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On Responding to False Accusations

Holy BibleAbout a week ago a reporter published an article in the Orange County Register about Saddleback Church that contained many errors and false assumptions:

It erroneously stated that we have a partnership with a local Muslim mosque.

That is false.

It erroneously reported that we had agreed to not evangelize with Muslims.

That is false.

It erroneously reported that we believe Saddleback and Muslims worship the same God.

That is false.

It erroneously used a picture of our new PEACE Center as the example of a program of cooperation with Muslims.

That is false.

It erroneously reported that our church had agreed to a theological document with Muslims.

That is false.

Usually, we try to ignore the false statements made by media, and especially irresponsible bloggers, because 1) Reacting to every false report would take up most of our time,  2) It is almost impossible to undo an error’s damage once it is on the Internet, 3) God knows the truth and he is the only one we must please, 4) It is Christlike to  remain silent in the face of  false accusations, 5) God blesses us even more every time we trust him with our defense,  and 6) We have far more important tasks to accomplish with our time.

When opponents publicly attacked and openly criticized Nehemiah for the work God had assigned him, Nehemiah responded wisely, saying “ I sent messengers to them with this reply: ‘I am carrying on a great project and the work is too important for me to stop and respond to you. Why should the work stop while I leave it and meet with you?’” (Neh. 6:30)  When people have already decided to not like you, nothing you say will change their minds . . . not the truth, facts, proof, or logic. They only get more defensive and angry.  It’s a waste of your breath. We’ve seen this during the past week.

But because YOU value the truth, I agreed to do an interview to correct the errors of the article, and send it to you. Of course, anything I write to you also goes public. Once my interview was released, the “I-hate-Saddleback” bloggers refused to accept the facts, and they began looking for something else to attack or to claim that I had lied. Since I wasn’t asked in the interview about the fifth error (Has Saddleback signed a theological agreement?) the bloggers began looking for a loophole, or even a “cover-up.”

Of course Saddleback has NEVER agreed to any theological document with Muslims or else the elders and I would have seen it first! No agreement or document could possibly be approved without our consent!  But the first time our elders and I even heard of a document was from the article! So this week I tracked down the rumor and here’s what I found:

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