The Linking Continues…

I was name-dropped within a story  by Jesus Christology again:

It is fitting that I came across the post Paula White Exposed on brother Phil’s Theology Today weblog last night. Why? Because I had made the decision not to deal with Paula and Randy White anymore because I had already beaten that horse to death and I am really not into making glue. But as it happens, I was inspired by brother over at Gay Christian Movement Watch’s outstanding essay Is it “hateful” use the Bible’s tough language? to write my own Using Tough Language From The Bible IS NOT Speaking In Hate!, and I used that occasion to provoke the sincere Christian brothers at The Making Of A Good Life and Uriah Ministries for no good reason. (Please note I did not say that I did not have a reason, I do, which is that I have MINOR disagreements with them,

Here is my response:

Once again you are missing the point that myself and the other named conspirator have been making. We are not against calling sin sin. We are not against accountability, and we are not against living “good moral lives,” as the title of my blog should indicate. We are very concerned with discerning right from wrong, and black from white.

In fact in conversation with a gay friend at work, I was once asked if I thought she was going to hell. To which I replied quite simply that if she was not in relationship with Christ, then the fact was that she (like anyone else not in an accountable relationship with the Savior) was destined for that place of judgment. I do believe in right and wrong. I do believe in calling a spade a spade. A concern for holines is, in point of fact, that very reason which I took the time to begin the dialogue that has been occurring between us. I believe that there are right ways and wrong ways to confront sin.

My concern with websites such as this one is with the animosity and vitriol with which people (whom the author does not know, will never know, and whom have never asked for their opinion) are dealt. My pattern (as I hope it has been clear) is the pattern and teaching of Paul to the Corinthian church. In 1 Cor. 6 we see church discipline imposed, and in 2 Cor. 2 we see church discipline received and accepted. First any “confrontation” must be done in love and humility. I believe that Paul had something to say along those lines. Second I am very uncomfortable with what I consider one of the downsides of the internet culture which has developed within the past decade. It is easy to go online and anonymously trash people for whom you do not agree. It is easy to namelessly and facelessly hack away at people whom you will never meet and say things that you will never have the guts to say to their faces. This, I believe, is a form of gossip and rumormongering which I also believe Paul had something to say about. Last, I believe that actions and attacks designed simply for anything other than bringing the fellow believer back to the grace of God is worthless time spent.

Now I know that you will say that you choose to follow the OT prophets and their calls to holiness, but I must say that each of my guidelines applies to the OT prophets as well. Each prophet did his work in love and humility. Each prophet spoke his words within the community in which they lived and never saw themselves as doing otherwise. Last the words were given to friends, neighbors, and family members with which the prophet was intimately connected to.

Taking the Bible as my guide in these matters, I choose to focus my accountability in the relationships with those around me, and more importantly on those who ask me to do so. That is why I regularly discuss my personal failing with a few close friends whom I ask to help me live a godly life. It is also why I speak into their lives when asked to do so as well. And as I do so I try to be as humble, kind, and generous with those others, as they are when I go to them with stuff. In this way there is trust built as it is received and given back.

I will reiterate my points: 1) Rebuke and correction are to be done in love and humility, 2) Rebuke and correction are to be done in community (more specifically the local body of believers who come together on a daily and weekly basis), and 3) Rebuke and correction can only achieve their desired ends when their is relationship given and received. To not follow these guidelines is to flirt dangerously (if not fall into) lives of gossip and slander which Paul rebuked in more than one church. In point of fact, in one incidence (I believe it was in the first or second letter to Timothy)Paul rebukes the “widows” of Ephesus for passing on information about people in terms of “their concern for that person’s well-being.” It was not enough that these widows were “right” about their concerns, Paul called these women to be righteous in how they addressed their concerns (in private within established relationships).

Do we need people like this author who trying to discuss the in’s and out’s of life in our society and whom are trying to call us to holiness. Absolutely. But we must also seek to make sure that in our attempts to be righteous, we do not settle for simply being right. I believe we can be both. In fact I believe this author, myself and everyone else ought to be accountable for no less than this.


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