Kevin’s Conversations: When Should We Cry “Wolf”?
It happened due to Michael writing an article about some recent deluded ramblings by Roger Oakland wherein Oakland regurgitates some old material involving Michael and Warren, amongst other players. Much of Oakland’s denunciation was the same old tired attack against Warren based on conspiracy theories, guilt by association, strained circumstantial evidence, and charges on matters that aren’t primary or even secondary in importance. All of which supposedly pointed oh so obviously to Warren’s apostasy. And worst of all, how Calvary Chapel was allowing Warren and his apostasy into their club.
The posting of the article also brought out some non-regular commenters who were fully on the Rick Warren is an apostate heretic train. They had plenty more charges to add to Oakland’s barrage. So this all caused some of us to come to Warren’s defense. All for Josh’s edification. 🙂
When challenged, those who were bringing accusations against Warren could not give even a single example where Warren actually taught or practiced something that was contrary to orthodox Christianity. All they did was keep adding on dubious and superfluous allegations while claiming definitive indictment. Correspondingly, they were also condemning to hell many other believers who weren’t just like them or fit their exactly specified criteria. The folly of their arguments was presumably apparent to most.
Those of us who choose to defend Warren against these attacks did not do so because we think Warren is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Many, if not all of us, probably have difficulties to some extent with things Warren says and does. However, the manner in which Warren and others were being assailed was unrighteous and so we spoke up.
We can expect attacks from unbelievers because of our faith. It is sad when we experience senseless or immoral attacks from our own. Sometimes we fall woefully short of achieving any semblance of the unity that God, in His Word, ascribes believers to attain.
Now the silliness of some of these attacks against Rick Warren and even others is hopefully pretty identifiable for most and is usually contained to a relatively small group who is executing the attacks. However, if I were to criticize Rick Warren for elements within his Purpose Driven materials, or for his church growth techniques, or for his Daniel diet plan, can I be just as guilty? Guilty of unrighteous attacks?
Where is my heart when I speak? What are my motives? What am I trying to accomplish?
While there may be truth to my statements, is part of my intent to put a man down? To get in a dig when I have the opportunity? To put down a group of Christians? To broad brush guilt on a whole faction of brethren? To make myself or my group look superior?
Even if my concerns are legitimate, is it the proper time and place to speak? Might it be unnecessary to raise my concerns at that moment or in that circumstance because they may actually cause more harm than good?
Discernment is needed in these matters. Sometimes we don’t do a very good job in deciding when and how to speak. Sometimes our zealousness to speak the truth and right all wrongs can cause more pain than healing. Sometimes our motives aren’t even in the right place when we do so.
Now, all of this is not to say that we shouldn’t speak what we believe to be true. That it is wrong to debate. That we should always be dancing on eggshells and should go to all possible extents to avoid offending someone.
This blog has a history of calling out wrongs in the church and the Christian world. I believe many of those calls have been righteous and needed. There is a need for that prophetic voice to call out, “This isn’t right and we shouldn’t be okay with it and we need to do something about it.”
But when we want to call out the wrong, let’s check our motives. Let’s discern the appropriateness of what we’re going to say and when we’re going to say it.
If we don’t check on these things, we’re at risk at being just as unrighteous as those who want to condemn Rick Warren to hell for being nice to the Pope.