The current cultural disposition toward polemical apologetics is rather disturbing, seeing as Scripture calls Christians to contend for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints (cf. Jude 3). Of course Jude is not commanding the church to be condescending, or verbally and spiritually abusive toward unbelievers and heretics. However, the language he uses indicates that the believer is in a war against unbelievers and heretics. This is a point that the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen shows from Scripture in his lecture “At War With the Word: The Necessity of Biblical Antithesis.“
Dr. Bahnsen explains that
A correct view of man, his historical setting problem, and God’s resultant relationship to man is tied up with the Biblical presentation of man’s Fall and God’s response to it. […] [God] said that He “will put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, – between the children of God…and the children of the devil (cf. John 8:44)…
The opposition and antithesis between followers of God and followers of Satan is not simply predicted by God and is not simply commanded; it is sovereignly inflicted as God’s judicial curse…Were that antithesis disregarded, diluted or dispelled, the very meaning of the gospel of salvation would be lost…
The entire Biblical message of redemption and the historical establishing of God’s kingdom both presuppose “the antithesis,” then, between the people of God and the culture of unbelief, between the regenerate and the unregenerate. Therefore, throughout history Satan has tempted God’s people to compromise “the antithesis”…(emphasis added)
This compromising attitude is very popular today, where in many instances “Christianity” is an undefined set of beliefs derived from the Bible and/or tradition, and a commonly agreed upon “Christian ethics” that may or may not be derived from the Bible.
Whereas the Truth was once proclaimed from the rooftops, the (t)ruth is now possibly hinted at amidst the cacophony of voices constituting the pandemonium of post-postmodernity’s idea of “conversation.” The Truth is no longer antithetically opposed to the Lie, but Truth and Error are simply two ends of the same spectrum. Hence, no one is really a heretic anymore. T.D. Jakes may have an “unorthodox doctrine of the Trinity” but he is not a hater of Christ and His Church. The Roman Catholic religion may have gotten some things about the papacy wrong, but just because the pope calls himself by divine titles of all Three Persons of the Godhead does not mean that he is that man of sin, the very antichrist himself. No, that would be too harsh.
Such an attitude of spiritual spinelessness is deplorable. Since when has the Scriptural position concerning the sinfulness of man exhibited such plasticity as it has in our post-freudian era? Yes, the causes of an individual’s disposition toward the church may in fact be many. He may have had a bad experience with a father figure or mother figure who lied about being Christian. And yes, he may have never seen Christians get along with one another. And yes, he may have a hard time understanding why Protestants detest the damnable doctrines of Rome and her antichrist. This may all be true. However, it is still the case that the unbeliever’s unbelief is native to himself. Even if the church were infallible, the unbeliever would find fault with the Gospel. Even if the problem of evil were solved to his satisfaction, the unbeliever would look elsewhere for things to complain about. Such is the deceitful and wicked heart of man. And as far as I can tell, Scripture does not say that it has evolved, is evolving, or will evolve.
No. Nothing short of the Monergistic regeneration of a sinner will cause him to turn to Christ in faith. There is no spectrum of values between truth and error. There is Truth and there is Error.