Re: Dialoging with others - Re: Marcus Ross Re: [asa]

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Thu Feb 15 2007 - 12:01:16 EST

On 2/14/07, George Murphy <> wrote:

> Their views are at best self-contradictory and incoherent and at worst
> Manichaean. If saying that is "uncharitable" then the word "charity" has
> become meaningless.
> It is akin to the ultra-PC idea that no one's views should ever be called
> incorrect: "All have won and all shall have prizes." Yes, we can love
> those who have blatantly false notions & recognize them as fellow
> Christians
> but that doesn't make their ideas any truer or less likely to midlead the
> unwary.

I think it is helpful to explore exactly what it means to be charitable in
this context. Truth not only has a factual component but a moral one as
well. The abuse of humor can be a dangerous thing as evidenced from the
following proverb:

 Proverbs 26:18-19

18 Like a madman shooting
       firebrands or deadly arrows

19 is a man who deceives his neighbor
       and says, "I was only joking!"
It is very tempting to make a snide remark and say well I put a smiley on
it. Sorry, but that just doesn't cut it Biblically. We may be right
factually but not right morally.

I am currently a member of an Evangelical Free church. Prior to that I was a
member and ruling elder in the PCA. As part of my official duties, I was
once appointed prosecutor in an ecclesiastical trial. This caused me to
study the PCA's Book of Church Order in detail. Within there is a nugget of
Biblical wisdom that applies to this issue and that is concerning rules for
a complaint.

A complaint is where a member believes that the church session erred in one
or more of their decisions. The member can make a written remonstration
against the error and the session is obligated to hear that complaint and if
they fail to deal with it that decision can be appealed to higher courts.
The Biblical wisdom in the details of this procedure is *all complaints must
be couched in temperate language*.

I would add that many times the requirement to be temperate is inversely
proportional to the degree of the error. Note that the greatest injustice in
history was met by silence from Jesus' lips. In order to be charitable, we
must have the good of our brothers and sisters -- indeed all people -- at
mind at all times. If we are to correct their error we need to do so in a
loving fashion. Name calling particularly when combined with false
accusation will never win people over as they will retreat into their cocoon
of error. We may feel better but our brother is not won. Both giving up
trying to correct others and correcting others in an arrogant or demeaning
fashion are uncharitable. This is what it means to follow the Biblical
admonition to love the truth.

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Received on Thu Feb 15 12:01:39 2007

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