I am becoming concerned about something that is going on at Christian blogsites which seems, to me, to be defeating the advancement of Truth and godliness. It has to do with the tone and words of many commenters.
I have been asked several times why I don’t open a comment page. The main reason is lack of time to read and answer them. However, I also found in the past, in answering emails, that many people pretend they want to hear the Truth of God’s Word, but when it is given to them, as straight-forward yet as kindly as I can do so, they really can’t swallow it. Therefore, it has proved to be somewhat of a waste of time. This doesn’t include everyone, but –sadly, most.
People can read the Word of God for themselves. They can research for themselves. We live in an age where we are abundantly privileged with the means by which to find answers to our questions with the click of a few keys. Now, I agree, a lot out there is silly and false, but there’s also a ton that is true and good. All it takes is a little effort, and when we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, He will do so.
It’s true that sometimes when I come across a blogsite that I sense is written by someone who is being taught by the Spirit of the Lord, I likely do want to interact or tell the person I appreciate their writings. One such person is “Brother D” over at: http://christianitynotchurchianity.blogspot.com/
I have been reading most of his posts since about the middle of ’09, and I believe him to be one who walks and communes with the Lord. I found his site while researching the apostasy of the church, but his writings about faith, trust, and patience have proved invaluable to me on some low days. And once again, though I did not read it until today (3/21/10), he has said some things on his 3/18/10 posting exactly along the lines of what the Lord has been saying to me too this week, especially about the importance of focusing on our own walk of righteousness rather than church apostasy. So I encourage everyone to read it. Besides, he seems to have that admirable ability to be humble, while at the same time, firm in his convictions.
That quality is what I find to be lacking at many Christian blogs, sometimes from the authors or moderators, but mostly from the commenters. And this is why I’ve so far hesitated to open up a comment line. For, from what I’ve seen, many commenters appear to be individuals who are looking for a platform to voice their opinions in order to sound cute, smart, witty, or clever. These are wrong motives. We should expect to be listened to, at least at a site considered to be about Christianity and Truth, only if we have something worthwhile to say that will benefit others. Otherwise, there should be no reason to speak. Chatting is not for Christians sitting at tables of theological discussion. (That should be saved for bike rides through the tulips.)
Scripture does give us commands about chatting, as well as about meaningless talk, quarreling, mocking, and speaking falsely. So it’d behoove us all to then watch carefully what we say and write –always.
2 Tim. 2:16 says, “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” And let’s note that the context, including the verse right before (v. 15) and right after (v.17), refers to teachings about the Word of God. In other words, it isn’t warning us about chatter in regards to other religions, health, politics, etc., but about The Truth. (v. 18)
“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law [God’s instructions], because these are unprofitable and useless.” (Titus 3:9) We are to meet together to “spur one another on to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24), as well as to preach the Word, equipping each other with sound doctrine unto good works. (2 Tim. 3:17-4:3) –In order to “correct, rebuke and encourage –with great patience and careful [not quarrelsome] instruction.” (4:2)
Some commenters think it is okay to mock, and even admit they believe this. However, God’s Word says it is not okay and deems such a person as “arrogant… behaving with overweening pride.” (See Prov. 21:24) Isa. 29:20 says, “mockers will disappear”, while Hosea 7:5 says, “…he joins hands with the mockers” –speaking of liars, adulterers, and drunks. (v. 3-5) Ps. 1:1 says blessed is the one who does not sit (or converse) with mockers, while Prov. 22:10 says, “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.”
Upholding the Truth of the Gospel is again what is being referenced in 1 Tim. 1:6,7, “Some have wandered away from these [love, a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith –v. 5] and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law [God’s Word], but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” In fact, it often seems that those who swirl and splash their opinions around with great flare, aggression, and that air of superiority, are those this passage is giving warning to.
No one is qualified to be God’s servant unless he communes with God. No one is qualified to proclaim The Truth unless he is absorbed in the Word of God, which is The Truth. No one is qualified to give the rest of us theological answers unless he is abiding in Jesus, The Truth, and His teachings. No one is qualified to insist they have the correct doctrines when they are not walking in the Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
This practice of surfing sites and depositing mere opinions is not commendable. 1 John 2:6 says, “If we claim to live in Him we must walk as Jesus did.” And as my friend, Carl, another street-preacher, said today in his message, Jesus’ life was devoted to one thing: To seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) And as Carl pointed out, since He commands us, “Come, follow Me” (Matt. 4:19), then these two verses add up to this: Our lives are to be devoted also to seeking and saving the lost. Yet truly, all this internet chatter is doing very little of that. Instead, much of it hinders the Gospel.
Chatter hinders the Gospel because it diverts our focus. We turn from the sincere faith, from love, from Christ-likeness, and become sucked into quarrels. Yet 2 Tim. 2:23-25 says, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct..” Firm gentleness is commendable, not angry tones full of mockery and aggression.
Chatter… quarrels… mockery… slander… aggressive or mean-spirited argument… –this is not our calling. Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the Good News. That may include exposing error, sin, false doctrines, and naming the names of those who promote such, but once it is warned about, to continue with unnecessary talk about it, is only to indulge in unwholesome talk and slander –both strictly forbidden many places in Scripture (–just one being Col. 3:8.) In fact, Scripture says that Hell is the destiny of all slanderers. So indeed, it is strange that those who get so furious over the sin of adultery and homosexuality, do not get angry about their own sin of slander. –Even though 1 Cor. 6:9,10 lumps them all together as the practices of the wicked who won’t inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus condemns slander and unclean talk right alongside murder and sexual immorality in Matt. 15:18,19. He teaches, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’…” and then He lists those things. Besides this, the context is about blind guides (v. 14) –those teachers of the law (v. 1) and Pharisees (v. 12)– and all others who “worship [God]… in vain… [having] teachings [that] are but rules taught by men.” (v. 9)
And again, in Matt. 12:34, Jesus condemns evil speakers. “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Many people apparently think it is heroic to be able to one-up someone else through their supposed intellectual talk, but there is a big difference between these two things:
1. Stating Truth
2. Making frivolous, mocking, argumentative, insulting, angry, or rude comments
Even rebukes are to be done as respectfully as possible. That doesn’t mean “sweet”, but it does mean “cordial”. I’m certainly not one to tip-toe around the feelings of those who are in the wrong, because otherwise they may not wake up and change. However, we are not to exemplify that we are innately better than someone else. Unfortunately, I find this to be a wide-spread attitude among “Christians” –this smug, elitist view of oneself. And it is coming from at least two camps: 1) The IHOP types of Mike Bickle and friends, whose doctrine promotes that they themselves will eventually slaughter the unrighteous for Christ’s sake, and 2) from Calvinists who believe they are of the elite predestined chosen who can despise, along with God, the lost who were born to be reprobates worthy of eternal torture.
But all these wicked attitudes need to go… –need to be repented of. Because it is showing up in those commenting at blogsites where Jesus is supposedly said to be honored. And it is a foul witness –for certainly Truth-seekers, or those still weak in the faith, are reading it. And since they cannot distinguish talk coming from one having the Spirit and one who does not, they may be led astray, or into discouragement or cynicism against Christ. This is why I worry that these many commenters are defeating the advancement of Truth and Christ-likeness, even while they think they are doing the opposite.
Col. 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Yes, salt stings, but we are to apply it gracefully –with the other person’s best interests at heart. And we are to continually “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) so that we will know exactly how to answer everyone –as well as when to walk away. (Titus 3:10)
As God says in Jer. 23:22, “But if they had stood in My counsel, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.”
And Jesus’ words again –in Matt. 12:35-37, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So….. words are no light matter. Neither is the heart condition from whence the words come.