Phil Johnson, Tony Miano, Grace Community Church and Public Rebuking for Bad Public Behavior
Last week, I posted this article, Open Air Preacher Tony Miano’s Insensitive Tweets after Nepal Earthquake Disaster, after Tony Miano sent out this tweet:
There was an enormous negative response on Twitter directed towards Miano from Christians and non-Christians alike.
Tony Miano has let it be known many places that he is under Grace Community’s authority. Miano mentions it here on his blog:
“As my family and I seek membership at Grace Community Church, I will also seek to bring myself and my ministry as an evangelist/open-air preacher under the authority and accountability of my pastors/elders. How long this will take, what processes will be involved, and exactly what all of this will look like will be determined by the elders of Grace Community Church. (Source)”
If Tony Miano is under the authority of Grace Community, does Tony Miano’s words and behavior represent Grace Community? Do the leaders at Grace Community Church endorse his behavior?
A response eventually came from Grace Community’s Phil Johnson on his personal Facebook page:
A couple of recent incidents compel me to say this:
Romans 12:15 says, “Weep with those who weep.” The immediate context is about how we should treat unbelievers, including overtly hostile unbelievers. Natural disasters, funerals, memorial services, and other times of grief are not appropriate times for strangers to stand on the sidelines with a megaphone and broadcast a message of damnation. That’s the spirit of Westboro, not the Spirit of God.
I was grateful for the response and tweeted about it here. The tweet includes my words on top and the screenshot of Phil Johnson’s Facebook comment below:
When looking through the comments on Phil Johnson’s Facebook wall, however, I saw someone asking a very legitimate question and comment:
“Am I correct that at one point, Tony Miano was, if he is not still, a member at Grace Community Church? At least he advertises that he is accountable to the elders at GCC. This is not the first incident with him. Is there some sort of church discipline for this kind of stuff? And if he is no longer a member, then maybe there needs to be a public distancing between the two parties, in the same manner that he publicized going there. “
This is something that we have been wondering here for some time as we have observed Tony Miano’s public behavior. I tweeted the comment (using a screenshot taken from my cell phone):
(It’s important to note that the above comment was removed from Johnson’s Facebook page.)
But it is the response to that tweet from Phil Johnson that gave me pause. I’ve included the entire Twittter conversation. I’ve heard Phil Johnson is John MacArthur’s right-hand man. I have seen him use his position to speak publicly for Grace Community and/or John MacArthur.
That’s the spirit of Westboro, not the Spirit of God. ~Phil Johnson
I’ve seen Johnson publicly call out Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, etc. But . . . crickets . . . . when it comes to naming one in his own flock who behaves like Westboro? What gives?!
To say that someone is behaving in “the spirit of Westboro, not the Spirit of God” is a very serious conclusion to make about someone who is a member of your congregation – – and you are a shepherd.
But take a look at how Johnson feels free to publicly rebuke me, not a member of his church:
Interesting. Phil Johnson is not my pastor and he publicly rebuked me. Tony Miano insists that he is under the authority of Grace Community, but even after Johnson’s Facebook note appeared on April 27, Miano apparently did not get the memo from Johnson (notice the dates):