Response to Inaccurate Pathway Story

October 26, 2007

This week's issue of The Pathway included a story entitled "Bank foreclosing on Windermere." The story had several problems, which were noted today in a press release from Windermere Baptist Conference Center. Here are a few highlights:

The recent issue of The Pathway included a story with inaccurate claims about Windermere Baptist Conference Center. As with previous inaccurate stories about Windermere, The Pathway did not contact Windermere for more information or to verify the facts. Had The Pathway contacted Windermere before running the story, they could have avoided the errors.

"We are greatly disappointed that a Christian publication would act this way," states Dan Bench, President/CEO of Windermere Baptist Conference Center. "One would expect that they would work harder to get their facts correct and would have actually talked to us to avoid printing erroneous information. I would have talked with them, and I will be happy to answer any questions from anyone at any time."

The first problem with the story occurred with the headline, which declared, "Bank foreclosing on Windermere." The story is actually about Windermere Development Company, LLC and not Windermere Baptist Conference Center. However, most Missouri Baptists probably thought of Windermere Baptist Conference Center when they read "Windermere." In fact, because of this headline false rumors have already spread that Windermere Baptist Conference Center is being foreclosed. As a result, The Pathway should have offered more clarity in their headline. Windermere Baptist Conference Center is not being foreclosed and is having its busiest and best year ever.

... A second problem with The Pathway's article is that it suggests that the alleged upcoming sale of Windermere Development Company, LLC means there are legal or financial problems with Windermere Baptist Conference Center. However, the development company is a separate entity and The Pathway's alleged report does not hurt Windermere Baptist Conference Center's legal standing. Rather than "sinking," Windermere is strong financially and is ministering to more people than ever before. God is doing mighty works through the life-changing ministry of Windermere.

Although The Pathway's story mentions past financial difficulties that Windermere Baptist Conference Center faced, the story fails to report why these difficulties occurred. As has been thoroughly documented, the MBC has repeatedly interfered with the work of Windermere Baptist Conference Center. They have worked to dissuade speakers and groups from attending, interfered with banking and construction work, and spread false rumors about the life-changing ministry of Windermere (for more information, read Windermere Baptist Conference Center's January 5, 2006 press release). The latest story from The Pathway continues these un-Christlike and unethical efforts.

The final problem with The Pathway's recent story comes in a quotation from MBC attorney Michael Whitehead. In the story, Whitehead stated, "The good news seems to be that Mr. Jester is not going to be cutting down more trees ..." This remark refers to previous inaccurate attacks from Whitehead and The Pathway about some trees that were cut down. Whitehead inaccurately suggests it was bad that the trees were cut, even though such action was recommended by Missouri Department of Conservation in order to keep the forest healthy. Thus, the cutting down of trees actually proves that Windermere leaders have been good stewards of the land God entrusted with them.

Windermere Baptist Conference Center is disappointed that a Christian publication would offer such inaccuracies in an un-Christlike attempt to harm the life-changing ministry efforts of another Christian organization. It is hoped that The Pathway will offer a correction and apology, as well as stop its inaccurate and unethical attacks.
The Word&Way has also posted an article that proves that The Pathway's story is inaccurate. The Word&Way actually took the initiative to contact individuals involved to find out the truth (a journalist actually checking the facts by calling sources--what a novel idea!). The Pathway's story claims that their report means the legal conflict has taken a "sad turn." Actually, the sad legal turn began when the Missouri Baptist Convention filed its lawsuit and the inaccurate hit pieces have worsened this sad chapter in Baptist life.

Hopefully, Missouri Baptists will not pay attention to The Pathway and its repeated inaccurate attacks. I have dealt with previous problems in The Pathway in various posts (here, here, here, here, here, here, here), in a few columns ("Truthiness," "Inconceivable!," "Hard to Fathom?," and "Balderdash"), and briefly in my book (For God's Sake, Shut Up!).

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