There is a lot of intimidation going on in Christianity today simply because the more outward forms of persecution are, thankfully, illegal. Some within the church think that a more theocratic government would be nice but after seeing what the Holy Roman Catholic church did in the dark ages I do not think so.
I was thinking today about how ministers intimidate other ministers in order to make them believe what they believe. I suppose this type of attitude is why I have never really gotten along with many pastors and teachers for they often times consider themselves to be the “Doctrine Police.” Many times there is a subtle implied threat that if you are not normative on certain subjects you will be branded a heretic and they will do their best to warn every one of your evil doctrines thus severely damaging or even destroying your ministry. I wonder what part of ”being like Christ” they think this kind of behavior emulates? I suppose they fancy themselves protectors of the faith and align themselves with Paul the apostle when they act out in this manner. Frankly, I think such coercive behavior is ungodly.
Here is a truth,
“There is a difference between earnestly contending for the faith and letting the devil persecute your brethren though you because you do not agree with them.”
Some seem to forget that every new move of God brings with it newly restored understanding of established doctrines and tends to uproot and replace that which is found to be in error. When you are so married to your way of thinking that you wish to destroy anyone who dares to consider an alternate viewpoint you are acting as an agent of evil rather than doing God’s business.
I think that the spirit of intimidation is deplorable and needs to be resisted and arrested before it takes root in churches and relationships. One of the best ways to resist intimidation is to simply challenge it early on and bring it up short. Plus you have to be willing to live with the consequences of upsetting the demons within others. However, it is better to stand firm in the beginning and not let those who wish to intimidate you feel they have a right to do so. Once people start to intimidate others the evil spirit within them pushes to dominate more and more until they feel they have full control. The more they feel comfortable with the control the worse things will get for you and the more of a blow up there will be when you finally say enough is enough. Better to take your lumps in the beginning (if you even wish to deal with them) than to have a knock down drag out confrontation with them in the end.
The way of godly fellowship is through having a sound mind brought forth through love and peace. We do not need coercion in any aspect of our Christian lives but rather must let the Holy Spirit lead and guide our brethren and ourselves. Though it is true that pastors and leaders do have a responsibility to protect their flocks from what they perceive to be dangers it is important that this “good” thing not be used for “evil” purposes and over control.
So it is with those who reply to posts that they do not agree with. There is a way to disagree with what you feel is in error and a way not to. If you are serious about what you are saying you must have confidence that the force of your argument is not measured by the strength of sarcasm or ad hominim attacks but by the truth that you speak. Snide remarks are the refuge of the incompetent and only serve to cheapen argument that is made. Trying to attack a person’s motives rather than speak to their statements is bad form in any civil discourse.
If there is no love in your statements can a person truly say their is love in their hearts? Is there is no love in their hearts towards those who profess Jesus Christ as their savior can they really claim to be His disciples? Biblcially speaking, I think not.
Some people feel that mocking others is fair game when “defending” what they perceive to be truth but I say that such silliness is beneath those who profess Christ as their savior. Is that not what those who killed Jesus did? Did not they mock and spit on Him? What place are we really coming from when we demonstrate such low standards of behavior?
In conclusion, we should stand firm against all forms of intimidation and politely refuse to bow to others who use such tactics. We do not have to become angry or even combative to put our points across to others. Just because someone says they have such and such a right or position does not necessarily mean that they have any right to treat any of us with less respect than God says a brother or sister in Christ deserves.
Suggested reading “The Cost of Truth”