We challenge you to write a post criticizing Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, Rob Bell, Billy Graham, or any one of your usual targets without calling anyone a heretic, apostate, or a fornicator with evil. Try to make your point about what you view as the demise of the Evangelical Church without referring to it as a “spiritual whorehouse,” “mystic murky mess,” or any of your other mean-spirited alliterations.

 To quote Mr. Aikman at the end of his CT article:

“Christians should be an example. By all means criticize fellow Christians if necessary, but do so with grace.”

In so doing, we will show the world a “gentleness, modesty and wisdom” that just might bring some grace and savor to our crumbling civilization.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 at 2:25 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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14 Comments(+Add)

1   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Hey does this one qualify??


2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

Possibly, Chris – is there a video of the entire sermon hosted somewhere, so this clip can be viewed in context of the whole?

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Overall a strong and pointed post that makes a valid assessment. I find it so much easier to digest something like you wrote when it comes without personal hyperbole and the author claiming to be something other than a humble servant.


4   Paul Carrington    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 29th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

apostasy: departure from one’s faith, principles, or party.

I agree that mocking tones and insinuations are not the way to go when trying to correct a situation. Not only does it detract from one’s argument but it also offends in the wrong way.

That being said, I don’t see an issue with calling the kettle black or telling the emperor, “Excuse me, you’re naked.”

A couple quick points/observations:

1. in reading this blog from time to time I see it just as derogatory and belittling as some of the people you are trying to correct. Do you see a need to defend this stance or to repent as well?

2. I wonder what Israelites must have felt like when Isaiah introduced himself by telling them they were dumber than oxes and asses, drawing parallels between them and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Is 1). How about areas in other scriptures where Israel was actually referred to as worse than Sodom?

The point is that though petty name-calling, gross sarcasm, mockery and so on are not Christ-like at all, alerting people to what is apostate or heretical is not a sin.

In fact, isn’t this what Paul did when he told Timothy that the words of Hymaneus and Philetus would eat away at your soul like a cancer? Should he have used more delicate language so as not offend them?

I would say that we should not confuse telling the truth directly (apostasy/heresy when it appears) with the lower element of name-calling.

5   Tim Reed    http://theotstrikesback.com
August 29th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

I find it interesting that whenever someone defends the watchdoggies behavior they skip all the admonitions from the epistles, which are descriptive and prescriptive commands for the normal Christian life and go to examples of the prophets, who were operating under direct experience with God, and is definitely not descriptive of the normal Christian life.

6   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

For the most part, I think we are pretty civil here. And when we cross the line, we apologize.

7   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 29th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Hey Matt. From an outside observer (BTW I’m not a watchdog or affiliated with them) I just don’t see a ton of difference. Take it as you want it, but I’m trying to be honest in this regard.

I have noticed that you guys sometimes do apologize, revise your statements or so on, which is refreshing and I hope you don’t lose that.

Tim – there are a fair number of admonitions in the NT as well. But I assumed that since we’re built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to use examples from the OT (could have just as easily be the NT). Especially when there are so many parallels between ancient Israel and Christianity.

8   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 29th, 2007 at 3:38 pm

One such parallel is Israel’s incessant desire to be like the world/nations round about them, leading to idolatry, discontentment (ie: with judges) and a plethora of other issues. Today, it appears Christianity is pleading to become more worldly as well as some of the ODMs (without the snideness) seem to do a good job of documenting – wouldn’t you agree on that at least?

9   Darren Sapp    http://www.vaporministries.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

I would suggest that everyone, whether you have your own blog, or are commenting on a blog, use the following before you hit that submit button on any post.

Pretend the person you are writing about is sitting next to you in a car and you will be spending the next 2 hours in the car with them. Do you really want to say that? Are you comfortable with the tension that might result? Is that tension necessary for the faith? Am I honoring Christ with what I am about to say.

I am directing this at everyone on this blog, the ODM blogs, and especially me.

Press On,

10   JohnD    
August 29th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Chris Rosebrough,

You asked: “Does this one qualify?” That’s actually pretty good. I think you took his comment: “If you know Jesus, this church is not for you” way out of context, but all in all, you didn’t name call, you didn’t demean, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.


11   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 3:51 pm

“I would say that we should not confuse telling the truth directly (apostasy/heresy when it appears) with the lower element of name-calling. ”

Apostacy = leaving the faith

Heresy = teachings that are outside generally accepted parameters

Apostacy is an extreme term, not to be tossed around.

Heresy also must be carefully used. I am guilty of using it to describe limited atonement. I should not have. If I disagree with that teaching, even strongly, than I should refer to it as unbiblical in my view.

It isn’t heresy as the term is generally understood. Heresy would be a teaching that said God would save someone who has never heard the gospel. Apostacy is someone who turns from Christianity to Islam or Judaism or even nothing.

I think Cat Stevens turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam. That would be apostacy.

Name calling – that includes any title that is meant to demean and label for the purpose of adding contempt. Now I believe ther is some leeway between labeling teachings and name calling. If I said Chris Lyons teaching is cotton candy (meaning it tastes good but doesn’t last) that might be passable. But if I referred to him as Captain Cotton Candy that is probably demeaning although much less caustic as others that make the rounds in blogdom.

I’m still thinking through the specifics of this issue.

12   Ian    http://lostintheheartofsomewhere.blogspot.com
August 30th, 2007 at 7:19 am


“Heresy would be a teaching that said God would save someone who has never heard the gospel.”

I would take issue with this. There are many good theologians within orthodoxy who would argue this from Scripture. This is why the word heresy is essentially a subjective opinion when except when centred around the essentials of faith defined in the historic creeds.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 30th, 2007 at 7:41 am

That subject would definitely be one that is on the line. To me it crosses it, but as you say there are Godly men who believe that.

14   Ian    http://lostintheheartofsomewhere.blogspot.com
August 30th, 2007 at 7:50 am

Fair enough. Perhaps we can go offline and talk about it. It is an issue I am working through.