Have you met one of them yet? Or read one of their articles? You know, a self-appointed guardian of the truth for the Independent Baptist world? Surely you have as we have so very many of them. I am not referring to those who write about issues or trends (like this very blog!), but those who review individuals, churches, and organizations. Nor am I referring to those who address scandals that reflect on the entire movement (as I have done–see link below), but those who with the keenest eyes and most intense scrutiny keep a watch like Big Brother on us all.
Over the years I have seen articles, or heard even as a rabbit trail in a sermon, how this preacher is bad, or how this school has gone liberal. What was the issue? Did the preacher start denying the Virgin Birth of Christ? Did the school start criticizing the Blood Atonement? No, likely it was that he hobnobbed with a blacklisted preacher, or the school sang a song that could be traced to an unacceptable songwriter. These are presented as dangerous trends that are going to destroy us. With all the real dangers to our faith in this world, my first thought is that these guys need to get out more!
Some, sadly, have made a so-called ministry out of it. I have seen several and they claim it is a “discernment ministry”. That is instantly offensive to any thinking person because it presupposes that we are incapable of having discernment ourselves. Even worse, if they must do our discerning for us, it also means that they think we have no access to the Holy Spirit ourselves.
If you want to write what you think about issues, go for it. It is wonderful to jump in the arena of ideas and in this day of blogging you never will have a better opportunity. On the other hand, the rest of us don’t need you to label every preacher, school, or organization good or bad for us.
I read some in preparation for this post and came across an article that analyzed several songs sang at a well-known church and found them wanting. (One of the songs lambasted was “In Christ Alone”. Am I allowed one little rant on my blog where I am trying to be gracious? You are a nut if you find evil in that song! Sorry, I will get back under control now). The article tried to make a connection that this was, more or less, a step straight to the Antichrist and a one-world government!
Also recently I learned of a situation where a church had someone in for some special music and a well-known organization that feels it has a mandate to project its discernment on everyone else actually called the church and scolded them! My first reaction there was, who do they think they are! Where are the apostolic credentials to act this way?
This is done under the guise of “earnestly contending for the faith”. I am all for that as our faith is under vicious assault, but don’t confuse peripheral issues for the majestic pillars of our faith. If I have to be in a big fight, I want it to be for the name of Christ or the truth of the foundational elements of Christianity. Substitute “traditions” for “faith” and you will be more accurate for where we are today.
This behavior continues because we let them get away it. I think it thrives because if we speak up, they will likely turn their guns on us and blast away. We will be labeled a liberal compromiser for the crime of disagreeing with them. Perhaps if we worried only about the opinion of the God we love instead of that of overreaching colleagues, this issue would waft away on the next gust of wind. It is time we tell them to go find real work in the cause of Christ as we will take over discernment ourselves going forward.
Mentioned above — The Tsunami of Jack Schaap
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