Monday, May 04, 2009

WAGING WAR AGAINST FELLOW BELIEVERS
...you need to read this

Fellow blogger and friend, Carla Rolfe, has posted an excellent article on this issue of confronting issues within the blogosphere with those we may disagree with in the household of faith. She mentioned me along with friend James White at the end of her post under the "update" section 

This is a must read article and I hope it will encourage you all in the how, what, why, where and whom we blog categories. Three key words for us all to remember when blogging, emailing, texting, etc. about fellow believers in the Lord: grace, charity, and humility.


The Apostle Paul deals with this subject very pointedly in his epistle to the Galatians. As Dr. MacArthur points out in his study bible on the following passage I quote below:
"The imagery is of wild animals savagely attacking and killing each other - a graphic picture of what happens in the spiritual realm when believers do not love and serve each other."
And may I add, attack and spread falsehood about each other. Listen to the Apostle's words:
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another." -Galatians 5:13-15
It has been said, that he who bites has exhausted his angry passions. But the one who seeks to devour is given over to extreme cruelty. 

Puritan divine, John Calvin, explains it as thus:
"slanders, accusations, reproaches, and every other kind of offensive language, as well as acts of injustice arising either from fraud or violence. And what is the end of them? To be consumed; while the tendency of brotherly love is to produce mutual protection and kindness. I wish we could always remember, when the devil tempts us to disputes, that the disagreement of members within the church can lead to nothing else than the ruin and consumption of whole whole body. How distressing, how mad it is, that we, who are members of the same body, should be leagued together, of our own accord for mutual destruction."
May we not excite a spirit of contention within the church and between brothers and sisters in the Lord, but provoke one another unto love and good works. Amen?

In His unfailing love,
Steve
1 Cor. 13:1

23 comments:

cyd said...

Well, I'm going to be guilty of double posting in the meta and say this again:

When self-righteous outrage against whom or whatever trumps the biblical mandate to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, we are no longer speaking in a manner that represents our LORD.

When "Do unto others" is replaced by evil complaints and judgments against other believers, we are speaking against Christ Himself.

God has convicted me of this very thing in my own life. Praise the Lord for His sanctifying grace!

From Arthur Pink, ("Evil Speaking" 1935)
"Do not speak evil against each other, brethren." James 4:11

That which is here forbidden, is the saying of anything, be it true or false, to the harm of another. God requires that our words should be governed by "the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26), and anything which would hurt or injure the reputation of another, is to be rigidly shunned. Whenever I cannot speak well of my brother or sister, I must say nothing at all. To speak evil of others, proceeds from ill will or malice--desiring that they should be made odious in the esteem of others.

It is devilish to take delight in exposing the faults of fellow-Christians, and stirring up prejudice and bitter feelings against them (Rev. 12:10). God requires that our words should agree with love--as well as with truth. Since Christians are brethren, the last thing they should be guilty of is defaming one another!

Except where the glory of God plainly requires it, and the good of that person demands it--we must refrain from all evil speaking of others. If we are duly occupied with and humbled over our own many faults--we shall have neither time nor inclination to dwell upon or publish those of others! If we properly heed the exhortation of Philippians 4:8, we shall cultivate the habit of admiring the graces in our brethren--instead of being like filthy flies, settling on their sores!"

SJ Camp said...

Thank you Cyd.

What a quote from Pink! So convicting to my own heart and life.

I am going to post it tomorrow here.
Thank you,
Steve

brian said...

I think that Mr. Hilton should grow up. If I ever said that on the job about another human being especially the demeaning words concerning women I would get the boot. Being rude is really easy and requires little thought or energy. It is also cheep. One can be firm without casting Character attacks just because people disagree.

I had to laugh and cry at slice and the "rebuke" (tm) from on high as to Mr. Camp not being a strong and consistent Biblical view concerning sin. If that makes any sense I do not write as well as others do.

I read slice daily mainly because Ingrid Schlueter makes me extremely angry and I was sinning in my heart against her, so I thought reading her points and trying to understand her world view is more Christlike then for me to write off another human soul. It has helped I no longer angry at her, maybe she could try that, trying to understand what Mr. Camp is trying to say. If that also makes sense.

I often wonder people are so against the "world" that want nothing to do with it. If a persons house is on fire do they want a well trained fire fighter or someone that has the same theological stance? Thank You Mr. Camp

PS sorry about the long post but I would love to see some of the more notable folks in the Christian community deal with the questions of origins. It is a deep stumbling bock for many of us.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coram Deo said...

Steve,

Frankly speaking I'm not sure if I'm more appalled by the scripturally unsupportable cult of celebrianity that's suddenly materialized around Ms. Prejean due to her politically-incorrect response a gay marriage question, or the painfully misguided nature and direction of the ensuing "conversation", especially as it is encapsulated in this particular post.

Brother, you ought to know better than this. In a few short paragraphs ostensibly about GRACE, CHARITY, and HUMILITY you've compared Ingrid Schlueter, your sister in Christ, to a ..."wild animal savagely attacking and killing"..., and of "attacking and spreading falsehood" without supplying so much as one single example to substantiate this very serious accusation!

Apparently not yet satisfied you then proceeded to offer up still more examples of (anti)Christ-like GRACE, CHARITY and HUMILITY by not-so-subtly insinuating that Ingrid is perhaps guilty of "biting" due to "exhausting [her] angry passions" or else that she is possibly "seeking to devour" having been "given over to extreme cruelty". This is a shameful and deeply troubling display that belies wounded pride, Steve.

And finally, as if the preceding weren't enough of a demonstration of (unholy)Spirit-filled GRACE, CHARITY and HUMILITY you close by applying a scorching indictment quoted from Calvin and then - almost amazingly! - you rhetorically ask: "May we not excite a spirit of contention within the church and between brothers and sisters in the Lord, but provoke one another unto love and good works. Amen?"Well, some may brother, but considering the very personal and incendiary language employed herein you've manifestly managed to incite the former while completely obliterating any hope of the latter.

In closing let it be said that your post here was every bit as biting, divisive, and contentious as anything you've projected upon Ingrid. I pray the Lord will enable you to see this, and by the power of the real Spirit of GRACE, CHARITY and HUMILITY that you'll promptly delete this post and seek to be reconciled with Ingrid.

In Christ,
CD

eric opsahl said...

Everyone knows that e-mails or blogging is NOT the correct avenue for resolving conflict between Christians. For now, I’ll limit that to HEATED conflict. As is apparently the case between Steve and Ingrid (based on this post). Steve knows that I don’t think he is seeing the big picture of this issue, he has corrected me on one of my postings. For the sake of brotherly love, I would love to hear that you two took the time to talk over the phone and reconcile. There is clearly a serious divide at this point. I’m sure neither of these two have time to talk with everyone with whom they disagree. This case involves two folks who at one time publically respected one another.
Pressing on,
Eric

R W S said...

When one becomes so enamored with only exposing error or false teaching , one begins to turn in on themselves. I know because I was there. Full of pride and arrogant , making judgments on people I barely knew who were believers and accusing them of heresy . But God humbled me , crushed me and once I saw my own sinfulness and the fact I was not contending for the truth with any manner of Christ-likeness, my attitude has changed.
I still believe in contending for the truth and sound doctrine but I see people I disagree with as people , ones that I need to love. Unless they are teaching outright heresy and hold to the gospel , I need to show compassion and charity and even if they are falling away from the truth , my goal should be to win them back to Christ ,not crush them . While at the same time realize I do not hold any teaching perfectly and at times learn from those I disagree with , love and charity. Regardless who you disagree with , if they are a believer , one should always show grace and mercy as Paul even showed the Corinthian and Galatian churches . He dealt with them forthrightly but showed a tender heart as well.Loving them despite their waywardness and struggles.Should we not do the same without accusing others of motives we sometimes do not even know!

SJ Camp said...

Coram Deo
I thank you for your comment. But in all fairness, you couldn't have missed the mark anymore than what I had intended.

1. This post was not about Ingrid. If it was I would have mentioned her specifically and would have contacted her first before posting it.

2. The Scripture that the Apostle Paul gives the church at Galatia is for any believer in the Lord who is not acting in love and humility with another. Anyone who is biting and devouring another is not acting Christlike. And I think you would have to agree, that that is happening way to often in the blogosphere. Simply ranting and venting about an issue is not standing up for biblical truth; but speaking the truth in love redemptively with the purpose of seeing someone encouraged in their walk with the Lord and challenged to reconsider some things or even repent of some things is quite different.

In another passage in Galatians (6:1-4) Paul calls this "fulfilling the law of Christ" and it begins with humility in first examining ourselves; not just throwing rocks at another for the failings or blind spots in their lives.

I.E. - the massive posting done from numerous Christian blogs about the Miss California scenario with the accompanying undeserved venom and angst towards her personally hasn't been Christlike nor redemptive to her. THAT is what this post is about my friend.

3. You have made accusations towards myself based upon assumptions that are not true brother. I have not responded one time to any of Ingrid's recent posts where I have been mentioned (out of context mind you) at her blog. I don't care about my pride. That is for her to deal with before the Lord. I hold no ought against her. If I did, I would have contacted her already as I do with others around the blogosphere.

4. Grace, humility and charity are not buzz words to be thrown around casually. They are at the heart of our Lord's earthly ministry and character and should be so for us.

So rather than read something in my post that is not there, why not respond to the truth of it. I would like to hear your thoughts on what I actually wrote here - not your conjecture for your opinion means something to me..

I appreciate your commenting here always.

Grace to you brother,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

EricThank you for sharing your thoughts as well. But may I encourage you to do the same. Please respond to what I actually wrote and not something I did not write about.

Grace to you brother,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

RWS
Regardless who you disagree with , if they are a believer , one should always show grace and mercy as Paul even showed the Corinthian and Galatian churches . He dealt with them forthrightly but showed a tender heart as well.Loving them despite their waywardness and struggles.Should we not do the same without accusing others of motives we sometimes do not even know!

Thank you! That is the point of this post exactly. People are making dramatic assumptions about others - pretending to know their hearts and motives without at all knowing them.

So I appreciate your words greatly and thank you for having the wisdom for staying on the general message of this post without introducing clairvoyance about others motives.

Well done!
Steve

eric opsahl said...

Steve,
My post was not in line with the Corem Dio post. I did not think your post was a response to Ingrid, I took it for what it was.

Still, based on the reference to Carla’s site and Ingrid’s words concerning you, at least one party is in conflict. Even though you have not either directly or indirectly commented on Ingrid, the criticisms are now public, at least as cited by Carla, which were linked to by your post.

I work in the Architectural field, if I heard that another Architect in town was critical of me, even if I didn’t know that Architect, even if I didn’t start the problem, I’d probably call and find out how to resolve the conflict.

Even if you are not social friends with Ingrid, even if you do not desire a rift, even if you hold no negative thoughts towards her, even if biblically “the ball is not in your court”, in that you are theologically “like minded” fellow bloggers,

I’d love to hear that you have reconciliation.

SJ Camp said...

Eric
My post was not in line with the Corem Dio post. I did not think your post was a response to Ingrid, I took it for what it was.

Good to hear and thank you for your clarification here.

Understand something, I have not been in a public debate on this issue with Ingrid. I have not been asked to even dialogue about this issue on her radio program or through the blogosphere.

I only posted a very brief post about asking for prayer for Miss California - and from that simple article I have been since been mentioned by her and others in a very negative way. Again, I do not hold ought against any of them for that. I have remained silent and have resorted to just pray for them. But I stand ready to forgive as i have been forgiven.

This post here was to address the greater arching issues of how blogging that lacks humility, grace and charity of our Lord Jesus affects the body of Christ in general.

As to Carla's article, she primarily featured a post by Phil Johnson (which was quite good by the way) about dealing with doctrinal error and those who spread it. That was her initial impulse in writing about this important issue. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I really haven't seen anyone comment on that portion of her article as of yet.

The wheelhouse for me on this is simple: the manner in which we address controversial issues with other believers in the Lord is very important. Even Peter teaches us that when giving a reason for the hope that is within us to a nonbeliever must be done so with "reverence and respect."

That is all that my post is about here. Paul's shocking words to the Galatia church were very convicting to my own heart and life for I know that I haven't written with the grace, charity or humility that is befitting Christ and His gospel as I have tackled issues in the past here on my blog. My heart was again broken over my sin in this area as I read those powerful words from his pen.

That is my concern here brother. It is not to respond to other blogs about what they say about me. I am poor fodder for someone's blog; and frankly are not worth the time for anyone to waste writing about either positively or negatively. Only the Lord is worthy of our conversation and delight... amen? My hope is that we spend our time proclaiming Him and His truths in a way that honors Him even when addressing cultural issues that could be more of a controversial nature.

As Cyd mentioned from the excellent quote from Pink: "If we are duly occupied with and humbled over our own many faults--we shall have neither time nor inclination to dwell upon or publish those of others!"

Amen?

Grace to you,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

brian
I think that Mr. Hilton should grow up. If I ever said that on the job about another human being especially the demeaning words concerning women I would get the boot. Being rude is really easy and requires little thought or energy. It is also cheep. One can be firm without casting Character attacks just because people disagree.

Well said my brother!

parsonsipe said...

Hundreds of denominations...wildly divergent styles of worship, doctrinal positions all across the board..and now with the open avenues of communication made readily available and accessible through the internet, all of these are readily viewable by anyone. As a member of the Reformed community I have let go of my passion for believing that if my behavior and evangelical zeal is not absolutely fervent that the blood of countless hundreds of unbeliever's blood will be on my hands. Having said that, however, I still am powerfully driven by the truth that the world sees me (us) and settles a great deal in their minds by what they see presented by the Church at large. What the even minimally discerning unbeliever sees representative of the American Church today has got to be confusing at best and downright damning at worst. Name calling and trite labels being applied to those we disagree with. I do not understand how anyone in the Church can think there is any value in this. Cannot biblical truth be expressed without all of the baggage attached to it? Will an errant genuine believer see the reality of his error more clearly by degrading his hair color? John 13:35...by THIS the world will know you are my disciples, because you have love for ONE ANOTHER! When those outside the family of faith see us shooting our own wounded...I ask you how the Holy Spirit can use this to draw them unto Himself?

SJ Camp said...

parsonsipe
Well said!

Wise powerful words. Thank you.
Steve

Carla said...

I appreciate the link to my post, Steve. It's something I needed to say for a while now and I hope it brings with it edification.

Not too long ago a Christian sister said to me something that I had never heard before, and I think it bears repeating here. She said when being critical or confrontational with another believer in an area they are in error in (or even outright sin), you should speak to them just as you would your very best friend. The same gentleness, compassion and sensitivity that you would use with your best friend should likewise be extended to another believer - along with - the truth you're attempting to convey.

Imagine for a moment, that if every critical, discernment, watchblogger (whatever they're called these days, I lose track of labels) began to do this, starting today.

I know, it's a wild thought. Fact is though, Scripture says the exact same thing - grace AND truth, not just truth. Definitely never truth with bitterness or anger or with the motive to just put someone in their place.

I won't pretend its an easy thing to do, because it's not. It requires God's grace and much humility to begin thinking this way and putting it into practice. I'm a LONG way from where I want to be with this but it's certainly my goal.

Rick Frueh said...

Grace and love are profoundly difficult to exhibit, but perhaps nowhere more difficult than in the context of correction and disagreement. Without a a cone of humility, nothing divine can be accomplished.

Our calling is not the emulation of John the Baptist, our calling is much more painful than that. Our confronting of sin must be redemptive, and our platform must be several feet above a blood soaked hill.

Only then can our words be His and not our own.

I have benefited from commenting here, and I have been deeply encouraged to see a believer publicly strive to embrace his own standing in grace, without diluting the gospel message.

SJ Camp said...

Rick
Our confronting of sin must be redemptive, and our platform must be several feet above a blood soaked hill. Only then can our words be His and not our own.

Powerful words my friend. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

This is always a difficult thing to do isn't it? Address those to whom we disagree with the kind of persona that we would also like to be given in return by others.

The other comes all too naturally to me. It is so easy just to spout off responses, make accusations based upon personal bias or opinion and then treat them as gospel - when we could be wrong in our perceptions or twisted in our own thinking.

Humility would strive to not pull the trigger too quickly allowing adequate time to first examine ourselves and the log in our own eye before we ever try to examine the speck in someone else's. I have had to learn that lesson the hard and painful way.

How I thank the Lord for His grace and forgiveness He has given to me. May I be quick to extend that to others.

Ken Silva said...

The times we live in are actually quite similar to that in which Jesus lived.

The main difference being the religious leaders now are making an idol out of their misunderstanding of God's love.

And of course, we must use Christ's perfect Example, because one cannot be more redemptive than He.

What we need now is to maintain His proper balance between public preaching against sin and compromise ala Matthew 23, and the private conversation with those who may be penitent ala John 3.

SJ Camp said...

Ken
Thank you brother for your words.

It's good to remember that when Jesus spoke publicly in Matt. 23 those seven woes, He was speaking to the Pharisees directly and not just to any audience arbitrarily. He was not seeking to be one of many voices among the hoi palloi. IOW, He would not have been content to just have "blogged" about them; He wanted to confront their false gospel to their faces. Now that takes courage and integrity.

And notice, immediately following His stinging rebuke was His lament over Jerusalem. Grace and truth exemplified.

Just as in John 3, the call there was also to a Pharisee; but it was a gospel call to eternal life. And again, He was speaking directly to Nicodemus.

To the sinner He showed compassion and mercy; but to the religious leaders preaching a false gospel He demonstrated righteous indignation.

To Miss California which do you think He would have showed? Compassion. How do I know this? For I too am a sinner He showed His compassion, grace and mercy to. You too my brother... You too.

We must wield the sword carefully and circumspectly in the blogosphere. Grace and truth with the goal being love from a pure heart a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Amen?

Grace and peace to you my brother.
Steve

Coram Deo said...

I thank you for your comment. But in all fairness, you couldn't have missed the mark anymore than what I had intended.

1. This post was not about Ingrid. If it was I would have mentioned her specifically and would have contacted her first before posting it.
Perhaps you can understand and forgive my misinterpretation Steve, considering that the subtitle of your piece was ”you need to read this” and the article began with a glowing recommendation of a missive by Carla Rolfe’s which ended with Ingrid Schlueter and Denise as ”exhibits A and B” of her rather strident excoriation of all things pugnacious, obnoxious, and generally un-Christlike.

In light of your caveat above I can’t help but wonder, did Carla Rolfe attempt contact Ingrid or Denise prior to posting her piece? Or alternatively did you attempt to contact Ingrid prior to linking to and highly recommending Ms. Rolfe’s musings, which thing by necessity expresses a tacit endorsement of the conclusions she reached? Mind you I’m not saying this is even necessary, but since you state that you would have contacted Ingrid if you were writing about her directly, I wonder if this same guideline applies when you’re linking to and recommending someone who’s written about her.

2. The Scripture that the Apostle Paul gives the church at Galatia is for any believer in the Lord who is not acting in love and humility with another. Anyone who is biting and devouring another is not acting Christlike. And I think you would have to agree, that that is happening way too often in the blogosphere. Simply ranting and venting about an issue is not standing up for biblical truth; but speaking the truth in love redemptively with the purpose of seeing someone encouraged in their walk with the Lord and challenged to reconsider some things or even repent of some things is quite different.Amen! Yet this thought necessarily leads me back to the questions posed above. Some believers, like Ingrid, are rightly concerned that pomo evangelicalism has become so squishy and squeamish and yes, effeminate, about any and all perceived offense that terms like “love” and “humility” are being radically redefined in conformity with an unbiblical worldview to accommodate the PC spirit of the age. I for one am persuaded that an apostate “Cumbayah Chorus” of sorts is arising within the broader professing visible church and that it’s drawing many away with its siren song and promises of (a false temporal) unity and brotherhood at the expense of Biblical truth. I believe this is happening, do you?

In another passage in Galatians (6:1-4) Paul calls this "fulfilling the law of Christ" and it begins with humility in first examining ourselves; not just throwing rocks at another for the failings or blind spots in their lives.

I.E. - the massive posting done from numerous Christian blogs about the Miss California scenario with the accompanying undeserved venom and angst towards her personally hasn't been Christlike nor redemptive to her. THAT is what this post is about my friend.
I’ve not read every post on the subject of the recent Miss America Flap but I’ve read many, and while strident calls for Biblical purity and modesty may be perceived by some as being prudish and/or lacking in “charity and grace”, I’d suggest that one’s epistemic humility may lie on the slippery slope of pragmatism and worldliness if the act of pointing out and discussing the shocking dichotomy between a professing believer who poses semi-nude for photographs and parades around before millions in a barely-there bikini on the one hand, while offering a politically incorrect response to a gay marriage question on the other hand is to be declared as off limits because the individual is a professing believer, when in fact this is the very heart of the issue! To wit, if Prejean were another worldling in another worldly vanity pageant we should expect such aberrant and sinful behavior, but because she professes Christ she’s somehow deemed as exempt from examination in the light of scripture? Such thinking stands in opposition to scripture, not in affirmation of it.

The Lord Jesus Christ had quite a lot to say about those who draw close to Him with their mouths but whose works tell a different story (see Matthew 7:21-27; James 1:22-24; 1 John 2:3-6, Titus 1:15-16), and believers of all stripes and ages, especially young impressionable girls, need to be told the truth. In fact it would appear that Carrie Prejean needs to be told the truth…


3. You have made accusations towards myself based upon assumptions that are not true brother. I have not responded one time to any of Ingrid's recent posts where I have been mentioned (out of context mind you) at her blog. I don't care about my pride. That is for her to deal with before the Lord. I hold no ought against her. If I did, I would have contacted her already as I do with others around the blogosphere.I offer you a sincere and earnest apology for imputing an imaginary agenda to you, and I humbly ask for your forgiveness. While it’s no excuse, as I said at the beginning I hope you might see how I reached my conclusions, wrong as they may have been in this instance.

4. Grace, humility and charity are not buzz words to be thrown around casually. They are at the heart of our Lord's earthly ministry and character and should be so for us.

So rather than read something in my post that is not there, why not respond to the truth of it. I would like to hear your thoughts on what I actually wrote here - not your conjecture for your opinion means something to me..
I’ve done as you requested with my comments above. Unless you request further clarification this will be my last word on the subject as I have no desire to hijack this thread, nor do I think it appropriate for me to turn your combox into a running debate.

In Christ,
CD

Carla said...

Coram Deo asked:

" can’t help but wonder, did Carla Rolfe attempt contact Ingrid or Denise prior to posting her piece? "

No I did not. Both ladies made their posts public themselves at their respective blogs. I simply used Ingrid's public post as one example of what I was referring to in my original post on this subject.

Rick Frueh said...

The entire Miss California incident might have provided a clear platform for pointing out the pitfalls and compromises that these events generate concerning Christian modesty. This might have been done with humility and might have served as a reminder to women about what they wear as well as for men and what we look at.

And those who held this woman up as a role model could have been prayed for and left in God's hands and very soon many would be corrected by the coming events. But in many corners that is not what happened. It became such a temptation for ridicule within the Christian community, and those who were correct in their original assessment were quick to project a "I told you so" spirit rather than being broken about the entire scandal.

Most mature believers recognize the compromising nature of beauty pageants, but how many mature believers recognize the self righteous nature that can so easily pervade the Christian community? We must be careful not just to be a spectator to the lessons dished out to others, but we must be willing participants to the lessons God desires to teach us as well.

What does it say about the church when one insignificant woman makes one statement and the fabric of the bond of peace is ripped asunder? And it wasn't just this woman who bore the attacks, anyone who offered even the slightest appreciation for her words became targets as well.

As the length and breadth of the blogosphere continues to expand it would seem that we no longer need the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

(As a side not I have major differences with being seen as the moral police as the expense of living and preaching the everlasting gospel of Christ. If you read the story of this Perez's childhood and teenage years it is tragic and he needs Christ.)