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More unmerited mercy

"More unmerited mercy" Continued...

Issue: "Tour d'America road rage," Feb. 11, 2012

My poster told the truth and hers did not, but all I got for fighting a poster war rather than reaching out personally was someone scrawling swastikas on mine-and I felt more under attack.

Another example: Despite the problems of out-of-wedlock pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, UT leaders encouraged student promiscuity by placing condom machines in dorms. I went with two Christian doctors before the Faculty Senate to propose their removal. The doctors explained that a culture of condom use led to more tragedy, not less. Many of the illustrious professors responded by making jokes and giggling like middle-schoolers.

And yet, while their group behavior was irritating, why did it surprise me? Wasn't I just like them before Christ opened my eyes? When I forgot that, my tendency was to put them in a box and write them off as hopeless.

At UT I was used to being in the minority and making waves. Some of that attitude was apparent in my writing about the ethics charge against WORLD. In one column-headlined "Throw the book at us, please"-I acknowledged that we had reduced public confidence in Zondervan and IBS, but did not apologize for that: "If telling the truth is unethical, we hope to be unethical next month, and the month after, and the month after that."

I thought my closing paragraph was pretty snappy: "The good thing about ethics charges, by the way, is that they provide parents with a powerful disciplinary tool. Since my wonderful wife wrote the Stealth Bible exposé, I can now tell our children, 'Better obey your mom. She's been brought up on ethics charges. No telling what she might do.'"

Snappy-or snarky? When the Evangelical Press Association board refused to endorse a document criticizing WORLD, we celebrated victory. We fought for a crucial principle: Scripture passes judgment on ideologies, not ideologies on Scripture. We declared that translators need humility in approaching God's Word-but did I always have humility in criticizing the translators, or the city council members and professors in Texas?

No. I was as much in need of a Savior as those on the other side of all those debates. The only difference between me and some of my faculty colleagues is that for some mysterious reason I had received completely unmerited mercy from Christ, and they apparently had not. But as I battled vigorously, was I a good ambassador for Christ?

The question is important for us today, as those who stand on Scripture face Darwinians, "open theism" advocates, gay lobbyists, and others. We daily need God's grace as we try to be truthful but also loving, amid hostility.

I messed up in different ways from 1998 to 2000, as my next episode in WORLD, in two months, will show.

Read other episodes in this multi-part biographical series.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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