collect information about you and your family and will use this against you at will.)
Lastly, your story is, unfortunately, useless.’
Wow! Can you believe these people?
In fact, Felicity’s story was actually a very well written testimony of how God had led her family out of a rut into full commitment to Christ.
It is far from useless. It will, undoubtedly, assist many other people to renew their faith in Jesus as long as Felicity continues to share it.
Keeping records of children’s sin?
What chookwatcher has done is attempt, as he often does, to shut down a perfectly good testimony, as, with a high degree of overreaction, he apparently attempts to prevent the person from telling others the good news that God has brought change into their lives.
And the slur about Hillsong collecting names for sinister means is beyond the pale. Evidence, please.
But chookwatcher doesn’t stop there. He really has the bit between his teeth on this one.
‘you are feeding your children to the wolves. How can you claim you love God and your family when you do such a thing as that?
BTW – you might want to ask your leadership what information they have collected on your children. They do keep a record of the sins of your children. You do realise that don’t you? Are you aware that they use this information to manipulate them?
Is that what you really want for your kids? For your family?’
What? Chookwatcher actually wrote that? He wrote this nonsense because a Christian woman gave testimony? Because she told us how God led her family to a Christian church that helped them out when they were going through a difficult time? Because they found a way back to faith in Jesus?
Did he actually say that Hillsong keeps a record of the sins of children? To manipulate them? I’ve taken a screen shot of this (thankfully, because their comment has since been removed – Ed). It’s unbelievable! Evidence? None given.
But there is more. Here’s what chookwatcher added in his attack on Felicity.
‘Light cannot fellowship with darkness. So you either are a “muppet”/immature in the faith/undiscerning, a liar or not a Christian at all.
Don’t treat people like idiots by having the audacity [sic] you are a follower of Jesus when you spit in his face against the warnings he makes against criminals…
Your hatred against Christ and His church is not welcomed [sic]. You need to repent of your idolatry and turn to the Jesus of scripture who died for your sins…’
‘your stupidity and dullness are beyond measuring [sic]. Yours is a classic case of someone who is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect…’
You what? (Broadly speaking, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is defined as “a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability to recognise their [own] ineptitude.”)
Felicity was, you’ll recall, merely giving testimony of how God had used Hillsong as an avenue of change for the better for her family. There was no hatred towards Christ or His Church. It is a simple testimony of God’s goodness. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Here was a story of repentance and change.
How is giving testimony of Christ’s goodness ‘a spit in His face’? Why should Felicity repent of giving a testimony of repentance?
Who are these people at the chookwatcher sites, and who do they really represent?
There was nothing at all stupid or dull about Felicity’s testimony. It was well written and clear. There was no evidence of an attitude of superiority in what she wrote. It was the response to her story that was more akin to the claim of the so-called Dunning-Kruger Effect.
This conversation is ongoing as I write this piece, but chookwatcher insists on prolonging his denunciation of a good and healthy testimony by someone who has found renewed faith in Jesus.
‘You are not bringing grace and peace here with your presence and idle words. You are spreading deception, idolatry and pride.’
So now a testimony of God’s grace is ‘deception, idolatry and pride’?
Felicity, and Rachel earlier, did nothing but make their views known with grace and civility. The response was ugly and unnecessary, showing chookwatcher to be uncomfortably defensive and sensitive to criticism of his own methodology on his sites, and lacking gentleness, joy, kindness, or the ability to acknowledge someone who is giving a good report about one of the churches that chookwatcher rejects.
This is a very telling episode. Chookwatcher, when faced with a good report that countermands his own attitude towards the churches he obsessively criticises goes into another identifiable pattern – denial, followed by what looks awfully like anger towards the person giving the good report.
There’s much more, of course, to what these strangely bitter-sounding people have to say to someone who was actually giving a sound testimony of how God was changing their lives. Anyone who is really saved would have to rejoice that a family has found renewed faith regardless of the Christian ministry involved.
The reality is that it is the Word and Spirit who bring change, but God may use a number of vehicles to apply the salve.
Obviously chookwatcher and their friend BH failed to find any good cheer over the festive season.
It appears that chookwatcher has since taken note of this article and given a rather begrudging apology to Rachel and Felicity, which is progress, but still looks rather like the third part of the package of denial, anger, bargaining…
And here’s the bargaining chip they use in their ‘apology’…
‘If you can prove that Brian Houston and Hillsong preaches God’s Word rightly and is faithful then we will denounce calling Brian Houston a Heretic, Wolf in Sheep’s clothing, and Cult Leader and will instead call him a brother in Christ.’
You see the pattern. It’s right before your eyes.