White or Tie-die?

Many of you are already aware that Rob Bell has recently written and published a new book, “Love Wins”, which has caused quite a stir within the Christian Culture, and in my opinion, rightfully so.  Now, this post isn’t about the “reasons” why I don’t like his book but more about the comments that I am reading and hearing from so much of Christendom.

It seems that when false teaching is exposed the commons responses are “why are you so unloving?” or “you shouldn’t judge” or “why does there have to be so much division in the church…aren’t we supposed to be united around Christ?” and my favorite (or should that be least favorite?) “you are so focused on doctrine when the Scriptures call us to spread a message of love and salvation.”

Now, please give me a moment to put down my tie-die T-shirt and Willie Nelson wig and contemplate on these statements:

First, it is most loving to question claims that have every appearance of distorting the truth.  People’s lives and souls are at risk here and we cannot trifle with them.  It is extremely loving to question that which may cause harm to the body of Christ.

Second, Scripture teaches us that we ‘are’ to judge, but not with an attitude of condemnation or with a different standard (read Matthew 7:1-5 and don’t stop at vs. 1 but read all the way through to vs. 5).  Another word for judge is “to discern.” Sadly we have allowed a good word like judge to be distorted by our culture rather than seek to use it in its biblical manner.

Third, I could say that there wasn’t division in the church until you came up with your distorted teaching which then created the division, but I will refrain from such lowly remarks.  In stead I will focus on the reality that we ‘should’ be united around Christ and His teachings.  But Who is this Christ and what did He say?  What is His Gospel and how does one obtain the Good News?”  Are we to assume that when we say “be united around Christ” that we are all talking about the same thing?  I don’t think so…and to claim that we are would be dishonest and irresponsible.

Finally, the attack on ‘doctrine’, in my humble opinion, is a red herring to get us away from using any standard of measurement and to simply rest on a warm and fuzzy unexplained and unarticulated ‘message of love and salvation’ which has no answers for mankind and leaves them hopeless.  Certainly much damage has taken place because of arguments about various doctrines, but that doesn’t mean that we stop being careful to articulate God’s truth with clarity and with care.

Well, all this took me back a few years to when I was in college.  It seems that controversies in the church always abound and some cause more damage than others.  I would say, however, that many of the controversies caused me to open up my Bible and study God’s Word carefully to come to a conclusion that I believed to be true.  Sadly, I was in a context that taught things that I struggled with, but God used that struggle to sharpen me as a person.

As I reflect on those years here is a short list of what we were struggling with then:

  • Is the King James Version the only inspired version of the Bible?
  • Is repentance necessary for salvation?
  • Must we embrace Jesus as our Savior, Lord or both?
  • Is the blood of Jesus described in the Bible literal or symbolic of his crucifixion?

Now, just in case you  thought that the debates today are ‘hotter’ than they were just twenty years ago I have included a video for your watching pleasure.  It is an interview with Dr. James White (of Alpha & Omega Ministries – and with hair) on the subject of KJV Onlyism.

But to wet your appetite here is just one sample quote…

“You are a devil, plain and simple…why dignify the lying claims of a servant of Satan?” That is what Texe Marrs, a leading Christian author and speaker in the early 1990’s had to say in a letter to James White in 1993 regarding the controversy over the King James Version being the only inspired Bible for the English language.

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