Todd Friel Claims There’s “Not a Word” in the Bible about Fighting Injustice for the Oppressed


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8



Admin note: WordPress is the service I use for this blog. They have a new formatting feature I’m using on this post. Because the post is predominantly tweets, I have posted my words in the blocks with the golden background so they can more easily be seen. ~ja 

Todd Friel Wretched Oppression

This happened on Twitter.

Todd Friel. This guy is a respected Christian leader on Wretched.org and is on  “Wretched TV and Radio.”  

What a name: Wretched. You know what he’s talking about, right? He’s referring to us as wretched. Think of the hymn, Amazing Grace:  

     Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

I am shaking my head at this tweet:

***

Thank goodness a voice of reason responded. Jacob Denhollander is the husband of Rachel Denhollander, the wife/mom/attorney who was largely responsible for sending Dr. Larry Nassar, the pedophile who sexually abused hundreds of girls. 


***

So, why do you think Todd Friel would (apparently) be against justice for the oppressed? Does it have anything to do with how he views us  – as wretched?  

What do you suppose domestic violence survivors or sexual abuse survivors would have to say about this?

Todd Friel, Social Justice Warrior, Wretched, Oppressed

21 comments on “Todd Friel Claims There’s “Not a Word” in the Bible about Fighting Injustice for the Oppressed

  1. I have been looking for an expository sermon on Ezekiel 16:49-50 from a conservative reformed preacher forever.

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

    I asked Phil for it, and he couldn’t help me.

    Why? Could that be because it fails to serve the conservative Evangelical obsession with homosexuality? Here is a verse that states explicit reasons for the destruction of Sodom. Let’s break this down. The sin of Sodom consists of:

    -arrogant
    -overfed
    -unconcerned
    -not help the poor
    -not help the needy
    -haughty
    -detestable things.

    I suppose “detestable things” could have been homosexual acts, but not only is that a stretch, but even if it is, it is the last on the list. If this isn’t an agenda and selecticity driven theology, I don’t know what is.

    Todd, if you are reading this, let’s hear an hour expository sermon through these to verses. No, don’t skip straight to “detestable things” like this page does. The omission is so blatant and deceptive that it is almost comical.

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  2. Having just sat through a series on 1 Peter, seeing as Friel refers to this in his tweet (chap. 5), is it possible he means Christians not expecting justice from those persecuting or oppressing them in the society around them? Not to fight back but leave it to God? Persecution and suffering are a major theme in Peter’s writing (chaps 3 and 4).

    I watch very little of Friel. That said, and I don’t want to be too mean to him, but his show sometimes borders on being so awful that it becomes compulsive viewing, if you know what I mean.

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  3. I expect that people who say there’s no call to fight for justice would say that Jesus’ sermon in Luke 4 is speaking solely to the spiritual aspect of life. If that were true (it’s not), then all his healing ministry and his cautions against treating people unfairly would seem quite odd.

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  4. Julie Anne, I believe that Friel says “not a word about fighting injustice” in 1 Peter 1-5 (or maybe he’s referring to the entire Bible) is because he views us and himself as ‘wretched’.

    If I were a survivor of domestic violence or sexual abuse I would say, “Todd Friel, God and His Son Jesus have plenty to say about fighting injustice. You’re negating our experiences as not being valid. You probably see the world only through the eyes of a male who thinks that only men can lead, that women and girls are weak and wretched and don’t need to be taken seriously. Why fight injustice since as a successful and respected Christian leader, you seemingly have it made and haven’t personally suffered injustice? My prayer for you if you have a wife and daughters &/or granddaughters is: “”Oh Lord’ may Todd Friel develop empathy toward those who are oppressed and suffering injustice before it’s too late. Guide him to see the truth.”

    I personally haven’t experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse, but I believe those survivors I know would think or say what I said above.

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  5. KAS, “is it possible he means Christians not expecting justice from those persecuting or oppressing them in the society around them?”

    Maybe, but I would be concerned how many victims of sexual abuse within the church have to submit to oppression from people who are, before and after, held up as model Christians. In that case, one would expect him to say that sexual abusers ought to be kicked out of the church first, and then and only then should their victims expect to see injustice.

    I was recently reminded how poorly the church has responded to the injustice faced by victims, and I think it must come down to some aspect of theology, or more likely some cultural baggage that has gotten baptized with prooftexts, but is taught throughout the church as the Gawd-ordained-truth(TM).

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  6. As a survivor I think this kind of thinking helps such men justify their lack of action putting a “spiritual spin” on their cowardice. In my case such a pastor used the worm theology to explain that it didn’t matter what abuse my Elder husband had done because we are all wretches. (sin leveling).

    You have to have a large filter to strain out all the references to helping the needy, oppressed and vulnerable-the kind Jesus most often sought out. Surely He should have just let them keep stoning the woman caught in adultery (all by herself, not a man involved, yep!)

    Ps. 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

    To love an abused person means to take action. Otherwise you are indicted by James where action is a sign that we have had a heart change to look more like the Lord.

    The wretched/worm theology is destructive. It is almost as if Jesus didn’t actually give us new life. Same old desperately wicked hearts-not inherent incalculable worth being made in the image of God and no practical impact from the work and presence of the Lord in the lives of those whose hearts are His. I reject that strongly as it has destructive fruit. I see much arrogance in the “wretched man” camp which is so ironic. When the theology sees women as less than creature (not in words always but in practical living), it is even easier to not take action. But bring accusations about a man and you will see a concern for justice and a desire to protect in a big hurry!

    Friel has many compatriots, unfortunately. Smug in their doctrinal positions, hurrying past the wounded person on the way to important church work. Sanctimonious in their position as male leaders refusing to use their power for good.

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  7. Joshua posted this on the SSB Facebook page and I thought it was really good:

    “To take an honest stand as a Christian in the midst of the world is a far cry from just being a jerk. Too many Christians get these two distinctions confused.

    Christ offended because he crossed over the boundaries of resentment with compassion. Christians like this fellow go out of their way to offend in order to keep those boundaries in place. There’s no compassion of Christ in that.”

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  8. Hi Gideon (or is it Jordan),

    I might have agreed with you if it weren’t for the fact that he also posted this:

    It looks to me that he is trying to show that there’s nothing in the Bible about fighting injustice.

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  9. It looks to me that he is trying to show that there’s nothing in the Bible about fighting injustice.

    It does to me as well. Calling it the ‘biblical’ response and all that.

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  10. It looks to me that he is trying to show that there’s nothing in the Bible about fighting injustice.

    I think that is his implication, clearly, from the way he worded the tweets, staring with what is ‘biblical’ followed by ‘not a word about tearing down the oppressor.

    Although I would ask what that even means…is confronting them supposed to be out? Telling the truth about them? Kicking them out of church saying they are consigned to hell? Prosecuting them? I think he leaves it wide open on purpose to rule all of them out, and that is clearly not ‘biblical’.

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  11. Jesus often talked about the importance of justice… especially in relation to the failure of the Pharisees, as spiritual leaders, to care for the people. Luke 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

    From my point of view, using “Wretched” as their title shows that their focus is inward on themselves… sort of bragging on their humility. Instead, Christians should be focusing on Jesus and his amazing redemption!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mary – I call that the humble brag. CJ Mahaney wrote a book on humility, yet practically bragged about how much of a sinner he was. But those who knew him said he wasn’t humble, but proud.

    As you were talking about Jesus and justice, it reminded me of the millstone verse.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Todd Friel Claims There’s “Not a Word” in the Bible about Fighting Injustice for the Oppressed

    How Convenient, My Dear Wormwood.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. @JulieAnne:
    As I understand it, in the original Hebrew the word for “Righteousness” always has a linked meaning of “Bringing Justice”. In English the two words are completely separate; Righteousness means How Spiritual and Godly I Am, nothing more.

    “My Dear Wormwood:
    I refer you to my previous Epistle on Semantics, specifically the redefinition of words into their “diabolical meanings”.
    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

    Liked by 1 person

  15. One wonder if Pastor Friel is aware that there is plenty of scriptures in the bible about oppression.

    Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”.

    Psalm 72:4 “May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!”

    Psalm 146:7 “Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free”

    . Zechariah 7:10 “Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

    Proverbs 14:31 “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him”.

    There is several other bible verses about oppression as well. I haven’t listened to Mr. Friel’s sermons and don’t know what he is trying to say. Does he mean that Christians shouldn’t fight injustice but leave it in God’s hand? If that were the case it would be quite easy for someone like Pastor Friel to say since he’s likely experienced oppression himself nor has his loved ones. It’s not just about gender about also about race as a white male. There are plenty of people who experience oppression in this country and in other countries simply because of their race, gender, religion, nationality, social class etc. Also sex abuse and rape survivors within the church whether female or male. I agree with others that part of loving and submitting to one another in our reverence for Christ is sticking up for those have or suffering some form of oppression and fight against any injustice done to them. God Bless.

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  16. I am innately suspicious of anyone who headlines their website or ministry, “Wretched”. He has tweeted since, “If you were annoyed with my social justice tweets, please listen to my one hour response on radio. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” I don’t think I can listen to this. Has anyone else? Also, at the end of Julie Anne’s post above are the large words, “Todd Friel, Social Justice Warrior, Wretched, Oppressed ” – I can’t see these on his Twitter handle – anyone know where these are from?

    Like

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