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Pulpit & Pen: Why Orthodox Christians Should Ignore Them

pulpit & pen has attacked orthodoxy needlessly

Pulpit & Pen is gaining notoriety in Orthodox circles. The website’s criticism of Hank Hanegraaff – and of Orthodoxy in general – are nothing short of shocking. These mocking attacks on Orthodox Christians are an embarrassment to Protestantism.

The reception of Hank Hanegraaff into the Orthodox Church is cause for celebration. The host of The Bible Answer Man is bringing mainstream attention to Orthodoxy. Hanegraaff’s reception into the Church is among the most publicized since Peter Gillquist led hundreds to the faith in the 1980s.

But with greater attention comes greater scrutiny by critics of Orthodoxy.

Even so, the attack by Pulpit & Pen is beyond the pale. It’s not a gentle correction by fellow Christians. Nor is it a convincing argument for their position. It’s spiteful rhetoric that Christians everywhere should denounce.

I’ve intentionally not linked to their work here, and have avoided commenting on this controversy until now. I believe that ignoring smug, ignorant trolling is the best policy. But the number of Orthodox Christians engaging the Pulpit & Pen writers on social media is alarming. And I think it’s time to say something about it.

Pray for Your Enemies

To my Baptist relatives, and all my Protestant friends; I don’t lump you in with this misguided group. Their vitriol doesn’t reflect on you, at least in my mind.

I ask my Orthodox brethren to pray for the writers of Pulpit & Pen. Pray also for their supporters. But don’t give them pageviews. Don’t link to them on Facebook. Do not engage with them in any way. We are not their audience.

They have made a god of the Bible instead of God Himself. They have set themselves up as the lone judges of “true” Christianity. That is their concern, not ours. The best thing to do with attention-seeking hatred is to ignore it, and pray for God’s mercy.

I’m reminded of the Westboro Baptist Church when I see the writings of this ministry. This is not the apologetic preaching of St. Paul, who reasoned with pagans and Jews alike. Condemning the Orthodox Church with charges of witchcraft and necromancy is not love. It is pride.

Pulpit & Pen reads like a modern-day Jack Chick tract. The writers believe they alone stand as a bulwark against Catholicism, freemasonry, and every other mid-century American boogeyman. There’s not enough time in the day to preach Christ risen, what with all these strawmen they have to knock down.

Pulpit & Pen should repent of their pride and vanity. But they will not, because of the belief that they alone have the truth. It is the kind of gnosticism the Church condemned millennia ago.

Ignore Pulpit & Pen

Orthodox brothers and sisters, I ask that you keep your powder dry. Don’t bother arguing with these people. Don’t comment on their website or Facebook page, or forward their articles to get others to share in your outrage.

Our job is to live our Orthodox faith in a way that will show the love of Christ. The best way for us to take advantage of the attention Orthodoxy is getting is to live it. People will know us by our fruit. They will know Pulpit & Pen by theirs.


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Comments 28

  1. I remember going to the bookstore of a certain church. I thought I’d have a conversation with the person by the cash register and introduced myself and said where I went to church. He responded with, “Aren’t they ‘New Calendar’?” I thought that was a curious way to respond to a fellow Orthodox person. When I asked a bishop what the proper response is to this kind of thing, he told me that there was no point to arguing with such people.

    The title, “Pulpit and Pen,” is self-convicting. Most of the Reformers eliminated the altar, true? The very title of the website indicates the self-serving move by Calvin, Knox and others that replaced the ultimate goal of a service from the Eucharist to the sermon, from God to a man, from Divine mystery to a human performance. Rick Steves, the fellow that takes us to Europe via PBS, pointed out when he was in Edinburgh that what Knox did was to center attention on the pulpit. Have the Pulpit and Pen people been as forthright?

    That’s kind of striking, isn’t it?

  2. I’m in complete agreement. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    “Do not dispute the over the truth with someone who does not know the truth; but from the person who is eager to know the truth, do not withhold words from him.” St. Isaac the Syrian

  3. Yeah. I’m not so sure that “ignoring us” is going to work. Welcome to Protestantism, where some of us are #StillProtesting.

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      I think it’s fair to ask Orthodox Christians to avoid getting overheated about anyone’s opinion of the Church. If avoiding sin means tuning out certain media, then that’s what we should do.

      No welcome to Protestantism is necessary, as I spent the majority of my life there. What I ultimately found is that the Church had endured the loss of Rome, endured the armies of Islam, and endured the attempts to make every man his own Pope. The Church has, and will endure.

      In all seriousness, Mr. Hall; I’d welcome honest discussion with you, or any of your supporters, anytime. Sincere thanks for taking the time to comment.

      1. J.D.Hall and Jeff Maples and the rest at Pulpit and Pen, just want to bash anybody that is not Calvinism, or they just don,t agree with. Like bashing Hank Hanegraaff. I am not Orthodox and i am sure they would bash me, since i hold to the viewpoint that All the Spiritual Gifts are still in play until the return of the Lord Jesus. it is interesting that they don,t hold to that viewpoint but have not one verse in Scripture to back it up, while Scripture says that All the Gifts are here until the Revealing of the Lord Jesus.

  4. Exactly! Dividing truth from error, and constantly sharpening the edge of our discernment. Some might call that being more noble than those in Thessalonica.

  5. “But they will not, because of the belief that they alone have the truth. ”
    — So you don’t think you have the truth? If not, why should I listen to you? If so, why condemn P&P for asserting they do?

    “The best way for us to take advantage of the attention Orthodoxy is getting is to live it. ”
    — Is ignoring people “living it”?

    “They have made a god of the Bible instead of God Himself. They have set themselves up as the lone judges of “true” Christianity.”
    — Can you explain why this blog site would be a better judge? It seems you are judging P&P.

    “Condemning the Orthodox Church with charges of witchcraft and necromancy is not love. It is pride.”
    — Why? Can you explain rationally why? Why isn’t it pride on your part?

    No offense, but this sounds like the rantings of a child who just lost a ball game. Blame the refs, the other team, whatever. I hope you’ll reconsider your stance and listen to people who are trying to help you avoid eternal damnation.

    That’s what ‘living it’ looks like.

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      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad to see contrary viewpoints, as I never like comments sections that are just an echo chamber for the site’s positions.

      I do think that the fullest expression of God’s truth is to be found in the Church established by Jesus Christ through His apostles. That said, all men are aware of Truth, because nature itself proclaims it. But you don’t have to listen to me, of course. The writings of the fathers of the Church are available for anyone to study.

      What I do not claim is perfection, in word or in deed. I don’t think Orthodox Christians should spend time ranting on Facebook about P&P’s articles. We are not their target audience; we are just the latest punching bag. Think of it as turning the other cheek.

      I also never claim to be the source of Orthodoxy, or a spokesperson for the Orthodox Church. I am one person who has found the Church of the first Christians, and am sharing that discovery with others. My own pride is a constant stumbling block for which I pray God’s forgiveness regularly. I hope everyone would do the same.

      While I appreciate your concern for my eternal soul – as expressed by the charges of witchcraft, apparently – I don’t consider this any type of competition to see who can win the most converts. As I expressed to Mr. Hall, I’m happy to discuss our differences. The hope of all Christians should be that not one is lost.

      1. Then debate Mr. Hall. Set it up and have it moderated if you please. Please let me know when you have done this.

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          I appreciate the comment, but I’m not particularly interested in a debate.

          I don’t see my faith as an argument to be won, or a cudgel with which to bash my enemies. I’m happy to share my journey to Orthodoxy with others, and to point them to resources that help explain the faith far better than I can. But I don’t see it as my mission to argue people into Heaven. I did enough of that when I was a Protestant.

          I’m sure Mr. Hall is a fine debater with a mastery of quoting Bible passages to support his positions. There’s little reason for him to stoop to debating me. But I will propose an alternative.

          I ask for the prayers of Mr. Hall and his supporters. Pray that God will have mercy on me, and continue His work of salvation in my life. You also will be in my prayers.

  6. JD Hall,

    Pulpit&Pen in the flesh, what do you know!

    I’m a Reformed Christian who thinks Hall and company are an embarrassment to the Reformed Protestant Christian faith.

    And the idea that Hall is still reforming is laughable. All he’s doing is still repristinating, and repristinating the worst elements of Protestantism.

  7. Hello Tony,
    Thank you for a very well stated article. Since this all began, I’ve spent some time asking our brothers in the faith to consider the ‘shake the dust from your sandals’ option. When pearls are cast before wild beasts, it merely makes the beast angry enough to turn and rend us to bits. And that is our fault for rejecting the wisdom in the saying.

    While I disagree with what P&P has said and done, it is really of no consequence to me or to Christ’s Church (Who has defeated sharper barbs than this). Again, thank you for the well reasoned article.

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  8. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”
    Thank you, Tony, for a wonderfully articulated admonition. I feel great peace after having read it and your responses to the comments.

  9. I read the article they wrote shortly after it was published, but have been disregarding them since. As you have said, Tony, they are the reformed version of Westboro Baptist. Ignore the trolls and they’ll get bored and find someone else to feed off. May God save us all.

  10. Good advice, and thank you. Though it is not necessary as Mr. Hall, unable to handle any rational responses to my and other EO comments on his Pharisaical attacks on the Church has blocked my participation and deleted my posts. I presume that is because he is afraid that some readers might actually read what we believe rather than believe his straw men and form their own informed opinions on the truth of the Orthodox Church.

  11. Pulpit and Pen block any believer who disagrees with them more than once. Petulant children. Very loud and obnoxious petulant children who mock anyone who questions their tactics. They do not honor the Lord with their hate filled speech that they excuse as ‘loving concern’. They have no interest in discussion.

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      That’s why I’ve called on Orthodox Christians (and all mainstream Protestants) to simply ignore them. Pageviews are their lifeblood, so don’t give them any. Instead, pray.

  12. American Protestants are 1740-90AD colonial experience Christians from the battle not with the Catholic Church but with the church of England. I once was a Protestant to my shame. When Baptists claim that Orthodox coptics who had their throats cut rather then reject Christ are not born again gospel believing Christians, both 1740AD American theology, I reject American Protestants. The coptics trace their faith to St Mark Bishop of Alexandria in 52AD, but don’t match up to your American Baptist theories. I will stick to people who was braver then I. I am in Prague and Western Europe is 85% agnostic or atheists. When the atheists-communist ruled us, Protestants used Romans 13-2 to stand aside from the killing of Catholics like a form of odious vermin. Russia has Panocrator and Theotokos over the doors of the Kremlin. I respect the Orthodox, you respect not honour, nor suffering. You are no brother of mine.

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      I do find the attempts to “convert” those who are already Christian misguided. It’s our responsibility to pray for those who have a small measure of Christ to receive His fullness. Pray for those who are our enemies, because they reveal more of our sins to us than our loving brothers.

  13. Excellent article and advice. You are correct – the authors at P&P have yet to write an article about Christ and saving grace. All their articles deal with others who are proclaiming His name incorrectly, according to them. Imagine what they could do for the kingdom if they would use their blog for Jesus’ glory!

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      It does seem as though they spend more of their time searching for boogey men than anything else. They’re very dedicated to proving that Christianity died at Calvary and was somehow reborn in the 1600s. Millions of Christians in the East would beg to differ.

  14. They are mean and insecure. Otherwise they wouldn’t block everyone who disagrees or likes a negative comment against their writings​. My husband has been in the ministry for years but they want nothing to do with anything we say.

  15. “Pray for those who are our enemies, because they reveal more of our sins to us than our loving brothers.”
    TRUTH. Thank you!!

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