In this series of posts, we’ve attempted to describe a few possible reasons why people who love the Church and want to see it healthy find themselves disagreeing with each other. Sometimes it’s because they mistake peace for health. Sometimes they disagree because their basic temperaments or outlooks differ. At other times the disagreement arises from fundamentally different visions for the Church.
In this post I’d like to offer one final suggestion for why people who share theological commitments, basic agreements about ministry practice, and love for the Church can end up at odds. Sometimes things get personal.
To be accurate, when things get personal we’re really not talking about the Church any more; we’re talking about each other. We attack the person rather than the idea. The real loser in such circumstances are the local congregations who need us to focus on matters related to health.
We’re being “treated” (forcibly) to a non-stop illustration of ducking issues by attacking people: the presidential primaries. It seems national candidates do everything they can to be vague about policy and pointed about rivals. The guys and gals smeared the most lose elections while those who do the smearing tend to win. Our electoral politics is nasty business. It starts out as a beauty pageant and ends in mud wrestling.
That’s why we don’t want the violent and quarrelsome to lead us. That spirit has no place in Christian discourse. We are to answer gently that we might win some to repentance.
But nowadays (perhaps in all days?), people study and practice the artful dodge. Rather than answer a question, they learn how to reject the premise to say whatever they like. Rather than give an account for earlier comments, they switch the subject. The most artistic dodgers of all use personal attacks while keeping their views on the subject safely in the shadows.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition