Recently, more than one of my friends have been attacked by the news media. Scandalous allegations have been made. An entire movement has been tarred with the media’s blackest brush. How do we respond when one of our brothers is in trouble – particularly when he is under attack?
1. Do not feel that you always have to have an opinion or take a side. Years ago, I asked a question of Dr. Jack Hyles to which he responded, “I don’t have an opinion about that.” It was a shocking revelation. I thought Dr. Hyles had a position on everything! He went on to explain, “I don’t have to have an opinion on everything.” The more I thought about his statement, the more sense it made. I do not know everything about every situation. I do not have to decide that one person is lying and another is telling the truth. I can say about the victim, “If that happened, I’m sure sorry,” and about the person they accuse, “I can’t imagine that person would have ever done such a thing.”
2. Make a distinction between issues that are doctrinal, issues that are factual, and issues that are matters of judgment. If a person denies Bible doctrine, I must separate from him. If the facts prove that he did something ungodly, I cannot support wrong behavior. If, his judgment may have been flawed, but he is doctrinally correct, has a sincere love for God, and has a good heart, I can continue to love and support him though I may not have done the same thing myself.
3. Always believe your friend or your brother before you believe those who criticize him. Scripture tells us that love thinks no evil. I would much rather support my friend and learn later that he did not deserve it than not support my friend and learn later that he did.
4. Offer support and encouragement to those who are in trouble, whether or not you agree with all that they may have done. Although I did not see the attack, I heard that recently CNN ran an attack on
and my friend Dr. Roger Voegtlin. I called the church, left an encouraging message with the secretary, and later spoke to Dr. Voegtlin. While I do not know all of the details of the incident, I do know Dr. Voegtlin has been pastoring there for 41 years. I do know that he has been faithful to the Word of God for over four decades. I do know that his stand is unchanged. I do know that he has a heart for revival, a hatred of sin, and a love for souls. Do you think I would hear one unsaved newscaster repeat a story without documentation and allow that to change my attitude toward Roger Voegtlin? Absolutely not! Fairhaven Baptist Church
Given the choice between believing the media and a man of God, I’ll always go with the man of God.