Our Rude Savior
|by Anne Morse|
Not long after finishing my post on Jonathan Edwards and the Presbyterians, in which I chided Christian leaders who mislead their flocks, I picked up my May issue of Touchstone magazine and read this piece by S. M. Hutchens (for the editors). While it's titled "The War on Error: The Business of Confronting Heresy," it might just as easily have been titled: "What to say to people who claim you're rude (and unChristian) to criticize their views."
What we ought to remember, Hutchens writes, is how desperately rude Jesus Himself was when he confronted heresy. Ditto the church fathers. "It is hard to go far in their writings without finding them bluntly identifying their opponents as heretics, perverts, madmen, liars, and tools of the devil," Hutchens writes. But these days, "polite Christian society will have none of that: It is the sort of thing one expects only of the unwashed fundamentalist. ...What sort of person, after all, would call apparently well-intentioned and perfectly respectable people, often very important, very religious people, snakes or hypocrites, or compare them to dirty tableware?"
Well, obviously, the kind of people who write for The Point!
Actually, I didn't actually call anybody names (Gina probably wouldn't let me, anyway), and didn't even call Janet Edwards a heretic (which is what she is); I did quote Scripture that makes it clear what biblical writers think of those who preach heresy. Jesus, too. He let loose quite a few times in his earthly ministry, attacking both religious and political leaders as "serpents," "snakes," "fools," "blind guides," and various other epithets that would be considered unprintable on most Christian blog sites were anyone but Jesus to use them.
But perhaps we ought not be so prissy. "Identifying heresy and falsehood and those who teach it is a duty which, if shirked, will subject the souls under one's infuence to the tender mercy of the wolves and one's own soul to the judgment reserved for the shepherd who did not protect his flock," Hutchens writes.