I was listening to Doug Wilson’s sermon on Galatians 1:6-9 this morning while working out (listening to such material allows me to do research for upcoming events, such as the debate in November, while “redeeming the time” and keeping this old body functioning semi-properly). Anyway, one thing he presented really hit me in a very positive way (see, you can learn from those with whom you disagree!): he quoted Thomas Watson (nope, haven’t had time to dig it up yet) who said, in essence, that when we go through trials, we often wrongly focus upon the one through whom the trial comes (enemies, heretics) rather than the One who sent the trial. That was a great insight. He was saying that we should rejoice when folks lie about us and attack us. In fact, he used the language of rejoicing that we have “arrived” at a position where we have done enough in the kingdom for anyone to notice us enough to bother lying about us. I really appreciated the presentation, since I confess I have often of late found it easier to focus upon the attacks than rejoice in the victories. It was a good reminder that I need to avoid the sin of worry and, in fact, the sin of discontent, and should truly treasure the encouragements of family, friends, and those who have been touched by this ministry.
A second thought that I also appreciated was this: Wilson said that so often when dealing with one’s enemies it simply does not matter what you say. There is no reason to go back over what you have taught or preached and ask yourself, “What could I have said differently?” since it doesn’t matter how clearly you express yourself: heretics will always twist what you say. That is so self-evident from my own experience that you’d think I would not be surprised to hear it expressed. But I was. What should shock us at any time is when false teachers actually represent us accurately and show some desire to not twist our words! Over the course of the past decades of ministry I have seen this so often you would think it axiomatic by now!
Now, was there anything I took issue with? Yes, there was. But I reserve the right to talk about it in November. 🙂