A Comment on Criticism

I wanted to promote a comment from Chris Heard: (who blogs at Higgaion)

Sadly, when I clicked through to the article on Charisma News, one of the sidebars pointed to another Charisma News article entitled “This Is What Heretical, Counterfeit Christianity in Action Looks Like.” That article condemned an Anglican preacher as “sinning” and practicing “heretical, counterfeit Christianity” for speaking out against homophobia and heterosexism. Commenters piled on to aver that the preacher in question is “not a Christian.” Sad that one columnist on the site faults MacArthur for using techniques that another columnist on the same site employs against a liberal Anglican. Broadsides against liberal or progressive Christians are no better than broadsides against charismatic Christians. To clarify, I am not tarring you with that brush, Henry, just noting that there’s plenty of incivility to go around.

I definitely appreciate his not tarring me with the same brush, but I think this is an experience that needs to be emphasized.

In this case, it was two different people in the same magazine, but often it’s one and the same person. We object to the way we are criticized while speaking harshly of others. I want to emphasize that I’m not talking here about upholding what you believe to be the truth, nor of compromise, or of approval. I’m talking about both civility and effectiveness. Obviously I’ve been speaking with some vigor about the way certain people are speaking. What I do not think you have heard me do, though I have been guilty of it at various times in the past, is condemning a whole group of people.

Inevitably someone will say that certain doctrinal beliefs, such as whether one accepts gay marriage or not, is simply outside the bounds. Be very careful who you place outside the bounds of civil discourse. Are there cases where someone is that far out? Yes. I would say so. But there are many less, I think, than we so categorize. I think I would summarize my approach by saying it’s best to talk about what is right more than who is right.

I’ve made a mission of conversation, and while I spoke under the current circumstances of charismatic and evangelical, I am committed to having this conversation include Christian liberals as well. You can hear my approach in the video I’ll embed below. It’s a simple home video which I made early in the process of forming my company, Energion Publications. I’ve heard many times that my plan is not viable, either for a publishing company (too much variety, too little focus) or for any ministry. I think there are good things that happen when we listen to one another, and I’m going to make that effort.

I make some (but not many) apologies for the (sort of) commercial. After all, publishing is what I do. I’m bound to talk about it.

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