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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is no Newts good Newts?

Don’t Be a Pastoral Newt | Ordinary Pastor
Well, sometimes we, well-meaning, burdened, conviction-having folks (particularly pastors) can begin to look and sound like a Pastoral Newt. We become defined by what and who we are against rather than who and what we are for. Instead of preaching Christ and Him Crucified it about us and then our opponents crucified.
Maybe it's just me, but that last sentence seems a bit awkward.  I'm guessing that Erik Raymond, the blog's author, meant to do one of two things:
1) put a comma after "Crucified" and a "becomes" after "it"; or,
2) put a comma after "Crucified" and change "it" (or even "it about", which would make the statement more parallel) to "we preach".
Either way, I suppose that failure to always achieve clarity is just one of the hazards of blog writing.
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to define one's self by what one is for without also defining one's self by what is against.  Case in point: the claim that one is for positiveness is at the same time a claim that one is against negativity.  Since truth, by its nature, is exclusive, then sometimes preaching for Christ and Him crucified will entail preaching against beliefs that deny this central teaching.  However, I agree that this should not be our focus. Furthermore, I think there a few other pitfalls we should avoid similar to this.  First, we need to differentiate between what scripture clearly teaches or condemns on one hand and those areas where biblical teaching is not quite as clear-cut and, therefore, Christians may legitimately disagree with one another.  Second, even where scripture is clear, I think that Christians can legitimately disagree on how biblical principles should be applied socially and legally.  Third, rather than demonizing the unrepentant, I believe our attitude towards them should reflect the hope that they do find salvation.

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