I have noticed often that some people in the apologetics field, and some who attack those in the apologetics field, often lack common courtesy, and direct abusive and mean-spirited comments towards their opponents. In an e-mail I received today it was suggested that I might do a post about this, so here it is.
Jesus did not mince words when he attacked the Pharisees, nor did Paul when he attacked false teachers. They called them hypocrites and false prophets and false teachers - called “a spade a spade.” Paul even said that false teachers should be eternally condemned! However, I don’t think anyone could accuse Jesus or Paul of being mean-spirited or using ad hominem attacks. Nor did they make up things or misrepresent the false teachers.
Some articles I have read by those who are upset at false teachers spend more time on the teachers’ looks and mannerisms than they do on the problematic teachings! Likewise, those who are upset about apologists’ legitimate concerns viciously attack their person rather than addressing the issue (this has happened to me quite often as I am called every name in the book because I had the audacity to say someone’s teaching was in error).
I have also read books and articles about a cult which totally misrepresented the cult so as to make them appear ridiculous and even more bizarre than they are. Believe me, the cults have enough problems such that we have no need to make things up or misrepresent them!
Let’s all remember that we are supposed to be representing Christ whether we are apologists or those who are upset at the apologists. We should use proper courtesy and respect and do what we do in love. Love for the lost, love for those burdened with false teachings, and love for the false teachers; in this way we can perhaps affect them so that they will come to salvation, leave the legalistic or otherwise burdensome false teachings, or become a teacher who leaves his false ideas behind.
I read a quote once from James R. Spencer (whoever he was) which I think sums it all up quite nicely:
Truth without love is too hard; love without truth is too soft.