Two Reasons Pulpit & Pen is Not for You

There are two types of people who don’t need to read or follow polemics ministries. If you’re not one of those people, you should be reading Pulpit & Pen. And even though P&P is the most trusted name in polemics and discernment (and by far the biggest name in the game), this goes for other polemics ministries, too.

First of all, polemics or discernment ministries are valuable to the Body of Christ. Discernment is listed among the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, and in that passage, Paul says that there are different gifts but they are all of the same Spirit.

These gifts include a number of them that were unique to the apostles, known as the Apostolic Sign Gifts (2 Corinthians 12:12), but the other gifts that remain are for all believers. These include the gifts of administration, faith, help, knowledge, wisdom and discernment. Romans 12 lists other gifts of the Spirit which include mercy, giving, leadership, and teaching.

Few would argue that there shouldn’t be full-time mercy ministries (think Samaritan’s Purse), teaching ministries (think Grace to You), or wisdom ministries (like Bible-based counseling centers). Likewise, just as discernment is one of these gifts, it is beneficial to the Body of Christ to have those who specialize in keeping up on trends, teachings, and controversies to apprise the church as to the current dangers that lay outside our door.

Polemics Is For the Lost

The first group of people who need to hear polemics are those who need to be evangelized. Those who do not know Jesus are likely following teachers like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, or Benny Hinn. They are likely to follow troublesome teachers because the Holy Spirit leads to the knowledge of truth (John 16:13), but they are bereft of the Holy Spirit and don’t know the true Gospel.

Polemics helps these individuals (known colloquially as the lost) find Christ because it’s the Word of God that makes us born-again (1 Peter 1:23, Luke 8:11) and all good polemics includes the Bible. Polemics, after all, is the field of theological study in which we take what people are saying in the name of God and we compare it to the Word of God. We cannot begin to tell you the many thousands of people who have come to faith by listening to polemical theology, recognizing that they did not know the truth, and were born again by the Spirit.

The lost need to hear polemics, and this is why polemics should always be evangelical. As Clayton Jennings’ (a scoundrel we polemicized) followers have flocked in droves to look at Pulpit & Pen in recent days, we were quick to do video after video with nothing but the Gospel presentation.

Polemics is for Christians Who are Active and Committed Church Members

Polemics is also for another kind of person, and that is for the church member.

Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit that is given for the specific purpose of edifying and building up the local church (1 Corinthians 4:12). God does not give spiritual gifts for your benefit, but for the benefit of others. Just as God does not give you the gift of mercy for yourself but others, and just as God does not give you the gift of teaching for yourself but for others, and just as God does not give you the gift of prayer for yourself but for others, God does not give you discernment so you can hide away in your cave and be proud of how much you know more than others.

A double-serving of the gift of discernment is given to certain individuals within the local church to help the local church.

Pulpit & Pen, for example, has always made it clear that we are churchmen. This website is tied to a local church ministry. Its publisher is a pastor. All volunteers for our ministry must be active members in good standing of local churches. This is a ministry of a local church designed to help local churches by providing information and learning tools that they may not have accessible within the confines of their assembly.

However, there are two reasons Pulpit & Pen may NOT be for you…

REASON 1: Polemics is Not for Non-Church Members

The goal of Pulpit & Pen is not to make individuals discerning, but our goal is to make churches discerning by educating their church members in the ways of discernment. If all we accomplish is making individuals wary of the dangers in the theological world, but those tools and tips aren’t redistributed to their assemblies, we are wasting our good time.

If someone really likes polemics – especially the part about calling certain ideas or people wrong – but doesn’t love their local church enough to help them be more discerning, we are not working for Christ, but for the devil. The last thing we want is to reinforce the caricature of the ne’er-do-well malcontent unhappy Christian who hates everyone and everybody. Our love must never grow cold for the local Body.

We get emails every day from people who are sick and tired of the lack of discernment in their church. Our admonition is always two-fold. Firstly, the person could find a discerning (but imperfect) church and drive whatever distance they may have to on the Lord’s Day to worship with a clear conscience. Secondly, if they belong to a church that has discernment issues yet isn’t apostate, they should stay and provide a discerning presence in the church.

In the latter case, we encourage people to be discerning, but loving and forgiving of pastors or leaders who lack the gift of discernment. As Paul makes clear to the Corinthians, the Spirit gives gifts to whomever He wants, and they’re not all the same. We also make it clear that few appreciate discerning Christians, and they will probably be characterized as ‘Negative Nancies.’ We encourage them to know that and embrace it, and to attend regularly, give their generous and sacrificial offerings, and support the church with their gifting so that people know that they’re discerning because they care and not because they’re ‘born negative.’ Discerning believers must work especially hard at showing their determination and affection for the care of their local assemblies.

REASON 2: Polemics Is Not for Christians Who Are Jaded or Easily Malcontent

Discernment in the hands of professed believers who are not active members of local churches will turn into negative, bitter, angry people who – over time – will find themselves unable to regularly attend worship services without being overly critical.

Please do not read Pulpit & Pen like a daily tabloid, ever eager to hear the latest news about a person you don’t like. Read it to receive information, but not to take joy in polemics only for polemics’ sake. Likewise, if you ever notice yourself becoming jaded by reading that which is critical, stop reading and go to SermonAudio and listen to good preaching. Go serve at your local food pantry or soup kitchen. Go share Gospel tracts with a passerby.

Frankly, I would say the same to someone whose become burned out by mercy ministries or teaching ministries. I would say, “Have a well-balanced diet.” There are many forms of theology to partake of including soteriology, ecclesiology, epistemology, eschatology…you name it. There are many other good, God-honoring activities to participate in. Be well-rounded, and don’t become obsessed with any one discipline. And when a polemics concern arises, use the P&P search function to find out about that specific issue affecting the church and get in, then get out for the sake of your own well-being. The fact is, 24/7 polemics is just not meant for everyone.

So yes, we are glad that people read Pulpit & Pen. We know it’s entertaining (we have a way of wording things, we know). But, if you are not an active and engaged church member, or if you become easily jaded, please spend time reading or watching something else.

Love you all.

[Contributed by JD Hall]


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