Monday, August 30, 2010

When one can’t actually argue for his position…

… he’ll resort to hypocritical ad hominem attacks. I recently encountered this myself, for actually saying what the Scriptures say, with the authority that the Scriptures say it, consistent with the history of the Christian faith. Those with whom I tried to reason actually tried to define me out of Christianity, presuming that they could invent the religion on their own terms, instead of submitting to the revelation of God in Christ. Indeed, I was actually blocked by two individuals on Facebook – though I never sent them personal messages, and only interacted with their comments in a comment thread in which they volunteered to write. I suppose that is the proverbial shove off the digital cliff… what a day we live in!

Anyway, I mention this because Steve Hays at Triablogue addresses (in his post Brotherly Love) the same sort of personal attack against the T-bloggers, which reads:

To the author of this blog: Wow. Is this what your brand of Christianity teaches you? It is hard to find as many bigoted and intolerant people in the world. Shame to see someone who supposedly calls himself "Christian" going off like you have. It is people like you who give Christians a bad reputation with so many people. I saw the Glenn Beck speech and I thought it was inspiring and his words sincere. Did you see it? Or were you too wrapped up in your own self righteous condemnation of everyone who doesn't follow the exact same tenants as you? If God sends a man like Glenn Beck to hell, then he is not a God of love or a just God, just a spiteful and cruel one. What we need is more brotherly love and unity in finding what unites us, not the kind of acrimony and un-Christian hatred that you displayed in your posting. I know that Mormonism features many tenants that are different from Baptist teachings, but if you look at the heart of what Mormon people feel and believe about Jesus Christ and living the gospel of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", they are essentially the same as those of other people who read and understand the words of Jesus.

Hays responds, in part:

i) Folks who can’t argue for their position fall back on first-shaking adjectives like “hatred,” “intolerance,” and “bigotry.” That tactic won’t work here.

ii) Whether or not Beck is sincere is irrelevant. Sincerity and veracity can lead separate lives, and often do.

iii) The commenter is typically blind to his own intolerance. He’s only tolerant of those who see things his way.

iv) The fact that he’d say God is spiteful and cruel for sending Beck to hell is a good illustration of folks who judge by tone and appearance rather than reality.

v) I’m all for brotherly love. But Beck is not my brother. He’s a lost soul. And he’s recruiting others to his false gospel.

viii) ”Do unto others” is not a slogan you can uproot from its Biblical soil and transplant wherever you please. For instance, mob families also live by the golden rule: you kill my boy and I’ll kill yours.

I cite this because the comment to which Hays responds is yet another example of the typical response of the modern pluralist, who proclaims tolerance, yet seethes hatred; who proclaims love, yet pours out insults; who decries exclusive claims, yet in a rather exclusive act condemns those who don’t agree with him.

In the words of Doug Wilson, idolaters are blind.

Make no mistake: one of the dangers facing evangelists is that they may be tempted to fail to communicate to a convert the cost of discipleship. Jesus spared no words. He said that allegiance to Him could get you killed. Thrown off a cliff, as it were. These words are seared into my mind – a servant is not better than his master. That is, since the world hated Jesus, they will hate His followers.

The corollary to the mistake of the evangelist, who fails to tell the convert to count the cost, is the mistake of the convert, who actually fails to count the cost.

If you are faithful to the Gospel, to Jesus, to the word of the cross, you will be personally attacked, you will be called wretched names, you will be called crazy, you will be socially ostracized. Many of those who claim to be tolerant and open-minded will gnash their teeth at you. They will despise you and avoid you. They will charge you with being unloving, despite your desire to see them saved from damnation, while they pour hatred upon you. The ‘open-minded’ of the day will ignore your messages. They will sever contact with you.

And that’s because many are only open-minded insofar as there is no claim made upon them. They are only tolerant insofar as others share that tolerance. And they are only loving insofar as that love rejoices in wrongdoing, and hates the truth.

Thankfully the word of God accomplishes all of His purpose. Because otherwise we would have absolutely no hope.

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