The Tentative Apologist
4/14/09 at 09:24 PM 1 Comments

Am I a servant of the devil?

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Apparently one of my blogs defending The Shack has prompted the charge on another website that I am an "unwitting servant of the devil". I suppose I should take some solace in the "unwitting" part (unwitting, adj: inadvertent, unintentional). At least the critic is not charging me with a faustian pact with the devil. (Now that would be a dramatic charge for a baptistic evangelical theologian!)

To be honest, being called an unwitting servant of the devil is not that shocking for me. In fact I am actually an unwitting servant of the devil on a fairly regular basis. (Bet you didn't see that one coming.)

I become a servant of the underworld when I opt for lies or baloney instead of the truth unvarnished.

(AIDS is God's judgment on the gays. Oh, and Hurricane Katrina is God's judgment on New Orleans.)

I become an unwitting servant of the devil when I would prefer to form an immediate opinion rather than take the time to investigate the evidence (especially when that opinion concerns a delicious rumor about someone else's character).

(Did you know that Michael W. Smith is backsliding?! My friend read about it on the internet. Oh yeah, and Wm. Paul Young is a universalist. He read that too.)

I serve the devil when I repeat a story that looks suspiciously like an urban legend but which I don't bother to investigate because, well, it is so inspiring that it just has to be true.

(Did you hear about the missionary who returned to report at his home church in Michigan? He told them that he had been traveling through the jungle in Africa alone when a young man came up to him and said "I was with some friends last night. We were planning to rob you but we backed off when we saw that there were 26 men surrounding you." The missionary was amazed, for he had been alone all night. At that moment a man in the congregation stood up and asked the missionary the date on which this deliverance had occurred. Miraculously, it was the same day on which 26 men in the congregation had gathered to pray for the missionary! Hallelujah!)

I serve the devil when I remain locked in childish binary oppositions instead of the complexity and nuance of real life.

(Muslims are aiming to take over the world. They want to impose their beliefs on everyone. Barack Obama is a Muslim you know. Or maybe he's the antichrist. Or both!)

Truth be known, none of the specific examples I have provided are my own. I haven't told others that Michael W. Smith is backsliding or that Muslims are trying to take over the world.

So why didn't I provide examples of my own failures? Two basic reasons. First, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to my own character. I think I am a paragon of virtue and truth-seeking when often I am not. It is easier to pick out the absurdities in others than myself.

Second, it is also much more satisfying to identify the shortcomings of others. But be assured that if I had the diligence and bravery, I could quickly amass an even more impressive list of my own shortcomings than the one provided here.

Perhaps then, I better end by thanking my fellow blogger for the reminder. Perhaps we should all thank him. As Paul put it, in truth as in all else, "test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?"

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