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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wife Beating

Got your attention? Good. Check out this excellent article at Evangelical Outpost concerning the "culture of critique" and doctrinally bashing other Christians. I think he's right on:

Jonathan Barlow believes that the problem stems from the “critique-culture” within evangelical circles:

We [evangelicals] rarely do anything positive, and when we do, positive just doesn't sell. I don't have a good answer for a way forward, but I think a good first step is trying to lay off of brothers in other Christian traditions for the most part, especially those who hold to Nicene orthodoxy. Secondly, when our bright students are interested in a thinker outside of our circles, we teachers and pastors should model a kind of engagement that praises where it can, and suggests alternatives where it cannot.

There was a time when the issues was merely about the correct doctrine, the acceptable teachers, and the denominationally-approved books. The advent of the blogosphere, though, has not only expanded the reach of the critique-culture but has added new ways in which we can criticize each other’s activities. I can’t think of a single blogging initiative – the GodBlogCon, Blogs4God, the Blogdom of God – involving Christians that hasn’t been roundly criticized by our own brothers and sisters. This is not to say that any venture should be immune from criticism. But there comes a point when the knee-jerk critiques simply lead to paralysis.

Where does it end? When will we stop being “wife beaters” of Christ’s bride? And when will we finally heed the exhortation of Titus to, "Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless."

Follow the links. I think Barlow's evangelical self-critique is interesting -- and true. I have seen it myself. Not just among "evangelicals," of course (however that group is defined), but in all denominations -- and I have contributed to it as well. I think the "rarely do anything positive" remark is revealing, too. It's easier to be a Pharisee and use the church as a crutch in doing so than it is to really demonstrate Christ's love.


: Reader Teresa writes:

I agree that any Christian who condemns another Christ-based religion is being very un-Christ like. We are not here to judge, only to be as Christ like as possible, (which is almost impossible) but we must strive to this, you cannot win over someone with critisism, only love.


Amen. This can be a hard teaching to live, though; I have certainly been part of the 'critique culture' at times, and have been part of churches that encouraged it. I refer all back to this week's capstone post, "Porn Star" -- a lesson in judging and finding Christ (link is to part 1 of 8).


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