Here are answers to the simplistic questions of vulgar intolerance:
Are you against Republicans?
No. Thomas Jefferson organized a populist party that was called Democratic Republican. It recognized that the new American republic was a representative democracy. This party advocated civil and economic rights for common people. Those who fought against fascism in Spain in the 1930s called themselves Republicans.
I am against the current Republican Party, as long as it promotes the welfare of an elite upper class and has no use for common people, minority groups, or women and preaches religious fundamentalism and arrogant American dominance over other nations.
Are you against Communists?
No. The early Church practiced pure communism, as did the first Anabaptists.
I am against “Marxist” communism, “materialistic” communism, “atheistic” communism, and “totalitarian” communism.
Are you against Catholics?
No. The Church catholic is the body of Christ, the universal fellowship of believers.
I am against the autocratic, hierarchical organizations found in “Roman” Catholic and “Greek” Catholic churches, which have sullied the good name of Christianity with their corruption and superstition, and their persecution and oppression of other religions.
Are you against Charismatics?
No. Even Paul was capable of speaking in ecstatic language. Every Christian who sobs or groans a prayer of misery is speaking a language that only the Holy Spirit can understand.
I am against “wholly sanctified” charismatics, “second baptism” charismatics, “full gospel” charismatics, and self-righteous “spirit-filled” charismatics.
Are you against Adventists?
No. Every Christian should be an adventist in the sense that he is daily looking and longing for the Second Advent of our Lord.
I am against radical date-setting adventists, cultic “latter-day-saint” adventists, “it’s-all-happening-in-this-generation” adventists, and legalistic, seventh-day adventists.
Are you against Transcendentalists?
No. Everyone who prays should transcend this human plane and approach boldly the Throne of God. Also, ecstasy in prayer should not be foreign to Christian meditation.
I am against reliance upon mental exercises, artificial inducements of visions, mumbling names of pagan deities, and confusing sensory perceptions with spiritual worship.
Are you against Traditionalists?
No. Much of what Protestant churches practice is based on sectarian traditions that may be very effective and completely Christian.
I am against “creedal” tradition, “doctrinal” tradition, “Bible-supplanting” tradition, mandatory tradition, and divisive tradition.
Are you against Bible critics?
No. Every Bible class and every student of the Scriptures attempts to rightly divide the word of truth by weighing one text against another and seeking to know the original meaning of the author, etc.
I am against Bible criticism without the aid of the Holy Spirit, without a new-birth experience, without appreciation for the central message of salvation, and without reliance upon theological scholarship.
Are you against Evolutionists?
No. Everything that lives or grows or changes with a trend evolves. There is evidence that God’s method in directing change in the universe is evolutionary. Advocates of this view are “theistic” evolutionists.
I am against “atheistic” evolution and “materialistic” evolution.
Are you against Humanists?
No. The humanist ideals of the Renaissance were the foundation of the Reformation movement. Human dignity, untrammeled inquiry, universal education, and congregational democracy in the church are all hallmarks of Christian humanism and the Free Church tradition.
I am against “atheistic” humanism, “secular” humanism, and “rationalistic” humanism.
Richard L. Atkins