John Frame on Theological Controversialists
Writing like this is why I appreciate John Frame so much.
The reputation of a person is a delicate thing, not easily restored after it is compromised…
Christians have often attacked one another with a total neglect of biblical standards of evidence. One might think that theologians, at least, would be careful to judge disputes fairly, gently, and cautiously, but in any judgment they are the worst offenders. In theological controversy, writers often delight in distorting the words of one another, reading them in the worst possible (or worse than possible) sense. Many writers invoke the rhetoric of anathema and condemnation, without any adequate argument, and without any meaningful attempt to seek peace…
Many theological controversialists today set themselves up as Internet gurus, declaring brothers and sisters to be excommunicate on their say-so alone…It never occurs to them that they have a responsibility to protect the reputations of fellow Christians, even those with whom they disagree….
It is time for Christians to recognize that this behavior is sin. It is gossip, often slander, and Christians should not support it. The church needs to wake up to the problem. Theology, especially on the Internet, needs to become accountable to the body of Christ. We need to demonstrate to the world that we adhere to God’s standards of evidence, and that we deal with sin in a way that is principled, but also gentle and winsome. (The Doctrine of the Christian Life, pp.842-843)