The following is an open letter responding to this person, who has chosen to remain anonymous. As always, I respect the anonymity of those who want it. However, I cannot in good conscience comply with the request to remove my archive of this person's blog.
The following was my email reply to the person, which I am making an "open letter" so if anyone wonders why I would make such a decision, they have it in my own words.
Dear [whatisthedoctrineofchrist.blogspot.com author],Here's a recap of my history with this blog:
I have been waiting for someone to contact me to ask me this, and have given a great deal of thought about how best to respond.
As you know, the sect's leadership is extremely secretive about the peculiarities of its doctrines (unlike the first century apostles, where "these things were not done in a corner" [Acts 26:26]). Leaders in the sect have no desire to openly discuss their beliefs or defend them publicly. As a result, there has been almost a 45 year "black hole" of publicly available information about the sect's true doctrines and practices.
This is why the blog has
nearlyover 47,000 page views; because there is no other source of fair, fact-based and Biblically-grounded criticism of the sect. For that reason and a few others, I currently believe it's best to keep the blog references public, not for the purpose of embarrassing anyone (you're anonymous, so it can't really embarrass you), but for providing a rare bit of firsthand evidence that what I'm saying is true. I think it's important that readers can know I'm not making up false accusations.
As to whether I've taken things out of context or not, as a writer, I'm sensitive to that. However, that's why I've provided links to the full blog, so people can actually read the entire context and judge fairly for themselves. I have no desire to slander you or anyone else, which is precisely why I'm providing the context.
You say that the blog was for your personal use, and you didn't know it was public. I find that really difficult to believe, as every page you are on when creating a blog, and posting articles to it, talks about publishing and shows you the URL, which is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. The truth is that I can never fully know with certainty your intentions, but the fact that you kept your name off of every possible identifying area of the blog, as well as your Blogger profile, tells me that you were taking steps to keep it anonymous. There would be no need to keep it anonymous if you thought it was private. So I'll have to leave that statement between you and God to know the truth, but I suspect if you were honest with yourself, you knew it was public.
I would like to encourage you to think about something. I don't know who you are, and you have no obligation to tell me. But doesn't the level of secrecy surrounding the sect's true doctrines trouble you? Do you think Paul, if given the opportunity to use the Internet, would have run from it, as Stanton has, or embraced it and used it to further the Gospel? The desire to keep Stanton's teachings in the shadows and keep talks out of public view (like old Merie tapes, current lessons from various meetings, etc.) should tell you something.
Truth doesn't need to be afraid of a lie. An important part of why this blog got such a wide audience is that it is blowing 45 years of cover of teachers who had previously been successful keeping a lid on all the unbiblical and inconsistent teachings.
So for now, I don't see a good reason to remove the archived copy of the blog, because I believe it is important documentation of the kind of teaching that Stanton continues to put out. And since you're anonymous, the information doesn't really hurt you anyway. If it hurts the image of the sect, then it's only because the truth has a way of doing that.
P.s. - If you have specific questions or challenges to my opinions as expressed in the blog, feel free to email me. I know you say you don't feel the need to justify what you wrote, but I'm willing to back my words up with the Bible and explain them if they are unclear at all. ...
- I ran across a blog located at http://whatisthedoctrineofchrist.blogspot.com and could tell immediately that it was written by someone in the Stanton sect. It was clearly a blog of someone's notes during classes or sermons (not sure which).
- I cited the blog in one of my posts, By Their Fruits You Will Know Them.
- Knowing the history of the church's lack of transparency about its teachings, I decided to save an archive of the blog on my computer so I could read it at my convenience if it was ever pulled down, and not have to rely on my memory.
- In time, I happened to notice that the blog had been deleted. I modified the link in my post to point to Google's cached version of the page I was citing and wrote a post titled Why Remove The Evidence?
- Eventually, the cached copy was removed from Google's archives as well, which means someone with some technical knowledge got involved and jumped through Google's hoops to request that.
- Believing my citations of the blog were (and are) important pieces of evidence about the church's teachings (and their removal of it, evidence of their desire to keep their doctrines in the shadows), I went ahead and uploaded my own archive of the blog to my own servers so I would be able to show that I was not making my assertions up. I also did not want to be accused of pulling this person's words out of context. Ironically, this is exactly what the author of the blog asserted in asking me to remove my archive--that I was using his or her comments out of context. That's exactly why I posted the full blog archive. Everyone is free to read the full context and judge for themselves whether I'm being fair in my conclusions.