In the recent past I’ve attempted to address some of the concerns I’ve had with those who use defending the faith as a conduit to unleash a torrent of scathing attacks in harsh-toned debates and disagreements with those whom they’re in disagreement with. I posted two such admonitions this past year: One was a sermon on combative Calvinists and the other was a short video on pride and defensiveness.
One of the biggest challenges for those engaging in online discussions and debates while defending the Christian faith (and the Doctrines of Grace) is the temptation to be harsh and snarky, and how easy it is to fall into that mindset without even trying.
Thankfully, this detriment-to-the-gospel type of blogging is the exception and not the norm, but even so, it still needs to be addressed.
I am publishing this post as a check for all of us who engage in online apologetics, and pray that this will help to refocus us on the purpose of our blogging.
It would also be of great benefit if we ask others to critically review what we’re writing in posts and in comment threads, and be willing to take their opinions and criticisms with an open and graceful heart.
I seriously want you to take a moment to reflect on whether or not you are one of these venomous bloggers. We must all examine ourselves, our spirit, and our motivations, and the following questions may be a good start:
- Is the vast majority of what you are producing coming from a negative attitude, inciting unnecessary argumentative debates when kinder words would have sufficed and been more effective?
- Is your writing known more for its condescending tone than its content?
- Are your words bitter and acidic, or are they kind and salted with grace?
- Is your response to people who disagree with you snarky and vitriolic, or graceful and from a heart of love?
- Do you write for the sole purpose of seeking out someone who doesn’t hold to your views so you can have an opportunity to publicly disembowel them with your superior intellect, or do you put material out there to educate, encourage, help, and edify others while simultaneously contending for the faith?
- Do you look at those deceived by false doctrine with contempt, or do you grieve for them and seek to lovingly correct them lest they should eternally perish?
If you are taking pleasure in your abrasive monologues and predictably harsh dialogues, I beg you to check your spirit and reevaluate why you do what you’re doing.
For those of you who are not sure of what I am talking about, I offer the following samples from the blogging world, including the unnecessary practice of name calling (e.g. referring to Arminians as “Armidiots”):
“Took this illiterate Armidiot flunky a full week to devise this moronic non sequitur of a ‘comeback.’ . . . ‘a 2-ton jumping, screaming elephant in a tool shed is all but invisible to an Armidiot like yourself . . .’. God help me, I really, truly DISLIKE Armidiots, and would hate to think they are bound for the same Heaven as are Bible-believers. Let them simmer evermore in their infernal ‘Freewill Paradise.'”
“Not sure what, if anything, he is ‘smoking,’ but Roger Olson is a loose, slutty whore (spiritually speaking).”
“. . . your obstinate BLINDNESS to the most BASIC and ESSENTIAL facts is nothing short of wicked perversion. And it’s exactly what one expects from today’s Armidiot. I’m curious to know, ol’ scholar, which ‘strong Calvinist Bible College’ you slept through, and how in HELL you managed to pilfer a diploma from the stack before your expulsion.”
There truly is no place for name calling in our defense of the faith. As far as I’m concerned this is completely unacceptable behavior and has gone far beyond the scope of how a Christian apologist should be corresponding with believers and unbelievers alike.
This type of exchange is in no way beneficial or instructive to the target of these angry words nor is it edifying to anyone else who happens to read it. This kind of discourse in the name of Christ and sound theology is grieving and should rightly be condemned.
I appeal to the coarse and caustic Calvinistic Christians to quit bringing reproach on the gospel with such inflammatory and pungent speech.
I recently wrote about how Christians’ behavior breeds atheism, but is your caustic Calvinism breeding Arminianism? Is it repelling people from ever considering the Doctrines of Grace?