“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”- Isaiah 53:6
I have made quite a few bad decisions in my life. I’m guessing you have, too. I am endeavoring to do better. Perhaps you are, too. A number of these mistakes are all too evident in the social media posting decisions I’ve made over recent years. Yikes! (Learn from my failings!)
Here’s an Example of What I’m Talking About
A few years ago a woman whom I know through social media wrote: “Matthew 7:1 ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ Judge me when you are perfect. Seriously! And you are not perfect!” I reached out to her, writing, “I am always encouraged when someone turns to the Word of God for truth and wisdom. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You might appreciate this link which helps to deepen ones understanding of this verse even more fully.
My attempt was to share the truth with her in a gentle, unassuming, non-confrontational way. I don’t think that strategy worked too well. Her response was to write in reply to me, “I especially liked the final verse referenced in the article. It is amazing how quick people are to judge without knowing/learning the entire truth of a situation.” To this day I am unsure if her biblical understanding was corrected by our online back-and-forth. As a result, I learned three things from this brief exchange.
One, when CONFRONTING someone with their bad theology, one’s aim should not be to avoid CONFRONTATION. In view of this, my tactics of the past erred.
Two, when pointing someone to a resource for proper biblical understanding, make use of platforms that maintain a consistently biblical understanding in their worldview. Relevant Magazine is a horrible resource that’s rooted in too many non-biblical views, so my linking to it was a horrendous lapse in judgment.
Three, when having reason to doubt whether an intellectual argument has been rightly understood, take the extra time needed to confirm that the comprehension level is high. I did not follow up with this lady (someone with whom I’ve now lost contact), and so to this day I can’t be sure if she still misapplies Matthew 7. Shame on me.
Here’s Another Example
In light of what I said above, I wonder what I should think of this article that I posted on social media once upon a time. It comes from the Baptist Press, and the Southern Baptists are a mess right now. Further, the article is written by Al Mohler, and he’s turned out to be kind of a mess himself in recent years (with regard to his leadership decisions and a number of his theological conclusions). Should I have posted that link? Maybe; but perhaps I should have added the disclaimer that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time.
As a brief aside, some try to defend “The Shack” arguing that, “It’s just a novel.” Indeed,” The Shack” is a novel, to be sure. And in it its author is using the genre of novel to advance his theological point of view. (Which is absolutely what all authors do, so there’s no fault with that). I believe Dr. Mohler’s article is suggesting that not enough Christians understand the Gospel of John and so they are too prone to accepting the theological message intended by the writer (and in the case of the movie, the message intended by the producer/director/screenwriter).
Sadly, Here’s Yet Another Example
It wasn’t too long ago (a mere four years have since passed) when I shared an article link on social media, and I did so without comment. In other words, I left open the possibility that I agreed with what the article had to say. What a dope I was. Not only does the article contain curse words, but (despite some interesting observations) it advances a leftist non-biblical worldview. With some hesitancy I provide the link here, so that inquiring minds can read for themselves what I’m talking about (if they care to).
And, Yes, One Final Example
I also posted this link without comment; again giving the video an implicit endorsement. Boy, what an error! The video gives lip service to the biblical role of government, but spends 95% of its time confusing the role of the state with the role of the church. It also assumes a completely one-sided view of how to help the poor, as if there are only poor people around the world with no attention needed for the poor already living as citizens of these United States. I blew it with this post, but in fairness to myself, I allowed myself to exercise less critical thinking than I should have because the speaker in this video was president of the seminary I attended. Oops, on my part.
Allow Me to Save Some Face Today
Not everything I posted in the past has been terrible. So, let me end with a couple of good quotes I’ve posted in the past, as well as a link to a heartwarming story that helps us all realize the precious value of life in the womb.
“We ought to read the Scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them.” – John Calvin
“After the rain, look to the sky and see that God is merciful and keeps His promises.” – Unknown
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Love God today.
The blog above was first published on the original version of this website. Since then the site has been completely reformatted and upgraded. With this change, the blogs needed to be re-uploaded to correct corruptions that occurred with the transition in 2023. While doing this, some additional information is added at the conclusion of many of the older blogs in a “postscript” section that might not have appeared in the first draft that was published on the first website. Think of this as “bonus material” if it’s brand new content.
It’s Fun Getting Online Shout Outs
Here’s one from a woman who appears to be a Christian, but like me, she’s posted some stuff that she now might wish she hadn’t. For instance:
As Troy Skinner described, God is not male or female in nature. God is spirit. The society in which the words were written has inherent bias by using masculine terms. Yes, the vast majority of Scripture uses masculine terms, but NOT because that is the way God requires us to understand him, but rather because the Scriptures were written by man in an ancient patriarchal society. The man was the leader, the protector, the provider and so those metaphors were helpful for the people the writers were talking to in order to understand those characteristics of God. But God is also described as a mother one who nurses her children and Jesus talked about gathering Israel under His wing as a mother hen gathers her chicks. The masculine metaphors are overwhelming not because God wants it that way, but because that’s the way people thought. Jesus himself is a great example of breaking their cultural expectations. He was radical. None of His gentle characteristics fall into the ‘masculine’ box, but they don’t make Him any less of a man. God is not at all opposed to being described with feminine or mother characteristics because the image of God that’s in humanity is both male and female, therefore God must have male and female qualities and characteristics. We were ALL made equally in His image; therefore, He has both characteristics. My pastor put it well when saying, ‘Personally, I think a better understanding of God is not male or female. When I pray to God, I often use gender neutral times such as mystery, great mysterious One, Holy Other, All powerful One, and Holy One. These names, in my opinion, more accurately represent our smallness and are a better representation of God’s true nature m, which is far beyond and transcendent above us. God is not only male and female, God is far and above beyond ‘male and female,’ which are human constraints. When we argue that God is male, we are in essence trying to make God in OUR image instead of recognizing that human maleness and femaleness is a reflection of part of the image of God within us.’ If you are interested in digging into this topic and how it affects our society, we are doing a Bible study on the topic of equality starting in September.
This Demanded a Response as a Gentle Corrective
Thank you, sister, for the shout out. I appreciate what you have written. In reading your remarks I don’t think there is anything less that I would say, but I would say more so as to carefully guard the God-breathed nature of Scripture. You make an accurate and important point that the Christian Scriptures were written by men in patriarchal societies. (Although, in fairness, we don’t know who all the human authors are, so it is statistically possible that one of more of these people were women). However, I’d add that it is important for Christians to remember that God Himself is also the Author. (2 Timothy 3:16) He has revealed Himself exactly the way He intended, and He has preserved His Word for His people the way He intended, as well.
I also commend you for pointing out that Jesus does indeed surprise people’s cultural expectations. And there is no doubt that Christ presents a view of women that is highly elevated. This is an important revelation for those who do not already know this, and an important reminder for the rest of us. What’s fascinating is that Jesus does this without tossing out the masculine themes that are presented throughout the Bible. We can see this even with regard to prayer. When His disciples ask their Lord to teach them how to pray He gives them a model prayer that begins with the words “Our Father.” (Matthew 6:9) Chauvinism (whether in the form of misogyny or misandry) has no place in the church. Believers must stand for the truth in these matters, and do so by standing on the trustworthiness of the Word of God (which will assist us in avoiding the mistake of over-correcting for our sinful tendencies).
Many blessings to you,
Pastor Troy Skinner