Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman. (Proverbs 25:6-7)

Now We Mustn’t Upset Followers Of Other Faith Traditions

The main point of David Aikman’s article The Attack Dogs of Christendom is, “No attribute of civilized life seems more under attack than civility.” He goes on to conclude, “By all means criticize fellow Christians if necessary, but do so with grace.” Aikman actually begins his hit piece by using “atheist Sam Harris” as an illustration. He reminds us that Harris is author of the “2004 bestseller The End of Faith, [which is] a radical attack on religious belief in any form.”

Then Aikman says Harris “was prepared for strong rebuttals from Christians” and speculates that what:

may have surprised [Harris] was the vitriol in which many of the emails and letters were couched. The most hostile messages came from Christians (not Muslims or Hindus). “The truth is,” he explained in the forward to his latest bestseller, Letter to a Christian Nation, “that many who claim to be transformed by God’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism.”

“How do I know this?” he asked rhetorically. “The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.” Indeed, Letter to a Christian Nation is his response to those vituperative critics and yet another weapon in the armory of people hostile to Christianity.
(Online source)

Aikman admits that he would expect Harris to have received “negative feedback” but what really upsets him is:

the extent to which some Christians have turned themselves into the self-appointed attack dogs of Christendom. They seem determined to savage not only opponents of Christianity, but also fellow believers of whose doctrinal positions they disapprove.

A troll through the Internet reveals websites so drenched in sarcasm and animosity that an agnostic, or a follower of another faith tradition interested in what it means to become a Christian, might be permanently disillusioned.

None of the major figures of American Protestantism in the past quarter-century have been spared from attack, from Billy Graham to Rick Warren, from Tim LaHaye to Robert Schuller. The attacks, moreover, are not reasoned or modestly couched criticism, but blasts of ire determined to discredit beyond redemption the targets of the criticism.

The angriest websites are those belonging to small, but disturbingly visible, fundamentalist Protestant groups outraged that fellow Protestants appear to be holding out a welcoming hand to Catholics or Orthodox Christians. Leading the charge against alleged ecumenists is Apprising Ministries (AM), a New Hampshire-based group whose leader is Southern Baptist pastor Ken Silva.

The No Barking Zone Of Think Tank Christianity

In the final part next time I’ll deal with some specifics concerning Aikman’s statements about my writing. For now though let’s stop here since he chose to single me out as among the “angriest” of “the self-appointed attack dogs of Christendom.” One could very easily argue at this point that what you have just read from Aikman himself isn’t exactly “civil.” Notice that I’ve just been called a “dog” and accused of being “self-appointed.” Personally it doesn’t bother me because I’ve been called much worse having done stand-up comedy in some pretty rough places in my secular days.

But what are we to say about the quiet arrogance of self-appointed critics like David Aikman and others at Christianity Today who somehow feel that they are the guardians of their “fellow Christians”? Men like Aikman who decide that those who dare disagree with their more ecumenical brand of Christianity are to be automatically branded “fundamentalist Protestant groups.” And now he informs us that in his vaunted opinion these alleged attack dogs are becoming quite “disturbingly visible.”

Well, a little background research into David Aikman gives us further reason why he would find disturbing the visibility that God has given to men like me who believe in the Biblical Reformed doctrines of grace. It seems that Dr. David Aikman is Senior Fellow with The Trinity Forum, which is occupied with “Engaging Leaders With The Great Ideas In The Context Of Faith For Personal & Societal Renewal.” Under About Us we read:

“Contributing to the transformation and renewal of society
through the transformation and renewal of leaders.”

The Trinity Forum is a leadership academy that works to cultivate networks of leaders whose integrity and vision will help renew culture and promote human freedom and flourishing. Our programs and publications offer contexts for leaders to consider together the big ideas that have shaped Western civilization and the faith that has animated its highest achievements. (Online source)

Now maybe you can see how barking dogs would tend to disrupt the placid lives of those who live within their intellectual ivory towers in otherwise quiet neighborhoods. We can understand that the constant snarling about doctrinal purity would be very annoying to the elite erudite Christians too busy with their quest to “renew culture and promote human freedom and flourishing” to bother with preaching the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You see the truth is my friend Ingrid Schlueter was dead on target with her observations at Slice of Laodicea when she said:

I have seen this irony again and again over the years. Those who don’t agree with a conservative, Bible believing Christian expressing his or her views in public can launch into a bitter tirade about the utter intolerance, the sanctimony, the nastiness and the pure venom they claim is being shown by the conservative, while they can use every insulting and degrading turn of phrase they can muster to sneeringly deride these “fundamentalists”, these “holier-than-thou pharisees” and so forth and so on.

But that’s OK, you see, because they’re right, and we’re wrong. My advice to Christianity Today and the author of the silly piece on Attack Dogs of Christendom is physician, heal thyself. I would also like to assure them that with the state of evangelical Christianity today, we will not stop our documentation of the unfolding outrage any time soon. Name calling, Mr. David Aikman, is not a deterrent.

Personally, I think Mr. Aikman’s real problem is that after years of the public having only grossly compromised old media magazines like CT to cover what’s going on in the church, new media has allowed Christians who object to evangelical apostasy to speak out publicly and visibly. That’s what Aikman meant about our “disturbing” visibility. Prepare for more, Mr. Aikman, prepare for more. All the temper tantrums at CT only convince me further of the need for alternative news sources for those who still believe what the Bible says and who aren’t prepared to sell out Christ for advertising revenue.
(Online source)

And now we can also add that we aren’t about to sell out Christ for some intellectual advancement of religious humanism in a Trinity Forum either:

Conforming to the best of the religious humanist tradition, we seek and encourage respectful, honest engagement with the texts and other participants, as well as with other faith traditions and philosophies. We prize the pursuit of truth. We emphasize integrity of faith and thought. We also affirm the solemn responsibility of each person, consonant with their deepest convictions, to persuasively and proactively engage their public world. (Online source)

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