In response to my post on anger management, an anonymous commenter has posted some quotes from Mt 5:22, Jn 13:34-35, 1 Cor 13:1-8, Col 3:8, 12-14, 2 Pet 1:5-9, and 1 Jn 4:20-21. There are several problems with this move:
1.As I said recently, if you want to see how the principles of Jesus or the apostles apply in general, then the obvious way of answering that question is to see how they themselves apply their principles in different settings.
What do they mean by “love, “gentleness,” and “respect”? If you want to see how they understood the scope of their own principles, then you need to see how they put their principles into practice.
How did they actually speak about their opponents? How did they actually treat their opponents? Watch them in action.
That’s my harmonistic principle. That’s a frame of reference I use for interpreting one set of passages in relation to another.
By contrast, the anonymous commenter simply opposes one set of passages to another. Of course, that proves nothing one way or the other.
2.Apropos (1), I regard inspired Biblical discourse as a model of Christian discourse. I don’t assume that Scripture teaches a two-tiered morality: one for apostles, prophets, and Bible writers, but another for garden-variety Christians like you and me.
Scripture doesn’t use the same language for everyone. It uses different types of language for different types of people, calibrated to their level of culpability.
3.Apropos (2), Scripture uses harsh language for false teachers. False teachers profess to be true believers. But their pious claims don’t insulate them from harsh criticism.
4.However, the most striking feature of this debate is the inversion of values we see on display. Remember the context: we’re talking about a blogger who supports a candidate who supports mass murder. If you support someone who supports mass murder, then you support mass murder. It’s not as if he has no alternative.
Now we have folks quoting Biblical injunctions about love and kindness and all that good stuff. And how are these being applied? Are they being applied to the fate of infants? Are folks quoting these passages to prove that we ought to show more love to infants by opposing those who support their mass murder?
Wouldn’t that be the logical application of these passages to the case in hand? In defense of babies, born and unborn?
But, instead, we see these passages cited in defense of those who support mass murder. Who is telling Reppert, “Victor, you should show your love for babies by opposing a man who supports the mass murder of babies. Victor, you’re being unkind to the victims of abortion and infanticide by plugging a candidate who supports the mass murder of infants”?
No, it’s all about how Reppert is being wronged, and not how he’s wronging the future victims of the candidate he’s plugging. He’s the injured party, not the baby in the dumpster.
These people have a lot to answer for. The moral inversion is almost surreal. It’s like walking into the living room of Ted Bundy while he’s in the process of murdering his latest victim and telling her that she ought to be nicer to Ted. Can’t we all sit down and have a civilized little chat with Ted Bundy about the pros and cons of serial murder?