Loudmouths, Pharisees, and Speaking the Truth (in Love)

If you look out on the Web, you’ll find a whole category of bloggers (you know who you are) who are self-appointed “defenders of the truth.” Every religion has got them, and Christians are no exception.

They feel it’s their job to expose the charlatans and heretics among us. They cite Bible verses that instruct us to exercise discernment. People whose views don’t match up with their Bible verses get brought up on charges of heresy. 

But there is a problem with their method.

Yes, we need discernment. We need to be able to sift the wheat from the chaff.

The problem is it’s very hard to “speak the truth in love” from the comfort of our living rooms a thousand miles from the human being whose views we disagree with. 

Blog comment wars

If our calling card as followers of Jesus is the quality of our love, then we need to find ways to disagree while still loving. Fighting blog comment wars in the name of discernment does not do Jesus and his followers justice. Expressing negative views in snarky or sarcastic asides is just as bad.

I was reading a blogger this morning who was finding fault with Heidi Baker. He asserted that she didn’t make disciples. He used something she said as proof. Jesus said we should judge people by their fruit. So I want to ask: has this blogger critic ever flown to Mozambique and seen the fruit of Heidi Baker’s ministry?

From the safety of his computer screen in America, it’s possible to take one of her quotes out of context and bring her up on charges as a cult figure.

But go to Mozambique (as dozens of our teams have), and you’ll see the discipleship school she and her husband Roland have founded. You’ll see how they carefully study the Scriptures. You’ll see the thousands of churches they’ve planted. You’ll hear the testimonies of blind people whose eyes were miraculously healed.

You may counter, “Well, the devil can pose as an angel of light.” But what if the fruit looks like Jesus? What if the fruit is love, changed relationships, and changed communities? And are you willing to have your own fruit inspected first?

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Seth Barnes
I'm a work in process. I've found that the main thing one needs in a relationship with God is hunger to know Him and be in His presence. As for the rest of my life, Karen and I are going through a transition as three of our five children are leaving the nest, leaving us with our two youngest, two dogs & a cat. One of our great consolations is the wonderful group of friends at AIM. They are truly the body of Christ to us. Life here is always an adventure and I wouldn't have it any other way!