I couldn’t help responding to this tweet with the obvious repost.
It would be highly concerning if the bride of Christ were to be caught cross-dressing. Missing the point and the humour, my interlocutor was quick to accuse me of somehow lacking in Biblical manhood and needing to repent. I’m not sure how he determines manliness exactly and where he gets his assessment of someone he doesn’t know. I think I could do a Philippians 3 here and say that this grandson of a champion boxer was taught to fight by his dad and fended off bullies at school, attending a comprehensive on a tough northern estate. The spectacles might obscure the point that I’ve had significant eye surgery and tolerated the excruciating pain that followed and which significant pain killers did not do much to dampen. Oh and there have been the three visits to a country where there are significant threats to foreign Christian presence, and at one point in the context of a revolution and the break down of order. Yet we count such things as nothing to boast about and count as loss.
I’m not sure there is much to be gained from a machoism fight. It seems to me that there is a category of person about who like to talk big about their manliness but I’m not sure the men of this world would be impressed by their big talk. I do think that there is such a thing as Biblical manhood but it reflects more a desire to imitate Christ, to be humble, to gently, sacrificially love your wife and your children and to put the needs of others first.
More concerning still to me is this willingness to denigrate the church and attack those that don’t sign up to a particular political agenda and bluntly a whole set of conspiracy theories then you are probably not Biblical or even a Christian. My real failing in this guy’s eyes was that when we were prevented from opening our church building we used zoom for our services and shared communion in that context. When asked what his church did at that time I received no answer.
Meanwhile a new website has appeared promoting a “Fellowship of Biblical Christians.” Again the concerns of this group are nothing to do with Biblical Christianity (there is a real need for such), no concern about whether the Gospel is being preached but every concern to condemn those who don’t sign up to their anti-maks, anti lockdown agenda. Even though who are sceptical of lockdowns but believe we should comply with the law are subject to the tirades.
In the middle of his attacks on me, he sent me this video link telling me it would persuade me to repent of my sin.
It is worth watching just to get a sense of the nonsense we are dealing with. I must admit that my immediate response when he says that he if dies of COVID to not say “I told you so” was “well of course not because you will be dead.” However the first serious point is this. The bloke in the video starts from the narrow, selfish viewpoint that the only person whose sickness and death he should be concerned about in the pandemic is his own. We don’t take preventative measures against the virus to protect ourselves, we do it to protect others.
Secondly, I am struck by the irony of someone condemning zoom services on the basis that we don’t just put sermons on for people to watch on screen whilst he performs for an essentially passive audience whose only role seems to be to laugh and to applaud at the right points. It is of course one thing to march around a platform boasting about the number of sermons you’ve preached with a Bible open in your hand. It is another to stand in the pulpit and preach God’s Word. Maybe he does that for the rest of the talk but the bit of it selected for circulation does not look great.
Thirdly, the man condemns Zoom services as “a joke” but does not seem to have encountered a zoom gathering from the way he talks. As he parades around in front of his audience denouncing those who simply put out a video he misses the point that Zoom services are often places where believers laugh, cry and share testimony together, where the Bible is opened and discussed, where prayer and body ministry happens.
You see there seem to be too many people who without having the facts in front of them are willing to trash talk the church, Whatever such behaviour is, it is neither Biblical nor manly. It certainly isn’t both.