The Presbyterian Church is going through a hard time these days. In one recent mailing from folks who are critical of the movements in that denomination I found this line:
“…it is difficult to critique ideas without being accused of criticizing the people behind the ideas.”
No kidding! How many times have we questioned ideas presented by a teacher only to be chastised by his supporters for daring to criticize “such a good man”? A few years ago I dared to mention my disagreement with a certain teacher in an email newsletter and received a scathing rebuke from a woman who claimed that the teacher had helped so many people and I was unchristian to say anything against him.
Well, I need to address that way of thinking. First, it is not “unchristian” to disagree with wrong ideas. Duh! (Oops, a little sarcasm is creeping in.) Wrong ideas should be challenged. If those who know the truth don’t speak up against error when they hear it, who will? And, listen, good people sometimes have bad ideas. It is more than possible that a well-intentioned believer, even a quality teacher, could have certain ideas that would be dangerous for the people of God. Who is supposed to say something about that?
In chapter 2 of Galatians, Paul acknowledges the leadership of the apostles, particularly Peter. Then he tells about a time when he had to stand against Peter to challenge an error.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; Galatians 2:11
Peter was wrong. Paul said something. That was the way it was supposed to be done. He didn’t disrespect Peter or stop loving him. He simply pointed out that what Peter was doing was wrong.
Frankly, we are supposed to do this for each other. The more we love someone, the more we care about the way they think. Love and truth are never separate in the heart of God.
What do you think?