I have been reading Martin Luther's book "The Bondage of the Will" recently. Basically the book was written as a response to a person named Erasmus who was a humanist in the Roman church, who took the position of mans free will. Christians history does owe Erasmus some credit on a couple of levels, he was responsible for one of the (if not the) earliest critical Greek New Testament texts. Even Martin Luther found it quite useful.
There is a lot of history between Erasmus and Luther that led up to Erasmus' publishing the book "Diatribe seu collatio de libero arbitrio" (Discussion, or Collation, concerning Free-Will). The translation of Luther's book as done by J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston does a great job of giving details of all the events and exchanges between Luther and Erasmus and other prominent figures in light of the tension being caused by the reformation. Long story short, Erasmus wrote the "Diatribe" more by compulsion from outside forces rather than desire or conviction. Nevertheless, He wrote it. And he did so as a sort of swipe at Luther's theology, to which Luther masterfully responded and tore the Diatribe to shreds with unarguable theology.
Hopefully, if nothing else, this will get you interested in reading a great book. But here are my thoughts that I intended to share. Even as I was just reading the Historical and theological introduction to this book it struck me how even letters sent to one person and another were published for everyone to read and see. Furthermore it also struck me how it seemed there was some accountability amongst the theologians for what they wrote. After all Luther did not hesitate to strike down the diatribe with all the weight of Scripture because he saw it as no less than an attack on the gospel itself.
I'm sure there was much that went unchecked then as well, but just seeing a few examples of this "accountability" as you might call it, I thought to myself there needs to be more of that today. James White wrote "The Potter's Freedom" in response to Norman Geislers "Chosen But Free" and I think it kind of perturbed Geisler. My thinking however is "So what?" Should a person be able to wright a book dealing with doctrines of God's holy Scripture and have no fear? I should think that an honest Christian would welcome critique, even if it is a bit harsh. Though a response should certainly be done in the love of Christ, it should be done more often than it is.
To many authors today write books with no fear because they feel they can say whatever they like and get away with it. Here is my war cry, small though it may be received, "Let's keep theolgians and authors accountable for what they write!"
I don't mean to say that every book that is published deserves a response, or even everytime we disagree with a certain point made that it warrants a full response. But I do mean to say when we see a book or an article written that (knowingly or unknowingly) assaults the gospel it is our Christian duty to give an apologetic/polemic response. Apologetic meaning a biblical defense of the truth, not an "I'm sorry."
If such could be brought about more often then it might make the next person think hard before he puts pen to paper or more likely finger to keyboard. If I wrote something that did not stand under the weight of Scripture I would hope someone would challenge me in a Christlike manner. If this practice became more common place 1 of 2 things might happen.
1. Earnest and sincere brothers might be corrected in love and refute their own mistakes.
2. The person might not change their position but at least both sides of the argument have presented for readers to weigh for themselves.
I'm sick of books and articles that spit out heresies, and false doctrines going unchecked. And in the spirit of meaning what I say, I am going to take on a book written by Bryan McLaren called "The Secret Message of Jesus." Mclaren does no less than try to redefine the gospel in a way that unravells it altogether. And I am going to very soon write a response and see if I can get it published.
Those of you who know the word of God I encourage to join me in my pursuit of putting some fear back into writing on the Scriptures.
IN CHRIST -Jacob