On Face Book I would like to see a more academic approach in debating theological and doctrinal differences between Calvinists and Arminians, so-called prosperity and non-prosperity teachers and among Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox expressions of our common faith. My goodness there are so many differences between Protestant sects alone.
I prefer to reserve terms like false prophet or false teacher, heretic, doctrines of demons, etc. to what are clearly denials of cardinal doctrines of the faith, such as the virgin birth, atoning death and physical resurrection of our Lord. Surely, there were and are sincere, studious and dedicated men on all sides of the issues which divide.
Now sometimes prophet vs. prophet confrontations may become necessary. When some “prophet” confronts me publicly on campus, I may be forced to be more aggressive and militant than I usually am in the FB venue.
I am not saying that we should not debate these differences and when we truly believe our position, it may get passionate. But should we not try to temper our more condemning accusations? Do not we all have more in common, especially concerning the fundamentals, than we have differences?
I know that the prophets of old and the apostles of the NT would use strong language and severely rebuke false messengers. However, I fear there are many “wanna be” or “tryin’ to be” prophets or apostles among us, who do not in actuality carry the credentials, have the experience or bear the marks of the men of God in the Bible. Sometimes the accusations are just a smoke screen to cover the lack of sound arguments.
I know a lot of ministers and know about many more from various theological and doctrinal positions. It is my impression that most of them are attempting to glorify God according to their understanding of the gospel and the nature and character of God.
I suggest that we try to cut one another some slack, especially when we consider the warning of our brother James, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” And we also might keep in mind the admonition of our Lord that with what judgment we judge so shall we be judged.