Torching Those Who Came Before Us to Light Our Way Forward

There’s a dynamic that occurs whenever you bring in a repairman: He takes a look at the job, figures out the problem, sketches the solution, and estimates the cost. But then another phase of the work, apparently equally necessary, begins: the Cursing of the Previous Contractor(s).

A theology professor makes a link between listening to contractors bash previous contractors and theologians bashing past theologians. Although this is fun and makes you look smart, it may also have a cost.

Theologians and pastors, whether in person or in print, ought to bear this in mind when explaining doctrine. Explain sympathetically what previous teachers or traditions were trying to do (hint: they were usually attempting to construe Scripture, so even if they ended up with some wrong answers you can always start there).

Explain doctrines and differences in such a way that your listeners focus their attention on the subject matter rather than the personalities. Because if you make it about you versus the previous craftsman, you’re likely to win the popularity contest. But that’s a temporary victory. You’re also likely to burn the whole industry, and that burn lasts longer.

To read the whole article, click here. On the other hand, I will probably find another article telling you how this article was written by a moron, so, whatever.

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