To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NIV)
In America, some speech is unwelcome. Things turned violent in early February at the University of California at Berkley. Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to address some students interested in hearing his political views. In a show of displeasure, students opposed to Mr. Yiannopoulos’ position on the issues, set fires and smashed windows while U.C.-Berkley police passively watched. Dare we say the talk was cancelled. Days later, the demonstrators pronounced the Anti-Milo protest “stunningly successful”.
On other campuses, such as Vermont’s Middlebury College, disruptions have become more violent. A professor was treated for a neck injury after helping a libertarian political commentator escape the student mob. Preventing the airing of opposing political views has become the newest student cause celebre. Censorship is not just coming from students. A professor at Marquette University last year was placed under review and relieved of all faculty and teaching duties for publicly supporting a student’s right to defend traditional marriage. Marquette, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a Jesuit Catholic institution.
Protests to throttle free speech, unleash diatribe and overturn elections have taken to the streets. The anti-hate crowd is acting very hateful. Disagree with one of their orthodoxies, and you are automatically branded a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc., etc. Does anyone think this bodes well for our future as a democracy? What are they angry about? Why do some feel obligated to prevent free speech? Why the fear of words?
My concerns for this country, and its liberties, are not mine alone. The concerns don’t end there. Of all places, differing views on Scripture are not usually welcomed in the church. Instead, most pastors practice the “binary solution”: My way or the High-way.
Since not all concepts are equally valid, a balance is required. Being heard is one thing, and being persuasive is another. The Areopagus in Athens was a gathering place for diverse opinions and philosophies. Paul spoke there (Acts 17:22-34). He did a masterful job of connecting popular beliefs (ex. “the unknown god”) to Christian faith. When he finished, some wanted to hear more.
Paul found common ground then, from it, he built a case for the gospel. Today rabble-rousers purposely cause a media spectacle and take over a meeting. They shout down the headline speakers and black-ball from their assemblies anyone with whom they do not fully agree.
The last days’ doctrine of The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church (PWR) is an example of a Christian controversy. PWR wins over Biblical-minded Christians when given the opportunity to be fairly presented to objective minds. I am a witness. So what are we afraid of? Why not freely debate the Scriptures so we can come to unity in the faith?
As with left-wing radicals, the popular Pre-tribulation Rapture (PTR) (the imminent or any moment Jesus can return) crowd, has little interest in sharing the floor, the megaphone or the mic. They seek a monopoly on the discussion of prophetic doctrine (eschatology) rather than revealing truth. PTR loyalists often portray PWR in a false light unfairly characterizing the position. (Sounds like today’s politics, doesn’t it?)
What are the PTR faithful afraid of? We know why some feel PWR arguments must be silenced: If they are allowed to be spoken in truth and in love, they demolish strongholds of ignorance and fear.