For those of you that follow the blog (i.e. the 10 or so of you that follow the blog), you know that I’m not afraid to address difficult or inflammatory issues. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, even if that mind is incorrect or misunderstanding something. Some of my readers will understand that, and some of my readers simply will laugh at that statement, thinking that it’s a blatant lie (i.e. as if I would ever change my mind on anything).
I get that. I know how I come across to people in various theological circles that I reject.
Still, I would imagine that for all the disagreement, I have approved every comment that’s ever been tossed my way, and I’ve interacted with most of them. I hope that nobody can ever make the accusation that I’m afraid of interaction or that I edit/selectively post comments from others without warning or reason.
That being said, there are a few issues that I basically don’t like touching on this blog. There are certain issues that, for some reason or another, are so personal, so emotionally loaded, and so irrational that they always, and I mean always, seem to end up in a stalemate where neither side can talk to each other. I don’t have patience for those issues and I don’t bother bringing them up. I’m talking about certain issues like:
1. KJV Onlyism.
2. Rabid Arminianism.
3. Harold Camping & Family Radio.
Now, I’m not against the KJV Bible, I don’t doubt that many Arminians are brothers in the faith, and I have heard various good things on Family Radio (from time to time). But, when someone thinks that “The King James Bible alone is the word of God alone“, or that “Calvinism is a false gospel”, or that Harold Camping “says it like it is”, I’m not going to waste my time talking to them on a blog. People who are at that level have left both the Bible and reason in the dust. Those people only get to where they’re at by being victimized by wolves and then joining their pack. People who read Ruckman, Riplinger or Dr. Dino and think that they’re Christian scholars who defend God’s word have never been shown what true Christian scholarship is. Christians should not misrepresent sources, lie about their opponents, or yell at people because they don’t use the right English Bible translation. People who read The God of Calvinism or The Dark Side of Calvinism and think it contains great biblical exegesis have never been shown what great biblical exegesis actually looks like. Christians should not utterly misrepresent their theological opponents or gloss over the text/context of scripture when they’re teaching or interpreting God’s word. People who think that Harold Camping is a wonderful man of God and a great bible teacher have never been taught how to recognize either of those. Christians should not make a career built on false prophecies, personality and criminally mishandling scripture.
I definitely talk to people from those circles when they show up in church (and they currently do), and I’m as patient and gracious with them as I can be. Escaping from years of bad teaching takes a lot of time and love, and those both don’t happen well at all on a blog. Those people need to be patiently sat down and listened to. They need to explain their case to someone who loves them. They need to provide their backing for those ideas, and then they need to be lovingly corrected by the word of God. They need to be corrected on their misunderstandings and also have proper modeling of right understandings in their lives. They need to see godly living and be called to emulate it.
This happens in the context of a local church, under the authority and care of a local body of elders, not on a blog. It takes multiple men of God many weeks or months to sort out the bramble bush of unbiblical ideas that people pick up from folks like Gail Riplinger, or George Bryson, or Harold Camping. A blog doesn’t provide the proper or biblical environment for the type of heart surgery and instruction that those issues need.
If you read this and you think that the biggest problem in the church is bad bible translation, the insurgence of Calvinism, or the fact that people still attend churches at all, then all you’ll hear in this article is arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy of some young smart-alec pastor who’s a self-professed bible scholar that trusts in his worldly education instead of the Holy Spirit.
I’m not writing to you. You do not and will not grasp what I’m saying.
Proverbs 26:4-5; Romans 16:17-18; 1 Timothy 1:3-7, 4:7, 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:14-18, 2 Tim 3:1-9; and Hebrews 13:9 give me warning about engaging in debate with people who are obsessive about unbiblical ideas and only know how to ride hobby horses.
I’m simply writing to my other readers, those who know me and are wondering about what happened with a recent series of comments where it looks like I had a rather questionable knee-jerk reaction to someone. When people come on strong on certain issues that are basically the Christian parallel to “UFO Conspiracy theories”, I throw down fairly quickly and let them know what dialogue will look like. Dialogue involves multiple parties presenting ideas and engaging each other’s ideas; statements that are demonstrable lies will be called such, and bad logic or faulty exegesis will be questioned and need to be defended. I do this mostly because dialogue to them means “I talk and you listen”; they haven’t been taught what dialogue looks like. To them, dialogue means writing huge lectures, sending links to hundreds of pages of articles that are highly questionable, telling their opponent to “have a heart check” or condemning them because of their tone, and insinuating/insulting in the form of questions so that they can say “I was only asking a question!”.
The Bible warns me to stay away from those people. The Bible, in 2 Tim. 2:23 and Titus 3:1-9, warns me of the dangers of people who ask moronic questions.
τὰς δὲ μωρὰς καὶ ἀπαιδεύτους ζητήσεις παραιτοῦ εἰδὼς ὅτι γεννῶσιν μάχας
– “But moronic and not-instructed questions shun, knowing that they give birth to strife”. – 2 Tim. 2:23.
A blog isn’t a place to deal with moronic questions. The church is the place to deal with moronic questions, and “dealing with” doesn’t mean “embracing”.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “The Armchair Theologian” Unger