Many people who spend time on social media still do not know the depth of groups and communities online. They often log in to spend time with their friends and family or their local community groups. Some have found a place in fellowship with others who may enjoy the same hobbies or productions and even religious denominations. Such is the large Facebook community known as the Reformed Pub.
Now, this letter isn’t about the Reformed Pubcast or it’s hosts. This isn’t about Reformed theology or the Doctrines of Grace. Those things are wonderful and they all should be discussed and enjoyed to the Glory of God. This is about the every day folks who interact in the group.
There is so much depth in the Reformed community, and with it there are numerous views, denominations, confessions, opinions and the like. As with any issue across the plains of opinion, there are always several ways to arrive at a conclusion and many possible variations of said opinion. What do I mean? Well, you can ask a question and get 30 “right” answers. Within the Reformed community itself you have staunch Theonomists, Paedobaptists, Credobaptists, Amillenialists, Cessationists and all of their counter views. That doesn’t even touch the fact that you have folks who adhere to different confessions as well.
All of this knowledge and experience is wonderful and what an incredible resource to have available to a budding Calvinist on the first leg of his or her journey through the Doctrines of Grace. But it isn’t always the case in the Pub. As many bloggers have written about their concerns for the flood of cigar and beer images, that isn’t my issue. My issue is the faux celebrity of individuals in the pub, that are ill-credentialed at best and false teachers at worst. It seems that those whom are the staunchest debaters, can copy and paste the confessional answer or have the most blog entries in their reformed blog are the ones most heard. For the immature believer, these people become lifted up and almost idolized among the 15,000 members of the group (in which I am also a member). Many will say “no one idolizes anyone in that group” but that simply isn’t the case. I have known personally a few young Calvinists who have taken part in conversation in the Pub that respond to comments with “so and so from the Pub said this” as their standard answer.
When people fear to challenge your opinion, or you make bold claims that are purely your own conviction, yet hundreds of people hang on your words, you set them up for spiritual failure. You may not have asked to be esteemed in this fashion, but you have been and now you carry with you the responsibility of edification and teaching. Instead it becomes a thing where “if you don’t see things the same way as me or carry the same convictions I do, you are in sin”. This isn’t the mark of a teacher or an elder, but one of a Pharisee. The Lord calls all of us to study to show ourselves approved. We are commanded to be ready in and out of season to give answers to those who ask us about the hope we have. This is for all believers and something that people usually forget.
We must remember that everyone is called to learn and grow and there are varying levels of spiritual maturity throughout the body of believers. Should we strive to get everyone to mature to our level? Yes! But we can only do this if we remember that not everyone is and not everyone learns the same way as everyone else. My prayer is that as we grow together in the faith, we can realize that the church is larger than most of us consider. We can reflect on our relationships and focus on edification over opinion. May we remember Paul’s words that we can have so much, but if we don’t have love, we are just making noise.