It’s about pride

Recently there was a dust up here over some comments on a post concerning theonomy. As these things sometime do, the wrangling continued onto other posts not relevant to the first.

As a moderator I sought to squelch the wrangling. I tried to do so in a manner that did not “take sides”. One side believed that in spite of my efforts, I nevertheless did. While I disagree with that viewpoint, I do understand the concerns that prompt it.

At some point I stopped trying to separate the parties and jumped into the dust-up myself. To be frankly honest, I did so when I believed I was personally attacked. This was wrong of me.

It’s not that I believe the attack was justified. Rather, Christians are called to a higher standard. Even if I felt the need to defend myself, I should have done so in a more dignified manner, one which is more consistent with the Suffering Servant’s manner. I repent that I did not.

To any who were offended by my behavior I apologize and ask your forgiveness.

Let me end by noting one thing. The issue is not theonomists vs. non-theonomists, no matter how much some of us want to make that the issue. The issue is about pride, plain and simple. Too much pride masquerading as intelligent discourse brothers, too much pride.

With you, I am grateful for a Savior Who breaks my pride and keeps me in His saving love.

Reed DePace

47 Comments

  1. November 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    May the Lord richly bless you.

  2. E.C.Hock said,

    November 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Reed,

    You remind us that though we preach and exalt the doctrines of grace, internalizing the graciousness of grace, being subdued by grace and being transformed by the humility of grace, in our verbal practice especially, is another thing. May we all die more to ourselves and live unto our Lord as we prepare to be together someday in eternity. I am not aware of where all the conflicts and tensions exist in this debate, but clearly how we communicate in a limited context (as on a blog) needs special attention. Fail as I do, I always try to begin where we can agree rather than jump to area(s) of the potential flashpoint. Anyways, this is a good reminder.

  3. steve hoffmeister said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Reed,

    Yes I think I would agree, this pride thing keeps popping up does it not. What have us Reformed folk learned from our history, anything?
    Our history is potholed with mass verbal destruction. I would wonder, if it were so which group would burn the other at the stake? These types of discussion are much needed to “flesh out” problems on each side,but it takes little time for one or all to launch an all out offensive and crush the opponent. As we approach our 500 years from Calvin and a bit lesser of our other forefathers, let us dwell on their weakness in these areas and in a Godly way speak to one another with love,humility,longsuffering to seek the others best interest in the debate.

    This prideful piety will get none of us anywhere, we will lose our brothers, move farther and farther away till we can do no earthly good to or for them on either side.
    Then we get camped up in some little presbytery becoming some despotic pope excommunicating all that disagree with our narrow views and ending up as some quasi-cultist following.

    We have a wonderful medium in the internet, where we can speak an get replies in an instant. Let us be wise and use the tools that God most greatly gives us to talk to one another and debate in a better heart, the heart of Christ.

    s.e.hoffmeister

  4. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Amen Rev. Reed. Thank You for that and I also add myself to those in need of forgiveness.

  5. ReformedSinner said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I know it’s the “right thing to do” to take the “high road” and “apologize” and I am not saying I don’t want to do that. But I am struggling to find an equilibrium myself. Is there ever a right time to “go after somebody” and “draw blood” or should Christians be “better than this?” I don’t know, and Church history doesn’t help matters either. As I read more and more primary sources on how Luther argues with his opponents, and how Calvin argues with his opponenets, sometimes their comments made the worst comment on this blog look like saints.

    I do not want to spoil the group hug moment that this thread has produced, this is a genuine struggle of mine that I’m sharing publicly.

  6. November 3, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Brethren

    One brother has apologized to Mr Gabdois for a comment he made about him on my blog here:

    http://reformedcovenanter.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/the-american-revised-confession-is-not-the-westminster-confession/#comment-7247

    I also apologize for allowing that comment to stand; I would not have liked it had someone said that about me on GB and seek the offended brother’s forgiveness for my laxity in moderation.

  7. steve hoffmeister said,

    November 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Reformed Sinner,
    Yes I also understand where you are coming from. It is hard to know sometimes when to draw blood. I do recall Cunningham in his work on the reformers when talking about Luther does seem at times to “wince” if you will, because of Luthers’ pedestrian language. And I too have a great thrill when Dabney gets going or some of the Divines and really takes it to their opponent.
    Or better yet ,I think it was Boston in a work where when he had done all he could to bring salvation to someone and they where very unrepentant would say that he would hope that they would be anathama maranatha, this brought a big chuckle from me at the time.
    Time,place situation and person must all be taken into account. What is so wrong by saying “hey I have tried to make my point,your not getting it so end of discussion for now.” I think we need to remember like salvation, things come to different people at different times as God sees fit, no sooner no later, and my verbal nuke does not speed up the process. How about a season of prayer then maybe take up the subject at a later moment.
    These are not easy disciplines, and I do the same, I have been taught by highly trained people the “killer instinct” in a way most here would find scary.

    So in sort, spiritual discernment brings some of this about and time, time to pray think talk and come back to it at a later date if need be.

    I have moved all over the spectrum in this area and I would label myself as a hard core WCF,borderline theonomist ,lover of the Divines and Puritans,living in the 15th century kind of guy. And I still love my other brethren, will talk and pray and even have them over for dinner, their kids can play with mine,and I hope that some day these little differences will go by the way side and we can all come together as one body.

    So lets agree to try to be civil and hold the tongue and see how much we can gain by waiting,praying and loving our brethren.

    The Pagan I think is another story,but I will post that one later.

    s.e.hoffmeister

  8. November 3, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Dear brothers

    I also apologize to Rev. Reed for being too quick at complaining about him not telling me who he was. In fairness, he was not hiding behind anonymity, and even if he was, he may have had legitimate reasons for doing so which are none of my business.

    I hope Rev. Reed can forgive me for my rashness. His humilty has been a source of great blessing to me, and has caused me to weep at the goodness of the Lord.

  9. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I have sympathy as well RS (I’m sorry, but could you remind me of your first name again?). I think keeping in mind both content and context will help in these circumstances.

    By context I am referring to the Internet setting. Most of us have never met each other face to face. Yet we often discuss things that even folks who know each other well would tread lightly. Knowing someone, having worshipped alongside them for sometime, understanding some background on their thinking helps in not simply understanding where they are coming from, but in cutting them some slack (assuming the best) when you read a comment from them that bothers.

    Admittedly, after some time interacting on line, you do get to know some proclivities and particulars of others. This does help. Yet I find that if I begin with the assumption, “if I were sitting on a couch with this person, how would I be hearing them, how would I want to be heard?” helps me. When I forget this assumption, I struggle to keep balanced and appropriate.

    With reference to content I am referring to a person’s base convictions. We need to consider, for example, that those of us who agree on the basics of reformed theology while disagreeing on theonomy have a lot more in common than with someone committed to the Roman Catholic Church, or even more, committed to Islam.

    Accordingly, my disagreements with my theonomic brothers need to be different than my disagreements with an RC or a Muslim. Both respectful, to be sure, but surely more starkness and contrast in language is due the latter than the former.

    In all, I suspect we also need to recognize that what passes for respectful conversation changes from culture to culture, from period to period. I am very uncomfortable using Calvin’s pattern of speech with his opponents as a uninvestigated model. Not only was he speaking in a different language to a different culture, the mores of proper debate have changed since then.

    This is not to say Calvin was wrong. It is to say if we simply mimick him in our conversations, we will generate substantial misunderstanding, misunderstanding that will promote heated disagreements not on the basis of real disagreement, but misunderstanding (does repeating “misunderstanding” three times help :-) ?).

    I think of possibly the most stark example we have experienced here at GB, a person whose rhetoric grew in its demonstration of both radical unbelief and a willingness to verabally do whatever was necessary to spawn hatred. With even such an extreme example, I believe the Bible calls us to talk respectfully AND to talk starkly, condeming the wickedness in no uncertain terms.

    The world’s way of thinking can’t seem to hold these two together; “respectful condemnation” is surely an oxymoron in the world’s lexicon. Yet I am persuaded this is what Scripture teaches, and so we can trust our Savior to enable that which the world cannot even comprehend to flow from our lips, or fingers in this case.

  10. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Daniel:

    Thank you. Please, consider it to be whereever the Lord casts our failures (somewhere where the east meets the west, whereever that is ;-) ).

  11. November 3, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Amen to that.

  12. Jeff Cagle said,

    November 3, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    RS (#5):

    Luther was God’s unique man for a unique mission. As such, he needed fortitude, the ability to speak truth to power, and the ability to recognize hypocrisy. Those characteristics allowed him to publicly and repeatedly expose the fraud of indulgences and stand his ground at Worms. Praise God for such a man at such a time!

    And yet, those same characteristics made Luther intractable at Marburg. We all know the story: Luther and Zwingli met to settle the differences between the German and Swiss reformed churches. When it came to communion, Luther (who was unwilling to surrender the fact that we really receive Christ at communion) could not reconcile himself to Zwingli (who was unwilling to countenance the apparent idolatry of the bread and wine containing the body and blood of Christ).

    So Luther drew a circle on the table and pounded his fist, loudly declaiming, “This Is My Body! You have a different spirit!”

    And from that time forward, the German and Swiss Protestant churches were divided. They could not present a united front against the Catholics. The end result was the 30-Years’ War, which led to the widespread desire for secularization.

    What if … Luther had been more irenic? Or less sure of himself? Could the Protestants have been stronger and thus drastically shortened, or prevented, the 30-Year’s War? Would Europe be a Christianized continent today instead of a secularized, post-Christian continent?

    Of course, it’s all in God’s providence; perhaps He was preserving Luther from becoming the Protestant Pope. But still and all, I don’t take Luther’s example of his use of the tongue as my own norm.

    Jeff

  13. Stephen Welch said,

    November 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you brothers for your humility. I certainly appreciate it. It is so easy in the internet age to easily offend someone or say something that can be misconstrued. I think we have to be very careful in how we word things and how we communicate. I always find it frustrating when a thread goes off on tangents and noone is listenting to what the others are saying. We do need to bear with one another in love and remember that love is kind and not easily offended. I certainly enjoy GreenBaggins and find it very helpful. Lane always seems to have helpful information, so thanks Lane. Now let’s all have a group hug :-)

  14. tim prussic said,

    November 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    If I see any group hugs, I’m definitely calling the FBI !!!

    Good show, men. It’s too easy to get sucked into polemics and pride. The reality is that we have tons to learn from each other. I appreciate you men and your humility.

  15. G.C. Berkley said,

    November 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Shall I assume Daniel’s sorry for throwing labels around like “Marcionite” because someone disagrees with his interpretation of the 66 canonical books?

    Just wondering…

  16. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    G.C., let’s assume the best.

  17. November 3, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    GC

    No, because it was not a mere difference of interpretation in your case; if you wish to find out why, then ask me on my blog.

    Are you sorry for profanely mocking the sacred writings?

  18. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    G.C., feel free to responde to Daniel on his blog (as per his invitation). Consider the discussion here to be off topic.

    Thanks to both of you for abiding by this request.

    reed depace

  19. Stephen Welch said,

    November 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Tim, in response to # 14 do you have a weak conscience to group hugs? Perhaps a holy kiss would be more Biblical. :-)

  20. November 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you Rev. Reed.

  21. TurretinFan said,

    November 3, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I’m glad to see Brother Reed exhibiting wisdom’s fruit (James 3:17 and Proverbs 3:17).

    -TurretinFan

  22. Todd said,

    November 3, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    “With reference to content I am referring to a person’s base convictions. We need to consider, for example, that those of us who agree on the basics of reformed theology while disagreeing on theonomy have a lot more in common than with someone committed to the Roman Catholic Church, or even more, committed to Islam.”

    Reed,

    Why is this so? Why would we have more in common with theonomists than with your average evangelical Christians? Because theonomists happen to be Calvinists and believe in infant baptism? So what? Theonomists call guys like Zrim, Darryl and me dangerous, liberal, anti-nomians. And many theonomists have written that the State should execute “Sabbath-breakers.” Well, I take exception to WCF 21:7&8 on the Sabbath, which my Presbytery allowed. This means that if men like Daniel should one day attain political power, he would want my wife, myself and the members of my church killed. We would need to flee his persecution. Doesn’t exactly make me want to rejoice in our common bond and break out singing, “We are one in the Spirit”

    Todd

  23. November 3, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Execution in the OT was only for those who high-handedly broke the Sabbath, not for merely having a wrong view of it.

  24. Todd said,

    November 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    “Execution in the OT was only for those who high-handedly broke the Sabbath, not for merely having a wrong view of it.”

    Phew, that makes me feel a lot better :-)

  25. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Todd: did you miss my contrast? It was not between theonomists and Evangelicals at large. It was between theonomists and RCC or Muslims. I am assuming that you just missed for some reason.

    In spite of your frustration with (some) theonomists, surely you have more in common with them than you do an RCC or a Muslim.

    I will not pretend that your frustration does not have some basis in fact. I have been frustrated at time with the rhetoric of some theonomists. Then again I’ve been frustrated with the rhetoric of some Baptists, some Pentecostals, some Dispensationalists, some (fill in the blank), (and even frustrated with some of my own rhetoric come to think of it), all of whom sounded like they wanted the heads of people who believed like me.

    And yet I have two very good friends who are 30 year + theonomists – and I know they would lay their lives down for me and mine.

    Again, as I said at the beginning, we can label these differences with theological tags. I am persuaded that,m notwithstanding some exceptions (consistent Islam for example), no one really wants my head. Shoot! Even a recent pope (I forget which one) expressed regret and apologies to the Czech’s for having martyred Hus ;-)

    It maybe that I have a different perspective. Coming into the PCA, those tending to the TR direction were worried about my broad evangelical (BE) background, while those tending toward the BE direction were worried that I was leaning towards a TR perspective. Sometimes its fun being in the middle ;-)

    As it is Todd, you’ve taken opportunity to make your disagreement with my opinion known. As well, you’ve traded a few jabs with Daniel. My request is that you honor the intention of this post and not pursue this avenue of conversation further. Let’s not take this post as an opportunity to vent.

  26. tim prussic said,

    November 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    One interesting thing is that most folks, and nearly all conservative Christians, think that there are some crimes that are capital crimes. Most of the folks I talk to have not thought much about which crimes deserve the punishment of death or why they do. The great majority of them bristle at the thought of appealing to the OT for guidance in this area. Our Reformed fathers didn’t so bristle, so something’s changed. Some argue that the change is good and others bad, but there’s not much analysis on the nature of the mental shift.

    Daniel’s asserted that Enlightenment-spawned tolerance is a the root of the mental shift. I’ve not seen any other ideas proffered in this regard (at least on this blog in the past week). Any thoughts on this?

    BTW, if this line of inquiry is beyond the scope of the post, I’ll happily do the whole cease and desist thing.

  27. its.reed said,

    November 3, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Tim:

    Lane would prefer at this point that we stay away from theonomy vs. no-theonomy issues. Yuo can thank (blame) me for that ;-)

    Let me suggest that Daniel might be willing to hold such a debate at is blog.

    An aside, as a non-theonomist, I’m not only not opposed to looking to the OT for guidance in terms of capital punishment (et.al.), I actually believe this is an appropriate application of the general equity principle. I think the distinction Tim lies more in terms of categories some of us are willing to consider, rather than a wholesale unwillingness.

    Anyway, hopefully that is enough response here to let this go. If you would prefer to discuss it elsewhere, I’d be willing to do so, to some degree.

  28. Stephen Welch said,

    November 4, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I think this entire discussion has drifted from the point. It would be helpful if people would stop acting like Postmoderns and stick with one issue at a time.

  29. Todd said,

    November 4, 2008 at 9:45 am

    “Todd: did you miss my contrast? It was not between theonomists and Evangelicals at large. It was between theonomists and RCC or Muslims. I am assuming that you just missed for some reason. In spite of your frustration with (some) theonomists, surely you have more in common with them than you do an RCC or a Muslim.”

    Reed,

    I understood the contrast, my point was simply that you pled for unity based upon the fact that we were all “reformed,” not that we were all evangelical Christians. I’m just not sure the word “reformed” has much meaning anymore as a basis for unity given the incredible divide in thinking between people within the “reformed” camp. And I do not write in frustration, I just write starkly because that’s my style. If you knew me you would know I’m an even-tempered, calm dude. And I don’t think all theonomists are like Daniel, I do actually know some nice ones who don’t sit around thinking about who we should kill if we ever have a “Biblical state.” But if I think certain people are legalists doing harm to the church, simply calling themselves “reformed” doesn’t change that.

    Todd

  30. tim prussic said,

    November 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Todd, your comment about Daniel is unfair. He merely responded to questions asked him as to cases in which the capital penalty would be administered. He didn’t just jump on the blog and start posting out of no where.

    Further, anyone who thinks of how to run a state will eventually have to consider the administration of capital punishment, as distasteful as you or I may find it.

  31. its.reed said,

    November 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Todd, I do appreciate the point, and don’t deny its general validity. Whether it particularly applies to Daniel might be better affirmed by questions of clarififcation. I suspect Daniel is a bit more nuanced than he may appear here in some of his posts.

    For my theonomists brothers, I’d ask you to remember for every time one of you feel like you’re being maligned, one of us on the “other side” feels like were being condemned. For my non-theonomist brothers I ask you to consider the opposite.

    For my part I promise to keep this consideration in view and not jump to conclusions. I’m gonna ask more questions to make sure I’m hearin ya before I pull out ma shotgun ;-) (Just a a joke, now a resident of the deep South, I’m trying to pick up some of the culture ;-) ). Seriously, I will ask more questions.

    O.k folks, we’ve spent a few posts challenging the “errors” of each other. Let’s leave it at that.

    As for me, I’m going to abide by Steve Welch’s excellent advice in no. 28.

    Very good Steve, very good.

  32. Todd said,

    November 4, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    “Todd, your comment about Daniel is unfair. He merely responded to questions asked him as to cases in which the capital penalty would be administered. He didn’t just jump on the blog and start posting out of no where.”

    Tim,

    Not sure I understand what is unfair. I don’t remember saying Daniel was out of turn for anything he wrote, he was answering Lane’s initial question, which answer I challenged. Am I missing something?

    Todd

  33. Zrim said,

    November 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Reed,

    The point seems to be about pride, if I am not mistaken. I am not sure how we are supposed to neatly extract theomony from this discussion, since it seems to me that at the very heart of any form of theonomy is the matter of pride. The very psychology of theonomy is to lay hold of worldly powers for spiritual ends, to tell Peter to unsheath his sword and, worse, to tell Jesus to hearken the angels and come down off his cross.

    I’m a bigger fan of civility than vitriol, Reed, but the strong speech of the theonomists should be met with equally strong speech. Much of what ails western Christianity can be laid at the door of the sort of worldliness that subsumes theonomy. So if it’s pride you have a beef with I am not so sure what is to be gained by making the world safe for theonomists.

  34. its.reed said,

    November 4, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Steven:

    If I understand your thrust, I disagree. It’s not that pride is inherent in theonomy. Its that pride is inherent in the flesh.

    The way I debate says something about my experience of the gospel. If my disagreements with brothers is more characteristic of the scribe’s treatment of Jesus, than Jesus’s treatment of the disciples, then I’ve got a problem with my inculcation of the gospel.

    Of course, if one concludes that theonomy and theonomists are outside the pale of Christianity, then I can understand treating them like Judaizers.

    I for one am not persuaded that this is the case. Is theonomy flawed? In my understanding yes, and sorry theonomic brothers, seriously. Am I called to handle them with mere judgement? No. Rather for every bit of law I might bring to bear, I must also bring the salve of the gospel.

    You may argue all you want about the need to confront the wrongs of theonomists, as long as you equally argue for the need to encourage them with the gospel. In my experience here at GB, I’ve seen little of this balance, and from both sides. I include myself in this condemnation.

    I’m not arguing against strong speech. That you seem to think so may be my failure to be clear enough. Does any of this response help?

    P.S. I believe what ails Western Christianity is not so much what is present but what is absent. The problem is not so much with an emphasis on law, as it is an emphasis on law absent its proper relation to Christ. There are many variations of this emphasis on law, to a degree that it seems that this is all that is preached. Yet there is nothing wrong with preaching the law, as long as it is done with the intention of also preaching the gospel, and to at least a slightly greater degree. (I personally prefer a whopping whole lot greater degree myself).

  35. Todd said,

    November 4, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    “You may argue all you want about the need to confront the wrongs of theonomists, as long as you equally argue for the need to encourage them with the gospel. In my experience here at GB, I’ve seen little of this balance, and from both sides. I include myself in this condemnation. I’m not arguing against strong speech. That you seem to think so may be my failure to be clear enough. Does any of this response help?”

    Reed,

    I think a lot of these difficulties stem from the nature of the medium. When you have a blog that allows on-line debates, they are never going to look like scholarly journal debates. Let’s face it, you got a be a little full of yourself to even post in public, and I include myself in this. All of us, including myself, are very confident in our beliefs, or we probably wouldn’t be reading a blog like this, let alone writing on one.

    Beyond that, each side of any debate in this format usually have one or two paragraphs to make a point, and you cannot qualify every post with, “I know you are my brother, and we have greater unity in…, but I disagree with…” The medium calls for you to make your point brief and clear, unlike a journal where you can qualify almost everything.

    It’s sort of like politics. The politician in a debate afraid to press his opponent
    and call his bad views dangerous, who always tries to cross the aisle and state his/unity with his opponent, not only bores everyone to death, but does not say anything or inspire anyone, IMO.

    But I think your point is good that it is important to call a view legalistic or anti-nomian if you think thus (strong speech) without calling the person that if possible.

    Todd

  36. Zrim said,

    November 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

    If I understand your thrust, I disagree. It’s not that pride is inherent in theonomy. Its that pride is inherent in the flesh.

    And my point is that theonomy is, at the end, a function of unbelief which is a function of the flesh.

    The way I debate says something about my experience of the gospel. If my disagreements with brothers is more characteristic of the scribe’s treatment of Jesus, than Jesus’s treatment of the disciples, then I’ve got a problem with my inculcation of the gospel.

    I am inferring you mean to convey this has something to do with civility, Reed. If civility is the problem I am not sure how casting someone as a Nazi, as I was here by one sympathetic to theonomy, gets a pass. It is one thing to render something a function of unbelief, another to cast aspersions. To be honest, I prefer the accusations to be more along the lines of antinomianism—not only because it hard to make stick but because this was the charge (contra legalism or moralism) against both Jesus and Paul themselves; as such, it actually seems more relevant to the discussion.

    But I am not so sure that the scribe’s problem was mere impoliteness, rather it was, like today’s theonomists, getting it flat wrong. They acted in accord with what they believed, but their problem was in what they believed. And Jesus had his share of strong speech for both them and his disciples.

    Like I said, I am a bigger fan of civility than vitriol, but I suppose to some extent I am suggesting that instead of everyone speaking in platitudes of humility and forgiveness that it might be better practice to think before one speaks, and just as well to stand behind one’s spoken words. If one cannot do that one ought not speak in the first place. It seems ot me that a better piety resides in a more sober posture beforehand than in one which seeks to gloss over things afterward with ostensibly pious speech.

  37. its.reed said,

    November 5, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Steven:

    I am persuaded that you find yourself disagreeing with what you think I am saying, most certainly not what I intended to say. To the degree it is my fault, I am sorry for my failure at clarity.

    To the extent it is your enjoying riding a hobby horse, I’d appreciate it if you would stop using my post for fodder for your horse.

    As to the Nazi label, that was appropriately challenged and taken care of. As a moderator I saw no need to either chastize the poster who made the inference, nor those who took him to task; good as given as gotten.

    Of course, if you wish to claim injustice in the moderation here, feel free to to do. It’s not the first time I’ve been so accused, I’m just glad that such a n accusation would even up the sides, as the last one was from the other side.

    Steven, I’ve suggested asking more questions and refusing personal attacks. If you think you’ve got an argument with that advice, have at it. Otherwise, seriously, you are getting tiresome on this topic.

  38. sarah-luvvom said,

    November 6, 2008 at 8:22 am

    ReformedSinner,
    if I may suggest a letter by John Newton which answers your question? You can read it here

  39. its.reed said,

    November 6, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Thank you Sarah for the good recommendation. Could you tell us where in John Newton’s writings this came from?

    reed depace

  40. Zrim said,

    November 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Reed,

    Thanks, no, I am not much for complaining. Sorry my points never seemed to land on this one.

  41. threegirldad said,

    November 6, 2008 at 9:59 am

    its.reed,

    The original letter that sarah-luvvom referenced was reprinted in The Works of John Newton under the title, “On Controversy.”

  42. sarah-luvvom said,

    November 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    its.reed,
    my denomination, OPC, has it on their site. I was on my way to bed and could not quickly find it there, so I just gave a link to my site. Sorry for no references and I’ll go look for the OPC link now.

  43. sarah-luvvom said,

    November 6, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I must have been realllllly tired this morning from working all night because I just now quickly found the OPC link to John Newton’s letter here

  44. its.reed said,

    November 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Sarah, no, no need for apologies. It was very helpful. Sensing that others may want to use it in the future I wanted to make sure we had the reference to Newton’s works for documenting. Your reference to your blog is considered a friendly assistance to the point of this post.

    Thanks again.

    reed

  45. Stephen Welch said,

    November 7, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Thank you, Sarah for the letter from John Newton. It is wise counsel for all of us, but in the internet age it is easier to say whatever we want because we can hide behind an “avatar” or not identify who we are.

  46. sarah-luvvom said,

    November 7, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I think the other thing we should all remember is that no one can really determine another person’s “tone”. Sometimes I’m accused of being mean or sarcastic or a “know it all” when I really am not trying to be that way. Written script is always hard to interpret in terms of attitude. Mercy and grace is always needed when we are judging other people’s responses I think.

  47. Stephen Welch said,

    November 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Yes, excellent point, Sarah. I sometimes wonder how effective theological discussion is on the internet.


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