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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Edifier du JourActs 4:33-42(NASB)-[The Jewish leaders were responding to continued Christian preaching in defiance of orders to stop]
33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." 40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Gamaliel's advice is good for modern believers; before you go overboard bashing a new branch of Christianity, see if God is working through the new branch. Over the months of blogging, I've seen traditionalist Catholics blast more progressive ones and only give the hope of invincible ignorance for the poor Protestants, with the Johnpaulists returning fire at the "Lidless Eye" crowd. I've seen traditional evangelicals bash post-moderns and see the PoMos return fire. I've seen hard-core Fundamentalists bashing pretty much everyone else. Before you bash away, firm in your belief that you're right and everyone else is shades of wrong, check to see if God is using the groups you're blasting. If God's not using them, they'll generally wither away (granted, there are exceptions like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) and vanish from the scene; if He's using them, it might be that either they're not as wrong as they seem or that God has a greater tolerance for differences in biblical interpretation than you do.

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