Polemics Term: Once Wrong, Twice Angry


You might have heard the term, “One bitten, twice shy” (or “One burned, twice shy”). This phrase is regarding when something or someone has hurt you once, you tend to avoid that thing or person. it is something that you say which means when you have had an unpleasant experience you are much more careful to avoid similar experiences in the future.

A spin on that expression in polemics is “Once wrong, twice angry.” There is a phenomenon of human nature when one is provenly, demonstrably wrong about something, to get angrier at the one who was right, rather than to be contrite and admit their own error. When the source is mentioned in the future, they still hold anger and resentment toward the correct party in that previous argument, and in fact, are even angrier than they were before they were proven wrong (hence, “twice angry”).


Kofi Adu-Boahen – a former blogger at Pulpit & Pen – defended Carl Lentz based upon the testimony from Saiko Woods that Lentz was taken off guard by revelations of gay choir directors at his church, and that he Biblically “dealt with it.” After that heated exchange between P&P and those defending Lentz (including Adu-Boahen) was over, Pulpit & Pen released the “smoking gun” post of Brian Houston acknowledging (and supporting) the gay choir directors at Lentz’ church the previous year. Adu-Boahen, instead of acknowledging that he was demonstrably wrong, has become an outspoken critic against polemics ministries, instead of contritely recognizing his own error.

Tom Buck – a pastor in Texas – once complained endlessly about the social progressiveness of Karen Swallow Prior – an ERLC Research fellow, professor and writer. Eventually, Buck issued an apology to Prior and issued attacks upon Pulpit & Pen. When Prior went on to claim that abortion was not murder and that calling abortion murder was unchristlike (P&P argued from the beginning she was soft on abortion), instead of admitting his error, Buck became even angrier at Pulpit & Pen and began to criticize polemics ministries even more fervently. While not being able to affirm Prior’s comments on abortion, his attacks on polemics ministries only intensified.


Instead of repentance (or admitting error, if it’s not a matter of sin), it is a natural (and wrong) reaction to just get angry.

Proverbs 12:16 says, “A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”

Often times, those who are proven demonstrably wrong about a discernment matter will then spend great time and effort trying to find anything wrong – not matter how small an issue – that the discernment ministry may say or write about, trying to “settle the score.” For the rest of time, so it seems, some people will be the perceive ministry of discernment instead of just humbly accepting that they were wrong about a particular matter.

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