The Reformed, uber-Nazi-theological Bible-worshiping neo-Christian presumes he or she has the absolute measurement for all churchgoers. With smug smirks they laserbeam the congregation for lame sheep and with frivolously furious words they write their blogs with sweeping blanket statements about celebrity pastors turning into wolves. Oh no, John Piper and Rick Warren together! Oh no, James Macdonald and Steven Furtick are partnering! Oh no, Mark Driscoll endorses speaking in tongues! Let’s call heresy. You know what they did to heretics in the fifteenth century? They burned them. Be proud of yourself, murderer.
The reason that hurting, straying, doubting, confused people won’t come back to church is because of damned people like you with your perfected systematic theology and your fine ruling stick for what a Christian must look like. Your open-hand matters like prophecy and tongues have become closed-hand matters: They speak in tongues? They’re going to hell! Please. Put away your Michael W. Smith album and your QT book with the photoshopped picture of a dolphin and read your Bible. There is room for people who don’t agree with you on Dispensationalism and Israel and the Five Points of Calvinism — which Calvin would be hard-pressed to call an absolute. They’re not worshiping Calvin in Heaven right now.
There is more than one type of believer who — surprise! — does not think the way you do. You do not own the market on the Christian standard. Get off your blog and live where people live. Did you know that Joel Osteen has kids and a family and a whole community of friends? Have you actually tried praying for his soul instead of sharpening the stake for his pyre? Ever thought that all these people genuinely love Jesus no matter how misguided they might be? If you’d hang out with them for a day, maybe you’d stop demonizing and dehumanizing them into the mindless caricatures you so wish them to be. You may say you have no time to pray for them, but you sure do have time to write about them. If their influence is so large, you should be on your knees asking God to graciously rebuke them instead of stirring up strife like you’re God Himself. Hey: you’re not. So stop.
I talk to people who are afraid of church because of all the in-house stabbing. Yes, let’s guard our doctrine. Yes, we celebrate Jesus and we must recognize we are destitute sinners that are headed for destruction without the provision of the cross. So then: what will you do with this? Wave your snobby flag of self-righteousness at people who choose not to homeschool their kids or attend R-rated movies? Good grief man. You can’t even see the forest for the trees because you’ve scorched the whole thing. I am so ashamed to tell people that church is safe and loving and encouraging, because it’s less and less true.
I’m praying for humble orthodoxy. That you wouldn’t pressure the prodigals or coerce the Corinthians. That you wouldn’t dismiss a pastor solely based on one YouTube video or one varied belief. There is, after all, something called discernment. I don’t agree with everything John Piper says, but I don’t call him a freaking heretic for it. Humility: get some. Your finger-pointing is a tragic waste of time while real people with real problems and worries are going straight to hell. You’re not helping. Don’t even dare think that you are.
If you must point out error, do so with tears and not with your tyrannical arrogance. Find some non-believers and try to remember that wavelength before you knew Jesus. Pray for those pastors who say stupid things about health and wealth: if you’re painting them as evil men, you’re no better than a bigoted ignorant racist. Get back on love, you Pharisees. And maybe people won’t be so scared of your church. You might even try loving people. Oh right, Jesus commands that.
You. Are. Not. The. Authority.
P.S. I realize I’m demonizing the very people I’m writing about. Ill be praying for them too.
This was originally written on my Tumblr here.