Last night, we were stuck inside due to snow on the east coast. I really do enjoy those mandatory relaxation evenings every once in a while throughout the winter months.
Unfortunately, the surplus of time allowed for some internet browsing. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I happened onto some disheartening blogs, through the magic of Google. If you read my blog at all, you probably know that I thoroughly enjoy the ministries of several different people. People who do not necessarily agree on everything or as I like to say–they are in different “camps.” I am not at all referring to people who would deny Jesus is the only way to heaven, but rather have different convictions of the Holy Spirit, i.e. women pastors, gifts of the Spirit, mega-church vs. multi-site, Calvinist vs. Baptist, worship styles, preaching styles, etc. This post is by no means trying to start a discussion on any of those things, rather, to express how sad my heart was yesterday as I read and heard (by podcast) brothers and sisters attack others in the family of Christ.
Honestly, I had begun to see a positive shift in some of these things–a cross-over of sorts between the different “camps.” I began to heavily respect those who gladly joined others (again–those with whom they didn’t necessarily agree on everything) to accomplish the work of Christ. For instance, Mark Driscoll speaking at Rick Warren’s Radicalis Conference. Or Rick Warren speaking at John Piper’s Desiring God Conference. Or Steven Furtick speaking at Jentezen Franklin’s Forward Conference. Or Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll being very close friends. I could certainly share many more instances, but I’ll refrain. (I apologize if these names are foreign to you, but the point of the post still remains.)
I googled a very well-known Christian teacher’s name last night and was honestly heart-broken over the slander. I do not plan to reveal either the person’s name or the site I visited–so you can just let your mind keep wondering! 🙂 I know this person’s teaching, writing, speaking extremely well and I found myself articulating defenses for him/her. The Lord has used this person greatly in my life and I was hugely offended in his/her honor.
This same blogger/teacher/reviewer was an equal opportunity judge, that’s for sure. He had plenty of posts filled with names of well-known Christian “celebrities”–ALL with whom he had issue. His demeaning sarcasm, harsh critique, and hurtful words were despicable. To be fair, these were not all people of whom I’m a fan. This post is not a response to my hurt feelings for certain people. I just witnessed such dissension and hostility for people whom Scripture calls this man’s family through the blood of Christ.
Today however, I believe God gave me a gift in a 2008 post by John Piper on Desiring God’s blog. Click and read it. Here is a godly man who certainly does not agree with fundamentalism, but he understands that he needs to be loving and gracious. He knows he is not Jesus, nor even the Apostle Paul. John Piper is a man I can trust, not simply because of his doctrine, but also how he responds to those who do not agree with him. The blogger may have 300% biblically-accurate doctrine, but I would never consider his leadership, simply because of the way he chooses to deal with others. Pray that God would convict his heart of any sin in this area.
I am certainly not saying that we don’t need to be cautious and discerning toward what we are being taught, nor am I saying that we cannot or should not have deep convictions. I am not even saying that we should not express disagreements. My point is that in spite of our differences, we still need to love and respect our brothers and sisters in Christ, to the glory of God our Father. I honor Dr. Piper, that above all, he wants to glorify Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for his godly example.