The Cowardly Lion
Some who have been following this blog might be confused about several posts. Who is this Bob fella, and what is our problem with him? One anonymous commenter, using the handle “Hiding Behind the Keyboard”, asked some pointed questions about one particular post What I learned from Bob. His questions were legitimate, and seemed to be asked in a good spirit, and so it seems I have some ‘splainin’ to do.
It isn’t that I dislike Bob. I dislike the way Bob has attacked certain churches and institutions. I dislike some of the slanders he has leveled against those institutions. But I don’t know that I like or dislike him personally. That really isn’t the issue. Nor is the issue merely doctrinal difference.
The problem alluded to in previous posts is a problem of cowardice and slander that characterize Bob’s attacks against the churches he named in his story. Bob was a member of both churches at one time. When he left those churches, he expressed that he was in agreement with them. After joining a third church, Bob changed. After leaving the third church, an Independent, Fundamental Baptist church, Bob began to attend a Reformed church. He changed doctrinally. He found himself in direct disagreement with the former churches. But instead of addressing his disagreement to those former churches, Bob put the disagreements up on the Internet for everyone else to read. He could have done this without naming the actual churches, but he didn’t. In his story, Bob named those churches. He named their pastors. But he never contacted either pastor, either before or after. He should have gone to them first. He should have gone to them privately. But he didn’t. And instead, he put it all on the Internet, of all places.
The Internet is a very public forum. It seems indecent to air out your differences on the Internet, especially when you haven’t addressed your differences privately. No pastor at either of the two churches named in Bob’s story was contacted. Bob put it on the Internet, and they just happened to stumble across it. That, to me, is cowardice.
It is not cowardly because Bob disagrees with these two churches. It is not cowardly because he questions things or because he has an “inquisitive mind”. It is cowardly because he never talked to either of these pastors about his differences. It is cowardly because the World Wide Web knew about it before these pastors knew about it.
The point about hiding behind the keyboard had nothing to do with the anonymity that is inherent to the Internet. Bob clearly did not make himself anonymous. Bob did not leave his former churches anonymous either. He put it all out there for everyone to see. But he did it from the safety of his computer. That way he could attack first, and put his former churches on the defensive. That way he wouldn’t need to deal with them directly. That way he could get his knocks in. He left them only one option – “come on my blog if you want to answer me”. This is unscriptural (Matt 18, James 3). And it is cowardly.
Courage would involve actually talking over disagreements with those you disagree with, especially if you intend to name names on the Internet. Sniping from the bushes, or in this case, from behind the keyboard, is anything but courageous. Any coward can do that.
Ironically, Bob says that he wishes he could still fellowship with these two churches. After he sniped at them from behind his keyboard! It seems disingenuous to make such a claim. It reminds me of the fox who asked the farmer, “why can’t we all just get along?” Bob called them shallow, mocked all they stand for, attacked their pastors, and then claims to long for fellowship with their people. He wants to fellowship with them like a wolf wants to fellowship with a flock of sheep.
The cowardice is inexcusable, but the slander Bob levied against these two places is deplorable. Bob attempted to lump them with the Hyles’ crowd and their ilk. That is a slander. There simply is no comparison between them and the “IFBx” crowd Bob is so fond of attacking. They differ in their philosophy, in their preaching styles, in their view of the gospel. They differ in nearly every way. But Bob attempted to paint these good churches as if they were all in the same crowd.
Interestingly, Bob has backed way off those attacks in his later posts. This is good. But there needs to be a full retraction. Did Bob use these church names to gain readers? Did he use them because they are well known among fundamentalists? Did he purposely paint them blacker than they are in order to score points with his targeted audience? I don’t know, though many of us feel that he did. But regardless, Bob slandered their good names, and did it in the most cowardly of ways.
That being said, this is not all bad. As David said when he was cursed, “God told him to curse and he has cursed”. We should count it all joy that he has done this. It is a blessing from God. And we must pray for him. God commands it. When he reviles, we must not revile again. When he curses, we must not curse. We must bless him, and pray that he would be blessed, and that God would turn his heart. God calls us to be peacemakers. We must be peacemakers. But woe to any Christian who believes that peace can be made without war.
We love our enemies, and we will not give way, no not for a moment.