Monday, September 22, 2008

Able to Rebuke

The battle for the Bible is not over, friends. I was reminded of this in a painful way this morning. At a Baptist pastors' gathering this morning, the keynote speaker called Paul's words "opinion" because they were spoken by Paul, "not the Lord." He went on to make other remarks that confirmed his low view of Scripture. A mild reproof in love was offered when he finished.

We young evangelicals like to believe that our fathers' fight is not ours. Let's remember that the battle for the integrity of God's word began in Eden ("Did God really say . . .?"). The people of God have been tempted by the worldly-wise and numerous other seductions to disregard the word of God in faith and practice in every generation.

This occasion was a stirring reminder to me of Paul's words to Titus that an elder must "hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."


Jamie Fugate said...

Josh thank you for the reminder that the battle for the Bible never ends as long as there are sinful hearts lusting after that which the Bible forbids and longing for the ability to guide their own lives instead of submitting to the guidance of God in His word.

However, I do see that the battle may be shifting into new terrain. It seems that there are many these days who would affirm the same doctrine of innerrancy as we would, but who deny its relevance or power, rather placing their hopes in culturally relevant programs and the like. How would you recommend that we combat such pragmatism.

John Lucas said...

I am glad you were at that meeting, b/c many times such views are not rebuked in love. When a church leader holds such erroneous views, we should weep and pray for repentance.

Here is my question: based on Paul's command to Timothy regarding rebuking an older brother, how should we go about offering correction with both boldness and humility? How can we avoid both timid weakness that will not seek the best for him, but also avoid harshness that is done with a hard heart lacking love?

Joshua Owen said...

Jamie, there are many fronts in the war against the word of God to which we are called. Unfortunately I am finding many who do not affirm innerrancy. The main issue is authority. The debate for the innerrancy of Scripture is just one front of the war on the authority of Scripture.

John, I just read Tom Ascol's blog on how to debate a Christian brother in humility. I'd highly recommend it.

When I addressed this man, I prefaced my remarks by noting that I respected him for certain things and that I realized that he was near the end of his ministry while I am only beginning mine. I said, "It is with great fear and trembling that I even address you on this issue, but it is of too great importance to be silent." I was literally trembling because I was struggling with timidity. I had hoped that an older minister was going to stand up and correct this man, but when the moderator was going to close the meeting without a word of correction, I was compelled to speak myself. After we were dismissed I went directly to this man and told him that I did not want to personally offend him, but I wanted him to know that I do not believe any shepherd of Christ's sheep should undermine the authority of Christ's word. Pride is one of our greatest enemies, so please pray for me that my pride will not destroy my defense of the truth. Please, pray for this man (I won't mention his name) that his pride will not keep him from considering our exchange.