Pastor Ken Silva has recently passed away. Pastor Ken was the head of Apprising Ministries and was a key person in the development of the modern discernment ministries, specifically as he had taken over Christian Research Network (CRN) It was probably in the years 2006 to 2007 that discernment ministries were all the rage on the Internet. Pastor Ken was right in the thick of it, even earning a threat of legal action from Richard Abanes against his at-that-time IP server for his article on him.
It was during that time that I was struggling through issues relating to Rick Warren, Evangelicalism, and what had happened in the church I grew up in. CRN became the news I was reading concerning things in the Christian world. It was rather a tumultuous time for me spiritually and emotionally, and in the midst of the fog, I found CRN (and before that its predecessor Ingrid Schlueter's blog A Slice of Laodicea) to be a beacon for these uncertain times. For growth in the knowledge of God's Word, I have books like Robert Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, while I was helped in the apologetic front by people like Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and his Dividing Line podcast, and regarding philosophical issues I was introduced to the works of Gordon H. Clark. Nevertheless, ministries like Pastor Ken's Apprising Ministries sounded the clarion call, which I must say was not present before. I liaised with Pastor Ken primarily via email and it was a fruitful discussion. Later on, he invited me on as a contributor to CRN and I (cross)-posted some articles there.
Naturally, some people claim the discernment label who used it as a way to be mean and nasty. Nonetheless, the way I see it, the core centered on CRN are fine. Being on the frontline in some sense does invite controversy, and I am not without guilt in the way I might have sometimes conveyed my thoughts. I get to know various people, some of whom have become my friends.
Naturally, I wouldn't say that discernment ministries like CRN have not at times sin. We are all sinners saved by grace yet struggling everyday to mortify the old man. Pastor Ken has been a great mentor during the early times. As time passes, he began to suffer from an illness, presumably the same one that took his life, and slowly retire from the scene. As for me, I was drifting away from the discernment circles. Don't get me wrong. I have benefited from the clarion call they have sounded, which is refreshing compared to the mess of PC-correctness and little conviction, if any, found in Evangelicalism (because perhaps they probably do not believe what they claim to believe). But discernment ministries in general tend towards Fundamentalism, complete with Dispensationalism and a low view of the Church. It was about the time of my last post when I realized that my interests were diverging from that held to especially by the then-editor Erin Benzinger. A submitted article was denied publishing, as although it was still about the problems in the church, I had critiqued the issue from the viewpoint of the doctrine of the church. I am fine with that disagreement, yet it cemented my drift away from the mainstream of discernment ministries.
Pastor Ken and I traded emails rather infrequently, and I must say that I am sorry that I have not met him in person; flying to New Hampshire does require time and money. While many people, especially those in mainstream Evangelicalism, do not treasure him, I am sure he has been a great help to many. Pastor Ken is now in the presence of Christ our Lord, and may he enjoy his reward free from pain and illness, and that God will get the glory through Pastor Ken's life work and testimony.