Monday, August 18, 2008

Some Disturbing Trends in the Blogosphere!

First let me say that I am all for discernment and both preach and practice it. Even my blog is to be considered a “discernment ministry.” And not only that, I believe that any ministry which fails to equip the saints to be able to discern the difference between truth and error, light and darkness, and good and evil, is not a genuinely biblical ministry but more like a positive only, stand against nothing, sugar-coated lie. With that being said, it is not the perpetuators of the “non-discernment” ministries that I want to address but my concerns with some of the disturbing trends among those of us with discernment ministries. I have several concerns regarding these disturbing trends that all of us (me included) who are earnestly contending for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints need to beware of and avoid. So I ask for prayers for myself and for others that we would be delivered from these unworthy tendencies.

First, what has come to my attention more than ever is the ungodly spirit of competition among many involved in this kind of ministry. It seems to me that the goal is to be the “first” to sound the trumpet against approaching danger possibly so that we can be considered the “greatest in the kingdom of God.” However we are forgetting that the work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another – and that when we hear the sound of the trumpet, we are to rally together in that place (see Nehemiah 4:19-20).

Next, I’m concerned with the tendency to be contentious rather than actually contending for the faith. Contentiousness is driven by the spirit of competition and especially shows up when we are more concerned with revealing our opinions as though they are God’s truth (see Proverbs 18:2, 13) than we are in not being quarrelsome, but being kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, and with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth (see 2 Timothy 2:24-25).

Finally, I’m concerned with the tendency to be duplicitous and hypocritical rather than being fully convinced from careful Bible study, prayer, and research on the various subjects on which we blog. For instance, if I am not fully convinced that someone is a false prophet/teacher and consider him to be a “brother in Christ” then I cannot say about him in one thread that what he teaches is “wicked, strange” and then in another thread sing his praises for what I perceive to be something good without being duplicitous and hypocritical. For one thing if I consider him my “brother in Christ” then I should never in any form or fashion accuse his teachings of being “wicked, strange” because that does not mark children of God but false prophets/teachers. Actually, this becomes a reversal of Matthew 7 and moves out of the realm of genuine discernment concerning false prophets (which we are commanded to do) and into the realm of the type of judgment that the Lord told us not to do in that chapter. This type of action, speaking out against someone we consider to be a “brother in Christ” using words that characterize false prophets/teachers and then singing his praises later because he helps to further our “opinion” on another subject is tantamount to leading a charge into the battlefield as though we are some kind of great soldier for the Lord and then refusing to fight because we “misidentified” the enemy – it is duplicity and hypocrisy.

You may have other concerns about disturbing trends among discernment ministries in the blogosphere but these are the ones that I see at this time and pray that God would deliver us from.

Amen!

10 comments:

naturalsystah said...

This is a very good post - I know from my own experience that pride is so easy to have.

Thank you for posting this as a reminder for us who know the Truth to be mindful and tender hearted.

The Spokesman said...

naturalsystah,

Thanks for the encouragement. We all need to be reminded from time to time to be mindful and tender-hearted as we contend for the faith.

Grace and peace,
Olan

gigantor1231 said...

Olan

I really try to examine myself when addressing issue that require biblical discernment, always understanding that I myself might stumble into the same or a similar deception.
Some of the things I have seen on Steve's sight as of recent have been a little disturbing to me. I hope and pray that all is well and that he has not succumb to being deceived himself. With respect to Rick Warren, I refuse to offer any credibility to him, and examining the fruit that he has bore does not allow me to call him brother. I do not know the condition of his heart before God either now nor as to the future but the fruit that he has bore is certainly antithetical to the word of God and Christ from what I have seen, not to mention, at the best weak, but in reality a different gospel. A gospel of works and worldly philosophy.
Anyway, I am certainly praying for our brother Steve.

Robert

The Spokesman said...

Robert,

I truly appreciate your stand for the Gospel. I do not believe that Steve has succumbed to being deceived nor that he isn't sincere in his contending for truth. For some reason he fails to see his duplicity and will not acknowledge it and in an attempt to establish what he believes to be truth on this particular topic he has failed to stay in the bounds of sound doctrine as is very clear from mine and his interactions. I love Steve as a brother and am praying that through our continued interaction that God will sharpen both he and I.

Keep up the good work brother, knowing that your toil in the Lord is not in vain.

Grace and peace,
Olan

gigantor1231 said...

Olan

With regards to one of the topics in dispute I would appreciate your input on the position that I hold to and that is, with respect to Rick Warren. As I explained on Steve's sight I do not know the eternal standing of Warren's heart before God, I can, however, see the fruit that he has bore. In light of things such as his pragmatic methods, twisting of scriptures for the purpose of his ministries and his own profits, preaching at best a weak and watered down gospel but a more fitting description would be a false gospel, on the basis of these things I have refused to associate myself with Mr. Warren and I do not call him a brother. I also have taken a stand to warn others of his teachings and stay clear of him lest they be sucked into deception well.
With respect to what I have said do you think that I have taken the best course of action in line with God's word.
Your thoughts are appreciated.

Robert

The Spokesman said...

Robert,

I agree with your evaluation and have openly stated my beliefs about Rick Warren and why I believe what I do. I did a post entitled orthodoxy determines orthopraxy that reveals part of why I believe what I do.

One of the main problems with trying to warn others is that we seem uncharitable (and maybe sometimes we are) but many times it is because of a misunderstanding of how to properly test the spirits. I pray for the opportunity to genuinely engage on this particular subject of how to have genuine biblical discernment later on with some of our brothers and sisters using sound doctrine and sound logic.

I pray that this helps!

Grace and peace,
Olan

gigantor1231 said...

Olan

Thanks for the commentary. I agree with you in regards to being uncharitable, there is such a fine line, however I believe that with out the truth it is not possible to be charitable, it just so happens that truth can be very painful and people have a real hard time equating pain and charity! It does not help with me in that I can be very blunt and direct at times.

Thanks Again

Robert
Jude 3

realchristianity said...

Excellent post. I touched on this subject at http://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/pride-the-silent-killer and know how easy it is to be as you mentioned in your post. We must always examine our motives

The Spokesman said...

Robert,

You are absolutely right that you cannot be charitable without truth and it is for this reason that sometimes we "seem" uncharitable when we really are not. So we must guard ourselves and follow the Scriptures in this area by being patient, gentle, and not quarrelsome (see 2 Timothy 2:24-25).

And on the other hand we must follow the Scriptures and when necessary "rebuke severely" (see Titus 1:10-13). John Piper's blog has an excellent article on this here.

So we must always be striving for balance that is in obedience.

Grace and peace,
Olan

The Spokesman said...

realchristianity,

Thanks for the encouragement and the link. I read your post - excellent also. Another blog that I read by Mike Ratliff called Possessing the Treasure had an excellent post on this also Clothe Yourself with Humility.

Thanks again Alan, and I added you to my blog list. Looking forward to reading and interacting.

Grace and peace,
Olan