Good People can have Bad Ideas


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?

1 Comment

Filed under Church, Freedom, Theology and mystery

One response to “Good People can have Bad Ideas

  1. Kay

    I really think you are right. There are at least 10 “Christian ministers”
    nationally that are involved in very wrong attitudes toward allowing sin to plague the faithful in the congregations. BUT, what is said needs to be said to the offender, then if he/she continues, then take it to the Body of Christ, I think.

    I just witnessed myself calling a ‘brother’ a liar, to his son. I was sorry
    the moment or so afterward, and had to move back into the fact that
    I still love the brother, and that what I said still holds true, not the attitude. He as I has the forgiveness for sins, namely grace to be wrong, but addressed, not dressed-down. What do you think?

    A friend a few days ago literally jumped on me when I said I don’t watch the TV evangelists/doctors she was raving about. She wrongly
    quoted: “don’t judge lest you be judged”. I let it go for that is her fast
    reply in every disagreement. I still love her and extend the same grace as I have available in Christ.

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