Friday, February 11, 2005

VIEW FROM THE PEW: Raising the Bar

Mike Russell at Eternal Perspectives wrote a thoughtful comment to my criticism of his The Vast Godblog Wasteland post and he elaborated even more with a new post on his blog called The Confessions of an Accused, Tried and Convicted Elitist.

I actually agree with most of what Mike wrote in both of his posts. It seems that his maim point was his effort to raise the bar regarding how the word of God is preached in the blogsphere, without limiting who does the preaching, as long as they establish a certain level of credibility. I applaud his efforts since I am also trying to raise the bar of understanding between those who lead churches and those who want to be active members of healthy Christian communities.

I still have an unanswered question and a few challenges for Mike and those others who supported his original post. I will try to word it a little differently this time:

At what point does someone become qualified to spread the Gospel? I’ve been in Churches for years where I have been told it is the responsibility of every Christian to spread the Gospel. Not once have I been given a test to determine if I was qualified. I’ve known many believers who I personally don’t consider qualified, but I’ve never heard a pastor teach that believers should wait until they are qualified before they start spreading the Gospel. In fact, it seems like most Pastors try to get new believers to go after all of their friends and family even before the new believer is baptized.

Is evangelism a unique Spiritual gift or is evangelism the responsibility of every believer or both?

If Mike wants to raise the bar in the blogsphere, maybe the place to start is in the local Churches. The blogsphere is more of a reflection of what is taught and believed in the local Churches than it is a place of original thought. For years I have been visiting Churches in order to compare the differences between Churches. It is appalling to me how much politics and personal opinion gets mixed in with the word of God in the typical Sunday sermon.

Mike is right that the bar needs to be raised. However, the bar needs to be raised everywhere, not just in the blogsphere.

1 comment:

Mike said...

David:

You make some good points and raise a very good question that I'll try to clarify (note that this is just my opinion, though).

Any believer is qualified to preach the gospel; every believer is commanded to preach the gospel. I'm using the term "gospel" here in its narrower sense, i.e., as the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

My caution is about making statements for and/or about God without doing one's homework. Taking God's name in vain is not primarily about four-letter words: it's about attaching God's name to an idea or action that He is not involved in or associated with.

That's a very serious thing to do because: it misrepresents God; it misleads people. That is where we need to have some quality control or self-correction.