Earlier, on the Christian Hub and, today, on The Fellowship Room (I keep wanting to say in TFR), I highlight George Jensen’s timely warning about supporting unworthy works. George names one of those unworthy works as an example of his point. In another example, he refrains from naming. I suppose he thought one example was sufficient.
George is right to name names. The problem of dishonest, unscrupulous, or (note I said, or) compromising missionaries is serious and widespread enough to warrant attention on the part of overseeing and supporting churches.
I have not done what George just did, name names. From what I know of him (I’ve not had the pleasure to meet him and Joy personally), George is not a heretic detector. He and I both have other, better things to do. But there are moments when it’s appropriate to mention, as Paul did in his letters, people and efforts who damage the work on the field.
What sometimes happens is that churches throw money at a work, don’t accompany or visit, and never know what goes on, besides what a missionary says during a visit. And they often hear with one ear. They seldom read written reports. Then, when a situation breaks open and a missionary is exposed in doctrine or morals, a supporting church reacts, cuts off funds, looks suspiciously at other works, closes itself off to good efforts. The church must share the blame in such a scenario.
When we first arrived in Brazil, the more experienced missionaries told us they had adopted a stay-in-Vegas approach (my characterization). What happens on the field, stays on the field. What a missionary does is between him and his supporters. There’s wisdom in that, to a point.
Within a year or so of our arrival, however, our mission team broke that rule, and rightly so. We did so as a team, for moral reasons. That was the first and only exception.
Comes a time, however, when one may need to name names, for any number of reasons: to create a distance, in the eyes of supporters and the brotherhood in general (we live the Internet age now), between one’s work and others who’ve abandoned the way; to alert supporters to tendencies against which one must teach; to elicit specific prayers both for ourselves, that we might not fall into collusion, and for the wayward, that they might return to the truth. You may think of others as well.
For a ministry like ours, which publishes news of the brotherhood, silence might say something, when we don’t give space to progressive works. On the other hand, someone can interpret it as certain works just not appearing on our radar. Silence in such a context is open to misinterpretation.
We’re not brotherhood police, nor do we do detective work. Progressives love to use those phrases to cow anyone who would speak against their agenda. For they almost all have the agenda of converting us to their views. That makes them doubly dangerous. They infiltrate themselves into churches, manipulate to get their way, move as fast as the unsuspecting will allow, and — when they see they can get away with it — tell those who object to lump it or leave. Other missionaries, elders, and evangelists on the field smile, open the door, and offer the sheep on a platter to the wolves.
So though we’re not the CSI, we do have an obligation to note manifestations of that spirit that denies the Lord Jesus Christ. In critical times like these, that sometimes means naming names.