Evangelical Wife Beaters

That’s the title of this great post by blogger Joe Carter. Carter isn’t talking about Christian men who actually beat their wives or wear tacky sleeveless t-shirts to church, however. One of the more famous analogies the Bible uses for the church is “the Bride of Christ.” This analogy is at the heart of that infamous submission passage in Ephesians 5. So what is an evangelical wife beater? It one of those people who can’t stop knocking (someone else’s) church.

You know the type. The doctrine police. Those who think anyone who doesn’t agree with favorite Pastor Bob is a dirty heathen. The “more Reformed/confessional/conservative/postmodern/Catholic than thou” crowd. Carter, echoing with Anthony Bradley, is calling on Christians to knock if off, and I tend to agree. Most intermural Christian battles—such as those between Calvinists and Arminians—have been going on for hundreds of years at least, and won’t be solved by big mouthed folks who’ve just opened up a copy of Calvin’s Institutes for the first time. The same could be said for hardcore Lutheran and Catholic apologists for that matter. When Christian guys (and its mostly guys) engage in this sort of battling, it only serves to break each other down. What’s more, battling like baffoons in a public venue like the internet shows to those who are not members of a church that Christians are just hateful jerks who can’t even agree on what the essentials of the faith are. And if that’s the case, why bother?

I don’t think this makes me soft. Correction still should take place. In fact, the Bible demands it. However, like I was writing about politics last week, disagreement within the church can and should take place with a certain amount of gentility and decorum. Knowledge does puff up, and the semi-anonimity of the internet can lead to additional boldness, but blasting a fellow Christian because he doesn’t hold to supralapsarianism is just silly (meanwhile, this Lutheran needs a pronunciation guide). Anyway, I just thought it important to point out this essay that Carter—one of the more prominent evangelical bloggers—wrote. Let’s shut down the Doctrine Inquisition and end wife beating in (of) the church.


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