Naming Names Is Fine; Naming Names To Build Your Platform Isn’t

Untitled-1Generally, Facebook conversations aren’t very thought-provoking. As a result, I don’t spend much time there. I went on today because I have a friend going through a difficult situation, and I wanted to check on her.

Once I’d done that, I decided to scroll through my newsfeed, not really expecting to find anything interesting. People seem to post so many third-party GIFs, memes and videos that I don’t really think we make meaningful connections anymore. But I didn’t have an idea for a blog post yet, and I couldn’t do Christmas shopping on Amazon with John in the room, so I halfheartedly scrolled.

To my surprise, I encountered a thread encouraging bloggers not to use a current Christian celebrity kerfluffle as a ploy to attract readers. Of course,  the original post mentioned the celebrity by name, sparking comments about the situation. Some proceeded to judge the celebrity’s motives (one even  declaring said celebrity to be a false convert), while others suggested that the person who wrote the original post supported the celebrity’s compromise.

Sadly, the commentators totally missed the point of the original post. Quite simply, the original poster wanted so-called discernment bloggers to avoid capitalizing on this latest capitulation to worldly philosophies in order to get people to click on their websites.

That admonition is necessary, I’m sorry to say.

I’ve been guilty of using names of well-known false teachers in blog titles in order to boost my stats. Perhaps other discernment bloggers (even the legitimate ones) have fallen prey to the same temptation. And it’s understandable; readers apparently want to read about the sins of others. I learned early in blogging that naming names would do wonders for my blogging popularity.

Sometimes we really must name names. I get that. Evangelicals, by and large, don’t know Biblical doctrine well enough to identify deviant teachers and trends that infect our thinking and compromise our relationships with the Lord. When a famous evangelical makes statements that undermine the authority of Scripture, absolutely we must publicly refute them.

But before we purport to judge the motives of those who make erroneous statements, can we begin by humbly asking the Holy Spirit to reveal our motives for exposing them? Can we do our best to offer correction for God’s glory rather than to demonstrate our supposed discernment?

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~~Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

As most discerning Christians know, Matthew 7:1 can’t be read in isolation. The next four verses make it clear that Jesus said this to condemn self-righteous, hypocritical judging, while correcting those who err in a spirit of humility. If we just want to lambast famous evangelicals for the sake of gaining followers, how is our compromise different from theirs?

Sure, I’d like more readers. Every blogger would. But exploiting the errors of others is not a godly way to build a social media platform. I appreciate my Facebook friend for challenging me to examine my motives.

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One thought on “Naming Names Is Fine; Naming Names To Build Your Platform Isn’t

  1. Once in a while I name names in a post, but it’s always to make a bigger point, usually a theological one. I agree, calling out people over and over kind of loses its interest after awhile, we should focus on the actions more than attacking a person.

    Liked by 1 person

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