Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Truth and Blogging

This excellent "post" appeared recently on the Under the Acacias site. Good stuff! Lots to think about! I don't want to be a hypocrite! Being too judgmental is always a fear of mine! Passing judgment comes far too easily for me. Read this editorial and be challenged. - David

Truth and Blogging

How often have we been at fault in this - to be, at the same instant, both right and wrong: having the "right" arguments but the wrong attitude, the right beliefs but the wrong heart... Sadly, I suspect many of us have seen this on too many "Christian" blogs. And, if we are honest, we have probably been guilty of it ourselves.

Two kinds of truth think this highlights the two main aspects of truth - "facts," or "statements about truth" and "reality" or "truth lived out". The highest revelation of truth is of course not a series of statements, but a person, Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6). John tells us that, while Moses brought the truths of the Law, truth itself came in the person of Jesus (Jn 1:17). The Law made true statements about God and his holiness and requirements, but words in themselves could neither fully communicate, nor make available to us the truth of God. What was needed was for the Word of truth to become flesh.

We need both of course. Hypocrisy is asserting the right truths without them being reality in our own lives. If Christ is the ultimate truth, then Christlikeness as seen by the fruit of the Spirit in our lives must be a measure of our adherence to truth. The scandal of the evangelical conscience is surely this - that we proclaim faith in Christ, we hold to all the "right" truths, and yet we are often arrogant, greedy, self-centred, inconsiderate, and proud. We may even be diligent in obeying truths such as tithing, yet neglect the "more important" matters of justice and mercy (Matt 23:33). Our claims of truth are proved false if not worked out in our lives (1Jn 1:6).

On the other hand, it's not just about being nice. Niceness is okay, but has no power to actually set people free. Only knowing truth does that. And we know truth through Jesus' teaching (Jn 8:32). What we believe about things does matter. We do need to see the world and our place in it the way it is. Living in God's freedom, and offering it to others is only possible because the story of Jesus, the good news of the kingdom, the message of the cross, and the promises of God are true. It is by agreeing with God that we have the possibility to participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2Pet 1:4).

It is sometimes said that "what you believe determines what you do." There is a certain amount of truth in that, but the discord between our proclamation of faith and the reality of our lives is then a conundrum. It might be better said: "what you do shows what you really believe." Or, as Jesus said: "a tree is known by its fruit".

The Dangers of Blogging:

The online fellowship of bloggers is of course an artificial community, for it allows us to pontificate about "truths", without the accountability of relationships in the body, and without any cost of the cross. It is an easy way for us into hypocrisy, and for lyrical and opinionated people to hold sway. We do need rigorous discussion, and there is nothing wrong with lyricism. But may I suggest some notes of caution:

* Firstly, we need to examine our own hearts as we blog and comment, to do all to the glory of God (1Cor 10:31). We must allow Jesus to rule over our blogs, and to blog with love, humility, grace, and gentleness. We must also avoid dividing the body over disputable matters. For some guidelines, you might want to look at a post I wrote some time ago on some
Biblical guidelines for bloggers.

* Secondly, we need to go back to the teaching of Jesus and the Scriptures. We should be wary of taking entrenched positions on beliefs which are not central to a Biblical faith. We all do it - our perspectives are so moulded by our own cultural context. We need humility to learn and allow ourselves to be changed by God's truth.

* Thirdly, relationship and accountability. We do need to find ways to incorporate these into our blogging life. While I'm sure there are many who have good reason to blog anonymously, it is also a danger in freeing us from accountability. When commenting on someone's blog for the first time - especially if you disagree with what they say - try and establish the bond of peace that we have as fellow believers. I have seen some great examples of this. Maybe meeting fellow bloggers in real life, such as at
GodBlogCon will also help.

* Finally, we should be careful whom we read. I read some people who I disagree with strongly on some aspects of what we believe, but they are men and women who have a respect for God's word, and who demonstrate that grace, gentleness, and humility that is the fruit of the Spirit. We should pay heed to such people. I also like to read those who are "practitioners", and are not just preaching from behind a comfortable desk. At the same time, I have stopped reading others, because of what seems an unhealthy tone, or because their writing stirs up ungodly reactions in me. In particular, may I suggest we need to be careful to avoid divisive people (Prov 6:19, Rom 16:17, Tit 3:10), and to honour the unity of the body of Christ.

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Ps 86:11)

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