This morning, I posted part one of my podcast interview with a prominent Evangelical Christian pastor, very widely known in Slavic Circles Alexei Ledyaev. Click here to listen to it. As expected with any polarizing figure, there are people that absolutely love Pastor Alexei and there are others who can’t stand him. This tends to happen with leaders who have a strong personality and actually know what they are doing, know where they are going and are not afraid to make categorical statements about their mission and vision for life and for the church. These leaders without a doubt exist in every single denomination that Christendom has every produced. So why do I choose to interview someone?
If I am interviewing someone on my podcast, that is not a sign of endorsement or promotion, nor is it a sign of me agreeing to the ideas of another person. If I only interviewed people that I agreed with, then my podcast would be pretty boring since I would just be talking to myself – and that in and of itself is weird. Unless I am preaching the gospel to myself. But I digress.
The primary goal of my podcast and my blog is to help people realize the promise of God’s gospel. This happens in various ways. One of which is podcasting. I want to provide great content for listeners. If something you listen to or read helped you in some small way. Great. If not, no worries – you can move along and find something else that resonates with you and my feelings won’t be hurt, I promise.
But I just want to give you a heads up that some people I interview or some things that I will write about, you will not agree with. And that is ok. The church is about unity, not uniformity. The church is about diversity, not division. My non-negotiables are clutched tightly and secured by a God who has predestined me to be saved before eternity past and the cross of Jesus was both efficient and sufficient for my salvation.
But here are three problems that I see in Social Media Christianity:
1. Tribalism is tragic. People say things to one another online that they would never say to one another while face to face. We have created camps and cliques into which we put our favorite leaders. The gates to the tribe are on lock down because in case you did not already know, we have a monopoly on the right theology. This is a big problem though because how do you explain that every tribe out there has people who accuse others of not having sound doctrine.
I have personally heard pastors from Slavic churches say that if the English language is spoken at their church, those people will be penalized and fined for not speaking Russian.
I have heard of people who tell others not to pray for their babies and children because since everyone is elect, there is no reason to call out to God to change His mind.
I have heard of prominent pastors say that the Bible is not inspired, that certain Books of the Bible should not be in there and that some books should be even taken out.
I have more examples but your time is valuable and you get my point. So this tribe thinks the tribal chief of another tribe is a false teacher. Well guess what – the other tribe thinks the same thing – and they all seem to be worshiping the same Jesus and making an impact in their community. How do you explain that? Brothers and Sisters, we need more evangelizing and less criticizing.
2. Not adding value is the same as taking value away. One of my seminary professors always used to tell us: Chew the meat and spit out the bones. If you listened to this podcast and found something useful, awesome. If you didn’t, iTunes is chock full of other great content. If you are not adding value with your comment or your dialogue or your conversation, you are taking value away. Why would you rob others like that? Don’t be a thief of value – very simple concept to grasp. My friend Yuriy writes a great post about why people have so many strong opinions about topics that deal with theology. Click here to read it.
3. The professional heresy hunter. The fault with most prominent leaders is that much of their life and content is out there for everyone else to critique and disseminate. In the Bible, James warns us that many should become teachers. He wasn’t kidding. But here is the thing, if you call the shots – be ready to take the shots.
Just about every Evangelical Leader out there has been accused of heresy by one group of another. You haven’t become a full fledged heretic until someone writes a book about the fact that you are a heretic. So what many people do is hang out on the sidelines and just watch for something to aim their heresy gun at.
But if we really want to be honest with ourselves and with God, we all fall short of the glory of God and fall short in many ways in our life. In a way, all of us practice temporary atheism and love law much more than the gospel.
Here is what I suggest:
- Find value in the content being presented to you. If you don’t like it, simply move on away from it.
- Be careful in pulling the heresy card because often, it is a heart issue that you yourself might be dealing with.
- Provide value to the people that you have as your audience
- Complete each other instead of competing with each other
That said, it is possible to appreciate aspects of another person without being in full agreement with that person. Jesus still accepts you and your sin put Him on the cross. That is the model and the example unto which we are called.
Question: What else would you add to this conversation?