Thinking Out Loud

September 3, 2011

A Christianity Based on Condemnation

Yesterday’s second post here — about the Southern Baptists collective condemnation of a new Bible translation — was a reminder how some people are so quick to tell you what they don’t approve of. Criticism of other ministries, worship styles and individuals flows like the water at Niagara Falls. There are dozens of websites — like this one — that wouldn’t know how to write something encouraging or comforting or celebratory even if you offered the author large sums of money. No wonder that some well-intentioned pastors are frustrated by the Christian blogosphere and wish it were, well, like this:

Oh show me a home, where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

But an idyllic “home on the range” isn’t going to materialize anytime soon, as long as there are a gazillion things to nitpick about. The game being played works like this: If I put you down, I elevate myself. I am a better person if I can show everyone that you are severely flawed.

All this, even more so if I am standing for truth or preventing the dilution of core doctrine.

But really, it all comes across as a doctrine of hate. There’s no difference between many of these writers/pastors/spokespersons and the guy who pickets at funerals; name deliberately omitted.  It’s not attractive, and it’s not attracting anyone to God’s Kingdom.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  (Phil 4:8 NLT)

There is so much to celebrate. Each month, one blogger, Brad Lomenick notes the “Young Influencers” who are making a difference in ministry, music, media, sports, and other arenas of life. The rest of the tone of Brad’s blog is equally upbeat; it’s truly a breath of fresh air, especially when so many — and at times I fall into this as well — have “the gift of criticism.” In fact, I created Christianity 201 so that I’d have a place to stay Christ-focused and Bible-focused even as this blog sometimes delves into Christian news stories and current events.

Imagine the emptiness you might feel at the end of your life knowing you had dedicated yourself to be a guardian of doctrine and truth — regularly trashing people in the process — and then realizing you could have spent your time instead doing something like Stephen & Brooksyne Weber do at Daily Encouragement, such as offering people, well, daily encouragement. A much, much higher calling which begs the question: What do you really want to be remembered for?

And so, we leave you with Steven Furtick’s rant. Yes, rant. And a rant by a guy who has been the target of much criticism himself. And whose recent pulpit presence at one prominent church has brought that pastor under fire. It’s here because he accurately captures the spirit of the people who seem to have nothing good to say. About anything. Ever. 

Appropriately, some people hate this video.  But I say he got an incredible number of things in it 100% correct.


  1. Thanks for sharing the love. “There are dozens of websites — like this one — that wouldn’t know how to write something encouraging or comforting or celebratory…”

    Guess you mised this:

    Plenty of encouragement and comfort in this category:

    Might wish to do your homework before condemning, just sayin’… :-)

    Comment by Ken Silva — September 3, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    • I gotta be honest, I hadn’t seen those devotional posts, I guess mainly because your blogging tends to be dominated by the other kind of writing, which is really the whole tenor of your online activity. (And probably related somehow to how you found my link to you so quickly.) That’s why you were selected as the link to represent that category. But I’ll concede the point to you on this one, the statement is a tad hyperbolic and you clearly are capable of other writing.

      I should mention that this post was written last night, but the paragraph about Daily Encouragement was added this morning. I’ve never met the Webers but I’m sure they will get a “Well done, good and faithful servants;” for all their online efforts. I just wish there were more like them.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 3, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

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    Pingback by What do you think of this? | Lesley's Blog — September 4, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  3. My ex husband was full of anger and negativity, but every once in awhile he would do something kind for me. He would then hold it over me as if to say “Would an abusive spouse do this for their wife?”

    It is an easy thing for a negative person to do something positive once in a while…but it doesn’t make them a positive person

    I’m just sayin’

    Comment by Cynthia — September 4, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    • If the shoe fits…

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 4, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  4. I’ve had it with the KJV Only sites that pollute the net, condemning even John MacArthur for no good reason. I used to respect MacArthur, but I have learned that he’s developed into a control freak that systematically destroys churches. And then of course, there are all the Rick Warren critics, the hyper-Calvinists, the Disciples of Christ who call everyone a false teacher because they don’t hold to their formula for baptism, etc. There just isn’t enough real apologetics and encouragement, anymore. When I go on a website, I look for the Harry Potter criticism. If I find that, it raises a red flag for me; in my experience, I usually find more negativity where that came from. And I would appreciate some real discernment, but you can’t get that anymore. For instance, could we discuss disadvantages of the seeker-sensitive methodology without vitriol? I guess not,. It’s all negative.

    Comment by Jason Crupper — September 5, 2011 @ 3:28 am

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