I say this without apology: guys like Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries plus a handful of bloggers at The Gospel Coalition are almost certainly going to hell. I’m not kidding, and I say that with absolute grief and sickness in my stomach. It doesn’t matter how many “good things” they do or how well they raise their family, because it’s so obvious they’re dividing the church — and no good works can make up for that. Jesus loves them and so do I, but they have to stop the nonsense.
First, I have no power to declare anyone is going to hell. No one does. So you’re correct in being incredulous, and I don’t blame your tone. I’m sorry for being a bit hyperbolic.
Second, I wouldn’t wish hell upon anyone. Not Hitler, not Dahmer, not Pol Pot, not Bin Laden, and certainly not Ken Silva.
Third, I’m absolutely certain that Ken Silva could go through my blog and my podcasts, line by line, and find all sorts of heresy and blasphemy and incorrect doctrine. All that without a single conversation with me, with zero gestures of brotherly love. And that’s the problem, isn’t it?
Fourth, I recognize the futility of what I’m doing, since I’m basically doing the very thing I’m calling him out on. I hate to cause any more division in the Body than there already is. You got to believe me when I say that my heart aches for Silva and I love him regardless of what he does. I’d have dinner or a phone call with him, but I doubt that will ever happen.
Fifth, if I did have to guess the spiritual status of guys like Silva, this is what I’m going from:
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
— 2 Timothy 2:15-16
Paul is talking specifically to teachers and preachers and ministry workers. James also talks about teachers undergoing the stricter judgment (James 3).
The thing is, SOMEONE has to stand up to Christian bloggers who go out of their way to be purely nasty to other pastors. There’s a proper way to call out heresy, but you don’t do that using pet names and ugly sarcasm and straight-up insults as if they’re substandard second-rate people. I was once called a “lying witch abortionist” by one of these bloggers. I mean, come on bro.
Trust me here: I hate being that guy, the one who has to point out the obvious truth, and I don’t relish it one bit (not like many bloggers do). It makes me a bit sick to my stomach to say stuff like he’s “almost certainly going to hell.” I prayed over it, prayed for Silva, prayed for bloggers, prayed for the church, prayed for me. As best I could by the grace of God, I prayed with a loving heart.
But look at those blogs for a moment. If you take a step back: Isn’t it damn obvious what’s happening here? Am I the only fricking one who’s actually going to say something about this? Are we walking on so many eggshells that we can’t call out the reality of hateful divisive words? Isn’t it also obvious that he’s doing this for publicity, to stir controversy, to gain blog hits, to look “doctrinally correct,” to cater to the hyper-conservative subculture, to preach to the choir? Am I just fricking crazy?
Everyone is afraid of these kinds of bloggers, because again, I know these so-called gatekeepers of the faith could theologically tear me apart. That’s easy. But I’m not afraid of human beings. I’m afraid of God’s wrath. And I fear for these bloggers because of God’s wrath.
Later in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul writes, “The Lord knows those who are his …” So again, I can’t claim any divine judgment here. God knows. I don’t.
I just know that standing before God at the end of this short life on earth, I bet a lot of people will be surprised at where they go. I could be one of them. So I just want to lovingly point out the obvious truth: that writing all this garbage (and I’m talking to myself here too) does NOT help our case. My motive is not to slander, but to speak the truth even when it’s not pretty. I worry for them. I love these guys, but they need to stop.