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The Purpose of this Website

The purpose of this website is to be faithful to biblical commands about speaking out even when it’s hard. And speaking out about the patterns of sin of leaders in a church is definitely hard.

Staying silent would be so much easier. Silence avoids the backlash that comes because most people respond to truth-telling as if speaking about the wrongdoing is the real wrongdoing. But we cannot just choose what is easier and be faithful:

Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17

We believe that to follow Jesus faithfully,  more is demanded of us than silence.

Why we believe that it would be sin not to speak out:

We are called to walk in the light: 

5… This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
– 1 John 1

Walking in the light requires speaking the truth in love:

The Scriptural goal of speaking the truth in love is that each part would work properly, and the body would build itself up in love and unity.

11… he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body,
joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
 – Eph 4

… the truth shall set you free. – John 8:32     The truth sets everyone free, including wrongdoers.

 Duty to expose wrongdoing:

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11

Don’t just passively refrain from participation in wrongdoing; actively expose wrongdoing.

Concern for the spiritual well-being of person(s) covering-up wrongdoing: 

1Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered. [by God] Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

5Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity. [human cover-up] I said, ‘I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.’
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin ….
– Ps 32 NIV


Confession honors God by agreeing that we have broken his commands. He then “covers” our sin with his forgiveness. In contrast, “covering up” our sin is hard on body, mind, soul, and spirit. Confession brings freedom. Confession is an expression of a core truth of the Gospel. Cover-up is anti-Gospel.

Duty to warn: 

Duty to warn both applies to people currently at the Chapel Hill Bible Church and those considering it as a new church. But it also extends to those within the greater church who may be experiencing the same patterns of wrongdoing in their fellowship.

Duty to warn those in sin:

Do not regard him as an enemy but warn him as a brother. 2 Thes 2:1

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 2 remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5: 1-20

If the Lord gives a message of warning to someone and that person does not pass that warning, on, they are held culpable before God for the consequences . We do not want metaphorical blood on our hands  (See Ez. 3: 17-21 and 33:1-9)

Duty to warn those in harm’s way from dangerous spiritual leaders or other individuals:

Old Testament commands:

Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work? Prov 24

Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy. Prov 31


New Testament commands:

Jesus himself warns his listeners to “Beware” of dangerous spiritual leaders:

“…false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside are ravenous wolves.” Matt 7:15-23

He warns them to beware of the effect of metaphorical leaven, which like yeast, permeates and affects the whole loaf.  (See 1 Cor 5:6)

 Beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees & Sadducees”“ Matt 16: 6, 11,  or the leaven of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” 16:12  (note: the teaching of the religious leaders of the parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees differed.)

Beware of “the leaven of Pharisees (religious teachers) and Herod (corrupt political leader) Mark 8:15

Beware of“ the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.Luke 12:1

Beware of the scribes (religious leaders), who like status: Mark 12:38. Luke 20:45-6

Paul warns the elders of Ephesus about wolves and false teachers that will come from within the church leadership:

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert… Acts 20

Speaking to the church at Colossae, Paul reminds them that they have been given what it takes to “walk the walk” by faith and lists all the ways that they are equipped to keep themselves from being mislead through deceit (Col 2:8) or from succumbing to false teachings. This website is written to the members of the body of Christ who are so equipped.   Col 2:6-23

Example of duty to warn: Paul tells Timothy to “Beware” of Alexander the Coppersmith. This warning was publicly exposed; we are still reading about it two millennia later. 2 Tim 4: 14-15


Duty to the watching world:

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

The watching world is rightfully repulsed by the hypocrisy of the cover-up of sin by the church. People respond with disgust when a church puts up an appearance of outward righteousness while covering up rottenness underneath. That disgust reflects the same morality as Jesus  expressed:

13‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to….

27‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23 (whole chapter)

 “The cover-up is worse than the crime” is not just a proverb about politics. It’s wisdom about trust in human relationships. People understand wrongdoing. We’ve all been there. People respect people who can admit that they were wrong and lose respect for those who won’t admit it.

When the church covers up its own sin like other institutions of the world, rather than confessing and turning away from it in faithfulness to the Gospel, that action is a means of “shutting the door of the kingdom in the faces” of people who might otherwise be drawn to the Gospel.

Cover-up of the sin of its leaders by the church is anti-Gospel.

We are commanded to love our neighbor:

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a man beaten and robbed and left by the side of the road.  It’s a call to love anyone who is in need of care and mercy, being generous with both time and money–whether they are in your “group” or not.

So we speak as a fulfillment of the command to love our neighbors.

There are many people who have experienced metaphorically being “beat up” by people in their church or Christian organization, who have had their reputation stolen by the religious leaders whom they trusted.

In speaking about what happened in one church, we are giving comfort to those wounded in any church as the patterns tend to be so similar, and it is healing to realize that others have also traveled the same road.

But there were other people in the parable whom we also are called to love: the religious leaders who passed by on the other side of the road. They clearly thought they had their theology right; and it is common to think they were merely callous and uncaring. However,  some have postulated that the religious leaders may have thought the man was dead, and therefore coming into contact with him would have rendered them ceremonially unclean and unable to perform their religious duties for a period of time. Perhaps they thought that what they were doing was actually right and in keeping with correct theology.

So we speak truth also for those who are leaders in churches and Christian organizations who may not realize what they are doing by continuing down the road–“moving on” as it is sometimes called.

Our hope is that the Body of Christ as a whole will come to look more like the One we follow.

What about….

What about ….Matt 18? 

Shouldn’t you go to the leader in private? 

Many leaders treat Matt 18 as if it’s the only Scripture that addresses conflict resolution in the church:

  • Step 1:“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brotherv. 15
  • Step 2:  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. v.16
  • Step 3: If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. v.17
  • Step 4: And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Steps 1-3 have been followed by multiple people at Chapel Hill Bible Church taking it to the level of the elders at the church to no avail. The elders have made the decision to keep the G.R.A.C.E. report from the broader church body.  It could also be argued that beyond that specific church body,  step 3  is to tell it to the broader church, which is what we are doing. (We are not yet at Step 4.)

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12

Isn’t it more merciful that what has been whispered in the inner rooms is proclaimed publicly now while there is still chance for repentance, rather than at the Judgment?

Paul by-passed Matt 18 altogether when his fellow apostle, Peter (also called Cephas)  sinned publicly and in doing so, led others into the same sin:

11 But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas[Peter] before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Gal. 2

Counter-question: What if there have been multiple witnesses to an elder’s wrongdoing and yet the other leaders fail to act?  Does that negate the command an elder must be rebuked publicly without showing partiality because he is a leader?

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching…  20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 1 Tim. 5

The standard for a leader (elder) who sins is different than for other people in the church. Paul’s description of his rebuke of Peter indicates that the public nature of the rebuke was to prevent the sin of a leader from leading many others down the wrong path. (A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. 1 Cor. 5:6 NASB)

It is important to note that public rebuke for a pattern of wrongdoing is reserved for elders. Others in the church are to be  “restored gently.” Gal 6:1.  We have also have the example of Joseph when he found out that Mary was pregnant: Joseph being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt 1:19.

Another  counter question:  What about Matt. 5: 23-24?

If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Shouldn’t leaders also be held responsible for following this biblical command meant to promote reconciliation when they  know they have sinned against someone– or even when they know that someone believes that they have sinned against them even if they don’t think they have?

What about slander and gossip? Isn’t speaking publicly gossip and slander?  

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is not a saying from the Bible.

We are aware of the kind of criticism that people have toward those who feel it is their duty to speak truth into a situation that may challenge the status quo of a church. People are accused of disrupting the unity of the church and are frequently  called slanderers or gossips.

The person or persons who are disrupting the unity of the church are not those speaking truth or shining light into a situation. The persons who have disrupted the church are leaders who have disqualified themselves from leadership but who are covering it up as well as those who help to keep the sin of a fellow leader in darkness.

Slander is lying about someone. Telling the truth is not slander.

The English word gossip is defined by Merriam-Webster as “rumor or report of an intimate nature” and a person who is a gossip as one who “habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.”

Proverbs 18: 8  reveals an an inherent characteristic of gossip:

 The words of a gossiper are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body. ( NASB) or There is nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth. (CEV )

There is something wickedly pleasurable in the act of telling and receiving gossip.

Proverbs 26:22 repeats the same theme of delicious morsels, but its context in verses 19-28 reveals that for some, dropping “tasty morsels” is part of an overall pattern of deceptive speech with active intent to harm a person or persons.

The ESV translates the noun “gossip” as “whisperer” with the connotation that words are spoken in secret.

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19is the man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I am only joking!”
[This gives the speaker plausible deniability]

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.

23 Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
[words can be a disguise]
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
[gracious-sounding words are not proof of gracious motivation]
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28A lying tongue hates its victims,
[Lying about someone is a form of hatred. See implications in 1 John 3:15]
and a flattering mouth works ruin. 

The overall thrust of this passage is gossip can be part of a pattern of deceptively gracious-sounding speech that disguises the true intent of the person who is employing it to attack another person or persons.

  • A person throwing a firebrand can disguise it as a joke and claim they were “just kidding.”
  • A “whisper campaign” can stir up strife behind the scenes by offering tasty morsels about another.
  • A person’s gracious speech can be used as cover for actual hatred of those victims being attacked.
  • Flattery [presumably of the listeners] can also be used in a campaign of deceptive speech.

The intent of this website:

The intent on this website is the opposite  of gossip:  We strive to speak only truth as best as we understand it, sticking primarily to information that we can back up with digital evidence or the testimony of witnesses as concerns Chapel Hill Bible Church.

Throughout the epistles and in Revelation, issues of contention at one church are shared with multiple churches via circulating the letters. So while a specific letter could be addressing a specific situation in a specific location, at the same time, the letters were broadly helpful to the Body of Christ in other locations — as they are to us today.

Hopefully, the same will be true of the content on this website. While some things are written about Chapel Hill Bible Church, they are not necessarily unique to CHBC, so may be useful to other churches or Christian organizations. The reverse is also true, understanding patterns of what has happened elsewhere can better help us understand issues at Chapel Hill Bible Church.

This is the not the official website of the Chapel Hill Bible Church. 

 Chapel Hill Bible Church uses the ESV,  and in deference to those who believe other versions are less reliable, Scripture quotes on this site are from the ESV unless another version provides additional clarity. In those cases, the version will be specified.