Friday, October 06, 2006

An ecclesiastical tragedy

I read today about a situation where one weblog had incurred the ire of a well known parachurch ministry--let's not name names, because that's not the point. The basic details are simple. The weblog, run by a group of pastors, commented that the theology of the parachurch ministry was likely to exert a bad influence on the church. The ministry, in return, published a pair of articles commenting on the theology of the weblog. Neither set of articles was particularly complimentary, though my opinion was that those of the ministry scored a bit higher on the "ad hominem equation."

It's very disappointing, and one might be tempted to send off a few (angry?) letters to those involved. However, that again misses the point, in my probably not humble enough opinion.

The point; the only reason that ministry B is able to come alongside the church and interfere with its workings is because, for too long, many churches have failed to effectively preach the Word and motivate its members in the Gospel. Every church? Certainly not, but even a minority of churches that fail to do this will motivate their members (by inaction) to be taught elsewhere. It might be a parachurch ministry, or the Internet, or (God forbid) a cult.

Moreover, even orthodox parachurch ministries (such as the one I speak of) can go astray if their contributors are not being motivated by the preaching from their own church's pulpit.

It also wouldn't hurt if people eschewed the ad hominem attack, but then again, that misses the main point.