Monday, March 30, 2009

Christian Blogging Rules of Engagement

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters...~ Romans 14: 1-23

The great thing about blogging is the ability to share what's on your heart & mind with a large audience. Unfortunately, blogging is not nearly the same as having a face-to- face conversation. When it comes to spiritual matters, what may seem right to one person is not necessarily how someone else sees it. God made each of us unique. Some, He pursues for a lifetime before they "get it". Others receive the Gospel early on. Still others will leave this world lost without hope, having rebelled against Him in pursuit of self regardless of how much evidence, religion or grace is demonstrated to them.

Regardless of where you are, there is one common trait each of us has. Pride. Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest sins we all struggle with. Pride rears it's ugly head quite often in the Christian camp. The more we learn about Him, the better we tend to think we are. The great human condition. Our natural instinct is to expect that everyone around us sees things as we do and when we do. Justification may be an instant transformation but the process of sanctification lasts a lifetime.

If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you will have a growing passion for the lost. This is how God intended the Gospel to be spread. A transformed heart sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. Armed with a bible and this zeal, we can either be the light He commanded us to be or, a stumbling block to those around us. Blogging lends itself to be grounds for debating everything from the Gospel to how a Christian should worship God at church on Sunday. The amazing thing about His Word is the power it has to transform lives. One cannot help but be affected by it's supernatural ability to open eyes, soften hearts, convict souls and keep us on the narrow way.

Long before there were Blogs, Christians were debating spiritual issues. The early apostles dealt with this on a regular basis within their circle and amongst the early churches. Some issues were trivial (such as what type of food is ok to eat) while others were core doctrine principles of the faith.

Romans 14 covers the gray areas of the faith and reminds us of the importance of demonstrating grace towards our Christian brothers and sisters; especially the new believers. Throughout scripture, we are instructed to contend for the faith, sharing the truth in love to all. Never are we to compromise the truth to avoid offending a fellow believer or the unsaved. That much is clear. Why then do we see so much friction within the church today? I think pride is a factor but I also believe that compromise is another reason. In our quest to share the good news, we often soften the message to make it attractive to a lost world. "God is love" is much more appealing than "you're going to hell". While both are true, they are not the full picture of the Gospel by themselves. One must not attempt to "sell" the Gospel with one while ignoring the other. In Romans 1:18 - 2:16. Paul describes the sinful condition of mankind. Not until Romans 3:21 does he get into the grace of God through the works of Christ. There is a God-designed order to the Gospel and we would do well to follow this in how we share it with the unsaved.

When it comes to Blog-Debates, we should always consider our motive for what we write and how we respond. Is our objective to win the debate, proving that we are right or, is it to speak and defend the truth? The same applies when it comes to sharing any of God's Word. It should always be delivered in the correct context and without using it to make a personal attack on someone. If you're trying to make a biblical point, do your homework; Don't "cherry-pick" verses. Finally, our thoughts, inspirations, views and opinions should always be proceeded by prayer.

Mike Ratliff over at "Possessing the Treasure" recently covered this issue in true Christ-like character. Regardless of what it is we're passionately trying to convey through our Blogs or conversations, there are some terrific principles to keep in mind in his article...

"A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break"

On a personal level, I apologize to those I may have offended in my zeal for conveying the truth. While the purpose and theme may be biblically sound, the delivery may not always have been. As the song says, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me...", I am without a doubt that wretch. As such, my rough edges, pride and sinful nature make me a work in progress. I thank you for your patience, grace and tolerance while sorting through the rambling Blogs that I post.