Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Harsh words

I am still not back in town, but I have a minute to make a quick post about some recent rumblings.

A recent controversy has arisen over some remarks made by Rev. R. Scott Clark about the Federal Vision adherents. This provoked a renewed challenge by Rev. Doug Wilson to a debate. I do not want to defend the sad choice of words by Rev. Clark, nor do I want to defend Clark's decision not to debate. He should go and debate. However, Rev. Wilson ought to let anyone debate him in print or in person rather than picking and choosing his opponents. Rather I want to address the line of thinking that has arisen claiming open and honest discussion cannot include harsh words. That these differences should just be worked out at the local pub as if they are really just make-believe differences. Some have taken to calling it evil and flaming accusations. Have we forgotten the days of Calvin calling those who thought infants should take communion 'crack brains' or Augustus Toplady saying that Wesley was 'the worst enemy of the gospel' Britain had ever seen. Were these men wrong to speak with such words? Were they wrong at all? They were convinced of their position, and they spoke honestly. Would it be better if they made nice and pretended they did not disagree? Perhaps the only thing we need is honest tough words. The only bad thing that I can see is that people disagree with strong words, but will not debate the issue in person. The Federal Vision and Traditional Reformed Theology are different gospels, and they should not get along. They should not be allowed in the same denominations, and they ought to tangle whenever they meet. I wish they met in open battle a little more often and on the actual points rather than the round about ways they meet today.


Matt Powell said...

I agree. The call for civility I think usually comes from those advancing heterodox beliefs. It's like allowing the crazy little third-world tinpot dictators a seat at the UN- it gives them credibility. If these are heresies or errors, they should be called such.

We should, however, always avoid breaking the ninth commandment, even (especially) when dealing with those with whome we disagree.