Why I Closed the Watchman's Cry forum.
(Before I begin, I would like to stress that Our Ministry is alive and well. This recent move has to do with the Forum, not our ministry!)
As of March 11, 2012, Watchmans Cry Forum has closed its doors.
This decision has come with much sadness to me. It was not a decision that was made on a spur of the moment. I have wrestled with it for over a year. But the time finally arrived.
I prayed and asked God for His permission and He gave me the clearance several weeks ago. So, it is now closed. And I would like to explain why this came about.
In my explanation, I will only be able to give limited information because I am not going to mention names or slander anyone. (Doing this goes against scripture.)
I will try to be as brief as possible, but I also feel that these things need to be shared because it appears that a large portion of the Body of Christ is experiencing an ailment.
This ailment is a sickness that must be addressed. Otherwise, the infection will be allowed to fester unchallenged and will continue to contaminate God’s people.
As you read these words, I ask that all of you please read it from the perspective of self examination. Please allow these words to give a challenging look into the mirror that we all possess but rarely desire to peer into.
Also, I must include that as you read this;
As I write these words, I find myself facing a season of sorrow. The human side of me has wished that I did not have to close my forum. But wishes are only fulfilled in children’s fairy tales. And this is real life. Unfortunately, in real life, there are real people to contend with.
Real people populate the church and they also populate internet land. When there is an assembly of real people who gather in a forum, the results are always unpredictable.
Humans are unpredictable. Christians are also unpredictable.
This is why we as Christians must strive to live and act according to what we read in the Scriptures. Because left to our own devices, man is very evil and wicked in his natural thinking.
And men left to their own devices will be a disappointment many times!
This is why God dedicates a large portion of the Scriptures admonishing us and explaining to us how to behave with one another.
The Bible gives us the “Rules of Engagement”:
I could go on, but you get the picture. As you can see from the list above, it is evident that these admonitions are only proved with action, not just words.
Talk is cheap. And talk is also the flaming torch that gets so many people into trouble. As James says, that tiny muscle in our mouth can do so much damage; It can kill. It can murder and it can maim. My friends, I have witnessed the mayhem and shrapnel of unbridled tongues.
Shall I go on? I really do not want to, but I must.
In a perfect Christian world, one would hope that all forum members were; decent, safe, stable, trustworthy, and loyal to one another.
When I first began, I thought that having a forum would mean that everyone would try their best to behave and get along with one another. I assumed that since I had a “Christian forum,” all members would be honorable and mature in their postings.
I assumed wrong!
What I found was that for some reason, when people are behind a computer screen, there is a tendency for some to disregard how their words sound, even when they were insulting to others.
I also learned that if people were misbehaving and were challenged or admonished on their misbehavior, the results would many times, be unpredictable.
Sometimes people would apologize but more than 50% of the time they would get angry. At times they would respond in a manner that would be vindictive, explosive, vulgar and vehemently self justified. Some would display a militant religious posture of self righteousness and assurance. Some would respond with the old “Who do you think you are to say such a thing to me”?
Of course there was also the other category, the pleasant responses of sincere apology and humbleness. These pleasant responses were in the 40-50% range.
Whenever any of those in the first category answered rudely and uncaring, we quickly learned that they had no intention of being a friendly member of our forum.
So unfortunately, after examination we would have to ban them.
There were also other reasons for banning people; “being rude, name calling, insubordinate attitude to the moderators, insulting the forum or this ministry…
…Insulting the forum or this ministry…to the extreme libertarian, this statement or offense may be defended or placed in the “freedom of speech” category. But the forum was never meant to be an exclusive political haven where there are “no holds barred.”
The dream of desiring non-censorship in a forum may sound pleasant. But it could only be accomplished in a perfect world where people understand manners and boundaries. Unfortunately, in the present culture of the new millennium, chivalry and social graces appear to have been forgotten. The boundaries of self control have also become a lost art.
Most of you can attest to this. Just look at the regular headlines of violent acts in America; Road Rage! Random Shootings! Gang Violence! Etc.
The ones that would bark, “What are you looking at?” to an innocent bystander are the ones that are now joining forums.
It also appears that some with unrefined or unredeemed attitudes are the newbies that have joined forums like Watchman’s Cry.
People, People, People!
And here was the challenge. A forum cannot exist without people. A church cannot exist without people. A ministry cannot exist without people to minister to.
Therefore, it pained me each and every time a member started behaving recklessly within the forum.
The reason for the pain was that, as a minister of the gospel, my main objective is to produce messages that will feed God’s people. My other motivation is to challenge the lost prodigals to return to God.
The greatest blessing and reward in this ministry, is when I receive a letter or an email that tells me that our sermons have helped someone to return to God from a backslidden state. The inner reward that this has on my spirit is tremendous!
Conclusion: I have an inner passion and desire that people would hear the messages that God gives me to share.
But when some of these same people would come into the forum, it would frequently occur that they would find themselves in a “scuttle or tiff” with other forum members. If I saw that they were offending others, I would unfortunately have to say something and I did not want to do this.
If my communication with them deteriorated to the point where I had to ban them, I especially hated it.
My friends, please try to hear me when I say this - “Unless you were in my shoes, which involved producing sermons to minister to people and then included having to correct someone in a forum, there is no way you can know how it feels.”
There are many things that go on behind the scenes when running a forum. There are private messages exchanged. There is a private effort to try to resolve issues.
And there is also the unfortunate event that would often occur when I had to ban someone.
Sometimes, the person in question would become angry that they got banned (even after our appeals) and at times these same individuals would go off into internet land and proceed to rip this forum and ministry apart. They would say things like;
According to the accusations from the angered ex-members, it would appear that I was likened to a mad scientist who would say to myself with hideous laughter, “Great! I get to destroy another victim by banning them!”
Folks that is nonsense! As I stated at the beginning, humans are unpredictable.
Over the course of almost three and one half years, we had hundreds and hundreds of forum members come through. It turned out that some of those that joined were not who they said they were.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the course of our existence, we had imposters who joined this forum. We had:
Donna and I tried our best to screen those that were undesirable. But even with our efforts, some slipped through and joined.
And here is where it gets interesting. It appears that those that were less than candid entered the forum under the radar and become a part of the fellowship. Over the course of time, they would develop relationships with others and convince the others that they were legitimate.
But also over the course of time, I would begin to see that they were not as pure as they first appeared. Sometimes I would get complaints about these types in private. I would receive private messages about them detailing their non Christian behavior and attitude.
So in trying to be as fair and tactful as possible, I would patiently observe them. I would pray about them. I would seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance.
Again folks….(for the doubters out there)…..I know how to get a hold of God! I can also hear His voice! I have a prayer chapel where I spend a lot of time seeking His guidance.
And here is the part that is interesting….Some of those on the forum who became poisoned or disenchanted with this ministry, would listen to whispers that stated:
The whispers and gossip were made by individuals who by their very actions exhibited a lack of the Fruit of the Spirit! But still, their whispers were believed over the track record and ministerial fruit that follows the Watchman’s Cry Message.
When I say “fruit” I am not talking about the forum. The fruit of the forum was the sum of its parts. The parts assembled by the members.
The real fruit of Watchman’s Cry is the message that is produced in our audios.
But getting back to those that slipped through the cracks. I tried to screen, but the internet has its limitations.
Also, it appears that some would join with good intentions. Some people that joined did have a relationship with Christ. In fact, I would say that many of them did. If you are reading this hopefully you are in this group.
But even with well meaning Christians, things do happen. And in this mix we had:
And also unfortunately we had:
The Common Factor - Undone!
The common factor with all that are mentioned is also the factor that is least discussed in today’s remnant community, and it is this, all of us are 100% undone Christians!
Undone folks! That is one of the foundational core themes of Watchman’s Cry Ministries. We are all undone and there is only one remedy, a true and real relationship with Jesus.
This can only be accomplished by;
On top of the things mentioned above, there must be a realization of how important it is to have “Rules of Engagement.”
What are the Rules of Engagement? In simple terms, it is the exhibition of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The list of the fruit of the spirit can be found in Galatians Chapter 5 as well as in other places of Scripture.
The first fruit mentioned in the list is "Love." What does this mean? Is it a word that should be used without thought?
Apparently it is.
I have seen this word used as an introductory comment right before a Christian slices and dices another person to shreds. I have seen this word used as the garnished signature to justify mowing down and betraying other brethren, i.e.- I am griping you out and betraying you, but I do love you.
Folks, I am not talking about the verse that says, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love,” I am talking about the display of open slander, hatred and gossip that tries to disguise and justify itself under the umbrella of love.
It says in Romans Chapter 12, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” What does this mean? It means if you are going to love ...then do it, but do not say it and do something else. It means don't be a fraud, or a backstabber. Because to do so according to the scripture means that we are being "hypocrites!"...OUCH huh folks?
Unfortunately it appears that many of God’s people have not done their homework. As a result God’s people are plagued with Biblical illiteracy.
The New Testament spends a very large portion, telling us to love one another. To treat each other with kindness, not to gossip, not to slander, not to curse one another, To be loyal to one another, so that the world will know us by our love.
The unfortunate plague that I have witnessed on my forum is that many of God’s people have no loyalty to one another. Smear campaigns about the brethren seem to attract more people than campaigns of prayer. Gossip and slander campaigns seem to attract people more than studying the scriptures.
When Jesus was on Earth, He was tempted by Satan, and get this folks, Jesus prayed more than we will ever pray. But still, He was tempted by Satan.
If Christians are not praying, what sort of deception can infect us?
Allow me to share what I witnessed, what I witnessed was not the result of people fasting and praying. What I witnessed was unfortunately the result of non-praying Christians who allowed themselves to be bewitched by the whispers and lies of the powers of darkness.
Time and again, I witnessed forum members betraying one another.
I witnessed them betraying Watchman’s Cry Ministries.
Once offended, I witnessed them betraying Nathan and Donna Leal.
I witnessed them back biting, slandering one another, gossiping, spreading tales,and the interesting result in all of this was that those who listened to the whispers, allowed themselves to be swayed.
(Sidenote* - Slander and Gossip and spreading discord "talebearing" are abominations to God. Proverbs 6 )
People spoke slander and gossip about me but instead of contacting me to hear my side, it was decided by the jury of the flesh that Nathan Leal had been tried and found guilty.
Who are "They"?
Matthew 24 tells us that in the end times, “many will betray one another.” In the past, I always wondered who “they” were. I have now learned who “they” are.
"They" is the person sitting next to you at church. Or it could be that other person that is logged into the forum that you are chatting with. “They” could be the person that you met online that sends you regular emails with the signature, “I love you!”
And here is the scary part; “they” could be the person staring back at you in the mirror.
To betray another person does not mean that you have joined a witch’s coven.
“They” are those that simply either forgot or refused to operate with the fruit of the spirit. “They” are those that did not read the Biblical admonition against gossip and slander. "They" are also those that find it hard to forgive.
Ladies and Gentleman, right now the remnant of God is infected with a plague. It is a plague that is destroying relationships and bewitching the Saints of God.
It did not only occur on my forum. I have seen it happen in many forums and even in churches. There is an infection of critical / self righteous / judgment in today’s remnant community.
I can imagine that by now some of you reading this are angry at these words but this diagnosis is true. And it is only the truth that can set us free.
Am I angry about this? I am not angry folks, but I do find myself disappointed. But the remedy is not just to remain disappointed. The remedy is to counter this plague with the Word of God.
Therefore, I am realizing that I need to address this weakness in the body of Christ with sermons of instruction and challenge so that we can fix this mess in our lives.
As long as I had the forum, I was allowing an atmosphere that enabled this ailment to continue.
This is why I had to shut it down. Because there is much work to be done in our lives. We are all undone. If you were honest with yourself, how many are spending more time on the computer reading forums and blogs than time spent reading the Word of God?
How does your prayer life match up in comparison to the time you spend reading the words of men or posting your opinions? Only you can answer this question.
So that’s it folks!
An explanation of why I had to shut down the forum. In the future, I plan to release many in-depth audio sermons and Bible studies to prepare all of us to hopefully be able to pass the coming exam; The exam that will find us standing before Jesus.
My prayer is that all of us will be able to hear the words, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
My friends, I hold no ill will or bitterness towards anyone, the past is the past. Let us all move forward in God’s grace instead of in God’s disappointment.
God Bless you,
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