Look at these Christians, how they disagree with each other.
This is about apologetics, a bit anyway.
Bear with me, I will get to a point.
A couple of years ago I spent a long time looking at the book of Colossians. An interesting letter in that it deals with a heresy in the early Church. What that heresy was is hard to find out, because St Paul does not tell us what it was.
Paul is writing a letter to a church dealing with false teaching, but there’s something missing from the letter — what the false teaching is is absent. Paul does not bother to tell them what it is.
Now you could tell me that the people in the church in Collossae (sp?) knew what the false teaching was. But that still does not explain why Paul never mentions it.
Still with me?
You see in this letter Paul does not waste time on the negative, saying at length why he disagreed with someone would have detracted from his point. That the antidote to bad teaching is not having a go at the bad teachers, the antidote to bad teaching is good teaching.
So what has this to do with apologetics?
The internet does not seem to be the best place for apologetics because the internet is geared more to the flame war than it is to being a place of good teaching and friendly discussion.
Look at Christian internet Fora, or even Christian blogs, Liberal has a go at conservative, and when they’ve taken a breather they both take a swing at the traditionalists before putting the boot in to the Pentecostalists and Charismatics. Eventually the Quaker breaks her silence to bad mouth them all.
It should not be like this.
Not that I’m not critical. I can be very critical, especially of Evangelicalism and Anglicanism, but guess what; I’m an Evangelical Anglican. And I love both Anglicanism and Evangelicalism. I really love them, I am not trying to destroy anything.
So if you are from another tradition and want to criticise mine I have this to say. You are wasting your time. I already know this, and more, because this is where I spend my time and I don’t go around with my eyes shut.
I don’t need your criticism of my tradition, I’m critical enough of my tradition as it is. All your criticism does put my back up.
But I do want to know about you. How you worship, how you feel, what your tradition makes you feel, how you encounter God. Even if you think your tradition has got something wrong and you need to rant about it, or if it has got something right and you cannot contain your joy. All this I love to hear.
But there’s too much backstabbing going on for there to be any apologetics on the internet as it is. I pray that that would change.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a whole week writing a series of blogs looking again at what the Bible says about homosexuality and whether it was possible from an evangelical perspective to come to a conclusion other than the traditional one.
I disagreed with the stance of the Evangelical Alliance on this. I published what I thought, and I remained a member of the Evangelical Alliance. I was criticising an organisation that I love from the inside and I have no desire to tear it down.
Why can’t we have room to disagree?
This Sunday just gone, ten days after I finished the blogs on homosexuality and the Bible, we has this reading in church:
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul”, and another, “I follow Apollos”, are you not being merely human?
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
I Corinthians 3:-5, ESV
The desire to have factions in the church is not new, the internet didn’t invent it. But there is an anonymity on the internet which makes insulting even more prevalent online than it is in the rest of society. Even among Christians.
This should not happen.
Show me where you are within your tradition, show me the joy, love, excitement, frustration and pain of being a Catholic, or Baptist, or Plymouth Brethren and I’ll share mine. We can be different and still get along, can’t we?