Thursday, June 14, 2007

can there be ethics in controversy?

Tom Wells write On the Ethics of Controversy in Resurgence. Well worth the read.

The toplines are:
  • Show Respect for the Persons with Whom You Differ
  • Give Your Opponent Accurate Definitions of Your Key Ideas
  • When in Doubt, Put an Orthodox Construction on Your Opponent's Words
  • Never Attribute to Your Opponent More Than He Asserts
  • Suspect a Man's Judgment Before You Suspect His Sincerity
  • Be Ready to Believe That the Truth Is Larger Than You Have Understood It to Be
Wells then makes some wonderful conclusions. He posits that "You are more likely to be right in what you assert than in what you deny." I like that. We should spend much more time putting forth what we believe rather than take away from what others believe (side note - beware the watchdog blogs). And then I love his quote of D.A. Carson (possibly because I love Francis Schaeffer):

One of the reasons for Francis Schaeffer's influence was his ability to present his analysis of the culture with a tear in his eye. Whether or not one agrees at every point with his analysis, and regardless of how severe his judgments were, one could not responsibly doubt his compassion, his genuine love for men and women. Too many of his would-be successors simply sound like angry people. Our times call for Christian leaders who will articulate the truth boldly, courageously, humbly, knowledgeably, in a contemporary fashion—and with profound compassion. One cannot imagine how the kind of gospel set forth in the Bible could be effectively communicated in any other way... [We] serve the One who, on seeing large crowds, "had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd" (Mark 6:34; cf. Matt. 9:36).

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