Friday, Sept. 9 Bold and Blunt
The defenders of the faith were bold, blunt, and offensive. They needed to be—well, maybe not offensive. The issues were crucial, not only for that time, but for the centuries to come. Men like Polycarp knew that and did not hesitate to call a heretic a heretic. Some of the false teachers were sincere and some were not. We have examples of that in New Testament writings. Paul makes a distinction between men who were seeking truth as against those who deliberately led people astray. He used some fairly strong language in Galatians 1:6-9, calling down a curse on them—not once, but twice. On the other hand, he had a totally different approach with Peter. He rebuked him face to face and told him that he was “a Jew living like a Gentile.” Fairly strong language, too, but not a cursing as in Gal. 1. Jesus made the same kind of distinctions. The Sanhedrin and most of the Pharisees were in one camp, harshly rebuked, and called the children of the Devil. Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and others were treated quite differently. Early scholars followed the same patterns that Jesus and Paul followed earlier. Their hearts were right, their goals were right and the results were right.