Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Killing with Kindness

    I've observed a trend that continues to this day especially among New Agers/Tolle adherents and emergents) where when pressed into a corner regarding the validity and integrity of their beliefs, they either seek to decry "unkindness" on the part of those they debate or they attempt to heap praise upon the "kindness" of their partners of like-mind (regardless of the fact their their arguments are just as empty/lacking as their own) as if by doing so this might perhaps settle the argument or at least have them come away as if they stand on higher/better ground. (It is a shame when those who stand on a faulty foundation cuddle themselves to their own destruction.)

    This is an area where Christian apologists have been silent, but an area deserves comment and at times addressing (perhaps this post may serve as a reference or resource for those who encounter it that they may point others to it rather than having to spend lengths of time in other debates making this point).

    The truth is it's not unkind to speak truth to an individual; at the same time shifting debate from the merits of one's position to the demeanor (or lack of demeanor) of (either of) the participants does not change the validity or defensibility of one's position. There's a tendency among opponents of orthodox Christianity who purpose positions contrary to Christianity (though perhaps even in the "name" of Christianity) to suggest one's "supposed" kindness trumps truth. However, as has been stated many times before, truth involves doctrine (orthodoxy) - attitude/relationship - and action. One area does not trump another. Nor is one area complete without the others or independent from the others. Put another way, while some may try to point to "kindness" on the part of others as a means of covering up error in doctrine, true kindness exists only when one speaks truth to another and leads and encourages them in the way of truth. There are many in the world who smile and say "kind" things even as they lead others astray. While those who oppose the truth of the gospel may consider those "unkind" who speak truth to their them (and about their positions); it is true that a man who accepts truthful instruction (even a rebuke) becomes wise, while fools despise correction.

    Consider the teaching of the Proverbs: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."; Prov 15:1 " He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise."; "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."; "He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue."; "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse."; "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?"; "The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment."; "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil."; "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."; "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."; "You will say, "How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!"; "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."; "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."; "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored."; "A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence."; "Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die."; "A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise."

    1 comment:

    Jim Clark said...

    Well, we believe that what we are saying is truth also. The harshness with which many Christians speak of non-Christians, is in my opinion an indication of the limitations of your belief system. New Age does not have to be "soft", although many followers are in some respects. In fact, I believe that it is extremely solid philosophically. I encourage you to engage me in dialogue, perhaps we can both learn from such a discussion.

    God Bless,
    Jim Clark