Pointing Fingers And Calling Names
This writer has no problem with a "name calling preacher." In fact, when one has hard evidence to back up what they are saying about another, they have their facts straight and they have followed the Lord's plan for dealing with someone who is a teacher of or practices some egregious error, I appreciate it.
However, many brethren today do nothing but call names. They drop them like bombs on Kabul doing their best to build themselves up by bringing everyone they can think of down, and many times the facts aren't straight, they have no way of backing up their statements and the Lord's plan for dealing with a sinning brother has been completely ignored.
It's time to stop, take a step back and see exactly what we are doing when we indiscriminately point the finger of accusation at those with whom we disagree. Just because a brother might disagree with me on an item might make them a little less desirable to be around in my estimation, doesn't make that person a false teacher and a sinner.
Paul wrote to the Galatian brethren and said, "But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" (Gal. 5:15). All too often these days we see men who claim to be preachers of the Gospel hurling accusations at those with whom they disagree and all the while they are accusing others never realize that they themselves are standing accused of misrepresenting the truth. Eventually they will devour each other and taking many good brethren right along with them as they do. How sad indeed.
Pointing out error is one thing, making unfounded accusations is quite another. Christ told his disciples to let evidence against a sinning brother be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses (Matt. 18:16), yet those who bandy about names in such a cavalier manner often times do so without having ever spoken personally with the brother they accuse and operate off of hearsay evidence.
The American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition, defines the word witness as "one who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard or experienced," (emphasis mine, JES). When one makes an accusation that damages another brother's standing with others or slanders their reputation, they had better have the hard, cold facts to back them up. They had better have done all they can to resolve the matter privately, using the Lord's pattern from Matthew 18.
Simply calling a name and pointing a finger and saying, "I have heard old brother Soandso teaches this, practices that and parts his hair too close to the middle," is not enough. Such evidence would never be allowed in our flawed, man-made, court system. Why then do we allow it, even applaud it, when it used against a brother in Christ?
Brethren we must be careful of what we say about others. When we make an accusation against another brother do we have all the evidence needed to back up our claim? Have we gone to that brother personally? If that brother has refused to hear us out have we gone with one or two more? Name calling and finger pointing are the quickest ways to destroy not only a brother, but an entire church.
By Jason Stringer
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