I've considered myself a Christian since childhood, but only got serious about the cause of Christ at age 18. During my adulthood, I've witnessed many well-meaning, and not so well, but misguided attempts by those who believe they've cornered the market on truth and discernment to correct the rest of us. These self-appointed defenders of the faith--of absolute Truth--have made it their life's mission to point out the fallacy, the error, the downright blasphemy and heresy of those who don't hold to the same absolutes, propositions or interpretations of Scripture as them.
Lately, I've had a run in with a number of these hypocritical and hypercritical people. Since stepping out into this mysterious conversation often termed the E.C. (for emerging church or emergent conversation), I've been called everything from a weak-minded twit to a dangerous heretic. And not that insults hurled at me by anonymous online do-gooders really do much lasting damage, but I get tired of having the same debates over and over again.
Most recently, a forum that I participate in was singled out by a rogue, rightwing unit of the Calvary Chapel denomination, called Apostasy Alert. The leader claims that me and my online cohorts were trying to take the modern church back to the Dark Ages and Romanize evangelical Christianity all over again. The message thread was about one woman's nostalgic use of the rosary, a family heirloom, to aid her in contemplative prayer. The discussion was blown way out of proportion by the leader of Apostasy Alert and taken out of context to support her anti-Catholic rhetoric.
But I don't mean to single out one organization. There are thousands just like it in every denomination of Christianity. Want proof? Just Google the phrases "false teacher" or "false prophet" and you'll get over 20 million and 9.7 million hits respectively. Yes, I said million.
I understand that these people/organizations stake their tents to the Pauline warnings against false teachings (see 2 Cor. or 1 Tim.), but honestly who appointed them as God's watchdogs? When does Paul's letter to a first century church or a young disciple override the commands of the Christ to "love your enemies?" In Matthew 7 and Luke 6, Jesus tells the hypocritical defenders of the Torah to take care of the speck in their own eye. And wouldn't alleged heretics and apostates fall under the category of "enemies" to Christianity? So when do we turn the other cheek? Only if admitted pagans and heathens speak against us?
My problem with these defenders of Truth goes even further. Since when does God need any human to jump to His defense? Isn't Jesus the Bridegroom? Why on earth would a bridegroom need to rely on his bride to defend his honor, let alone the Bridegroom who is Christ???
If these self-appointed watchdogs, loaded to bear with Scriptures and ready to cut-and-paste at a moment's notice, were to put a tithe of their time and energy into actually helping a widow, a prisoner or an orphaned child, wouldn't they be exponentially more fulfilled? They might actually find the Jesus they're so worried about defending. We need more love and grace in the world, not millions of self-rightious do-gooders hellbent on making sure everyone understands how wrong, lost or hellbound they are!