There is this tendency, within me, to happily chime in with an “amen,” whenever I see or hear something I agree with. And why not? To be unified in heart and mind with another is a good and powerful thing. Is there any reason to keep our agreements to ourselves? Of course not. I will loudly, boldly, and joyfully stand with those who, with earnest, stand with God.
So must our “no’s,” be any softer? Less bold? Or not couched within the joy Christ?
For lack of a better word: No!
There have been countless instances when, in the name of Christian “unity,” people are encouraged to be silent in their disagreements. Most (that I know) are well meaning, of course. Some are afraid of a fracture within their respective churches. Others are concerned that, if you make a big fuss over nothing, you’ll distract from the good things God has done/is doing.
In response to the news that Steven Furtick manipulated hundreds of people into getting baptisms by strategically letting congregants walk up to get (re)baptized in order to “break the ice” for guests, they say things like, “I have personally grown in my relationship with God because of Steven Furtick.” They’ll defend his practices because it gets the results they’re searching for.
“It’s manipulative, disingenuous, and unethical to use groupthink tactics in order to promote baptism,” I say. “Stop tearing down a brother in Christ,” is the reply.
I refuse to believe that it is in the common interest of believers (see, unity) to promote, encourage, or be passive when presented with this sort of deception, within the Church. In what way is God blessed by such disingenuousness? It’s disgraceful!
Speaking on an ethical level, we must ask ourselves, “Do the ends justify the means?” You can attempt to let this slide as a minor issue because “no one got hurt.” The truth is, however, that people are hurt by this. There are people within that congregation (and others) who will question the validity of their baptism. Non-believers will level the charge of “cult” to the Church for the use of psychological tactics; and probably mock God, because of it. The person who has truly mocked God, however, is Steven Furtick, and men like him who routinely answer the question, “Do the ends justify the means?” with a simple, “yes.”