Just started to read Kevin DeYoung’s review of Brian McLaren’s book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That are Transforming the Faith.  He had been criticized along with Ted Kluck after writing Why We’re Not Emergent for not being charitable in their criticism of the emergent church movement.

In explaining how he was going to approach this review he said:

It’s not wrong to ask a reviewer to be charitable, so long as the love does not have to be devoid of the truth.

But that is so often what is expected when somebody says to love or to be “tolerant” of one’s position.  While those who are Christ-followers should always be loving toward those with whom we disagree… to be charitable absent truth I’m not sure is loving at all.

Or helpful to those who are witness to the dialogue as in DeYoung’s case.

The Apostle Paul is one whom the tolerance crowd wouldn’t exactly see eye to eye with said in Ephesians, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body , joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love,” (Ephesians 4:15-16, ESV).

We are to speak lovingly to one another.  We are to build up each other in love, but Paul presupposes that would be done by speaking the truth.  Now we can speak the truth without love and just seem like a noisy gong, (1 Corinthians 13:1).  But we must always speak the truth.  The context of Paul’s instruction “to speak the truth in love” was to see maturity within the Church “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes,” (Ephesians 4:14, ESV).

Which is exactly the concern with McLaren’s book.  We need to speak truth to counter error within the body of Christ, but we need to do it in love.

But let not that love be devoid of truth.

6 comments
  1. …generally, when I see folks talking about folks not being “charitable,” they basically mean “you disagree with me, you meanie!” Charity becomes a club. An ironic one, too….
    .-= Foxfier´s last blog ..Ann Coulter =-.

  2. I imagine the mugger complains that the police officer is uncharitable in the way he pulls him off the old lady.

  3. I think that people often mistake love as an emotion instead of acting in the person’s soul, mind, and body’s best interest. Truth (even painful truth) is often a part of loving some one. We do not need to be harsh in telling the truth. But more people get in trouble in the Bible (Jonah for example) for not speaking the truth than for saying the truth too harshly.
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..The Tabernacle Experience =-.

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