The last two days or so we have been blessed, or annoyed, depending on your point of view, by an anonymous Matt Sorger and Benny Hinn supporter named “David”. This anonymous poster claims that both Sorger and Hinn are “friends of God” and in fact “David” claims God actually told him Benny Hinn is “His friend”. (source)
This anonymous poster reminded me once again why I dislike the Internet and why I continually ask myself “Is it really worth it”.
This anonymous poster has issues. I’ve deleted comments from this person because he/she/it makes statements and claims he/she/it refuses to back up with proof. This person found it “odd” that I would have the audacity to ask for proof that Matt Sorger does indeed preach repentance.
How dare I do such a thing?
This person, just like scores of others over the last two years I’ve been operating Theology Today, represents all that is wrong with the Internet and why I’m seriously considering walking away from all this nonsense.
Aren’t we supposed to test all things? Didn’t Paul commend the Bereans for their diligence in searching the Scriptures to see if Paul was indeed preaching the truth?
Guess God forgot to tell “David” this during his chat about who His friends were huh?
“David” isn’t alone in his refusal to offer sources to back up his claims. Nah, this sort of thing happens all the time on the Internet. In fact this “ministry” is infamous for making claims without sourcing where they discovered their information. Just take a look around their site and you’ll see what I mean. See here here here and here for starters.
Here’s another article from Spiritual Pathways Ministries. Did Chuck Swanson interview the parties involved or did someone else? If he did then bravo! If he didn’t then why hasn’t he at the very least given credit to the person who actually did the legwork involved?
What are we supposed to do just take their word for it? It seems Spiritual Pathways Ministries is more interested in entertaining their readers with animation rather then informing their readers with facts buttressed with sources doesn’t it?
Even the gossip rags found in supermarkets at least offer “a source inside” or “a friend informed us” or something of that nature to “source” their supposed stories so shouldn’t we expect a “watchman ministry” to be above that standard?
Is the SPM team the only ones within the blogosphere guilty of unethical behavior? Hardly. A simple surf of the ‘net will demonstrate plenty of this type of nonsense. I just happen to know about SPM as I’ve watched them do this daily. In fact I’ve already exhorted them publicly for failing to source their information both here and here. Seems they prefer statistics, numbers and “being in the know” over integrity and ethical standards huh?
In the academic world, and I mean from freshman year in High School on up, anytime you write a paper you are required to offer proof somewhere on said paper that informs the reader where you obtained your information. If you don’t at the very least the paper would be dismissed; the worst case scenario would be the accusation of plagiarism and most likely a dismissal from the learning institution.
If these practices are unacceptable in the world why do we accept these practices from supposed Christian ministries? I expect this sort of unethical behavior from a “David” but unethical behavior of this nature from a “ministry” is unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.
A perfect example of a tremendously sourced and researched article can be found here. Roderick has actually taken the time to source EVERYTHING right down to the commentary he used to formulate his opinions. You may disagree with his position all you’d like but you can’t accuse him of sloppy research or not offering the reader the opportunity to test all things without going on a wild goose chase.
Check out this article by my friend Phil Perkins. He’s gone to great lengths to source his work and whether you agree with Phil’s position or not you can’t accuse him of any unethical behavior.
Roderick and Phil are exceptions but sadly not the rule when it comes to Christian bloggers. It seems some within the Christian blogosphere are in such a hurry to report the “news” or act like they’re “in the know” they fail to take the time to adhere to ethical standards such as linking a source. If some of these bloggers were employed by a reputable news source they would be fired for incompetence. On the Internet they are applauded for their “discernment”.
This isn’t a game people. This is serious business and some within the Christian blogosphere are at the very least being irresponsible and at the worst downright unethical. It needs to stop but sadly I don’t believe that it will.
Finally, I exhort one and all to take the time to research and document your articles appropriately. Please give credit where credit is due. Give your readers as much information as you can so they can be good Bereans without sending them on a wild goose chase to see if what you are reporting is factual. You/I owe it to them and you/I owe it to the Body of Christ.