Ancient view of polemics

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1689er

Puritan Board Freshman
One thing that I have noticed is that most people within the church today don't like polemics. To them, it seems mean-spirited presumptuous, and hateful, even when it is done in a kind, thorough, and patient way. It is especially bad when the false teachers are in sheep's clothing. It confuses the sheep when the shepherd attempts to hit and scare off what appears to be one of them. Anyway, I was wondering what was the view of polemics by the average Christian in the patristic era? What did they think about writings ad Gnostics or Pagans? What about in the Medieval era?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
General answer, it would seem to me that polemics were very present throughout all ages of church history. Think about all the battles against heretics. The reformation itself could also be considered a large polemic.

As for today, we have a huge problem with camp fire Christianity (coined by the Just Thinking podcast guys). We desperately need polemics today, but you are correct in that it seems that it has gone out of vogue in most areas. It's as if everyone accepts that one bumper sticker you see on the back of cars (unity). You know the one that places the cross among all the false pagan religions as if they are somehow equal to the true and living God. I daresay we need another full on reformation. Rome has gotten much worse and doubled down in so many areas and the Protestant side of things is a complete disaster for the most part (embracing almost every worldly teaching they can get their hands on). The reformed church it seems is just barely holding on with certain denominations already falling. May God give us strength to do polemics and to speak truth into the lies.
 

1689er

Puritan Board Freshman
General answer, it would seem to me that polemics were very present throughout all ages of church history. Think about all the battles against heretics. The reformation itself could also be considered a large polemic.

As for today, we have a huge problem with camp fire Christianity (coined by the Just Thinking podcast guys). We desperately need polemics today, but you are correct in that it seems that it has gone out of vogue in most areas. It's as if everyone accepts that one bumper sticker you see on the back of cars (unity). You know the one that places the cross among all the false pagan religions as if they are somehow equal to the true and living God. I daresay we need another full on reformation. Rome has gotten much worse and doubled down in so many areas and the Protestant side of things is a complete disaster for the most part (embracing almost every worldly teaching they can get their hands on). The reformed church it seems is just barely holding on with certain denominations already falling. May God give us strength to do polemics and to speak truth into the lies.
Would you say they viewed it favorably in the Patristic and Medieval eras then? I know we don't have much from the common man, as much of the surviving works are written by apologists and theologians.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Would you say they viewed it favorably in the Patristic and Medieval eras then? I know we don't have much from the common man, as much of the surviving works are written by apologists and theologians.
I don't know if it's possible to answer the question of favorable. I think all you could really say is they viewed it as necessary. Thinking about Arianism and Pelegianism as examples.
 

1689er

Puritan Board Freshman
Granted, but it may be fairer to say that the Reformation era laymen were more interested in polemics.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Granted, but it may be fairer to say that the Reformation era laymen were more interested in polemics.
Perhaps that is a fair comment, but I think the "necessary" comment still very much applies to the reformation as well.
 
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