Answering Personal Accusations
"You can tell you have created God in your own image
when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do"
There is no end to the accusations and hate campaigns levelled against believers by unbelievers and false believers alike (Rev.12:10) and there are scriptural proceedures within the Assembly for dealing with complaints made by believers. If a person chooses to act outside such procedures (e.g. 1 Tim.5:18), then the Assembly has no further responsibility towards such people, because then they take the law into their own hands by (for example) turning to the world system for support (believers are told by Paul to resolve matters internally and not go to the public arena - see 1 Cor.6:1ff). Solomon understood well when he said:
"If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace" (Prov 29:9, NIV)
Moreover, there is very strict counsel in scripture as to how we should answer accusers:
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV).
We are always happy to give people the reason for our hope in Christ, to which we intend to confine ourselves, especially to atheists and those of other religions who find Christianity and Christians objectionable. As John Feeney aptly remarked: "Too many atheists and agnostics seem to think that the only real choice is between unbelief and the very worst that the Christian faith has to offer".
"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is Yah'shua who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till Yah'shua comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from Elohim" (1 Cor.4:2-5, NIV)
Attacks on the moral integrity of believers by unbelievers, who live by a different set of moral and ethical standards that are usually contrary to the Scriptures and are often moving targets (since to them these things are constantly evolving, depending on what the secular 'consensus' of the day is), are best ignored or answered with a simple statement correcting any false accusations to which the testimonies of other believers, who know the accused, can, if needs be, be added. The testimony of former believers, who have shelved or abandoned their faith, is notoriously biased and unreliable as independent secular academic studies have demonstrated (see, for example, Apostates and New Religious Movements):
"The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates. Not uncommonly the apostate learns to rehearse an ‘atrocity story’ to explain how, by manipulation, trickery, coercion, or deceit, he was induced to join or to remain within an organization that he now forswears and condemns" (Dr. Bryan Ronald Wilson, Oxford University)
These should be answered in the same way as dishonest unbelievers in general. Occasionally exceptions may be made if criticism is redemptive rather than divisive (see Types of Critic) in which case such cricisms should be answered openly and honestly whether they are from believers or unbelievers. Those who are trying to dishonestly rewrite their history in order to attack others and justify their behaviour are best ignored because they condemn themselves. Scripture explicitly warns against such behaviour:
For 'believers' engaging in this kind of behaviour this means disfellowshipment and excommunication - for unbelievers, silence. For the rest sincerely anxious to know the truth, constructive dialogue. The critics in this section are of the former disposition and so our responses here consist only of brief statements correcting errors and the occasional short doctrinal treatise defending biblical faith and practice.
"All those who watch for iniquity as an occasion for accusation shall be cut off" (Isaiah 30:20, Amplified Version).
Finally, we make reference to the 'cult deprogrammers' (so-called) who, ironically, upon being closely studied, turn out to fit most of the cultic criteria themselves which they profess to be exposing in others.
"A critic is a legless man who teaches running" (Channing Polluck)
This page was created on 24 September 1999
Last updated on 14 September 2008
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