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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"I Don't Give A Damn About Poverty."*

Now let me use this phrase to describe the difference between fundamentalism and liberalism. Fundamentalist response: "What? Is that a cuss word? I can't believe that you would use profanity in your language. I am so disappointed with you Timmy. I don't think that I can read your blog anymore if you are going to use words like that. You are a hypocrite, and well, I pray that you will get right with God." Liberal response: "What? You don't care about the poor and starving children? That's just like you conservatives. All you care about is rich, wealthy, and white people in your church. I can't believe that you can overlook the suffering and oppression around the world and throw a blind eye. I don't think I can read your blog anymore if you are going to be so fundamental. You are a hypocrite, and it is about time that you 'do it unto the least of these.'" Here are two completely different takes on one simple statement. One focused on a cuss word, the other poverty, and this is precisely because of one's predisposition and/or pretense. Should Christians cuss? No. But why are we so quick to correct a Christian of cussing when other "sins of the tongue" such as gossip, murmuring, and slander abound among most of us? Should we care about world hunger and poverty? Absolutely. But the gospel has more than simply social connotation. You can feed a stomach and still see them go to hell. The point I am trying to make is what Mohler mentioned in theological triage, that fundamentalists want to make third-level issues primary (cussing), and liberals ignore first-level issues altogether (salvation by justification by faith). It appears that conservatives have emphasized the tithing of mint, dill, and cumin and neglect the "weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness" (Matthew 23:23). Yet Jesus in this text, says that "these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others" (vs. 24). So we should take care of third-level issues but never neglect first-level issues as primary and preeminent in our minds. And liberals who find liberality in cussing (or other matters) need to understand that we must serve God with "pure heart, sincere faith, and a clear conscience" (1 Timothy 1:5). And to cause a brother to stumble in third-level matters is nothing we should take lightly. Now I know that the theological triage was primarily doctrinal in distinctions, but I think that the triage can also apply to orthopraxy. The only difference is that doctrines don't change but practices can (for example, card playing, dancing, going to movies, etc.). I don't want to complicate the matter, but only explain that there are extreme positions from both the fundamental (legalism) and liberal (license) positions, and triage thinking serves us well for maturity and discernment on relevant matters of the day.


Blogger Paul said...

Uh...I'm sorry, but you also said, "going to he**" in your post, so you cussed twice. I'm afraid I must now go and wash my mind out with soap.

[Please duly note the sarcasm in this response. I actually like the post!]

2/21/2006 10:03:00 PM


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