5 Reasons That Explain The Escalation Of “Open Letters”

There are clear reasons that we live during a period in ministry and church life where more and more “Open Letters” are being written and publicly posted. [1]

#1 – More and More Public Ministries:  More ministries have sought to attract an audience far outside their geographical ministry area. The result is that those same ministries have become more accountable to a far wider audience. If you want to preach and teach (books, blogs, articles) to people all across America, be prepared to be held accountable for what you preach and teach by both God’s people and, yes — their pastors. Julie Roys’ rise to prominence is due to the prominence of large and public ministries — i.e., John Piper / John Mac Arthur. 

#2 – Covid-19: The lack of care and concern by far too many ministries and pastors has been all too visible during a time of great need. Previously, the lack may have been unseen because the need wasn’t so real. However, since Covid-19, many have come to realize that they are not a family, as is so often portrayed.

#3 – No Calling: There is an increase in the number of people who go into the ministry for reasons other than God’s call. Some (again, far too many) leave the business world, or their “college-educational field of original endeavor,” and decide to go into the ministry. “Some” have a weak biblical education, no seminary education, and/or far too little ministry experience. On that foundation, they decide that they are going to start a church. How has that worked out for the vast majority?

#4 – Sinful & Self-Serving Ministry Leaders & Shepherds:   There are ministry leaders and pastors who are as carnal as the people they minister to. RaviZ is proof positive that no matter the theological acumen, giftedness, person’s age, and/or achievements cannot handle the lure of recognition, power, and money.  

#5 – A Failed Accountability Framework: Those who form the surrounding leadership structure, that is in place to guard and guide a ministry, have repeatedly failed to rein in its ministry leaders. The model of “internal ministry accountability” is visibility and patently broken. 

The leadership that is in place to guard and guide a ministry or local church (that includes fellow pastors, staff members, board members, deacons, elders, et al.) has repeatedly shown itself unable to recognize wrongdoing and/or to call out wrongdoing. Too often, relationships interfere, loyalty trumps integrity, and/or explanations are accepted without the second or third question being asked.

What Happens Because Of These Situations?:

People “Go Public!” [2]
“Open Letters” are written because there is no way to address the questionable, wrong-headed, unbiblical, and/or sinful actions of . . . . [3]

  • public ministries that impact 1000s
  • ministries that lack the care and concern of their people
  • pastors who were never called into the ministry
  • self-serving ministry personalities and pastors
  • ministry leaders and pastors who are insulated and/or protected 

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1. “Open Letters” were typically sent to those who belonged to this-or-that organization. They were sent to the membership and/or to the “leadership structure” in place. Today, the situation has undergone a significant change. Today, “Open Letters” can be found in a variety of places —  Substack, purchased advertising space in major newspapers, Twitter, SBC resignation letters and state resolutions, Julie Roys Reports, the Wartburg Watch, books (or book introductions & entire chapters), and through membership email.

2. Those who negatively respond to “Going Public” surely are not saying that those who went public concerning the actions of RaviZ, Dave Ramsey, James MacDonald, John MacArthur, et al. should not have gone public (after seeking to address the issues personally and privately first)!

Or is it that some just don’t like people “Going Public” when it is a ministry leader[s] and/or pastor[s] who have failed to respond to those who have personally and privately tried to address wrongdoing.

3. We should expect more and more “Open Letters” as the actions, theology, practicology, attitudes in ministries and local churches continues to deteriorate in the last days. — “shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

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