I wish to say a few words in defense of a man whom I love very much, and respect as a spiritually wise and loving minister. This man has been attacked in recent days, by the unrelenting “rumor mill”, as being “unloving” and a “cult leader”. I wish to address these accusations specifically, for I seem to hear them most often. (Unless it’s maybe “legalistic”.)
Before I get to his name or his defense, I wish to say that I am not aiming these thoughts at any one person or group of people. I do not even know the names of the people who have said he is “unloving”, etc. so I cannot be accused of specifically rebutting anyone. These rumors are only repeated (in my hearing) generally, and I must therefore respond generally. I simply wish to add my voice in a public way to his defense. It seems that no one else is doing so. (On the web at least.)
The man I am referring to is named David Rogers, and he is my pastor. Now before I am accused of being a “yes man” or some such thing, let me point out that I am not afraid to challenge Mr. David when it is necessary and have butted heads with him, somewhat, on occasion. He is certainly not perfect, and I admit that. But the accusations that are passed around about him are quite untrue, and I wish to point that out to anyone who will take the time to read this. (Some of you may have turned me off already. That’s ok, you can continue believing ignorant lies if you like.) 🙂
In the Christian world we have two big problems (among many). One is that churches and their leaders are too open and accepting of those who are rebelliously, blatantly and publicly sinning against God. They justify this by saying they are “loving” those poor sinners. All the while excusing their sin and turning a blind eye to the great damage they do to the larger body of Christ, and to his Name. The other great problem is that we have churches and their leadership who are so dedicated to “truth” that they have forgotten the need for love and mercy. Unlike Christ, they have no room for someone who is struggling or is in need of help. They close their hearts and their doors to anyone “stained by the world”.
I would argue that the first group are not really showing love, and the second are not really holding truth. Love cannot endure without Truth, and Truth cannot be borne without Love. They go hand in hand. “Mercy and Truth are met together” it says in Psalm 85:10.
So in a world that struggles to combine these two important principles, I find that David Rogers balances Truth and Love very well. Over most of the interaction I have ever observed or taken part of, he has displayed a rare ability to love people where they are, and communicate acceptance, without giving any smidgen of the truth away. This is hard to do, and yet Mr. David does it on a regular basis.
He is very hard on sin in his sermons, and will never give anyone permission to be comfortable with sin. And yet I have seen him be so loving and patient and compassionate with sinners, many of whom would be rejected by your typical “Fundamentalist Baptist” congregation. If a person shows even a hint of humility or willingness to repent, David Rogers is right there ready to point them to the Savior and show them the Truth that will bring them freedom.
To say this man is unloving is really ignorant. It shows a lack of knowledge of the real David Rogers. He might be one of the most loving people I have ever known, especially considering that he doesn’t leave off the truth out of fear. If he is considered unloving because he and our church practice church discipline, then I think Christ would also have to be in the “unloving” category. (Mt. 18) I won’t speak to that issue in depth except to say that every side of a disagreement seems right when it is the only side you hear.
As to being a cult leader, this accusation is so old and tired that it hardly deserves mentioning. I only bring it up because a good friend of ours was concerned that we were involved with a cult-like church. I would ask those who think David Rogers leads a “cult” down here, how would you define a cult leader? In my mind a cult leader is someone who demands absolute loyalty and obedience, and controls his people through fear and intimidation. And then usually starts teaching ungodly heresy of some kind.
While Mr. David does speak about the importance of loyalty, it is not to extremes. And he certainly does not have a church full of “yes men”. I won’t say all, but most of the men in our body would be willing to stand up to Mr. David if he was in the wrong. Or they would just ignore his instructions and do what they believed to be right. I firmly believe this.
And as to controlling us, his congregation… that is not even close to being accurate. Most cult leaders control through deception and fear. I have never heard of anyone controlling others by loving them too much. I cannot imagine a “cult-leader” who loves his people into violating Scriptural principles.
I have not heard Mr. David teach anything even close to heresy. I have heard him teach error, but I have also heard David Jeremiah, John MacArthur, Bill Gothard, and many other fine Bible teachers speak error. (Those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.) So just teaching error does not make some one a cult leader.
So with whatever weight my digital voice carries, and whatever credibility I have earned from you my friends and acquaintances, I affirm that David Rogers is one of the most balanced, understanding, loving, patient, bold, passionate, fearing God ministers I have ever encountered. His ministry to me and to my family is invaluable, and I am grateful God has brought him into my life. Please consider my thoughts when others try to criticize him. I believe these attacks are founded on half-truths and distortions, and should be sent back where they came from.