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Slandering Fellow Believers?

We received the following email from someone who had written us saying we were guilty of slander:

Would you kindly take me off your mailing list? I contributed and now receive your news letter, and this one terribly upset me. I know that John does not agree with alot of our "brothers", but I can not sit still for the slander. WE are one in the Spirit and this stuff has to STOP! Thanks and enjoy your blessings today!

I wrote back and asked for proof of these accusations:

Speaking slander against anyone is a serious offence. If we are guilty of slander as you say, can you please show me where we do so?

I await your reply,

Charles Thorell

The response:

Hi Charles,

I appreciate you writing me back and I am thinking you will not agree with me, but Father has been showing me that "back biting" and calling other brothers "cults" and saying that they are part of Babylon, well, my brothers, you are not the "heart reader".

You may disagree with the doctrinal teachings of some of the brethren, but to put into words that "you know" they are this and that, is to me, slander.

Jesus is coming back for a glorious church, not one that is throwing stones at each other. The thing that I admire most about those who you call names, is that they never do. They may "disagree" with their brothers and sisters (and that will happen until the end), but never, never do I hear them say a name of someone that they disagree with. They may speak of the doctrine or the teaching may differ, but never do they "say" anything about the person. They have learned that the tongue can be a pen or a dagger. Perhaps we should follow their "good" example?

My second response:

I want you to know that I am not attacking you; my intention is only to respond to you by quoting the inspired Words of God as found in the Bible.

Slander according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as intentionally insulting, smearing or defaming someone. Since you haven't given me any specific examples, I cannot defend myself against slander which we have supposedly said and therefore must conclude that we are not guilty of this. Slander is a sin and we would never intentionally do so.

If you take issue with an article or sermon in which a “brother-in-the-Lord” is mentioned, in which we supposedly “speak evil” of them, I would ask you this question, “Are we really being slanderous?” Depending on the point of view, this can be argued all day long, so I will simply let the apostle Paul settle this as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Should you disagree, your argument is no longer with me, but the Lord.

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:11-21

According to Paul, we are supposed to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. Since Peter was wrong in the way he acted around Jews and Gentiles, Paul openly reprimanded him. The reason that Paul spoke to Peter as he did was because of the advice he would later give to Timothy.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Jesus gave us very specific instructions on how to deal with personal conflicts within the Church (Matthew 18:15-17), but this is a different situation not unlike the one that Paul faced with the Church at Corinth.

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
1 Corinthians 5:1-13

When I see a “brother-in-the-Lord” do or say something that is contrary to the Bible, I simply cannot be silent and follow their “good example” because if I were to do so, I would be a partaker of their evil deeds.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18

In summary, if someone is wrong on a doctrinal issue, are we, according to Paul and the Holy Ghost simply supposed to be quiet about it? Not according to the Bible. If you disagree with this, you are in error, not because that is my opinion, but because the Word of God says so!

May God open your spiritual eyes,

Charles Thorell


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