How do you defend the Pharisaic rules for travel and the many other unbiblical doctrines discussed on these pages? You don’t. You certainly don’t want to have any self-reflection, or engage in critical thinking. You assert instead that answering tough questions legitimizes them (although in fact, refusing to answer them is exactly what de-legitimizes your case). And of course you call anyone who dares ask tough questions an “enemy of Christ” for whom you have “contempt” and “disdain.”
Really? Sadly, there are some for whom that type of response will suffice. For those who question with boldness and search the Scriptures whether these things are so, it’s not hard to recognize flowery speeches and empty words without Biblical support.
If this talk on Labor Day 2013 is any indication, the church leadership has little desire to answer honest questions posed by honest people. The reason? Because there is no Biblical defense for the many man-made doctrines that have been heaped up on top of the Word of God, suffocating the life out of it.
Here is a snippet from the audio of the speech (you can start at about 53:40 to get the context of the comments below):
“Someone told me here just recently that ‘<name removed>, do you realize what’s happening, under cover? People are coming out and expressing what it is that they feel, their disdain and contempt for what you believe. I’ve got to know how to respond.’
And I know how I respond. That’s the basis of this lesson. I refuse. I refuse, to the uttermost of my being to dignify the absurdity of the questions and the challenges in which it is that people will present. What I mean by that is that I will not honor, they are not worthy of my consideration. …
[M]y whole estimation was to not give it a nickel’s worth of consideration. But I want to give you what it is how I deal with things like this. How I respond. Because I don’t. I don’t. I refuse to give satisfaction to someone who wants to see me cringe, or turn around and with wonderment try to figure out “what am I going to say, what am I going to say?”
Someone who “wants to see you cringe?” My friend, you are judging what’s in my heart, and you are wrong about me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any fair reading of this blog will show that my critiques have been fair and honest, written in love, and have been anything BUT personal attacks or a desire to get satisfaction of any sort. To the contrary, it has been with heavy heart that I undertook this task from day one, because I knew that friends and family whom I care about deeply would feel blowback from it, as would I.
However, speaking the truth boldly but in love is long overdue and will not stop because someone doesn’t want to “dignify” it with a response. The truth doesn’t lack any dignity; but the lack of an answer to it sure does.
I hope that rather than worrying about my satisfaction level, or judging my motives, church leaders will simply take these critiques to heart and make changes from the heart. I don’t want or need any credit for it. Just do it. Stop teaching the doctrines of men, that’s all. If you can’t back it up by Scripture, stop teaching it, and in so doing, stop binding it on others. It’s that simple. I’d much rather see a change of heart and a change of behavior than a formal or informal response here on these pages.
I think Paul would have received honest questions a little differently. I think he would have been ready to give an answer. I think he’d earnestly contend for the faith, reasoning from the Scriptures, and encouraging others to verify the veracity of his remarks by the same. But when your teachings are not from the Scriptures, but from 45 years of tradition, you are left with 2 Opinions Chapter 3 to defend your point of view. Perhaps realizing that this won’t convince anyone, the only option one has left is to feign indignation that anyone would dare ask hard questions.
Labor Day 2013 – “Not ready to give an answer”
The following speech was originally published with a missing 10 minute audio segment. It has since been spliced together into the complete speech.
Listen: Not Ready To Give An Answer (1:51:10)