A few days ago someone posted on my Facebook page information warning people of my evil for sharing in the sins of Roman Catholics. There was only one thing I could do, besides pray for them. I de-friended them immediately! If there was ever a social-network term that was misused it is the word “friend" given how some use Facebook to address their “friends.”

Check out how many Christians, including some pastors among them, respond to Rick Warren. The comments on this site are enough to warrant an R label for many of these people.

I never cease to be amazed at how Christians treat one another. A nephew, who attends Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is the pastor, recently sought to encourage me with regard to the lies and attacks that are routinely used against me on the Internet. He knows these hurt even though I seek to ignore them as much as possible. Perhaps the darkest and cruelest of all blows is to be called a liar. On the whole I’ve made progress about how to respond to such criticism over the course of time, especially by addressing my own ego through intentional mortification of my pride. But no matter how you cut it the saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is pure myth. Words hurt more than sticks and stones in some instances.

I could quote dozens of verses against this kind of “hate speech,” which is sometimes called tough love, or biblical apologetics. But it would do no real good to quote such verses. These types of people will just quote more verses back to me proving they are right. Have you ever noticed that this “war of Bible verses” never wins anything or anyone? I have never met a person who said to me, “I became a Christian because someone quoted the Bible to me against another Christian and this showed me how much Jesus loved me and what he did to save me.”

It was said of early Christians, “Behold how they loved one another.” Today we would have to say of so many Christians who write, teach and post on the Internet, “Behold how they oppose their brothers and sisters, condemning them to hell over their interpretation of some Bible verses.”

One of the reasons that the poorest and weakest believe the gospel is not important is because they have seen how we treat other Christians. I have not only heard this but I’ve seen its effect up close.

It gives me no real comfort to know people hate Rick Warren but it does remind me that those who do great deeds in Christ’s love will be hated, sometimes by the very people who one would think would love them. But then religious people have always been hard on people they disagree with. It actually goes along with religion of the sort that such people promote.

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  1. Greg Metzger April 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

    If you ever feel alone in this, just google “John Paul II and Billy Graham” and see what people say about those two and their willingness to work together in mission. You are in good company. You are a blessing!!

  2. Tom Lyberg April 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I just finished Love Wins this morning and this quote stuck out: “For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don’t articulate matters of faith as they do.” Jesus wept over Jerusalem that killed its prophets.
    I weep for you over the attacks but on the other hand, you are doing so much for the kingdom at a time when the old doctrines of both the mainline and old evagelicalism are crumbling (rightly, imho). To speak that God is greater than 19th Century interpretations of the Bible or or denominational lines is not heresy but truth. The heresy is to say that God is limited by doctrinal boundaries we create.
    You, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Billy Graham, John Paul II… Pretty good company indeed.

  3. Nick Morgan April 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    John, you are absolutely right!! NOTHING compromises the gospel more than Christians constantly attacking one another! And ironically, the ones who seem to do this the most are the ones who are always claiming that guys like you, Rick, N.T. Wright, the Roman Catholics, etc. are supposedly the ones “distorting the gospel”. Give me a break!! I’m still learning how to deal with my resentments toward a few of these self-proclaimed evangelical leaders. I guess I need to pray for them too.
    God bless!

  4. Andy April 10, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Several years ago I was reading a blog when I came across a comment about Chuck Swindoll that I knew to be false. I challenged this comment by saying that I was somewhat familiar with Dr. Swindoll’s ministry, having listened to him on numerous occasions and read several of his books over a period of twenty-five years, and I knew that the comment was false. You would have thought that I denied the Trinity! I was excoriated! LOL Needless to say, I stopped reading that blog. But the experience revealed worlds to me about the “blogosphere.” And Rick Warren… most of the people “hating on” him haven’t a clue as to what he is about. I may not agree with Rick on some things, but there is no question that God is using him in a profound way to reach people for Christ.

  5. Michael Chovanec April 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    M. Gandhi famously observed: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I wonder with which Christians he was acquainted?

  6. Terry April 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    John, thanks for this. You are right of course (and I didn’t need to quote a verse.) Be encouraged today!

  7. Bruce Newman April 19, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Regarding the person you had to de-friend, I recently asked someone on Facebook to de-friend me because she was so bothered by things I wrote. When I asked her to do this so that she would no longer get my posts and solve the whole problem she only wanted to argue. Then she finally did it as if it was her idea.
    Anyway, I believe there are a lot more people who love what you write and do (I am one) than hate it.

  8. In a war of bible verses, the scripture loses.

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