While preaching a humanistic, relativistic ‘gospel’ tickles some people’s ears, at the other extreme it’s legalism and slanderous gossip which tickles the ears of people less interested in the spirit of Messiah. Judging by the size of some Facebook groups and pages, it is obviously really easy to build a following rapidly with repeated attacks on a hit list of subjectively labelled “false prophets” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
No doubt we are called to identify such threats to the flock, but the bar is raised impossibly high by the phariseeical spirit until they’ve built a holier-than-thou club for a very tiny group of people who only agree with “me”.
For some horribly carnal reason, many people love seeing other people fail and being the ones to call them out. Tragically, they justify this bashing of the Bride of Christ with misappropriated Scriptures selectively ignorant of the whole counsel of God.
But I myself have published criticism of people grossly misrepresenting God’s Word. There was the feminist theologian who published an article asserting the Bible doesn’t oppose homosexual ‘marriage’. I also corrected the inclusive pastor who claimed the Bible says “gay people suck”, is pro-slavery and doesn’t have a great view of women. Just last week I responded to a New York liberal seminary confessing their sins to pot plants during worship.
I admit upfront this area needs a lot of grace to figure out the nuances precisely. I may be wrong partially or significantly, and I hope I have an even more matured position in a year.
Here’s the distinction I draw between carnal condemnation and rightly judging wrong beliefs publicly.
If the person or organisation is admitting publicly & without repentance a heresy of essential doctrine, that person is fair game. Examples would be a state “church” calling an angry girl a Messiah, or a denomination undefining marriage, or a “seminary” teaching every religion leads to salvation.
Non-essential doctrines would be tribulation timing, prosperity & healing or whether we have services on Sunday or Saturday.
I believe if the target of attacks is merely accused of but either refutes the accusation or repents of the errors made, they are to be covered in love and not public condemnation. Freely share correct teaching on important issues without naming and shaming.
The right place for believers generally correcting each other doctrinally is in church, submitted to each other in love and unity and under the authority of a pastor. Unbelievers have no authority in conversations about doctrine or Christian living, and nor do even Christian strangers who wouldn’t be there for you personally in times of need.
Facebook is not the right place to air our dirty laundry.
I won’t tolerate ‘Bride-bashing’ in platforms I moderate. I’m totally okay with everyone – even Pellowe Talk partners – writing me off if they can’t abide this attitude. You have to stand before Christ and answer for your conversations, and so do I. If I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of our Advocate, not our accuser.
“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
“…for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down” (Revelation 12:10).
“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand… But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… Therefore let us not judge one another anymore… Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:4, 10, 19).