Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BLOGGING, WATCHBLOGGING, AND MINISTRY
...asking the right questions first can be more helpful than just debating the answer

Fellow blogger, Tim Challies, lit up the blogosphere yesterday with a controversial post of his called, "Evil as Entertainment." He was addressing the character and content of "watchbloggers" within evangelicalism. He states unequivocally that these are "blogs that specialize in sharing bad news" - and are doing so for entertainment.

Tim is a great writer. He is thoughtful, circumspect, kind and generous. He is obviously very well read, reformed, insightful, and we are all the better for his contribution on many issues he addresses in the blogosphere. But IMHO, I think that this recent article of his lacks some of those qualities he is most noted for. On one hand, he offered some fair and helpful analysis on the current state of watchblogging (code word for blogs that frequently take on doctrinal or pragmatic issues within evangelicalsim polemically). The money line: "filling our minds, our hearts, our computer screens, our blogs with all that is wrong in the church will do little to conform us into the image of the Savior." I agree... if that was all that watchbloggers were solely doing.

But on the other hand, I really don't know of anyone in the Christian blogosphere that only focuses on all that is wrong in evangelicalism. I know many of the watchbloggers personally and do not find that obsession in their person or character. What I do find is the need for more balance from us all as we "take on" difficult and doctrinal issues. It takes God's grace to balance outrage over the right things under the restraint of biblical truth.

Tim further explains his concern: "[they] offer a steady diet of negative content related to the church in general or perhaps related to just one person or one ministry." Again, balance is the key here beloved - not one extreme or the other. It takes grace and wisdom to weigh and discern things rightly and accurately, and ultimately for anothers spiritual growth and edification. As Paul says,
"until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,"
Tim's stinging conclusion?
"This is what I realized: these blogs are really little more than entertainment... They are really just a spiritualized form of YouTube or any other site that entertains by sharing what is gross and base and negative and that does so for the sake of entertainment. There is really no value in watching boys do stupid things on skateboards and laughing when they crack their ankle bones in half; there is really no value in watching the worst pastors in America preach to the worst churches in America. Such sites offer evil as entertainment."
(Boy, that sounds like something I would have said...)

Take note of the irony here: what we just read was a blogger concerned about watchbloggers watchblogging, issuing a very pointed criticism against watchbloggers in general, but in point of fact was watchblogging about other watchbloggers on his own blog. (Say quickly three times). 

What Are Watchbloggers - Confession Time 
I am a watchblogger; and as we just saw, so is Tim. TeamPyro, Slice of Laodicea, Justin Taylor, Apprising Ministries, Al Mohler, T4G, Voice of the Sheep, Fide-O, Tom Ascol, James White, Timmy Brister, myself, etc. all watchblog. The motive? We all have a desire to guard the truth, champion fidelity, protect and proclaim the purity of the gospel, encourage other believers to honor God's Word in their lives to the glory of Jesus Christ, as well as to sound the alarm to the body of Christ about the error that is quickly finding inroads and acceptability within the reformed and evangelical church of today. That is a good, noble, worthy, excellent and necessary work to be about. I am honored to be numbered among them and thank the Lord for each of their respective ministries.

So by definition, anyone in the blogosphere speaking from a biblical worldview who challenges trends, fads, the doctrines of demons, and other issues facing the body of Christ with sound doctrine, biblical theological, and the truth of Scripture faithfully can and should be considered a watchblogger. Therefore, I submit to you that watchblogger is not really a bad title after all; in fact, I think it is a very good title. Aren't we all to be Bereans examining all things by the Scriptures to see if they are so? (Acts 17:11) Aren't we all to "test all things, hold fast to that which is good"? (1 Thess. 5:21). 

Its clear to me that it is not enough 
that we all share the same vocabulary, 
if we all are carrying around different dictionaries.


The Apostle Paul on Watchblogging
The Apostle Paul states the balance we all so desperately need in this area of Christian blogging. He issues a charge to pastors (but a principle we may all learn from and employ in our blogging) found in Titus 1:9b, "instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict." One positive aspect, one negative aspect. One that instructs; the other that confronts. Both are quite necessary. Faithful instruction in sound doctrine will have to by its very nature confront and address that which is unsound according to Scripture if one is clearly teaching "the whole counsel of God." And by mentioning that which is unsound biblically, means that you must also instruct in that which is sound doctrine for addressing error without the clarification and context of Scriptural truth can push our righteous indignation buttons and be very motivational, but in the end unprofitable. And one that seeks only to state that which is positive biblically and fails to refute error, is more like Norman Vincent Peal than like the Apostle Paul, Peter, or our Lord Jesus Christ (cp, Matt. 23; 2 Peter 2; Jude; 2 Cor. 10). 

Both are important beloved: we should first champion sound doctrine; and when the ugly head of heterodoxy or heteropraxy finds its way in the church, it needs to be refuted.

With that in mind, I humbly submit to you below a few questions I have been thinking about on this issue of watchblogging and how we all function in the blogosphere as fellow believers in Jesus Christ who with right motives want to contend for the truth and His gospel of sola fide while striving to be clothed in the humility and grace of our Lord.

So may we consider asking the following questions of ourselves before we debate someone's proposed methods or answers... 
1. How does my post glorify God and exalt Christ? Or am I seeking to only expand my daily readership by addressing controversial issues just for controversy's sake? (1 Cor. 10:31)

2. How does it equip the body of Christ biblically to be better Bereans on any issue they face? (Acts 17:11)

3. How does it convict and challenge me in my own life before I turn its truths on another? IOW, what do I need to learn, model, obey and repent of first before calling others to do the same? (Psalm 119:10-17)

4. How does it bring truth and foster change to the one I am disagreeing with? (Eph. 4:13-16)

5. How does it edify and encourage - not just exhort? (Eph. 4:1-3; 26-32)

6. How does it communicate real biblical resolve? (Roms. 12:1-2)

7. How does it enable others to live more like Jesus as salt and light in their communities, ready to serve their church and world? (Matt. 5-7)

8. Am I filled with the Holy Spirit as I write and unfold God's Word, or am I only giving knee-jerk reactions to what is the hot potato of the moment? (Eph. 5:17-21) 

9. And lastly, in what I have just written and confronted caused me to focus more clearly on the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and something He would find pleasure, delight and honor in? (Heb. 12:1-3)
In light of those things, what can we learn about watchblogging in confronting error and standing for truth in the blogosphere: 
Firstly, posting by generalization creates more confusion than clarity. By not naming those we are writing about with specific examples from their own blogs can breed confusion, foster suspicions, and in the end produce hurt feelings, apprehension, and angst. As often he does, when Tim goes the extra mile in graciousness, as well as in specificity of the issues he is burdened to write about, I don't view it as an attack on anyone because it helps bring real teeth to what he is saying. I appreciate that about Tim's writing.

Secondly, failure to include or examine oneself as being equally vulnerable may end up communicating avoidance of responsibility rather than to humbly accept it. Clearly, Tim in his very well researched and thorough book reviews alone, has taken on issues in the past that we have benefited from and say amen too. His watchblogging in that arena has rightly challenged our thinking to be discerning, caused us to reevaluate how we do ministry, and even has opened the eyes of many to the more dangerous trends in evangelicalism today (see his amazing review of The Shack). I thank the Lord for that aspect of Tim's ministry.

Thirdly, including biblical content in context on any issue presented through Christian watchblogging helps us all to become more discerning, informed and therefore, honoring to the Lord. Tim on his blog has championed the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture faithfully. And as a reformed brother, he knows the importance of directing peoples hearts and minds to the truth of God's Word and not just to opinion.
Watchblogging is a necessary and unavoidable component of communicating in the blogosphere as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. May we all strive to do so with balance, instructing first in sound doctrine and then refuting when necessary those who contradict. And may we do so with the boldness, courage, love, grace and humility befitting our Lord Jesus Christ.

I personally want to say how much I appreciate the watchbloggers out there who are faithfully guarding the truth: Ingrid, Ken, Phil, Dan, JT, Tim, Tom, Carla, Jason, Scott, Al, Brian, James, etc. May we encourage each other to love and good works; and to champion truth and unashamedly refute error; and to do so clothed in the meekness and gentleness of Christ (2 Cor. 10:1-2).

And lastly, thank you to all here who watch this watchblogger and hold me accountable to what I write. You are important and cherished in my life.

"Be strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Tim. 2:1)

His unworthy servant in His unfailing love,
Steve

23 comments:

christianlady said...

To be truthful, I began blogging my experience in my church so I wouldn't feel the need to chatter on and on about it all day. I treated my blog at first more like a diary. I kept (and still do) my former church unknown because I am just recording issues and trends. I had to have a place to think "outloud" and later could go back and look at my thinking and examine if it was correct. I ended up writing a hard letter to my former church, and blogging helped me put it together, helped me edit as I went. Now, my blog is read by a very few individuals who happen upon it. They have gone through or are going through the same things. What I have written is an encouragement, and confirms a trend in churches across the country. I am encouraged when I read the struggles of others and pray for them. I also needed the online people for a time, when I began research I was able to find confirmation that I was not just crazy. The things I thought we unbiblical actually were recorded by other Berean like Christians. I knew what to expect when my husband and I confronted our church, and knew we'd be treated in a way we would not have predicted on our own. I don't think most bloggers warning others have a motive to tear a church or ministry apart, we just want to have a record, a witness, a warning for others to see. I am thankful for Lane's Blog (which is mostly video of sound doctrine), Slice, LIhgthouse Trails, and many others for their witness. It saved my children, I believe, from deception in our former church.

SJ Camp said...

christianlady
I don't think most bloggers warning others have a motive to tear a church or ministry apart,

i fully agree. I also appreciate Slice for what Ingrid is doing there.

Keep on for Christ and His kingdom...
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Alice said...

I particularly like the questions you pose at the end of this post. Unfortunately, I don't really see that sort of spirit in some of the blogs I see. I see people who, in their anger and zeal for righteousness, are instead sinning. I will give one fairly recent example from Slice of Laodicea. Right after the presidential election, Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel wrote a post on his blog about being thankful for the new president, for which he provided biblical support. I didn't agree with everything he wrote, and it wasn't my favorite post of his. I do read his blog faithfully as well as his books, and I listen regularly to him on Walk in the Word and own numerous sermon series of his. He is a true, faithful, straight-up minister of the Gospel. However, because of his post on being thankful after the election, he was referred to on Slice as "a goat-herder American pastor" (which I assume means he is leading people to hell) and one of "a long list of clergy complicit with the death agenda." On Slice, he was put in the group with Judas Iscariot, Hitler, and orthodox pastors complicit with Communist Russia.

I wrote a polite email to Slice saying maybe they weren't familiar with James MacDonald and how faithful he is to the Word, what a truly good preacher this man is. It's perfectly OK to graciously disagree with a brother in Christ and even be disappointed with something he has said. But it is not OK however, to slander him. Maybe my email was never received; it was definitely not responded to. In the following days, on Slice these things were also said about James MacDonald (who on his blog specifically stated that he is adamantly pro-life and did not vote for Barack Obama)--it referred to him as a "Christian" leader (use of quotes theirs) and said they hoped he enjoyed the sight of fresh human blood soaking American soil (oh, and grouped him with apostate Brian McLaren).

This is just one example that I have found of vicious lies and slander spread about a true minister of the Gospel on a watchblog site. Maybe such sites do provide some people with illumination on error in the church. However, I'd rather not describe all of them as "faithfully guarding the truth."

Ingrid Schlueter said...

One of the points I raised yesterday is that you do not have to agree with everything that Bible-believing bloggers write in order to value what they do online. Steve Camp and I may have disagreements on this point or that, he may take issue with a post that I write and not with others. I may agree with Tim Challies on this book review or that post, and not on others, but as I stated in my post yesterday, within the realm of those who are trying to be faithful to the Lord, there is room for polite disagreement. When we are dealing with those who praise the wicked (like the pastor's recent praise for death-President Obama, for example), teach false doctrine or blaspheme the Lord's name, we are called to plain speech that many will see as "unloving." My main point here is that to dismiss what a fellow Bible-believing blogger (key words there) does entirely because we take issue with a post here and there is simply wrong. I appreciate what Steve Camp has written here, and as usual, he is balanced and helpful. Thank you, Steve.

Alice said...

I am trying to be gracious in my speech here: I'm still confused as to how calling a fellow Christian and minister of Jesus Christ for the past 25 years "a goat-herder," "complicit with a death agenda" (when he clearly stated he is not) and grouping him with Judas Iscariot (which I derive as calling him a betrayer of Jesus) and Hitler (a mass murderer) is OK. To me, that goes far beyond "unloving" speech. And actually, I'd like to see some biblical support for us using unloving speech to fellow believers/Christ-followers. From what I can see, it is in direct violation of the words in I Peter.

But...individuals do not have to answer to me for their words. If someone's conscience allows them to lie in a public forum, such as the Internet, about a fellow Christian, that is between them and God. Or, as James MacDonald puts it, "Let's not get between the Hammer and the work on that one." :-)

SJ Camp said...

Ingrid
Thank you for posting here friend. I know that this is a passionate issue for you and i appreciate the godly restraint you demonstrated here.

Hopefully we have all learned something from this brief yet important dialogue - including Tim.

Ingrid and Alice
As to the Obama issue: I didn't support Obama at all. His hyper-radical stance on abortion at any stage of pregnancy including live abortion is abominable. But as Peter encouraged the persecuted Christians to continue to honor and pray for Nero (1 Peter 2:11-17) we must do the same for our President.

I pray he comes to know Jesus as His Lord and Savior. I pray that the Lord would restore justice in our land for the unborn. I pray for another Great Awakening, Reformation and Revival to sweep through our nation once again.

We can oppose that which God opposes - but may we do so with the meekness and boldness befitting Christ Himself. I don't know about you, but that takes a powerful work of grace in my sinful heart to do.

Remember, Jeremiah was a powerful prophet, but he was also the weeping prophet broken over the sins of his nation against the one true God. May our hearts be resolute; our minds firm in biblical conviction; and our eyes wet with holy tears for the lost of this world.

Your servant in Christ,
Steve

Alice said...

I didn't want to derail the dialog at hand with a discussion of Obama or abortion or even James MacDonald. I just wanted to point out, using one example, how easy it is for our tongue to lead us into sin. Yes, the Bible definitely urges us to contend for the faith and defend the truth against error. But oh how many more references are there about the purity of our hearts and our mouths. My main issue with watchblogging is not necessarily pointing out heresy--it is in their dealings with true Christians. And I wondered, when I can point out a complete untruth about a fellow believer of whom I am familiar with his ministry, how many untruths are being said about believers with whom I am not as familiar? That is a sobering thought to me.

May we all say with King David, "Lord, put a guard on my mouth."

Rick Frueh said...

The issue Alice was addressing had less to do with Obama than it did with hyperbolic name calling and a non-ordained woman dismissing a pastor's ministry in such a vicious way.

Regardless who you are and what issues you address, when you use personal invectives and summarily dismiss an entire congregation as "goats" you have left the arena of respectful confrontation and are engaging in self serving sensationalism, which is waht I understood from the post written by Challies.

Atone said...

The problem is that watch bloggers do not exhibit balance, or charity or Christian love for their enemies - even the bristly, tough-love John the Baptist kind. Instead, there is just righteous indignation that is never gentle, never patient, never kind, never humble...you get the drift.

And for the life of me, I still can't seem to find that conversion account in the New Testament where a sinner came all riled up to repentance on account of Paul's expose of Gnostic prosperity gospel preachers.

And another thing, Paul's correction efforts were leveled at believers inside the church. You know, Paul's "what do I have to do with those outside the church" instruction? So is Ingrid really going to admit that Rob Bell is a fellow brother she's trying to steer back to faith? Is Ken Silva going to claim Michael Spencer as a brother in our Lord Jesus that he's merely steering back to the cross? Excuse me if I express my doubts as I try to read between the lines that lead me to no other conclusion than they are condemned heretics in their eyes.

We are to warn our brothers and sisters in love as to what our Lord said, this is not license to preside over the salvation of others - as per Paul no true Christian is subject to any man's judgment.

Peace.

Brad

Atone said...

And for the sake of context, I don't see folks like the Pyros, Justin Taylor and a few others on Steve's list as watch bloggers - though I do recognize that many watch bloggers use folks like Justin and Phil as insulation and justification.

Brad

founderandperfecter said...

I can see both sides of the issue.

The false teachers need to be exposed, yet this must be done consistantly in a way that demonstrates the gospel of Christ.

I take for example Whitfield's rebuke of Wesley:
brutally honest, but grace filled
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/wesley.htm

Now Wesley was generally a good gospel preacher, but many today are flat out wolves, which are to be treated with more fierey rebukes.

It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth to see watchblogging that is full of sarcasm, and implied self-righteousness, even when exposing legitimately bad and dangerous theology.

Watchblogging is a good thing if done in the Spirit, but if opporated in the flesh, it can also be harmful.

Anger is understandible when dealing with heresy, but I think sometimes it is better to supplement rebukes with weeping, prayer, and even fasting.

What if everyone in the Reformed and Lutheran blog circles decided on a day to fast together in intercession for the apostate churches?

Nonetheless, the watchblogging of Chris Rosebrough was a tremendous gift to me, growing me strong in the gospel. Likewise, your post about the gospel in you and Driscoll's relationship was tremendously encouraging to me.

I love watchblogs, but perhaps we need to watch to be sure we don't grow hardened in anger so that we cannot be sorrowful and led to prayer. I am guilty of this too.

Grace and Peace
-Ben

Darrin said...

Steve, you covered it very well in this post. Polemic works are a crucial part of Christendom, and are extremely helpful when done properly.

Hey, even the name "Strange Baptist Fire" sounds pretty negative, but when I saw what the brothers there were responding to and the helpful information they provided, I was very appreciative of their efforts. (This was before I got involved.)

Carla said...

I was going to comment at Tim's yesterday but by the time I read the post and was able to comment, the commenting was already closed. I agreed with some of what was said not only in the post but the comments as well. However, I did have one concern.

The conclusion that they (us? me? you? 'watchbloggers') are writing for entertainment purposes, presupposes our ability to judge heart-motives and to accurately label such folks as simply snake-oil salesmen types, does it not?

That may sound extreme but I think it's a legitimate question. Lets say for example Betty Blogger is labelled a watchblogger in the perjorative sense, and no matter what she says in defense of the reason she writes she's still written off as one who is providing "evil" for "entertainment purposes". Has she been unfairly judged and had motives assigned to her that are in fact, not true? I think this is where it gets real messed up, when we so easily cast someone into a category like this. It's usually a very bad idea to paint with a broad brush in matters like this one, and I think that's what was done at Tim's in favor of not naming names, not being specific and just trying to make a generalized assessment.


Like you, I also know some folks labelled as WBs and can without question affirm that they certainly don't write what they do for entertainment purposes, and would be quite disgusted to hear such a ridiculous accusation. These are people (the ones I know) who's hearts are deeply grieved over all that is so horribly wrong among the household of faith, and genuinely feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to write about it, preach against it, give seminar lectures about it, write books, articles, essay and even blog posts about it. These are people that in some cases quite literally devote their entire life's ministry work to doing this very thing. For this, they are to be encouraged. Not written off and mocked as some do, sadly.

With that said, your emphasis on balance and your key questions for anyone blogging are very important. It's easy to just sit and write, it takes much more effort and care to sit and write with wisdom and grace. I think that's the dividing line right there and what we should be mindful of whenever writing publicly.

I was surprised to see my name mentioned among those you call fellow watchbloggers but I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised. I've been called that numerous times by those who mean it to tear down and slander, so it's nice to see it used in a way thats meant to build up and encourage.

Thank you for this post Steve. It is very much appreciated.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Well, brother...

You beat me to it. I was working on a post titled 'Watching the Watchbloggers', and then I read your post. No need for me to write anything, for you have hit the proverbial nail right on the head!

I also think your point against generalization is very important. The post-modern mindset has so infiltrated the church (yes, even otherwise healthy churches) that specificity is often frowned upon, and we risk becoming pacifists who are not willing to draw lines in the sand and make distinctions.

Also, I don't think it has been cited but, if it has, please accept my apologies. In addition to those already put forth, Paul is quite direct with respect to how to treat those who profess to be a part of the body of Christ, but whose fruit does not testify to that profession...

I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler - not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you. - 1 Cor. 5:11-13

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend and brother in the risen Christ.

Brian

SJ Camp said...

Brian at VOS
Thank brother for your wise and encouraging words here.

Always good to have you aboard here commenting.

Campi

SJ Camp said...

Carla
Well said my friend and I echo the frustration (Jim's as well) that has been in the Christian blogosphere too long. Sadly, I have contributed my fair share to that frustration.

But the Lord is doing a work in the blogosphere and I know He is in my heart as well.

May we all press on to Him and adhere Paul's familiar and essential words: "for me to live is Christ; and die is gain."

Amen?
Steve

Jason Robertson said...

Let me take issue with the "using evil as entertainment" charge. First of all, I am not sure what this means. Secondly, if it means that I can't laugh at the ridiculous actions of false teachers then what do we say of the Lord laughing in Psalm 37 at the wicked or Elijah in 1Kings 18:27? Third, I hate boring -- especially boring blogs. Is that really a sin? Is that really harmful? No.

But anyways. Thanks Steve. Keep up your good and godly work. And the same goes for Tim. May God bless us all as we blog for His purposes.

SJ Camp said...

Jason
Bingo!

Thank you brother for your continued wisdom and focus on the Word of God.

Good to have you here weighing in on this...

Steve

mikeratliff said...

Steve,

Thanks for posting this brother. I particularly liked you using this passage: "instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict." from Titus.

God gives gifts to His people so they may bring Him glory and minister to the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the Body of Christ must exist in this age along side tares both in and out of the Church. I can find nowhere in the New Testament where we are to just sit back and tolerate sin in the Body of Christ. Nor are we to allow false teachers to go unchallenged. However, the motive or goal for us standing firm is to Give God glory and for those we stand against to either leave or repent.

The key here is Sound Doctrine. I agree with John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul here in that we DO have sound doctrine and it is not up for re-interpretation in order to please men. We have God's Truth and it is not negotiable nor is something in which we can compromise.

I for one do not like confrontation or the ugliness of the skirmishes the ensue when the ones with whom we contend decide to fight back with their man-centered "logic" while refusing to submit to God's Truth. I agree with your list as well Steve and these are the things I try to do.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

JOYce ~♥~ said...

Watchblogging? New term to me yesterday. This morning the word resurfaced so I wondered it prudent to consider the aspect of "watch" by going to God's Word with study tools. It's a wise thing ~ just as we are to righteously judge and deal with motes and beams with love without hypocrisy. Those at watch over a sheepfold or household or troop or whatever should not be alert to danger in silence. Being exhorted to watch carries with it great responsibility and right heart attitude as Steve and folks have shared.

Who can say they haven't been blessed beyond measure by the care others have been given and portrayed for the things and people of God? Let's pray all press on in Christ to the praise of the glory of His grace ~ wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

We wrestle not...

Rick Frueh said...

Steve - just a word of encouragement concerning your testimony of God's recent working in your life:

Grace is messy.

(reference the cross)

donsands said...

Keep on Campi.

I talked with a missionary friend, and dear sister in Christ from China the other night. She is going back to China in June to live for Christ and His glory, and to share the Gospel of grace with a people who don't know the Lord.

I was really struck by the fact that the Church, our Lord's people, and children in China have to live a different life then we do here in America.

They could never blog like this. they could never protest abortion. Well they could, but they would be imprisoned or killed. They love Christ, and serve Him, and yet they don't go about the same as American Christians.
Surely it's a good thing to be able to share our concernes with our government, and even protest against abortion, but have we become like the Ephesians in Revelation 2?

I read on one of this blogs a comment about that; either Tim's, or Phil's.

That hit me. We are brothers and siters in Christ, and it's because of Jesus Christ, our Brother, and our Father that we need to die to self, and put on love.
The false brothers and sisters, who call themselves family, we need to be sure they are, and even then we need to restore them if we can. It may be by rebuke, but never without fervent love.

Some us have lost our first love. Jesus says to repent.

And even Judas, the son of perdition, was with Christ, and Jesus loved him, and spoke the truth to him, but he allowed him to have fellowship. That's something that needs to be looked along with 1 Cor. 5.

Have a blessed Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday.

SJ Camp said...

To All
This post was an attempt to put into practice truth and grace. Truth - measuring all things by the Word of God; and grace - the spirit and means by which we engage each other.

Some comments have been put up this past hour or two that I have had to unfortunately delete. Not because they were offensive to me personally or that I am against free and open discussion here on issues. But because they didn't reflect what THIS post is about.

I appreciate all who have taken time out of their day and invested some of that time here at this blog. But let's remember a few things today:

1. We are all sinners in need of grace daily.

2. This is resurrection week where we celebrate what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in obtaining our salvation.

3. If we have been forgiven by His grace, then let's extend that to others here as well.

I am heartbroken this morning over some of these things. i never done this in the history of this blog, but I feel that I must disengage the comments on this thread now. If any of you wish to comment to me directly by email please do so. stevecamp@a1m.org

But it is obvious to me that what is causing the tension here have little or nothing to do with my post; but past hurt feelings and actions left unresolved.

My encouragement to all, let's reconcile those things in honor of our Lord. After all, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He reconciled us to God on the cross. He forgave the unforgivable - the just for the unjust. Have we all forgotten that when it comes to our disagreements and oughts we have with each other?

In myself, I am not worthy to bear the name Christian. None of us are. It is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that any of us have a right standing with Him and enjoy peace with God forever. Let's make an attempt to demonstrate THAT to each other today and not use this blog as a punching bag against one another anymore.

Thank you all for understanding.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
Col. 1;9-14