Apparently, I have sinned again. This time by making public what he would have preferred remained private.
I will let you be the judge.
From: Mark LooyMy reply:
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 7:57 PM MST
To: John Holzmann
Subject: reply from Answers in Genesis to Mr. Holzmann
I wrote to you in private in an attempt to resolve this matter out of the public eye – which included an earnest appeal for us to meet, rather than using ongoing email exchanges and public blog postings. Then I see that you have posted my private email, without asking for permission. You justified your action by stating on your blog that you regret that I “did not also respond in public,” adding; “I think, considering the charges he leveled against me and ‘other [unnamed] Christians,’ and considering my response, he really owes us all a more open, public reply. In hopes of eliciting such a reply, I am posting his response.”
This is not a sign of a good faith effort on your part to bring resolution when my private attempt to arrange a private meeting with you- - to get this out of the public eye (so that non-Christians wouldn’t be gleeful over this or immature believers not be shaken in their new faith) -- is treated in such a fashion. I told you that I did not wish to carry on the dialogue via web postings or emails but to engage this in private (hence the private email I sent to you), but you have explicitly ignored my wishes. (I wrote in that email that we should “communicate face to face as opposed to web postings and emails.”)
Incidentally, I did a search on the words Sonlight and Holzmann on our 6,000-article website and found nothing. I learned that as a gesture of goodwill towards your work, we took down an article about Sonlight that concerned you -- at the suggestion of a Christian brother we both know. Now, however, this old article has been brought up again – by you -- and you direct people to it on your site. If you knew we no longer had the article posted on our site and yet you still referred to it, why are you still holding a grudge against us when someone had intervened and we followed his suggestion to remove the article that bothered you?
With my private email to you, I had extended an olive branch to discuss these matters in private but was essentially rebuffed when you posted my private correspondence -- in a dialogue which merely started a few days ago as an admonition to follow Proverbs 18:13 to check something out and get the full story before going public against us. As you have written in a prior article that chastised us, “we need to speak with grace” about differences of opinion. But I submit that jumping to conclusions and speaking harshly is not following that grace model.
Because you have made a private email public, and have rebuffed my clearly expressed desire to handle this in private (including through a private meeting), I will now break off total communication with you -- until such time you respond and indicate that you will meet and resolve your concerns in private, and cease your public campaign. Perhaps at that time you might share with me what position you hold on Genesis.
Your behavior absolutely boggles my mind!
Before I get into the substance of my reply, I would like to note the following.
At this point, it seems, you are primarily upset because I took your "private" letter public.
Sorry. I don't hold out much sympathy for you because of my supposed "revelation" of your so-called "private" correspondence (written in response to very public comments and in your "official" capacity from your Answers in Genesis email account on Answers in Genesis internet "letterhead")!
On what grounds can you complain about my behavior when Answers in Genesis itself launched its public vilification campaign [against me and against Sonlight Curriculum -- explanatory/clarificatory note added 3/4/09 at 11:05 AM MST] by exposing my very private secrets in a very public manner
. . .without provocation?
And you dare to complain about my behavior, here?[Remember the first article Answers in Genesis published that referenced me? Talk about taking something private into the public sphere--without permission, and without discussion, and with absolutely no sense on my part that such a thing would ever be done!Again: Sorry. I am not prepared to apologize for doing the very thing that your organization has done, without apology, toward me!
Please--read the third paragraph of Tas Walker's article (plus, more particularly, Footnote #5)--an article and footnote that your organization published in a print magazine and that was available on your website for over eight years (until last year).
Oh. And your organization then published another article some four and a half years later that similarly referenced the same privacy-busting section in the first article. And that second article was distributed in print and online by Answers in Genesis.
Let me describe the privacy that your organization invaded. May I? (After all, it was my privacy you-all ignored.)
Here I had been looking for answers to excruciating personal questions and a certain man--I had no idea he had any association with AiG--offered counsel and hope. I wrote to him, man to man. I wasn't representing any organization. I was representing myself. Personally. And I bared my soul to this other man who claimed to be a Christian and concerned to help me.
And what do I find as a result? Somehow my name is "splashed across the pages" of a very public magazine published (or at least distributed as if it were published) by your organization. Twice.]
You complain: "I wrote to you in private in an attempt to resolve this matter out of the public eye.
. . .Because you have made a private email public, and have rebuffed my clearly expressed desire to handle this in private (including through a private meeting), I will now break off total communication with you -- until such time you respond and indicate that you will meet and resolve your concerns in private, and cease your public campaign."
Excuse me. You started this conversation in public. You publicly charged me and others with wickedness for declaring publicly the truth about a document your organization had posted publicly.
. . .And my supposed wickedness? That I did not first go to you privately to notify you of the things I found deficient in your public document to see if you could "explain" the deficiency.
I asked for clarification of your charges against me, because, as I noted, your organization has consistently and repeatedly acted toward me in exactly the manner you say is so wicked. Answers in Genesis has consistently and repeatedly made all kinds of public statements about me without having ever--not once--attempted to get the "straight scoop" from me. Worse, unlike the comments I made about your document (which were accurate), the statements AiG has made about me have repeatedly been shown false.
But when I laid out the details of your organization's behavior in order to get a better sense of what you could possibly mean by your condemning words
. . .you suddenly expressed your preference to "go private"--"so that non-Christians wouldn’t be gleeful over this or immature believers not be shaken in their new faith."
I'm sorry. I prefer to keep this very public discussion public.
So whose preference--and, after all, that is all that it is--should win? Yours? Automatically? By default?
I appreciate your concern for the few "non-Christians" and "immature believers" who might wander by my blog. But I can assure you, the vast majority of my readers are Christians, and, generally, relatively mature Christians at that. And I think you and I need to consider their interests as well. Indeed, on the issues that you and I are discussing, I believe their interests may need to take precedence over those (non- and immature Christians) who have no natural interest in these kinds of matters. Why? Because mature Christians--people whom you and your organization have long asked to support Answers in Genesis
. . .and whom your organization has long asked to shun John Holzmann and Sonlight Curriculum--need to know about and discern the deeper integrity of your organization.
You-all put yourselves forward as possessing the right publicly to judge and condemn fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as "bibliosceptics" and worse. You-all seem perfectly comfortable declaring that I "hardly manifest[ed] the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5) and
. . .ultimately [engaged in] tale-bearing" because of my original post. I asked, in essence, in reply: "[Y]ou, therefore, who teach another, do you . . .teach yourself?" (Romans 2:21)
But let us get back to the issue at hand.
You made a public post. I responded publicly. You engaged me publicly in my venue.
. . .I don't see why one of us, unilaterally, should be granted the right, suddenly, to declare the discussion must become private. . . .I imagine we might come to a mutual agreement to go private. But I don't see the grounds for acceding to your unilateral desire to go private. . . . *******
You wrote: "I learned that as a gesture of goodwill towards your work, we took down an article about Sonlight that concerned you -- at the suggestion of a Christian brother we both know. Now, however, this old article has been brought up again – by you -- and you direct people to it on your site."
You are correct in the first of your several statements, here.
I, too, am aware that Ken responded to the pleas of a mutual acquaintance to take that article down. (Actually, he removed references not just to the one article, but to two or three articles on your site.)
I deeply appreciate Ken's desire to honor me in that way. (At the same time, however, [strangely], I should note that I did not request to have those articles taken down. That was the idea of our mutual acquaintance. Since I believe it is helpful to have a record of what different parties have said through the years, I was actually a bit disappointed that, after having had them "up" for all these years, he suddenly decided to pull them down. They are still readily available elsewhere, but they were most readily available on the AiG website. And I had referenced them in the context of your website.)
Someone may wonder: Why would I want to keep such articles available?
Well, as already noted, you-all made them available for years. The damage--what damage can be done--has been done. Moreover, the articles, as a result of y'all's promotion and publication of the same, are available in numerous places on the web.
The Jonathan Sarfati Hold on, Mr Holzmann article you published (without having ever "done the Proverbs 18 thing," as you suggested I should have done with you)--
. . .that article is rather mean-spirited, and the author makes many false leaps-to-judgment about me; but he also makes a number of good, incisive comments--comments I used as the basis for improving the article he was critiquing. (I was [and still am] so appreciative of his insights and input that I mention this in the online version of my article. One of the problems with Ken having removed the article from its original URL is that the link back to Mr. Sarfati's article is now broken--not only in my article, but in any- and everyone else's articles that similarly referenced his work. --Not a really big deal. Someday I should get around to having it fixed by linking to another copy.)
But there is one more thing I want to be clear about: You are correct: No one will find Sarfati's article by doing a search using your site's search engine. But it is still available via at least one link to your site available by doing a search on Google. That's how I found it. And it is to that copy of the article that I linked in my blog comment.
Catch what I just said. You said I direct people to a copy of the article on my site. Except you are wrong about where the article is hosted. If you follow the link in my blog comment (search for "Hold on, Mr Holzmann"), you will find that the article is hosted on an AiG server! It is surrounded by live links that go to all current pages on your web site.
No big deal as far as I'm concerned where it is hosted. And I do appreciate, as I have said, that Mr. Ham attempted to show goodwill by having the primary, on-site-search-engine-referenced copy of the article removed. I am "simply" wanting to note that you have made another false claim about me: that I created a link that directs people to a copy of Mr. Sarfati's article on my site.
Not true. It's on a version of your site that is accessible to the Google search engine spider. Today.
Again, though, please hear me out: Having that article "up" or "down" is neither here nor there to me. And it was never "here" nor "there" to me. Having information correct and accurate, however: that is very important to me.
In your original post to my blog, you complained about behavior on my part that your organization has engaged in repeatedly. Behavior you have engaged in repeatedly without apology.
You said you wish I would have gotten and talked about a few additional facts that might have put your error in a different light.
Well, as soon as I had those additional data points, I made them available.
But, as far as I reported the facts before these few additional data points, what I reported was (and still is) correct. Your article evidenced (and, in some cases still evidences--see my On taking away in fine print what is stated in bold type post) the problems I highlighted.
And you and AiG? You who complain about others not fact-checking and not giving you every benefit of the doubt? Oh! Based on your track record, not only do you not check your facts, but you misspeak and mislead
. . .and, it appears, you fight tooth and nail to avoid having to admit any fault.
PS: I would like to encourage you to read On taking away in fine print what is stated in bold type. Despite the addition of the "missing" endnote to Spurgeon's sermon, I believe there is still good reason for impartial witnesses to hold AiG in contempt for the way it has handled the text.
PPS: I would like to conclude as I concluded my comment responding to yours back when I published my first post following your publication of the Spurgeon sermon:[A]re you saying AiG has now dedicated itself never to "use a public arena like the worldwide web [and/or magazine articles and/or homeschool conventions and/or radio programs and/or seminars, etc.] to denigrate other Christians/ministries for [any shortcoming that AiG believes it has discovered] without first contacting those persons (or ministr[ies]) to get [their] perspectives--and thus hear all sides before coming to a conclusion (per Proverbs 18:13)-- and certainly before going public"?And y'know something? I still believe that. You could provide some supremely valuable leadership in this arena. And I think you might actually gain some credibility when you speak about dealing biblically with those with whom you disagree.
If so, let me congratulate you heartily, and tell you how glad I am to hear of your organization's wonderful new commitment!
. . . But/and, moreover, if this is so,
* I would sincerely appreciate learning from you how AiG works these things out in practice. I mean, for example, how do you make sure you have contacted your presumed opponent? How much time do you give him or her or them to respond? How many rounds will you go with him/her/them in private before bringing the issue out into the public sphere? . . .
If Answers in Genesis has established those kinds of policies and practices, would you please share them with us?
. . .I think your open leadership and guidance in these matters could . . .go a long way toward revolutionizing relationships among Christians for the good.
Right now, however, I'm afraid your behavior makes your protests quite hard to listen to.
I continue to hope for the best.
I think the ball is in your court.
You may reply in public on my blog . . . or in private. I "just" want you to be aware of what I'm thinking . . . and saying.