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Beware Indoctrination

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 15:4 ESV

Indoctrination. Nasty word. When I hear it, it congers up visions of small school children marching into a communist classroom to hear propaganda akin to fantasy. The word carries me down to a South American country where hundreds drank the Kool-Aid of deception and died at the hands of a man named Jim Jones. Forced brainwashing is the bread and butter of indoctrination. It promises free thinking, but it is quickly replaced by the pressure to embrace the information presented, else we appear slow or stupid.

But proselytization also, in a milder form, leaves in my mouth the sour taste of a constant pressure to believe as others do about whatever floats their boat at any given moment. There is nothing wrong with holding positions, but when they are being jammed down our throats, we instantly choke. The experience ruins relationships because those who will not take no for an answer persist ad nauseum. Thus, the game of baiting begins. Subtle attempts to broach the doctrine by picking at the victim with innuendos and challenges. I want to cry out, “If you’re so sure of your position, why the need of my approval.” That is the feeling I get from those who hold a particular position, that they believe to be biblical, and feel it is their duty to deliver me from my ignorance.

We, who know Christ, should share truth, but we must never seek to force our viewpoints on others. This is not only true concerning evangelism, but also within the fellowship of believers. Let each man be at peace with what he believes. If your position is strong, then quietly display the glory of Jesus. You may win your brother to your way of thinking, but you won’t do it with stubborn arrogance. If your brother is wrong, then let the Lord show him. Our responsibility is not to push our positions, good men have differed for thousands of years, and yet, have achieved peace together. It is our responsibility to love our brother in Christ. No one has ever been won over in a debate, but many a relationship has been injured by the constant pressure of indoctrination. When friendships are left to hang on the thin thread of opinions they cease to exist.

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