My rant: So all kinds of people have blogged about the Whiteboard Sessions, most all have been positive, but a few have ripped some of the speakers (including me). I have two thoughts on this:
1. As far as ripping an individual speaker or, more specifically, me: I really don’t care. If compliments or criticism mattered to me, I think that would show that I don’t really understand the gospel. I know I don’t fully understand the gospel, but I do well enough to not care what people say about me.
So it doesn’t bother me, but it does totally puzzle me. I just don’t get it. I’ve gone to conferences and heard speakers I didn’t enjoy, but it has never occurred to me to post negative things about them. What’s the point of that? Who is it helping? Does it make the person doing it feel big and powerful that they can sit at their computer and put other people down? I mean, do you seriously not have anything better to do?
But, more important, is what I perceive as just a blatant disregard for God’s Word. These bloggers have no problem ripping preachers they don’t like or agree with, but is that what the bible teaches us to do?!? Amongst the many verses that pop into my head is Jude:9, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
The archangel Michael didn’t dare to slander the devil, but these guys have no hesitation slandering pastors. Nice, very nice.
And don’t we learn from Paul what to do when there’s a preacher we don’t agree with? He wrote: Philippians 1:15, It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Paul rejoiced that guys were preaching Christ, even from false motives. But these bloggers trash guys who are preaching Christ with true motives, just because they employ a different methodology…. C’mon. Seriously?
2. My bigger issue, though, is categorizing preachers. This just really gets under my skin. These bloggers write things like, “At Whiteboard, the gospel guys were great, but the culture guys…” And, “The emergents weren’t really represented…”And, “The bible guys at the conference were centered on God, while the church growth guys were typically focused on …”
That’s what we’re going to do? Divide up the church world into tribes and groups? Maybe we should have gang fights? I’m sure God would be in favor of that… Oh, wait a second, I seem to remember something in the bible about this, what is it? Oh yeah: 1 Corinthians 1:10, I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided?
And, oh wait, didn’t Jesus pray for “complete unity” in the church (Jn 17:23)? And I seem to remember something God told us about how the purpose of leaders in the church is to bring the church to unity (Eph 4:1-13).
So that’s my rant. Here’s my plea: Let’s not be like that! If you enjoy a speaker, fine, share it if you want. If you don’t like what some guy has to say or the way he says it, keep it to yourself. No one cares about your stupid opinion and we’re not impressed with your gift of criticism. Instead, how about we dare not bring a slanderous accusation against anyone? How about we rejoice that Christ is preached? How about we work on their being no divisions among us and being perfectly united in mind and thought? How about we take the bible seriously and actually do what it says?
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