Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Silent Protest

The following is written by a Twitter friend of mine named Nate. I greatly appreciate his thoughts on a range of topics and he displayed some tactful courage and boldness in how he addressed many of the recent race-related current events. He's a man after my own heart because his desire is to put his worldview through a rigid Biblical grid. Undoubtedly he and I have different experiences in life, but we seem to come to many of the exact same conclusions because we filter our experiences through God's word. I'm grateful he took time to share his heart and mind on some issues and pray you'll be as challenged as I was to really, really examine the purpose of a Christian life.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Eerie Ecumenism of an Evangelical Elite

The Eerie Ecumenism of an Evangelical Elite

What was the relationship like between the Pharisees and the Apostles? Were they chummy buddies chilling out? Or were the Pharisees entirely opposed to the Gospel? Certainly the Apostles and Pharisees would agree with basic morality. They would have similar views on stealing, murder and things pertaining to sexuality. That’s really not the point of contention between the two camps. The Gospel is what divides them. So can you imagine the Apostles and Pharisees joining forces, breaking bread and scheming how to preserve the sanctity of marriage in Rome’s increasingly sexually confused culture? If you can imagine that, you should read, reread and read again the New Testament.

Clearly the Apostles had no interest in joining forces with the Pharisees. It would only add to the confusion. The early church had great trouble distinguishing between salvation by works (what the Pharisees taught) and salvation by grace (the Gospel taught by the Apostles). Capitulating to the men in error (the Pharisees) for the sake of preserving marriage is wildly inappropriate given that the greater societal need (the Gospel) will likely be lost in the ecumenical council.

Do I need to detail the parallels between that hypothetical and Rick Warren’s ongoing flirtation with the Vatican? Isn’t it obvious? Isn’t it frightening?

Rick Warren, to me at least, is disturbing. I mean that word literally. He makes me sick to my stomach. Not because he’s overtly evil and hateful, but because everyone loves him. Who do I mean by everyone?

The first time I saw Rick Warren was when he interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama prior to the 2008 election. Both those candidates enjoyed their time with him. Ok, not a huge red flag but somewhat surprising. Then Obama invited Warren to pray at his inauguration. That’s a bigger red flag. Why is the most pro-choice president of all time comfortable having Warren pray on his behalf?

Then I see Warren on the news somewhat retracting but not retracting statements he may or may not have made to his congregation that may or may not have been in support of a movement in California to define marriage in a traditional way. That to me suggested a bit of cowardice or at best confusion and timidity.

Then we take into account that “Purpose Driven Life” is enormously popular. That is a red flag. Anything that popular is almost always theological drivel. And it was and is. It’s seeker sensitive man-centered platitudes that rips verses out of context. Rick Warren doesn’t always use Scripture, but when he does, he uses unreliable translations.

It’s all this stuff combined that had me extremely worried about Warren and those influenced by him. This was about 5 or 6 years ago.

Then he gets interviewed by John Piper. Wow. What an opportunity to see where this guy stands or if he’s willing to take a stand on anything. Guess what? He gave the right answers or at least satisfactory answers. Ok! Maybe I was wrong about him!

Then he gets interviewed by a Catholic. And he gave all the right make the Catholics happy. Ummm…

Then he gives a Ted talk. And he said all the right make a secular audience happy.

Then he talks to Oprah. And he said all the right make mystical man-centered “Christians” happy.

Then he talks to the Pope. And he said all the right make the most influential false teacher in the world happy.

Do you see why he’s so frightening? It’s unnerving. How can this guy be loved by almost everyone? How can he never offend anyone when the Gospel itself is an offense? How does he expect to be loved by everyone when Christ told us that if we follow Him, we shouldn’t expect to be loved?

Seriously, how can he do it? How can he tell Catholics that we (protestants) are not that different from one another and the Catholics love him for saying it? Shouldn’t that statement be offensive to Catholics AND protestants? That’s like when people say Republicans and Democrats are basically the same. They are? Based on what? Both political parties would or at least should take offense at such nonsense. They might be similar in comparison to a monarchy or some sort of dictatorship, but they aren’t indiscernible from one another. They are quite different.

I don’t know how to convince people to avoid Rick Warren. At best he will leave people of all denominations confused about salvation and at worst he’s the most cunning false teacher on the planet. In either case, he’s not someone people should glean theology from. But he’s the most influential and prominent “protestant” in the world. Most people will violently react to any negative words spoken about him. Even the evangelical world judges a person’s theological credibility based on church size and books sold. How then can we do anything to combat such a formidable force? We pray. We pray for courage. We pray that Rick Warren’s ministry be eradicated. We watch our lives and our doctrine closely. We preach and teach the unchanging Word of an unchanging God. We aim to please God rather than men. We do everything Jesus taught the Apostles. We remain vigilantly for the Gospel and trust God to dispose of false teachers how He sees fit.

A survey of the entirety of Scripture reveals that no man was ever commended for compromise and no man acted in faith by aiming to please a secular society. Real men of the faith act in faith. Fidelity to the one true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is an act of faith.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

God's Not Dead

In Paul’s epistle to the Romans in chapter 10 he speaks of Israel as having zeal without knowledge. It wasn’t to say that the Jews were stupid, but that their zeal for the Lord ran in conflict to what Scripture actually says. It was not the effort of the Jews that was in question but rather their understanding.

While I have my criticisms and concerns with God’s Not Dead, I also do not think it was awful or as erroneous as what made elect Israel guilty of zeal without knowledge. First I would like to write about the good parts of the movie. And I was pleasantly surprised at the good parts.

The spirit of the movie was excellent. When I say spirit I’m speaking more about what the movie set out to accomplish as opposed to how the entire thing was carried out. Lyndon Unger wrote a review that's worth looking at. The overall movie is not blasphemous. It’s analogous to being happy that someone set out to help rebuild a house even though there were some flaws in the construction.

The theme of the movie was primarily about standing up for faith. The passage used repeatedly throughout the movie was Matthew 10:32 & 33:
32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven..

The simple fact that John 3:16 wasn’t the thematic verse was a breath of fresh air. Not that there’s anything wrong with that verse, it’s just that Christianity has, if possible, overused it. I’m glad it’s not the only verse we know anymore.

Here’s the plot: a college freshman is faced with an ultimatum: 1-Sign a paper saying “God is dead,” thus denying his faith but maintaining good standing in his class. You can always ask for forgiveness, right? 2- Don’t sign the paper and thus be forced to debate the atheist professor about the existence of God, risk getting an ‘F’ and also risk losing his girlfriend of 6 years. This wouldn’t be much of a movie if the protagonist elected the path of least resistance would it?

I like that he refused to sign a piece of paper out of principle. The professor wasn’t asking students to deny their faith but to put it aside for the sake of the class (a nuanced and intentionally iniquitous exchange). This seemingly scholarly solicitation was tantamount to a flat out denial of his Christian faith (as it would be for me), so I truly appreciate that level of conviction. We all should.

I also like that him refusing to sign the paper did indeed cost him his girlfriend. She didn’t come around and see that his decision was courageous. She broke up with him. I like that standing on principle cost him something.  Because standing on principle always costs us something, especially in the name of Christ (Luke 14:25-27).

I like that it cost some of the other characters some relationships, too. One girl was dating the professor and, because of her faith, ended the relationship (more on that later). Another girl was being raised Islamic while secretly hiding her Christian faith and when she was found out she got kicked out of her house. I don’t like when those things happen as if to say I think it’s cool. I like that the movie didn’t act like being a Christian brings you nothing but good vibes.

This movie was not a deep apologetic for the existence of God and the efficacy of Christianity. I don’t want to review it as if it were. The main character’s arguments for the existence of God were mostly cut short and not given a lot of screen time. That’s perfectly fine since I don’t think the point of the movie was to present an argument for the existence of God, but to encourage people to stand up for what they know is true.

There was also a funny line when the car rental guy dropped off the car and the priest/pastor/reverend/bishop guy asked if he had to sign anything and the rental guy quipped, “of course, I’m giving you a car.” I laughed out loud. I like sarcasm.

The movie went by quick, it didn’t drag, the acting was decent, the production quality was good. It was not our typical “Christian” movie, which was nice.

Now, on to the parts I didn’t like so much. 
WARNING: if you loved this movie and didn’t cringe at any point, stop reading. I think and process and think and analyze and, by nature, compare anything said in the name of God to the word of God and will now do that to this movie.

This is your last chance. 

Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” makes a cameo appearance with his wife towards the beginning of the movie. He’s being interviewed by the humanist animal lover reporter and at one point he says, “and those letters are in red, so you know they’re important.”

Agggghhhhh. That’s shambolic language. Most of the problems in this movie aren’t heresies or blatant false teaching but rather sloppy or imprecise language. The letters in red are NOT any more important than the other letters. If we think the red letter error theology through, we’ll understand the problem. I actually wrote about this a few months ago.

The main guy, when talking to his soon to be ex about doing an apologetic presentation for the existence of God says, “I feel like God wants someone to defend Him.”

That’s not the worst line ever uttered. It’s not that bad. The God I read about in the Bible doesn’t come across as needing protection. This is another unkempt line. I get what he’s saying. It’s probably even something I’d have said as a college freshman...11 years ago.

At a later point he says “we’re going to put God on trial.”
Now that’s a bad line. We don’t put God on trial. That’s an unintentionally arrogant statement hopefully made out of ignorance. Just think for a minute about putting God on trial. It should make you shudder. Actually, don’t even think about it. We are the ones on trial.

Presuppositional apologetics is the manner in which I approach apologetics. I go in presupposing everyone knows God exists (because they do, because God’s word says they do) and then go from there. I don’t like traversing down the road of evidences and philosophical musings. This movie goes that route. We cannot ever convince an atheist that God exists via evidence. That will never work.

I like using evidences when talking to other Christians. I’ve given a copy of “More than a Carpenter” to everyone in my bible study. That’s a great supplement and fortifier of the Christian faith. I don’t think that book would do anything to change the mind of an atheist even though it presents fantastic arguments. The main guy’s last argument entered into the realm of moral absolutes. While it’s true that atheists cannot believe in moral absolutes in the same way we do, I don’t think they deny them entirely. Some might. Their argument for the origins of morality has changed a few times since I started keeping up with the debate about 10 years ago. Knowledge of right and wrong is a good proof but it’s also not one that will ever convince an atheist God exists. Don’t believe me? Go try it.

A Gospel presentation can convince an atheist God exists. We don’t see Paul, Peter or Stephen arguing from a neutral point. They argue from the presupposition that God exists, Jesus was His Son and that the Bible is true. Admittedly, I’m getting sidetracked. Ken Ham’s debate with Bill Nye was done presuppositionally. He presupposes that the Bible is true (it is) and argues from that standpoint and fits all the evidences into the Bible (and they do). There are some hyper-presuppositionalists who don’t like Ham but I think his approach is solid and consistent with Cornelius Van Til, but that’s just me. Ham doesn't begin on neutral ground so to speak. He starts with God's word.

The last line that bothered me came towards the end when Newsboys were talking to the humanist reporter with cancer and the drummer claimed that God told him to say something. I’m not sure if this was sloppy language or not. He definitely claimed to receive direct revelation but I can’t be certain he knew what he was saying so I’m not sure if he just poorly worded it or if he truly believes God spoke to him. I’m being charitable and assuming he just doesn’t understand the difference between obedience to that which God has, through providence, made clear and direct revelation. If he understood the former he wouldn’t claim the latter. I’ve written ad nauseum about people claiming to hear from God so I won’t belabor this point any more. Just know that  you nor anyone you know alive today has ever received direct revelation from God. Making a claim to the contrary is so so so promisingly perilous.

Some general concerns I have are the lack of a clear Gospel presentation. Assenting to theism does not mean someone is saved from hell. Do we all agree there? Just because someone used to be an atheist but now believes God exists and Jesus exists does not make them a Christian. It makes them a theist. Lots of people believe God exists and that Jesus was the Son of God and died for our sins but they aren’t necessarily Christians either. There’s a cliche deathbed conversion at the end of the movie where the professor vaguely professes Christ. It’s not clear he’s repented over his sins. It’s not as bad as I expected but it’s still not very clear. Clarity and perspicuity are of chief importance. I even wrote about that once.

The professor’s girlfriend makes a startling statement in the form of a question at one point wondering if she, a Christian, and the atheist professor are unequally yoked. Yes. The answer is 100% yes. A professing believer dating an atheist is the most blatant example of being unequally yoked I can think of. It would also seem that the main character and his girlfriend at the beginning of the movie were unequally yoked.

While I can appreciate the sentiment in using famous people to prop up Christianity, I also can’t stand it. The Robertsons seem to be genuine about their faith and I greatly respect their unabashed embrace of Christ, but God does not need Duck Dynasty. The Christian church in America does not need Duck Dynasty. We’re under no obligation to redeem culture or to win over culture by being popular and famous. This is not a knock on Duck Dynasty. I’ve never watched the show. It’s a knock on America. We’re dangerously obsessed with celebrity. I’ve written about this as well (toot toot my own horn). I don't think it's a stretch that the movie came across as a 2 hour advertisement for Newsboys, but maybe that's just me.

My last issue with the movie was that all of the young people were attractive. The main guy was a handsome young fella. The girl who used to be a Muslim was very pretty and so were the humanist reporter girl and the girl dating the professor. Is it a sin to have good bone structure and to be in shape? Not at all. Is it unrealistic that every Christian under 30 is good looking? Absolutely. I get that it’s a movie and movies are always full of good looking people but c’mon. This is a movie by Christians (I think) and for Christians. If one movie can presume an audience to not be superficial, it was this one. Cast some normal looking people. Cast a scrawny guy and a chubby girl or a scrawny girl and a chubby guy.

I honestly liked the movie. It was just unrealistic. I recently graduated from a secular college and didn’t encounter any professor like the one in the movie (not saying none such exist). My school was extremely liberal but also not real in my face about it. I’m sensitive to those types of biases but in all honesty Kent (the Stark campus anyhow) did a good job hiding agendas. I couldn’t even tell you where 95% of my professors stood on issues of religion and politics. I wrote a huge paper on John Calvin and got an ‘A’ on it. I mentioned my faith and wasn’t shy about being dogmatic and still received good grades. But that’s just my experience. I’m not naive enough to think my experience was the norm for college students today.

See the movie or don’t. I’m not saying it’s a must see. I think it was good. I have some issues with it but not enough to issue a public warning like I did with “Heaven is for Real” and “Son of God.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Red-Letter Christianity

Perhaps you have a copy of God’s word that has certain words highlighted or colored with red ink. This is of course not a new trend or something only recently concocted. The red letters have always been around but have they always been red? They are, as I’m sure you’re aware, the words of Jesus. On the surface or looked at uncritically this makes much sense and it’s a wonderfully facile way to find the words Jesus spoke in the flesh.
As with most any fad or trend in Christianity, I have a problem with it. This one isn’t a problem with origins from outside God’s word or one created by the world. At least it seems like it’s different than WWJD, “Bible” movies, books where people make up how they went to heaven and make millions off of credulous Christians, corny Christian clichés and church signs or any of a variety of man-made platitudes. These red letters are right there in our copies of the Bible! How can these red letters possibly lead to an aberrant view of God? Let’s examine the facts.
The infamous red ink

The first red-letter Bible was published in 1899. That’s roughly 1,860 years after Christ spoke in the flesh. Hmm.
Why the wait? Why weren’t the original texts written with red ink in some places? Interesting.

2Timothy 3 (AMP)16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action)

Every- used to refer to all the individual members of a set without exception (definition)

Without exception? So every word of Scripture, without exception, is given by God’s inspiration? Why then would certain words be given an elevated place above others if they are all equal?

The Gospel According to Matthew
The Gospel According to Mark
The Gospel According to Luke
The Gospel According to John

Now wait just a second. Jesus didn’t write the Gospels? Someone else wrote them? Kind of like someone else wrote the epistles?

John 16 (NASB)12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Here we see Jesus’ promise to the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come to them and guide them into all truth. He, the Holy Spirit, doesn’t speak on His own, He speaks what the Father tells Him and glorifies Christ. Jesus also only spoke what the Father told Him to speak.

The parts of the Bible that are not red letters were written as a result of God telling the Holy Spirit what to say to the authors. God is the source.
The red letter parts of the Bible were written as a result of God telling Jesus what to say. God is the source. Furthermore, the writers of the Gospels did not record them as Jesus was speaking but went back later to record them and did so under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

If any part of the Bible is deserving to be red lettered, then all of the Bible is deserving of that same distinction.

I laid out that case not to rail against red-lettered Bibles. If you have a Bible with red ink in it, that’s not the problem. I have different verses noted in my Bible. Is that me elevating certain passages above others? Or do certain verses speak more intensely to me than others because of A) sin I struggle with B) truths I am passionate about and C) words that are profoundly deep? We all have certain “favorite” verses. That’s not really an issue if we’re using those verses in proper context (I’m looking at you Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 people).

There is a danger in the red letters. This has been manifested in a sect of liberal theology known, appropriately enough, as Red Letter Christians. They simply put the words in red above all the other words. Sounds good right? Sounds simple enough to just say, “This is straight from Jesus” and base your doctrine on only those words. But as we saw earlier this rapidly falls apart since the red letters are no more inspired than the black ones.

An interesting note about Red Letter Christians:
They don’t even like all the red letters. They just like some of the red letters. There are passages in Revelation which should be red as Jesus is speaking them directly to John. The letters to the 7 churches are brutal indictments of their sins. How the Red Letter Christians just dismiss those red letters is a wonder to me. Well it’s not really a wonder. They really should be called We Only Believe the Words We Like Christians. For an example of this just read anything by false teacher Rachel Held Evans. Her didactic approach to the Bible is perfectly acceptable and compatible with the non-Christian world. Since she, nor her followers, does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible it is impossible to debate her. This relative and subjective hermeneutic is even lazier than Jesus-gesis used by many in Covenant Theology (as opposed to exegesis) or the nacigesis employed by so many in the seeker movement lack of theology.

With the red letters there’s also the potential problem of pitting Jesus against God or at least against the Apostles. This then creates a damning error. It necessitates that Jesus and God disagree (probably on grace and wrath and sin). There is then a disruption in the harmony of the Trinity. This disagreement also negates the assurance of any promise Christ made to us. The promise of the Holy Spirit. The promise that He would preserve us. The promise that He’s preparing a place for us. The promise of His return. The promise of the defeat of Satan. The promise that “it is finished.” Yikes! That is serious error. Serious to the point where, to be consistent with their theology, Christ would need to be further crucified.

You can easily see how this can negatively unfold and work itself out in your thinking. When we overemphasize one truth or attribute of God’s character or one book over another we always lead ourselves into danger. Those who overemphasize grace lead people into antinomianism. Those who overemphasize the law lead people into legalism.

In closing let me reiterate that it is not sinful to possess a red-letter Bible. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. My goal was to urge us to be cautious in how we treat the red ink. There will come a time when someone will challenge you by accusing you of bestowing more weight to the words of Paul than those of Jesus. This will most predictably be about the topic of sexual immorality. How to soundly refute those erroneous arguments deserves an entire post (or you could search for one). One of the most important doctrines in church history has been Sola Scriptura but another one is Analogia Scriptura. This doctrine emphasizes that Scripture should be interpreted with Scripture. So we don't interpret Scripture with an open system. We don't look at it like it's open to constant rule changes like we do our favorite sports or even how politics operate. In politics we have laws and taxes in place that finance health care for children that come from taxes on tobacco. The government is also fighting to reduce the number of people who use tobacco. So they need lots of people to smoke to pay for health care for children but then aggressively pursue regulations and advertisements to decrease smoking. We can't interpret the meaning or intent of a law by looking at other laws. We'd be so confused. With Scripture, however, we can do exactly that. We look at some confusing portion of the Bible and then we see the topic or idea written on more clearly elsewhere. The clearer portion then interprets the murky portion. And this application need not be limited to just the red letters. If you hold any passage above or in contradiction to the rest of the Bible, you're in error. Read the entirety of Scripture (Tota Scriptura) to get the best understanding of any given passage. Even Numbers and Leviticus? Even the genealogies? Yes! Numbers gets a bad wrap. There are countless illustrations of New Testament truths throughout that book. Even Numbers should be in red ink, if you see what I'm saying. It should all be red ink. It's all of a divine origin. How awesome is that?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Christian Tone Police

Just how important is tone? Is tone more important than actual words? Is using a proper tone the most important aspect of communication? How do we determine what the proper tone is? Who determines it? What is it based on?

A few weeks back a group of habitual Christian tone violators had a discussion and I'm going to piggy back off that here.

Tone has become of chief importance in this hyper-sensitive culture of ours. The internet is constantly patrolled by the Tone Police. The Tone Police are self-appointed judges of the internal motivations and intended tones of inaudible voices on the web. These tone experts are not just effeminate liberals or junior high girls but they are also adult Christians. Tone has been elevated above the truth. People, as evidenced by the popularity of false teachers like Joel Osteen and Steven Furtick, love to be lied to and manipulated by men who speak with a nice, gentle tone while simultaneously they despise any man or woman who speaks truth in a tone they have arbitrarily deemed unloving or “not very nice.”
And it truly is arbitrary. There’s no real way to measure tone, especially online. What is good tone for one person is hateful for someone else. Tone is a flavor. It can be described and distinguished but it can generate a multitude of different responses. None of the responses make the flavor wrong by any objective standard. What we should be judging instead of tone are words and whether or not they are true. Don’t get hung up on tone. And really don’t associate a warm and gentle tone with Christ when it comes to how He interacted with false teachers.

This is where Christianity gets real uncomfortable and messy for those who believe tone is the highest calling for a believer. I don’t mean to say that glibly but for people to suggest (not argue of course) that tone is more important than truth or that truth should not be shared if written with the wrong tone are placing tone above truth even in dealing with false teaching:
Jeremiah 2: 2-5
“Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see;
Where have you not been violated?
By the roads you have sat for them
Like an Arab in the desert,
And you have polluted a land
With your harlotry and with your wickedness.
“Therefore the showers have been withheld,
And there has been no spring rain.
Yet you had a harlot’s forehead;
You refused to be ashamed.
“Have you not just now called to Me,
‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth?
Will He be angry forever?
Will He be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken
And have done evil things, And you have had your way.”

But Tim, that’s Old Testament. It doesn’t count. God isn’t mean like that anymore. It’s all about grace and peace and love and flowers and bunnies and rainbows. False teachers aren’t really around anymore and if they are around, they announce themselves plainly! That’s how God dealt with false teachers. Jesus was totally different. He just loved them and hugged them and spoke nicely to them until they changed their ways! He was all like, “Hey Mr. Not Exactly Perfect Theology have you ever considered, I don’t know, maybe trying things a different way? Like maybe seeing what the Bible says and then acting accordingly? I don’t know, just thought I’d throw it out there. You can take it or leave it. Hug?”

Sure that seems like something American Jesus, whom we have emasculated and sensitized beyond recognition, might say but what did actual Jesus say and how did He say it?

Matthew 23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.  And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Surely that’s a misprint, right? Jesus couldn’t have possibly spoken to someone in such a discordant tone!!! How very un-Christlike of Jesus to use such an unloving and abrasive tone with some poor innocent false teachers!
That’s just a snippet. That entire chapter is brutal and despotic. It’s as if Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords has a right to do what He did.  A HUGE portion of His divinely appointed and perfectly carried out ministry was devoted to debunking myths, publicly humiliating false teachers, pointing out specifics and protecting His Father’s holy name. Did God in the Old Testament give specific prophecies foretelling the coming of Messiah but was unable to see that His Son would disagree with Him? Do you know what pitting Jesus against God does to the Trinity? Do you know how fundamental to the faith the Trinity is?
Alright Tim but that’s because He was Jesus. He was allowed to do that. We aren’t allowed to talk about false teachers using any tone that is not perfectly nice. It’s better to let rampant error run completely wild than to confront a false teacher with a tone that has been deemed unloving by some mercurial judge. None of John’s letters are mean-spirited and he certainly never demands people to reject false teaching at any cost! John was the Apostle of love after all.
2John 7-11For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
Whaaat??? Even John talks like that? Oh man! So you’re saying maybe tone is in reality not the highest calling for a Christian? Like maybe because tone is so completely arbitrary that we should really focus on evaluating people’s words? Woah! So like when Joel Osteen says stuff in a super nice way, he could be lying? And like when some other guy doesn’t sound real happy about something, he could just be legitimately upset and be telling the truth? Or maybe sometimes sarcasm is a useful tool in helping people recognize error?
Is this a call by me to just mock and ridicule everyone who speaks error? No. Influential leaders in the Christian community who publicly teach false things, should be publicly rebuked and the tone a Christian uses to expose the false teaching is wholly irrelevant. You can be as nice as you want or as condescending as you want. This is an area where the Holy Spirit tends to override your initial actions, however. There have been times when I set out to say things sternly and bluntly but was guided by the Holy Spirit to take a more kind spirit. In the end your words are more important than how you say them. That’s the truth.
If I’m talking to a new Christian, I am going to interact with him or her in a completely different manner than I would with an older Christian. In the same way we deal with kids, we deal with new Believers. It’s unrealistic to expect kids to behave like mature adults. It is also unacceptable to permit mature Christians to behave like infant Christians. And a Christian in a leadership position (pastor, teacher) with incredible influence doesn’t deserve to be graciously spoken with in private while their damning error remains easily accessible and widely spread.
And obviously I’m not going around screaming at people. I’m not saying, “Hey ya big ugly fatty!” to people. Exposing error, correcting false teaching, naming names and all that messy stuff has an inherently unfriendly tone to it. That’s how it is. It’s divisive. That doesn’t mean it’s sinful.

Take for instance the man healed of blindness in John 9. Carefully note the tone he takes with the false teachers. See for yourself if he’s being sarcastic and mocking:
So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”  He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”  They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
And here’s the really kooky thing about the whole tone police phenomenon; it’s so subjective and visceral that it can never be clearly defined to anyone else. It (the tone that offends them) is sooo deep inside these people that they are incapable of articulating just what is so darn offensive. Isn’t that just like flavor? I can’t describe why I like Crunch bars or pizza, I just know that I do.  Again, I’m just talking about how we, Christians and by necessity also lovers of truth, engage with heresy and especially heretics and false teachers. This isn’t about how I talk to my wife about my day or how I engage my neighbor. This is about whether or not we have to be “nice” when dealing with error. I don’t go around saying “Pizza is Christian” or “shepherd’s pie is evil.” Those are just preferences and the way I feel about them doesn’t prove their goodness. Just as how someone who “feels that that man’s tone is too aggressive or unkind” is permitted to feel that way and it’s fine that they do but it doesn’t mean the man in question is wrong. You need to prove from Scripture that the man should not be saying what he’s saying or saying what he’s saying how he is saying it.

Allow me to issue a few disclaimers postscript. There are probably different ways people define sarcasm. Some look at it in more of the satirical sense. I associate satire with a narrative of some kind so i don’t think the words are always interchangeable. Sarcasm can undoubtedly have a negative connotation. I’m not talking about this kind of sarcasm:
“Tim, how did the Indians do last night?”
“Oh they did awesome! They lost 12-2.”
Perhaps ironic is the right word? I’m not sure. Alanis Morissette has so obfuscated the meaning of the word ironic that I’m not sure anyone knows what it means. She thinks irony is just bad luck. One could actually illustrate irony by looking at how Alanis defines ironic. That’s probably the greatest irony of all. Sometimes I do use irony and that offends people. Sometimes I’m just being sarcastic. Regardless, I recognize that sarcasm can be a sin but it can also be useful. The intent of my sarcasm isn’t to just be a jerk. The intent is to move people out of complacent thinking. Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins said, “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy...”

Look at that I just made 2 pop culture references in 1 paragraph! That qualifies me to be an Acts 29 pastor, doesn’t it? I’m kidding I’m kidding. Everyone relax. All 4 of you people who are reading this can just chill out.

One final passage to consider and I’m not so much focused on the context of Paul publicly rebuking Peter but more about Paul’s careful selection of words:

Galatians 2:14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

Paul takes issue with fluctuation. That Peter (Cephas) was not straightforward was the issue. Peter failed to be upright with the truth of the gospel. He is not commended for compromising to appease the Judaizers. He is rebuked for refusing to be honest with the people.

Do we aim to please men or please God? Is the commandment to love God of higher importance than loving men? People are always going to be offended by the truth regardless of how nicely you say it. Let’s just be certain we say what is true and in accordance with God’s revealed word lest we offend the only One we absolutely must not offend.