Upsetting the ‘Christian’ Applecart?

There exists in Cyberland a set of open discussion forums oriented toward folks connected to the military services in which one can find a couple of forum areas bearing a Christian label. I have been frequenting one such forum for some time now, but alas, it might be time to move on down the road.

Why? I have consistently failed to be obedient to a couple of moderators I have sometimes affectionately called the Sheriff and the Deputy. Don’t worry; I didn’t shoot either of them. (If you get that, you are probably old like me.)

Permit me to explain. At this particular cyber-venue we find the following forum rules:

"In the interest of maintaining good order and mutually respectful discussion within the Christian Corner forum, the follow policies apply to messages posted here.

This is a CHRISTIAN forum. Topics discussed here will be from a Christian/Biblical perspective. As such, some opinions expressed here may be controversial. As a Christian forum the topic of sin will be discussed. The term "hate the sin, but love the sinner" will apply to these discussions. Therefore, personal attacks, insults, and profanity will not be tolerated."

The above certainly seems fair and reasonable, doesn’t it? I interpreted those rules as meaning that the Christian/biblical perspective regarding topics discussed would be presented, and that rude, ignorant, and disrespectful conversation would not be tolerated. In other words, I believed they meant what they said. Well, after a year or so of hanging out at this particular forum, I think I finally got it figured out.

It’s OK to talk about ‘sin’, but in a general sense only, as the reason Christ died, but don’t talk about what that means in terms of fallen humanity, specifically. By that I mean don’t talk about such things as ‘natural’ fallen human beings being by nature hostile to God and deserving of His just wrath – that sort of thing. It upsets the atheists and unbelievers who might show up whom we are supposed to be ‘wooing’ to Jesus.

Perhaps most grievously, I missed the ‘therefore’ in the part that said:

“’hate the sin, but love the sinner’ will apply to these discussions. Therefore, personal attacks, insults, and profanity will not be tolerated."

I thought that the ‘not to be tolerated’ behavior applied to everyone engaged in discussions. I have since learned, and been specifically told (IN the forum), that this rule doesn’t really apply to unbelievers and atheists. Not that I have seen any Christians acting that way, but there are a few regular professing atheists who routinely mock God and engage in personal attacks/insults. To their credit I have not observed open profanity. I guess requiring them to adhere to rules long considered as proper behavior for human dialogue of any sort would be ‘unloving’ to those whom we are supposed to be ‘wooing’ to Christ.

I suppose the biggest eye opener was being counseled IN the forum, by the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriff, in front of the gleefully watching God-mocking pagans, concerning my ‘intentionally confrontational’ behavior, while nothing at all is said to those who openly mock God and His followers. I just couldn’t understand it, until I was publically counseled concerning my misinterpretation of the rules. I also might have ‘offended’ the Sheriff and Deputy by suggesting the rules should apply to everyone.

That left me with two choices. I either need to go find some sackcloth and ashes, or move on down the road. Well, since the biblical model for evangelism has at its core the nature of fallen human beings and the issue of sin, and nowhere do we have an example of ‘wooing’ the lost to Christ by just proving how nice we are and how inoffensive our ‘gospel’ is, it’s time to do a little ‘dust shakin’.

The gospel message that actually has the power to save is offensive to the unbeliever unless God has softened a hard heart and opened deaf ears to hear it. Our job as believers is to lovingly and prayerfully present an ‘offensive’ gospel and trust God to do as He said he would – save sinners. To do otherwise – to ‘woo’ the lost to Christ with niceness and promises of how Jesus will fix all their problems would place me in the ‘God-mocking’ camp, whether or not I ‘profess’ Christ.

13 responses to “Upsetting the ‘Christian’ Applecart?

  1. You are correct, and sadly, what you just described is only a common trend on many such discussion forums today.
    It’s perfectly acceptable for non Christians to mock the Christian God, it’s ok for pro gay and pro-abortion people to ridicule God and laugh with bemusement at God’s laws, while Christians must be “respectful”, or they re religious fanatics and bigots. Alas Christians will naturally be fanatics and bigots if they but honestly stand by the Gospel.

    I can only say, brother, that that is as it should be. Maybe you have encountered refugees; all who are of Christ are sojourners in this world. We are not respected foreign dignitaries, but, a strange people from a strange world who speak a strange language and our code is diametrically opposed to the world’s (to paraphrase John Bunyan’s words in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’). Our Lord said, “if you were of the world, the world would love it’s own, but you are not of the world; I have chosen you out of the world”. Therefore all double standards are to be expected. We can’t have it any other way. We can not expect fairness from the world. That is not part of what we get from Christ. Neither should we groan under the unfairness, because if our Lord deemed it good for us that we should be respected, we would have got that, as he causes “all things to work together for the good of those who love Him….” The world hates us, and our Lord would have it that way; I’m perfectly satisfied with that.
    Every time you groan of an injustice, just imagine Jesus speaking to you. He will be saying, “you are not home yet, son/daughter”

    What ought we be doing? Depend on God fully. We have our desires renewed after the very mind of Christ; we are joyed by the same things that joyed him and saddened by what saddened him. The only cry we ought to have in such a world is that we would be just like He was. Are we ridiculed? We bless? Are we persecuted? We pray for our persecutors. Are we hunted down? We earnestly desire (pray with tears, laboring, hungering and thirsting) for our very enemies to be shown mercy of God, as our brother Paul earnestly desired that the governor that tried him were as he (Paul ) was in Christ.
    The only thing that really hurts is when those who are supposed to be brethren ridicule us too. Let us go to God daily to be filled with His Spirit. He is the only constant joy comfort, springing forth as a well unto eternal life in us in all things, if we have Him in our hearts.
    Lord fill us with your Spirit and grant that we always walk in the light of your word

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    • “Christians will naturally be fanatics and bigots if they but honestly stand by the Gospel.” . . .even at times among the brethren.

      A lof good counsel in your response, my friend. And it is as we are told it whould/would be – part and parcel of the mission to present the Christ who die for OUR sin to a lost and dying world. The nations will continue to rage against God, Professing believers who claim to know the gospel will continue to omit the issue of sin and repentance, and some will march on, unashamed of the gospel that is an offense,

      Thanks for stopping by and your encouragement!

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  2. Do you remember in Pilgrims progress the two guys who tried to jump over the wall without an invitation? Formalist and hypocrisy. They wanted to get into the kingdom their own way and for their own glory. They didn’t want to go through the narrow gate. It was too far away, so they took a short cut…which didn’t work out very well for them. They thought that it was fine not go through the gate because over time, new ways had been figured out which had become long established custom and tradition…”an acceptable route for over 1000 years”. To them, it didn’t matter how they got in…over a wall, through a gate…whatever right? They couldn’t see that Christian’s condition was different than theirs.

    Christian knew how different they were from him though because he himself walked by the rule of his Master, Jesus Christ while Hypocrisy and Formalist walked according to the ways of their imagination. He knew they were already considered thieves by the Lord. Christian tells them, “you entered in by your own devising without his direction and so you will leave by yourselves without his mercy”. At this reply, Formalist and Hypocrisy got a bit miffed. They told Christian that he needed to pay attention to himself…that they didn’t see where Christian was different from them, except for a coat he wore in which they said it was given to him by neighbors to hide Christian’s shameful nakedness.

    There are two types of pilgrims out there Born and sometimes we can’t tell the difference, but God can. We assume that those who call themselves by His name are really our brothers and sisters. We get so excited to talk with others who know who He is, and who love Him sincerely…so thankful that their sins have been forgiven. But sometimes, we find out that we were duped. God knows the two kinds of pilgims. He calls them sheep and goats. Regardless of what men try to lie about, God is sovereign and every single thing that goes on down here on this earth is not hidden from God. He sees it all. In the end, none of His own will be lost regardless of smooth talking imposters. Take comfort in that.

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    • I probably should have moved on down the road a bit earlier, but was encouraged to hang in there by the other brother in the forum who gets hammered at times for believing in such notions as ‘God keeps whom he saves’. Being counseled in fron ot those who openly mock God while the Sherrif agrees with their silly notions rather did it. thanks for the wisdom of Pilgrim’s Progess and your encouragement.

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      • Born, I was told that I would be prayed for because I believe in the trinity (I’m following foolish pagan and Roman Catholic/Protestant traditions apparently) recently and over recommending Heiser’s book, the Bible Code Myth because Heiser is obviously an undercover apostate workin’ for the man. 😉 Have also been told that I need prayer because I believe that the Lord sanctifies who He saves. Also, because I believe in perserverance of the saints….and over free-will and God’s sovereignty over who He saves…and so it goes. Sometimes you just gotta keep the pearls in your pocket and move along.

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          • Yeah. Everyone is an undercover apostate. There is generally only one 1 saved person in the world. The one who moderates the blog. Sometimes it’s two saved people…that is, if you agree with the moderator in all things OR if it’s 2 people who run the blog 😉

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  3. The Gospel….

    “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

    “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ).

    “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that He is the One ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:42, 43).

    “Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38 ).

    “Drink of it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:27, 28).

    “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).

    “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” — Luke 7:47-50.

    “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:17).

    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:8, 9.

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.

    Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

    When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.

    For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

    I acknowledged my sin to Thee,
    and I did not hide my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my
    transgressions to the Lord”;

    Then Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
    Therefore let every one who is godly offer prayer to Thee.” (Psalm 32:1-6)

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  4. I would think that in the long run if nonbelievers are also not regulated, then it’s only a matter of time that this would make it not a disincentive for the believers witnessing on there to still be there…but then if they are out to discourage you already…well…

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    • Good point. At this point, it’s more a matter of moving along down the road I think, or at least take a break from this particular forum. I have an associated email for those who wish to actually discuss issues biblically and not let their presuppositions rule the day. When they cannot refute biblical arguments that might attack their presuppositions they just ping on the messenger, quit talking, or just delete the topic.

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        • Depends on what you mean by ‘minister’. I’m a slow learner, but I am not sure that online discussion forums are ‘ministry’ opportunities due to inherent ‘communication’ limitations. Readers ‘assume’ non-existent attitudes when they don’t like that which challenges their pre-suppositions. Often they also assume that in posting a ‘challenging’ thought or proposition, the one who doing the ‘challenging’ is personally pushing his/her opinion, even it clear scripture is being presented about a topic. Real face-to-face communication alleviates some of the communication problems. An actual voice, facial expressions, etc. can eliminate some of the ‘assumptions’ I spoke of.

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