Thursday, February 21, 2008

Curiousity has got a hold on me

I've had the opportunity to come across a couple different views and opinions of Christian leaders and organizations. I recognize that basically every person who represents Christ in a public way will come across some opposition, and some more than others. Honestly, reading different articles and comments makes curious as to why these types of things happen.
I do recognize that most of the time the most vocal and perhaps even merited opposition comes from Christian people who simply disagree. I don't question people's disagreement because everyone has slightly skewed beliefs, unfortunately we're not really able to be 100% correct on everything, nobody is. But what I do question is the motive behind the often harsh and poorly presented arguments.
Scripture does account for rebuking those who do not hold to sound doctrine and teach falsehood (Titus 1:9 and others) but were you to find every passage of scripture that refers to this sort of practice, they are surrounded by specific contexts (suprise) that must be considered. Such as the Titus verse to which I referred, Paul is addressing Titus on dealing with people in Crete and speaks of making sure elders hold to a standard so they are able to refute those who oppose sound doctrine. But elsewhere in Scripture you will find passages that speak directly to not judging people in such harsh ways unless you're ready to be judged in that same way (Matthew 7).
I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't be corrected, because they should, when in the wrong. I am, however, suggesting that people need to be careful how they go about trying to "correct, rebuke and encourage" (2 Tim. 4:2).
I suppose what bothers me most is when people do whatever they can to drag a person's name or reputation through the mud simply because they disagree on some point that was made, either because they didn't understand what was actually being said and heard something different or because they are in error themselves and honestly believe they are right.

That being said, I recognize that I'm not always 100% correct. People have called me on things that I've said and I've been shown to be in error, the opposite has happened as well where someone has expressed their distaste for what I've said and they've been in error.
I simply struggle with the idea of openly, outwardly, and even publicly (whether in person or on the internet or other forms of media) refuting a person's teaching without wrestling with it yourself, weighing it against a sound biblical standpoint and without attempting to discuss it with that person in some way.
I suppose what my real problem is that those who will go on record as refuting a Christian leader because they disagree don't seem to make room for their own theological misinterpretations.
Yes we most certainly need to put weigh any Christian teaching against Scripture to see that it is correct, but I also think that one should attempt to do so without an arrogance and perhaps even ignorance in thinking with the "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality. Some teachers are really out to lunch, completely inaccurate Biblically, and just plain nuts. But those who are well known for their style of teaching and leadership, respected by evangelical pastors by the thousands, I think that a person needs to include those things in their thinking as well to be able to recognize if perhaps they are the one who is wrong, instead of the one they are attacking.

Sound doctrine should be protected, no question. But is style of delivery necessarily a big issue?

1 comment:

Jon said...

I think that Fred Phelps guy would tell you he's absolutely correct. But then, he's one of those nutjobs you mentioned.

You know, I told a JW, the other day, that I thought they have slightly better handle on the "heaven on earth" perspective than most Evangelicals. Correction and clarification can come from all sorts of different parts of our society. I'm finding that the British intellectual elite (who are either staunch Atheists or nonchalant Agnostics) have been speaking a lot of truth to me about the church's role in the world... in the midst of Dawkins' call to end religion. As far as the "I'm right--you're wrong" bit, Beth Warner put it well about 10 years ago: "Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"

On this note, you know I have a bit of an issue with the whole Purpose Driving thing... but I've got to tell you, I'm loving Doug Field's book "Your First 2 Years of Youth Ministry."