Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A double-minded man

In this post I’m not going to evaluate AHA (Abolish Human Abortion). Rather, I’m going to evaluate some of Ed’s objections to AHA.

My last objection to AHA is that it is NOT a ministry that flows from the local church. T. Russell Hunter has stated openly and unapologetically that AHA comes under the sole authority of Jesus Christ. When asked if AHA is under a local elder board or a local church, he ignores the question. I have tried to find a local church associated with AHA on their website and their Facebook page. I have also tried to convince Russell to share with me privately the Church that he is affiliated with and he has consistently stiff-armed me at every turn. AHA is a national ministry that is also very controversial. The perception it creates in the mind of many will be transferred to everyone who names the name of Christ. No national ministry or movement is legitimate unless that ministry has been organized and authorized by the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ. In addition, integrity would demand absolute and complete transparency. Russell refuses to talk about the issue in any way, shape or form. Refusal to come clean on this issue in terms of Russell’s relationship with the local church raises red flags that should be cause for concern with anyone who cares about the name of Christ and the reputation of the Christian community. Not surprisingly, the rude crew at Triablogue has decided to support the idea that parachurch ministries do NOT require authorization from the local body. They have made such straw man arguments, as “one does not need their elder’s permission to rescue a child from a busy intersection about to get hit by an automobile.” Others have said that you don’t need your elder’s permission to hand out tracks. It is impossible to take such arguments seriously. In fact, it has become more and more difficult to take many if not most of the young bloggers at Triablogue seriously.

The final kicker is that all this is only true, and should only be considered if AHA were a legitimate work of the Church, having been formerly authorized by the Church and currently under the supervision of the Church. In addition, this authorization and supervision should be true of each chapter and all activities in all locations. Moreover, the project should move from one church to another church. In other words, one group of elders should share the ideas with other groups of elders and so on and so forth.

My specific objections to AHA are:

  • Parachurch ministries have no authority to rebuke or correct local churches
  • AHA is does not flow from a local church because it was not organized and authorized by a local, establish church
  • AHA apparently refuses to submit to a local church, asserting that its only authority is Jesus Christ - given every opportunity to identify his ministerial authority, Hunter refuses
  • AHA’s ecclesiology is defective, creates confusion in the body and is divisive
  • AHA’s leaders who refuse to come under authority are schismatics in the body and should repent and submit to local elders and pastors
  • Finally, it would be rank hypocrisy for anyone to openly reject God's command for submission to your elders in the local Church while pointing your fingers at other Churches who don't oppose abortion strenuously enough to someone else's personal standards

It is NOT a tradition of man that we obey our local elders within the body of Christ. Since when is Hebrews 13:17 the "traditions of men?" Imagine Apollos telling Aquila to back off, that he knew what he was doing. Or imagine Cornelius saying to Peter, no, no, no. I already know the truth.

i) Ed teaches at the Veritas School of Theology. I haven’t found a local church associated with Veritas on its website. I haven’t found any evidence that Veritas is under the authority of a local elder board. I haven’t found any evidence that Veritas was organized and authorized by the leadership of a local church. I haven’t found any evidence that Veritas is currently under the supervision of a local elder board.

Veritas has all the hallmarks of an independent parachurch ministry. The defective ecclesiology of Veritas creates confusion in the body and is divisive. Ed and his colleagues at Veritas are schismatics who ought to repent. It is rank hypocrisy for Ed to openly reject God’s command for submission to his elders while pointing fingers at AHA.

ii) On the one hand, Ed classifies AHA as a national ministry or movement. On the other hand, Ed faults AHA for failing to submit to a local church. How does Ed think a national organization would be answerable to a local church? Wouldn’t that require denominational oversight rather than local oversight?

iii) Ed says “Parachurch ministries have no authority to rebuke or correct local churches.”

Of course, this is how Roman Catholic apologists argue. They recast issues of right and wrong, truth and falsehood as issues of authority. What matters is not what was said or done, but who said it or did it. This shifts the issue from what is right to who has rights.

But Christians don’t need a special right to do or say what is right. If a parachurch ministry is right, and a local church (or denomination) is wrong, the parachurch ministry can rightly rebuke a local church or denomination. Christians are always entitled to speak the truth. They don’t need a permission slip to speak the truth.

iv) Apostate mainline denominations have a formal polity. An ecclesiastical authority-structure. They also teach heresy and immorality. Are they immune to criticism from an orthodox parachurch ministry?

v) Peter and Aquila are not equivalent. Peter is an apostle, but where Aquila and Apollos are concerned, that’s just a case of one layman sharing info with another layman. There’s no evidence that Aquila outranked Apollos. No evidence that Aquila was his ecclesiastical superior. Apollos wasn’t duty-bound to “obey” Aquila. This isn't a question of authority, but whether Aquila was better informed.

Just another example of how Ed constantly grasps at straws.

vi) What about Heb 13:17? I discuss that here:

vii) Ed likes to play the age card. One problem with that move is that I’m probably older than Ed.

In addition, a surefire way of losing the younger generation is to pull rank, throw your weight around, play the authority card and the age card. Young folks don’t respect that.

If you wish to transmit the faith to the next generation, you have to set a good example, and you have to reason with them.

viii) Finally, Ed is a double-minded man: Here are some things he said not so long ago:

Ed Dingess 11/10/2012 9:15 AM

Personally, I have changed my views on how the Christian group ought to relate to American politics.

Ed Dingess 11/12/2012 8:12 PM

I have reached the point where this discussion has become unfruitful. You clearly reject my arguments and seem to be unwilling to consider my line of reasoning. You continually miss my points and I am tired of trying to present them to you for your consideration. Paul instructed Timothy NOT to engage in endless debates. This, my brother, runs the risk of being one of those! I have stated my views and made my points. At this time, I think it is best that I simply bow out of this discussion as it promises very little by way of return. Take care.

Ed Dingess 1/02/2013 9:32 PM

I read Steve's blogs and agree with better than 95% of what he says. I have been reading him for years. There are only a few links on my blog and Steve is one of them. My goal is not to win a debate.

He says one thing and does another. He pulls an about-face. Scripture warns us to beware of that.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).


  1. Ed likes to play the age card. One problem with that move is that I’m probably older than Ed.

    Yes he does, and another problem is that I'm no spring chicken myself.
    And the age card certainly didn't help me take him seriously.

  2. Thank you for this excellent analysis of the inconsistent reasoning and hypocrisy of Mr. Dingess's irrational and ill-founded attacks on the Abolitionist Movement.

    Please critique AHA and any abolitionist or abolitionist society with the same level-headedness. If we start to pull a Dingess and double-talk in this way... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Call us out!

    Abide in Christ,

    Russell Hunter
    Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma

  3. Russell (or Rhology, as case may be) was wise to refrain from providing Dingess with his pastor's contact info. Goodness knows how much a creep like that might harass individuals once he gets a phone number.