You read my complaints about the condition of evangelical culture almost every time I post, and some of you may tire of them. I understand. No one enjoys constant negativity.
As young teens, my sister and I would always groan a little when Mom announced that Granny was coming to visit. Because Daddy had died when we were 7 and 10, Gran’s visits usually lasted several months so that Mom wouldn’t have to worry about child care while she worked. We understood the practicality of that arrangement, and in some ways we did love Gran. But her constant complaining bothered all three of us.
I sometimes fear becoming like Granny. For John’s sake, and more importantly for the Lord’s honor, I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me resist the temptation to maintain a negative attitude.
It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. ~~Proverbs 21:19 (ESV)
That said, I do believe the Lord would have me voice concerns over false teachers and trends that infiltrate supposedly Christian churches. Of course, being obedient to Him in that particular respect doesn’t exactly make me popular among evangelicals who follow the false teachers and trends that I challenge.
In fact, someone who withdrew her friendship from me told me that she ended the friendship because my blog was too “negative.” Surely, she reasoned, I’d be more effective if I’d stop criticizing trends and people in evangelical churches with whom I disagree, instead channeling my energy into more “positive” posts. After all, young Christians (and even non-Christians) may read this blog. What will they think if they see me shooting down well-known evangelical teachers? Doesn’t my behavior cause division and discredit the visible church?
Well, no. The real division comes as these false teachers and trends distract people from the clear teachings of Scripture. Actually, the friends I’ve lost have all been compromised by teachers and doctrines that contradict Biblical Christianity. To the best of my ability, I’ve simply stood for what God’s Word teaches, questioning things that threaten its purity. The deviations from sound doctrine, not the adherence to it, is the true cause of confusing young Christians and discrediting the visible church.
I believe that sound doctrine, while it divides those who have a passion for truth from those who have a desire for spiritual experience, does unify the Body of Christ. That belief runs counter to conventional opinion, but I see the principle in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. ~~Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
According to the apostle, a correct understanding of the Bible’s doctrine (or “teaching”) unifies Christians against the various false teachings that constantly worm their way into the church. Unless people correct these doctrinal aberrations, the Body of Christ sustains so many compound fractures that its disabilities far surpass mine!
Therefore, if I call out trends and teachers who detract from Scripture’s purity, I do so because I love truth. I may come across as “negative” and I may offend people. I may appear to complain merely for the sake of complaining, as Mom believed Granny did, but I remain certain that evangelical women desperately need to know when error is being presented. Assuredly, I won’t make a huge difference, turning the tide and rescuing massive amounts of evangelicals from deception. But I want to faithfully stand for truth.