Am I Divisive and Contentious and Sowing Seeds of Discord Among the Brethren?

How about these last few weeks eh Brethren? Hasn’t it been interesting around here? Well maybe it hasn’t been interesting around here as much as another place that has decided to throw some stones at Theology Today in general, and me in particular, publicly accusing me of being divisive and contentious because I had the audacity to use SPM as an example to exhort them as well as the Christian blogosphere to be ethical. (source)

I’m fairly certain some folks found Paul to be contentious and divisive when he wrote the following passage that is the cornerstone of Christian ethics.

 

Philippians 1:9-11 NASB

 

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

How DARE the Apostle Paul while incarcerated exhort the believers at Philippi to approve of the things that are excellent?

 

How DARE the Apostle Paul exhort the believers to be sincere?

 

How DARE the Apostle Paul exhort the believers to be blameless?

 

How DARE the Apostle Paul exhort US believers to be sincere and blameless and how DARE Phil Naessens take this exhortation seriously……so seriously that I EXHORT those claiming to be believers within the Christian blogosphere to take this exhortation seriously?

 

How DARE I?

 

How DARE I challenge and exhort fellow professing believers to abide by ethical journalistic standards that even the world for the most part adheres and abides by? (source) (source) (source)

 

How DARE I?

 

How DARE I nearly BEG Christian bloggers to be responsible and accurate when making accusations about other professing Christians? If the professing Christian is falsely accusing others with faulty information and bad hermeneutics then how on earth can they be then considered blameless? (source) (source) (source) (source) (source)

 

If all of the above is divisive and contentious then I stand guilty and apparently I’m in pretty good company. A simple perusal of the NT will show John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen, Peter, Paul, Jude and John all making similar exhortations. All except John were put to death for these exhortations because the Pharisees and the rulers of the land preferred to shut them up rather then repent and sin no more.

 

Toward the end of Jesus’ life He was fed up with the hypocrisy and double standards demonstrated by the leaders of His day. He knew His time here on earth was short and He verbally ripped the Pharisees to shreds with verbiage that absolutely was considered “divisive” and “contentious”. (Matthew 23)

 

I found the following quote from SPM quite Pharisaical in response to my latest exhortation;

 

A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention” Prov. 15:18. Why could not Phil overlook a potential supposed wrong by his brethren? And why this new attack philosophy at Theology Today? “Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins” Prov. 10:12. Get back on that tennis court, Phil, and reacquaint yourself with love. (source)

 

That’s EXACTLY what the Pharisees desired. They wanted to pretend to be godly and didn’t like it one iota when Jesus saw through their hypocrisy. Jesus named their sin publicly….HE overlooked NOTHING. Paul named sin publicly….he overlooked NOTHING (1Corinthians 5). Yet the SPM team wants me to overlook their worldly behavior and sloppy hermeneutic just like the Pharisees expected Jesus to do.

 

You know what “love” means on a tennis court? ZERO! NOTHING! If I had the love for the brethren that SPM desires me to “reacquaint myself with” then I most assuredly would overlook “potential wrongs by brethren” wouldn’t I? I think the SPM eisegetical Pharisees need to reacquaint themselves with the Bible and not the bits they run to to make whatever asinine points they use it to make or to make themselves appear to be clever. Sadly they fail on both counts.

 

For the record Theology Today has attempted to reach out to one of the SPM team members, someone named Chuck Swanson. Dorothy Anderson attempted to contact Swanson and meet with him and a man named Terry Ferrel. Both Swanson and Ferrel are writers for SPM and claim to live very near to where Dorothy lives. They haven’t responded nor did we expect them to.

 

I do find it odd that Chuck Swanson could stay up all night long conferring with another SPM writer (source) as well as writing an update to my last article (source) yet doesn’t seem to have the desire to take all of 5 minutes to contact Dorothy and set up a face to face meeting or at the very least provide Dorothy with a Florida phone number for her to call him and attempt to reconcile this situation before it really gets ugly.

 

Perhaps there is more to this story then unethical behavior and sloppy hermeneutic huh?

 

Please brethren, meditate and act on the following passage each and every day. Be sincere and blameless brethren!

 

Philippians 1:9-11 NASB

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

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11 thoughts on “Am I Divisive and Contentious and Sowing Seeds of Discord Among the Brethren?

  1. Hi,

    Chuck Swanson Has informed me via email I incorrectly tagged Bob Reynolds when it should be Bob Williams…..I’ve corrected this and my apologies to Mr. Williams.

    While we are on the subject of mis-spelled names when Nathan Cooke emailed me letting me know of the following;

    http://obadiah1317.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/theology-today-on-a-perilous-course/

    he spelled his name Nathan Crane…..yet his name is spelled Cooke.

    I’ve heard of typos but Crane and Cooke are completely different don’t ya think? I’m sure they’ll have a logical explanation for this mistake right?

    Phil

  2. Bro. Phil,

    I believe you are in some very good company with Jesus and the apostles! I believe in standing on the truth no matter who or what stands against it, too. I also believe that when a person has made it clear that they are not listening, it is best to stop talking. The folks at SPM aren’t listening, Brother. This has already gotten very ugly.

    All the time I’ve been reading this blog I’ve found you to be an upright and ethical man – a man after God’s own heart! I’ve seen true humility; I’ve seen you promote peace and understanding and call for unity amongst the brethren. Brother, I don’t have anything but good things to say about you. I don’t always agree with you, but I don’t have to because we are all unique individuals in the Body of Christ. It’ s my prayer that peace will prevail.

    Growing up I was taught that family business stayed in the house. Two Christian blogs warring publicly can’t be a good reflection on our Father. In my opinion this dispute should have stayed in the house. For the record, I think you are right and SPM is wrong. Still, this needs to stop. I’m praying for you, Brother.

    Also, I want you to know that if you decide to shut down Theology Today it will break my heart. Brother, you have a passion for Christ and the Word that is sorely needed. Too many people are infected with a spirit of compromise. The blogosphere needs men who will stand and proclaim the truth in love and without fear. That’s you, Phil, that’s your calling!!!

    God bless you, Brother.

  3. Hi Everyone,

    Yes, Phil is quite correct. I wrote Chuck last Friday asking for a face to face meeting. We only live an hour apart and I’m in his area quite regularly. I also explained that I was interested in attending his home Church. I’ve been interested in that movement for a while, but I’ve not seen them have much success. I thought maybe I could glean some things from observing.

    Since this article hit this morning, I have had 4 emails from Chuck. He refused to meet and denied me the opportunity to attend their home Church along with anyone else here because he doesn’t like the tone at this site, then he changed his mind about speaking to me and wants to call in a few weeks.

    I haven’t responded yet. I must say I have a mixed reaction to this flurry of emails. He is very critical of TT, but when I look at both sites, I do see a difference. They seem to have many contributors come and go. The contributors here are still here and I believe that’s because we are doing something right. We don’t have such a narrow view that we are forced to cut off everyone we disagree with. We allow for disagreement. We let others operate in good conscience. We share and exhort each other.

    This so reminds me of my rose bushes. I wonder if Chuck knows you can prune a bush to the point it dies. I, for one, am just not into that kind of pruning. I prefer to go light on the pruning, water and feed them to the point they bloom. For me, I’d rather error on the side of charity. So, I’m going to forward him my phone number and he is quite welcome to call me and I encourage him to do so.

    I’m going to take the avenue that Chuck over reacted and with some time to reflect is interested in resolving our issues. Now the ball is in his court.

  4. Phil Naessens said :
    ” That’s EXACTLY what the Pharisees desired. They wanted to pretend to be godly and didn’t like it one iota when Jesus saw through their hypocrisy. Jesus named their sin publicly….HE overlooked NOTHING. Paul named sin publicly….he overlooked NOTHING (1Corinthians 5). ”

    True… but the difference is that Jesus DID NOT join the group of Pharisees and then ‘ verbally ripped them to shreds with verbiage that absolutely was considered “divisive” and “contentious” ‘ when he was kicked out.

    Question for you Mr. Phil Naessens : why did you join them if they were so sinful ?
    Please don’t make a lame childish excuse like ‘ I didn’t know ‘ .

    • Hi Henry,

      I was hoping to make a difference by being an example…..silly answer but the truth. Big mistake on my part huh?

      How have I ripped SPM to “shreds” Henry?

      Phil

  5. I am not suggesting you did.. in fact it seems the other way round !
    The point is Jesus didn’t associate with the pharisees and then speak evil against them when he realized his company was not wanted anymore.

    • Hi,

      Jesus did associate with some of the Pharisees though (Luke 13:31) but I do get your point. So, if I’m understanding you correctly because I did join them for a time I shouldn’t be the one to be writing about their shortcomings?

      Phil

  6. Yes … since they won’t listen to you I think its better to just ignore them. You’ll just be giving them a good reason to say ‘ he’s just saying things because we kicked him out’ and it’s gonna look mighty appealing to some folks and make you seem silly to them. Why waste your energy on things that won’t solve anything ?

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