Soft and effeminate Christianity hides behind lofty and ethereal theology...
This is an excerpt from Horatius Bonar's God's Way of Holiness. Much here that is helpful to men and women of God. Read carefully, to the very end. It's packed with meat. Paragraphing is mine. (TB, w/thanks to Tim C. by way of Matt B.)
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"The man who knows that he is risen with Christ, and has set his affection on things above, will be a just, trusty, ingenuous, unselfish, truthful man. He will “add to [his] faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7). He will seek not to be “barren nor unfruitful.” “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report” (Phil 4:8), these he will think upon and do.
"For there is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology...
"It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evils, under the pretext that it is not of this world. It does not shrink from giving honest reproof, lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit. It calls sin “sin,” on whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not discharge an explicit duty.
"Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm. The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity. It is a betrayal of the cause of truth and righteousness. If anyone should be frank, manly, honest, cheerful (I do not say blunt or rude, for a Christian must be courteous and polite), it is he who has tasted that the Lord is gracious, and is looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.
"I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit. Crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.
"I know also that in this world we shall be evil spoken of, and that it is hopeless to attempt to answer every charge. But let us not suffer an accusation to lie upon us, under the pretext that God will take care of our good name, when perhaps the secret reason was that there was some foundation for the evil report against us, and that our good name had better not be brought to a too public test. Let us clear ourselves when the opportunity presents or the occasion demands. It is not wrong to be jealous of our good name, and to answer frankly the fair questionings of friend or foe. It will be time enough to suffer martyrdom when we are actually tied to the stake. It is foolish and feeble to try to become martyrs before the time.
"Paul met accusations bravely, and would not allow his good to be evil spoken of (Acts 28:17; 2 Cor 8:20,21; 11:9; 12:18,19). Our Reformers met their slanderers bravely and, though they could not stay the pen of the defamer, yet furnished materials for vindicating themselves and their cause most amply. There was only One who was dumb as a sheep before her shearers, who answered not a word; and He was silent because the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and to be made of “no reputation” was one part of the penalty He was enduring."