“Calvinists are anti-missionary.”
“Arminian Baptists believe that they can lose their salvation.”
“Reformed Baptists are confused Presbyterians.”
“Landmarkers believe only Baptists are going to heaven.”
“Reformed baptists are trying to reform the Catholic Church.”
“Dispensationalists believe that the Old Testament saints were saved by keeping the law.”
“Preachers who advocate for expository preaching insist we have to preach verse by verse through books.”
Question: What do all these comments have in common?
Answer: While every group has it’s nut, the fact is that in the main, these are dishonest statements about certain groups. And sadly, I have heard them stated as fact from pulpits by Baptist preachers who disagreed with other Baptist preachers.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12)
Misrepresentation, slander, and false accusations are to be expected by the devil and his men. We ought to expect it as God’s people. After all, they did this with Jesus. False witnesses were the pretext for our Lord’s crucifixion.
The world hated Him so it ought not to surprise us if they hate us, slander, misrepresent, or make false accusations. However, it ought not to be common thing coming from the Lord’s people. I say, it ought not to be common because it is possible to accidentally misrepresent an opposing viewpoint. This ought to be the exception and not the rule. If we bring up an opposing viewpoint in the pulpit, we who are preachers ought to do everything we can to be sure we are honestly presenting it in the pulpit.
How do we do that?
- Talk to brethren who hold the position we find disagreeable. Listen to what they say. Don’t just listen to respond, but listen to learn. Maybe we will find our own position is wrong.
- Read books on the opposing position. But don’t read books written by people who agree with you writing on the other side. Read books that are actually written by someone who advocates that doctrine or teaching. Consider their arguments and logic (or lack of it).
- The whole time, be much in prayer, and always stay in the Word! Your position and the opposition must submit to the Word of God. There is where it will be tried. Acts 17:11
- Stay humble! You might very well learn something. One, you may learn that your ideas about the other side wasn’t what you thought. (Not everyone who disagrees with you is a heretic.) Two, you may discover your position was the wrong one after all. None of us are infallible and while we shouldn’t be carried away with every wind of doctrine, we shouldn’t ever stop learning either!
At the end of the day, when we deal with disagreements honestly (like Christian men should), we may not always come to an agreement with everyone but we will see more unity and better fellowship among brethren and churches. Go back and read some old Baptist history books such as Fifty Years Among the Baptists by David Benedict and you’ll find that’s the way it was before in this country. I believe it could be that way again. Whatever might happen, let us never be known as dishonest preachers.