Everybody Has Reasons

I’d like to pick up on something I wrote yesterday:

Let’s set aside the alphabet and talk real life. I doubt that many men in fundamentalist circles will stop having any of the good men who have spoken for or along side of Jack Schaap in to speak for them. They will ignore this or explain it away. They will say that these men have good reasons for what they are doing. They will minimize the theological and ministerial aberrations in Hammond. I disagree with them vehemently about this, but at the end of the day, they are making a judgment call based on what they believe to be true about the text of Scripture and the people involved.

I want to be clear that these words are not really intended to be an indictment of anybody. They are simply an explanation of the way things work. Let me demonstrate my keen mastery of the obvious: In matters of judgment, people almost always have reasons for why they do or don’t do something. I don’t have fellowship with someone for reasons and they do for reasons. Everybody has reasons.

To say, then, that someone has reasons constitutes no justification for an action at all. Are the reasons good or bad, that’s the real question. But that question isn’t as simply answered as it is sometimes alleged. In matters of judgment, there are usually a lot of interlocking variables that are factored into any particular decision. That’s why there is so much biblical emphasis on discernment (e.g., Eph 5:10; Phil 1:9-11; Heb 5:11-14).

Here’s another statement of the obvious: Our friend’s reasons tend make more sense or be more tolerable to us than other people’s reasons. Some of that may be rooted in willful blindness, but most of it is probably rooted in trust that has been developed over time. That’s not bad. It does, though, result in some odd responses at times. And it does often result in an uneven playing field.

For instance, when well-known fundamentalists make a questionable decision, it is sometimes explained with reasons like: (1) personal friendships with the hosts; (2) assurances that the hosts do not agree with the stranger views of the other speakers; (3) explanations that while those guys do hold some strange views, they really love souls (or have some other commendable trait); (4) in spite of their errant views, we think we can help that circle move toward a more biblical position; and/or (5) lack of knowledge regarding who all was involved in the event.

Yet, when some “non-fundamentalist” speaks alongside a person with questionable theology or ministry practices, he might offer the exact same kind of explanations and be soundly rebuked for (in corresponding order): (1) putting friendship ahead of the truth; (2) failing to realize the confusion that platform fellowship creates; (3) exalting man above God; (4) embracing an end justifies the means mindset; and/or (5) being careless about his ministry and with the Truth.

To accept the explanations of the one while condemning the other is very questionable. Most of us can understand rejecting them both or accepting them both, but not an approach where special interests seem to be in control. The fact that two standards are applied suggests, at least to me, that the controlling factor is not biblical principle, but what label a man already has affixed to him. If he has the right label, his reasons are acceptable. If not, fat chance of that happening.


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