2008April14, Monday

Personal Contact Required?

Posted in My Life, Theology at 13:09 by Trey Austin

Fourth, i have been accused of violating the requirements of Matthew 18 if indeed i desired to critique my brother. Peter Pike (though he has retracted his claim, somewhat) said that Paul went to Peter personally as he indicated in Galatians. A couple of things should be said here. Firstly, i am critiquing a public figure for public action. That in and of itself shows that i am not required to go privately (which seemed to be the implication of the word “personally” that Pike used) to a person in order to critique him. Secondly, as i read Paul’s account in Galatians of his confrontation of Peter, it doesn’t seem to me that he took Peter off to the side and whispered his concern in his ear. The general tenor of what Paul said seems to have been that when Paul saw Peter acting in a way that undermined the Gospel (Note: i don’t believe that White is acting in a way that undermines the Gospel, necessarily), he opposed him “to his face,” going so far as to say (Gal. 2:14, ESV), “But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'” It seems that Paul made a point of making his rebuke public, precisely because the actions of such a prominent man in Christ’s Church were leading good men astray (Note: i do believe that White’s actions are leading good men astray). So, such a criticism of me, i believe, is unfounded. But even if that were required, the same thing was accomplished anyway, since Dr. White was the first to read and respond to my post.

What seems inconsistent to me, though, is that the claim still stood even while Dr. White railed against me on his internet radio program. So, somehow, i was wrong to criticize his own actions in public (which, i don’t think i was), but he was right to deride me and hold me out to scorn (something i never did on my short post last week). That just doesn’t compute. Anyone who thinks that is perfectly consistent shows that he simply is given to agreement with a person because of predisposition, and not because he’s an objective judge of facts.

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