Making Honey and Naming Names

Making Honey and Naming Names

While we live in an age where men lack backbone and are often times unwilling to do the unpopular thing, it’s quite refreshing to see men like Voddie Baucham spend time dealing with the issues and pointing out the errors of men and organizations that were once trusted and respected. 

At the recent 2021 G3 Conference, a copy of World Magazine was placed on every single chair in the main session room for each attendee. This is something that has repeated every year since about 2018. However, this year proved to be unique as the selected publication (9-11-21) included a review of Voddie Baucham’s book Fault Lines by Marvin Olasky. Although short and somewhat complementary, Olasky took a swipe at Baucham’s book by writing the following:

What’s not helpful is Baucham’s dismissal of theologically sound Christians, including individuals and groups like Tim Keller, the Gospel Coalition, and Mark Dever/9Marks. We can make more honey if we go beyond buzzwords. Let’s spin the latter-day followers of Marx, Darwin, and the Black Panthers. Let’s ally with those who also emphasize the Bible rather than racial division. Let’s agree that black lives matter but oppose the BLM industrial complex. [1]

This caught the attention of many G3 attendees who asked me for a response. Obviously, I wasn’t aware of the review of Baucham’s book in this edition of World Magazine prior to it showing up at the conference. While I agree that we can have differences of opinion on various matters within evangelicalism and sometimes a friendly critique is helpful, I want to push back on this critique, point out the flaws of Olasky’s review, and substantiate how Baucham defends the faith and calls out names in a biblically consistent manner.

The Biblical Pattern of “Naming Names”

All throughout the Scripture, we see a pattern of naming names in various contexts. This practice is used to warn the faithful about deceitful schemes, devilish doctrines, and divisive people. When we read the New Testament, we find that Jesus called out the names of the Pharisees and Herod (subsequently calling out the Herodians) in Mark 8:14–21. Jesus was issuing a warning to his disciples regarding their false teaching and sinful practices.

Jesus warned the church at Ephesus of the Nicolaitans. He demanded those who hold to their teachings to repent or suffer the wrath of God (Rev 2:6; 15–16). Once again, we see that Jesus calls out names and warns his church of devilish schemes.

We must recall that Jesus was mistaken for John the Baptist, who also named names. In his public preaching ministry, John the Baptist called out Herod for committing adultery with his brother’s wife. It’s apparent that John the Baptist was a judgment preacher—warning people of their sin and impending doom (Luke 3:19).

Paul also named names of divisive people in his letters—including both enemies of the cross to avoid and brothers and sisters who need to be corrected in love. In his second letter to Timothy (2 Tim 4:14), Paul writes the following:

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

It’s apparent that Paul wanted Timothy to know of this evil man and how he had greatly opposed the work of the gospel—bringing injury to Paul.

Paul warned Timothy of two men who had made shipwreck of their faith and gone as far as blaspheming God. Paul writes the following in 1 Timothy 1:20: “Among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Paul was not pulling punches when it came to those who attacked the gospel or divided God’s church.

In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul named two women, Euodia and Syntyche, who had apparently been the cause of the division in the church. Much of what Paul labors to correct in his letter to the church was caused by their division. In this case, Paul calls the names of sisters in the Lord who needed to be corrected.

Paul likewise rebuked the church at Corinth (see 1 Cor. 5) by pointing an intense spotlight upon an unnamed man who had been committing adultery with his father’s wife. Perhaps Paul didn’t know the exact name of the man, but the entire church did know his name. Paul rebuked the church and called for them to act swiftly in church discipline.

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