I don’t know when I’m going to learn. I tell myself I’m not going to get into religious debates with people on Facebook because they always leave me feeling frustrated…but I let it keep happening. It always starts with a simple statement that’s clearly supported by Scripture. It’s never about nonessentials or grey areas, because then I could understand the discussion (aka argument); in fact I’d expect it.
The problem is I put something up that practically reads like a few different verses (hoping perhaps my words will sound reminiscent to something they’d read or heard before in Scripture) and the next thing you know there are thirty comments and a bunch of different angry people. I should be clearer though, because I’ve realized what it is that specifically frustrates me. It’s not people disagreeing with me. It’s not foolish comments. It’s the comments from people calling themselves Christians. Worse, it’s the comments from people who actually use Scripture to argue against other truths plainly taught by Scripture. I don’t expect unbelievers to be familiar with God’s Word and/or believe it. If they did, they’d be believers. It drives me crazy though when people calling themselves believers deny or argue with the plain teaching of Scripture.
For example, let’s say someone has a post up saying everyone goes to heaven. Lacking the necessary self-control, I put up one a number of verses in Scripture discussing hell and the reality that a number of people will find themselves there in the future. I don’t care that a bunch of people argue with me. I don’t care that a bunch of people believe hell isn’t real. I don’t even care if people make personal attacks about me.
What I care about though is when people claiming to be Christians start arguing that hell isn’t real, nobody goes there, etc. What gets me even more frustrated is when these same people start yanking verses kicking-and-screaming out of context to support their positions. The comments are almost always made with verses about God’s love, forgiveness, graciousness, mercy, etc. I guess people have a lot of trouble understanding how a loving, merciful, forgiving God, could also be just, holy and wrafthful. As a result of the seemingly mutually exclusive attributes of God, they embrace one group and discard another.
The last frustrating discussion occurred when I quoted two verses from 1 Corinthians 6 (verses 9 and 10) in a post where people were arguing homosexuality isn’t a sin and one person wrote back…I’ll put the exact quote, “By quoting 1 Corinthians regarding homosexuals not going to heaven, you are also contradicting the very heart of the gospel-that salvation is through grace alone. I would suggest this is heretical-the gospel message is clear again and again there are no t and c’s to God’s amazing grace gift. Romans 10:9, John 3:16, ephesians 2:8.” So certain verses in Scripture contradict the Gospel?
If the person had said, “homosexuality isn’t a sin…there’s nothing wrong with it…they can’t help it…” I wouldn’t have cared, because that’s the kind of response you expect from someone who doesn’t recognize the authority of Scripture. This person though quoted Scripture to argue that homosexuality isn’t a sin. The situation I just discussed took place about 40 comments into the post. Nothing was changing and I was too tired to continue arguing; however, by then the damage was already done: I was frustrated.
The funny thing is my letter to the church on the back of last Sunday’s bulletin (September 30th) addresses this very topic. You’d think I’d listen to my own advice. I was actually counseling the church on how to avoid unnecessary frustration by seeing themselves simply as messengers (or watchmen) and not concerning themselves with other people’s responses. If you happen to see me on Facebook falling back into this pattern again, please remind me of this post to save me from the frustration.