A few weeks ago I rather briefly met Martin Trench, who was a visiting speaker at my church. Martin is a Scotsman who is now a “Lead Pastor” in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and he writes a blog Thinking Aloud, at his church’s website. He is therefore a neighbour of another British-born blogger pastor I follow, Tim Chesterton, now blogging at Faith, Folk and Charity. Perhaps this post will serve to introduce these two.
Probably Martin’s greatest claim to fame, which I mentioned in a comment here, is that he is the co-author of a book Victorious Eschatology: A Partial Preterist View which managed to convince Peter Wagner to change his views on the end times.
Martin’s post today, Ever feel like a hypocrite?, may not have the same far-reaching effect, but it certainly had an effect on me, especially in the light of my posts about Rob Bell’s alleged blasphemy and about not touching the Lord’s anointed. Martin opens his post with “I do”, to the question in the title. Here are parts of how he continues, with his original emphasis:
I do not like to see people judging other people, and I tend to be pretty free from judgmental attitudes myself …….. with one exception. I tend to judge judgmental people. I know it sounds ludicrous, but I tend to judge their level of Christianity by the fact that they go about judging other people’s Christianity. …
I don’t get into theological debates with people whose minds are closed …. with one exception. I just can’t seem to help getting into debates with people in order to inform them that getting into debates is a waste of time!
I know that it sounds self-righteous of me, but I can’t stand seeing or hearing people being self-righteous.
But, none of that brings me any happiness or peace. I don’t feel better after “sorting out” a nasty, judgmental, hater – because I know that it hasn’t made any difference to them. I should really feel compassion for them, because (no matter how popular or famous or widely quoted they are) if they have a closed mind and refuse to ever see the possibility that there may be merit in another point of view, and if they have to defend their point of view by attacking other people, then I can only conclude that they are an un-evolved soul … Maybe even that’s judgmental, but I can remember when my faith was as stunted and withered as that, and I eventually grew beyond that. …
So, for my own happiness, I am now trying to avoid pointing out to haters and judgers and heresy-hunters and debaters that they may be missing the point of what Jesus was all about. I am going to let it go and not even read their posts.
In these attitudes I think I am very like Martin. It is very sensible of him to let these things go, especially as a busy pastor. I really should do the same. So if you don’t read anything more here about Rob Bell and Adrian Warnock, don’t take it that I have changed my mind and agree with Adrian. I have just decided to back off, for my own happiness, and also to avoid being seen as a hypocrite for criticising people like Adrian when I have condemned denouncing one’s Christian brothers and sisters.