Are We Attacking Individuals When We Point Out False Doctrine?

This post is another offshoot of the conversation I had with Dr. Larry Dixon, a professor at CIU, in May of last year. Normally, I wouldn’t keep posting articles about the discussion (since I already posted the whole thing on this blog), but my post today isn’t really about anything that was said in the conversation that I posted. It’s about something that was said afterwards — actually, a lot of somethings — by another person.       

After the dialogue between myself and Dr. Dixon had pretty much ended, a Catholic individual jumped on the thread. Here’s what she had to say[1]

As far as Annsley, I do not think I would take it all so seriously. I read another post of hers where she quotes St. Augustine! I mean really? Just one of the greatest Catholic Saints that ever lived.

Dr. Dixon, abortion is something the Catholic Church holds as pure evil. Abortion is an abomination in the eyes of God. It is something many of us have fought Catholics and Protestants alike.

We here in Texas had an abortion clinic not many miles away from us, which there has now been a movie made about where Catholics stood in front of for days, months, and years and prayed. Those from my Church also. They also tried to help those who were going into the clinic. As shown in the movie, the clinic is now closed thank you God.

Abortion is not about our theology, it is evil and is killing millions of babies. The more of us who stand together against it, and stand together in prayer against it, together, the better chance by the grace of God, we have of doing away with it.

The things Annsley has said about us are hurtful and very untrue. Which I could battle all day long but will not, as I do not think the intention of this post was about that! Catholics love God in a way very few understand, and are under persecution such as Annsley’s, daily.

I thank you, even though I am a Catholic and will always be one, I thank you for the desire to try and stop this. The more of us who stand together against abortion, the more babies we are hopefully going to save.

This is not about “us” and our Churches. This is about an innocent baby getting sucked out of a womb, by the hands of hell. How one can see it as anything else is beyond me?

Again I thank you, for God does not love any of us above the other. Not even Annsley. God Bless, SR

I’ve addressed her statement that “Abortion is not about our theology” in my last post, so I won’t really go into that at this time. My main goal is to look at the overall theme of her comment as it is shown in several different places, then see if her claims are really justified.

Again, I’m not going through this comment to be nitpicky or to defend myself. My only desire in doing this is to point out faulty arguments so that we can see the issue more clearly.  With that said, let’s take a look at the sections of this comment that seem to indicate why SR[2] wrote it to begin with:

“The things Annsley has said about us are hurtful and very untrue”.

“Catholics…are under persecution such as Annsley’s, daily.”

From these remarks, it seems that SR felt that I was attacking Catholics. That educated guess is turned into a sure thing when you take a look at this excerpt from her second comment on the thread:

“We discuss our (belief) differences as well, but not to the point of such an attack as Annsley has done. I as well have Protestants follow my blog and discussions are held there, but never (again) to the point of such attack. I would never allow it on my blog on either side.”

So, here’s the issue I wish to bring into clearer light: Was I attacking SR or any other Catholic individual when I said that Catholicism is a false religion?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Here’s why.

Pointing out false doctrine is not an attack on the individuals who believe it. It is simply obedience to Scriptural commands to test each spirit to see if it is of God (who is the Truth), and to keep others from being led away into error. I was not persecuting SR or any other Catholic by saying that Catholicism is wrong, no more than she was persecuting me when she said that Christianity is wrong. (The only difference here is that one of us is right.)

I believe that part of this problem that people seem to have of taking everything as a personal attack comes from the attitude of this world today. In a society where not baking a cake for someone is considered a hate crime and can even be taken all the way to the Supreme Court, why should we be surprised that every disagreement or correction is seen as a hate crime against the individual?

And as I said before, if SR didn’t like what I said about Catholicism, what gives her the right to launch personal attacks against me? In that conversation, I never said anything about any individual Catholic, much less SR specifically, who I didn’t even know existed until after I posted the initial conversation on my blog. But instead of giving a reasoned response, the first thing she wrote to Dr. Dixon was to not take me seriously![3] Did you notice how she ended the comment?

“Again I thank you, for God does not love any of us above the other. Not even Annsley.”

Um…I never said God loved me more than anyone else. (I do believe that God loves believers and hates unbelievers—Psalm 5:5—but that’s another post.) I never even implied that. The only difference between me and the atheist (or Catholic) is the grace of God.

If you do a quick search through the Bible, you’ll find plenty of instances in which Jesus pointed out the wrong beliefs of others. There is nothing unbiblical about it, nor is it some kind of persecution. Christ, God Incarnate and perfect in His humanity as well as His divinity, could not be involved in something sinful! Yet you find examples such as Matthew 23, where Jesus says things like;

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:23-28

How would you like to be on the receiving end of that? And that’s only a few verses of the chapter!

When someone rightly points out false doctrine, it is not an attack on the individual who believes that false doctrine. It is to be a defense of the truth against falsehood, not a battle between human beings. It is not persecution. Persecution is someone burning your house down on top of you, or ruining your life or killing you for translating the Scriptures into the common language , not a nasty comment or dislike on your social media post.

Truth is not negotiable. We should never be cruel or obnoxious when sharing the truth that is found in Scripture, but we still are obligated to share it. As Dr. Voddie Baucham has said, “You have the right to be wrong,” but if it is at all possible, we should not let people plunge into error without warning them, especially when their souls are at stake.

SDG <><


[1] I would apologize for the grammatical errors, but this is her comment, not mine. You can read all of her comments here on Dr. Dixon’s blog.

[2] I’ll have to stick with calling her SR because I couldn’t find her real name on her blog.

[3] Then she wrongly stated that I quoted Augustine.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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