More on Watchbloggers


For the record, when Pastor Silva reviewed this post, he made the correction on-line to the very post I referenced, and made it clear that his concerns have been addressed -- at least insofar as it relates to my opinion of him. I appreciate his forthright approach in this matter.

As I unwind this chain of posts (which are evolving and not canned or pre-recorded), I can’t help thinking about that scene in Star Trek VI where Star Fleet tells Kirk and crew that they are the ones who are going to negotiate the peace treaty with the Klingons. The money quote is when Spock tells Kirk that “Only Nixon could go to China.”

Let me be honest: I have not idea how that analogy works out on a one-to-one basis in this walk-through of differences in theology, ministry, and the basics of logic and civility.

That said, TeamPyro became the #1 blog in Technorati’s ranking of “Lifestyle: Religion: blogs last week, in part on the back of links my rebuttal to “Coram Deo” produced. In particular, Ken Silva posted this in two places – Apprising Ministries, and Christian Research Net:

And kudos, fwiw, to Pastor Silva for keeping the “Moses Lolcat” quote in there because it is the little things which make blogging so rewarding.

What I’m concerned about is the part I highlighted in yellow up there – the part where Pastor Silva says my statement is about “online apologetics and discernment ministries such as this one”. It’s a puzzling statement for at least three reasons:

[1] In my last post on this subject – and indeed, in almost everyone of the threads/posts where this comes up – I have made it clear that there’s a difference between “watchbloggers” and credible apologists and discernment ministries.

[2] In almost every list of “Credible discernment ministries” I have ever provided, I have been explicit to list “Pastor Ken Silva” as one of the good guys – in lists which include James White, Greg Koukl, and so on.

[3] When I have defined the purveyors of the problem, I have been explicit to say that these are people who are both anonymous and also unapologetic for their mistakes. To my knowledge, there’s no way this applies to Ken Silva, is there?

What seems to me to be true is that Ken Silva does not want to say that there are any “discernment ministries” which are, frankly, in grave error as defined by their tactics and their philosophy of ministry. And Pastor Silva is willing to stand arm-in-arm with those people to this extent: that he is also willing to publish something which is patently untrue to oppose the argument. My justification for saying this is the evidence above – in which Pastor Silva wants to put words in my mouth, specifically about his own work, in order to “expose” my error.

Look: as I said in my response to Chris Rosebrough, reputable discernment ministries (and reputable bloggers, for that matter -- you don't have to be an elder in a church to be a decent writer and thinker) should not fall into the trap that the "careful charismatics" fall into all the time. That is: the careful charismatics don't rebuke/disavow the awful charlatans like Todd Bentley until after they have discredited themselves through moral failure, after many have been bilked, for fear of being seen as a "friendly fire" against the charismatic movement and sewing the seeds of skepticism in their own ranks. The careful bloggers, apologists, and theologians should openly discredit anonymous drive-by slanderers who don't have any visible accountability – and the argument that they should somehow avoid “friendly fire” is simply not compelling. It doesn’t speak to the issues which are at the heart of apologetics, like discernment and maturity and humility in the face of the truth.

So here I call on Ken Silva to disavow his statement that I have been including him [and all discernment ministries] in the “watchbloggers” category when in fact I have been circumspect to specifically disavow the idea that he’s a “watchblogger”. It doesn’t do his point of view any good to participate in muddying the water – because in doing so, it’s his own hands that get dirty.


David said...

I like saying the title of this post fast.

Frank Turk said...

Careful now ...

Rob Bailey said...

we like saying, "roundabound." in fact, we go out of our way just to have a reason to say it. roundabound. Solomon has very cleverly combined mahna mahna with roundabound. makes for fun driving.
Seriously, " It doesn’t speak to the issues which are at the heart of apologetics, like discernment and maturity and humility in the face of the truth." The entire purpose of apologetics rests on the truth. Humility being the main required trait for a believer involved in any reception of contradiction. And I have no problem with a good pugilist doling it out.

Mike DeLong said...

Wow Frank. It's interesting to read that you consider Ken Silva one of the good guys.

Silva's tone kind of puts me off, and I have wondered from time to time if "Apprising Ministries" isn't just Silva, despite the fact that the authorial voice there refers to him in the third person.

Also, there's the peculiar issue of his church. As I understand it he's the pastor at Connecticut River Baptist Church, 24 Crescent St, Claremont NH. When I look at this address in Google Street View the image I see there is of a building that is for lease and has no off-street parking. Perhaps Silva is on the up-and-up and the Street View image is out of date and/or his church has relocated.

Frank Turk said...

Mike --

The truth is that Pastor Silva and I have a sparse history, and I have never been a fan of his version of discernment ministry. The question is not, "does he uncover unsavory spiritual events?" I think he does.

I think the question is, "What does his approach cause others to do?" Does it cause others to reform their local churches because they have a clear view of how the Christian life ought to be lead, with truth and love, or does it merely cause more fault-finding -- as if discernment was only the revealing of flaws rather than the path to correction and ultimately repentance and reconciliation.

Pastor Silva is not a watchblogger because, for all he does, he does it himself and is willing to wear his work as his own. I have seen him apologize for mistakes. Heis not completely unassailable.

Watchbloggers are people who are very concerned that we know all the things other people personally do wrong, and are intent to hold those other people accountable, but when it comes to themselves they cannot be held to account -- in part, of course, because they have never been wrong.

Those people are utterly disrepuateble. They know who they are, and they wear it as a badge of honor.

Ken Silva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Silva said...


Wanted to fix a couple of spelling errors. Please know, the post in question was written prior to my seeing your clarification. I updated it last night as soon as someone made me aware of your post here.


Apprising Ministries aside, "the Street View image is out of date and/or his church has relocated."

This is correct; the landlords from whom we rented asked us to leave because they wanted to develop as business in that space instead of having a church there.

So we've been meeting in the home of one of our members for a couple of years. By the way, this tone is meant as polite w/ no sarcasm k; people more familiar with Apprising Ministries knew this.

Also, due to a recent computer crash I can be reached at this new email address:

I sincerely hope this puts these matters to rest concerning me.

Frank Turk said...

Kudos to Pastor Silva for his intergrity in this matter. My thanks for his correction.

Lisa said...

excellent... missed this one...

eh, dudnt matter what i miss