Thursday, April 14, 2011

Somebody Did Something Bad So I'll Do Something Just as Bad or Worse

Years ago a Jewish rabbi wrote a bestselling book entitled "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People." Maybe someone has already written it, but a better and more scriptural title would be, "Why Good Things Happen to Bad People." Much more realistic.

People do bad things. They have done and they will do too. And they'll do them to you. Sometimes they do them to children, who, of course, don't deserve it. Or do we all deserve worse than any bad thing that was done to anyone of us? Actually we all deserve worse than the worst that has been done to us. That particular truth does not excuse a person who did a bad thing to someone. Yet, doing something just as bad or worse doesn't help anyone or anything.

There are bad marriages, but that doesn't make marriage bad. Some have decided that a bad marriage, maybe their own parents', means that they've got to give up on marriage itself. This is an example, a case, of somebody doing something just as bad or worse because someone did something bad.

Here's an extreme example of a bad thing. A man drives up on the curb to kill little children playing in the front lawn. Two kids die. But here's another example of a bad thing. Someone spreads false doctrine that deceives a whole family, and that entire family, who has believed the false doctrine, rejects the Jesus of the Bible and is damned to Hell. Which is worse? The first gets treated worse. It is short term and emotional. The latter is forever. The latter is far worse on any scale. Not excusing the first, but we can't let temporal issues cloud our view of eternal ones.

People get treated badly at a church. Mistakes are made. So they decide that a right way to respond to that is to head some place worse or just give up on church all the way. This kind of reaction is wrong. I eat a bad tomato, I don't give up on all tomatoes. I buy a lemon car, and I don't stop driving. Satan knows he can have his way in these situations.

My physical education teacher screamed at me, so I give up exercise? Do I? No. But a father mistreats his daughter and now patriarchy is wrong? Now we've got to be egalitarian because we got abused by a man? People injure their children, so now corporal punishment is wrong? No, no, and no.

If someone misinterprets the Bible or even uses the Bible as a reason to do an unscriptural thing, do we give up on the Bible? No. The Bible is still true. A church, where the women dress modestly and the congregation and choir sing reverent worship to God, does some and allows some wrong things. Are modest dress and reverent worship now wrong? Does immodest dress and irreverent worship correct the wrongs? Are we more likely to receive godly treatment with less modest clothes on?

Is Buddhism now true because we haven't heard of a Buddhist child abuser? If the math teacher who told me 2 + 2 = 4 is later convicted of child porno, should I still think 2 + 2 =4? Because Mussolini got the Italian trains to run on time, should I be against prompt, timely public transportation?

I was recently reading a blog operated for people who have been abused by churches. The chief credential of the owner and operator is that she was abused by someone from a church. Someone came on to say she too was abused by a church and so she became a Buddhist. The moderator said she characterized her own Christian living as conforming to a pattern of Buddhism. She mainly followed Buddhism as a practical model for her life, she said. She didn't expose Buddhism as a damning lie. She promoted it as an acceptable lifestyle.

If we've been abused, do we now have a more valuable evaluation of abuse and abusers than those not abused? Does my having been abused make me more trustworthy in my interpretation of Scripture? Does a victim of a gunshot become better prepared to treat gunshot wounds?

Why should someone attend an independent Baptist church? Is the Bible true? Are Baptist beliefs and practices biblical? Is the scriptural model for churches autonomy or independence? If you were abused by an independent and Baptist church, is that because it's wrong to be either independent, Baptist, or a church? Is moving to something unscriptural the right response to something unscriptural? No, it isn't. If somebody does something bad, the wrong reaction is to do something as bad or worse. Don't do that.

Should we approve of Buddhism, because we've always been treated nicely by Buddhists? We're all offended by child pornography, and perhaps there is less of that in Sikhism? Should we become Sikhs? People who called themselves Christians murdered 100,000 Protestants in France. Does that make Christianity false?

If someone who has been abused in some way in the past, not by me, and I criticize his or her unscriptural statement or evaluation or reaction, am I supporting his or her abuse or even all abuse? What kind of authority does someone have who can't be criticized? Let's say several abused organize into a group, who can't be criticized, because criticism can only be interpreted as support of abuse or abusers. Aren't cults characterized as groups with this kind of unquestioned authority?

Lot thought he was getting something when he left an abusive situation with his uncle Abraham and so pitched his tent toward Sodom.


Joshua said...

This kind of thinking is the beginning and the end of websites like Stufffundieslike.

They'll talk about how there was rank sin in the church and no one did anything, then in the same thread someone else will rant about how bitterly they hate and resent the people in the church they left, using those kind of words, and there is no word of chastening. No encouragement to Christ-like love or forgiveness.

The fundamentalist sin of judgmentalism is unforgivable. The sin of hating your brother is clearly justified by his actions.

Of course, hypocrisy is also the unforgivable sin. That's why you hate them so much for their lack of love.

"I thank thee Lord, that I am not like other men are, judgers, hypocrites, legalists, or even like this Fundamentalist. I watch movies twice in the week, and tithe on nothing at all. "

Don Johnson said...

Now, Kent, you're just showing how brainwashed you are!

Exactly right. It is incredible the foolish hysteria that so many are buying into. It is incredible how many Baptist pastors are using this to further their animus against Fundamentalism.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Very good thoughts. Reminds me of the old adage: Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

It seems that you are dealing with the theme of excuses. And that is a prevailing theme of modern life, whether in the church or not.

Kent Brandenburg said...


As usual, well written. I do visit StuffFundiesLike (SFL) from time to time and, as you might guess, I don't like a lot that he says fundies like. I've seriously thought about Stuff Neos Like, going at evangelicalism and even at the type of guy like Darrell of SFL. They are rich themselves for parody and satire. But I don't see it as spiritual warfare, but carnal warfare, which is what SFL is, carnal weapons in carnal warfare. It masquerades as care for those abused by fundamentalism. It doesn't give biblical solutions and it supports, as you have made note, as unbiblical behavior as it actually points out in fundy land. They support the mastermind of the 20/20 interview without criticism, when she influences and reinforces unbiblical teaching, philosophy, and practice with her counsel or advice.





Jess B. and Kendall W. said...

So true and so well put. Thank you for writing this.