Before I write anything else on this particular topic, I would like to offer thanks to the Lord for what appears to be a long answer to prayer – that Ken Silva has apparently decided to have the Apprising “Ministries” (two lies for the price of one) website deleted by his ISP. With a few more answered prayers like this one, CRN.Info would either have no reason to exist, or would need a complete shift in focus…
Secondly, I really had no desire to write this article, but since I’m getting some feedback that “Silence can be taken as approval”, as the manager of this site I will take a few moments to comment on the recent row between Richard Abanes and Ken Silva. Since I really didn’t want to write it, you can count on the tone to be somewhat grumpy (having returned from a long week of vacation with a need for sleep). I would also specifically note that, while I am delighted that the Apprising “Ministries” website has been taken down, I take no delight in any personal misfortune that may be suffered as a result of it.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest Version:
Mr. Silva wrote a piece in 2005 that Richard Abanes and Rick Warren. In 2008, RA wrote a letter to Silva’s ISP about the article, asking for it to be removed to avoid having him consult his lawyers, as it was in violation of their Terms of Service. Silva’s ISP asked him to remove the offending article within 48 hours or have his blog deleted. Ken refused to alter the article, instead choosing the ill-fitting mantle of a martyr. True to their word, it appears that Ken’s ISP deleted his blog per his decision. (And there was much rejoicing)
I have to say, there’s enough legalism and cat-fighting in this tempest in a teapot to last both parties well into the next decade. There are several of principles at work here -
First, the principle of bearing false witness and slander. Regardless of legal technicalities of jurisdictional definitions of slander/libel, speaking an untruth, purposely misrepresenting someone else – especially a brother in Christ – is sin and is slander. As many have pointed, out, this is different than holding differing opinions. However, it WOULD include purposely misrepresenting someone’s opinions via prooftexting quotes, contextomy and other similar means.
With only a brief reading of the article which offended, I have no idea what material Abanes believed was libelous, nor (at least in the reading I’ve done thus far) does he seem to be willing to specifically identify the information. With that said, though, it is likely that even an objective simpleton could identify dozens (if not hundreds) of examples of actual slander/libel on the Apprising “Ministries” site, whether it be Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Rick Warren or one of his other frequent targets of derision. Score: RA -1; KS -1
Next is the principal contained in Matthew 18 – when one brother feels he has been wronged by another to first approach that brother before seeking other mediation. RA did not do so in this case, based on his assumption (which I have no doubt is a correct one) that Ken would give him a proverbial sharp stick in the eye for his troubles. However, because he ought to love his neighbor, and be charitable (per I Cor 13:7), the biblical principal of first confrontation ought to have been followed. However, it ought to be noted that Ken’s entire “ministry” is pretty much a public mooning of Matthew 18, specifically self-exempted by Ken on many an occasion. Additionally, rather than follow the course of Matthew 18 in response to Abanes, Ken unsurprisingly decided to play the part of the drama queen/martyr by needlessly falling on his sword. Score: RA -2; KS -2
Next we have the principal of solving brotherly disputes within the church, rather than through civil/legal authorities, found in I Corinthians 6. Abanes has exempted himself from this via some legalistic weaseling (he only threatened non-specific legal action, he didn’t actually use it), in complete avoidance of the spirit of the principal. Now, while at least one of Ken’s supporters has absolutely no leg to stand on with this particular principal, I’m not familiar with Ken siccing (or threatening to sic) lawyers on anyone. At the same time, I’m unfamiliar with any mediating authority within the church to which Silva would submit for such dispute resolution. Score: RA: -3; KS: -2
Finally (though I’m pretty sure I could find more, it’s getting late) we have the principal of submission to earthly authority per Romans 13:1. In this particular regard, I’m not familiar with Abanes violating this particular principal in the matter at hand. At the same time, we have Ken who is unwilling to observe the TOS he was in submission to by having iPower host his blog. Additionally, he appears to be unwilling to abide by copyright law regarding the posting of third-party email, as well. Score: RA: -2; KS: -3
So, in regards to both parties and their actions in the current matter, it’s pretty safe to declare both to be losers.
As for the First Amendment, which some have wailed and cried upon in this matter, there was no real applicability. Had Silva temporarily deleted the article and sought mediation, or had legal proceedings ensued, I am confident that the freedom of speech would have been upheld in the end.
In the larger scheme of things, though, weighing the pettiness and short duration of the matter vs. the deletion of the Apprising “Ministries” blog, I think we can affirm that all things work for the good for those that love the Lord, and that Christendom is much better for the “loss” (even if it is only temporary) of the cesspool of hatred, slander and legalistic hubris that was apprised, found wanting and deleted.