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Commenting on Comments: "Christians" Hating One Another

Multitudes of websites offer the opportunity for readers to leave comments. In most cases, I'd prefer they didn't. "Civil discourse" is hard to find.
Commenting on Comments: "Christians" Hating One Another

Did these guys hate each other?


Our “God-given” right to freedom of speech is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Never has the people’s right to free speech been more poorly exercised than it is today.  There are innumerable people online who constantly insist upon sharing their superficial thoughts as well as their rage and indignation regarding news articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, or whatever else they read or see or hear online.  Typically, after two or three cogent comments directly related to the subject at hand, the comments that follow are not at all about what they just read or saw or heard.  Their thoughts are about how stupid all the other commenters are.

Online verbal abuse is rude, crude, and pandemic.  The examples are legion.  Here are a few relatively lame reader comments concerning a Fox News story about the revocation of the right of local government officials in NC to conduct a prayer during their council meetings:

Notice that these comments have almost no connection to the subject of the article which is the separation of church and state.  These comments are concerned with one person’s reaction to another person's comments and his declaration that "so many" Christians are "so arrogant".  And this particular verbal exchange doesn’t do justice to the point I’m trying to make.  If I used actual examples of some of the worst language I’ve seen, I’d have to repent for posting it and would deserve to be fined by some government agency somewhere.

Much online language is vulgar to the point of disgustingly reprehensible.  In some forums the “F” word is as common as “LOL”.  And this is the result of the pervasive perception that I can say anything to anyone in any place or in any medium, in any way I choose because God and the Constitution have given me the right to do so.  So, like, if you disagree with me, then you should just shut up right now, because what I think is all important and undeniably correct.  That’s why I’m posting it!

(Are you in awe yet?  Or should I use some undeleted expletives to make my point?)

Thankfully, I’m seeing more and more instances where comments have been shut down or not allowed because it can be easily predicted that if comments were allowed they would be abusive, hateful, foul, rude, and crude simply because of the subject being discussed.  People regularly say things they would never say in person because they can maintain their anonymity online.

But the rampant proliferation through social media of this kind of “idle talk” serves to embolden people to speak in this same manner in real life, to real people, face to face.  We are promoting insultingly uncivil discourse.  And that can provoke serious repercussions.

Sadly, this kind of talk also exists, usually with less fervor, among Christians.  Or at least among people who claim to be Christians.  Typically, it is not as vulgar as what we may see elsewhere, but even the brethren can be crude in their speech and hateful towards fellow Christians with whom they disagree.  Here is a brief and admittedly tame example of what I’m talking about.  This exchange concerns a YouTube video about the Doctrines of Grace:

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Notice that voncoolio is commenting on a "sermon on James White" which was preached by jacksmack77 to which he then responds.  If jacksmack77 is right in what he says, I (and every other genuine Calvinist out there) am a first cousin to the Devil himself.  Because I agree with nearly everything I have ever heard James White say, I am by default a fellow deceiver attempting to lure genuine believers away from “biblical Christianity”.

If the world wants to indulge in evil speech and worthless words that do not profit, that is no more than we expect from the enemies of the gospel and of Christ.  But Christians, whether they be persuaded by Arminian or Calvinistic doctrinal explanations of the Scriptures, should never stoop to accusing each other of being satanically inspired.  ESPECIALLY ONLINE.

Don’t misunderstand.  I am fully convinced Arminianism is very wrong.  It is entirely unbiblical.  It’s foundational premises are based upon a man-centered understanding of the gospel and an unshakable faith in American-bred libertarian free will.  It is founded upon the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism.  But (and this may be how God displays His saving grace most powerfully), I am not so narrow minded as to believe all Arminians are not Christians.

To be sure, not everyone who claims to be an Arminian or a Calvinist is automatically a Christian.  Surely there are large numbers of people who claim membership in each camp who do not truly belong to Christ.

However, if someone claims to be an Arminian, but contrary to strictly Arminian doctrine, he or she is looking to Jesus alone to save them from the condemnation of their sins, then that "Arminian" is only partially in error.  He believes in his heart better than his doctrinal statement would have him believe in his head.  That person is my brother or sister in the Lord.  I dare not blast such people online because they do not see all (or even much) of Scripture as I do.

I will even go so far as to say there are some in the polar opposite position of Reformed Christianity, i.e. members of the Roman Catholic Church, who will enter into the kingdom because their faith was in Christ alone and not in "The Church" or any other thing, contrary to official church doctrine.  They are not good, full-fledged, card-carrying Catholics.  Otherwise they would believe the official Roman Catholic doctrine that salvation cannot possibly be by faith alone in Christ alone, but must include good works which earn saving grace from God, usually through the intercession and mediation of the (formerly) Virgin Mary.

When Christians publish their disdain for other Christians online, that is sinful in several ways.  It calls for repentance.  And in saying this, I am not including those anti-Christian false teachers who intentionally seek to lead people astray toward a false salvation in the pursuit of power, money and women.  False teachers, the proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing, should be renounced publicly, and by name.  I have done so in the past and will continue to do so.  Paul did it.  Jeremiah did it.  We should do it as well.

However, Jesus commanded His true disciples to love one another.  We're even commanded to love our enemies and pray for them!  But the command for Christians to love their fellow believers is repeated in various forms in the New Testament over 20 times.  It is a command, brethren.  Our Lord would not approve of much of what we read in the comments of Christians toward one another online.

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