Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Night of the Living Bloggers

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on May 27, 2009 at 11:56 am

When I was a kid I was somewhat traumatized by a viewing of the horror film, Night of the Living Dead.  The story, such as it is, deals with a group of strangers locked in an old farmhouse seeking to survive the night against an onslaught of zombies who have surrounded the house.   As the film unfolds the drama shifts away from the zombies outside to the increasing tensions inside the house.  Before long, the struggle for survival is not so much against the monsters without, but, sadly, the monsters within.  As the tragedy unfolds, you eventually have the people within the house seeking to kill one another, rather than being united against the real threat from outside.

Believe it or not, I do have a point to make from all this.  The church has ever and always been surrounded by dangerous foes.  Chief among them is our adversary who roams about like a lion seeking whom he may devour.  We find the apostles warning about dangerous teachers, wolves, and other assorted heretics.  We find the dangers of the world looming large and seductively against the people of God.  We also find the great dangers that come from our own heart as we strive to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to increasingly put on the virtues of the new man in Christ.

With so many “zombies” on the loose, why is it that so much of our fighting happens within the house?   Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for lively discussion and even sharp rebukes within the house (see how Paul dealt with Peter in Galatians 2 for instance).  What I have witnessed, however, especially among bloggers (and I am dealing with Reformed bloggers, because they are the ones I generally read) is that the majority of their ammunition is fired at their friends and not their enemies.   It is my contention that if all true brethren had to cease their criticisms of one another for one week there would be tumbleweed blowing through the internet.   I confess there is no end the critical comments that can go on in my own heart.   You name a ministry, a church, a book, a preacher or teacher and I can find something negative to say about it!  But do I have to?  There is not a single preacher with whom I agree all the time.  The most popular writers and pastors and conferences speakers, on occasion, make me roll my eyes (thankfully someone always rolls them back to me).  If and when they do, must I share it with the world?  Sound the alarm?

Why have I saved some of my most savage comments for those within the body rather than for those without?  I’m not talking about heretics or even those who are on the far side of the theological spectrum—I’m talking about close allies.

There are real dangers and real threats to the body of Christ, and yet, too often I have been more concerned with what I have perceived to be the theological faults of true and useful brethren (he’s kind of  a dispensationalist-bang!, he’s a bit charismatic—bang, bang!, he’s postmil or premil—boom!,  he likes the Red Sox-yech!).

There are plenty of real zombies and I do not want to use my ammunition on those who are ultimately my friends and allies.

I don’t think Paul had zombies in mind when he penned Galatians 5:15, but it fits, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”  I have not lost my will to fight.  I just want to fight real monsters.

Jim Savastio
Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville
  1. The Lord says that God has prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies. And this table is located right down front and center of every one of your churches. Maybe you need to find out why what the Lord has said is true.

  2. Great blog Jim! Thanks.

    Theodore, I have no clue as to what in the world you are talking about. 😦

  3. Great reading and appropriately thought provoking…

    In writing to brethren, Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, commands that we let NONE of our speech corrupt (or tear down) others but rather see that it edifies. That doesn’t leave much room for speech that “tears down” in the house.

  4. It is for posts like this, on this blog, that I am thankful for.

  5. Great post, Jim. I have thought the same many times. I’m convinced that the antidote to “biting and devouring one another” is to get busy with real and regular evangelism. More outward, less inward. Fine doctrinal discussions have their place but if we spent more time talking with “harlots and tax collectors” it might help us keep things in better perspective. Little shadows pale when compared to utter darkness.

  6. Jim,

    Thanks for the word. Not only did I enjoy the catchy title and apt illustration, but, more importantly, I searched my own heart. As one who does a bit of blogging and is sometimes engaged in criticizing what I perceive to be the weaknesses of those within my own camp, I need to be reminded of the importance of keeping the real enemy in view. Moreover, there ought to be a difference between correcting a brother and reproving a gainsayer or false teacher.

  7. Thanks, pastor Savastio. This is an article for to examine ourselve and not to try justify our faults in this issuee.

    Rafael
    From Dominican Republic.

  8. I was glad to read this post, Jim. I have found it difficult not to address a few issues at my own blog, or at least to inform my readers about some issues that are being discussed in our circles. and I find it hard to no where to draw the line sometimes.

    Sadly, all too often serious error enters the churches through those we regard as “allies.” and it can be difficult to tell sometimes when a trend we see in one of them will lead to something worse or not. So do we openly address what we see as a potential problem, or do we wait and see, taking the risk that wit will blow up and cause even more trouble down the road, etc.

    I think your post is a good reminder of what our “default position” should be, though.

  9. […] brother, Jim Savastio, has written an excellent blog on this very site entitled “Night of the Living Bloggers”.  In it he details the natural tendency bloggers (and all of us in general – blogging just makes […]

  10. Excellent article Jim! I wholeheartedly agree that often we’re guilty of using the Lord’s provided weaponry to wound fellow, mostly like-minded brethren than attempting to present a united front against the onslaught of pervasive, relentless demonic attacks on the Gospel! May many of us reformed folk repent of such attitudes and actions toward other genuine believers, and get busy in the trenches fighting a crafty, bloodthirsty enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people.

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