If you look out on the web, you’ll find a whole category of bloggers (you know who you are) who are self-appointed “defenders of the truth.” Every religion has got them and Christians are no exception.
They feel it’s their job to expose the charlatans and heretics among us. They cite Bible verses that instruct us to exercise discernment. People whose views don’t match up with their Bible verses get brought up on charges of heresy.
But there is a problem with their method. Yes, we need discernment. We need to be able to sift the wheat from the chaff. The problem is, it’s very hard to “speak the truth in love” from the comfort of our living rooms a thousand miles from the human being whose views we disagree with.
Blog comment wars
If our calling card as followers of Jesus is the quality of our love, then we need to find ways to disagree while still loving. Fighting blog comment wars in the name of discernment does not do Jesus and his followers justice. Expressing negative views in snarky or sarcastic asides is just as bad.
I was reading a blogger this morning who was finding fault with Heidi Baker. He asserted that she didn’t make disciples. He used something she said as proof. Jesus said we should judge people by their fruit. So I want to ask, has this blogger critic ever flown to Mozambique and seen the fruit of Heidi Baker’s ministry?
From the safety of his computer screen in America, it’s possible to take one of her quotes out of context and bring her up on charges as a cult figure. But go to Mozambique (as dozens of our teams have) and you’ll see the discipleship school she and her husband Roland have founded. You’ll see how they carefully study the Scriptures. You’ll see the thousands of churches they’ve planted. You’ll hear the testimonies of blind people whose eyes were miraculously healed.
You may counter, “Well, the devil can pose as an angel of light.” But what if the fruit looks like Jesus? What if the fruit is love, changed relationships and changed communities? And are you willing to have your own fruit inspected first?
What to do with concerns
Let’s say God has given me concerns about another person, what should I do? How can I best help the body of Christ? Let me suggest that it’s not by writing a blog post. The best thing to do is to try to talk to the person who is in error or to the people to whom they are accountable.
In 2 Timothy 2:14
, Paul warns against “quarreling about words.” He says, “it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” The passage goes on to say, “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25
These guardians of the truth mean well, but their words ruin those who listen. Ultimately, their own fruit is not what they intend. They hope to protect the sanctity of the truth, but instead, they prove to the world that Christians are just as divisive as anyone else. Worse yet, they look like hypocrites who say that they stand for love, but whose actions don’t display love. They align themselves not with Jesus, but with his opponents, the Pharisees.
I have Christian friends who are divisive. If you were to inspect their lives, you would find a trail of broken relationships behind them. They mean well, but it’s likely they do more harm than good. I’ve been that guy sometimes and have repented. I’ve vowed to watch my words.
When they bury me, I don’t want people saying, “He sure was right a lot.” I’d rather they remark on how well I loved.