An Open Rebuttal to Tim Wildmon's Response to His Critics
Is the American Family Association Purposely Promoting Heresy?
January 26, 2007
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
PO Drawer 2440
Tupelo MS 38803
P: (662) 844-5036
F: (622) 842-7798http://www.afa.net
I have read your January 15, 2007 response to your critics carefully and prayerfully, and offer the following rebuttal for your consideration. This rebuttal includes your response in its entirety, which has been arranged in short paragraphs and bold print. My rebuttal appears immediately after each paragraph.
The truth behind an accusation rests on the facts of the issue and irrefutable documentation. If the accuser fails in his or her attempt to state and document facts correctly, then the accuser's motives should be called into question and judged accordingly. The same applies to the one being accused.
Instead of accepting something carte blanche, Christians should investigate what is being said, weigh the evidence carefully and objectively, then rely on God's word for their final authority. Truth will stand up to investigation.
It is important to note that Christians are under the Scriptural command to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1), guard the flock (Acts 20:27-31); defend the faith (Jude 3); and expose the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11-12; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Once the truth is revealed it is to be shared in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).
With that in mind, you have gone on record stating that you and AFA do not endorse the Contemplative and Emerging Church movements:
"'As president of the American Family Association I am stating, for the record, that we do not endorse the contemplative prayer movement or the so-called emerging church movement'" (Tim Wildmon's response to his critics, January 15, 2007, http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php?ArticleID=1442
; emp. added).
While your statements may sound valid to AFA's supporters, Brannon Howse and his audience, and those who are unaware of the issue, there is another side to the issue you failed to address; that being that Contemplative and Emerging Church authors and books continue to be promoted within AFA's Family Resource Center.
Case in point: As of this writing, there are at least 55 Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church authors within AFA's Family Resource Center
. Add to this the number of cultic, heretical, New Age, New Apostolic Movement, and Word-Faith authors now present within AFA's bookstore, and the number would increase dramatically!
Concerning your knowledge about Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church movements, Brannon Howse wrote the following in a public e-mail over four months ago:
"Tim has spent hours with me on the phone learning about the dangers of the Emergent Church, learning about Contemplative Prayer and other issues. Tim and I host a radio program together on his 225 stations. Tim and I have done countless shows against the Emergent Church, Greg Boyd, Contemplative Prayer, Robert Schuller, Joel Olsteen, Tony Compolo and others" (September 11, 2006, e-mail on file).
By the way, along with the above-mentioned Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church authors, Greg Boyd, Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, and Tony Campolo continue to be promoted within AFA's bookstore.
Another case in point: On January 21, 2004, AFA's Buddy Smith informed me that he had spoken to Don Wildmon, and that Benny Hinn's books had been removed from AFA's bookstore. Yet, as of this writing, "41" of Hinn's "items" continue to spoil the cyber-shelves of AFA's bookstore.
Think about it, Tim. Despite the irrefutable evidence, Benny Hinn
(the world's most prolific false prophet and false teacher), continues to be advertised and promoted within AFA's online Christian bookstore. What kind of message does this send to apologists, cult-evangelists, and Benny Hinn's former followers? Compromise? Double-standard? Hypocrisy? More concern for money from sales than the spiritual welfare of Christians? Disobedience to the Lord?
Both AFA and AFR Radio have been provided with the Master List
, of which includes a lengthy category on the Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church movements. This was done with the hope and prayer that AFA would use the information to make positive changes, and establish permanent safeguards to protect the body of Christ.
Unfortunately, the revolving door of non-Christian authors and books continue to haunt AFA's bookstore. Thus, AFA's failure to monitor their own bookstores over the years is not due to their lack of knowledge. AFA has been informed over and over and over again, to the point of saturation.
Consequently, if a grading system existed for online Christian bookstores, then CRS would grade AFA's Family Resource Center an "F".
One of the ironies of this issue is that Brannon Howse has been provided with irrefutable documentation and information on AFA's bookstores on at least five different occasions. He was reminded of that in my September 13, 2006 letter, of which you received a copy.
So, Tim, the question is, When did AFA stop endorsing the Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church movements, specifically within its online Christian bookstore? The answer is simple, They haven't!
Furthermore, you and Brannon Howse can write and speak-out publicly against the Contemplative and Emerging movements until you are blue-in-the-face. But as long as these movements are knowingly allowed to exist and incubate within AFA's bookstore, according to God's word, both you and Howse are double-minded:
For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:7-8).
Continuing, you stated that:
"'AFA has an on-line bookstore that is computer generated and run by an outside company that services other Christian ministries as well. I have personally asked this company to block the words ‘contemplative prayer’ and ‘emerging church’ as subjects to search on our bookstore. In addition, we have also blocked certain authors'" (Ibid.).
AFA's "computer generated" bookstore is no different than other online bookstores, in that AFA's computers are manned and programmed by human webmasters--all of whom have the ability and capability to permanently block and remove authors from AFA's bookstore database.
For the record, on numerous occasions I have suggested to AFA and AFA's bookstore provider, Innovative, Inc.
, that if they remove and permanently block the author from their databases, both the author and book will disappear.
I have also suggested that AFA and Innovative, Inc. contact their distributor, such as Spring Arbor
, and request that a permanent block be placed on authors. It can be done. I know, because I have communicated with Spring Arbor and all of the major Christian bookstore distributors.
Yes, AFA has removed and blocked authors in the past, such as homosexual and lesbian activists, and New Agers. But in many cases the authors have returned. This is due to the fact that AFA and Innovative, Inc. have failed to monitor their bookstore databases on an everyday basis.
This is precisely why AFA's online bookstore suffers from an acute case of A.R.D.S. (Author Revolving Door Syndrome). Sadly, in the majority of cases, the only time something is done about it is when Christians voice their concerns.
While computer technology plays a role in the presence of non-Christian authors and books within the online Christian bookstores, that same technology can be used to prevent A.R.D.S., remove non-Christian authors permanently, and stop the revolving door of deception in its tracks.
Continuing, you stated that:
"'Hundreds of new books, tapes, CD’s and DVD’s are added to the bookstore library every week so this is a task to keep up with. However, the only products people really buy from our on-line bookstore are products promoted by American Family Association or American Family Radio'" (Ibid.).
Tim, everyone agrees that operating an online Christian bookstore is a tremendous responsibility. But it is a responsibility that AFA has taken upon itself. Whether AFA's bookstore consists of 10 or 10,000 books, AFA is responsible for the materials they provide to their fellow Christians, and those who are searching for a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Indeed, an online Christian bookstore can be either a blessing or a curse. Therefore, if AFA's online bookstore cannot be operated within the strict guidelines of Scripture, then it is time to protect the body of Christ and shut it down. To lose everything for the sake of Jesus Christ is to lose nothing and gain everything.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7).
You stated that:
"'The only people who come to our website looking for books on contemplative prayer or the emerging church--because AFA doesn’t promote these movements-- are people who are trying to see if they can find some ‘dirt’ on AFA and then put out misleading reports on their websites'" (Ibid.).
This broad-brush accusation is simply ridiculous, untrue, and another attempt from AFA to perform damage-control on a problematic issue that has existed for years. How obnoxious your statement must be to AFA's bookstore customers, as well as those who speak-up and warn against these movements. While you may have won some tee-hee-hee's and points from your supporters, when people read that "AFA doesn't promote" the Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church--then go to AFA's online bookstore and see the Contemplative and Emerging authors and books--you may be playing a different tune on your damage control violin.
I am not aware of any Christian researcher who is out to find "dirt" on AFA. Needless to say, if "dirt" doesn't exist then "dirt" will not be found. Simply remove the "dirt" so Christians won't find it, even by accident, as I did with the homosexual and lesbian authors (see this Press Release
and Contact Alert
and Praise Report
And speaking of "misleading reports" on websites, since you failed to elaborate and name the guilty parties, please show me one "misleading" report on my website. And while you are at it, please show me where I and my colleagues have purposely fabricated, lied, or misled our fellow Christians.
Regardless of whether AFA will ever admit it or not, simply carrying Contemplative and Emerging authors and books within AFA's online Christian bookstore is promoting it. And, since AFA believes in holding people and companies accountable, please don't get upset when Christians hold AFA accountable.
"We believe in holding accountable the companies which sponsor programs attacking traditional family values. We also believe in commending those companies which act responsibly regarding programs they support" ("Who is AFA?
Continuing, you stated that:
"'Some of this false reporting that AFA was supporting contemplative prayer came as a result of an article promoting a contemplative prayer book that mistakenly ran on Agape Press, a news agency owned by AFA, in the fall of 2006. This was one article that appeared for only a few hours which I personally had removed once I learned of it from a phone call from Worldview Weekend president Brannon Howse who has done as much as anyone to sound the alarm on the dangers of these New Age practices that are becoming more mainstream in today’s churches'" (Ibid.).
Tim, it is interesting that you "personally" removed a book supporting Contemplative Prayer from Agape Press, then issued the following retraction:
"'On August 28, 2006, AgapePress, a news division of American Family Association, carried a positive review of the book Sacred Listening. The author of the book is James L. Wakefield. The person who reviewed the book is a contributing writer and not a staff person of AFA or AgapePress. AFA and AgapePress have received a number of e-mails from AgapePress readers and AFA supporters who believe this book promotes New Age practices and teachings. AgapePress and AFA regret running this review -- and, while AFA works with many religious groups on matters of public policy, it maintains a traditional evangelical position with respect to theology and Christian doctrine'" (Agape Press, August 28, 2006, http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/8/282006e.asp
Again, in his letter of September 11, 2006, Brannon Howse stated:
"When the article went out last week from Agape Press endorsing a book that was on Contemplative Prayer, I called Tim at his home at 10:30pm. Tim did not know this had happen. The next morning Tim pulled the article and posted a retraction. Tim called an emergency staff meeting with 100 employees to explain why this was wrong and to set up a system that would keep this from happening again."
You see, Tim, by your own admission, it is possible to remove materials that promote false teachings. It is also possible to "set up a system" with your AFA staff to prevent non-Christian materials from entering the public arena, whether in the form of articles, or authors and books within AFA's bookstore.
It is also interesting that Howse cited your "emergency staff meeting with 100 employees." As a suggestion, why not do the same with Innovative, Inc. and Spring Arbor Distributors, and "set up a system" within AFA's bookstore that would protect the spiritual welfare of your customers?
Finally, you stated:
"'In addition, Brannon and I co-host a radio program each week on AFR called Christian Worldview this Week and we have had many guests and authorities who have exposed what both contemplative prayer and the emerging church are all about. AFA also sponsors the Worldview Weekend conferences that educate attendees about these problems and AFR News has reported many times about them.'"
Tim, you and Brannon Howse can use whatever public format you choose to interview all of the guests and authorities in the world on the dangers of Contemplative Prayer and Emerging Church. It may sound good and sincere, but as long as there are non-Christian skeletons in AFA's bookstore closet, the problems will continue, and compromise and hypocrisy will reign.
Even Brannon Howse admitted that there are problems with AFA's online bookstore:
"AFA does have a bookstore that contains some really bad books. This bookstore is run by a third party...Thus, this online store is full of junk. However, Tim agreed last week to block books and even entire authors if I and Ingrid [Schlueter] would give him a list. Many of these have already been blocked" (Ibid., September 11, 2006, e-mail on file).
Both Brannon Howse and Ingrid Schlueter have been informed about the research on AFA's bookstore and the Master List. Therefore, Tim, the logical question to you and AFA is: If you do not "endorse" or "promote" the Contemplative and Emerging movements as you claim, why do you continue to advertise and promote Contemplative and Emerging authors and books within your own Family Resource Center?
For example, if a Christian truly believes that beer and whiskey destroys lives and families, then why offer-for-sale a tee-shirt that endorses or promotes booze on a Christian website?
Being uninformed is one thing. But to knowingly carry non-Christian authors and materials within a Christian bookstore--after being informed--is purposely promoting deception and endangering the spiritual welfare of Christians.
Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (Matthew 18:7).
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).
In conclusion, "The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to man through the Bible, and that all men everywhere at all times are subject to the authority of God's Word" (AFA's "Philosophical Statement
Tim, if you and AFA really believe the above statement, then I strongly encourage you to submit yourselves to the authority of God's word, heed the commands of Scripture, repent, and make immediate changes in AFA's online bookstore.
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).
Thank you, Tim. I look forward to your reply regarding this important issue.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Servicewww.christianresearchservice.com