There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. -Proverbs 12:18
Blogging is an excellent tool to be used in the kingdom. It is a great resource for teaching truth, expositing God's Word, sharing life experiences, discerning trends and happenings in culture, and to encourage each other in our daily walk in the Lord. Interaction is a key element in any blog and that can be used to promote the some 50 one anothers in the Scriptures that affect our lives daily in the Lord. But it can also be used to confront error and warn other believers of movements that claim to be Christian of their unbiblical moorings (Titus 2:15; 2 Peter 2; 1 Tim. 4:1-4). But this privilege in blogging needs to be guarded as well. I know that I have fallen short many days in blogging, and therefore, this post is for my sanctification as well.
LONGSUFFERING AND CIRCUMSPECT
Anyone who has been in public ministry for any length of time has at some point been a victim of enthusiastic questioning. Being zealous for the truth is a noble thing; but it must tempered with the restraint of accurate documented research and biblical scrutiny. If we are to honor the Golden Rule, the law of Christ, and seek not our own agenda but the defense of His gospel and name sake, then seeing others corrected in their unsound doctrine or even won for the kingdom requires us to be longsuffering, diligent, and circumspect in the manner in which we confront others and their questionable teachings (Read 2 Tim. 2:23-26).
The Apostles never did a drive-by of any false teacher. They named their false teachings and the sinful character that marked them specifically; and they also demonstrated biblically what the genuine gospel or doctrine they departed from as well (consider: Matt. 23, 2 Peter 2; Jude; 1 Tim. 1; 2 Cor. 10, 2 Tim. 3-4; etc.).
REFUTING UNSOUND DOCTRINE
No question that error must be rooted out and exposed (Eph. 5:11); unsound doctrine refuted (Titus 1:9); and a departure from orthodoxy confronted (2 Tim. 2:15-18). This is especially important when it comes to the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). And many of those things currently exist within the EC--no question. BUT personal invective waged against those we love and respect is not sufficient reason to abandon biblical propriety in confronting others who are advancing the leaven of errant beliefs and practices.
Another issue facing us as bloggers is the notion that blogging to shame someone else. It is not profitable nor does is resemble Christian charity, apologetics, polemics, and doctrine. Carefully measuring what anyone stands for or teaches by the standard of Scripture rightly divided is always beneficial. That is why I respect godly men (and some are dear friends) like James White, John MacArthur, Jerry Bridges, Ravi Zacharias, Al Mohler and others who care to take the time to rightly divide the Word and rightly analyze what others teach so they can rightly apply the canon of God's Word. No casual drive-by posting in their camps; they take the time to do the hard research so that those they are confronting know that they are not about straw-man arguments, but the nature of what it means to really "guard the truth." Christian humility, charity, grace and longsuffering demand we do so.
HOW TO GUARD AGAINST DRIVE-BY BLOGGING
In general, many Christian bloggers don't invest the time and energy necessary to research thoroughly and accurately what some, for example, in Emergent Church leadership really believe (though it is very difficult to determine sometimes what the EC actually believe). When what someone believes is not clear and even chooses to be ambiguos in their assertions, we need to exhaust as many resources as possible so that we can apply the biblical standard of the truth of Scripture so that it may be rightly applied with integrity as to measure what anyone in or out of the EC may represent as orthodox or not.
Here is a brief blogging prescription in working toward integrity when confronting error:
1. take the time to do the homework--read voraciously, listen to sermons, podcasts, visit their blogs and websites so that you really know their beliefs well;
2. get the facts correct - verify, verify, verify; don't react hastily, but act circumspectly;
3. and lastly, always examine everything through the grid of Scripture and not by sectarian allegiance.
Let's do all that we can to be careful, truthful, and accurate on the when, where and how of what others believe before we pull the trigger with those we disagree with doctrinally. Context is everything and that sometimes takes time to know and discover.
The Christian blogosphere can be an excellent place to instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict... amen?
The Tongue is a Fire
James 3:1 ¶ Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
James 3:3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
James 3:4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
James 3:7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race.
James 3:8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
James 3:10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
James 3:11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
James 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh.
James 3:13 ¶ Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
James 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
James 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
James 3:18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.