Thursday, July 9, 2009

Contending for the Faith vs. Contending with the Faithful

¶ And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.

Nehemiah 4: 16 - 18

This week, something happened that made me a bit sad. It annoyed me, but greater than that, it saddened me. I was attacked for quoting Abraham Lincoln on my Facebook page. My assailant stated that Lincoln was a racist, an atheist and a slave owner, and I was ignorant and didn't know my history, etc.. etc ... I responded with private messages and tried to reason with the man, to put the statement into historical context, but he continued to attack me personally. I broke off the conversation, giving him the last word.

Lincoln's politics is not the issue here. For that matter, who I quote on my Facebook page is really nobody's business. You don't like it don't read it. The sad thing is, this man is an independent fundamental Baptist pastor. He and I would line up doctrinally right down the line. He has a reputation for such attacks. I explained, it is not his position that bothers me, it is his disposition that concerns me. When will fundamentalists ever get it?

Are we contending for the faith, or are we being contentious with the faithful?

In Nehemiah, the workers were trying to build the wall. They faced strong opposition from enemy forces. They built the wall with one hand and had a sword for the other. However, notice the sword was strapped to their side. The sword was not their building tool. The purpose was to build, not fight. Fundamentalism is fractured today because we live with a sword in our hand, and build when it is convenient. Our churches are withering while we are out looking for someone stab.

The enemy was not the other men on the wall. If you don't like the way I'm building, leave it to the master builder to correct. As a pastor, I watch for my flock. I will warn them against false doctrine. I will call heresy, sin, evil, and deception by name. I will call out a heretic. However, I will not take a sword to another pastor or his flock.

Some suggestions if you find yourself being attacked:

  1. Pray. Pray for those who have attacked you. Pray that God would give them grace and understanding.
  2. Humble yourself. "Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." Proverbs 13:10
  3. Do not rush to strike back. Answer your attackers, but only as far as reason will take you. Being right is more important than proving right. Some folks just will not listen to reason.
  4. Do not prolong the fight. State your case once, and walk away. Having the last word matters only to the prideful.
  5. Remember to keep building. We battle when we must, but we are to be builders not battlers. Do what God put you here to do. Battle viciously against anything that hinders building. Nevertheless, the objective is to build.
  6. Do not be the attacker. I have a real problem with the positions some of my brethren have taken lately. My response is to train my people in Bible truth, and keep building. I could go the rest of my life without getting another "Open Letter to Dr. Big Wig," and I would be just as happy.
  7. Walk away. Remember the saying I was taught when I was a vocal music major my first two years of college. "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it waists your time, and it annoys the pig."

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I love President Lincoln and quote him quite often myself.
    Some fools aren't worth the emotional energy it takes to deal with them.