Divisive Men

How do the following verses apply to Christians in contexts other than the local church? Specifically, how should we apply these verses in the blogosphere? What responsibilities do we have to one another as Christian bloggers? How do we apply Christ’s teachings in Matthew 18 when our interactions take place across various posts, trackbacks, and comments on multiple blogs? What sort of behaviors would cause a Christian to be considered divisive and contentious and worthy of separation? Obviously there’s plenty of room for disagreement about doctrine and practice. But at what point should we say, no, you’ve crossed a line there? And how, if at all, do we separate ourselves from troublemakers?

Do we have a responsibility to privately contact one another before blasting each other in comments and posts? Is it different if you leave comments on their own blog, versus on someone else’s blog?

Romans 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

1 Timothy 1:3-7 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

2 Thess 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Titus 3:10-11 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

Matthew 18:15-17 If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

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5 Responses to Divisive Men

  1. Jared says:

    Hmmm. Wonder what inspired this?

  2. Larry says:

    Hmmmm… Well, perhaps I have some idea what inspired this particular post, but so what. It seems to me that we (as brothers in the fellowship of Blood) are oft times quick to draw lines. What is Jesus (through Paul) saying when He says, judge not thing before it’s time? What is that ‘time’? When I discern that my thoughts, constructs, conceptual understanding, theological concepts are being distained—it that the ‘time’? How about when my self percieved kindness, mercy and love is met with a sneer and a slap across my intellect and feelings—is that the ‘time’? How do we love someone, (really love them), when they’re hurting so bad that all they can do is lash out at the nearest brother? If love is a sock, in the shoe of life, how many pebbles of piety are acceptable before we throw that sock away? I think, but then who am I to even presume to be able to think; nevertheless, I think these are all valid questions. Here is what I think of love:

    I think love is dirty and bloody. Love bleeds, and takes the blows smashed against it without pious response. The hand that smashes HARD and violently against love recieves a soft and gentle touch back. Not once, not twice, not fifty times; but rahter forever. Love doesn’t reject, but covers and heals. Love is like the wine and oil, to heal the wounded heart. Go out back of your house and put a little gash in your arm—bleed freely and don’t wrap it with a bandage. Then come back in 3-4 hours and pour a little wine in the cut. OUCH!!!! That’s what the hurt heart does when love is poured in—OUCH! Then the heart lashes out; don’t run away, keep loving!

    Love is stronger than anger, stonger than rejection, stonger than bitterness, stonger than sin. Why does God say this about love:
    Song 8.6,7 ???????????????????? Sit down the stones and go hug a whore!

  3. Well, this was more the occasion than the inspiration for it.

    We know Biblically how we ought to deal with divisive, nasty, heretical, or unrepentant folks in the local church. There are precedents for it, we know the procedures, there’s clear authority, and we know what it looks like.

    We also know that, in traditional public forums, there are rules about how we behave. Things we do and don’t say, and ways we do and don’t say things.

    But once you go online, the situation changes so much that it’s not always clear how the Biblical rules ought to apply. We aren’t within the context of a local church. Most of us don’t know each other. Many of us are anonymous. Blog entries and comments stay around forever.

    I wish someone who is a better Christian and better blogger than I am would come up with some kind of “code of conduct” on how Biblical rules regarding Christian interaction ought to apply online. Replete with some little graphic button that says “I subscribe to the Christian blogger code of conduct”.

    Maybe something like that already exists. If so, I haven’t seen it. I think it would be useful. We wouldn’t treat each other in real life the way we treat each other online.

  4. Karl Thienes says:

    John Adams posted something like this last year:


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