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Missing the Point – Lessons from Ken Silva

Scott on March 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm

I haven’t written anything about Ken Silva for awhile, but not because he hasn’t deserved it. Chris Lyons and his peeps are pretty busy keeping tabs on all things Ken and company and the guys over at CRN.Info do a great job. However, today I had to say something.

Proving once again that context is irrelevant and only gets in the way of making a fool of oneself, Ken dives right into the murky waters of de-contextualization by pointing his sheep fans readers in the direction of Joe Martino of the blog Relevant Christian in breathless outrage about Martino’s “view on the perspicuity of Holy Scripture.”

SIDE NOTE: “Perspicuity of Scripture” is a key idea embedded in the Reformation basically stating that the Bible is in its substance fully understandable to the common person. Understanding the Bible doesn’t require a college professor or a Catholic pope. There is no privilege of rank or position required to unlock its truths.

The Westminster Confession says it this way –

” those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due course of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

So what does this all have to do with Ken Silva and Joe Martino? Today Ken decided to go after Joe Martino for a post entitled “Because the Bible Says So Stupid Things Christians Say.” Like a rabid cyborg-dog with a laser sight attached to the side of his head, Ken focuses in on this statement at the end of Joe’s post:

Please just don’t expect me to come running to your view because you have the Bible on your side. Please don’t expect me to give you credence because you believe your way is the most Biblical.

Ken spins this to mean that Joe Martino (and by association Joe’s pastor, Rob “Secretly the Anti-Christ” Bell) does not believe in the perspicuity of Scripture, does not believe in its timelessness, its relevance and direction for salvation, etc. But as Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!” Joe wasn’t saying that AT ALL!

Which brings us to the CONTEXT of Joe’s statement. The post is quite excellent in reminding readers that just because someone CLAIMS that the Bible is on their side, it doesn’t make it so and it doesn’t mean that this person or their argument is “right.” Many issues in the Christian faith have ardent supporters on both sides, and both sides support their position with scripture. In fact, sometimes they are using the SAME scripture to support polar opposite positions. It sure would be nice if the Bible was completely and totally clear on every aspect of how to live this life, but it isn’t, which leads to disagreements and conflict. That being said, just because somebody claims the Bible backs them up, and even if the Bible might appear to indeed do just that, it doesn’t mean that what they are saying is right, true, etc. There may be another perspective to it all.

Ken Silva, Ingrid Schluetter and the gang are certainly walking proof of this idea. They claim the Bible backs up every hateful, judgmental, spiteful, irresponsible, pharisaical, narrow-minded thing they say. And in fact at times the Bible does provide them with a certain amount of foundation to make some of their pronouncements. However, when one digs deeper and looks at the fullness of scripture, their arguments are frequently revealed to be the thinly disguised musings of misguided people who believe that their personal preferences equate to the preferences of the Lord God of the Universe.

In this instance, what Ken missed or chose to ignore since it completely invalidates his point is this longer thought from Joe:

So what? Can we not believe anything? Is everything up for grab? No, I don’t believe so, but I do have a fairly simple litmus test that I will put you through before I choose to listen to your words. That litmus test is simple really. I want to know do you have any of the following in your life?

- Love
- Joy
- Peace
- Patience
- Kindness
- Goodness
- Faithfulness
- Self Control.

Why aren’t these things listed as the litmus test of our faith. If what you are trying to tell me is of the Spirit it should have these qualities to it. If it doesn’t then it is suspect. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR DOCTRINE if you do not have these in your life. Your doctrine is as relevant to my life as the NBA.

In other words, if you really want someone to listen to your opinion on a matter of great importance, your life better demonstrate that you are worth listening to. If it doesn’t, then why should any of us care what you have to say? My old football coach used to say it this way, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

So, let’s actually look at Joe’s comment in it context:

Love God and Love the World. Please just don’t expect me to come running to your view because you have the Bible on your side. Please don’t expect me to give you credence because you believe your way is the most Biblical. Especially, if you’re focusing more on someone looking like you than you are on trying to look more like this list.

While Ken is trying to say that Joe doesn’t care about the Bible and/or Joe doesn’t believe in the perspicuity of Scripture, the exact opposite is true. Joe is simply saying that before he (or anyone) should care about a person’s doctrine, theology and insights into all things emerging/emergent, we all better see the fruits of that person’s faith evidenced in his/her every day life. Thus, if a person is more concerned with people’s Christianity looking like theirs than they are in keeping the list from Galatians 5:22, perhaps they are the one with the problem.

Which brings me to one more thought

As I thought about this post today and about Ken’s tendency to ignore context and content in order to try and make some sort of point that his “Amen Corner” will agree with, I got a clearer picture of Ken Silva and what appears to be going through his mind. He is so angry and frustrated that more people don’t listen to him and heed his “missives” and support his “ministry” that he has to vent his anger and frustration somewhere. Blinded by his indignation that people don’t listen to the President of Apprising Ministries, he has to lash out.

I have used this analogy before in a different situation, but I will use it here as well: Ken is like a monkey in a cage that wants to get attention and be acknowledged but ends up angry when people outside the cage ignore him. In an effort to get people’s attention, he will jump up and down and make loud noises and even bang on the bars of his cage. If he still doesn’t get the attention he wants, he will throw his own feces out of the cage and onto anyone he can reach all in an effort to get that attention.

In Ken’s case, he isn’t throwing feces but he is certainly throwing his own unique brand of filth. He seems to feel as though if he makes noise loud enough and long enough and if he throws enough mud and filth and points out enough “heresy,” eventually people will recognize him as someone who should be listened to. Unfortunately, each time he ventures out into the blogosphere he demonstrates a lack of Galatians 5 fruits. Very little love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control, but a lot of anger, judgmentalism, intolerance, irritation, Pharisaism, etc.

I have said it before and I will say it again: It is not that I believe Ken Silva has nothing worthwhile to say. I think he probably has some valid points on a whole host of issues. But when he can’t even be intellectually honest enough NOT to ignore the context of a statement, and when he allows his anger and personal preferences to cloud his judgment and blind him to even the most basic and obvious inconsistencies in how he conducts his “ministry,” and when his voluminous output of missives and posts demonstrate the opposite kind of fruit from what Christians are supposed to demonstrate, then relatively few people will be interested in actually giving him the time to share his thoughts.

Why should they bother?

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