Together for the Go$pel
Amid backlash, evangelical leaders are finally acknowledging sexual abuse — but not a high-profile preacher allegedly facilitating it. Why?
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
— Unknown, frequently attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One afternoon in late 2014, a friend told me that he’d been blocked on Twitter by The Gospel Coalition.
The sheer power and influence that The Gospel Coalition (TGC) holds is mind-boggling. The group is an online evangelical juggernaut that was co-founded by Tim Keller, a popular New York City pastor, respected by liberal and conservative Christians alike.
TGC’s online articles — which cover anything from Christian living to Bible and theology — generated 74.8 million page views in 2016. The group’s 2017 conference drew 10,000 attendees, paying roughly $200 a ticket.The TGC council boasts some of the most influential leaders in modern evangelicalism, including Al Mohler, Russell Moore, David Platt, and John Piper. We’re not talking about small fish. We’re talking about an organization with the financial means and influence to do whatever the hell it pleases.
So, if you’re Goliath, why block the ant on Twitter?
Intrigued, I asked my friend what he’d done to incur the wrath of TGC. “I asked them why they’ve been silent about the Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse case. I told them we should listen to the victims.” Shrugging, he continued, “They seem to protect their buddies involved in the case and blocked me for asking. Blocked a ton of other people, too.”
Curious, I opened Twitter and found a number of users who had used the hashtag #IStandWithSGMVictims and then reported being blocked by TGC’s account. Over the next few years, this would become a common response from the organization whenever it was faced with questions about its practices, or criticized for posting articles like this one: “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband.”