I’ve Fallen From Grace

Written by Drew on March 30th, 2006

Did everyone catch Nancy Grace’s cult watch last night? She handled her journalistic embarassment deplorably. After she stuck the churches of Christ with the label of “borderline cult” Monday night, she no doubt received hundreds of calls and emails of protest. How does she smooth things over? By inviting a fellow-Methodist, Bob Jones, president of Bob Jones University. Here’s what he had to say about churches of Christ:

The Church of Christ is a legitimate national denomination. Their beliefs about salvation, in particular, would be one of the things I would have vast differences with them with personally because I think, you know, it’s very clear from the scripture that we’re redeemed to Christ through the blood of the cross, not by the baptismal waters. But I could not personally call it a cult in any way. It’s just a denomination who has doctrines that I personally don’t subscribe to because they aren’t biblical.

How many lies will Ms. Grace continue to broadcast until she loses her talking-head license? We are not a denomination, and we have never ascribed any saving power to the waters of baptism. One of our favorite songs reads, “There’s power in the blood.” Unlike Mr. Jones, who follows closely the dogma of John Calvin, we use nothing but the Bible as our guide in matters of religion. How is that unbiblical?

After allowing a Jew and some mysticist to give their two cents worth, Ms. Grace finally invites Rubel Shelly on (finally a member of the church of Christ!) to explain that we are not a cult. However, throughout his explanation two things were happening: 1) characteristics of a cult were being scrolled across the screen, and 2) Ms. Grace was cutting him off in the middle of his sentences. It was obvious that she did not give Shelly the same respect she did the other religious leaders.

I thought Shelly did a good job last night, although those who are familiar with his work could see his denominational take on the church through some of his words. But Nancy Grace’s bias was clear. From the beginning she had planned to cast the church of Christ in a negative light. As long as she can beat the “cult drum,” she can continue to fuel a sensational story about a women who committed murder to get out of a brain-washing cult.

The only good thing is that Ms. Grace’s ignorance was just as transparent as her bias. The most awkward moment of the night was when Rubel Shelly was attempting to explain the church’s position on women’s role in the church and was interrupted by his host with, “OK, wait, wait, wait. Dr. Shelly, no offense, by why, why only male leadership? Does anybody remember Mary Magdalene, ding ding?” When Shelly responded by saying Mary wasn’t an apostle she said, “Well, Judas was, and that certainly isn’t saying very much.” It appears that Nancy Grace’s Christianity runs about as deep as the Da Vinci Code.

I’ve said all I want to say on this issue, but here are some other links you might be interested in:

  • Ike Pigott’s take on things from the PR point of view
  • Alan Cornett’s dirt on Tom Rukala, the first person to use the word “cult” on Grace’s show. If you remember, Rukala defined us as a “borderline cult” because of our “exclusivism.” It seems that he can be pretty exclusive at times, too.
  • It seems that Mike Cope was CNN’s first choice as a church of Christ spokesman. For what it’s worth.
  • Listen to what Adam Faughn has to say also.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. J-Train says:

    That’s a great picture of Nancy Grace! Very fitting of her personality.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Rukala was right! They are a cult. Just look at what ex-CofC members who have formed a support group say about the church and the Mary Winkler case. Says all you need to know and not more church cover up and denial.


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