Posted over at Pyromaniacs by Phil Johnson.
Why “playing nice” by postmodernist standards is a losing proposition.
The favorite buzzwords of the postmodern spirit all sound so warm and friendly, don’t they? Conversation, dialogue, openness, generosity, tolerance. Who wouldn’t want to participate in discourse with someone who truly prized human values such as those?
On the other hand, the very same Zeitgeist has demonized a host of other essential biblical values, such as authority, conviction, clarity, and even truth. In the milieu of the emerging discussion, this second category of words has been made to sound harsh, unreasonable, arrogant, and extreme—if not downright evil.
Moreover, postmodern human values are increasingly being defined in a way that expressly precludes eternal biblical values. For example, the prevailing opinion nowadays is that you cannot be “open” and certain at the same time. A person who speaks with too much conviction is ipso facto deemed an “intolerant” person. Above all, anyone who recognizes the full authority of Scripture and insists that God’s Word deserves our unconditional submission will inevitably be accused of deliberately trying to stymie the whole “conversation.”
This is not to suggest that disagreement per se is prohibited in the postmodern dialectic. Quite the contrary, “deconstruction” is all about disputes over words. Postmoderns thrive on dissent, debate, and contradiction.
And (giving credit where credit is due) it should be noted that postmodernists can sometimes be amazingly congenial in their verbal sparring with one another.
One thing the participants in the postmodern “conversation” simply will not tolerate, however, is someone who disagrees and thinks the point is really serious. Virtually no heresy is ever to be regarded as damnable. The notion that erroneous doctrine can actually be dangerous is deemed uncouth and naive. Every bizarre notion gets equal respect. Truth itself is only a matter of personal perspective, you see. Everything is ultimately negotiable.
Now, if you want to join the postmodern “conversation,” you are expected to acknowledge all this up front—at least tacitly. That’s the price of admission to the discussion. Once you’re in, you can throw any bizarre idea you want on the table, no matter how outlandish. You can use virtually any tone or language to make your point, no matter how outrageous. But you must bear in mind that all disputation at this table is purely for sport. At the end of the day, you mustn’t really be concerned about the truth or falsehood of any mere propositions.
Some “conversation.” The ground rules guarantee that truth itself will be a casualty in every controversy, because regardless of the substance or the outcome of the dialogue, participants have in effect agreed up front that the propositions under debate don’t really matter.
Entering the “conversation” at all is tantamount to breaking the seal on a software package. The moment you do it, you have putatively given your consent to the postmodernist’s ground rules. If you then violate those rules—meaning if you take any doctrine too seriously or insist that Scripture is really authoritative—you will be savaged as someone who is cruel, intolerant, unenlightened, and hopelessly arrogant.
That’s why it is well-nigh impossible to have an authentic, meaningful conversation with a devoted postmodernist and ever see anything genuinely resolved. The postmodernist by definition has no real hope or expectation of arriving at the truth of any matter. That’s not the goal of the postmodernist exercise. It’s not even a desirable objective. The only real point is to eliminate certitude altogether. This is done not by settling disputes, but by silencing or assimilating everyone who resists the unrestrained free flow of the postmodernist idea-exchange.
Truth is under attack on countless fronts today. What’s popular these days—even among professing Christians—is glorying in ambiguity and uncertainty. Precious few are still committed without reservation to the truth and authority of Scripture. The very last thing I would willingly do in times like these would be to pledge a moratorium on candor or agree to a ceasefire with people who delight in testing the limits of orthodoxy. See Nehemiah 6:2-4.
Phil Johnson’s blog, posted in Nov 2005 applies to all forms of engaging in the “conversation”, to include the blogging medium. I would have highlighted the most salient points, but I realized I would have to “bold” the entire post.
You know, I really am beginning to see the point of the emergent church’s “dialogue.” We have been so close-minded in our views. If we would just open up and allow the oneness of the universal spirit to speak…wow. Unity.
How awesome would that be?
Michelle: I don’t know about being close-minded…..but I do see your point…He does speak to everyone at their level, I guess…dunno…this post confused me a little…
Debs: If we would just understand that the universal spirit of God can be seen in all religions…that there is a point of connection the we could relate to one another and move past this “denominationalism.” It really is the division of the church…standing strong on doctrine?!?!?!?
How could we?
Have you lost it Miss? I think what Dan said is very important but you may have misunderstood about the ” Conversation, dialogue, openness, generosity, tolerance.” Maybe you should go back and read again…I’m really not understanding your position on this…the point past denominationalism??? Wow…the only point there is is God Himself….
Well, if you really believe God is loving then He certainly wouldn’t ever condemn a person to hell. That’s just not what I would do and I’m loving!!! So, He must be like me cause I’m made in His image. Right?
Michelle: You sound like you are coming from a point of hyper-predestination or something…do you not believe that we need to spread the Word? Please explain where you get this….I do love you, but ya got me worried here…
Well, honestly, why spread the word at all? I mean…all who will come will come…so why can’t we just let anyone find their own path to the Father. Whatever that means for them…ok…let them call Him whatever they may…He’ll still allow them entrance…surely?!?!?
Michelle, do you think Dan knows we’re playing yet? 😉 People actually have these conversations, and it’s sad that they don’t see truth…
Why can’t we get along? because people just don’t want to see truth and let their pride down long enough to see truth…plus people post BIG words that sound like my cat sneezing like “Zeitgeist” that make you run for the dictionary…
Love you Michelle…thank you for being part of a “point”…Love you sister…and yes, these are all words the Christ followers have used…..
Love you too, Debs.
We really do need to think through the things we say and the implications of not standing on Truth alone.
He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father but by Him.
Love you, Dan!! 😉
Love you too, ladies!
That was quite the ‘conversation’. One of the ‘attractive’ elements of the emerging/emergent conversation is the emphasis on and social action. It’s when those ‘works’ are touted as THE gospel, that it runs aground. It’s easier to see through the ‘all roads lead to Rome’ mindset than the perversion of the gospel itself.
I have experienced the cycle described with some of the folks that like to keep the discussion going in endless circles, usually ending with something like ‘well, the bible is not the inspired word of God’. It’s all a great misdirection empowered by the one who controls the minds of unbelievers.
Satan’s opening gambit is to trash the authority of scripture. It’s all downhill from there.
Check out this link – it is a related issue:
That link is just scary, Dan.
It reminds me of the Unitarian Universalist “church”…very insidious. Yes, Satan does begin there, doesn’t he: Is it really true that God said…to Eve in the garden.
Nothing new under the sun.
Just started a new study in Isaiah. Wow…first two chapters today all about listening to the word of the Holy One of Israel…come let us reason together. Great stuff, that.
Have a nice day, Dan. 😉
Thank you for letting us invade you Dan…that link is somewhat nervewracking!
Blessings to you Bro…
I’m not an end-times scare monger, but it might be wise to be aware of how ‘pieces’ of the ‘religious’ landscape seem to fit together into what has been prophesied for the times before the Second Coming.
I am currently in the process of studying Gideon. There are two aspects that strike me, the first being the grace of God upon nearly every word.
But the second and more salient point is what is clear in the fleece pericope, from Judges 6:33-40. What has been for years presented as an ancient metaphor for petitioning God and confirming direction from God is nothing less than what Hebrews 3:12 calls “an evil, unbelieving heart”.
God said specifically what He was going to do. His power in the matter had already been demonstrated. The laying out of the fleece indicates that Gideon
didn’t believe what God said. What some of a nebulous mind set and liberal bent would say is nothing more than “asking questions” is not trying to come to the closest approximation of what the bible actually says – the liberal does not care if they are moving towards or away from the asymptote – but is in fact, questioning God and his authority in the matter. This approach is gangrenous to any body of Christ and must not be allowed to remain.
The word games which have been witnessed here, the biblish bandied about by those who will do everything that they can to avoid talking about what Scripture actually says in any specific instance, the sad/laughable free-association and bareing of self in the stead of actual exegesis, and the idea that a spineless, meaningless unity is preferable to actually standing for the same things that God stands for, are, I believe, judgment upon the church in America, which, as a broad brush stroke (there are certainly exceptions) has failed to stand for much more than live-and-let-live for longer than any of us has been alive.
The Unitarians/Socinians/Emergents have, as so many before, made a God that suits them. And the purported body of Christ within America has been the enabler in this hatred of God.
As Machen said, “Liberalism is not Christianity at all.”
I don’t agree with everything that A.W. Tozer taught, but think this is an important statement from him:
“The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues– meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.
It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.”
The Lord has given very specific commands to his true ministers, and we only have to look at Acts 4 to see that the Jewish religious leaders of that day were “greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day…” (2-4)
The truth is that no matter what a given society’s views regarding God may be-and yes they are free to have them-it’s still Christ’s command that His pastor-teachers “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9)
Unfortunately, today the Church is not willing to refute those who oppose sound doctrine, which reminds me of the Lords rebuke of Peter in Mark 8:33…”You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men”.
We can stand strong on the word but we must have a clear word and not be rebuking from our own assumptions. That takes wisdom and scholarship, I’m not sure I have. So much of the time we speak against one another from our own place of hurt instead of seeing clearly what is being said. I don’t want to speak too soon, not knowing who or what I’m dealing with. Yes, we can stand against the Unitarian Universalist, their teaching is evident and their statement of belief does not follow scripture. But to speak against doctrine we don’t agree with, but may be within “the pale of orthodoxy” is to say “we” (whoever that is) are the only ones who have it right.
Do you hear what I’m saying? I don’t want to so full of pride in my own understanding that I can’t see the teaching on another who may also have insight into some aspect of the word I’ve not studied. I think we need to remain Bereans…all. the. time. And speak to one another in love.
All we need is love…da da da da da…NO…I’m NOT saying that! But I would rather err on the side of grace than legalism.
Am I making any sense? I’m a bit scrambled today. 😕
shoot! The second sentence in the second paragraph:
I don’t want to be so full of pride in my own understanding that I can’t see the teaching of another who may have insight….
Don’t get to read comments all dy and here we have a pretty good discussion going on…….
I see several levels in the ‘can’t we all get along’ discussion. One is the apostate and heretical “Unitarians / Socinians / Emergents” level, the ‘postmodern’ evangelical level which is what the pioneers of the ‘evangelical movement’ decried as liberalism and what they fought against, and the individual level, as expressed in the ‘what does this verse mean to me/all opinions are valid’ approach to studying the Bible.
I am not saying that personal application of biblical truth is faulty in and of itself, but when ‘what this verse means to me/all opinions are valid’ takes precedence over what scripture says, there is an impalance. What the scripture says, when studied inductively, should be the starting point, with practical application the final step, as opposed to being the first step.
Been there, done that. . .
If I have questions about someone’s ‘what it means to me’ I can always ask for additional scriptural support and still be graceful…..
Michelle your post lacks details and a point.
let’s just go through it.
“rebuking from our own assumptions”
this is a projection if I have ever seen one. Which are the assumptions? And if you don’t know, why say it?
“speak against one another from our own place of hurt ”
presumably more projection, because nothing in the post attends to such a non-sequitur.
“I don’t want to speak too soon”
This screams out how little you understand about what you are saying. Not that you don’t understand what I am talking about, I know you are smart, but that your mind is a mess. Why would you say this and then do it?
“But to speak against doctrine we don’t agree with”
Another presumption. I know that I can defend my assertions. Can you defend the idea that I am speaking against something only because I don’t agree with it, and not because it is a lie? I think you know it is a lie, and yet here you are, soft-peddling for the lie. A Mess.
“but may be within “the pale of orthodoxy””
why this is in quotes, I’m sure, has a very interesting answer. But how could this status even be assessed when neither I, nor seemingly, you, know what you are talking about? Michelle, I have nothing to compare this to, and I’ll tell you, if you want to begin to defend everything left of Dan Kimball as anything other than a lie, you will find yourself on the wrong team.
“I don’t want to so full of pride in my own understanding that I can’t see the teaching on another who may also have insight into some aspect of the word I’ve not studied”
Another massive projection. I defend what I say with more substance than anybody. No one uses more actual substance than me. If it is prideful to take a stand upon the word of God and not upon my own ideas, I’m standin. And as for some “aspect of the word”, here again you need to actually say what you mean. It is impossible to agree or disagree when there is nothing to agree or disagree with.
“But I would rather err on the side of grace than legalism”
This gets this wrong entirely. This false dichotomy adds legalism, not part of this. What the statement in this context should say is rather err on the side of ignoring the lie rather than saying that the lie is a lie.
this is not loving, Michelle. Protecting and defending lies is not loving.
Wow, Jason. No idea where all this is coming from…I don’t have any desire to lay out my sins to you…these are my issues.
Sorry you took it so personally.
That is ridiculous, Michelle.
If you don’t mean things, don’t say them.
What’s stuck in your craw, Jason?
I don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to think you know what’s happening in my mind.
I meant what I said…completely. It wasn’t directed at you.
I am sorry you’re offended.
You want to rebuke but you direct it toward no one.
You want to say something substantial, but you leave out any substance.
You want to mean what you say, but you, by your own admission, aren’t entirely sure what you are saying.
Your post calls for multiple clarifications. I cited them. This displeases you.
It has little to do with my being or not being offended, who cares if I am or am not, it has to do with the fact, as I said, that your post has plenty of piss and vinegar, but very little actual information.
Seriously, lines like the one’s I quote, I have no idea what is going on in your mind, but shots like
“from our own assumptions”
“from our own place of hurt”
“doctrine we don’t agree with”
“full of pride in my own understanding”
“err on the side of grace than legalism.”
are both so personal while having almost nothing at all to do with what has been said so far, that it, again, screams that what you have in your head is what is driving what you are saying.
“If you don’t mean things, don’t say them” is a reference to these very transitional markers and modifiers.
If you mean them, and it isn’t just in your head, then defend these assertions you are making against, apparently, no one in particular, but everyone at the same time.
Say something substantial. To criticise even constructively, one needs to actually reference that which one is criticising. As far as I can see, you aren’t doing that at all.
I don’t care if it was directed at me. Do the right thing and explain how these textbook projections are directed toward and apply to whomever. And stop actiing like you didn’t do anything.
Jason, NOTHING was directed at you, or ANYONE in this thread. I didn’t even realize I was criticising.
I do not intend on telling you what I’ve been through in the last 36 hours. I was vague on purpose.
I’m sorry you don’t like the way I express myself.
That’s it for me. Thanks, guys!
It’s been lovely.
“I didn’t even realize I was criticising”
Does anyone believe her?
Jason, I believe her. Why shouldn’t you? (I assume that you must have suspected that I was ‘lurking’, from your derogatory reference to those who are ‘asking questions’. Or perhaps I’m just being paranoid.)
It is tough for people to just get along, even with those they might be friends with. I can’t help but think that when your adversaries of choice are not present that you are driven to look for new ones. It’s your nature.
A scorpion among frogs.
Typical meaningless expression of your feelings. Your words, as always, Christian, are useless. Insubstatiality is your mantra, by your own repeated admissions.
What should be telling for Michelle is that it is the most proliferative deceiver and liar who has walked these blogs is the one who finds common cause with her current line of thought.
I was wondering when you would show your face, if only to take a shot across Jason’s bow. “It’s in your nature”. You must have disliked (to tame a verb)Phil Johnson’s remarks in the original post, since he speaks so disparagingly of Emergentville, your city of spiritual residence.
It would be great to hear you offer a scriptural defense to the original post but I suspect you do not have one, hence your proclivity to merely ‘lurk’ to sieze upon a personal attack.
I too have thoughts concerning Jason’s dialogue with Michelle, but I will restrict my comment here to the observation that the ‘enemy’ is busy trying to cause a schism between them. They share a deep love of God and our Savior and Lord.
I will say without hesitation and emphatically that Jason does not consider Michelle as an adversary.
You sir, have certainly done your job of abetting the enemy by taking sides.That betrays the ‘let’s all get along’ mantra that your mentors in Emergentville chant, doesn’t it?
I mean nothing personal.
Michelle: Just reading through what J wrote, and then your response to it I made the same assumption as J that you were addressing his statement, or even mine, I really wasn’t sure. I have done this before as well, written vaguely from emotion and it has ended up with the same result. I think that also if you have issue with something one of us has written that you should feel more than free to get specific and discuss it openly. That’s how we learn, and grow.
When you talk about rebuking from our own assumptions, and that it takes wisdom and scholarship…I’m not sure that I agree. I don’t believe that it takes years of schooling (yes that does help) to understand what the Word of God is saying. We are called as God’s people to be able to discern not only the obvious mis-teachings like the Unitarian Universalist, but also the subtle art of a deceiver in the body where just the tiniest twist of scripture can send a believer head long into a blinding sea of muck. It’s so important, and yes I believe we are ALL called to it.
I agree with J as well, that taking a stand does not mean pride. I think if scripture states it, we simply pass it along, even if it is offensive…that offensiveness is what may keep someone from traveling on a road of destruction. But part of our ministry is speaking the truth, even when it hurts. It’s letting go of our pride long enough for a heart change…I like to err on the side of grace too, but not to the point of allowing someone to live in delusion, what benefit is that to them, or the body?
Christian: You come aboard at the most inopportune times and say the most inappropriate things…
Actually Deb,I thought it was quite appropriate. The irony of what took place between Jason and Michelle was too much to ignore, considering the title of Dan’s post. Very opportunistic of me, I admit.
While I don’t necessarily agree with what Michelle was saying I believe her when she states her intentions. I’ve no reason not to.The reason that I rarely take part in these
conversations anymore is not because of any disagreements I might have with some of you, or that I dislike anyone. It is because the tone so often lends itself to what has taken place between Jason and Michelle. To disagree with someone, even strongly, does not require a verbal blitzkrieg. I already spend enough of blood pressure medicine. For example:
“most proliferative deceiver and liar who has walked these blogs” Wow! What a harsh superlative. How can someone reasonably respond to that? But I realize who else you hold in this regard and I am comforted.
I would like to remark upon one thing Michelle did say, which is a line oft repeated by conservative Christians:
“Well, if you really believe God is loving then He certainly wouldn’t ever condemn a person to hell. That’s just not what I would do and I’m loving!!! So, He must be like me cause I’m made in His image. Right?’
Actually I think that because we are not loving, that we find it hard to forgive, that we would like nothing better to see our worst enemies in a place called hell. We then ascribe this same attitude to God.
“Does anyone believe her?”
And I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m kind of wondering at what point you–Jason–became convinced that Michelle was actually lying. I’ve known her for quite some time; she has her flaws just like the rest of us. But lying isn’t among them. Any more questions?
“The irony of what took place between Jason and Michelle was too much to ignore, considering the title of Dan’s post.”
Christian, you have this backwards. The title was ironic, not what followed. This was lost on you, obviously. What followed is what follows, the limp-fish-handshake philosophy which call your “theology” (nearly always theos-free, now that’s irony!) which quite literally has nothing in particular to say apart from one’s own feelings, forcefully ignores Christ’s own words on dozens of matters. The postmodern chant (read: enlightenment philosophy on valium) of “peace, peace” is murmured naïvely into the midst of spiritual warfare, as I have said to you dozens of times, doing your best Stuart Smalley imitation is not ministry, nor is it Christian. Your dedication to the worldly, material application of things constantly ignores the clearest of biblical testimonies that the work and person of Jesus Christ is much bigger than a temporal band-aid – Jeremiah 6:14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.
Your not understanding the irony inherent in the title – in light of your form of godliness which lacks any power – amounts to you heaping on the irony.
Depending on how you are using “superlative”, it would only be superlative were it not true.
Which it is.
Just remember everyone: false teachers don’t tell you to not worship Jesus, they tell you to do it and know him in a way that opposes what the bible teaches on the matter.
For instance, Christian writes the following:
“Actually I think that because we are not loving, that we find it hard to forgive, that we would like nothing better to see our worst enemies in a place called hell. We then ascribe this same attitude to God”
He knows that this psychoanalytical navel-gazing is biblically indefensible, but it doesn’t prevent him from saying it. Liars don’t wear buttons which read “caveat emptor”, so crank up the bologna-detection device and double check everything.
You have actually helpfully pointed out part of the problem: my own lingustic inexactitude in the phrase with which you have a problem is exemplary of nearly everything I have said so far.
“I didn’t even realize I was criticising.”
My saying, “Does anyone believe her” was not intended to question her trustworthiness, though that is clearly how it comes across, which, again, is my error.
What I should have said was, “Does what she wrote really appear as if she isn’t criticising?”, the answer to which is no – using a double negative – it doesn’t appear as if she isn’t criticising.
For instance, the phrases I cited:
“from our own assumptions”
“from our own place of hurt”
“doctrine we don’t agree with”
“full of pride in my own understanding”
“err on the side of grace than legalism.”
without question have, if not specific, general errors as their impetas. That is, Michelle has things which she considers worth criticising in mind while writing this. I feel comfortable saying that she wasn’t making up these mistakes, she has seen them before. This assures that the statements individually are, and the post as a whole is, critical. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being critical.
But what the thread was addressing was specific errors in current spinoffs of orthodox Christianity (small o). My problems with Michelle’s indignancy at my demands for clarity were two-fold:
1. Her vague criticism came right after two posts which spoke truthfully and strongly. In blogs a critical comment is logically presumed to be in reference to something which preceded it, to say that it doesn’t or isn’t necessarily perceived as such is naïve. Now my presumption that she was criticising me may indeed have been another error on my part, but quite often when I make a strong, true statement, others who fear confrontation, but disagree, try to do so by sliding a critical note under the backdoor, attemting to ascribe a facile anonymity to that which is being criticised. This is a common, and quite recent practice on other blogs, as well. My demand had nothing to do with my thinking that I shouldn’t be criticised – to all who are reading, bring it on, I am often wrong and I want to know when I am – my demand had to do with the vagueness of the post, that it could be taken by anyone on any side of this debate as being either for or against their “side”. This inexactitude is not helpful. Which leads to my second problem…
2. If something is worth criticising, then it is worth calling out, no one is helped at all by throwing up a critical trial-balloon and then ducking when people start shooting at it. If someone or something is wrong, or borders on being wrong, then the person needs to be clearly told so and the idea needs to be specifically refuted. Michelle’s post added to the vaguries of postmodern “theo”-logy, it did not help.
What is called for is deliberate, surgical inspection of these ideas – I think that some of Michelle’s critical calls for caution would be found to be accurate in some cases…but first those specific cases need to be cited specifically.
Your defense of her integrity is very becoming – and I don’t blame you for saying so, considering how poorly I expressed myself, I apologize for my inexactitude in the matter.
But my inexactitude is the perfect example of that for which I was criticising Michelle in the first place.
Or maybe the more you inflate your jargon the less likely you are to say anything at all.
Do you have a comment about the original post?
Are the words too big?
It isn’t my jargon, these are words in the dictionary.
You just have to know them.
Back to the original post…..
‘Getting along’ is all wrong when it means compromising biblical truth. Compromising truth is always wrong whether it means a watered down or changed gospel message. By truth I mean the truth found in scripture, whether it’s the truth about God, His Son, the nature and dilema of man without Christ, or the pure message of the gospel.
I leave with you with C.H. Spurgeon:
“An unregenerate heart lies at the bottom of “modern thought.” Men are down-grade in doctrine because they were never put on the up-grade by the renewal of their minds.”
Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.”
“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes us alive again.”
NO lover of the gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. We are willing to make a large discount from our apprehensions on the score of natural timidity, the caution of age, and the weakness produced by pain; but yet our solemn conviction is that things are much worse in many churches than they seem to be, and are rapidly tending downward. Read those newspapers which represent the Broad School of Dissent, and ask yourself, How much farther could they go? What doctrine remains to be abandoned? What other truth to be the object of contempt? A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!”
“It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties. For the present it behoves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth’s sake: this we hope all godly men will do more and more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity. Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under color of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing THE MASTER.”
I come at it from this angle… I look to God’s Truth before I answer a question I am unsure of. I also look to God’s truth before I accept what someone is telling me. I don’t just answer or accept for the sake of unity.
So scripture I keep in mind when in this situation.
Col 4:5-6 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
1 Tim 4:16
16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Phil2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
If a person asks me a doctrinal or theology question and I do not know the answer, I am better to not say anything and seek council in the Truth of God than to spread a false teaching based on my assumptions. If I were to just spout off my own assumptions I could drive much more division in the Church, than if I seek God’s council first before I answer.
I can not just spout of my own assumptions for the sake of unity. I can not say something or accept something about the Word I am not sure of just for the sake of Unity…
Gal 1:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
that’s beautiful, Carl. Seriously.
What is there to say but Amen and Amen…..
Jason, diverting attention away from what I was addressing; not your theology, but your manners (as well as the manners of many zealots). No one doubts that you are very knowledgeable and a Bible scholar. And you obviously have a passion for God and what you beleive to be his will. You appear to have just just as much of a passionate distaste for those who do not see things your way (at least those who dare call themselves Christian). But that’s at least half the ‘church’ so you might want to lighten up just a bit. No need to be rude, even if you do believe politeness to be not very masculine.
“Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.” (Jer 6:15)
Navel gazing aside, my remark about hell may not have been ‘biblically defensible’ but then neither was the original remark that Michelle made (which was what I was commenting on). It’s just a cute and essentially empty cliche’ and just as ‘psycho-analytical’. It can point not only both ways but any which way the speaker chooses. It depends on whether or not you are wearing your emergent-church-post-modern-liberal glasses or your hyper-reformed-modern-traditional-conservative glasses or whatever other glasses there are out there. Don’t pretend you aren’t wearing any.
still thinking that this is therapy.
“Don’t pretend you aren’t wearing any”
C, anytime you want to match Scripture with your ideas, I’m in.
But you won’t. I really wish you would, though. It would benefit a whole new batch of people to see how dishonest you are and how false your ideas are.