Source: Cerulean Sanctum
Comments: Dan posts some practical observations on how to deal with perceived heresy, which is a manner – almost point-by-point – ignored by the ‘heretic hunters’ in the Christian blogosphere. While he does not call out Slice, specifically, everything he says, applies.
Anyone who wishes to confront heresy needs to have an exceedingly well-ordered house with nary a pane of glass in sight. Jesus used a strong word hereâ€”hypocriteâ€”and He means it. This necessitates great humility on the part of anyone confronting another because we must come to grips with our own sinfulness before we confront a lapsed brother. In other words, a gleeful slashing at an opponent is sinful. No one who confronts heretics should do so if they find it to be enjoyable or a source of self-worth. Too many times that is the spirit I see at work in those who seek to topple heretics. Remember that the criteria used against heretics will be the criteria used against those who confront them.
The upshot of this is if we go off half-cocked, lacking understanding as to what our opponents are saying exactly, then we bear false witness against them when we accuse them of impropriety. But too often our accusations are just thatâ€”uninformed. A wise man listens, understands, then speaks. A fool speaks without understanding.
Are we spending any time truly understanding what potential heretics are saying or do we shoot first and ask questions later? If the latter, then we are no better than those we accuse because we are bearing false witness against them.
Recently, I counted at least four blogs I read that cited a mainstream newspaper article profiling a well-known pastor in Michigan. Those blogs tore into that pastor based on what was in the newspaper article. One of those blogs even slammed the pastor because the newspaper reporter elected to refer to him as “the hottest preacher in Michigan,” as if the pastor had any control over the editorial license of the reporter!
The problem with newspapers and other forms of the mainstream media (MSM) isâ€”and unless your name is “Rip Van Winkle” you should know thisâ€”they are not always reliable sources. How many times in the last five years has an award-winning reporter fudged the facts on a story or twisted them to make the story more compelling? Do we remember the recent editorial bloodletting at The New York Times?
Personal confrontation also has a sharpening quality. The famous “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” from Proverbs 27:17 implies that there is some dullness to begin with. If we do not confront personally, how will they be sharpened? Even more so, how will we be sharpened if we fail to faithfully bring that personal confrontation?
I have said in other places on Cerulean Sanctum that those we find to be in error are often so because they are reacting badly to something we ourselves did wrong or failed to do at all. The way that some pervert the Gospel also shows us where we have failed to defend the portion being perverted. This is to our shame as much as it is to theirs.
Is that our aim when we confront heretics? Do we really wish to see them abandon their heresy and return to God, or do we wish to see them consigned to hell? I know which one gives the Lord more pleasure.