…there’s always someone around recording the things someone says and does, presumably for the purpose of scrutiny. -Dana Carvey
The above quote comes from an article wherein Dana Carvey laments the “scary and dangerous” trend of comics refusing to mock President Obama. I’m not really concerned about what Carvey is saying in regards to our president, but what I do find interesting is his observation that we are so ridiculously sensitive in our culture. And we are also diligent in reading and processing information (usually quickly and out of context) and just as diligent in looking for offense.
I wish the church were immune to this. And we should be. Proverbs 19:11 teaches that “good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is glory to overlook an offense”. People that have been captivated by the grace of God of God that “knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust” ought to be people that are pretty slow to offense.
A Non-Heated Example
I’ll refrain from using any sort of reference to Calvinism here because it is so heated that my point would be lost in the debate. So allow me to make a point that is much less heated (at least at present). I do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. I do not believe the Bible teaches that. In fact I believe it is pretty obvious from Scripture that it does not teach that. I believe that you have to do some serious exegetical gymnastics to make the Bible teach a pre-tribulation rapture. Faithful exegesis will lead someone to reject the belief in a pre-tribulation rapture.
Is the above paragraph arrogant? Narrow? Bigoted? Did I just call everyone that believes in a pre-tribulation rapture a total moron that has no idea how to read their Bibles? If they were only as smart as myself they could clearly see that the Bible doesn’t teach this view that they have embraced. Is that what I am saying in the paragraph?
According to the spirit of our age the answer to each of those questions would be a hearty “Yes”! In our culture to have confidence in the Spirit, the Word, and even the God-given ability to faithfully exegete is seen as narrow. To say with confidence “I believe my doctrinal position is correct” somehow communicates in our culture, “and therefore you are a moron that probably drools on yourself, believes that pro-wrestling is real, and you put together strings of thought about as efficiently as an NFL quarterback after his fifth concussion”. (Even now some of you might be a little off-put that I have perhaps offended the “drooling” among us).
Can we please stop being so easily offended within the church? Can we start overlooking offenses instead of just looking for them?
Yes, humility! A thousand times yes! But it is not against humility to be able to say, “I believe my position is correct and yours is wrong”. And it is not even against humility to do so passionately and with deep conviction.
I expect those that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture to be able to say, “Faithful exegesis will lead one to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture”. I also know that this necessarily means that they believe that I am wrong and that something is askew in my theology and the way I read the text. I also know that this person might be arrogant, and they might be insulting, and they might even offend me.
Yet, in the words of 2Pac, “I ain’t mad at cha”. It is far better to just say the reasons why I disagree, cover over the offenses in the way we discuss this thing, and continue to love on another until Jesus returns (not by means of a pretribulation rapture, of course).