Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Eleventh Commandment

by Todd Friel

Do you know the Eleventh Commandment? Perhaps you are familiar with the first ten, but a new commandment has been added, and we should judge (oh, that word) whether it qualifies to be in the Decalogue.

Is it possible that existentialist, post-modern, humanistic influence has crept into evangelicalism and has reared its head in the form of, “Thou shalt not judge?” While we should not publicly judge other evangelicals (unless their lifestyle is careening out of control, ex. Benny Hinn), we should judge their TEACHING.

26 of the 27 New Testament books warn us about false teaching. Jesus, Paul, Peter and John thought we should expose those who twist Scripture, why shouldn’t we?

One week ago I submitted an article to this website that criticized the salvation theology presented in the Purpose Driven Life.
A pastor publicly posted a response and stated, “I have been in the ministry for nearly 30 years and I have watched ministers and pastors go at each other on their own individual platforms. Nothing good ever comes of it.”

I invite you to debate that statement with me. Should we publicly discuss the teaching of other evangelicals? If so, when, how and over what issues?

I invite you to respond to this article and let’s lovingly mix it up. Let’s rigorously debate whether we should pursue public dialogues over theology.

Let me get us started by making my position clear by responding to the pastor who publicly critiqued me for publicly critiquing The Purpose Driven Life. His words are in bold, followed by my response.

"I got sick and tired of their malicious criticism of Dr. Jerry Falwell."
Paul warned Timothy that rebuking should be done sternly, but with gentleness, respect and love. I agree, nasty, hateful attacks are out!

"At least, give Rick Warren the opportunity to come on to your radio show and defend his view concerning repentance and salvation."
I confess, I have not contacted Pastor Warren; however, since he has written a book for the public, I think we have ever right and, dare I say, responsibility, to publicly deal with what he has written. Besides, shouldn't his answers on radio match his statements in his book?

We have Biblical precedent for naming names and publicly addressing individuals without consent or participation: Demas (II Tim.4:10), Diotrephes (II John 9).

I am not trying to take a cheap shot here, but you didn't contact me and ask me to defend my view. And that's ok. I wrote something for public consumption, I expect public debate.

"Surely, you have better things to do with your platform than criticize someone else’s ministry."

First of all, stop calling me Surely. Second, I did not criticize his ministry, I criticized his theology. Besides, is there anything more important than debating salvation theology (Jude 3)? The entire point of my article is that we must have agreement on this essential doctrine. We can zestily debate dipping vs. dunking, but there is no room for disagreement on salvation. If salvation doesn’t qualify as an essential doctrine, then I don’t know what does.

"This brings a disgrace to the reputation of God's Kingdom."
Did the Council of Nicea bring disgrace to the Kingdom by debating theology? The concern of early church councils was not having public discourse, their concern was heresy. Running around naked screaming, “Oprah rocks,” brings a disgrace to the Kingdom, debating salvation theology does not. After all, eternity is at stake.