Home > Fundamentalism, Mallinak > The Sword of the Lord and of Shelton

The Sword of the Lord and of Shelton

November 28, 2008

OK, you are right.  We’ve been hammering on these guys for a bit now.  And, with all the other material out there, we probably should lay off for a bit.  After all, if we write about these guys too much, they might get a complex, and our readers might think that we have an obsession.  Like we’re virtual stalkers or something.  And, we realize that if we keep it up, the ardent SOTL defenders will be on here accusing us of gossip, of slander, of compromise, of being divisive, of being bitter, of being unimportant, and (probably) of voting for Obama.  “Don’t we have anything better to do?” they will ask.  And we, of course, won’t have an answer.

So, we agree, we really should lay off.  After all, we do have other things to talk about, and although this has dominated the month, we do feel the need to talk about something else soon.  Which we fully intend to do.  But before we do, we need to make sure (for the sake of those obsessive compulsive members of the Good-Ole’ Boy Network who find themselves googling the Sword of the Lord, reading all 753,000 results, and somehow managing to stumble across our fine little blog) that we invite all our readers to review all the posts from this month, and especially this one and this one.

And for the third time, yes, we really do have better things to do than to talk about Shelton Smith and the Sword of the Lord all day.  Which is why WE AREN’T TALKING ABOUT THEM ALL DAY.  That is one of the nifty little things about the Internet, and particularly about blogging.  All we need to do is to put up these couple of posts, and Google does the rest.  That way, we can write once, and give you the impression that all we ever do is talk about the Sword of the Lord (and Shelton Smith).

But we really don’t talk about Shelton Smith and the Sword of the Lord all that awful much.  They are, after all, not that important.  Which is why we have only dedicated about three posts (or maybe two-and-a-half) to them.  We’ve got many more posts on things that are much, much more important.  Just in case you were wondering.

But, I should get to my main point.  We admit, we’ve been a bit rough on these fellas.  And we want everyone to know that we don’t hate them at all.  In fact, we hope that our little blog here could help to make a point.  You see, we think that this particular branch of Fundamentalism could do better than what they are doing right now.  It isn’t that souls aren’t still being saved.  We hear that they are.  It’s just that they’ve gotten themselves all wrapped up in, well, in themselves.  And that makes a pretty small package.

Here’s what we think.  We think that these guys should lock themselves in a room, away from their cell phones, away from their flatterers and away from their admirers, away from their Day Timers and their schedules and their meetings, and that they should get alone with God.  We think that what is really needed is for these guys, the Big Shots, to take all their sugar-stick sermons, all their persona’s and all their hair-do’s, all their infinite plans for building programs, and all their priorities, and lay them out before the Lord.  Then, we think that what should happen is that these guys should say (and I quote here), “Lord, this is all ME.  It is all the work of my own flesh.  It is wood, hay, stubble.  It is all built on me, on who I am and what I do.  And none of it is built on you.  None of it is built on Who You are or what You do.  Lord, tear it all down.  Every last straw of it.  And build your own work in its place.”

Then, when these guys have found the Lord’s face, we believe that their next step should be to tell their people that there has been too much ME in their ministry.  They should point their people once again to the Word of God.  They should promise their people that they are going to speak more and preach more of God’s Word, and stop preaching so much of their own agenda.  They should promise to quote more of God, and less of themselves and of each other.  They should promise to strive more for the “Well Done,” rather than for the “atta-boy.”  They should start hungering and thirsting after Christ, and stop desiring so much credence amongst their peers.

And, having said that, we think that they should then make a pact with the Lord, that they are going to stop helping to hide all the affairs and the chicanery that goes on in The Circle.  They should make a solemn vow before God and before their own churches that they will no longer help to protect the charlatans within The Movement.  They will no longer protect predators, or shelter those marriage-wrecking preachers that have characterized our movement for the past three decades.  They are going to rebuke them before all if necessary, but they are not going to look the other way any longer.  They should make this pact with the Lord, and then they should promptly announce this to their church, followed by a detailed example of what they mean.

This is what we think should happen.  Really.  Until they stop taking themselves so seriously, nobody else is going to take them seriously at all.  Until they decrease, God will not increase.  Until they stop obsessing about numbers (and somehow equating it with “success”), they will never find any sort of Scriptural success.

Believe me, or don’t believe me, but either way, I really do have a burden for the SOTL crowd.  I would like to see a change.  I do believe that the churches featured on the pages of the Sword could make a difference, could have a mighty impact across this land.  But not so long as they stay more intent on honoring each other than they are on honoring Christ, through honoring His Word.

So, what say you?  Throw away those sugar-sticks, get rid of those messages that relentlessly wonder the countryside in search of a text.  Preach what the text says, and stop forcing to text to say what you say.  Make a difference by being different.

Categories: Fundamentalism, Mallinak
  1. DT
    November 28, 2008 at 10:05 am

    You’re 103.5% correct! We all need to think about those things you’ve mentioned.

    Just one gripe. . (I know! I’m sorry, I just can’t help it. When I get by a keyboard I just have to argue. It’s fun). . .

    These last few posts were great and all, but aren’t you all doing the exact same thing about which you complain concerning the antics of Team Pyro and Sharper Iron and such? I mean there’s been embellishment, sarcasm, humor, even some mockery. Don’t get me wrong, I feel there was nothing wrong with it and I know where you’re coming from, and I know you do it because you care. But who’s to say those other folks with which you disagree so much don’t also care about the church and just happen to employ some of these same tactics in writing about it? I dunno. . .just something to think about.

    Ok, well, now that I may have opened up some uncomfortable disagreement let’s say something nice. I enjoyed your posts and your logo is real cool!

  2. November 28, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I think google is going to like the name “Shelton Smith.” Excellent use of the links to the other posts too, maestro. DT is writing to your post, but I think he’s asking us why we’re different than SI and Pyro. Good question. I thought people would think that question, and even ask it. I had to think about it as I wrote my post with the sharp criticisms of fundamentalism.

    1) We listen to what other people say. Even Mr. Anti-Tithing that was with us for awhile during our money month, we interact with. Like your criticism here. I’m interacting with it.
    2) I don’t think we’re being mean, not in the “mean girl syndrome” kind of way that I was careful to delineate, which is why I think is the connotative understanding of “mean.” I would welcome someone going after the substance of what we write, even with a little bit of a sting thrown in. Read that “mean girl” paragraph again, over here. The cold shoulder. Laughter. Gossip. And straight out lies.
    3) We can be wrong, but here it is, right out here for people to correct, and I think we’ll give in where we’ve been wrong. I do. I can be edgy at times and even cantankerous. That has to be taken into consideration. I’ll let Dave answer for himself on this one, because I personally think he has been much more of your description in your comment, DT, than I have been this month.

    I can’t comment at SharperIron. They took away that privilege when I questioned Jason Janz for an article. It said KJV guys were lemmings. I questioned it and I got banned from commenting. Frank of Pyro wrote on his blog about KJV cultists, referring to me, and so I commented on his blog and down in the comments I explained how that I believed Daniel Wallace didn’t believe in inerrancy based on my understanding of it. He kicked me off his blog and pyro in that one moment. People assume I don’t like Daniel Wallace. I think I’m giving legitimate criticism of him. I have nothing personal with him. I like his Greek grammar. I thought true scholars were open to criticism. It’s not that way as much in academics any longer. I still haven’t had anybody answer my criticisms I wrote in that four part series. None. Where are the scholars to shoot them down. You know why I don’t get anybody. Daniel Wallace was wrong in those areas. Instead of giving answers, I get lies, misrepresentations, and mockery, and finally banning. They’re like the Puritans. We might be in prison if they were in charge.

  3. December 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm


    First, we don’t mind sarcasm/irony/mockery in and of itself. In our opinion, we should be able to handle it. We dish, we should be able to take it. And, if you follow in our comment threads, we generally do.

    Our disappointment with Pyro, Sharper Iron, and etc. (which, by the way, Kent has spent more time on than myself) has been with their total unwillingness to allow us to defend our position. They mock and then do not allow an answer. Kent, as he mentioned, has been banned at both sites. And, ironically, neither time was he banned for using sarcasm or for “tone.” He was banned for his ideas, and for a strong defense of those ideas. That would be different from us.

    On our side, we have only banned one commenter ever. That was a guy who refused to engage what we were actually saying, could only twist it to be saying something else and then attack that pervesion of our position, and actually had very little substance in his comments, only vitriol. But even with him, we allowed him to continue for a long time, and gave him several warnings before we removed him. We even answered his ridiculous comments most of the time.

    Other than him, we have not banned any commenter. That would be a major difference with us.

    Where we have a problem with the mockery, etc. of the Pyros and SI is not in the mockery itself so much as it is in the fact that they never will engage those who take our position. They answer our arguments with a casual, off-handed dismissal. I don’t think that you see us doing that here.

    Thanks for the argument though, DT. I, like you, enjoy good discussions.

  4. December 2, 2008 at 11:08 am

    The other “unspoken” truth is their (Pyro, etc) intolerance of any position that disagrees with their own. I just heard Phil Johnson last night on “Wretched TV” lump people who disagree with his “Calvinistic” philosophy as heretics. He did it in a left-handed sort of way.

    If one of us were to call them heretics, they would scream and howl about how unloving we are. By the way, one of the things I love about Jackhammer is its ability to disagree with people’s ideas and demand Scriptural arguments for them.

    That is the definition of good, healthy Scriptural debate.

  5. December 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks Art. I agree with you.

  6. Steve
    December 2, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I got to ask, just because I do actually support SOTL.

    A) When did the SOTL actually start its decline toward mediocrity

    B) Are there any redeeming qualities left to SOTL??

    Are there any redeeming qualities to Revival Fires/Dennis Corle?

    Thanks In advance. Again very well written article.

    Respectfully Submitted

    Gal 2.20

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