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XI. THE ELEVATION OF SLANDER/FACTION

Demonstrating the Imbalance

Throughout our analysis of the various articles we have examined, we have repeatedly seen an inordinate stress on the importance and dangers of slander and division. This is not to imply that slander and division are not significant problems within the Body of Christ, but when we stress one truth of the Word of God all out of balance to the many other issues it addresses, then we are normally headed for serious error. The purpose of this chapter is simply to forcefully demonstrate how thoroughly that imbalance regarding slander/faction has permeated the whole of GCI doctrine in this area. I will simply list the quotes, and briefly respond to each one. Most of these quotes we have already examined at greater length earlier.

1. "Many in Corinth were sick and dying because of factions and divisions among them (II Corinthians 11:18,30-32)."1 (sic - should be I Corinthians)
This is another case of the mishandling of Scripture. There were, indeed, divisions in Corinth. But that was not the reason for the sickness and death. The reason which Paul gives, by the Holy Spirit, is their failure to examine themselves, and their subsequent taking of the cup and loaf in impurity. (See verses 28, 29).

2. "Is it any wonder that the devil's number one attack point against believers is to get them disunited...and he has one major tool to do it - slander."2
As we saw earlier, this remark is unfounded biblically. We know from the scriptures and from personal experience that Satan has a veritable arsenal of weapons he uses against us, including lust, greed, unbelief, fear, and many, many more. The Word of God does not designate any as his "number one tool".

3. "Surprisingly few Christians understand much about his number one scheme: slander."3 (He is discussing from II Corinthians 2:11)
The passage he cites is actually referring to another scheme. It says nothing to imply that slander is Satan's "number one" scheme.

4. "If we are to escape from the devil's snares, we must be experts in this area."4
Is it really necessary for the entire Body of Christ to be experts in the area of slander and faction? Are there not many other aspects of the Christian life which the church of Christ desperately needs experts? Further, when we realize that Martindale himself has a distorted concept of what slander is, we then realize that even he is not an expert.

5. "Slander and division always have been and probably always will be one of Satan's main weapons to undermine the kingdom of God."5
As we have already mentioned, it certainly is a tool which he frequently uses against the kingdom, but there are many others also, such as: false doctrine, attacks on the Bible, sin in the human leadership, sin in the church, etc., etc.

6. "of all the five portions on church discipline, two of them - Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10 - deal exclusively with slander and division."6
As we discovered in chapter six, slander is not even mentioned anywhere in either of those passages. This is a dangerous mingling or blending of slander and faction into one sin. It is made more dangerous by GCI's distorted views of those sins and how to deal with them.

7. "Fact number two: Most people engage in slander themselves...some awaringly, some not so awaringly. This is why most people don't recognize slander. They engage in it themselves."7
As we saw, his remark goes unsubstantiated. Nor does it seem to occur to him that most people may not recognize "slander" because GCI has redefined the term, and it no longer means what we thought it meant.

8. "Note how much God hates division in His church. A person could commit other sins many times...but a factious person is allowed only two verbal repentances..."8
"Though toothless discipline may have some effect with certain sins referred to in I Corinthians 5, it would obviously be ludicrous with others, such as slander."9
Division and slander are viewed as being unique sings, and therefore they deserve to be treated differently then with any other sins. There is absolutely no basis for this in the Word of God.

9. "What about the one in the center of the list that I did not mention? It may be the most frequent and most tolerated - slander - Slander and gossip are so common in the Church today that most Christians have learned to live with it like flies at a picnic."10
Though he uses the word "may", he clearly wants to impress upon us that this sin is most likely the most common of all. He offers no substantiation. Once again they are breeding a paranoia of this all pervasive sin, the greatest of all sins, which completely surrounds us like "flies at a picnic".

Putting the Lid On

From these examples cited, other similar statements, and the magazine as a whole (any other sins are hardly mentioned in the entire magazine), it is obvious that GCI is deeply concerned with putting a lid on any negative information (for that is their definition of slander) which might surface in their churches, or from the outside. Why do they breed this excessive paranoia?

1 McCotter, Op. Cit., p 13.
2 Martindale, "Slander", Op. Cit., p 15.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Martindale, "Q & A", Opp. Cit., p 17.
6 Ibid.
7 Clark, Op. Cit., p 19.
8 Hopler, Op. Cit., p 12.
9 Lopez, Op. Cit., p 16.
10 McCotter, Jim, "A Personal Note from Jim", The Cause, p 13, June/July 1985.

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