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Fundamentalist Gatekeepers

10 Apr

That is an interesting term, wrong but interesting. This isn’t the first time we have seen it, probably the second, and it comes from an article found at the following link:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/04/06/dont-waste-time-trying-to-please-people-who-are-determined-never-to-be-pleased-by-you/

This exchange of letters is from the 1960s, but fundamentalist gatekeepers haven’t changed — even now that they’ve been rebranded as evangelicals. They still love to catechize everyone about everything, constantly asking just the sort of hostile and pretentious questions that Barth’s interlocutors sought to trap him with.

Those who opt for alternatives seem to love to create and invoke insulting labels for those they disagree with. This label is erroneous as it implies that fundamentalists or even evangelicals have the keys to heaven and the authority to say who enters God’s kingdom and who doesn’t. This is a very mistaken assumption upon the part of those who use such labels. Their assumption is based upon their own leap to a conclusion that those who preach the truth and do not allow alternatives to enter the church actually are dictating the rules of God’s kingdom.

We aren’t. We are merely the messengers from the one who created the rules in the first place. Now granted some of those people delivering the message screw it up and alter it to some degree but to place misleading and insulting labels upon them is not biblical and only makes things worse. Such activities bring disunity, animosity, and other sinful characteristics and demonstrates that those who opt for alternatives do not follow God or the teachings of the Bible. (Despite their claims to the contrary)

if one is claiming to be a follower of Christ they need to follow biblical teaching in their dissent from other people’s religious views. If they don’t then their claims are worthless and their arguments from fallible sinful subjective humanity and not from the divine God they claim to worship and follow. These people, like the ones found at Slacktivist, fail to realize that choosing alternative interpretations doe snot mean they get a free pass from biblical instruction on turning the other cheek, do unto other,s do not return evil for evil and other passages which tell u show to behave towards others.

Then, sadly, for those people, the bible does not grant them permission to cherry pick what scriptures they will or will not follow. The Bible does not make escape clauses for those who opt for alternative ideas and practices. If they do not like the biblical teaching on homosexuality and women in leadership, then that discontentment and opposition does not grant them a pardon from turn the other cheek or do unto others, and so on. Failure to put into practice basic biblical instruction shows that those creating these labels, and choosing alternative ideas really do not follow Jesus nor worship him but follow a god after their own making.

Beyond the particular context here of evangelical gatekeepers and “the people at Christianity Today*” who still do not seem to have received Barth’s message, there’s a more general life lesson. Regardless of whether or not you have any interest in theology or theological disputes, or any dealing with these particular gatekeepers, you will encounter many people who will demand from you “explanations which they will simply use to confirm the judgment they have already passed” on you.

The bold words are the main point for the following comments. Those who opt for alternatives love to throw the words ‘judging’, judgement’ and other similar terms around as if they were candy. But their application of those words distort what is really taking place by those they call ‘evangelical gatekeepers’.  They forget that the bible instructs us to identify the doctrine and teachings of those who claim to follow Christ. They also forget that identification is not judgment.

We are allowed to identify if a person is teaching faulty biblical ideas, doctrines and other theological ideologies and we have instructions on how to behave towards such people. Obedience to those instructions are not judging another person but obeying God over man. We have a duty to protect those who are not spiritually mature and aware and protecting the weaker more vulnerable members of the flock of Christ is not judgment either but protection.

We understand why the people like those at Slacktivist are upset and whine and complain about those who stand with God. They are being deprived of importing their false teaching into the church and feeling that they too are actually Christian. They do not get to think that they are participants in Christianity or entering heaven but are being told exactly what they are– false teachers and unbelievers. It is interesting to see how they complain because they claim to be part of a faith and kingdom of God yet refuse to meet even one requirement that actually gains them access to either.

We understand that they do not like this but those of us who stand with God are under biblical instruction not to lie so we must identify these people and their false teaching in order to protect ourselves and weaker believers from the wiles of evil and its deceptive talk. We cannot assume that we are invulnerable to such tricky speech because EVE was in paradise and she fell to the tactics of evil.

We need to identify false teaching and call it for what it is but as usual, we must be honest in that identification and protection and not exclude those we simply do not like. We have to make sure that they truly are false ideas and the people are truly false teachers. Some believers may simply be honestly mistaken and need proper guidance and instruction to get them on the right track. We do not cut off everyone because they may say something wrong. We need to discern correctly and act wisely in these situations and not be lazy or appearing to be ‘spiritual’.

Appearing to be spiritual means you are not being spiritual but acting to make it look like you are following the bible when you are far from doing so.being honest applies to all sides of the issue.

So don’t let the false accusations of your activities hinder your identifying true and false doctrines or from protecting the weaker members of the faith. We stop false teaching BEFORE it is allowed to do its damage, not after it has wrecked havoc on the church.

 

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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, controversial issues, education, faith, family, General Life, leadership, theology

 

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