Imagine this scenario: You and your young family are nestled comfortably in bed for the night when you hear a disturbance downstairs. Everyone is startled awake at the sound of breaking glass. You fumble around in the dark for the nearest defensive weapon – a golf club.
You head downstairs and sure enough, you find a masked intruder in your home, obviously not there for a cup of tea. You raise your weapon and pray for the best. Fortunately, this unwelcome intruder takes fright and dashes out of your home the same way he came in.
It was a frightening moment, and of course it happens quite often. Any homeowner who seeks to protect his property and defend his family would do the same thing. Cowardice or compromise in the face of such unprovoked aggression is just not an option. Defending your loved ones against this awful attack is your highest priority and duty.
I mention this story because we have the exact equivalent taking place in the Christian church today. We have a major case of theological home invasion taking place, but the absolutely amazing thing is, many believers are claiming that it is the home-owner who is at fault here.
The Christian church is being plagued by those who seek to break into the house, ransack the place, and leave it in shambles. Yet incredibly some Christians think it is those seeking to defend and protect the church who are in fact the troublemakers and aggressors here.
Let me give you an obvious recent example of this. For two thousand years the church has basically spoken with one voice on the truths of the Bible that there are two eternal destinies for mankind; that there is a real hell; and that those who reject God and his love offering in Christ will experience eternal separation from God.
Now it is becoming quite trendy in certain parts of the church – especially the emergent church – to question, challenge and decry these very doctrines which have so consistently been affirmed by the faithful. Yet when concerned believers seek to defend the traditional teaching of Scripture in this area, it is they who are accused of being divisive, troublemakers, and unloving.
I find this mind boggling. One needs no more evidence of this than to look at my website. I have been writing a lot lately in defence of the biblical understanding of these classic doctrines. I have been defending the faith against those who are teaching there is no hell, and those who are preaching universalism or annihilationism.
Yet incredibly a number of so-called Bible-believing Christians have come to this site, not to criticise people like Rob Bell and other emergents for pushing these heterodoxies, but to criticise me! In their eyes I am the culprit; I am the one who is being divisive. I am the one who is being unloving and destroying church harmony.
But I am the home owner. I am simply grabbing the nearest golf club and am seeking to repel these home invaders. I am seeking to protect my home, my family, and my loved ones from these aggressors. I am seeking to defend orthodox Christian teaching from these neo-liberals who have chosen to pick a fight.
Yet I am slammed for being divisive as I seek to do this. My mind reels. Just who picked this fight? Just who decided that the Christian church has been wrong for 2000 years, and must be set straight by a whole new teaching? Just who is the aggressor here?
By their sort of twisted reasoning, every defender of the faith found in Scripture was a troublemaker, was divisive, was unloving, was judgmental, and was un-Christlike. The Bible is full of those who would defend truth against error. Yet in today’s theologically hazy climate, such a defence is simply not acceptable.
So let me get this straight. Was Paul being divisive and unloving when he resisted the Judaisers, or Peter for that matter? Was Jesus being divisive and unloving when he too challenged false prophets and false teachers? Was Isaiah being divisive and unloving when he confronted Israel about its idolatry? Was Elijah being divisive and unloving when he challenged the prophets of Baal? Was John being divisive and unloving when he called on the churches to repent?
Sorry, but the culprits here are not Jesus or Paul or any other defenders of biblical orthodoxy. The culprits here are those who would bring false teaching into the church, who would insist that two millennia of Christian teaching must go, and who would claim that those who hold to the biblical teaching here are an obstacle to peace and unity.
These folks are the real culprits. But this sort of thing is to be expected in the culture we live in. All around us the postmodern mindset is reigning supreme. Its dislike of truth and its insistence on relativism and uncertainty hold sway throughout the West.
And as is so often the case, the church simply latches on to and soaks up what is found in the surrounding culture. Thus the church is now permeated with relativism, heterodoxy, and theological diarrhea. The emerging church movement is a classic example of this. It simply has become a reflector of the surrounding culture, instead of a counter-cultural force as the church is always meant to be.
So let me break this to you: the next time you see me (or anyone else) standing up for traditional Christian teaching over against some new trendy theological challenge, spare us this foolishness that we are the ones who are somehow being divisive, argumentative, unloving, and harsh. We did not pick this fight, and we did not start this commotion.
But just like Moses, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or Jesus, or Paul, and any of the great defenders of the faith throughout church history, we will always take a stand for biblical truth when we see it coming under direct, sustained, and blatant attack.
If that makes us appear to be divisive and unloving in your eyes, then can I suggest that this is really your problem, and not ours.