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Disliking Someone God Might Be Smiling On

I grew up a pastor's son. My father's church, located next to our home, was often used for meetings of pastors belonging to a certain denomination that was passing through considerable theological controversy. Often I would sneak into the church and listen to these pastors vent their frustrations and plot their strategies for upcoming denominational conferences.

The name of one denominational leader was frequently mentioned, and when his name was spoken, it seemed to me, a small boy, as if the Devil himself was being described. Over time that name became associated with all forms of ecclesiastical evil. In my mind he became the anti-Christ, a heretic, and persecutor of all good people (meaning all those who agreed with these pastors and my father).

Years passed, and the boy who overheard those passionate, often hateful, exchanges became a man and a ...

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