10 Comments

Becoming defenseless.

A sober reminder to be aware of how we react to others in our life (and in the blogosphere), of which I am oftentimes the chiefest of sinners.

Source: Providence Chapel

10 comments on “Becoming defenseless.

  1. Pilgrim:

    Outstanding reminder! I am continually learning how to defend God’s truth without defending myself, and I don’t know how many ears I have cut off in the process. But your site has been a valuable education for me in learning how to contend for the Faith in a loving manner. On the one hand we MUST stand strong for God’s truth against all opposition. And that opposition can come in such clever disguises. At the same time, we must humble ourselves to yield our own will to His truth, even if it means adjusting our perhaps deep seated presuppositions to conform to His truth. Thank you for your patience with me as I continue to grow.

  2. Some good points, but some VERY poor theology. No scripture quotes, NOT ONE.

    Defensive – serving to defend or protect; devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack.

    The basic concept that Defensivenes is rooted in pride and prejudice is simply not valid.

    Not willing to be corrected could mean that we stand on what we believe. Was Luther defensive, was Calvin defensive? A very poor argument with grand brush strokes of generality.

    It is likely I am wrong on many things, but, I am not willing to listen to some pitiful argument that faith proceeds regeneration. My long-suffering cup is empty on such items. Am I defensive, yes, I will stand and die on some hills.

    This sounds too much like social gospel to me. A big, big thumbs down from me.

  3. Craig:

    Perhaps this is one of those cases where the English language lacks the specificity that is found in other languages. I believe, though, that the video made it clear that BEING defensive, that is, having a defensive attitude (self-defense, self-preservation, self-willed), is contrary to what we see of a child of God in the Scriptures, and contrary to the behavior we see in both Jesus and Paul. And I believe that was the point the author of the video was making. Being defensive in that sense is rooted in pride (“I know better than you”, “how dare you instruct me”, etc.). Being defensive is totally different than MAKING a defense for truth and righteousness. Both Jesus and Paul stood in defense of the things of God, but were not self-defensive. Indeed Paul was appointed for the defense of the Gospel (Phil. 1:16). Peter also exhorts us to always be ready to make a defense of the Faith (1 Pet.3:15).

    ” As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” Rom.8:36

    “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Cor. 1:9

  4. DavidW

    Being defensive is not the same as self-willed or self-preservation. If the author had used the term unteachable or unyielding, then some credence could be given.

    I think what you have here is the author pulling something from psychology as a negative trait and trying to place it into a biblical context.

    I asked another brother to watch the video. The response was “something weird about that video”. That weirdness is psychobabble pretending to be sanctification. Much like “real Christians do not get angry”.

    The author, nor you, quote any direct scripture which would support the original premise of defensiveness is antithetical to the Christian moral compass.

    I would agree that defensiveness can be a negative trait, but the author does not connect it to scripture. A better idea for a piece would be: Being Humble in Spirit and Act. Jesus had righteous indignation. Paul rebuked those who so quickly drifted from the faith.

    I simply can not find an example in scripture where Jesus or Paul were not defensive toward better teaching. Jesus as God could not have been taught by a man better. Paul instructed by God the Son could not have been instructed by anyone better. Your argument simply does not pass muster.

  5. Craig:

    The reason I described having a defensive attitude as “self-willed”, and having a “self-preservation” stance, is that’s what Galatians 5 describes. Scripture tells us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other (Gal.5:17). Warfare involves offense and defense. But the manner of warfare differs drastically between the two. The flesh manifests enmity, strife, outbursts of anger, wrath, and such like. Some of the Greek words employed here are “ἔχθρα” (referring to hostility), “ἔρις”(a contentious spirit, a love of dispute), “ἐριθεία”(selfish rivalry, carnal ambition, placing self-interest ahead of what the Lord declares is right), “διχοστασία”(division which wrongly separate people into pointless factions), “αἵρεσι” (a self-chosen opinion and standing steadfastly upon it). All of these denote an aggressive posture which must necessarily possess a defense in order to “stand fast” and preserve it’s own carnal ambition, which is self or flesh driven, rather than that which proceeds from the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is opposite of these: love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, self-control, etc.

    For clarity sake, as I said before, a defensive attitude reflects the way of the flesh, and is thus in contradistinction to the way of the Spirit, which is the way of the true follower of Christ. A defense of the Faith, or defense of the truth of God’s word, should be done according to the guidance and in conformity to God’s word and the Holy Spirit, as defined and exemplified by Jesus and Paul.

    Just as an observation, I would have liked Scriptural references as well on the video. But I do not see where their absence negates the essential truth conveyed.

  6. DavidW

    I simply can not agree on your statement “… defensive attitude reflects the way of the flesh”

    “Defensiveness” is a bad thing, is a humanist message. The only way to attach it to scripture is by weak association. Gal 5v19-21 can only apply only by reading something into the text that is not there.

    There is no way for one to be defensive unless you basically attacks some part of a person. When someone comes to you and says, “I only say this out of love” and goes on to expand on your faults, you can be sure it was NOT said out of love.

    If one is defensive, that defensiveness is triggered by someone. We are defensive when we feel attacked.

    To the video’s point of: “will you not listen to your pastor” Well, if he is pushing a Pre-mil position, then no, I won’t take council from him, on that issue. I will disagree and fight for my position. Will I be defensive? Yes, if he continues to attack my position.

    Right after we get everyone to admit we are all defensive, we will start with the ecumenical message that we are all brothers in Christ, can’t we just get along. No, the reformation is not over. Justification and penal substitution are still the hinge with which the church door swings.

    Pop psychology is not theology. This video does not stand the test of scripture.

  7. Craig:

    My reference to Gal. 5 was an attempt to show a difference between two manners of defense (that of the flesh, and that of the Spirit). Somehow, though, I did not seem to get the intended point across. So allow me to say this a different way.

    The point of the video that I understood is that “Defensiveness”, in the context of “being defensive”, or more precisely “being self-defensive”, is remarkably different than standing to defend God’s truth. Being self-defensive is not supported by Scripture. Consider the following references:

    “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1Pet.2:21-23

    “When He was reviled, he did not revile in return”. The natural man (carnal, worldly, fleshly) WILL revile in return. What can we call that reaction, other than self-defensiveness? Yet, such is not the way of Christ, Who Scripture says is our example.

    And how about 1 Pet. 3:9:

    “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

    I don’t see self-defensiveness there, either.

    Or how about Prov. 20:22:

    “Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”

    Or:

    “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matt.5:39 (Where do we see self-defensiveness here?)

    In a similar vein, Jesus likens His followers to lambs:

    “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:3

    Lambs are as defenseless as they come. Thus we look to The Good Shepherd (Ps.23; Jn.10:14) to defend us:

    “Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.” Ps. 35:23

    “For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. Arouse Yourself to help me, and see!” Ps. 59:4

    Craig, I’ve given you lots of Scriptural references to show that the Scriptures do indeed teach that the Christian is not to be self-defensive. But I do not recall in any of your comments any Scriptural references to support your contrary premise. You state that the video does not stand the test of Scripture, but you have given absolutely no Scriptural counterargument. Now, you are certainly free to have your own opinions, but it is important to remember that you rose the objection here, and for support have only provided your further opinions as evidence of the video’s illegitimacy. Unless you can show FROM THE SCRIPTURES that the premise of the video is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, it may be best for you to take your opinions elsewhere.

  8. DavidW

    I am sorry, I do not agree with your interpretation and I have search through the commentaries (Barnes, Clark, Henery, JFB) and I could not find any which support your interpretation of 1Pet.2:21-23

    Prov. 20:22 is about evil, not defensiveness. When I am defensive, I am not by necessity repaying evil with evil. It just does not match.

    Matt.5:39 – This passage supports your position. However, this shows that one is being attacked and to submit. To which I made my original point. To be defensive is to be attacked.

    Luke 10:3 – nope

    Ps.23; Jn.10:14 – You are out your mind on these

    Ps. 35:23 – Long, long stretch of the scripture to make this one work.

    Ps. 59:4 – This is a prayer about asking God to help in time of attack. The next verse is the request made to God. (Psalms 59:5) You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah – David speaks of nations attacking him and asks God for help and from that you get defessiveness? Oh come on. Seriously?

    I am afraid I will not concede and I am now getting contentious. To whit, Gal 5 does instruct me not to participate.

    So, au revoir.

  9. Craig:

    You still have not defended your position from the Scriptures. Instead you’ve merely come back with repeated attacks (first on the video, then on me). Then attempt to defend “defensiveness” by shifting the blame, claiming it’s the other person’s fault (“If one is defensive, that defensiveness is triggered by someone. We are defensive when we feel attacked.”). Finally, the heart of the matter comes out:

    “I will disagree and fight for my position. Will I be defensive? Yes, if he continues to attack my position (regarding the matter of disagreeing with a pastor)”.

    Have you noticed that your repeated references are to “my position”, rather than to God’s truth, or God’s word. Does that not strike you the least bit self-defensive, and self-protective? Seems to me, you’ve made the video’s point very well.

    I’m saddened that your repeated antagonism regarding every verse I have given you, re-interpreting them to either deny the very things they say, or place them in some other context as if that negated the point, or to simply dismiss them as irrelevant, have made it clear that no Scriptural references I give you will be accepted, no matter how they relate to the topic. I’m disappointed we couldn’t reach an agreement regarding God’s word.

  10. Dear Craig:

    If I were to lash out at you using vitriolic and abusive language with a tone and demeanor that was completely unloving, then I would be acting in a defensive manner to whatever it was that you said that I took offense to. This reaction would be coming from a well of pride from within me, and not exhibiting humbleness. There’s no other way around it other than to say I’d be in sin.

    You admitted:

    “I am afraid I will not concede and I am now getting contentious. To whit, Gal 5 does instruct me not to participate.”

    I think you know what I’m talking about and you are now experiencing the very thing the video was warning of and which is precisely why I posted it.

    We need to check ourselves more often in our correspondences and responses to one another. Are we defending the truth in love with humbleness, or are we defending ourselves and our reputation out of pride?

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