In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us a clear protocol to deal with controversies and offenses in the Church. The purpose of this protocol is to protect people from being maligned, misunderstood and unnecessarily hurt. It’s also to protect innocent bystanders from being involved in a controversy they have no knowledge of or desire to be involved in. It was a directive that was born out of love. As Peter taught us in 1 Peter 4:8, love covers. Hate wants to expose, but love covers in order to protect the person as real issues and problems are being confronted and dealt with. One of the problems with our Facebook Culture is a new kind of sinister, even demonic presence that is being accepted and promoted by well meaning Christians in the name of what are known as discernment websites. They create and promote a culture of fear by presenting undocumented and unsupported charges that innocent believers accept as truth. Their message is simple… watch out for these guys because if you listen to them you will be deceived and led into apostasy. Their favorite topics are the emergent church (whatever that is), the one world government (which we know is going to happen per the Bible), the one world religion (that is going to happen, but the Church wont’ be here because we’ve been raptured so nothing to fear), heretics who are leading the church into apostasy like Rick Warren and the Pope and other wild an unsubstantiated claims. They will even show a picture or give a short quote to prove their point.
Here’s the problem. When asked, have you actually sat down and asked Rick Warren or the Pope if they believe what you say they believe the answer is always… NO. Then they will show some news article or facebook post to prove their point… usually posted by another “discernment” guy that hasn’t done their homework. Now, if I were to take their reasoning… I have a picture of Pastor Chuck with Rick Warren and Rick Warren was on the platform with Pastor Chuck. Using their wacked out kind of reasoning, I could say that Pastor Chuck was secretly in collusion with Rick Warren and all Calvary Chapels are simply a front for Rick Warren’s purpose driven money machine and Pastor Chuck must have been receiving money on the side to keep quiet and let this happen. Then I post a picture and click send…. and innocent people who don’t know anything will believe… it must be true.
What I’ve done is I have actually contacted people and asked them up front so I can hear it from their lips. I remember meeting with a pastor who was branded as an emergent false teacher. I wanted to meet one of these guys as they seemed to be so ominous. What I found out is the guy wasn’t emergent at all. He was a mainstream Bible teaching pastor who was invited to speak at a conference about using the arts in worship and from that he was called emergent. The bottom line… these bloggers need to practice responsible journalism and check their sources, get first hand interviews and use the quotes they get first hand to build their case…. not just make assumptions based on a facebook post or a news article.
As someone who has been in the public eye, I know how the “spin” of news stories can take quotes, things you said or done and completely make them say something you never said. I was recently the recipient of such nonsense. I met with a blogger who posted an article written that attacked me and made up information about me based on assumptions the author believed were true based on pictures of events I had attended and articles I curated on my blog. I met with the blogger and I found a brother in Christ who was apologetic for posting something without checking the facts. He also posted an apology but didn’t remove the article. I chatted online with the author of the article, who based on what he shared knows me and has met me but didn’t want to reveal who he was for fear of retaliation. I shared some factual information that he wasn’t privy to and after an honest dialogued he apologized. However, he still believes that parts of what he wrote are true and he continues to contend for the faith and spread misinformation about me.
So if you’re reading these sites… what should you do? Listen to what the Bible says…
Step # 1… stop reading them
Romans 16:17-18 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Step # 2… encourage them to practice Matthew 18 and go to the people they are attacking FIRST before they click send
Matthew 18:15-18 – Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Step # 3… spend your time in the Bible and with Jesus… basically on things that edify and equip you to share the love of God
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Step # 4… protect the unity of the Spirit
Ephesians 4:3-6 – Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Step # 5… recognize who these people really are
Jude 1:16-19 – These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
What do you do if you’re the victim of one of these guys… you can try to talk with them. I believe most of them are sincere in their passion for Jesus and His Church. So I could encourage you to reach out them as I have done. That doesn’t mean they will receive you as a brother and repent. Many times, their own pride keeps them from repenting because the minute they admit an error then they loose their credibility. Hence, as in my case, you get a nice apology but the post stays up. What I have chosen to do is to forgive them and bless them. I pray that Jesus will truly reveal Himself to them. That they will become overwhelmed by God’s love for them. I also have chosen to no longer defend myself against them. Jesus is my defense. I will continue to obey Jesus and focus on what it means to truly contend for the faith and that is to be active in proclaiming the good news that Jesus is Alive and that He desires to save people out of darkness and to bring them into His light. The Lord will judge between me and them. He does a much better job anyhow.
Roxie and I love you!!!
Luke 6:28 (NKJV)
28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.