For a number of years until mid-2012, the Rev. David Heron, formerly of the Diocese of Durham in the Church of England, maintained a number of blogs, first in his own name and then subsequently one purporting to be written by yours truly, which attempted in various ways to counter and detract from the Christian message I tried my best to publish on my own, legitimate blog. That conduct by the Rev. Heron was actionable under the laws of England, and I am pleased to report that the Rev. Heron has now issued the following formal apology:
The Rev. Heron also provided a personal undertaking, which need not be published at this time, so long as he maintains it.
The settlement also reimbursed all costs incurred in pursuing the matter, and added a contribution of £1000 to The Cybersmile Foundation, a cyberbullying charity “committed to tackling all forms of online bullying and hate campaigns”.
Given this resolution, for which I am indeed grateful, I emphasise the following:
- It would be wrong not to take the Rev. Heron’s apology at face value. He has now in public open court accepted full responsibility for his actions and apologised for them. He has admitted that he deliberately impersonated me and did so and maintained a previous blog with the express intent to harass me. I take him at his word that his admission and apology are genuine and sincere.
- I forgive, without condition, the Rev. Heron for what he did. Christians are always people ready to forgive (Matt. 18:21-22) since we know what it is like to be forgiven ourselves. There is no slander that the Rev. Heron has spoken against me that is comparable to my own former rejection of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, and he who is forgiven much loves much and forgives much himself (Luke 7:41-43). He stands ready to forgive at all times (Matt. 18:21-22), and is pleased to forgive once the proper process set out by Jesus has been completed (Matt. 18:15-20).
- There is great wisdom in the process set out by Jesus in Matt. 18:15-20 to deal with sin by another Christian and I have found it to work perfectly in this case. The Church of England has an excellent process to “tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17). If this internal, Christian-to-Christian process fails to resolve a civil wrong, then secular courts become the proper place to pursue these matters, as Jesus Himself advises (Matt. 18:17).
- Every discussion of the sin of others ought to finally bring us to repentance about our own sin (Psalm 139:23-24). The end result of reading this ought to be that we all consider where our language about others and our treatment of them has not been what it should be. The Lordship of Christ demands godliness in the Church – that godliness is exhibited both in our language about others and in our own willingness to accept full responsibility for our own sin where it is pointed out to us.
I’ve left comments open on this thread but please be very wise about what you write.