When A Pastor Spins A Yarn

Several days ago, Christopher J. Gordon, pastor of Escondido United Reformed Church and host of Abounding Grace Radio, published an article titled “Reaping the Woke Church We Have Sown.” In this provocatively titled article, Gordon writes:

The Christianity of our day is full of teachers attempting to fuse Christianity with the larger utopian project of solving all of the world’s injustices, on their terms. The result is a new brand of American church, wedded together with the theology of wokeness. It’s a really bad union.

This is not Gordon’s first foray into the conversation about issues of justice, racism, and the church’s responsibility. In addition to other articles he has written warning about the dangers of “wokeness” and “social justice warriors,” he directly messaged me back in 2017 over Facebook messenger after I had written an article for White Horse Inn about the need for Christians to address the racist and White supremacist events in Charlottesville.

The message exchange began with what seemed to be a minister of the gospel showing theological concerns over my article. Gradually, it became clear what his real concerns were.

This You?

Some folks seem to be unfamiliar with what a “This You?” meme is. As Know Your Meme explains, “This You? or Ain’t This You? is a catchphrase used on Twitter to call out the hypocrisy of a certain tweet with a screenshot of a past tweet.” In other words, the meme places recent content side by side with a piece of previous content to call out a point of hypocrisy. This is why I posted a “This You?” meme on Twitter, to demonstrate that Gordon’s latest piece decrying wokeness and social justice has a disturbing and hypocritical underbelly fraught with agreement with racist ideas.

As seen in the screenshots reproduced below from my message exchange with Gordon over Facebook messenger, Gordon claimed that his concerns were well captured by the words of an article written by Derryck Green over at Juicy Ecumenism:

False Claims of Photo Manipulation

After posting this tweet, I learned that Gordon had actually responded on his Facebook page about the fact and made the claim that the message exchange I had posted was a complete fabrication:

He made several false and deflective claims:

First, he claimed that it was a conversation over Twitter, when in fact, it was a Facebook message exchange I had copy and pasted first and then screenshotted subsequently.

Second, he claimed that I had photoshopped Green’s words to make it seem like Gordon had said them, when in fact, my original post was intended to show that Gordon agreed with Green’s sentiments and believed they accurately captured what Gordon was concerned about. I had merely screenshotted the point in the conversation where he showed his agreement with Green.

Third, he claimed that these words were racist statements that he had never written. Again, regardless of whether he or Green had written those words is irrelevant — the fact that he showed agreement with the sentiment is what mattered. If he indeed believed that it accurately captured his own concerns, then Gordon in turn was saying “yes indeed” to the “racist statements” that Green had written.

These false claims by Gordon spurred a certain amount of his supporters and friends claiming that I had deep-faked the entire conversation, even after I provided multiple screenshots with more context and even a screen recording of me scrolling through the message exchange with Gordon. Gordon continued to dig his heels in and claim that that message exchange had never happened and that I was engaging in “cancel culture” through photo manipulation.

The Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter is that Gordon has spun a yarn about this entire Facebook message exchange, claiming even that the conversation never happened and that I had lied and gone so far as to deep-fake the entire matter. It is a conspiracy theory of fascinating proportions. Yet, what Gordon may not realize is that he could go into his Facebook message history back to 2017 and see, right in front of him on his phone or computer screen, the exact same words I shared on Twitter.

The fact of the matter is that in response to having this Facebook message exchange publicized, Gordon has engaged in tactics of slander, deflection, backtracking, and lying. He has made egregious claims that I concocted a heinous act of photo manipulation, and has made statements in order to question my character and reputation. In fact, earlier today, Gordon appeared to claim that I am a vindictive victim of abuse acting out in unforgiving anger:

All in all, I stand firmly by my original post on Twitter. Gordon knows for a fact that that Facebook message exchange did indeed happen back in 2017. He knows that he agreed with Green’s “racist statements” four years ago. A quick taps of the finger or clicks of a computer mouse will be able to refresh his mind about when he first messaged me out of the blue on Facebook messenger, when he decided to start the conversation with “Dear Brother…”



Associate Editor for Faithfully Magazine. https://faithfullymagazine.com/author/timothy-i-cho/

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