Polemics Terms: Proximity Bias

DEFINITION

Proximity Bias is the phenomenon of individuals believing that being close to a particular false teacher, false teaching or misbehavior somehow changes the acceptability of the teacher, teaching or behavior.
Proximity Bias is an inconsistent jump in logic that is common among followers of particularly prominent teachers.

EXAMPLES

Attenders at NorthPoint Community Church answer critics of Andy Stanley, regarding his attacks on Scriptural sufficiency, that if they could only be there experience the church on Sunday and understand their heart, it would somehow change the critical perspectives of Stanley’s online video messages.
Fans of Hillsong Church and its various pastors, like Brian Houston or Carl Lentz, ask discerning Christians who have criticized the Word-Faith and compromised doctrine of Hillsong if they have ever worshiped there. They believe that if only the critics would worship at Hillsong locations in person, it would change their views about what is broadcast in audio or video around the world.
When discerning Christians point out the doctrinal problems of Latter Rain, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and Kansas City Prophets-affiliated Mike Bickle and explain his false prophecies, they are asked if they have ever worshiped at International House of Prayer (IHOP). Somehow, they are convinced that feeling the “vibe” or the “spirit” of IHOP in person would somehow change the content of the church’s message.
Even sincere and ordinarily sound teachers can fall into this. When concerned Christians questioned the wisdom of Apologia Church flaunting Christian Liberty in relation to alcohol consumption, a prominent apologist accused them of “judging from afar,” implying that being closer to the church would somehow change the facts presented in video.

THE PROBLEM

Reality dictates that subject content and context of a false teaching does not change just because someone appears personally at a false teacher’s gathering. This is a trait of cults, to imply that personal experience can change facts. It is also an assault on basic logic, because unless a discerning Christian is criticizing something pertaining to subjective experience – and are instead focusing their criticism on objective facts like audio, video or verified quotation – then personal encounters with the false teacher or false church doesn’t actually change the substance of the criticism.
For example, if prominent false teacher, Joel Osteen, teaches heresy (and he does), the friendliness of the congregation or warm reception of the greeters or celebratory attitude of the worship experience at Lakewood Church doesn’t change the fact that Osteen teaches heresy.



A CALL TO ACTION

Bringing you discernment news and commentary from a biblical, polemical perspective means it is tough out there on social media. We’re constantly getting kneecapped and constrained by tech companies who find our fidelity to the scripture and pursuit of truth to be intolerable, resulting in our reach being severely throttled.

For this reason, we ask you please consider supporting us a few different ways. The first, by liking and following our new Facebook page, our home where we share new posts and interact with our members. The second, by following and retweeting our Twitter page. The third, by signing up for our newsletter below.

And last, through direct support. You can catch our free weekly episodes of the Polemics Report by subscribing at BTWN. If you like what you hear and desire to to hear more, you can get the VIP full-length version for only $5.95 per month on Patreon. Also, you get other freebies for additional monthly pledges.

Subscribe to us on Patreon here and support our ministry.

God bless!


***
Stay informed. Subscribe Today.

When you subscribe, please add newsletter@pulpitandpen.org to your contacts to ensure that your newsletter doesn’t go into your spam folder.

Enter your email address below…



Contact Us Donate

Facebook Comments