by John Ellis
If you don’t follow me on Twitter (@JohnW_Ellis), yesterday would have been a fun day to start. I have received close to 200 notifications from people responding to my article about the #NashvilleStatement. Many of those responses are from people angry at me. Things like “Eat s**t bigot!” and gay porn have been directed my way. I don’t usually block people on Twitter. I believe that if I put something out there *on the interwebs,* I should be prepared to take whatever is sent my way. It’s part of the price you pay for operating in the online space. (I also think it’s cowardice to not use your real name online.) However, this time, I’ve blocked several people and deleted a few mentions due to the level of obscenity.
Out of curiosity, I checked out the mentions of people like John Piper and Denny Burk. As numerous and, at times, nasty my mentions are, they pale in comparison to the men and women who are part of the original group of signees. My word, those brothers and sisters are having a ton of vitriol heaped on them. However, I have zero doubt that on a personal level those brothers and sisters are unfazed by the hate. For me (and I’m sure for them), I was struck by sadness for the rebellion against God demonstrated by fellow image bearers; by God’s grace, I was compelled to pray for many of my new “fans” to be given repentance and faith and to be adopted into the family of God. If you do follow me on Twitter or you just drop by out of curiosity, please do not engage my new “fans.” Pray for them instead. And pray that God will give you a love for those who revile the truth. Remember, apart from Christ, you and I revile God, too, and we once did revile God.
One observation that I find interesting and telling – the contrast is striking between the language and tone of the “hateful” conservative evangelicals who wrote and signed the statement and the language and tone of those purporting to be on the side of love. By their fruits you will know them.
If you haven’t read or signed the Nashville Statement, I encourage you to do so. And do not be dissuade by progressive Christians decrying the insensitive timing of the release. For starters, they would be howling about it even if no tragedies were currently playing out in the world right now. For another thing, that’s a classic example of a false dichotomy; it’s not an either/or. Many of the writers and original signees of the statement have been very active and generous with their time and money in providing relief and help to the suffering in Texas because of Harvey. You can sign the statement and provide aid to those who are hurting in Texas.
A final thought – apart from God’s grace, a day is coming when all followers of Jesus are going to have to take a public stand on the issue of sexuality and gender. And on that day, all who refuse to bow before the idol of the sexual revolution will be rhetorically (and possibly physically) thrown into the “fiery furnace.” On that day, keep your eyes on Jesus. In fact, don’t wait until that day to keep your eyes on Jesus. A storm is coming brothers and sisters, and apart from Christ, you will fail. Jesus told us that the world will hate his followers. Our King knew and knows, and he hasn’t left us to struggle alone. Pray now for the faith and grace to continue to pursue Jesus and the holiness of God, no matter the cost.
Soli Deo Gloria