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Wordwise Insight, Issue #107
July 14, 2013
IN THIS ISSUE...
BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): "Confessions of an Idiot" is an attempt to answer a critical comment.
WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!
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Questions from You.
Confessions of an Idiot
(An Answer to a Critic)I get relatively few negative comments--either sent to this site, or to my blog on hymns (wordwisehymns.com). When I do, I try to answer any sensible objections that are raised. The rest, I usually just ignore.
However, I decided to respond to this gentleman. (His entire comment is below.) It's not clear exactly what article(s) he's so disturbed about, but I hope my response will at least help to restore some balance to his thinking.
At first, I was inclined to protest that appellation. As pastor-teacher, a college professor for many years, and a published author, the description didn't seem to fit. (search committees and publishers are hesitant to waste their time and money on fools.)
Further, I'm definitely not among those who say there is no God (Ps. 14:1), or those who don't have the wisdom to prepare for eternity (Lk. 12:19-20)–both extremely foolish things.
But then I realized that the Apostle Paul calls himself a fool (ironically) several times in Second Corinthians 11 and 12. And both the Lord Jesus and Paul were accused of being madmen (Jn. 10:20; Acts 26:24), so maybe I'm in good company.
Also, God has been pleased to use "the foolishness of preaching" (I Cor. 1:21, KJV), or "the [seeming] foolishness of the message preached (NKJV) to save those who believe." It's a matter of perspective. The unbelieving world may view the gospel as foolishness, but in truth it is "the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16).
Perhaps there's another point of view regarding what you deem to be idiocy. As Paul declared to the Roman governor of Judea, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason" (Acts 26:24).
Regarding your statement, "It is wrong for you to presume to speak for God," that is incorrect. In fact, it's precisely what Christians are commanded by the Lord to do (Matt. 28:20; cf. II Tim. 4:2; I Pet. 3:15).
Paul is an example of one who did that (Acts 20:20), sharing with others "the whole counsel of God," all that God wanted them to know (vs. 27). He also urged Timothy to teach "faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (II Tim. 2:2).
Before God, as far as I'm able to discern my inner motivations, I don't believe I "hate" anyone. However, I do my best to speak out against sin and error. Does that "chase many people" away? Not in most cases. Rather, through over fifty years of ministry, I find folks more often thirsting for the truth, and eager to hear more.
But if the preaching of God's Word does repel some, again, I find myself in good company. It happened to the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:66). Even telling one man to use his worldly goods to help the poor drove him away from the Lord (Matt. 19:21-22). It happened to Paul too (II Tim. 4:10, 16).
Sometimes such a departure from those who preach the truth, or from the company of believers, indicates that those who leave are not true believers at all. As John puts it, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us" (I Jn. 2:19). Also, it is a characteristic of the last days before Christ's return that "some will depart from the faith [apostolic doctrine]" (I Tim. 4:1; cf. II Thess. 2:3; II Tim. 4:4).
You say that you are "a Christian that follows Jesus, and His teachings of love." That's great! We are exhorted by the Lord to "love one another," as He has loved us (Jn. 13:34). It's the mark of a true disciple (vs. 35).
However, the love of which He speaks must not be confused with some kind of mushy, sentimental tolerance that is unwilling to deal strongly with what is wrong in God's sight. Not only did the Lord Jesus speak against wrong. So did John the Baptist (e.g. Matt. 3:7), and Paul (e.g. I Cor. 3:1-3).
The Bible says that "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Ps. 7:11), and Christ was certainly angry with some in His time (Mk. 3:5). In a lengthy and sternly worded series of accusations, He repeatedly called the Pharisees hypocrites, and blind fools, as well as "whitewashed tombs" (Matt. 23:13-36).
In another place Christ declares, "I did not come to bring peace but a sword" (Matt. 10:34), meaning that any time the truth is proclaimed it's going to cause a division between those who are willing to accept it, and those who aren't.
When He returns, it will be "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess. 1:7-9). So, "love," yes. But there's definitely another side too. As has been pointed out many times, while He was on earth, the loving Lord Jesus had more to say about hell than He did about heaven.
You say, "I read through as much of your site as I could stomach." H-m-m... If I had to guess, I'd say you likely came across an article that spoke against something that you are doing, or against something that you hold dear, and that was as far as you got.
But there are hundreds of articles and Bible studies on the site, with more being added as time goes by. Some about love, some about heaven; articles and studies giving help to the discouraged, offering encouragement to those who are suffering, and so on. I do my best to maintain a balanced approach.
I have prayed for you, that the Lord will continue to teach you, and open your heart to more of His Word. Meantime, thanks for writing, and may God bless you richly.
MY BLOG ON HYMNS!
Come and Pay Us a Visit!I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.
But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!
Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.
My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.
What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click
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