Mike Ratliff has posted a very interesting article on his blog that I would have loved to comment on but considering recent events I thought it would be wiser to post my comment on my blog rather then his. The title of the post “ Shall the Sword Devour Forever” speaks about how we should judge one another by doctrine alone and leave character assassinations out of apologetics and discernment. (source)
About three years ago, I wrote a Bible study called Judge Not! As I dealt with these issues on the Internet these last few weeks, this study kept coming to mind. In it, I went through our Lord’s teaching on this from His Sermon on the Mount. We are told to “judge not lest ye be judged.” This is not talking about using discernment to work with the Holy Spirit to deal with ministries that are out of line with God’s truth. No, this is talking about attacking others in an attempt to make them lower than us. We do this by trying to bring them down through attacks on their character. When we do this then we are no longer being apologists for God’s Truth, but are simply working from a motive of pride that is opening us up to judgment. I hope I am not the only who has noticed how ineffective character assassination is in this battle. All it does is cause God’s judgment to fall on the one doing it. Oh, the naïve my indeed believe the lies or innuendo, but no one is fooling God. We may very well be “right” in going after someone and their ministries, but if we do so through character assassination then we nullify any good we have or could have done.
So what would you say about this article? Would you say Ken Silva dealt with doctrine or assassinated Richard Abanes character?
The definition of character assassination is;
Would you say the above Apprising Ministries article fits this definition Mike? Please correct me if I’m wrong but where in the AM article does it ever discuss Richard’s doctrinal views?
If this is a character assassination then will God’s judgment fall on Ken Silva as he is the one who has done so? Will it then fall on others who assisted in the character assassination of Richard Abanes? Perhaps this is what’s occurring now?
If Ken Silva’s article was indeed a character assassination then there are plenty of people out there who you would consider “naive”, perhaps maybe even you Mike?
You know what I consider naive Mike? Claiming that we aren’t to judge other Christians on their character. 1 Corinthians 5 explicitly tells us that Paul;
Publicly named sin (verse 1)
Judged with righteous judgment (verse 3)
Pronounced judgment of the open sin (verse 5)
The rest of the chapter is interesting reading as well if you’re so inclined to do so.
I suppose there are some within the Corinthian community that felt like Paul was assassinating the character of the man who was shacking up with his step mother. It had nothing to do with doctrine Mike. Paul was merely pointing out the open unrepentant sin of a professing believer.
You have also stated;
“This is not talking about using discernment to work with the Holy Spirit to deal with ministries that are out of line with God’s truth. No, this is talking about attacking others in an attempt to make them lower than us. We do this by trying to bring them down through attacks on their character.
What are the requirements of an overseer Mike? Paul lays it out clearly for us;
1 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Blameless…..has to do with character
Husband of one wife….has to do with character
Temperate……has to do with character
Of Good behavior…..character
Not given to wine….character
I could go on but I think you get my point.
The majority of the above requirements have nothing to do with doctrine yet has EVERYTHING to do with character. To say that doctrine alone is to be our measuring stick when examining ministries would be a terribly wrong interpretation of Scripture Mike.
Pointing out sin, especially the open unrepentant sin of those holding positions of leadership is biblical Mike. Overseers and leaders are judged to a stricter standard and probably one reason James 3:1 is there in the first place. I’ll add it for you so you won’t have to look it up;
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Thanks and God Bless,