Contending for the Faith…or Just Being Contentious?

Contending for the Faith…or Just Being Contentious? A recent event impressed upon me our collective need to be responsible when it comes to accusing others of having false doctrine. Many people get up in arms because of rumors that circulate on the internet, many of which are neither carefully researched, nor proven. Boycotts are sometimes started to punish those who don’t toe the line on pet doctrinal issues and, oftentimes, good and godly people are maligned and misrepresented. Case in point: I received an email from a Concerned Lady who has read my articles for many years. She has heard me speak at a conference, and has purchased, and read, my books. She said she has always appreciated what I have to say and has often been encouraged and challenged by it. However, she was recently reading an article in a magazine in which I appeared as an author, and saw something that troubled her. A different author in the same magazine (not me)  included a quote from “Evangelical Author X” (obviously not his real name!). Apparently, the concerned lady had recently seen “Author X” mentioned in a bad light by an online heresy hunter, with whom I was not familiar. “Heresy Hunter” (not his real name), is the anonymous author of a “Discernment Ministry” website. He claims that “Author X” is associated with some bad people (Emergent Church authors), because in one of his books “Author X” uses some of the same terminology that they use (such as “contemplation” and “meditation” in reference to prayer). Therefore “Author X” must be a heretic. “Heretic Hunter” listed “Author X” (a Southern Baptist minister) as being in league with the following “bad guys” (and then he lists): a Jesuit, a Quaker, an Anglican, a Roman Catholic ascetic, a New Ager and a few others.  According to “Heresy Hunter,” these men are all bad, and they use “Terminology Y,” so since “Author X” uses similar terms (he sites three sentences), “Author X” is now one of them (even though “the heretics” are not even all on the same page theologically). This really isn’t even a case of being “guilty-by-association,” since none of the “heretics” hang out with each other or believe exactly the same things, and “Author X” certainly doesn’t hang out with any of them. (Confusing, eh?) The net result of all this, is that “Concerned Lady” (if I do not respond in the way she deems fit) may no longer support (or perhaps even oppose) my ministry....

© Israel Wayne.