Thursday, June 04, 2009

Playing With Fire in the Tent of God

Apologia brings out a strange character in many souls. There is something about defending one's beliefs that easily crosses that invisible line separating what should be a scriptural call and instead feigning honor while offending another's beliefs and sensibilities. It happens a lot in the Arminian vs. Calvinist discussions. Just ask anybody on the other side regardless of your own and you will find a plethora of souls offended in some manner by the aggressiveness of an opponent's rhetoric. Most often, these offenses are the result of heated excitement and carrying the polemical thrust a bit further than originally intended. We all do it, perhaps I more than most yet at the end of the day we should be able to set aside those sectarian differences and recognize one another as fellow brethren in Christ. At least that is what we tell ourselves.

Something else is going on in some circles. There is a desire to kill, to consume and to dismember whole segments of the body of Christ in the guise of intellectual and theological curiosity. Somebody is lighting matches in the house of God with tinder in every crook and cranny. I was going to tackle a particular sectarian and zealous blog with full force when I began putting these thoughts together but as I began typing I realized that it is just one brick of an unholy wall. Remove one brick and there are a thousand zealots ready with trowel to patch it up and hurl further than before. I think the better response is a moat, keeping with the analogy. Isolate those whose zealotry and murder are an offense and do so with plain scriptural truth. Within the walls of the zealots keep is a language that bears little resemblance to our own and that of Christian orthodoxy. The language uses terms and phrases similar to our own yet communicates ideas foreign to us and our churches as understood for 2,000 years. Knowing this, carrying an intellectual discourse with them, an apologizing defense, becomes a fruitless endeavor for what is good has become bad and what is most undesirable seems to be admirable. I suspect it is a human trait and as with all things human, all is in a bad way lacking the grace of God. Yet the Apostle states "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Col 4:6 AV). Salt being a preservative, it strikes me as a hard thing to curse with feigned wit while thinking one as the salt of the earth.

I don't have a particular soul or group in mind as I close these thoughts. I did when I began but having come back to this as I let it settle in my own mind, I think these things are appropriate to all who pick up a sword, however tempered and controlled. I cannot see the LORD as kind to the zealot's reproach and this should strike some measure of fear in each of us when we lace up for theological battle.