Since we can hardly be imposed upon to read full paragraphs, give a tweet or twitterer the benefit of doubt, let alone acknowledge the utter insufficiency of 140 characters to encompass our entire creed, a few simple considerations for those who consider themselves the beacons of the blogosphere: 1. My pastor says "Everyone is a theologian, some are just really, really bad at it."
Your theology is the perception you have of God; the way that perception works itself out in your life is not theology, but practice. Don't confuse the two. Here's why: a faulty version of God ultimately lead to less joy. That's it. It's as simple as that. A right version of God leads to life abundant and fullness of joy. He made it that way on purpose. His singular goal is to coax you into seeing Him rightly so that your joy may be complete. If your theology is built from circumstances, blogs, tweets, or experiences, you are playing with mud-pies, as CS Lewis said, when you've been offered a holiday at the sea. His word stands forever, even the most prolific writer cannot reproduce a fraction of that promise.
Get your theology from the holiday at sea, not the mud-pies we make in our proverbial back yards.
2. Not only does God's word stand forever, but the Whole Counsel of God stands forever.
One of my favorite passages in the book of Acts is when Paul says to the Ephesians, "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God."
I love that. I imagine Paul standing there, with a sort of half smile on his face and tears in his eyes, his hands imploring to God the words he said were true. "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." Paul was so desperate for them to know God in His fullness that delivering a partial gospel to a people who might not receive the whole was not an option to him. The whole counsel, nothing less. The Old Testament shouts of what is to come and the New Testament shouts of what is to come. And it all shouts of the magnificent splendor of God.
If we deliver a partial gospel (and this is so easy to do in a soundbite society), or if you judge a man's whole ministry based on his soundbite, be aware—we are held accountable for our foolish words, you, me, and him. Regardless of your experience, story, circumstances, or theology, your whole duty is to fear God and obey His commandments (Ecc.12:13).
3. Give grace. As you have been given grace, give grace.
Maybe someone had a rough day. Maybe there were specific circumstances in their life that led to an ill-timed soundbite. Maybe there are specific circumstances in your life that led to a poor reading of another's soundbite. Maybe they're in a different place in their journey. Remember when you were there? When you didn't get it? Or when you thought you did?
Let's give the whole counsel of God, let it fill up full in your mouth and overflow from your heart. It's not your name or your renown that will be exalted, but His.
I just think there might be fewer bad moods and critical posts and reactionary blogs and self-righteous stories floating around the internets if we all put some of this into practice.
Or if we all just went outside and played for a little bit.