Posted by Christine Pack
"The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17)
In the midst of an ongoing public dispute with Brannon Howse (host of Worldview Weekend Radio), I have really struggled with whether or not to say anything public past the one post I initially wrote (An Open Letter To Brannon Howse
). I wrote that post in order to address our conflict and to correct some misstatements and mischaracterizations that Brannon has made about me personally. However, in the face of the relentless Facebook postings, comments, articles and radio shows by both Brannon Howse and Chris Pinto, I feel I must once again speak up. I know that God is my Judge and my Vindicator, and beyond that, what can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6) And that God also says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," (Romans 12:19)
but this is not about vengeance, and I do think biblically it's acceptable, and even good, to speak up when false witness has been borne against you by a brother or sister in Christ. So that is what I'm doing.
So. In the middle of this dispute, it was brought to my attention that Brannon had mischaracterized statements made in an interview by respected author and Bible teacher Susan Heck, who is a wonderful Bible teacher and whom I know slightly from women's conferences at my church where she has taught. In the interest of keeping this as simplified as possible, I am creating a brief timeline that documents this mischaracterization of Mrs. Heck's comments by Brannon Howse.
Tuesday, August 13
Susan Heck was interviewed by Pastor Justin Peters on Tuesday, August 13. This exchange occurred in the interview:
Justin Peters: Well, Susan I want to just follow up a little bit on something in the last program, which is, kind of in broad terms, what the Bible has to say about the role of women. And we discussed our men and women are of equal value before God, no argument there, we are of equal value, and in Christ there's neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, we are all of equal value. But we do have different roles. And following up with our discussion about the role of women, both in the church but specifically what about the public forum? What does the Bible have to say about women who confront teachers, even if they're criticism is valid? Is that the role of a woman to confront in a public forum of a teacher, a male teacher, who also has a public ministry, and who they feel, rightly or wrongly, is teaching some errant doctrine? And we're not talking about Benny Hinn or people who are way, way out there, but people we would consider to be in the fold, if you will.
Susan Heck: Well, the last time you asked me the question, I think I told you then I am not a blogger, I don't even have a Facebook account, I know I'm kind of archaic, back in the Little House on the Prairie days. But you kind of piqued my interest so actually I went home and began to look at some of those blogs, and kind of read what was going on. And I would say the thing that concerned me, and I've also asked my husband what he thought, since you asked me that question the last time I was interviewed, but the thing that concerned me when I read some of these things was that even to the testimony of some people, they were saying they were sacrificing what they should be doing domestically i.e., whether it's clean the house or cook meals or whatever, for the sake of the blog. And I would say that that is a concern to me, because the Bible is very clear, even Paul writes to Timothy when talking about young women that are widows, they're to bear children, rule the house and give no occasion for the Adversary to speak reproachfully. And so my question would be: are the women doing what they're supposed to be doing? Which is to bear children, rule the house, and keep their domestic duties. Look at Proverbs 31, and that one woman, she was busy! She was up late at night, up early in the morning, and she was busy. And her husband was known in the gates, and she feared the Lord, and she knew what her role was. And so I would say that was one of the things that pricked my conscience the last time I was here, and I thought well, I really ought to be educated about blogs and so I read some. And then I also actually asked my husband because I respect my husband greatly. He is a master of the Scriptures, and so I just asked him, I said, what do you think about that question that Justin asked me? And he said, I personally would have issue with that, because that is a public forum, and a woman therefore puts herself in authority over a man by doing that. And so that gave me pause to think through that too. And so like I said, last time I really hadn't had time to really think through that issue. I never had been asked that question. I did give the example last time of Priscilla and Aquila, but as I've rethought that even, they took him aside privately and explained to him the way of God more excellently, the Scriptures say. So I personally would have an issue with that. Women need to remember their role as women, I think we would do good to limit our teaching and authority to women and to children. And I think we need to be careful about that. It doesn't mean we shouldn't be educated,we should be educated, and we should know who the false teachers are. I personally, I thought about your question last time, and I thought, if I was going to find out who the false teachers are today, and what they are teaching, I personally, and I'm a woman, but I personally would not go to woman's blog to find out. Before Phil Johnson had to go off his, I'd look at his. Or yours. You know, somebody who I believe is a male and who is educating themselves and is very aware of false teachers. So even myself as a woman, I wouldn't turn to a woman's blog to try to find out who the false teachers are for the day. So, I don't know if that answers your question, if you want to follow up with more, you certainly are free to do that, so....” ✷ [See note below]
Justin Peters: I think there's a danger, whether it's a blog or whether it's Facebook or these social media outlets, that that can become enormously time consuming, whether you're male or female. And we've talked to people, and know of people, who spend hours every day getting into arguments on Facebook, and all this kind of stuff. And again, I don't know a lot about that from first hand experience, but I think that could be one of the trappings of the “Information Age,” if you will. And there's so many things that distract us away from the time that we need to spend with our families and in the Word of God.
Susan Heck: My concern, Justin, is that I know women personally who can sometimes spend two to four hours a day, and yet when I see their homes, they're not clean, their children are not being taken care of. I've been in restaurants where women have actually physically pushed away a child, and said, don't bother me, I'm trying to-- , you know, they're looking on their Facebook or whatever on the phone, and that is very distressing to me. That is very distressing to me. Especially as Christian women, we have a high calling before God to rear our children to the glory of God, and to parent our children. And so, I personally am puzzled why women today are even having children, if they're not gong to care for them and parent them. And you know, they put them in a daycare or they push them aside while they're doing their internet surfing, and my question would be, to some of these women, are they spending as much time in God's Word as they are searching for these type of things on the internet and studying these? You know, they tell us the way we can identify a false dollar bill is not to study the false dollar bill but to study the genuine. And so my question is, how much time are they spending studying God's Word, which is true and sufficient and is going to give us everything we need? And so I think some of these things can be trappings of the Evil One to get us sidetracked from sitting at the feet of Christ, and learning from Him and his Word. That's my two cents, I'll get in trouble.
Friday, August 16
A few days later, on Brannon Howse's Friday, August 16 Worldview Weekend radio show, Brannon played the above exchange in a clip from Susan Heck's interview with Justin Peters, and then, immediately following Susan Heck's comments, said the following:
Brannon Howse (commenting on the audio clip): I wanted to play that, I think it's very important. I appreciate what (Susan Heck) said about the fact that she was looking at one of these discernment ministry websites, and there was a notice about, something about making a donation to buy food at a fast-food restaurant because the blog keeps them so busy, and so they need to buy fast food for the kids from time to time. And I'm thinking, really? That's the level of discernment we're talking about here? And yet some of these people want to be calling out Godly men and their ministries on sidebar issues, but they don't have enough discernment to realize that hey, your first responsibility is caring for your family, not wagging your finger in the face of some Godly man who just happens to be covering a topic you find objectionable or troublesome. That's really not your place. (WVW Show, Friday Aug 16)
Also from Brannon's show notes for that day, in case anyone missed what he was trying to say, Brannon again reiterated this statement on his website (Worldview Weekend)....
....and again on his Facebook wall:
But my friends, if you go back and very carefully listen to (or read) what Mrs. Heck actually
said in her interview with Justin Peters, she did NOT say that she was shocked to see a blog with a donate button asking for people to "help purchase fast-food for the kids because the blogger was so busy at times blogging that the blogger could not make meals for the family." She did not say it, folks.
And yet Brannon insists that she did.
Now let's go and look at a button on the Sola Sisters website that Brannon might have had in mind when he tried to make it appear that Mrs. Heck said she was so shocked over a donate button asking for fast-food money (which again, friends, she never said). Now, I'm not saying Brannon was trying to connect these two things, but let's just look at evidence and see where it leads.
This is a button that appears on the sidebar of the Sola Sisters website. Let me just explain that when my husband and I put up the Sola Sisters website, he said to me, you know, addressing false teaching is really sober and serious stuff, and I'm going to be silly with that donate button for the sake of interjecting a note of lightness. After all, people should know you're not a one-note person. So there the button stands. Yes, perhaps in hindsight, it wasn't the wisest thing to put up there, but you know, we're not perfect. And are we right now rethinking the wisdom of this button? Umm, yes!
(A small side-note about the button: this button brings in a small amount of money, for which I am grateful, and which I mostly use to buy burnable CDs, which I make CD labels for and then hand out. I have regularly used CDs in my Christian walk, both in witnessing encounters and also as a way to give valuable teaching information to the women I teach.)
My husband, in defense of this now infamous button, made this statement on Brannon Howse's wall:
Unfortunately, my husband's comment, in which he came to my defense, explained that the button was a silly joke, meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and that I really am a Godly wife and mother, along with his public plea to Brannon to talk this out privately with me, was deleted. He was then blocked from making further comments. (But thank you anyway to my Sweetie for making that public statement in defense of me ❤ )
But back to Brannon Howse mischaracterizing what Susan Heck said. In my opinion, because of how Brannon framed his remarks, and reiterated them several times in several places, many people assumed that Susan Heck had in fact made this statement that she never, in fact, made.
And thus, an even greater controversy was borne, because now there were folks, who, having heard Brannon say what he did, were convinced that Susan Heck was publicly naming my ministry as being problematic (including my own mother, who, not having any background information on this, called me from her car saying, I just listened to Brannon's show today, and I think he just said that Susan Heck is concerned about the Sola Sisters ministry!)
In closing, let me state that I recognize that there are a lot of moving parts to this drama, and I'm sorry for the complexity of it, but I think for those willing to take a breath, and stop and ponder, and then take the time to examine the evidence, they will see that I am not a gossiper or slanderer or tale-bearer or murmurer or tattler or an embarrassment to the Lord (all charges which have been made by Brannon over the course of the last week, though I may have missed a few). If anything, I am being gossiped against, slandered and have had false witness borne against me. And I do have a biblical right to correct misstatements and mischaracterizations being made about me. In the end, this is not about Team Brannon or Team Sola Sisters......it is about truth, and don't we think that truth matters to God?
✷ NOTE: We may agree or disagree with Mrs. Heck on whether or not women may publicly contend on spiritual matters, but that is something of a separate issue. And please understand by my saying this that in no way do I consider differing views on this to be an issue of separation or breaking fellowship. I'm simply saying that brothers and sisters in Christ can land on different sides of this issue and not be in sin. This is an issue that Godly and very solidly biblical men and women have just come down on differently over the centuries. It is true from Scripture that women are not to exegete (teach) Scripture to men. However, I (and many others) think that the idea that women cannot speak publicly at all, in any way, about spiritual matters is an idea that is not clearly taught in Scripture, and is more of cultural construct that has taken hold in the church than actual biblical truth (particularly in the Southern Baptist realm). Jude 1:3 says "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people." So I (and many others) understand the Jude passage to mean that all Christians can, and should, contend on spiritual matters. Now, are there other constraints that we must follow in this endeavor? Yes: a woman must not teach a man (exegete Scripture to him), we must be kind, gracious, above reproach, gentle, loving, etc.........but contend we must. And so there are disagreements over this. But again, that's a separate issue from the fact that Mrs. Heck's statements were mischaracterized by Brannon in his Friday, August 16 radio show.
An Open Letter To Brannon Howse
Talebearing "from house to Howse" - A 'Perfect Storm' of Accusation
"Ex Vampire" William Schnoebelen in Chris Pinto's Film
Chris Pinto's Conspiracy Theories
A Discussion of Chris Pinto's "Tares Among The Wheat"
Chris Pinto's Conspiratorial Worldview
DEBATE: Is Codex Sinaiticus a Jesuit Forgery?
(Dr. James White and Chris Pinto, 12-11-13)
Fred Butler (Grace To You, Hip and Thigh blog)
Why The White/Pinto Debate Matters
Mystic Helena Blavatsky Bolsters Chris Pinto's Case?
Fred Butler: An Interview on King James Onlyism
Tares Among The Wheat - A Review
George E. Merrill on the Simonides Affair
Determining the Antiquity of Ancient Manuscripts
Chris Pinto’s Disingenuous Response to His Critics
Answering the Claims of KJV-Onlyism
Christian Research Network
The Slips and Follies of the Pintonian Inquistion - Part 1
(C. Michael Majewski, CRN)
The Slips and Follies of the Pintonian Inquistion - Part 2
(C. Michael Majewski, CRN)
The Pintonian Inquistion: Scholarship or McCarthyism? - Part 3
(C. Michael Majewski, CRN)
The Salt Lake City Messenger (Gerald and Sandra Tanner)
Magic in Mormonism: From Denials It Was Practiced to Exaggerations (Issue #65)
Covering Up Syn: Ex-Satanist Brings Confusion to Mormons and Their Critics (Issue #67)
Pastor Bob DeWaay - Critical Issues Commentaries
King James Only? Refuting the False Conspiracy Theories of King James Only Teachers
How the KJV Only Doctrine Obscures the Truth, Part 1
How the KJV Only Doctrine Obscures the Truth, Part 2