Friday, August 12, 2011

Relating to People

Normally, I plan on spending only two days a week talking about my Sunday lessons.  Since both teens and kids are learning the same stuff, there will be much repetition.  Today, however, I'm going to consider Abraham again because he seemed to get along with everyone. 

1. If there was a conflict, like between Abram and Lot's people, he always made peace with other other party, even if they still had to part ways.  He didn't pick fights, but helped to solve problems.  When Lot was captured by the Mesopotamians after he moved to Sodom, Abraham set out to rescue him because Lot was his relative.  In today's world, I can't tell if a conflict needs me or not.  Is somebody dear to me being carried off by Mesopotamians?  Or is this person simply living in Sodom, not the best condition, but still alive?  Abraham let Lot move off to a wicked town, and it took its toll on Lot, but Abraham figured, Lot is grown up and can make his own decisions.  However, Abraham never stopped praying for him.  It was Abraham's prayers that actually saved Lot when God razed the town. 

My cousins are close to me.  They went to church for a while, but then stopped going.  They weren't raised in church.  While I was raised Presbyterian, they were raised as athletes.  They still very much worship sports.  Now one cousin and his wife have kids and are about to have a third.  I really wish they would get their children back in church.  Is it my place to talk to them and persuade them to go to church or do I simply need to pray?  There is one time one cousin was dating a woman with kids and I invited him to invite her to bring her kids to my church, but they declined.  I still don't see any of them in church.  As far as I know, I can only pray for them and at Christmas time invite them over for dinner and just talk about what I do at church.  We'll definitely pray to bless the meal. 

Now, on facebook is where I get in the most trouble with my confrontations.  I think it all started in 2009 when I graduated seminary.  I got home to Conyers and noticed a friend of mine had a Rob Bell book in her possession.  I've had Rob Bell figured out for quite some time now ever since I heard an interview when he said nobody's going to hell.  I had not read any of his books at this point, only seen some Noomas, and those aren't as blatantly anti-doctrine as Velvet Elvis.  I decided to write my friend and tell her my views on Rob Bell and to be very careful as he is, indeed, a heretic. 

Then, there was a Christmas gathering at the same house.  A girl who went to Wheaton College was bragging about being at Rob Bell's alma mater.  Then a bunch of people were like, "yeah, I love him."  I finally had to say, "He has really bad theology."  One girl said, "people just don't understand him."  Then I explained that he denies the virgin birth, is a universalist, and is against Sola Scriptura.  I think I killed that conversation.  I had the last word but I certainly didn't win a soul. 

Then fast-forward to about May: a very close friend, who goes to a PCA church and knows her theology quoted him on facebook status.  I commented that I was surprised she would like him and quote him because he is a heretic.  She got really mad and explained that all people are heretics and that we should be gracious and ask how we feel about things before calling out heresies.  I explained that it's one thing to have doctrinal or exegetical differences such as the age of baptism, women in ministry, etc., but when someone denies key Christian doctrines, then you've got call them off as heretics.  I have not had a good friendship with her since and it is my fault to a degree because I have no sensitivity.

Up until now, I've been posting on facebook political articles, Calvinist articles, polemical articles, anything right-wing Conservative reformed, and especially anti-emergent.  I feel like I've alienated a lot of people.

Recently, the woman who lives with me and cares for my brother was listening to a lecture for a class from Liberty University.  Like most things from Liberty, the lecture was excellent.  Then the guy started quoting guys I love like Spurgeon, Calvin, etc.  Then, he randomly quotes Charles Finney!  Yes, Charles Finney!  I decided to find the professor's e-mail and e-mail him.  God was looking out for me.  The e-mail came back unsent.  So I then e-mailed her about it.  Later, I get a call from my Dad.  He finally lays down the line and says I've got to learn social skills, especially when choosing battles.  There is no one out there that I'll agree with completely, and I've got to decide what is important to argue, and what is not important.  He's absolutely right.  I do need to be more sensitive.  If I'm ever to reach people with the Gospel, whether at the pregnancy center, at church, or among my friends, then I'll have to not be so against everything and be sensitive to their feelings.

At the same time, I do want to help rescue people if they are being destroyed by Mesopotamians.  People need to know the truth about emergent folks, heresies, pro-life issues, creation v. evolution, Calvinism v. Arminianism, etc.  Where is this balance?  How can I figure it out?  Abraham has some solutions, but this is something that just does not come to me naturally.  It does help to have a blog again and take some of this off of facebook, but where is that line?

Oh well, I just have to keep praying, keep living, and just study social cues like I'm studying for a test.  Keeping my mouth shut might help sometimes, too. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a hard call and a hard balance between defending the truth and alienating people from the get-go.

    A friend gave wise advice to go back to scripture, not so much about the person in question, but the doctrines that are being misrepresented. That way someone doesn't view it as a personal attack against their hero/heroine. But it gives a chance for the truth to be shared from the Word itself.

    And another friend said, we can never pray too much.