Sunday, July 3, 2016

Accept One Another

Many years ago I had a blog called Emergent No.  The entire purpose of the blog was to call out false teaching and false teachers within what was then called the Emergent Church movement. The motivation behind that of course, was to prevent young/new believers from being caught up in a form of evangelical teaching that wasn't actually Biblical but more culture-centric at best, and mysticism at worst. In the beginning of that blog there were three contributors including myself, and my pastor and husband and friends were 100% aware of it and supportive of it (as were many "big name" evangelical bloggers at the time - I think almost all of them linked to EN for a while, anyway). At first it was good, and then it all went into the toilet pretty quick.

My own church (not with my pastor's approval) began latching on to some of the things coming out of the movement, and before long they actually showed my pastor and his dear wife the door.  Many of us were in an utter state of shock and disappointment, and that's a great understatement. Several families left that church not long after the pastor did and eventually, the church itself crumbled into the dust.  Not too long after, even the building that held the church was demolished.  It really sucked the wind out of my sails, on a very personal level and gave me cause to become even more diligent in writing against the teachings coming from this movement.

I don't recall exactly how long that blog was operational.  Before I shut it down I deleted a lot of posts so even the internet archives aren't very reliable but I think it was about 2 years, give or take (2004-2006). Eventually, one of the guys rather involved in the EC movement actually took over the name of the blog (and has never posted, as far as I can tell).

The one thing that caused me to really take a closer look at what I was writing there, was much of what is said here by John Newton.  It's not a long read by any stretch but it's a critical read for anyone who may not even realize how much they're dwelling on the non-essentials when it comes to the Christian faith. Of course this not to say that outright false teaching should not be corrected and rejected but I believe it should be done with grace and truth. While I have always believed that, what I began to notice in my own writing was an awful lack of grace.  What really opened my eyes to it were the numerous comments on each post that were equally graceless but thanking me for the post.  "Do I really sound like that?" I began to ask myself.  Yes, unfortunately I believe I did. I began to feel so convicted I started going back through the archives deleting posts.  I believe at one point I even posted on the blog that this was in fact what I was doing, and why (in case someone had linked to an older post and it was no longer available). The more I deleted, the more I found to delete. Eventually I just had to ask myself questions like "why does this blog even exist?" and "is God glorified by what's being posted here?".  The answers were obvious and it was time to shut it down. That remains one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I thought about all this today as I re-read John Newton's words.  My friend James White re-posted that piece from Monergism on his FB with this comment:

"Please read this short selection! It says so much of what I want to communicate in reference to the unfair, ignorance-based, charity-less attacks upon godly men like Jeff Durbin. So thankful Monergism Books posted this." - source

While I don't really know Jeff Durbin (I know of him, and from what I do know, he's good people with a heart for God and a heart for the lost) I do know unfair, ignorance-based, charity-less attacks when I see them (or hear them).  I heard one just yesterday about this brother and felt kind of nauseated listening to it because it reminded me of the type of thing I used to write at EN. Almost exactly the kind of stuff I used to write. I fully admit I'm ashamed of the charity-less, unfair, grace-less things I used to write but I didn't even see them that way until it was pointed out to me by those who held to the same understanding of the faith and the essentials the way John Newton did.

I purposefully disconnected from the Christian blogging community (and what later turned into the Christian social media community) a few years ago and this was the biggest reason. Cruel, rude, unkind, hyper-critical people throwing others under the bus for whatever reason they deemed bus-toss-worthy.  There are still a few solid folks I follow (and I've found some new folks too) but I think it would do the body well to take a pause and re-read what Newton had to say.  Then maybe step back and examine their own hearts, thoughts, words, and social media accounts.  

It certainly couldn't hurt, right?