Defamation and blogging

I’m looking at the legal aspects of blogging, especially in regard to defamation and libel.

I noticed over on a particular ‘watchers’ site, a tendency to allow commenters to say things to and about other commenters which seemed to me to be way over the top, often without moderation.

I have even, through another blog I run on an occasional basis, advocated caution to one or two blogs, including the one in question, which carry clearly defamatory posts and/or comments that they could possibly be liable for if they are not careful.

Legal Implications

On the page in question, a commenter had made some serious allegations about a ministry which were being challenged by another commenter.

The commenter challenging included a list of the legal implications of what was being said.It made for interesting reading, because, of course, we consider Australian law and how it could affect what we say on blogs, but most blogs are not limited to Australia even though they may be produced there. Blogs are generally global and each land they appear in has laws which govern what, for them, constitutes freedom of speech, including definitions of defamation, and the relevant chargeable offences.

The following is, according the the commenter in question, the legal aspect for Singapore, minus the various quotes from the site by a commenter who was being challenged:

In Singapore, Defamation is a criminal offence under section 499 of the Penal Code. This means that the police can take action and arrest the perpetrator of defamation if there is sufficient evidence of such transgression.Defamatory words published over the internet would constitute libel, if the 3 elements described below are present.

(1) Firstly, the statement in question must be defamatory.

It is defamatory if it lowers the victim in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, causes the victim to be shunned or avoided, or exposes the victim to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

The post would be defamatory because it harms your reputation, causing you to be exposed to contempt. In addition, a statement is defamatory if the inferential meaning alone defames.A statement may be defamatory in two ways:

(i) via the natural and ordinary meaning of the words used or as may be reasonably inferred from the words; and

(ii) by way of true or legal innuendo. True innuendo arises from words which appear innocuous, but may be understood to be disparaging of the plaintiff.

(2) Secondly, the statement in question must refer to the victim, referring to the victim by name would constitute reference. This means that if a blog post accuses a wrongdoing, and a reasonable person can relate the imputation of dishonesty to you, a member of that organisation, reference would be found. Careless words or inadequate research, is no defence to the tort of defamation.

(3) Thirdly, the statement in question must be published, or communicated to a third party.The defamatory statement had been communicated to third parties who would reasonably understand the statement to be defamatory of the plaintiff.A tort is a breach of civil duty owed to a fellow person. Under the tort of defamation, written words can constitute libel, while spoken words can constitute slander, both of which can give the victim a right to commence a civil lawsuit against the wrongdoer.If the statement is not defamatory but is still very damaging, you will still have grounds to sue the perpetrator, under the tort of malicious falsehood.

SECTION 6 MALICIOUS FALSEHOOD

The Cause of Action21.6.1

A person is liable for malicious falsehood if he or she maliciously makes false representations in respect of another with a view to injure that person’s goodwill or economic reputation.Aggravated damages may be awarded in appropriate cases. Aggravated damages, which are compensatory in nature, may be awarded in respect of the additional injury caused by the defendant’s conduct or bad motives. Punishment for defamation shall constitute an imprisonment of two (2) years.*

You can follow this case on the thread of the post here (although it may be removed shortly for obvious reasons).

Australian Law

So this leads me to Australian law. Whilst there is a certain amount of liberty on blogs, and one hopes we are a liberty to not only express our views, but also be critical of others, including occasional insults and sledging (an Australian custom, whereby one person makes derogatory remarks about another in order to disarm them or intimidate them without resorting to physical violence, to put them off their game), there are also laws that prohibit defamation, libel or slander, which can carry penalties.

This is a business perspective from Aspect Legal:

Could innocent blog comments amount to defamation?

Businesses using social media need to closely monitor what they, and their employees, are saying about others to ensure you aren’t in the firing line of our defamation laws.

In this article, we provide an outline of what constitutes defamation in Australia, and what you need to be careful of.

Under Australian state laws, you (or your company) may be in the firing line of a defamation action if you have written material that has harmed the reputation of a persona small business (of less than 10 people), or a not for profit organisation.

It is not just the original authors who are at risk of a defamation action, the net stretches as wide as anyone else who publishes or re-publishes the material. So just because “someone else said it” doesn’t mean you won’t be caught up in the cross fire if you have published or re-published it.To make out an action of defamation, the “defamed” must show that:

1. Material has been published, or communicated to someone other than the “defamed” person. Clearly anything published on the internet ticks this box.

2. The “defamed” person was identified in that published material. Identification may not necessarily be by name, it can be enough that you have included characteristics that enable a person to be identified. And take note, where a group of people have been defamed, each member may be a possible plaintiff!

3. The published material was defamatory (defined as material that exposes a person toridiculelowers their reputation in the eyes of the community, causes people to avoid them or injures their professional reputation). Sounds quite subjective and hard to predict doesn’t it?!

Some examples of things that could be found to be defamatory, include saying that someone is:

    • Corrupt, dishonest or disloyal
    • Suspected of committing, or alleged to have committed an illegal act
    • Suffering from a contagious disease, or insanityThere are a few possible defences if you are in the firing line of a defamation allegation. If you can prove that the statement is substantially true, then you have found yourself a get out of jail free card. Remember though, you have to have enough proof to be able to establish this… sometimes not as easy as it sounds.

There are a few possible defences if you are in the firing line of a defamation allegation. If you can prove that the statement is substantially true, then you have found yourself a get out of jail free card. Remember though, you have to have enough proof to be able to establish this… sometimes not as easy as it sounds.

Other defences include absolute privilege (for example in parliament – probably not relevant to most of us!), qualified privilege (for things like publication of public documents), honest opinion where the published materials are a comment (rather than a statement of fact) that is a matter of public interest, triviality and consent – among others.

Of course, often the mere threat that someone may have taken our comments as defamatory will be enough to have us deleting the material immediately – but in today’s cut and paste, tweet, and re-tweet kind of interaction with the internet, finding all traces of our comments and deleting them from the depths of google is easier said than done.

Recent comment on Craig Thompson’s defamation action against the media suggests that defamation litigation can have the effect of silencing the media even in instances where it may be in the best public interests for it not to be silenced. A sobering thought for those of us who may not have the deep pockets of a large media company to defend ourselves in the courts.

So while we may feel justified in what we say, if we are putting our comments anywhere on the internet, we should perhaps be taking a step back, and ensuring we aren’t putting ourselves in the firing line.*

You may want to check out further information on this subject from Skepticlawyer, who has written an excellent piece on this very subject on his blog.

Awareness of liabilities
It is increasingly clear that Government bodies are being lobbied to increase penalties for comments made in journalism, media and even on blog comment streams, where people could be falsely accused, defamed, or their reputation could be being harmed by a constant harassment through concentrated articles.

I have been going through recent threads to check many of the comments for their content. Some comments, on posts I have added and their threads, I have removed. I was alerted to this by comments made by at least one contributor on recent articles which were, without doubt, defamatory in nature. I haven’t seen a whole lot of it on this blog, although it comes close sometimes, but I warned a previous Moderator that some of his posts were too close to the mark even then.

Things are set, quite rightly, in my view, to become even tighter legally, to defend people and their reputations from ill-informed or malicious people, and there are, I am sure, lawyers prepping up on litigation law to see where they can make a real killing in this area now that the first Twitter cases have got underway.I don’t know what you think, but, in my opinion, none of us should be allowed to defame someone even in jest on a public airway.

Judge scripture, test doctrine, have opinions about methodology and means, but do not slander the man.The amount of defamatory content I have seen on certain ‘watchers’ blogs is alarming. God does utilise the civil authorities to bring down disciplined policing of society. We need to learn to be circumspect about what content is allowed and what is to be cut away.

*Disclaimer: The material contained on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not depend upon any information appearing on this website without seeking legal advice. We do not guarantee that the contents of this website will be accurate, complete or up-to-date.

 


104 thoughts on “Defamation and blogging

  1. It would be nice to think that we could not even come close to being defamatory or libelous on this blog…but my own words at times sail awfully close to the wind, so this article is a timely reminder for us to gaurd our ‘P’s and ‘QWERTY’s!

  2. Ooohh!!!

    Touch not the Lord’s anointed, lest He, in His wrath, smite you where you stand!

    No? Then how about something like this?

    Touch not the Lord’s anointed, lest you be taken to court!

    LOL: Elijah called down lightning to consume the Lord’s enemies, but our current crop of crack super-pastors can only resort to calling their lawyers.

    Oh yeah, they’re really, really overflowing with the Spirit, aren’t they? They’re a pack of pusillanimous, preening powder-puffs – on the day of Judgement, when they get short shrift from God, are they going to threaten to sue him as well?

  3. Zorro – read the article – if what you say about people is true and you can prove it you have nothing to worry about – its just innuendo (and I’m sure you know about in your end, oh, that might be an innuendo).

    If anyone is being libeled or defamed they have an absolute right to seek redress through the courts – it says nothing about them as spiritual leaders to do so, but an awful lot about those who seek to hide behind anonymous keyboards slinging lies and yet not want to allow them to defend themselves…hmmm who then IS really overflowing with the spirit?

  4. Just wonderin

    Is calling the Pope the antichrist innuendo or defamation?

    What about calling the Catholic Church the Whore of Babylon?

    I was brought up watching Dave Allen shows. Very funny skits of the Catholic Church. If the Catholic Church sued internet sites for malicious slander and innuendo they’d have a field day.

    Is calling someone a heretic libellous?

    What about calling someone a God despiser?

  5. “Under Australian state laws, you (or your company) may be in the firing line of a defamation action if you have written material that has harmed the reputation of a person”

    Would that include God despiser?

  6. Zorro, overacting,
    Ooohh!!!
    Touch not the Lord’s anointed, lest He, in His wrath, smite you where you stand!
    No? Then how about something like this?
    Touch not the Lord’s anointed, lest you be taken to court!

    From the post,
    So this leads me to Australian law. Whilst there is a certain amount of liberty on blogs, and one hopes we are at liberty to not only express our views, but also be critical of others, including occasional insults and sledging (an Australian custom, whereby one person makes derogatory remarks about another in order to disarm them or intimidate them without resorting to physical violence, to put them off their game), there are also laws that prohibit defamation, libel or slander, which can carry penalties.

    Which leads one to believe that certain people either have an attention span deficit or do not understand plain English.

    The old chestnut ‘touch not the Lord’s anointed’ comes up once again. I think Bones used it last week for something.

    Yet I have never ever used this as a defence, on here or anywhere, nor will I since it has nothing to do with preventing anyone from raising critical issues with church leaders.

    The only people I have heard this from are ‘watchers’ who use it to embellish their complaints.

    As Greg aptly puts it, if Zorro has said nothing defamatory, or has evidence to back up what he has said, he has nothing to fear.

    Why should anyone have the right to slander anyone else with innuendo, unproven accusations or defamatory remarks without fear of sanction or action being taken?

    If people can’t exhibit self-control, as the Word advises, then they need to be asked to desist or face the consequences.

  7. By the way, the Catholic posts were always about doctrine and dogma not personal attacks. The information on the Borgias is well documented and not disputed.

    I think Bones was the only one to call Rome the Whore of Babylon from Revelation. I deliberately avoided referencing Hislop and stuck to Vatican papers readily available online, to demonstrate that there is plenty of self-condemnng evidence from their own pens.

    But what about slandering people who use pen-names, or remain anonymous?

    I don’t see how people using pseudonyms have much of a case of defamation against them personally when no one is supposed to know who they are.

    I mean, how can you exactly defame an anonymous person?

    How would I be defaming Bones or Zorro when they have no identity other than a blog mask? No one even knows who they are in real life.

    But slandering a known personality and their known business or ministry is quite another thing, even if you attempt to do so from the supposed security of blog anonymity.

    And before anyone pleads that their anonymity also protects them from being identified, it should be noted that moderators of posts have access to their emails, as do WordPress and the like, and some bloggers carelessly use their work ISP to make comments and reveal their true identity. Too late, mate. You’re known!

    That is why it is sometimes difficult to moderate a person with a particular bent towards insulting people and refrain from exposing them. Only those moderators with the best intentions and a high level of integrity are able to maintain self-control in this area.

    That’s why we should take off our hats to Greg and Bull, who have allowed much to go through to the keeper, even when they’ve been personally abused.

    Having had my details revealed, including name and ministry details, and, once, even a position put out on a blog when on a missions trip behind Muslim lines, by different people who ran blogs in the past, despite using a pseudonym, and asking for anonymity because of the Christian ministers who came under threat when my position was revealed, I know how unsavoury it can be when people lack the kind of probity required to acknowledge a person’s right to anonymity.

    So I decided I might as well be known rather than dobbed in once my ministry emphasis changed and use my actual name. But I don’t think we should abuse a person’s desire to blog anonymously. That is obvious.

    However, there are inconsiderate dogmatists and religious bigots amongst us who will stop at nothing to pull ministries down through constant false representation and exaggeration of what they consider fault-lines in a person’s character, theology or methodology. And they hide behind a mask of anonymity, not because they or people they minister to are at risk of anything, but so that they can hurl abuse and not have to face any consequences. That is truly cowardly.

    If their anger or indignation were temporary, or a part of a process to be worked through to bring healing or closure to their offence, then we would see that there isn’t much that needs to be done but to let them work through their issues, and even provide empathy and support, because often even the best intentions can lead to some kind of relational breakdown.

    But if the rage lasts for more than a reasonable length of time, and is public, bitter and continuous, or it is obvious that a person merely has a bigoted and opinionated view of the people they are attacking, then we have to take another look at what can be done to help them resist any unnecessary application of their angst in a negative, spiteful or destructive campaign which continues unabated without respite.

    That must be seen as both ungodly and denying Christ when it is amongst brethren.

    If, after several pleadings, or requests for evidence, or substantive proof, or warnings to desist, the protagonists reject any attempt at self-regulation, then surely we have no recourse but to turn to an external regulator with the power to provide some kind of intervention.

    WordPress, incidentally, has no policy regarding disclosure of details, and leaves it entirely at the discretion of the blog owner.

  8. @Steve

    “Who called who a God despiser”

    It was me, and I directed the comment to both Bones and Greg at various times. I will certainly put my hand up and say it was a stupid thing to say, but let me say that it was more rhetoric than an accusation on my part. The comment of course was based upon the ways that both Greg and Bones expressed their views regarding many things that I hold “sacred” so to speak, so it was a comment borne out of frustration. But, when it all boils down, it was not a nice thing to say about anyone here, and I most definitely apologise for saying it. Thankfully, past experience has shown that both Bones and Greg are gracious in accepting people’s apologies, and I know that when they apologise for the things they’ve said to us that they are sincere also. So, all good!

  9. Yes, Roundhouse, what sets people like Greg and Bons apart from the likes of Zorro is their willingness to apologise at times and accept an apology.

    Plus, even if others may think their assertions are wrong, they generally produce a reasonable alternative or argument for their case, and discuss a range of subjects.

    Zorro and his ilk are single-mindedly set on tearing down one or two ministries, no more and no less, without evidence, proof or apology. No matter what is said they will find ways to sleight their pet hates.

    And the fact someone like Zorro can express sarcasm with a degree of wit in no way excuses his determination to slander.

  10. All right, I see what’s going on. This is the opening salvo in what will be an escalating series of juvenile tit for tat exchanges. Well titted! Stand by for my upcoming tat.

  11. I’ll bet you are Greg.

    The problem with alleging defamation of church leaders, such as Brian Houston or Phil Pringle, is that you have to demonstrate that the words would lower their reputation in the community, causes people to avoid them or injures their professional reputation.

    These people have a very high reputation among their followers, but a very low reputation in the general community. The general community tend to avoid them anyway, and their is no concept of professional reputation for these people.

    So it would be very hard to defame them, in my view.

  12. { And the fact someone like Zorro can express sarcasm with a degree of wit in no way excuses his determination to slander. }

    You seem threatened by Zorro’s intelligence and too half-baked to know that’s why you are intimidated by him.
    I think that you have as much of a chance of being mates with Zorro as the Hubble telescope does of discovering at the center of every black hole is a little man with a flashlight searching for a circuit breaker.
    Perhaps there is just a little miss-understanding. NOPE . Galileo and the Pope had a little misunderstanding.
    And TATS TAT!

    { Zorro and his ilk are single-mindedly set on tearing down one or two ministries, no more and no less, without evidence, proof or apology. }

    Your frustrated search for an apology simply shows off your resentment.

    Greg,
    EYES 1 – Greg 1

  13. wazza
    The problem with alleging defamation of church leaders, such as Brian Houston or Phil Pringle, is that you have to demonstrate that the words would lower their reputation in the community, causes people to avoid them or injures their professional reputation.

    Not at all. You only have to make false allegations or innuendo. That is all it takes for it to become defamatory.

    Secondly it is the false reporting which creates the false impression in the community.

    If there is an issue with doctrine or methodology that is one thing, and we should all heartily discuss and debate such things freely, but the issues outlined in the post are far more than this.

    These are highly personal attacks on targeted people and those who attempt to support them in anyway.

    Eyes, your support for Zorro is touching.

    But if you can possibly agree with his aggressive method of slamming dawn any and all people who say anything whatsoever positive about those whom people like him accuse in an obsessive level, you are surely living in a blinkered world.

    You seem threatened by Zorro’s intelligence and too half-baked to know that’s why you are intimidated by him.

    If you consider Zorro’s sarcasm and use of a Roget’s intelligence you are demonstrating a lack of discernment. Anyone can be sarcastically rude to another person and use spine-tingling prose, but to label it intelligent is ignorance.

    Can you name one positive contribution Zorro has added to a conversation apart form making supporters of his seeming wit giggle? Has he given a single positive solution to the issues he seeks to expose?

    The only reason he hasn’t taken to you is that he sees you as a disciple rather than a person who sees through his unrelenting pride.

  14. By the way, it’s not just Zorro who has a problem with compulsive obsessive behaviour. The whole ‘watcher’ saga is completely consumed with its bombardment of singled out ministries and associated people.

    I think what they do hedges on harassment.

    Entire sites dedicated to tearing down people, lacking actual information so resorting to rumour, innuendo, supposition, self-opinionated insults and wrong doctrine utilised to expose perceived error.

    I tried to satirise c3churchwatch with c3churchwatchwatch, but I got bored with the whole process after a few weeks.

    There’s plenty of material to go for, but what’s the point? If you can’t see the obsessive nature of these sites, including group sects and the like, then you’re in trouble.

    I mean you really have to be dedicated to your obsession to maintain these totally negative sites.

    It’s creepy!

  15. “If you consider Zorro’s sarcasm and use of a Roget’s intelligence you are demonstrating a lack of discernment. Anyone can be sarcastically rude to another person and use spine-tingling prose, but to label it intelligent is ignorance.”

    Surely you cannot be intimating, Steve, that you consider me to be unintelligent? You must be aware that to publish such a contention in the public domain is fraught with risk: I may consider it to be defamatory.

    For bonus points perhaps you’d like to have a go at guessing what my IQ actually is (I’ll give you a hint: if you add Phil Pringle’s IQ to Brian Houston’s, and then double that number, you’ll be close).

  16. Intelligence quota means nothing if its application is flawed, Zorro.

    I may consider it to be defamatory

    You may? Who is ‘I’? Who are you? How could anyone tell? You’re, ostensibly, anonymous to the whole world. Being nobody, you have no social or reputable standing to sully. I don’t think it would stand up in court.

    All we see is a pseudonym slapping people around for fun.

    And no, I don’t find your level of sarcasm to display intelligence, not Christian intelligence or virtue, at least, only spite.

    Do you consider spiteful sarcasm an intelligent ploy for a Christian man?

    Besides, you have left enough evidence of your unwise, unkind behaviour for it to be plain for all.

  17. “Intelligence quota means nothing if its application is flawed, Zorro.”

    Phil Pringle has stated in the past that he doesn’t want “intellectual idiots” in “his” movement; one can only surmise that he prefers idiots of the common or garden variety (not that I would necessarily consider that to be a reflection on your intellectual capacity, Steve).

    Interestingly enough, Phil, in spite of his anti-intellectual inverted snobbery, is actually quite balanced: he has a chip on each shoulder.

  18. P.S.

    “Can you name one positive contribution Zorro has added to a conversation apart from making supporters of his seeming wit giggle?”

    “A merry heart does good like a medicine […]” Prov 17:22

  19. I don’t think he does chips, more of a well balanced diet, look after your health and fitness sort, but you probably need to cut down on the Pringles yourself.

  20. Zorro,
    A merry heart does good like a medicine

    I don’t think the context of that quite fits making ‘ornery friends laugh whilst you insult and demean others.

    I think people find you amusing more than funny because you ‘dare’ to speak evil of dignitaries on a public forum using very intense rudeness and horribleness.

  21. “Anyone can be sarcastically rude to another person and use spine-tingling prose […]”

    Anyone can do that, Steve? That would mean that you should be able to do it yourself. Would you care to give us a demonstration?

  22. I don’t have to stoop to your fathomless depths of dull abuse to get my point across Zorro.

  23. Snake oil aftershave? maybe that could be sold through the signposts website.

    Snake oil aftershave from Israel.

    Make that viper oil.

  24. Make a donation today to Zorro’s anonymous fund and he’ll give you a free bottle and a podcast of his latest rants.

    Guess his address accurately and you receive a year’s supply, plus his personally signed Roget’s Thesaurus of aggressive terms, and, there’s more, Zorro’s classic CD set on how to intimidate and insult anyone, anywhere, anytime, plus, there’s more, folks, a Zorro fake doctorate in name-calling to hang on your office wall. Personally authorised by Zorro, this constantly framed allegation award is must for all commenters on ‘watcher’ sites.

    But hurry. Offer ends today.

  25. “I don’t have to stoop to your fathomless depths of dull abuse to get my point across Zorro.”

    Come on, Steve; you’ve said yourself that anyone can do it. Don’t go all coy on us; don’t be hiding your light under a bushel – we know how blessed / anointed / gifted / powerful / chosen / intelligent / dynamic / creative / spirit-filled you C3 types are.

  26. You don’t actually get it at all, do you, Zorro?

    It’s not about how good or bad at anything you are. It’s about who Christ is and your relationship with him.

    There is no anointing, grace, power nor anything else without Christ, but with him all the attributes of the Holy Spirit come into play. The anointing, the grace, and the power are all of him.

    Without Christ we are nothing.

    He doesn’t choose the wise, noble or great. He chooses the weak, the base and the despised. Why? Because, then he gets all the glory.

    So it has nothing to do with intelligence, natural gifts, how many languages you know or even what your IQ is. We are nothing without him. All our own righteousness is like filthy rags. Our qualifications are pointless. Our reputation is useless.

    But, with him all things are possible to those who believe.

    It is his righteousness which perfects us. It is his holiness which purifies us.

    It also has zero to do with which church group or movement we may be involved with, since there is one Body, one Spirit, one baptism, one Lord and Saviour of all, and one Father with whom we all have to do.

    It matters nothing if you are of Cephas and I am of Apollos. Claiming either is carnality. The truth is that they are ours and we are Christ’s and he is God’s.

    The best way to be for your best life in Christ whether in blessing or in suffering, is to admit your weakness, poverty and need of the Saviour and Deliverer, repent, and be accepted in the Beloved.

    All else is pointless.

  27. “Zorro’s aftershave.”

    I guess that’s one comment that I’m prepared to cop on the chin.

  28. { It also has zero to do with which church group or movement we may be involved with, since there is one Body, }

    So which one do you pledge your allegiance to Steve?
    Given that there is only one body but many impersonating bodies.
    I say, deny one and follow the other.

    Christian- stands for Father.
    City – stands for Son.
    Church – stands for Holy Spirit.

    The 3 C’s of C3.

  29. “[God] chooses the weak, the base and the despised.”

    Quite true.

    Could you please tell us, then, is Phil Pringle:

    (a) Weak
    (b) Base
    (c) Despised
    (d) All of the above?

    “Our qualifications are pointless.”

    If that is true, could you please explain why Phil Pringle felt compelled to get a fake doctorate from a U.S. diploma mill? Could you please explain to us why so many of his prosperity pimp brethren are likewise “qualified”?

    “Our reputation is useless.”

    If you believe that – if you *really* believe that – then why have you posted an article rabbiting on about defamatory comments on blog posts? Surely such comments are of no import whatsoever if the reputation of those being discussed, is, in any case “useless”. Why on earth would anyone seek a remedy at law to protect something that is of no use?

    “It also has zero to do with which church group or movement we may be involved with […]”

    If that is true, why is it that at C3OF there is continual glorification of and glorying in the C3 “movement”? Why are such comments as “This is the best church in Australia” allowed to pass without comment? Why are they so obsessed with the number of those in their ranks?

    “It matters nothing if you are of Cephas and I am of Apollos.”

    Actually I belong to God and I listen to the Holy Spirit, it is you who hold a torch for those such as Phil Pringle, whom you have risibly designated as a “dignitary” (and here I was thinking that God is no respecter of persons – was I wrong about that?).

    “All else is pointless.”

    I think that if you can’t get your story straight, your posts are pointless.

  30. You know, sometimes, and just sometimes, the debates on here are good.

    Just when I thought Steve’s preaching had silenced the critics, then comes a point by point counter attack by Zorro which actually made sense.

    Need some popcorn….

  31. Actually, Zorro, I was pointing out your inability to grasp simple scripture.

    I was highlighting your personal pride in our own self-elevating capabilities as an obstacle to understanding basic truth.

    Defamation is an issue when the person slandering others is allowed to do so repeatedly, inaccurately, anonymously and harmfully.

    No one has actually sued you to my knowledge so it is not an issue, really, is it.

    I raised the subject because, firstly, I think in the future some people running blogs will be faced with litigation, and secondly, there is a high level of immorality to being allowed to defame a person, whether they respond or not.

    But how do you sue a cowardly non-entity, eh, Zorro?

    Your anonymity isn’t a matter of anything risky like a ministry or mission you are guarding, but self-interest and spite from a safe distance. It is your choice to hide behind a mask of insecurity.

    Why would anyone give you more than the scantest of attention or credence except to point out your insensitivity and lack of valour or honour?

    If you really had any balls you would have the true courage of your own convictions and speak in your own name, not some fictional character from the mind of a novelist.

  32. You seem to have a problem with aliases Steve.

    How do you know there not our actual names, like Steve.

    Maybe Zorro’s name is Zorro.

    Would that make any difference?

    When I talk to Q I know I’m communicating with a human being, not an entity from Star Trek.

    It doesn’t worry me if Q is actually a buxom transvestite named Michelle who’s actually taking the piss.

    (I like that image of Q actually. Come to think of it I’m going to imagine Q as a very attractive well built brunette.)

  33. “I’m going to imagine Q as a very attractive well built brunette.)”

    Female that is.

    I’m not like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

  34. “a cowardly non-entity”

    Hands up if you know who Ethel (Brian and Hillsongs defender number 1) from Group Sects is?

  35. No Zorro’s name is something else, as is yours and Qs.

    Mine is Steve, and it’s been known for sometime. I was ‘outed’ by Margot, RP and S&P, so decided to be myself instead of FaceL**t, which we still can’t use because its in constant banned mode.

    I’m banned everywhere else because I don’t agree with anti-pentecostal rubbish and they don’t like being faced with reason or dissent, so I use the odd pseudonym in protest, to demonstrate the folly of banning people for no more than disagreeing well, otherwise I’d be happy to be Steve.

    The difference with Zorro is his sustained attack on people from a masked position. It’s cowardly and shows no conviction.

  36. “If you really had any balls you would have the true courage of your own convictions and speak in your own name […]”

    A little touchy there, aren’t we, Steve?

    Your comment is reminiscent of one of Phil’s petulant outbursts, delivered as usual from the security of his pulpit and in the comforting presence of his loyal cronies, who can be relied to simper on cue as he indulges in unashamed character assassination of his opponents, all of whom are far better individuals than he will ever be.

    The spineless cowards in C3 who presume to call themselves pastors are quite willing to bully any amongst their charges whom they, in their infinite wisdom, deem to be recalcitrant. But they don’t like it so much when the blow-torch is applied to them, do they? Cross them to their face and they’ll toss you out on your ear – all to that most worthwhile end of “preserving unity”, of course. Yes, in their own eyes they are hairy-chested heavy-weights, but through the years they’ve assiduously avoided ever stepping into the ring by means of various schemes and devices, all of them cultic and controlling. It’s just too bad that the Internet has thrown a spanner in the works for them, and that they are not in control any more, isn’t it?

    “Actually, Zorro, I was pointing out your inability to grasp simple scripture.”

    That’s what you were trying to do, Steve. Sadly, all that you managed to accomplish was to make yourself appear an utter goose (again). Oh, and to give me the opportunity to highlight the heterodox nature of the C3 “movement”, even as the hypocrites who run it loudly proclaim their spiritual bona fides from the rooftops. Even Q, who was initially swayed by your “preaching”, was persuaded to change his mind by the validity of my reasoning, which is entirely Scriptural and is so simple that even a child could understand it.

    Better luck next time.

  37. { If you really had any balls you would have the true courage of your own convictions and speak in your own name, not some fictional character from the mind of a novelist. }

    Is that Oliver Twist, Steve???
    What are you going to do when you find out some more personal details about someone, Steve ?
    Are you going to start a, ZORRO WATCH BLOG ?

    Mind games to try and reveal someones true identity are often thwart with danger.

  38. { Mine is Steve, and it’s been known for sometime. I was ‘outed’ by Margot, RP and S&P, so decided to be myself instead of FaceL**t, which we still can’t use because its in constant banned mode. }

    Steve,
    Just in all good fun, if i told you who i was and who i worked for you would need many nappies for Bones.He would piss himself that much he would need Signposts02 Compo.(Nah ha ha ha ha!!!!!!1)

  39. I understand Steve’s frustration.

    It’s hard to attack someone and post ad homenum attacks when you’re not sure of who they are.

    When you post something Steve doesn’t like be prepared for him to attack your source.

    It’s not like he might be wrong.

  40. Attractive and well-built?

    Bones, you’re really flowing in the word of knowledge these days.
    And I thought you didn’t believe in that….

    You got it wrong with female though. Although I’ve been accused of being either female or gay by the way I write before.

    Anyway, I don’t know why anyone needs to out anyone.
    Let’s just all be pals!

    So, Steve, now I know that you’re actually ….Steve.

    I don’t really care who anyone is. In the end, probably most of you are married with kids. So that means we all have something in common.

    Problems! 🙂

  41. Gee, I can’t even remember why Facel name was banned.

    We should have a rule here about not letting the sun go down on our collective wrath. Wraths?

    I’d go crazy if I kept remembering or bringing stuff up from yesterday, or last week.

  42. When you post something Steve doesn’t like be prepared for him to attack your source.

    I often dont give the source, just make a quote and ask him if he agrees with it. This bamboozles him because if he doesn’t know the source – he doesn’t know if he should agree with it or not.

    But lately he’s been saying something non-commital and asking for more information as in this comment : https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/do-you-need-more-money/#comment-43261
    “I could see an argument for it, and others against it. “

  43. { So that means we all have something in common.

    Problems! }

    So does that mean i have no problems, Q .

  44. Good to see you again Wazza.

    Eyes, you’re single? Well, then that state has problems of it’s own.

    And on the subject of singles, I can understand how many older singles might find it hard in church life.
    (not saying you’re old).

    Suffice it to say, singles need more support in many churches.

  45. { I often dont give the source, just make a quote and ask him if he agrees with it. This bamboozles him because if he doesn’t know the source – he doesn’t know if he should agree with it or not. }

    All right i’ll give him one – and here it is,

    {{{{{{All right, I see what’s going on. This is the opening salvo in what will be an escalating series of juvenile tit for tat exchanges. Well titted! Stand by for my upcoming tat. –Dr. Sheldon Cooper}}}}}}

    http://www.sheldonshirts.com/sheldon-quotes/season-4/

  46. Poor old Steve. Don’t you guys ever feel sorry for him? He’s defending churches and people he is committed to.

    I think he does a great job. Though, I often wonder he’s some kind of official net PR man.

    Kind of like a digital defender of the faith.

    I think he deserves a stipend from C3 and Hillsong.

    At least a dollar a post!

  47. { Suffice it to say, singles need more support in many churches. }

    Singles, do need more acceptance in some churches in this day and age.
    There is no sin or shame in being single,in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
    Can you think of anyone named in the bible that was single?
    Much more support should be shown to orphans and widows in there affliction and need.: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.

  48. Eyes,
    What are you going to do when you find out some more personal details about someone, Steve ?
    Are you going to start a, ZORRO WATCH BLOG ?

    I already know who he is. He’s not worth a blog. I’m waiting for him to have the courage to say what he says as who he is so we can have a man to man discussion rather than a man to mask insult fest.

    At least he’s finally come onto a site where the adults talk, rather than waiting to pounce on first year CHC Christians over at the ‘watcher’ sites with pithy little put downs. I guess it’s safer, and there’s more darkness over there to shrink behind.

    I’m amazed at the amount of defence you are putting up for this week-kneed scoundrel, when most of you, apart from deeply enamoured disciple Eyes, have been shredded at some time by his relentless unchristian bitterness.

    I almost admire Bones for being so forgiving.

    Almost.

  49. Fair dinkum you blokes make me laugh sometimes; you really are a funny bunch.

    “Don’t you guys ever feel sorry for [Steve]?”

    Sometimes I feel the slightest twinge. I mean, it’s not like the real Zorro would have taken on an eight year old who was trying to defend himself with a cooking ladle.

    I’m sure that if Steve just got away from C3 for a while and relaxed on a beach with a good book, it would do wonders for his outlook and disposition. He does seem like a fairly rusted-on adherent, though.

  50. “Can you think of anyone named in the bible that was single?”

    Jesus?

    1 Corinthians 7

    “8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

    25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.

    32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

    36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.[c]”

  51. wazza,
    I often dont give the source, just make a quote and ask him if he agrees with it. This bamboozles him because if he doesn’t know the source – he doesn’t know if he should agree with it or not.

    You think I can’t find the source if I need to? Gosh, wazza, you’re less astute than I thought.

    Bamboozled! Goodness, bamboozled by wazza. Why? Because I gave an answer he wasn’t expecting. I think bamboozled is when you are stumped by the unexpected! Yes, that’s it! So wazza is checked by a comment which is unexpected and he thinks I am bamboozled! LOL!

    It wouldn’t occur to him, o course, that I gave the answer which I think reflects my view. No. It’s all a contest with wazza. Gotcha’s and tests. Probably sets the kind of IQ tests Zorro does freakishly well in!

  52. Bones,
    When you post something Steve doesn’t like be prepared for him to attack your source.

    If you’d be more selective with your sources you wouldn’t be caught out promoting dire error on such a consistent basis.

    I don’t attack your sources. I actually refute them with Biblical evidence.

    Soem of the sources you’ve used not only contradict what you say you believe, but contradict other sources you use.

    I’m ding you a favour by doing the research you should have done before you quoted them in some liberal cut’n’paste washout prunery.

  53. { I’m waiting for him to have the courage to say what he says as who he is so we can have a man to man discussion rather than a man to mask insult fest. }

    { a man to man }

    That seems like a physical threat.(Or an Australian taunt)
    Are you going to take him outside and beat him up, are you?

  54. Zorro the Secret Mouthpiece for the Hidden Watchers,
    A little touchy there, aren’t we, Steve?

    No at all. I’m merely telling it as it is. You do not have the courage of your convictions. You have no balls. No bottle. No will to be up front with your claims. Hidden in the depths of self-preservation and a safety switch which has no accountability.

    Then you follow this masked madman routine with an attack on people who are known, out front, readily identifiable and you have the gall to claim they ‘hide’!

    The hide of that is too ridiculous to contemplate.

    All gall no balls.

  55. Eyes, how about you read what it says and quote it as it is instead of following your master Zorro and misquoting?

    It says a ‘man to man discussion’. As in talking. As in being upfront about who you are so you have some credibility with what you say if you are going to fire fiery darts!

    Do you need glasses or something?

  56. C3=Command, Control, and Communication.
    Watch out for the c3churchwatchwatch.wordpress.com/ ,Blog.

  57. { As in being upfront about who you are so you have some credibility with what you say if you are going to fire fiery darts! }

    Still digging , Steve.

    Victory has defeated you, Steve!

  58. You see, wazza, your trouble, as with Bones and Zorro, is that you are so consumed with spite for C3 that you can only ever associate my thought processes, doctrinal stance, and methodology in the gospel with your own perception of what a C3 adherent might believe, think, do or say.

    That is such a narrow perspective t is laughable to say the least.

    It’s like saying all Anglicans would love to be under the pope! Or all catholics think condoms are of the devil! All your arguments are so futile because they absolutely stereotype people and cram them into some box of your own design, when time after time I have written things which completely smash your little tin box to pieces.

    Even Q, God bless him, thinks I comment here to defend a perceived set of doctrinal ideals associated with a certain clan. That is ridiculous. I don’t need to do that. I am a Christian, Of Christ. Not of Pringle! Not of Houston. I’ve only been to a Hillsong church once in my life, and that wasn’t in Sydney! I don’t even like their music style! I don’t work for C3. I attend a church because I like their vision and enjoy their company, and the pastor is a friend and a very perceptive teacher.

    But I’m first and foremost a Christian and hold to the truths I put up earlier, which even Zorro couldn’t argue with, and which completely demolished his own self-absorbed negatively single-mindedness, which you all seem to find clever, and support.

    I just think the attacks on these people are unrelentingly dishonest and preposterously deceptive in their blinkered perspective.

    My support s for the Body of Christ, for a positive outlook on Christianity, for working with the Church to develop it and grow it, and for working towards true unity within the Body of Christ.

    Not of these ‘watchers’ or critics are interested in this, and Zorro is their chief pit-bull gnashing against all forms of Christian virtue and unity.

  59. Eyes,
    Victory has defeated you, Steve!

    If I could work out what that even means I’d respond, but it’s a nothing statement.

    My victory is in Christ. In Him I cannot be defeated. To live is Christ, to die is gain. How can I lose?

    I wouldn’t know if you are in that victory. I don’t know you at all. You’re nothing to me because you choose to be. Can’t help that!

  60. Just watch the vid , Steve,

    Just wathchhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QkHIglq9TM8#t=69s

  61. Whatever, Eyes! I won’t bother actually.

    When you want to drop in a youtube, simply copy the url in the browser header into the comment on a separate line.

  62. What’s the difference between C3 and Hillsong music?

    Honest question. I don’t know much about c3 music.

    I assumed C3, Hillsong, Planet Shakers etc was all pretty similar.

    Not so?

  63. “Even Q, God bless him, thinks I comment here to defend a perceived set of doctrinal ideals associated with a certain clan.”

    Steve, it’s just that I’m truly amazed the way you have stayed here all this time. You are a born fighter, or a sucker for punishment, or something. I admire your dedication. Not many charismatics I know would put up with so much for so long.

  64. I haven’t listened to it recently, but I find Hillsong music a little bland and samey, lyrically and melodically, and often appealing to the more feminine side. Zorro secretly loves it!

    I like something with majesty and life, and theological accuracy with lyrical originality. Hillsong is still OK in the right setting though. Not a complaint, just personal taste.

  65. Funny, talking about songs with majesty and life …
    yesterday when people were talking about identities ..I remembered that one thing I knew was that Greg lived in Newcastle -which reminded me of a classic song I hadn’t heard in decades.
    It’s either called “The Newcastle Song” or Don’t you ever let a chance go by….something about sheilas and Hunter Street and normie and hell’s angels.

    Now there was a song full of meaning and insight.

    Now ….if any of you remember that song, we have even more in common!

    Actually sometimes the dialogue between Normie and the Hell’s angel is disturbingly similar to the debate here.

    So Steve. is C3 music more majestic?

    I’m a top of the pops guys myself. Love some hymns while others bore me to tears. And there is some great Hillsong’contemporary praise while most of the other stuff I can’t remember 5 minutes after I sing it.

    I like singable music more than what I call “concert worship”

  66. “often appealing to the feminine side”

    Yeah I hear ya. You sometimes don’t know if the guy on guitar and the goatee beard is singing a love song to Jesus or his babe in the first row.

  67. I’ve never really liked C3 music. I find it bland and often unscriptural. I also don’t think that a worship song should have the lyrics “ooooh oooh ooooooh” in them. Hillsong’s music is better on the ears than C3’s. Their melodies and hooks set them apart from many wannabe’s around the world, but some of their stuff is also bland and unscriptural. Unfortunately the entire Christian music scene, with some exceptions (Kari Jobe is an exception – she’s awesome. And cute too!), is pandering more to the tastes of the young audience than worshiping the King of Kings. Having said that, many of the best known and best loved hymns are also incredibly scripturally inaccurate. It’s a difficult choice really.

  68. “It’s either called “The Newcastle Song” or Don’t you ever let a chance go by….something about sheilas and Hunter Street and normie and hell’s angels.”

    I think Greg’s the Hell’s Angel guy in it.

  69. Hillsong’s Music under Geoff Bullock was heaps better. Songs like the Great Southland, You Rescued Me, The Power of Your Love were all relatively easy to play and sing and a great resource for all churches.

    Many churches were appreciative of that and overlooked Hillsong’s very dodgy theology.

    Most of their songs now aren’t like that and if your church doesn’t have a big band with musical experts you’d be flat out playing them. There’s no musical simplicity to them. And they show that they’re written by teenagers or people without much experience of anything except God is awesome.

    I doubt the Desert Song and the songs written since Geoff left would be sung at many other churches like Geoff’s.

  70. I’d have to agree with you about some of Geoff Bullock’s songs, Bones. A few majestic hymns there. But that was then!

  71. Okay, here’s my analysis. (and for what it’s worth, I could probably give my experience and credentials like you all do – but then I’d have to kill you!).lol

    I thought those two C3 clips were fantastic.
    Great music. Drumming, guitar work – and cool vocals. OH, and I liked the keyboard and strings too. Obviously, the lighting, camera work, smoke machines must cost a pretty penny – but so do stained glass windows and pipe organs!

    But really quality stuff. I have no doubt that the people on stage were doing everything right – singing to The Lord. And I’m sure that many of the people who were there were worshipping and praying, and I’d like to be there and be part of it – and I’m sure I could seek The Lord in that environment.

    So it’s all good, and I think there’s a place for events like that.

    But here are the problems for me.

    1. After watching that what could I remember or use in a small group or even a church of 50. I remember the girl singing “Come and remind me” dozens of times. (It was great musically and visually and probably a meaningful prayer). But, well – it was great to watch and listen to. The second one, I can’t remember at all – but he was a great singer, and I liked his phrasing etc.

    btw,those two clips really made me realize C3 can produce great music.

    2. I don’t really know why musicians are all lined up like that and their guitar work is displayed on screens. Why? Not wrong – but I just wonder why, and whether it brings anyone closer to The Lord or adds in any way. (But, I’m not saying it’s wrong or sin). Also, and this is just one of my weird totally unpopular thoughts. The Kingdom of God is light. I like the lights on. I realize that people are more comfortable in the dark, and maybe they can overcome shyness etc and it’s more like a rock concert so unchurched Harry can relate to it (and that’s also not wrong or sin). – but I prefer light over darkness. If we gather together for corporate worship as opposed to praying alone in the dark – why not have the lights on.
    And maybe there are many people who are uchurched Harry’s or churched Harry’s who would prefer the lights on. It’s a great show (in the good sense) , but I don’t think it has to be a show.

    3. I wonder if it’s possible to have a time of corporate worship that everyone from 7 year olds to 97 year olds can relate to and enjoy.

    My parents and 30 years ago my grandparents would never have stepped foot in a place like that.

    I undertand going for the youth (which is relative now in that most people under 70 grew up in the rock era starting with the Beatles).
    But, really -this style seems to be from teenage to 30’s ? 40?s

    Especially with that unique pronunciation of “me” – sounds like “mey” or “may” – is that standard young Aussie singing pronunciation?

    So, can the church in 2013 reach “all men”? Or not?

    Yes – I’m a serious guy, and I realize it’s pretty strange to analyze worship services.

    As unspiritual as I sound – I’d love to start a church one day – which is why I think about all this stuff.

    But, the music was great and I have no problem with people going to a church where the above clips are representative of the worship each Sunday. But it seems like what used to be a Saturday night youth service has become the normal Sunday worship service, and I’m not convinced that’s a good thing.

    In the end, we probably just need more churches that aren’t clones of Hillsong and C3 while accepting that Hillsong, c3 etc are doing great things.

    Jeez I hate being so long-winded. No wonder my wife falls asleep when I start talking.

    But thanks for uploading those clips.

  72. Interesting you mentioned “power of your love”

    If a song has great words and a singable and memorable melody, it will be popular all around the world. Whether it’s a hymn, or produced by Hillsong, C3 or the Signposts Singing Saints.

  73. “Especially with that unique pronunciation of “me” – sounds like “mey” or “may” – is that standard young Aussie singing pronunciation?”

    In Yuppiesville and latte sipping territory like Bondi it is. That’s not how they talk in the country or at Redfern.

  74. I’ve been to a few of Geoff Bullock’s seminars. I always found him unpretentious and liked the way he explained his songs and how his seminars were geared to just worship. I have heaps more respect for him now.

    We now get these worship experts (young kids usually) coming up from the city telling us how and where to stand, which guitar lick to use, which video setting, smile more, move around more, which latest gadgets to use and how they are just awesome.

    We even had people come in and evaluate our worship team.

    F**k me, just give me a guitar.

  75. Actually, that is pretty sweet choral work by that group.
    Not easy to get 15 singers to sound like that.

    @Bones – really?

    Btw, you and Greg both spoil many of the good things you say by ending with the F word.

    (yeah, I know I know…it’s not as important as feeding the poor)

    Just saying. Think of me as an old Uncle whose on your side.

  76. @Q

    One of my main criticisms of C3 is that it appears to be always aiming to remain relevant to the under 30’s. I guess there’s nothing really wrong with that, but I cannot help thinking that the older ones get left behind or ignored.

  77. I absolutely love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal site and would love to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Kudos!

  78. @Roundhouse.

    That’s a trend all over the world. And I don’t think it’s good. It’s also troubling because many populations have aging populations.

    I realize that statistically people become Christians easier at a young age. BUt in terms of going into the world and preaching the gospel and making disciples etc, there’s an awful lot of people who aren’t being reached, and who are purposely ignored.

    And there’s also the strange thing that churches nowadays seem to be full of super young people pastored by old guys pretending to be super young.

    I often wonder about evangelicals who strongly believe in eternal judgement. The old folks who are closest to death are the most under-evangelized people in the world.

    Of course these people won’t travel far to go to a church, and they don’t offer their evergy in service.

    I feel like the church tries to be so relevant but it’s always only relevelant to the young ones.

    So, here’s a call to everyone (and me) to go out and minister to the old as well as the young.

  79. Those Hitler things are great.

    The more you watch, the more you realize how good the acting is.

    I just hope young people actually know who Hitler was.

  80. arł aż do ziemi, spojrzał. Była to zardzewiała, żelazna rękawica, Napoleon w której tkwiły jeszcze wyschnięte palce także
    nadgarstek. Przeto zdarzenie ktokolwiek próbował,
    pomyślał dopiero co. Nie proch terminu na roz.

  81. “Zorro – read the article – if what you say about people is true and you can prove it you have nothing to worry about”

    Er… apart from the costs of a successful defence. Out of pocket costs in NSW are apparently at least $20,000 for a successful defence in the most obvious cases.

    Cost of proving that a person was convicted of an offense can be very high, even if it’s in all the newspapers in the country. Court transcripts are $11 a page in the NSW District court.

    It gets worse if someone is convicted in 2013, you write about cases like that giving examples in 2014, the conviction is quashed in 2015, and you get sued for an archived copy from 2014 based in Brazil in 2020.

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