Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Devouring one another

But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Gal. 5:15)

Following from my previous post on the differentiation between being watchmen and just being a gossip, there seems to be some people involved in pointing out what they perceive as errors and heresies who either align themselves with the ODM (Online Discernment Ministries) or the ODAODM (Online Discerning Anti-ODM). Previously, I had ignored the dynamics between the two and even some of their antics. However, since having being harshly attacked recently, and slandered and libeled by these "discerning people" (or "anti-watchmen" people), I have began to ponder about the situation.

As the previous post states, our attitude when showing forth the error of others is to be one out of love and not in glee when another falls. Yet it seems that are quite a few people who delight in attacking others personally. Not only that, they post outrageous lies about others, even setting up blogs with the sole purpose just to attack another brethren in Christ (It happened to me once by OldSchoolCalvinist before it was deleted). All of this is done of course apart from the teachings of Scripture. Rather, there is a certain spirit of bitterness in their actions; in using the public space afforded them via the Internet to blissfully slander others while sanctimoniously disavowing that they are doing this (attacks) as watchmen or teachers.

The spirit of devouring each other is alive and well on the Internet, unfortunately. Under the guise of "discernment" or "exposing the heresy hunters", representatives from both sides and especially all of the AODM turn against those doing the work of Christ and hinder their work. Recently, the Goforth conference on missions, which was held in Singapore, ended. I wasn't keen because of various reasons which I shall not be posting about now, though it surely is a mixed blessing to the churches involved, and my friend Huaizhi has blogged a bit about it here. What I wanted to focus on however, is an example of some who deemed it alright to criticize the conference without even understanding what it is about, plus the fact that the person does not even comprehend that the particular talk was about the priesthood of believers, who are all empowered for ministry. Strawmen, non sequiturs, various forms of misrepresentations and even outright lying and slander abound in such circles who, although they do not claim to teach, sure put forth their opinions on certain issues very forcefully.

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. (2 Tim. 2:16-17a)

As Paul exhorted Timothy, so we should do likewise in avoiding such people and the nonsense they sprout. For example, it would be very well for all of us to avoid the waste of webspace called CRN.(mis)info, who act as the watering hole by which all manner of false accusations against true discernment and watchmen ministries are thrown, debated and refined. Ignore such people and their irreverent babble, for interaction will pull us down to their level and lead to more and more ungodliness in our conduct. Let them slander all they want, in the end God will take care of them. After all,

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Titus 3:10-11 — KJV)

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 — ESV)

Such divisive people are self-condemned, and as such we do not even need to bother with their nonsense.

One thing which has happened which will shift my future focus on this blog also is the realization that not all who call themselves conservatives are truly for the Lord. My previous experience with Charismania drove me to Conservatism, yet it seems that I am forced to the reality that the lines of good and evil run through every movement. I was previously almost totally trusting of Conservatism and of the entire Fundamentalist movement; that they are right in doctrine though probably are over-reacting to the errors of the New Evangelicals in their praxis. The recent attack on my character by people affiliated with 'OldSchool' Fundamentalist separatists slowly change all this. Looking through rose-tinted glasses, it was my view that if only we were to show them that we embrace orthodox doctrines and center our lives on the teachings of Scripture, and show that to them through Scripture, the traditionalist separatists could be won over back to doing the task which Christ has given to the Church — to fulfil the Great Commission. Yet such was a mirage, a chasing after the wind in presupposing that all that separates ultra-conservatives from true Christianity is their siege mentality founded on fear. I was really a fool to think that way. Of course, this is not to say that there are conservatives who are not ostriches and are looking outward and desiring to fulfil the Great Commission, but my former impression that they are one monolithic group with regards to this issue has been shattered.

And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." ... And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13: 46, 48)

Whereas as before, my mindset was on winning the traditionalists for the work of the Church. Yet now, seeing how some at least prefer their own holy huddle rather than to work towards the fulfilling of the Great Commission, and constantly attack and deride those who are trying to do the work of God, the focus will shift and move on. From now on, as for me, I will see how I can contribute in building the churches (including New Evangelical ones as long as they have not apostatized) and bring them to biblical soundness, and the people therein. These 'OldSchool' Fundamentalist Separatists can take care of themselves and stay in their holy huddle for all I care, for they have to answer to God for their own conduct anyway. In point of fact, if such people are representative of the Fundamentalist movement during the early 1950s/60s (hopefully not), I will really symphatize with the early New Evangelicals and support them over against the Fundamentalists then.

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