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You can't always say everything...
Jollyblogger recently commented on a speech made by John Ashcroft in a way that offended one of our common teacher's proverbial wisdom: You can't always say everything when you say something because you'll always be saying something else. I may be slightly misquoting Richard Pratt's proverb, but it is close.
I take this as an exhortation to resist criticism without listening to the whole of what someone says or to at least look for a pattern. In some ways I am suprised that the Jollyblogger would so lightly post this kind of criticism, but I suppose he is giving way to a chief Reformed sin. In some ways, the failings of a Reformed person identify them as reformed as much as the theology they hold. I know that I am in by them.
With respect to the specific criticism, I will defend Ashcroft by saying that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to follow him as he followed Christ. Jesus himself used himself as an example of service. Certainly Christ thought himself more than a mere example, but he does not shrink from offering himself as an example.
In a sense, I do agree with Jollyblogger that Christ too often becomes the poster boy for this or that movement. However, again, is not one of the ends of Christ himself to unite us to him and the Father in a way for which we were made. Christ does inspire and indeed accomplish the highest and best in and out of man. I think we would do well to approach this sort of subject by finding common ground with our brother and leading the way to a richer theological and biblical understanding by extending what has been said in a more biblical direction rather than stopping sort with criticism.
I can't say that the policies of Ashcroft are my favorite or that our theology would line up point for point, but he is a brother in Christ honestly trying to living out his faith. The church would be in much better health if those so passionate about living out the gospel and those so passionate about thinking out the gospel would love each other and resist the temptation to judge because of different functions in the body.