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From Carl Trueman’s latest at Reformation21:

I have been asked by several people over recent years whether Christians should respond if they are criticized or defamed on the web. The answer is simple: for myself, I do not believe that it is appropriate that I spend my time defending my name. My name is nothing--who really cares about it? And I am not called to waste precious hours and energy in fighting off every person with a laptop who wants to have a pop at me. As a Christian, I am not meant to engage in self-justification any more than self-promotion; I am called rather to defend the name of Christ; and, to be honest, I have yet to see a criticism of me, true or untrue, to which I could justifiably respond on the grounds that it was Christ’s honour, and not simply my ego, which was being damaged. I am called to spend my time in being a husband, a father, a minister in my denomination, a member of my church, a good friend to those around me, and a conscientious employee. These things, these people, these locations and contexts, are to shape my priorities and my allocation of time. Hitting back in anger at those who, justly or unjustly, do not like me and for some reason think the world needs to know what they think of me is no part of my God-given vocation. God will look after my reputation if needs be; He has given me other work to do.

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12 thoughts on “Should We Respond When Criticized in the Blogosphere?”

  1. Evan Weeks says:

    Thanks, Justin. I needed to read this today. The points he makes extend not just to our online personas but also apply in our “real” lives, where our accusers have faces and voices. I’m reminded of James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

  2. Doug says:

    A little persecution for His sake is truly a small price to pay. No one is ever argued to Christ.

    1. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

      No one is ever argued to Christ.”

      Not true. I’ve met someone who was.

      On the other side of the coin, there are people who are loved into Hell.

      1. David Schwartz says:

        I was argued into considering the claims of Jesus. It all began long long ago when as an atheist I was challenged by a unashamed young college student to read the Gospel of John.

  3. I wonder if there are any blogs or web resources dedicated to Christian conduct on the internet? The net is a constantly changing paradigm of communication, and there are right ways and wrong ways to use it. The idea that your comments are subject to indefinite publication, easily accessible means that how we communicate and present ourselves online is very important. Or more correctly, how we represent Christ.

    My church has a yahoo e-group which has often created disunity, due to the fact that people just don’t know how to use it appropriately, and as a result it is abused and manipulated for people’s own ends.

    I’d like to see a site which gave advice to christian bloggers, churches developing a web presence and ministry etc… Justin, do you (or anyone else) know if something like that exists?

  4. Jake Johnson says:

    My only caveat would be that if you are engaging with a blog and are criticized, you should probably respond. Otherwise don’t blog. Write a book or preach a sermon and get your feedback another way.

  5. Paul defended his reputation and his ministry as an apostle. He was driven to it. Sometimes personal criticism gets in the way of ministry. cf 2 Cor 11:5 and 2 Cor 12:11 and ff.

  6. Bob Kellemen says:

    I certainly agree that we should never lash out/back in anger or engage in e-flame-wars. I also agree with the previous post noting that if you are blogging and someone critiques you, it makes sense to engage the person in love, or why blog and have comments? Additionally, at times “explaining your views/actions” is exactly what Paul did in Corinthians when he was “forced” to “play the fool” and defend not himself, but his calling from God. At times, that may be a legit response. Additionally, a few groups like to think of themselves as the “discernment movement” for the world. I fear that all too often we fear responding to them and ignore them. It seems that perhaps at times they need to be confronted in love even as Jesus confronted the Pharisees. Thoughts?

  7. Posah says:

    I thank God for your insight man of God, for the past seven years of my life I have suffered being criticised such that I was even starting to ask God, Lord! Is this a punishment I have to undergo in my life but for what. Are you not God who forgives. I tried asking what is it that you want me to learn but still I found no answer. And yes! like a normal person there were times when my ego would cry out, speak for yourself, defend your name and yes at times I would flop and do exactly that. At times I would give the matters unto God’s hand; now making relationships when you a person living under such circumstances becomes difficult because you don’t want to put people under the same rejection you going through. My life has been a life of a perfectionist all along, trying to live a life where there would be found no fault in me but to no avail. Thank you so much for such words for they have opened my eyes.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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