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Seldom do I EVER respond to polarizing arguments online, but there are a few forums that I frequent and have good, sometimes tense, but healthy conversations. This evening was one of those evenings. I was floating in the bliss of this coming Lord’s day and basking in the aroma of a week of study and hope-filled expectation of the work of God through His word. To say I was glad is understated. In the midst of my bliss, an unsuspecting troll moved along and unbeknown to me, I accidentally posted in a forum that I “observe” thinking it was a good-soiled tilling. For a moment think of someone who claims to be holy, a lover of truth, and a lover of the brethren by their self-confession. Now consider these following statements:

Pinhead, I despise your iniquity. Get your heart right and get honor, I eschew evil – YOUR theology. YOU are one of the morons.

This is not a joke. For about four seconds I was totally taken back, asked the brother to message me and he adamantly noted that all of his points and thoughts would “remain public”.  In just a few minutes though I realized I had posted in the wrong place my exegesis of the love of God in answering a metaphor listed by a participant. To that then I graciously just bowed out. Had I had an EKG at the moment it would have read a near heart failure! It’s amazing what the flesh will do when provoked unwarranted. By the grace of the Lord I was able to settle down, remove my anger, pray for this man, “Jeff” and then engage in another fruitful conversation before retiring for bed.

Just so we don’t get assumptive on the context, I was sharing previous theological writing from me and my colleagues on the matter of universalism, which is a very bad heretical view of salvation that teaches all people are forgiven and propitiated at the cross of Christ.  We know that the scripture teaches that only those who believe will be saved and no one can believe apart from God’s word. So, I shared the resources and was slapped ferociously as stated. But in the end, I am glad and here’s why:

  1. I am a pinhead. I mean, I have believed some very pinheaded stuff through the last four decades, so, comment taken. However, while so, I am not being foolish or stupid on this matter and by leaving the argument to the Lord, I have proven so – staying in would have proven me a pinhead.
  2. I too despise my iniquity and I am glad this hateful person has so much in common with me. Gladly my iniquity has been nailed to the cross and I am no longer bound to the death that belongs to my sinful guilt because Jesus Christ has taken on Himself and made me His righteousness. Amen. (BTW, it is by grace alone through faith alone, not of works of any kind.)
  3. Getting my heart right and getting honor is hard to comprehend. His statement to get my heart right was to repent of number 2 and go with universalism, but for that I am not going to shake. And also, my heart cannot be right before God through any work of my own, but only through the finished work of Jesus Christ. The honor he was speaking of was me asking him to please not call me and my brothers “morons”.
  4. Another point of unity with Jeff is that I also “eschew” evil, that is I avoid and shun it by the grace of God. Sadly, he was calling me evil because of my theology right after he argued that ALL people are saved automatically because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I’m confused by this because if we are indeed brothers, according to John, he cannot avoid me but rather, should be patient with me while training me in righteousness. After all the litmus test of redemption is love for God and love for the saints.
  5. OK, while I hate to admit it, I am a moron. Got me. I am a fool that is sustained by the invisible and sovereign grace of God that was manifest through the person of Jesus. I am a fool for Him and His gospel and preaching it is foolish in the eyes of all the world.
  6. As this was unfolding, the resources I shared sparked a conversation off forum with a few folks and one in particular wanted to learn more, so we spoke and will, by the Lord’s grace, talk again tomorrow evening. Happily I have brothers near him who can surround him and provide answers if needed.

So, remember church, the world will hate you because it hates the Lord of the Bible, the Son of God and His good news. Stay close to the vine, don’t wobble down the line and stand firm in Christ!

For His Glory,

James

Brain Slave Facebook Sins“I have to fix the internet!”  This is a slapstick phrase I have heard many times in my own home and abroad when dealing with the idea that someone is wrong online and “I” or someone else, must make sure they know it and make it right.  While there is something innately heroic about such things, it really comes down to being an opinion police or worse, trying to be the God of the world.  Before I move on let me say that I use social media, I blog at times and I enjoy the occasional debate within my social sphere.  Through it all, we believers are bound by power to do all things for the glory of Christ and to be humble, concerned and affectionate toward all people, even those who disagree.

While I desire to make everything right (in contradiction to this very article) in many areas, I understand that I have to just place what is on my heart in simple and succinct ways and that if I ever desire to do a Ph.D. in “Corrective Rightness” then I may need to fully disclose every angle of possible issues, outcomes and arguments from these points, but today, let’s just think about a few things.

ADDICTION

For the most part, I think that at times we fail to see that we have an addiction to social things.  We love to “check” our email, get a text, see our Facebook posts, count the likes, the shares, the comments and the number of “friends” we have.  We enjoy seeing who cares, who sneers and who jeers at us along with the overwhelming desire to have our cronies back us up and begin to fight for us.  In the end, we need to realize just what kind of evil idolatry rests at the root of such desires.  We are selfish and want to be the center of things.  Even when we are in good intentions, sometimes we are elated when something “blows up” online.  We love it, we get up and go to bed with it on our minds and when this is true for us, we need to realize we have a true  addiction .

EGO

This one is easy to see.  We really think we have the answer and we really think that our thoughts and comments are what is going to set the record straight.  Well, remember “pride comes before the fall.”  So, before we jump into something that wasn’t even said to us or for us, let’s consider if we think more highly of ourselves than we should.

STEWARDSHIP

Money or course would come to mind with this word, but in this issue, I think it’s more of a time management issue.  Everyone I know is busy.  They don’t have time to meet, talk, pray, study, serve, share their faith, spend time with their kids, work on their marriage, get in shape, learn a new trade, help their neighbor or just get the right amount of sleep; but they ALL have ample HOURS to update, comment, post, ping, tweet, insta”slam” and everything else.  Who are we kidding?  We have plenty of time, we just love wasting it on so-called “important” issues.  Get real.  Nuff said.

GLORY

This is redundant from the “ego” area, but it has a more theological and spiritual implication.  We must guard ourselves against seeking glory as the “winner” or the “warrior” and realize that what Christ has given through the Spirit is a humble and quiet resolve.  A spirit of desiring truth without causing more problems.  This is seen mainly in the “multi-faceted” areas of expertise that everyone seems to hold online and in truth, none of us are actually thinking right when we seek glory.

OUTCOME

When it’s all said and done let’s ask ourselves, “What am I leaving behind?”  Will it be honoring to me, my family, my community, and my Lord?  Will the battle reveal the power of God or something else?  Am I spending my attention on things that are godless and counterproductive to my calling and my adoption as a child of God?  If things like this don’t stop, there could be catastrophic outcomes:

  1. Depression.  Yes, a continued desire to be the light of the internet world and shine on every problem from here to Helena will cause a deep emotional dissatisfaction that concludes in a depressed and broken mind and heart.  But that’s what happens when we put our lives away for the sake of darkness instead of light.
  2. Division.  How many “friends” are lost through silly and non-vital foolishness?  Taking things wrongly and assuming the worst is not the fruit of God, but the fruitless work of darkness.
  3. Darkness.  People will type things they would never say in public.  There is something really wicked about this and for many, it changes their temperament and in some cases, proves them to be unbelievers.
  4. Delusion.  Seeing what is not there to be seen and making one’s own mind dull because the gospel is not central and without glorious food, we all die.
  5. Death.  The wages of sin is death.  Sin and temptation is not just the sinful actions of debauchery, but the subtle attitudes of delight that we get when we engage to “correct” everything.

CAVEAT

OK, please do not hear what I am not saying.  There are times to correct, point out and make known darkness.  Paul teaches us this in several places (Eph 5, Titus etc.) but he also teaches that it is the work and guiding of those who are spiritual for the sake of the safety and sanctity of the body of Christ.  God is not in need of a defender and the purpose of these thoughts are for reflection, not aggravation.

NOW WHAT?

Now let’s settle our hearts and minds and follow some clear and practical things that will help us in our never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against …. you get the point.

  1. Pray that God will show us the way that is light and true and honorable.
  2. Be settled when something disagrees with us online and let it go.
  3. When we have to engage, be sure it is only because we know and love the person involved and we do it PRIVATELY.
  4. Block things and people who continue to cause division or derail our joy.
  5. Delete the medium that causes us sin; such as Facebook or Twitter.  We don’t need them anyway.

This scripture preaches itself, so I have no need to explain it.  Print it out, put it on your desk, make it your header, tattoo it on your hands and most surely your heart and you will have peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 ESV)

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James H. Tippins