About a week ago I received a comment on an article I wrote nearly four years ago. I decided not to approve the comment for publication because it was a typical example of a form of ‘troll’ activity. A troll, in internetspeak, is a person who attempts to hijack a forum by making inflammatory statements and accusations. As is common for comments like this the poster used a first name but gave no email address, and so I could not engage with him directly. I was not going to make any public response until I received a call last night from a fellow church member who was disturbed by a video doing the rounds labeling Dr Len Sweet as a heretic and false prophet.
So I have now decided that I need to address this sort of reprehensible slander so that fellow believers will have some insight into how to handle such things.
My article was a positive response to the book ‘Jesus Manifesto’ by Len Sweet and Frank Viola The comment by the troll in question started with, ‘With all due respect, Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet are well documented as holding unscriptural views’, and then detailed the following criticisms:
Len Sweet is a respected professor who holds a doctorate and to refer to him as ‘Mr.’ is disrespectful. And who can claim that he aligns himself with both Jesuit and New Age mystics when Dr Sweet himself has stated in writing that, ‘for me, New Age rhymes with sewage’? My semi-anonymous commenter and anyone else can and should read Dr. Sweet’s 2007 response to similar false accusations.
‘the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:12-13).