Please, Think Clearly About What is Charitable!

   The following just appeared on the Catholic Answers Forum:

Mr White has been following this thread. On his website he states this:

Over on the Catholic Answers forums a thread has developed calling for a day of fasting and prayer for my conversion to Roman Catholicism. I would like to encourage Christians to spend time in prayer asking God to draw to Himself His people who are currently trapped in the Roman system…

To state that Catholic Christians are “trapped in the Roman system” is uncharitable indeed. But with all due respect, many uncharitable things are directed at Mr White fairly often on this forum. We do not need to pray for his conversion–the Lord takes care of the conversion of hearts. Just simply pray for him. Everyone needs prayer.

   May I please, please, please seek to explain to Mickey and others that their use of the terms “charitable” or “uncharitable” in reference to my quoted statement is unbiblical and, in fact, illogical? If, in fact, Roman Catholicism is a false religion with a false gospel, is it charitable, or uncharitable, to warn someone against it? Mormonism teaches that God was once a man who lived upon another planet, and that men may become gods. Is it charitable, or uncharitable, to say “Mormonism is not a Christian religion and to follow it will lead you only into deception and error”? When Paul referred to religious teachers as “false brethren” and said that they were accursed by God (Galatians 1:6-9, 2:4), was he being “uncharitable”? Is Matthew 23—the entire chapter—“uncharitable”? If we speak in accordance with biblical guidelines in saying that homosexuality is an abomination in God’s sight, and that anyone guilty of it must repent to have eternal life, is this “uncharitable”?
   The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The Bible never says we are to speak in such a way so that people will always think we are loving. In fact, those who are in rebellion against God’s truth, whether they be atheists or religious, will often be “offended” by our proclamation. But it is biblically unloving to edit the gospel so as to remove the offensiveness of it: it shows no love for God, for the gospel, or even for those to whom we are speaking. Offending them may well be part and parcel of the means God uses to save them! An inoffensive “gospel” is no gospel at all (1 Cor. 1:18-25).
   When Roman Catholics cannot even get past the feelings stage (“Oh, he said Rome is wrong! I’m so offended! He’s so mean!”) is it any wonder they do not see how shallow and circular their defenses of Rome’s claims really are? All Christians today must recognize that we live in a culture where feelings have become the new standard of truth, and offending someone’s “feelings” is the new unpardonable sin. The fact that the Christian is offended day in and day out is ignored, of course. But we must be prepared to bring the twisted thinking of Western culture back to ground zero: the fact that all are made in the image of God, and hence we can demonstrate the inconsistency of thinking in a way that is contrary to God’s truth.
   Now, Mickey is quite right: many truly uncharitable things are said about me by Roman Catholics every day. What is the difference? Simple. When I speak about Roman Catholicism, I have done everything in my power to be accurate in what I am saying. I have taken the time to read what the other side has to say (ironically, while typing this paragraph, an Amazon shipment arrived with another new Catholic work of apologetics in it). In my books, I cite sources, quote official materials, and I do so in context. I surely disagree with what I am citing, but the only way to show honor to the truth and honor to God is to handle even what which you disagree with accurately. But, is it not the commonality of so much of what is posted in these forums that these folks have not read my books, and even refuse to do so; that they have not watched the debates, and refuse to do so. Second and third hand rumors fly around without challenge, and are accepted at face value. (I even saw an outrageously funny statement by someone recently who said I had gained 100 lbs just so I can intimidate my opponents!) Why is it that these folks do not even take note of my work in reference to Mormonism, the Watchtower Society, Islam, or my defense of the Trinity, the transmission of Scripture, etc.? Personal attacks are uncharitable when they are 1) untrue, or 2) unnecessary, or 3) derive from an unwillingness to fairly represent the person being discussed. And that is the nature of what I see in these forums in the majority of instances. The exceptions, while refreshing, are likewise quite unusual.
   So, Mickey and the others at the Forums: tell me. If it is uncharitable for me to speak of your being trapped in the Roman system, is it likewise uncharitable for the Pope to promulgate the Papal Syllabus of Errors? Is it not obvious that whether something is charitable or not simply cannot be determined on the basis of whether you are offended by it or not?