3rd December 2005

Blog :: Criticizing Mike Wells

Have you ever had one of those awkward things to tell someone, and you don't quite know how to say it? You hem and haw and finally decide that it's going to be best just to be direct. When you've finally got that awkward thing out in the open the conversation is actually less dreadful than you thought it would be and there is a distinct sense of relief...

That's how this is going to be. I hope.

For a week or two now, I've been delaying and procrastinating. I had a very strong reaction to a sermon preached by a guest at my Church and I immediately dashed off a critical essay. Mike Wells was visiting us, however, at the invitation of the head pastor for whom I have a great deal of respect. Much of what Mike has to share, in fact, is appreciated and valued by people whom I appreciate and value.

There are times (I have found; marriage especially is good for this) when it is best not to criticize, even if you're right. As I've thought about (and rewritten) my essay, however, I've come to the conclusion that this is not one of those times...

To preface my essay, however, I feel impelled to address my friends who have appreciated the ministry of Mike Wells and the Abiding Life idea. I recognise that it causes a certain defensive feeling when someone pokes and prods at your theology. I've certainly felt it before. And I want to convey to you that I am not attacking you. I'm not trying to put anyone down. I understand to a certain degree why Mike's message has been appreciated and I recognise that there is some history that I haven't been a part of. My criticisms, however, seem central enough to who we are as believers and as a fellowship that I feel an obligation to make them clear. I welcome your response. And of course it's ok if you think I'm wrong: part of the mystery of Christian unity is not that all Christians agree about everything, but that they love each other anyways.

This essay is certainly intended as such an expression. Far from being a gauntlet thrown down or a challenge issued, it is my attempt to put out into the open some of the things I have been thinking about as I move into closer communion with a particular group of believers... Click here to read.

Posted on December 3rd 2005, 07:12 PM