Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dialoguing with the Emerging Church Movement, Part 3

When debating and contending, it is helpful to keep in mind the sagacious counsel of the great hymn-writer, John Newton, who wrote:

As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. . . . [If he is a believer,] in a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts. . . . [If he is an unconverted person,] he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! "He knows not what he does." But you know who has made you to differ.

"On Controversy," [Letter XIX], vol. 1 of The Works of the Rev. John Newton, p. 269.