My final post of 2004 was “‘Judgmental Christians’ and The Way of Christ for 2005,” wherein I wondered if we Christians were more defined by our judging the lost than by our service of others in the name of the Lord. While I believe it is one thing to cling to Truth, it is quite another to cling to Truth AND serve others in love. When we only do the first part well, being labeled “judgmental” is rightly applied; we function as the holder of the lifebuoy, but refuse to throw it to the unworthy.
As they say at other blogs, read the whole thing.
I believe that 2005 saw no improvement to what I blogged about in the post above. We are still highly judgmental. We continue to judge the lost, people who lack the moral compass Christ provides. Frankly, that’s a waste. It’s like working at an orange grove in Florida and wondering why the trees there don’t yield cherries.
Because of this, I believe that the Godblogosphere recognized that judging the lost was a waste of online time. I don’t know if we bloggers took our judging the lost completely offline or not, but I noticed that online the rants diminished. I still see plenty of non-blogged Christian handwringing over what the heathens are doing. Lots of press releases from Christian organizations talking about the next new perversity to rise in the ranks of the perverted, but still no real service in love to those same people—at least none of the kind that Jesus exhibited in His earthly ministry to prostitutes, cheats, liars, crooks, and sinners of all flavors. We talk about Jesus Our Model, but we still don’t really serve or love like He did.
What happened in the Godblogosphere this year, however, was a reconcentrating of our judgmental ire on each other, not only on other Christians in general, but other Christian bloggers specifically. While I’m amused at the timing of many of the wars that broke out after I stepped out of my blogging shoes for a few days (only to return to chaos in the Godblogosphere), I was consistently disheartened by the level of attacks and the sheer unwillingness of opponents to listen and seriously ponder what each side was saying. Sometimes, we don’t even hear the acid in our own words even as we’re running a litmus test on what the other side just uttered.
More than anything else, it seems that 2005 was characterized by witch hunts and finger pointing. I can’t believe how many times I blogged on this issue, but a few posts come to mind:
- Let’s Play “Spot the Heretic!” Soon everyone will be a heretic.
Witch Hunt questions our willingness to so easily find fault in other Christians. Arrogance, Ignorance, and “I Don’t Know.” wonders why so few are willing to say “I don’t know.”
Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, We’re Not Listening! asks why the traditional church and emerging church are so unwilling to listen to each other’s criticisms while also examining their own faults.
On Consigning Enemies of Christ to Hell asks why it is so easy to condemn others, but so hard to help them grow in Christ.
Tearing Down the Gallows calls for a greater willingness to correct others in true Christian love.
Has the Christian Blogosphere Lost Its Collective Mind? questions the Christian blogosphere’s cannibalistic practice of consuming its own in a fit of pique.
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is a cautionary tale of judging God’s timetable in working out His perfect will in other believers’ lives.
I hate to sound like a Christian version of Rodney King, but “can’t we all just get along?” And if the rift is so wide that getting along isn’t possible, can’t we at least treat each other humanely? Let the secular bloggers resort to vitriol. Our default mode is supposed to be love, not acid-throwing. It is possible to disagree without beating each other over the heads with a baseball bat. The teams in an NHL battle may check someone into the boards with enough fury to crack Plexiglases, but the two teams still shake hands at the end.
For 2006, it is my wish that all of us Godbloggers consent to the following when dealing with those whose views differ from ours: Love, lisitle=
5 thoughts on “A Look Back at “Judgmental Christians…””
You realize, of course, that some are going to read your post and judge you for being judgmental of those you find judgmental. Sadly, we are known more for our divisiveness than our unity and charity.
I’m talking about all the “other people,” not you and me. That goes without saying, eh?
I do agree that we can all do better at the way we defend the truth and confront error. Too often I’ve seen people jump to conclusions about someone’s eternal destiny, etc. I think there needs to be more charity along those lines. For example, Dan and I are on two opposite ends of the theological spectrum, and I find myself disagreeing with him A LOT. But I very much consider him to be a brother in Christ, and I’m guessing that he regards me the same.
What’s disturbing to me however, is that truth and doctrine often get sacrificed on the altar of love and unity these day. It’s interesting, some of these quotes from dead guys:
Writing more than 150 years ago in “Warnings to the churches” , J.C. Ryle said: “we live in an age when men profess to dislike dogmas and creeds, and are filled with a morbid dislike to controversial theology. He who dares to say of one doctrine that ‘it is true,’ and of another that ‘it is false,’ must expect to be called narrow-minded and uncharitable, and to lose the praise of men … The danger is real, great, and unmistakable. Never was it so needful to say, ‘Be not carried about (with divers and strange doctrines)’”
And Martin Luther who said:
“Cursed be any love or unity for whose sake the Word of God must be put at stake“.
We have to find a way to stop slaying doctrine and truth every time we see that there is a lack of love and unity. It’s not meant to be an either/or proposition. Another one from Ryle: “He that is not zealous against error, is not likely to be zealous for truth“. Let’s love each other, but lets also love His Word, and remember that Christ is the Truth, and not just the Way and the Life.
That said though, I’m going to work harder in 2006 at not being as “emotionally charged” as I sometimes get in my writings, when I see someone spreading a horrible biblical error.
Well, someone has to take the hit, right? Might as well be me.
Many people who are judgmental are also very discerning. We need people like that. I only hope that their discernment is informed by love. I think that makes all the difference.
You and I agree more than you might imagine. I’m with you on about 95% of what you write on your blog. And I agree with what your quotes above said, too.
I guess where I might differ is that I know that most people who are wrong about something theologically are almost never 100% wrong in ALL their theology. Sometimes there is something useful in what they have to say in other areas that doesn’t get as much press as the contentious issues. I’m certainly no fan of emergng church theology, for instance, but they do have a good read on the necessity of Christian involvement in the arts community that has gone largely ignored in the rest of the Christian faith. Even then, emerging church supporters can go overboard on that topic, too, but at least I think that many who call themselves Emergent have a better grasp of how arts reflect the Faith and vice versa.
That’s one instance I can think of that reflects my willingness to learn something from them while spitting out the junk. As long as I know where the junk is—that’s the key part. You’ve got to know what is right in the first place. Where people get in trouble is in not knowing what is right.
Anyway, thanks for the post Jim.
Though we’re worlds apart in our view of God, I do still come to read what you’re saying. Although there is much here I don’t agree with, it’s OK… I still find coming here rewarding in some way. And, this post was excellent! Thanks