Critics, Christians On Facebook And Professional Heresy Hunters

 critic

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 Рand 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? 


Comments

6 responses to “Critics, Christians On Facebook And Professional Heresy Hunters”

  1. I appreciate this response Bogdan! It is very well balanced and helpful. When I saw that you interviewed Ledyaev it produced an initial gut reaction in me and I thought, “What! Why is Bogdan interviewing that guy?” Then I reminded myself that an interview is and interview and not a parternship or endorsment.

    Unfortunately when it comes to polarizing figures we often react rather than taking the time to actually check out the content and respond in a well mannered and logical way!

    1. Thanks for understanding Caleb – I wish more people had this balanced and sober mindset, just like you demonstrate.

  2. I’m sorry Bogdan, as much as I would like to agree, I don’t. That is not an excuse to say that you interview people that you don’t agree with simply for the benefit of the content.
    By using that approach you can go on to interview Fabio Ochoa (Colombian Drug Lord), see how’s he’s doing. You don’t necessarily have to agree with him, just interview him so that your podcast are not boring. Or maybe some hooker off the street, see if she can tell you how she has achieved “new heights” . I’m obviously being sarcastic, but doing it for the purpose of illustrating how not only content should be of concern, but character, believes and values of the people providing it.
    I wish you all the blessings on what you doing for God, and wish you never to sacrifice your christian values and your character for wordy gains.
    “When Wealth is lost Nothing is lost. When Health is lost Something is lost. When Character is lost All is lost”

  3. Noah Wolf Avatar
    Noah Wolf

    I just want to point out that in your first point you mention that one tribe leader labels another one as a heretic and so that one will label the other one as heretic also. This doesn’t not by any way mean that neither is a heretic. They could both be heretics, but at least one of them has to be a heretic. There are some doctrines that can be debated and have no negative impact on a church or lead a church into ruins. But there are some doctrines that in no way can be debated because they’re either right or wrong. And if wrong, they will have a major impact on that church. Such doctrines can damage the real Jesus, in which it’s a false Jesus. Therefore to the rhetorical question of yours, sometimes it’s not the same Jesus. This isn’t a criticism, this is a mere addition.

  4. koochfive Avatar
    koochfive

    The only thing I would add is the punch bowl theory. If there’s a punch bowl with a piece of lettuce in it, you pluck out the lettuce and drink the punch. If there’s a turd in there..the whole bowl is ruined. Great article. Challenged me. Thank you.

  5. […] from the Christian community. ¬†My friend Pastor Bogdan Kipko writes about these people in length HERE. ¬†If you are one of these people you are part of the problem, not the solution. ¬†You’re […]

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