A Reflection on Online Critiques
…it suddenly dawned on me that Rick Warren is a real person. He isn’t a robot or a really clever computer who spits out books and sermons, but a real guy. And as a real guy, he is aware of some of the controversy that surrounds him—including reviews and articles written by the likes of me. And as I’ve often had to do in the past, I had to pause to consider whether I would say to Warren face-to-face what I’ve said about him in my reviews and articles. This is not to say that I’ve ever accused Warren of heresy or torturing kittens. But I have commented on the nature, the completeness of the gospel he preaches—surely a topic that is close to his heart.
Recently, Tim Challies visited Saddleback Church and met with Rick Warren. The above quote is from his reflections on the visit. What dawned on Tim is a simple truth, but something that many of us (including me) can too easily forget. Those who disagree with us theologically, and even enemies of the faith are real people.
Now, this realisation should not diminish our God given zeal to faithfully proclaim His Word and to correct error when need be. It should not stifle us as we seek to accurately critique a book or a sermon according to Scripture, but it is something to seriously meditate upon before blasting out yet another attack and hitting post or submit. As Tim says, “It seems that ethics and morality have been a bit slow to catch up to ability in this new digital world.”
Having a blog is not a private affair. God is your primary audience…but so is the rest of the world.