Monthly Archives: January 2009

Seven Thoughts on Blogging About Controversy

Lord knows there are plenty of issues in the modern church today ripe for criticism, satire and correction. Sometimes they’re not only ripe, they’re even fruitful. However, this is not usually the case. From my own meditations on how to approach criticism on the blogosphere, here’s my list of seven things to consider when blogging about issues. These were originally written by me, to me, so the “you” is meant to include me before it does anyone else. I know I haven’t always kept my own advice, but if I’m going to write in this medium at all, I want to wrestle with out how to do it in a Christ-honoring way. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Pray for the problem/issue/ministry you have a concern with before doing anything else. If this isn’t your primary response, I can almost guarantee the criticism you’re about to level is just self-congratulation in disguise.

2. Quit trying to prove that everyone you disagree with is a false teacher. The only reason you work so hard to make them sound apostate is that otherwise you’d be accused of being divisive. This is because you are.

3. Make sure you realize that when you criticize the “modern American church”, everyone in the world except you considers you to be part of it. This is because you are.

4. If there is a specific ministry/individual you want to lambast by name, you probably shouldn’t. If you decide to anyway, you ought to e-mail them first in order to try to set up a time for an interview with someone from the organization, at which you can present your concerns to them. If they don’t have time to meet with you, it’s probably because they’re out ministering to people while you’re trying to set up an interview so that you can lambast them on your blog. If your priorities still seem in line with the gospel after all this, then you definitely shouldn’t post the criticism. Otherwise, go ahead.

5. Satire is fantastic, but only if you appreciate being satirized. If you consider beating people over the head with a stick to be an expression of love, you better say “thank you” when someone takes the cudgel to your own skull.

6. If you quote more Scripture on your blog trying to prove people wrong than you do praising God and encouraging people to love him, you might be abusing the Bible. This is kind of a big deal, and is probably grounds for someone to write a nasty blog post about you. Why don’t you beat them to it.

7. The church’s sin is your sin. Evangelicalism’s failings are your failings. “People who don’t understand the gospel” is another way of saying “you and everybody else.” Grace means that Jesus saves, loves and uses people who are doctrinally wrong, sin-sick and prone to wander. Like you. Especially you. Amen.

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My Two Cents of Ray Boltz

I was pondering the recent announcement by Ray Boltz that he is gay. I don’t think it’s possible for a human being to read the interview he gave and not ache with empathy for the man, whether you agree with some of his current theology or not. Since lots of people on the blogosphere are discussing things, I just wanted to post my two cents.

Cent #1: All other concerns aside, I think that the story is a huge inditement of how evangelicalism handles gays. And I don’t mean in the present. While only the Lord knows the future, if there had been a church (and a Christian recording industry) which was willing to walk with sinners on the hard road of grace rather than simply condemning them, this probably wouldn’t have gone down in the same way. Since there was no place within the body for Boltz to openly reveal his struggles, he was forced to deal with them by himself, which is not the way Scripture wants it to be. Obviously, I have no desire to condone a practicing homosexual lifestyle as something which Scripture doesn’t condemn. Nonetheless, sin and temptation are constant challenges for the Christian, and they are meant to be dealt with in community. The fact that openly confessing where he was at years ago would have endangered his place both in the church and in the “Christian” music industry is a good indicator that both of them are miles away from teaching people the gospel of God’s grace to sinners.

Cent #2: A ton of people seem to be saying things like “I’ll never use his songs again for worship” or even “I guess I can’t listen to his music anymore.” This is patently absurd. Granted, there might be some hard questions as to whether they are appropriate for certain liturgical settings, but then again I’m inclined to think that his songs didn’t really stylistically belong there anyway (whole nother discussion.) That said, the idea that we can’t listen to, and even glorify God through, his music is completely unbiblical. Let’s face it: when part of the book of Proverbs is clearly based on Egyptian wisdom literature and both David and Solomon, inspired authors of the bible, lived their whole lives in adulterous relationships with dozens of women, we should think twice before leveling the cannons on someone like Ray Boltz. God’s truth is always true, and he often uses sinful vessels to articulate it in order to show his sovereign power all the more fully. If Ray Boltz says true things about God and His gospel in his music, praise the Lord all the more that he uses sinners to speak His truth.

We should be moved to compassion for this man and repentance at the fact that our own corporate sin patterns are in part responsible for his stumbling. I don’t want to justify him in any way, but it should be noted that God does justify men just like him. You and I are some of them.

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