In research, and reading, I’ve discovered a lot of attack going on (some resolved) in blogworld. So, as Christians, how are we to handle our blogs and what we say in defense of the faith? I must admit, I probably could have thought about this BEFORE I started my personal blogging life in 2001. I try to keep most situations anonymous when it comes to people I have actually met. I must be careful in how I handle disagreements with pastors I personally know. I do believe I’ve assessed situations correctly, but admit that it’s often easy to misunderstand someone’s intent, mishear a statement, or someone may have misspoke and would never mean what was heard. So, some things I’ve written here about my pastors at my old church have been kept anonymous because I would hate for people to leave the church because I said something misrepresenting them in some way. So, as to blogs, I think putting a name to a critique is dangerous and must be carefully handled. If I put a name on here (of someone I know personally) you will know I really believe the person is doing such terrible damage to the body of Christ, they need to be revealed. (This means in recent days…early on I may have put a name out there but I hope not).
As to bigger public figures like Hybels, Bell, Warren, and the like…I say we can critique their books, their sermons, their writings openly online. I know none of these people (or other published writers/publically known pastors I’ve written of here). I do not intend to judge whether or not they know Christ from their actions unless something becomes public. I will judge, however, if their writings/sermons are in line with what I see in scripture or if they are in line with falsehood or some other religious practice. The tricky thing these days is the lies are subtle. I often wonder if the person preaching them is not even remotely aware of the lie. They actually believe it based on the fact that they love the person they learned it from.
It’s very tangly out here, in blogland. Who do you believe out here? It’s important to consider this. I am still sifting through what I believe about the ministries I’ve been questioning. I began questioning these ministries when I didn’t like the effect they had in my church. I later found critiques online in other ministries. I believed some of those, and now have to continually see if I believe them also. It can be very confusing. Even if the critiques are correct in pointing out false doctrine, I worry when I see labels and namecalling…though I also am tempted and have created labels of my own for some groups. Is it okay, to label. People were called a “brood of vipers” and other choice phrases in the Bible, only of course, after they proved themselves to be against Christ.
What I see in blogland, to be honest, is a lot of anger toward the dumbing down of Christianity, the replacement of Christian doctrine with immitation, and the shift of many churches to follow some prominent pastors’ plans for the church. There is an anger because there are those who claim to be following Christ on a spiritual journey who are not Christians (and wouldn’t use that term anyway) and who deny basic doctrine such as the return of Christ physically or of hell in the afterlife. It’s not an anger toward a different religion altogether, but an anger toward people who have gotten notice as insiders who are shifting the church in one direction or another away from biblical doctrine. There is also an anger toward the plans and visions of man that some are claiming are from God. Speaking out against this is fine. What is hard, is knowing if the names applied are accurate.
Those who critique or who watch and warn need to spend time in careful thought as they are writing. I need to learn this. Think, is what you are writing true? Is what you are writing clear? If you don’t have clear evidence, do you word things in such a way so your readers know you are speculating at the moment? I hope to learn properly how to make accurate charges, how to make clear when I am speculating and when I am pointing out another’s error.
This is overwhelming to me sometimes. I just began this to record my experience in my church. I never intended to read what I’ve read, to have to let go of so much man has written, and to see what I see now. I always feel I need to recheck myself to see if what I’m believing is true.