While reasoned gentleness should be our default response to those with whom we disagree, we should nevertheless reserve strong words for false teachers to underscore the seriousness of false teaching and to protect those whom false teachers harm. When approaching someone then, we need to discern whether or not someone is a false teacher or not. And this is no easy task nor is “false teacher” a phrase we should use regularly. For by saying it, we mean that someone has doomed themselves to a life without forgiveness. [Read more…] about How to Spot a False Teacher
When answering questions about the Gospel or working with people who disagree with us in good faith, we must give reasons for our position with gentleness. In fact, this must be our default position. Yet if we encounter false teachers who deny Christ, prey on others, live for greedy gain, and refuse to change, then we must use strong words to show the severity of this evil and to protect others from false teachers.
Therefore, while reasoned gentleness should be our default stance, we should not shrink from using strong language when necessary. And I think strong language is necessary to use when dealing with the following groups of people. [Read more…] about When We Should Use Strong Words
Do not dishonour the Gospel of God by harshly condemning others. While Jesus railed against religious hypocrites, he was patient with sinners. And so I think we can categorize two sorts of opponents: those who genuinely disagree with us and those who hypocritically gainsay sound doctrine for greedy gain. I am thinking of the first category here, and 1 Peter provides ample instruction for how we should engage people in this first category. [Read more…] about How to Engage in Gospel Polemics
Bruxy Cavey is an author and influential Canadian pastor, leading the third largest church in Canada and nineteen regional sites. One of the ways that he uses his influence is to argue for a way of reading Scripture, which includes non-violence and a Jesus-focused faith. In his most recent article, he argued, for example, that Jesus, not the Bible, should be the ultimate authority for Christians.
I don’t find Cavey’s arguments for this position to be convincing. And while I am not responding to his entire argument in this article, I would like to highlight three of his points and consider whether or not they are persuasive. [Read more…] about A Partial Response to Bruxy Cavey’s View of Biblical Authority
Evangelical Christians have a problem with Gnosticism. No, I don’t mean that some outsider is trying to persuade evangelicals of a secret revelation. I mean that conservative Christians have (sometimes) adopted a view of humanity that approximates the ancient and variegated philosophy of Gnosticism.
Here’s what I mean. [Read more…] about Our Gnostic Problem
Can we trust the Old Testament? Recently, a number of Christian leaders have argued in ways that depreciate the value of the Old Testament. Most recently, Andy Stanley called his church to unhitch themselves from the Old Testament. Greg Boyd has also argued that the Old Testament does not truly portray God because the Old Testament presents God as Israel thought him to be (and they were wrong). Bruxy Cavey underscores how Jesus and not the Bible is our authority, shifting authority away from the Old Testament to Jesus.
Stanley, Boyd, and Cavey want to clarify the Bible and help their people live the Christian life. Yet I believe that they are doing just opposite for the following three reasons. [Read more…] about Three Reasons Why We Can Trust the Old Testament