sometimes 140 characters is not enough

Posted: March 8, 2013 in NSFE

So I created a Twitter account for Ted, too.  Sometimes, it’ll just be a way to plug a post here. Other times, it’s just for fun (like when a hashtag gets used to recycle your personal beliefs — two can play at that game). And sometimes it’s to make a brief comment on a post elsewhere that doesn’t merit a full-blown post here.

The other day, I used it in that last sense:

More cold logic, driving people further from Jesus, but hell, at least @BibChr was right. Priorities, folks!

The linked post was written by “Dan” “Phillips” (the @BibChr referenced) about a fictitious interview in which the celebrity interviewer would try to pin “Dan” down with questions about the latest cause célèbre that conflicts with Scripture. The contention that “Dan” made was that, although the Scriptures relevant to that topic are most likely offensive to the interviewer, the most offensive Scripture of all is actually Genesis 1:1 (when one takes into consideration all its ramifications).

And you know what? “Dan” is right.

(And anyone with an attention span of greater than 70 characters would have seen that I said that in my tweet.)

Well, I was challenged in Twitter to defend my statement. Fair enough. I took a swing or two at it there, but was not understood — the medium is insufficient. So, now I take pen in hand ….

Now I know that many in the same tribe as “Dan” chafe at the mention of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (especially 22b), but I’m going to whip out a really dirty word that I draw from that passage: context.

(Let me know when you’re done throwing up your toenails, and I’ll continue.)

As I referenced earlier, the context in which “Dan” was illustrating his point was a fictional interview by a celebrity talk-show host. In contrast, in the context of a debate with Andrew Sullivan, Douglas Wilson used the point that “Dan” had made to bolster his (Wilson’s) argument.

Now, all in all, the point of a debate is to be right. Conversely, that is not the point of most of the rest of life. And the contentiousness of the other party in a discussion (whether real or imagined) is of no relevance whatsoever (unless we’re perfectly willing to sink to their level).

Should we be ready with the truth?  Certainly.  Peter told us to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone”. But why did (probably) the most confrontational person in all of Scripture (at least among the good guys) say that? Or put another way, what is the greater context of that directive?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

The primary issue that we are to be ready to talk about is “the hope that is in us”.  And while our belief system is informed by that hope, that hope is not our belief system — it is much greater than that. If all that we’re ready to do is the cerebral equivalent of an MMA smackdown in order to defend our belief system — self-delusion aside that we’re really defending Scripture simply because our interpretation of it aligns with that system — then we’ll probably be right a lot, but that’s all we’re going to be. No one (except those that already agree with us) will be drawn to that. And if we represent ourselves as Jesus’ ambassadors, then no one will be drawn to Him either.

And it should be noted that the ideas that “Dan” presented are not pablum. No one will go away from those thoughts unaffected.

So if no one will be drawn to Jesus, and no one will walk away with an unchanged view of Jesus, that only leaves one alternative. And that’s exactly what I tweeted on Monday.


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