My writing may seem oddly devoid of direct quotes from scripture given that I am a Christian blogger. While this may be puzzling or frustrating — or even downright infuriating — I mean, how dare I ignore God’s Word?!? — there is a reason behind the perceived slight. Several reasons, actually, with some being legitimate and others a constant and difficult struggle. As I value transparency and honesty as a writer — and since this has actually been nagging at me for over a year — I’m finally sitting down to hash all of this out.
Christian Blogs Are… Blogs…
While I would certainly agree we bloggers of the Christian faith and theology should be centered in scripture, rooted in Christ’s True doctrine and focused on solid, Biblical teaching, I argue it is not a necessity that all articles or posts reference scripture outright.
*gasp* I know. I can hear the gossip-y whispers now.
But listen. Blogs are not — typically — theological academic-style papers or in-depth Bible studies. Instead they are relaxed, conversational and often quite personal commentaries on society, culture and life — even life within the church. For this reason, topics may often focus on areas of life not directly touched on in Scripture or they may stay fairly high-level in regards to Christian doctrine.
For instance, it seems a bit overkill to insist on a Scriptural reference every time readers are pointed back to the ultimate point that Jesus Christ died for their sins. Certainly there is excellent Scripture to back this up (duh), and this point is far from being a personal opinion of the reader — as we hold it to be universal truth — but a cited verse is likely unnecessary.
Nor should we avoid any and all topics which are not directly mentioned in Scripture. After all, the Scriptures are written so that we may know Christ crucified, that we may be reconciled to God through His Son (John 20:31) and not as a self-help-how-to-guide for the day-to-day grind of life. God’s Word certainly provides comfort and guidance for many things, but the Lord has given us one another to help with the grind. And so we may write words of encouragement, tips, tricks and how-to guides to help the struggling friend, sister, wife, mother or coworker in those areas of life Scripture is silent on. This is good, right and a blessing to our neighbor.
All this said, I do strive to include scriptural references when I write on specific Biblical topics, such as Baptism, monergism or, say, any example in this article.
Truth is Truth and Lies are Lies
Words of Truth do not cease to be true simply because Scripture was not provided, referenced or cited. Truth is not dependent on chapter and verse. The words of our pastors when they write their sermons are not any less sound when they do not provide the Biblical basis for each point made (and how clunky a sermon it would be if they constantly cited throughout!). Our sharing the Gospel with a friend in our own words is no less the Gospel if we fail to tack on the chapters and verses which illustrate it. Note: I am in no way claiming that sharing Scripture is pointless or unnecessary, simply that it isn’t always necessary.
On the other hand, lies are still lies– even when Scripture is used as support. This is a trademark move of Satan, after all — using God’s own word to tempt and to lead astray. We need look no further than his interactions with our Lord or Adam and Eve to see that this is Satan’s most basic trick.
People can (and often do) throw around God’s Word day in and day out, using it to back up their worldview and their stance on this matter and that topic, though their claim is false and contrary to Biblical teaching. How often have we seen false teachers tack Scripture onto a pretty picture to hock their false brand of Christianity? And while the Holy Spirit may still use that sharing of His Word to bring others to the faith, it does not validate their errors.
The Use and Misuse of God’s Word
Yet not all misuses of Scripture stem from false teachings. It seems Scripture is often used to simply give credibility to someone’s views, points, business, or whatever – even if what they’re saying or doing has no actual Biblical basis whatsoever. Is a business holier with a Bible verse on the logo? Perhaps not, but it can sure boost sales. God’s Word is oft used out of context, misrepresented or misunderstood to help validate one’s statement or opinion – or to sell a product.
I, personally, am quite sensitive to my readers’ perceptions, and I don’t want to appear to be doing this, using God’s Word to give my own words and thoughts more weight and credibility. I also want to avoid inadvertently misusing God’s Word, too. I often forego Scripture, because I don’t want to claim a verse fits my point when it might not.
While I am a Christian blogger who dares to write on theological topics in an effort to clarify, teach, or encourage my neighbor, I am far from an expert. In fact, I feel wholly unqualified to do what I do. Like most other bloggers I write what I think. I provide commentary and opinion. I vomit words on the page in an effort to connect and get others to start thinking about topics – always with the expectation that they will go off and dive in with the help of their pastors or whoever.
The Jaded Christian
This is what has kept me from writing on this topic for over a year.
I have been burned.
I am jaded by the numerous false teachers and feel-good mystics who think slapping God’s Word on a pretty picture is perfect for hocking their cheap knock offs of God’s True Doctrine. I am frustrated by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who trust anything anyone says as long as it has a Scripture verse – being so lazy in discernment that they don’t dare question it, because, “Hey, look, they quoted the Bible, they must be right!” I have a solid, and perhaps unhealthy, distrust of folks who quote God’s Word regularly – unless I trust them personally already.
And so I regretfully shy away from quoting it myself.
I’m not proud of my scorned heart over this matter. To be blunt, I’m ashamed of my letting others’ misuse of God’s Holy Word taint my view of that Word. As one friend put it — “it’s like refusing to get married as a Christian, because people misuse marriage.” I want to heal. I want to get to a point where my negative experiences with Bible-twisters no longer affects my reception to those who quote scripture or my willingness to quote scripture in my own writing. I appreciate your patience and prayers as I continue to work through this.
But this aside, I still refuse to toss scripture around haphazardly, adding it just for the sake of boosting my own personal credibility or using it when it isn’t necessary. When it comes down to it, these words are mine, my opinion and my commentary on the world and society around me, shared in an effort to serve my neighbor.
By Vanessa Rasanen