(un)Friendly fire

Being part of a family sucks sometimes.

Every now and then I make a remark about the unfairness and crippling partisanship of some evangelicals and the way that it harms our collective effort to present the Christian message to the world. However I don’t typically name names when it comes to people who have personally attacked me. I don’t like to give publicity to those who do not deserve it. This post is an exception, both to give an example of the kind of widespread behaviour that is of such concern, and also to point out that I’m not just making it up. I’m also putting this here to give the perpetrator the opportunity to publicly make amends, after thus far ignoring my public invitation to do so at his blog.

Steve Hays over at Triablogue has taken it upon himself to name and attack me over my recent defence of William Lane Craig against some rather hasty and unfair attacks (attacking seems to be the order of the day).

First, Steve quotes one of my opening comments in my previous post defending Bill Craig:

I thought I would add my voice to those defending Dr Craig and calling our fellow evangelical Christians to be a little more patient and careful – as well as striving to be better informed about the theological issues we discuss.

Now if I do say so myself, this seems like a worthy enough goal. But according to Steve, I am lying. This is not really my goal at all. He decides to name and quote me, and then says:

Of course, Glenn isn’t really defending Craig. Rather, Glenn is using the Craig incident as a pretext to defend himself. Glenn is a liberal (denies hell, denies inerrancy), so he wants to make evangelicalism a big tent. Defending Craig is just a ploy for making his case that evangelicals should be more tolerant and open-minded with respect to the Glenn Peoples of the world.

So contrary to what I have said, Steve says I’m not really defending Craig. This is a pretext. I am just pretending to defend Craig.

Apparently – and some of my correspondents will, no doubt, get a kick out of this, I am a liberal. This is because I affirm, on the basis of conservative biblical exegesis, a different view of what the Bible teaches about hell from Steve, and because I do not affirm a doctrine that the Bible itself doesn’t affirm (namely, inerrancy). All I really want to do is get rid of the boundaries of evangelicalism so that liberal views (apparently like mine and Dr Craig’s) are counted as evangelical.

This sums up just the kind of partisanship that has prevented so many evangelicals from being effective. The worst enemies are deemed to be those who agree on all things but differ on a jot or tittle, and these (namely, people like me) are the ones most worthy of public smearing. With (yes, shame on me) little hope of success, I offered this comment to Mr Hays:

You have publicly made comments dissecting my motives and attacking my character.

Of course, Glenn isn’t really defending Craig. Rather, Glenn is using the Craig incident as a pretext to defend himself. Glenn is a liberal (denies hell, denies inerrancy), so he wants to make evangelicalism a big tent. Defending Craig is just a ploy for making his case that evangelicals should be more tolerant and open-minded with respect to the Glenn Peoples of the world.

Here you accuse me of:

1) Being a liar (pretending to do one thing when I am knowingly doing another).

2) Being a liberal in spite of my ostensible conservatism and of my repeated defence of evangelical Christianity against liberalism.

3) Being self serving in the defense of another.

None of these accusations are true.

Steve, I did not name any of Bill Craig’s critics. I certainly did not single you out and attack your character, yet you have made the choice to do this of me – without contacting me at all.

With little hope that you will do so, I am asking you to apologise and retract the claims you have made about me, my motives and my character. Since you have chosen to name and attack me I will assume that you believe I am in need of some correction. If you wish to do so, I invite you to contact me. At the blog where you copied my words, you can contact me via the “contact” page.

I await your response. I will see whether or not you are interested in being an evangelical – someone who cares for the teaching of Scripture in doctrine and practice.

I do not believe that anyone can honestly say that this message contains insults, rudeness or hostility. However, not once, but three times I posted this comment, because after each time, it was visible for a few minutes and then deleted by a moderator. This in spite of that same blog’s posting policy, which includes the following statements:

Triablogue isn’t Mother Hen. We don’t make a habit of moderating the combox. It operates under the honor code.

You can say pretty much anything you please about the team. Attack us with impunity. We don’t care. We can take it.

Anyone is welcome to disagree with anything we say. It matters not whether he’s an atheist or Romanist or what have you.

By the same token, we will not permit Triablogue to be co-opted by an outsider to slander a second or third-party. If you have a personal beef with somebody, contact him directly. Don’t go using Triablogue as a platform to take potshots from behind the bushes of a second-party blog.

Interestingly, those principles were authored by one Steve Hays. This is the same Steve Hays who has himself used his blog as a platform to gracelessly slander a third party.

Steve, I posted these comments at your blog for you to see, and they have continued to be deleted. Your attack on me was public. The behaviour you have exhibited is exactly what is wrong with evangelical Christianity: The intention to persuade the world that our intellectual universe is intact when we cannot even get our moral compass and behaviour right in the way that we deal with each other. I realise that you do not share my beliefs as expressed in my defence of Bill Craig, however as you know, I neither named you nor accused you of engaging in sin. It is incumbent upon you now to make amends. You ought to let your readers know that you have failed in your duty to serve as a witness of Christian thought and conduct when you thought that it was alright to conduct yourself in this way towards me. You should also approach me with an apology, as you have resisted my attempt to communicate with you at your own site, and I know that you read this blog.

Choose how you want to be known.

Your fellow
Glenn Peoples

Update:

Steve, along with some of his regular commentors over at his blog, have replied to me. Unfortunately none of the above concerns about being accountable for our deeds seem to be very important to any of them. I am only detailing this because, as a rule, I don’t detail examples of people who do this, so I’m going into some detail to show just the sort of thing that goes on on a regular basis when would-be defenders of the faith get their knives out for their brethren’s backs.

I contacted Steve via Facebook as it’s not possible to contact him privately via his blog. Here’s what I said to him:

Steve, as someone who makes the claim to be a brother in Christ – with all due respect, you owe me an explanation of yourself.

You have publicly named me as a liar who misrepsents his intentions and who is a liberal. You may not personally know me, but you are called to a much higher standard than this. You have visited my blog and you have there had the ability to contact me. you did not. Instead you merely attacked me, in an attempt to name and shame.

No fewer than three times I have raised this concern at your blog, and my concern, and my request for you to apologise and contact me privately has been deleted. This in spite of your blog policy that says you will not be mother hen and moderate everything, and that “You can say pretty much anything you please about the team. Attack us with impunity. We don’t care. We can take it.”

Steve is this the standard to which you believe you are called? Did I even once name you, let alone accuse you of sin? You must surely be capable of better than this.

I again ask that you publicly apologise for your public slander of me. As a believer who emphasises the grace of God, you must surely believe that this grace and love should permeate the way that you personally and publicly live your life.

Regards
Glenn Peoples

I noted that Steve is “a believer who emphasises the grace of God” because as far as I know he is a Calvinist. This was Steve’s initial response (note: Steve’s profile photo over at Facebook is a photo of Fabio):

Hi Glenn,

My talent agent forwarded your message to me.

I’m afraid you must have me confused with someone else. I’m an Italian fashion model who makes supplementary income doing margarine commercials. Perhaps you’ve seen me on TV.

However, I don’t hold it against you. Mistaken identity is a common occurrence. Why, there are some folk who actually mistake Glenn Peoples for a Christian. (Hard to believe, I know.)

Arrivederci!
– Fab

I’m not making this up. Sensing that this was pointless, I simply replied:

Mistake me for a Christian? Well there it is then. You are concerned about Christian belief but not Christian behaviour. It is now clear to me who is the liberal. This is a real shame, Steve. You could have done better.

But then Steve replied, this time not pretending to be Fabio:

You play the Christian “brother” card as if I’m supposed to give you the benefit of the doubt. When, however, you deny core principles of the faith like the plenary inspiration of Scripture as well as everlasting punishment, you forfeit any such presumption.

As far as behavior, brush up on how NT writers “behave” when they describe false teachers and apostates. You’re a false teacher.

And let’s not forget that you initiated the personal attacks when you said things like “The fact that some Christians got outraged by this just shows how ignorant and insular they are,” “Actually there’s a third problem stirred up by ignorance and insularity, namely an unwillingness to listen carefully and charitably to what another person is saying.”

Here Steve refers to the fact that I affirm the doctrine of annihilationism, which says that the biblical view of eternal punishment is everlasting destruction, and not eternal torment. I have frequently affirmed biblical inspiration, however. What’s more, as the reader probably knows, the New Testament writers, whatever they think of a person’s doctrine, never say that it is acceptable to accuse them of things that they never did. The prohibition on bearing false witness is not just a rule that applies when dealing with people who agree with us.

What’s more again, Steve here quotes from my comments which didn’t name anybody, and which describe people as ignorant and insular. This is a far cry from accusing named people of  intentionally lying. I again replied to Steve, trying to remind him of the issue at hand:

Steve – whether you agree with my doctrine or not, it is not acceptable to tell lies about me.

You teach a false view of hell and an unbiblical view of Scripture. You are a false teacher. I get it. We disagree on doctrine, but that is not the issue here.

You don’t agree that you are insular and ignorant. Fine. Those are matters of opinion that I am justified in holding, but neither of them amounts to an accusation of sin. You cannot wriggle around this. You have specifically accused me of being a liar and you need to apologise and retract this accusation.

Let us see how committed to being a Christian you are.

Well, this is how committed Steve was:

Alleging that my accusation was false hardly makes it false.

After first of all defending his doing what I was complaining about, Steve now tried to back away from the claim that he had even made false claims about me. If this was his position, he could have said so right away. At the risk of getting nowhere, I once more (and this proved to be the last time) replied to Steve Hays:

Steve, stop puffing up that chest and resisting correction. You stated that I was not really defending Craig. You have no way of knowing what I was thinking. You made this claim up and accused me of lying.

It is up to you to show that I lied, or else repent. You are only making things worse by hardening your attitude toward what you have done.

You know full well that what I am saying to you is right. I am the Christian here, and you are the one in need of repentance.

Thus ended our correspondence.

This issue is the same for children as it is for adults – something as a parent I have come to see time and time again. Arguably the sin that is most harmful to oneself is that of pride: The unwillingness to admit that you have done something wrong, which in turns forms a kind of mental scar tissue, hardening us to our own behaviour and making us more willing to do it again and again.

Commentors at Steve’s blog provide clues that it is a kind of haven for this type of behaviour. For merely stating that Steve should not have lied about me and should retract, a commentor called “Coramdeo” quipped: that I was  “acting like a whiny little pansy” and that “someone needs to get over himself already. And get a haircut.” But apparently this didn’t count as ridicule because “Pointing out that you’re whining and in need of a haircut are simply observations, not ridicule.” The last time I checked, there was a blog entry accusing a correspondent of physically assisting in raping altar boys, and the commentors were accusing anybody who objected to this disgusting tirade of somehow defending child abusers.

I realised – too late it seems, that the blog is a place where like minded (and like behaving) people hang out, bash anyone who disagrees with them about anything, feel free to accuse people of whatever they like (hey, who cares if it’s true or not, the biblical writers did it all the time – apparently), and rubbish any attempt at correction as whining. There is no integrity, no accountability, and most importantly of all: Never retract, never apologise, never receive correction. Ever. If you disagree, you are a liberal, a nonbeliever, or worse.

This is the dark, ugly intellectual underbelly of what some like to call evangelicalism.

PS – Steve intially claimed that my three posts were deleted by the spam filter “automatically” and that I should stop being so “ignorant and paranoid.” However, he uses blogger. When I posted those comments, all of them made it through the spam filter and appeared on his blog. I checked each time by visiting the blog again. Then minutes later, they had disappeared after being visible on the blog for a short time. I have used blogger and I know others who use it now. I know that this is not how blogger’s spam filter works. If a comment is picked up by the filter as spam, it does not appear at the blog. It can later be moved to the spam folder, but this requires manual action by an admin. I make no comment on why Steve made this claim about why my comment vanished three separate times. Make of it what you will.

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55 thoughts on “(un)Friendly fire

  1. What is this guys problem?, He seems to relish taking a comment someone made, ignoring the subtles, nuances, contexts and so on, and repackage it in a way that makes them into an ultra liberal and then attack.

    When he is called he just ignores or stonewalls.

  2. Ironically, his approach is exactly like that of the atheist to whom Bill Craig was responding in the Q and A article that started all this: He’s absolutely certain that his approach is right, he’s absolutely certain that anybody who won’t immediately grant all his points is stupid, and he is absolutely above reprimand!

    This is precisely the reason that so many outlets for (especially internet based) apologetics and ministry will always be irrelevant and will always be small clubs of angry men who agree on two thing: They’re right, and when it comes to outsiders, anything goes. As for Christian virtue… well I guess that’s not as important as believing that you believe the right stuff.

  3. Careful Matt. I’m sure you’re not really sympathizing with Glenn here, but rather you’re secretly justifying some dark unrepented sin of your own. Or so it goes.

  4. I take it he considers Seven Day adventists to be liberals. The Church of Christ life and advent also presumably are a liberal denomination. I laughed at how when he cited a series of scripture I pointed out none of them taught “original guilt” he said I had to prove it was not there…

    Apparently the default position is to assert X says Y, put a quote that does not mention Y and the burden of proof is on those who say otherwise.

    Its a real case of I have read these texts through a reformed tradition, therefore I will not even consider any alternative reading at all. Quite sad really.

  5. Exactly Matt – the same people who are called “liberals” are also called heretics. But heretics don’t take a lax attitude to biblical authority at all! Nor, for that matter, do they tend to believe less in the supernatural.

    It’s just a confused type of “fire all your attacks at once” approach. For some reason it’s just impossible for them to say that I am a conservative Christian who does not agree with them.

  6. Yeah why not say Glenn has some unorthodox views on hell, on everything else he is orthodox and I think he does not affirm full verbal plenary inerrancy.

    I’d love to see this clown actually justify his position on hell from scripture.

  7. That would require him to stop swinging his Bible (assuming he has one) around on a chain while he beats his chest and actually read it. I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

  8. Glenn it seems to me he is swinging the Westminster Catechism proof texts around. I respect the confession but have more respect for the scholars behind it who studied the scriptures carefully and attempted to get there doctrine from there; Consider his challenge to me that the scriptures he cited did not prove original guilt. The implict assumption is that the Augustinian reading ( which in fact was based on the vulgate) is the default one and can be assumed.

    It’s actually quite difficult to find the obvious and clear reference to original guilt in the passages he cites, one in fact prima facie says that sin is not imputed to people who don’t consciously disobey a command though they still face mortality.

  9. On the matter of your post vanishing three times — Mr Hayes *could* be innocent (or may not be). The same thing happens to me sometimes (that is, I comment I’ve successfully posted just vanishes) … ON MY OWN BLOG.

  10. The zeal to find warts on other theologians and to get alarmed about them is typical of certain sort of American scholastic Calvinists. That calvinism, it’s just another name for the gospel after all.

  11. Ilion, yeah, blogger’s not supposed to do that, and it happened three times on the same subject so I was wary, but I left the door open – maybe it was just an incredible coincidence and a malfunction that happened every time.

  12. Matt, that would be a long list of so-called “liberals.” It would include all the names you list, plus:

    Douglas Hare, evangelical and author of Mark, Westminster Bible Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996)

    Michael Green, very well known evangelical and author of many popular evangelical books including Evangelism in the Early Church

    Philip Edgecumbe Hughes, evangelical and author of a number of works including The True Image (republished by Wipf and Stock, 2001)

    F. F. Bruce, Evangelical who wrote a very positive foreword in Edward Fudge’s The Fire that Consumes.

    Samuel Richardson, evangelical, author, and Pastor of the First Particular (i.e. Calvinist) Baptist church in London in the 17th century.

    Richard Whately, evangelical and Archbishop of Dublin in the 19th century.

    Edward White, evangelical and author of numerous Christian books and tracts in the 19th century.

    Henry Constable, evangelical and Canon of Cork in Ireland in the 19th century, author of The nature and Duration of Future Punishment.

    Richard F. Weymouth, evangelical and principle translator of The New Testament in Modern Speech in the 19/20th century.

    William Temple, evangelical and Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 20th Century.

    Morna Hooker, evangelical and author of The Gospel According to St Mark, Black’s New Testament Commentaries (London: A & C Black, 1991)

    Stephen Travis, evangelical and author of I Believe in the Second Coming of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 198.

    Dale Moody, evangelical and professor of theology 1948-1984 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

    That’ll do for now, but yeah Matt, clearly I’m in liberal company!

  13. Supposing that the first post somehow got removed by the spam filter, could it be that the filter automatically removes all subsequent comments by the same sender after that?

    Be that as it may, Hays seems unreasonable here with some of his accusations.

  14. Oh, now I checked the thread and saw that some of Glenn’s comments got through after others had been deleted. So perhaps my hypothesis doesn’t explain the situation well.

  15. Is being labelled a liberal the worst insult someone can throw at a conservative Christian such as Glenno? Why?

  16. Although one might still wonder if the spam filter picks up comments that are identical to those already filtered out, so perhaps that would explain it. (Sorry for posting 2 short comments on the same subject rather than combining them.)

  17. Just a broader comment on church unity (church being people not organisations), or lack of it in too many cases. Chapter 6 of Frank Viola’s ‘Reimagining Church’ covers this in some detail. Not only has the body of Christ been splintered since its first years through the cult of personalities, but also along doctrinal lines, especially since the Reformation.

    There is a key point he makes. If a person is truly ‘in Christ’ the fruits of the Holy Spirit will be evident as they grow in spiritual maturity. I, then, have no choice but to love and accept this person as a brother or sister and bear with their faults and failings, as I would hope they would bear with mine. But I can only do this with surety through personal connection and relationship.

    My point is that this is our calling as believers – to love one another as Christ loved the church. Consequently, declaring someone who you have never met, let alone spent time fellowshipping with, a false teacher/non-believer/liar is utterly carnal and out of step with the Spirit. It is all to easy (and common) to make such statements on blogs where the doctrinal high ground is taken and anyone who fails a single test is condemned to hell (destruction). The tragedy is that the body of Christ fails time and again to exhibit genuine unity ie lives totally surrendered to Jesus, although true unity is made all the more difficult to develop because of traditional church structures and internet exchanges such as you have been engaged in Glenn.

  18. Richard, having seen more of Steve’s attrocious online behaviour, no – it’s clear to me that he is the sort of character whose assessments of me just don’t matter.

  19. Now do you have at least some sympathy towards us atheists who are picked on by the religious people in power? It happens all the time in contemporary society and it is awful for us.

  20. Richard P, my experience is that the kind of response Glenn got for questioning the traditional understanding of hell on conservative evangelical grounds is rather tame compared to the response one gets in a secular university if they say question orthodox liberal views on the permissibility of homosexual conduct or abortion,

    and particularly if this is done on so called secular grounds, i.e by pointing out the arguments they offer are illogical.

    Try this some time and you’ll see vitrol of a much much much worse order than Steve Hays.

  21. Ricko, no I’m sure there are plenty worse things I could be called. When Steve called me a liar for example.

    Actually, to be a “liberal” (whether of politics or religion) as that word is used the days in contrast to its original meaning, includes to be a liar. Worse than a liar, actually, for the heart of present-day “liberal” attitudes is a certain casualness with the very concept of truth; which is to say, intellectual dishonesty.

  22. Richard, having seen more of Steve’s attrocious online behaviour, no – it’s clear to me that he is the sort of character whose assessments of me just don’t matter.

    I’d generally thought of him as being the more temperate of his lot (though, for a long time, I’ve also not bothered with reading anything any of them has written). But yes, I’d not worry too much about his assessment of your character.

  23. Matt, I will to raise those points sometime this year. I’m about to start my masters in bioethics so I should get the chance. Any particular approach you suggest I should take?

  24. As of Steve’s post-between you and Counsin Itt. Sorry, I mistakenly used ‘or’ instead of ‘and’ in post 35. See Steve’s blog for more details.

    And that is physical similarities. I’m not sure about the rest of you.

  25. What is it with hard-line Calvinist apologists? I recall a very amusing interaction between J.P. Holding and James White. The latter responded to an article of the former’s on interpreting a particular Scripture passage in light of a certain literary construction in ancient Semitic literature… White proceeded to be completely ignorant of the relevant scholarship, instead focusing on calling Holding a “false teacher” and complaining when Holding gave as good as he got.

    But, of course, Holding isn’t a Calvinist and that’s as good as a heathen, if not worse. After all, you get into heaven by faith in Christ and only faith in Christ, as long as it’s Calvinist faith. (Relevant paraphrase from one hard-line Calvinist church I stopped attending eventually: “Sure, Catholics can get into heaven. After all, they might not stay Catholic, you know.”)

  26. CPE – I also find that people – with all due respect – can be a little blind to when people on their theological “side” do the same. I won’t go into details, but the other apologist you mentioned has a certain reputation in regard to this kind of thing – to the point of dragging up people’s marital failures and professional disappointments to deride them with.

    It’s bad no matter who does it. I’ve seen Calvinists do it, and because I’m something of a Calvinist I have also seen venomous and revolting vitriol pour forth from open theists and Arminians too. I’ve seen Protestants do it, and as a protestant on the receiving end I’ve seen horrible stuff from Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers. It’s not pretty whoever does it, and I wouldn’t use it as an opportunity to point our how nasty the “other side” are.

  27. A good point; any notably popular character can’t help but be surrounded by yes-men who uncritically emulate the behavior they see. Like Hays’ blog community as you pointed out; there are certainly plenty who take after the apologist I mentioned. Best I can tell, it’s one of many aspects of human sociality that the wise keep a careful eye on.

    Holding is indeed a tough cookie, and I certainly lack the moral certainty to categorically state I agree with his methods wholeheartedly, to say nothing of emulating them. However, I think drawing an analogy here runs the risk of somewhat of an overextended comparison – it seems to me that, say, calling someone a liar based on literally zero evidence is not exactly in the same category as, say, bringing up moral failings someone has been and continues to be unapologetic about in order to counter a bold and arrogant claim of moral superiority?

    Granted, I don’t know what specifically you’re referring to, and I’ve been out of that particular loop for a while. But I’ll try not to be too cocky.

  28. PS – Steve intially claimed that my three posts were deleted by the spam filter “automatically” and that I should stop being so “ignorant and paranoid.” However, he uses blogger. When I posted those comments, all of them made it through the spam filter and appeared on his blog. I checked each time by visiting the blog again. Then minutes later, they had disappeared after being visible on the blog for a short time. I have used blogger and I know others who use it now. I know that this is not how blogger’s spam filter works. If a comment is picked up by the filter as spam, it does not appear at the blog. It can later be moved tot he spam folder, but this requires manual action by an admin. I make no comment on why Steve made this claim about why my comment vanished three separate times. Make of it what you will.

    G’day Glenn! This is only in passing but I’ve had problems with Blogger in the past posting comments, first appearing then disappearing etc, as you have had. Oddly enough, yes it does seem comments do appear but then disappear — from my experience. I don’t believe it’s possible for an administrator to mark the comment in Blogger as spam after it’s already been posted — though it is possible on other weblog publishing services. If you search Google’s Blogger Help Groups about this there are many others who have had the same complaint. But it’s a ‘known issue’ for Blogger that’s still unresolved — as far as I’m aware. You can find out more here, however. I hope it’s of some help to you.

  29. Richard trust me I have had lots of experience. I did my PhD on abortion.

    But in other areas, I had an aquantiance who was a legal scholar he argued that a court case banning ID was mistaken in law. He nearly lost tenure and was subjected to vitrolic attack from the secular esthablishment.

    Anthony Flew got attacked as senile when he changed from atheist to deist.

    The kind of “nastiness” you refer to is hardly a “religious” phenomena. I suspect anytime an orthodoxy which is in a position of power is under threat some of the defenders of that orthodoxy will get nasty. It doesn’t matter whether its religious or secular, fundamentalist or liberal.

  30. Agreed. I had never heard of Steve Hays. I googled his name, and found him making up revolting tales about visitors to his blog assisting in the rape of children. What an evil twisted piece of work!

    Christians have better things to do with their time than worry about what creeps like that have to say.

  31. I’m surprised that anyone is surprised by what this Mr Hays character says.

    I had never heard of him before, but after seeing this blog and also M and M’s, I visited Steve’s blog and did some looking. Oh my goodness! What an unchristian, sleazy, bitter, reactive, nasty and ugly piece of work he is! It’s as though you can be a malicious, slanderous and otherwise unbiblical in your conduct as you like and that’s fine, but if you dare differ on original sin – no, if you dare differ on how important original sin is, you’re not a Christian! The more I read from him the more physically ill I felt. It’s like he thinks there’s no such thing as sin, just as long as you’re doing it in defence of his cause (and I’m not even sure what his cause is).

    I’m sorry, but a Christian is known by his fruit.

    If this guy is a Christian, I think most Christians would happily be known by some other name. He and his blogmates wouldn’t know Christian conduct if if smacked them in the face!

  32. On the other hand, a lot of the “nice” people faulting or comdemning the Tribloggers as “unChristian” would also fault Christ for being so “judgmental.”

  33. The question that Christians care about is not whether Mr Hays is “nice,” but rather whether his criticism directed at Mr Peoples (and likewise in the other direction) is intellectually honest.

    The people who want to make it about “tone” or “civility” or “niceness” (or some other such touchy-feely falderal) tend to be very uncivil and unnice when pressed. Such people tend to not be honest-in-the-small-things, much less intellectually honest.

  34. Because Christ accused people of lying and slandered them with stories of assisting in child molestation?

  35. Illion, this seems to be a bit of a precious subject for you – “niceness.” In the past when I have observed people ignoring the biblical concern for acting with integrity, charity and peace, you blow it off as “niceness.” As you portray it, you’re the hard liner for truth even when it hurts, and others are all about love and pixie dust. The trouble is, nobody is talking about mere “niceness.”

    A specific accusation of lying without evidence is slander. Niceness isn’t the issue. Sin is the issue. Of course, slander isn’t nice. But neither is it right.

    Insinuating that somebody approves of raping children is a sin. Nice isn’t the question. Defamation isn’t nice, of course. And it’s wrong too.

    I know that you like the feeling of taking a high ground from time to time by implying that I’m a softie who always demands that everyone is a nice sweetie all the time, but it won’t fly. That’s not the issue that people are concerned about, as much as you like to portray them that way. Notice how people are judging sins here? Pointing out erroneous conduct and condemning it? Nice or not, it’s the right thing to do.

  36. I am not a Christian (though am on the road to being persuaded of it) so I can safely say, without fear of being threatened with excommunication, this guy Steve sounds like an absolute numpty, by everything he’s written.

  37. I’m very sorry for the I’ll treatment you’ve received over at Triablogue. I avoid commenting there precisely because of the nastiness on the part of Steve and regular commenters. Having said this, the team there have done a great service to Christianity by refuting the nonsense of anti-theism, particularly the antics of Hector Avalos and John Loftus.

    I have a strong sense that these vitriolic atheists are responsible for corroding the humility that Hays’ and Co. Once possessed.

  38. I’m going to bring this thread to a close here. The purpose was to illustrate in vivid colour the type of ugliness within small pockets of some brands of evangelicalism (although I don’t really think it deserves the name). I doubt whether much more good will come from keeping the discussion going.

    Thanks for your comments, all!

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