Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Danger of Having the Last Word

I find a strange cocktail of encouragement and despair as I read through articles in the Christian blogosphere.  Sometimes as I read I smell the aroma of Christ flowing forth.  Other times I can hear what sounds like a serpent chuckling. 

I try to avoid lengthy comment threads.  I also avoid “discernment” ministries and those blogs which seem to make it their aim to expose sin in the camp.  There is a ton of really bad stuff out there.  Caricatures, misinformation, slander, malice, and all manner of worldly wisdom seems to, sadly, abound in the Christian blogosphere. 

As one that battles with whether or not to enter a discussion, I found advice from John Newton helpful.  After being slandered John Ryland, Jr. consulted his long time mentor about whether he should respond.  Here is Newton’s answer:

Let him alone, and he will expose himself more effectually than you can expose him.  And his performance will soon die and be forgotten, unless you keep the memory of it alive, by an answer.  I believe scarcely any thing has [contributed] so much to perpetuate disputes and dissensions in the professing church, as the ambition of having the last word.

If this is true in Newton’s day when “the last word” would often mean a lengthy and sometimes costly tract through the press, how much more true is it today when we can “perpetuate disputes” by simply hitting the reply button. 

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