I will say this: to the reformed and unreformed, TRs, emergents, and all other church people out there, especially in small churches. The church’s biggest threat is not poor doctrine. It’s not pornography, or relativism, or the emerging conversation or calvinism, or charismania or commercialism. It’s not alcohol or bad music or crappy preaching. It isn’t adultery or persecution.
It is gossip.Gossip is the slow poison from which no church is immune, and which no member (probably) is innocent of spreading (including myself). It has ruined the careers of good pastors and make bad pastors worse. It destroys friendships. It dims the light and makes the salt less savory. It is insidious, and pervasive, and looks to be well nigh incurable.
It is the church’s greatest enemy.
Magnificent. Much of the incessant arguing among Christians, which usually culminates in somebody declaring somebody else a heretic or a cultist, begins in what the initiator thinks is “contending for the truth” but is in fact gossip. And remember, truth is no defense; in any other society in all the universe the first question can be whether what you say is true or not. Only in the Christian church are there additional requirements and this infinitely higher standard is what you would expect from the Kingdom of God on earth. Higher standards: WHAT YOU SAY MUST EDIFY. WHAT YOU SAY MUST ADMINISTER GRACE TO THE HEARERS.
So we are responsible for the interpersonal result of our words, not just the analytical accuracy. The truth is, you can be a star at internet apologetics and the whole enterprise still be lazy. You pop out of the womb with the ability to think, but only sanctification grants the ability to love. Love is the hardest thing you will ever do, and the highest calling bar none. Winning arguments is a cake-walk in comparison.