I have noticed a tendency for people to fall into one of two categories: the terrifying truth-tellers, and the compassionate compromisers. The terrifying truth-tellers are ready at a moment’s notice to call out heresy or unbiblical beliefs wherever they are found, but often create division over secondary matters, or become so obnoxious that the aroma of Christ is polluted by the stench of pride. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the compassionate compromisers are committed to being loving and gentle, but often at the cost of silence regarding matters of life and death. They merely fluff the pillows in the coffin, as people march oblivious towards destruction. How in the world can we reconcile these two extremes? What does a more balanced approach look like?

When we think of an “enemy,” we often think of people that are desiring to harm us. However, the harm may not be limited to physical harm. In our highly polarized world, the battle of ideas can be just as violent, though the damage is not as obvious. When Christ said to “love our enemies,” he didn’t just mean our physical enemies, but our ideological enemies as well. Loving our ideological enemies doesn’t mean we roll over and allow dangerous ideas to go unchallenged. On the contrary, Karen Swallow Prior argues that engaging in ideological discourse is much like inviting guests into our homes. We do not allow them to control or destroy our homes as they please. On the contrary, we make it a hospitable environment through a welcoming attitude, and clear boundaries. Our idealogical home should be the same.

Join us as we discuss what it means to exercise hospitable orthodoxy!

Exude the aroma of Christ, not the stench of pride. Click To Tweet

People and resources mentioned:

Karen Swallow Prior – Jane Eyre and Our Age of Authenticity
Karen Swallow Prior – How to Love Your Ideological Enemy
Karen Swallow Prior – Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

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Unfamiliar vocab:

Ideological enemy: Someone who disagrees with you on what seem like the deepest issues of life. 

Echo chamber: Your audience when you limit it to all the people who agree with you and affirm everything you say.

Orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy: ortho means straight, right or correct – hetero means different or other – doxa means common belief or popular opinion. Heterodoxy includes heretical beliefs that differ with the essentials of the faith. Orthodoxy includes the essentials of the faith as well as nonessential beliefs where Christians can differ without being heterodox (or heretical).

Quotable quotes:

“Behind so much of our inability to love our neighbor, and love our ideological enemy, is fear. … Perfect love casts out fear. We cannot love someone if we are afraid of them.” – Rebekah Valerius

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

God’s law… “is a typical example of one of those limitations that did in fact preserve and perpetuate enlargement, like a wall built round a wide open space.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

“We, as members of the house of God, bear some responsibility for protecting the doctrinal boundaries of faith and also inviting others into that well-defined place.” – Karen Swallow Prior

“Even the Proverbs themselves use the secular wisdom of its day. That’s incorporated in our own Scripture. It is not as if only we have wisdom. God can actually use nonbelievers to rebuke us and show us things we can’t see from our vantage point.” – Rebekah Valerius

Why we approach people in this way is that “we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. We want to escape the illusions of perspective on higher levels. We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as our own… I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.” – C.S. Lewis

“…must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting opponents with gentleness…” 2 Timothy 2:24-25

“…to be orthodox means not changing doctrine but being changed by it.” – Karen Swallow Prior

“ ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ ” – Matthew 22:36-40

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