Friday, January 18, 2008

proper way to argue

The internet has exposed me to those that label themselves Christian more diverse than I previously thought existed. I would like to say that this has opened my eyes to a broader range of expressions of love toward Christ. Sadly, it revealed more of a love to argue with each other - or more precisely, gossip about sin, theological error, etc. to everyone other than the offending party. Worse, this is done under the guise of some biblical mandate to defend truth. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if this is your bent, you are under the influence of Satan.

No - I am turning a blind eye toward sin and false-teaching. But if exposing this is the crux of your 'ministry' - there is a tremendous gap between your understanding and mine regarding the call of the Christian.

I am more convinced than ever that this 'governance' role some have placed themselves in is the work of the evil one. Take an honest look at what many of those are saying. One would be hard pressed to find the accuser providing a fair representation of the accused. One would be hard pressed to find the real Biblical error of the accused. Etc.

Adrain Warnock has been recapping his most read posts of 2007. In today's post he quotes Kim Riddlebarger's response as one in a group accused by one of the more heralded accusers of the brethren. In that Riddlebarger is defending a charge directed toward Reformed amillennialists but has properly identified a tactic used by many accusers.
Along with countless others, I am very grateful for [X]'s bold and vocal defense of the Gospel. I am also grateful for his years of faithful service and willingness to tackle controversy in the evangelical church. But how I wish that Dr. [X] had chosen not to pick this fight. Sadly, he did.

This is hard to say, but in his lecture Dr. [X] set up and repeatedly attacked a straw man. His was a pyrrhic victory over a phantom foe.

If you are a dispensationalist, my plea is that you don't repeat the arguments Dr. [X] used in this lecture. Disagree as you will, you do have the responsibility to accurately represent the Reformed amillennial position. Dr. [X] did not.

My suggestion is to read the books listed here ... and then after doing so, make up your own mind. Interact with amillennial writers, weigh our arguments in light of Scripture, and see if we are truly guilty of the charges leveled at us by Dr. [X].

While you may not be convinced of Reformed amillennialism (hopefully, you will!), at least you'll be better informed and realize that Reformed amillenarians are not anti-Semites who don't take the Bible literally or seriously.

It's curious that this response almost completely parallels the response of others who have been accused by this same person for other 'error' as far back as 30 years ago. I wonder why it is that people continue to credit this accuser as a great defender of the faith when his pattern (and that of his disciples) is the pattern of the enemy?

If found this similar occurrence with a great blogger Mike Ratliff. If you are not reading Mike's blog, you are wrong. While you may not agree with all of his theology, Mike clearly has a passion for Christ, is serious about Scripture, etc.. But with that said, Mike is able accredit the writing of paster Y as "devotional". The greater portion of paster Y's writing is bent on the confronting of others. His facts are often wrong - seemingly purposefully misrepresented. The 'biblical error' he finds is often simply disagreement with his thoughts rather than Scripture and certainly not to the same standard he holds himself and his heros to. Etc.

Anyway, enough of that, it's just that this morning as I read through my blog reader, I wondered how it is that Satan has such a foothold in the body of believers. How is it that we so consistently support those that so consistently focus on supporting Satan and his effort to tear apart the body of Christ? Just wondering ...

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PuritanReformed said...

Rick, while I do not admit to being unbaised in this, let me ask you a few questions:

1) Knowing that you detest generalization, are you lumping all discerners into one category? In other words, are you committing the same fallacy as those you people whom you dislike?

2) Closely related, are you able to differentiate between true watchman and false 'watchman'? After all, Satan always have his counterfeits, so just because there are false 'watchman' does not imply that all watchman are false. After all, you probably aren't going to stop speaking in tongues if I can show you evidence of false tongues, right?

3) Are you actually implying that following Jude 1:4 is being under the influence of Satan?

4) I do not have the time for this currently, but perhaps you can try refuting Pastor Ken's posts from the Scriptures instead of just saying they are wrong. After all, everybody can say anyone is wrong. Pastor Ken is not perfect and has his weaknesses, and so have you. Are you extending less grace to him than to those in the Emerging Church Movement? After all, I don't see you being more agitated with things like syncretism (ie promotion of religious pluralism) than with its exposure.

rick said...

Daniel - as always, good questions.

1 - absolutely not; I tried to credit Mike as one who I think generally did a good job. I've seen John Piper confront. There are many examples. Am I perfect at differentiating? I presume not.

2 - I believe I'm able to. If you and I look at Scripture and disagree, fine. If your 'ministry' becomes one of calling out others and especially if in doing so you employ tactics inconsistent with the whole of Scripture, then I think you are false.

3 - following Jude 1.4 as part of a whole life in Christ is commanded. Taking Jude 1.4 as a mandate to expose all others, create dissension, jettison all else it means to walk Christ-like, etc., is under the influence of Satan.

4 - so much of Ken's posts cannot be refuted by Scripture because he is accusing someone falsely (that was the point of the example from Riddlebarger). Also, there's no value in such a debate. It simply isn't what we are called to do.

Net, my argument here is that some seem to demonstrate the holistic Christian life while standing firm on Truth and confronting error while others sin by very essence of their 'watchdog ministry'.

I hope that makes sense.

PuritanReformed said...

Rick, thanks for your reply. Yet, I am still not so sure about your continual attack on people like Pastor Ken. If they are wrong, can't you point out specifically where they are wrong, instead of just blanket condemnation? FOr example, let's take this as an example ( Do you have any problems with it? If so, what are they?

Isn't it better to point out specific examples instead of just labeling the person as being 'under the influence of Satan', a serous charge I may add? I can give you a counter-example that will hit you closer to home. From where I see it, I do not have a good impression of Reformed Charismatism. Yet I do recognize that you all have something to contribute in restoring balance within the Church. However, isn't it wrong for me to simply attack let's say John Wimber just because I do not think that certain fruits of Vineyard are not of God? (And trust me, my pevious church which I have grown up in was influenced by the so-called 'Toronto blessing', to her detriment) Rather, shouldn't I analyze what he has to say according to the context he made them, and then objectively show the good and the bad in what he says? Shouldn't you therefore do the same and extend the same grace to people like Pastor Ken, as you would like others to do the same to people in your movement?