Speaking the Truth in Love

You heard Him, folks.

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts in the past month addressing the topic of whether Christians should be “nice.” After all, there is no command in the Bible to be nice to anyone. And Jesus certainly wasn’t nice when he called the Pharisees hypocrites or flipped the tables in the temple. Sometimes, the truth can come out sounding just plain mean.

But apparently nowadays, we’re being plagued by a host of “nice” Christians. They’re “soft on sin.” They don’t want to “offend anybody.” As a result, people aren’t hearing the gospel and are destroying our clean, civilized society with all their¬†depraved behaviors. (Those deluded hell-bound sinners!)

Of course, we shouldn’t just run out into the street and start screaming at people. We have to be careful to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Many people have spread much ink with those words. However, they never actually explain what it means to speak the truth in love. What should that look like? Sound like? Maybe I can shed some light on the matter. Continue reading

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A Worthless Religion

Image from knowlegebase-script.com.

Let me describe a common scenario for you. A Christian is surfing the Internet and sees where someone has posted a disparaging comment about a particular Christian belief, practice, or faith in general. The Christian feels a twinge of concern and decides this is a good opportunity to engage the writer. Of course, her purpose in responding to the comment is to show how wrong and ignorant the writer is and maybe convince a few folks to turn to Jesus. So she begins to respond, keeping her tone calm and polite at first.

But then, people don’t answer her in the way she expects. Some purposely antagonize her and hurl insults. Others challenge her beliefs with provoking and unfair questions. As the conversation continues, she becomes increasingly frustrated and angry.¬†Soon, her responses are no longer calm and polite. The writer of the original comment is written off as a sad, amoral idiot who will see the truth only when it is too late to save himself. Continue reading

Grace Defined

The other day, I stumbled upon an interesting piece of blogging satire. I have to confess, I usually LOVE satire–so much so, that in college I wrote a 40-page undergrad thesis on the 18th-century satirist, Jonathan Swift. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this piece to be particularly funny.

See, the title of the post is called “Post-Evangelical Blogging for Dummies.” And I just so happen to be a post-evangelical blogger. Well, sort of. I’m post-evangelical in that I reject the counterproductive culture of shame and fear that evangelicalism often promotes. Beyond that, I retain my faith in the Holy Spirit, Christ’s redemption of sin, the importance of witnessing, and adhering to the Bible’s commands.

But post-evangelical Christians, as a whole, aren’t being portrayed in such a light. Instead, we’re called the “disaffected semi-faithful,” among other not-so-flattering things. Now, the (pseudonymous) writer, Mr. Holgrave, claims to have aimed his satire at a particular post by another blogger. But the average reader wouldn’t know that from the context. It simply appears that the writer is mocking all post-evangelical bloggers–portraying them as emotional, uncommitted posers who blanch at the word “sin.” Continue reading