Thanks for all your thoughtful and sometimes humorous responses (Steven) and emails. Well, I finished Boyd's book and I don't believe that John Wilson's reveiw gives it a fair shake (see below). It is unkind and unfair to throw out the book's major premise as quickly as he does.

Boyd's whole point has been how we treat those outside the community of faith -- we ought to withhold judgment and learn to love them instead (our true calling). Judgment, Boyd rightly says, is God's job, not ours. What does this mean, however, in the context of church? Boyd believes that through the ministry of teaching and preaching the Holy Spirit disciples the community of faith. This means being unafraid to speak the truth from the pulpit, even without fear of offending others. In that context we are not judging but speaking the truth, even while we continue to demonstrate "outrageous love" to all.

The other place we speak words of discernment (which differs from judgment in Boyd's understanding) to others is when we have been invited to do so in the context of community. It is a part of Christian community to love one another enough to engage in just this kind of honesty and authenticity. If people have entered our community, they are basically saying they are willing to have their opinions, lifestyles and besetting sins challenged and brought under the light of Scripture and Spirit, just as I am (we are).

People may opt not to be a part of our community because some of the truth spoken or shared. They did the same to Jesus, Boyd would say. I'm not entirely comfortable with that, but I understand what he's saying. It's all well and good to say people can and may leave if they want, but that doesn't make it easy.


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