Yes, this word has been caught by my English spell-check and underlined in red for me to correct. Well, I hardly need to be corrected for my spelling almost ever, but as for my coining new words, I guess I may deserve to be under the gun once in a while. Controversianity is a very unorthodox way of combining two concepts: controversy and Christianity. My new word describes a modern, particularly American, version of religious war-mongering.
This morning I was distracted by a news item that reported a certain Baptist preacher had been denied a visa to enter the Republic of South Africa. Why was he denied? Simply put, for hate speech. Most of us probably can guess that this means he is pushing a hard line interpretation of biblical passages condemning homosexuality. Actually, in his case, he boldly proclaims that in a properly governed country, homosexuals should be executed.
How a man can call himself a Christian preacher and proclaim such things is beyond me, but so is his belief that only the King James Bible is authoritative, along with most of his other Baptist-sectarian idiosyncracies. The Church of Christ, somehow escaped being corralled into one organism and now divided up among quarreling shepherds, some of whom say theirs is the only flock, has also had some of her members kidnapped by the spiritually insane.
These kidnappers take hold of men’s minds by preaching controversies, stealing from the flock of Christ others with wavering, weak minds. They preach not Christ, but themselves, as the holy apostle Paul warns us, and hide from their charges the true and eternal gospel, substituting for it man-made controversies. Instead of teaching men how to fight the true battle, that is, with personal sin, they promote crusades against imaginary foes.
Controversianity, just one more form of what C. S. Lewis calls ‘Christianity plus,’ is taking anything, any idea, whether true or false, and elevating it above Christ Himself and His Divine teachings. I’m afraid to say, this is not confined to the crackpots like the most dangerous and vile ones as I have been mentioning, but can also deceive us who consider ourselves true Christians, true Catholics, yes, even true Orthodox, and have the credentials to prove it.
Because in the end, those credentials may turn out to be the very things that will witness against us at the Last Judgment. Have we sought first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, or have we put our own kingdoms and our own righteousnesses above ‘the only thing needful,’ that is, to learn and observe the love and the commandments of Jesus Christ. Are we doing what we see Him doing? Are we teaching what we hear Him teaching in the Holy Gospel?
For He teaches no controversy, except that we should follow Him, controversy enough ‘to stagger sextillions of infidels,’ nor does He argue, He simply states the Truth about Himself and about us. And when He calls, we answer not with excuses or with offerings of what we are willing to do for Him, but by following Him, immediately, unconditionally, as the Lord God in whom we trust, knowing that it is ‘not by us, not by us that glory is deserved.’
Let’s be Christians, then, and not get side-tracked by controversies, especially not by those that raise us to the judgment seat reserved alone for God, but also not by those that would increase fear in us, fear of imaginary foes, whether political, social, religious, of whatever form. For there is no weapon forged by any controversy, any conspiracy, any open enemy that can triumph against us. Following the Lord Jesus, and taking up our crosses—that is safety, that is salvation.