Joe Thorn has recently posted "The Ninth." Here is an excerpt:
Why am I whipping out the ninth commandment? Because some in the church have grown careless here. I have been careless here. There are a lot of accusations flying around these days in our Baptist periodicals, in our seminary student assemblies, and they rage in our internet publications. While I believe in theological debate, and am convinced it is necessary to call people out when they are teaching false doctrine, I am greatly troubled by the baseless accusations being made to make brothers and sisters look bad. “Those guys are hyper-Calvinists. They don’t evangelize, and they kill churches.” No evidence, just sensational language that riles people up and perpetuates prejudices. But it’s not just the Calvinists who have to walk through unjust accusations.
Recently some men have been accused of being “liberal” theologians. Vague generalizations are being made, people are not quoted, sound argument is not made, but naked assertions and accusations are released in an effort to warn others to stay away. “That guy is a liberal in evangelical clothing!” My trouble is that in some cases these accusations amount to unrighteous distortions of the truth. And I have to say, I am grieved.
Thorn's (and Watson's) words are convicting here, and I wish I could say I have not fallen prey to violating God's ninth commandment in some of my speech and casual writing. I must seek forgiveness through repentance (1 John 1:9). May we all honor God in our dealing with those whom we disagree. As Thorn says:
Look, if you think someone’s theology is dangerous, then deal with it. Use the man’s words, and show where his words speak heresy or false doctrine. I believe this is one of the tasks of our pastor-theologians and professors. But it must be done with care and precision, not passion and presumption. This forces everyone to be honest and fair.