Cancel Culture has become a buzzword, especially within Christians and Conservatives. We are often times crying foul when it comes to the left trying to cancel one of our own. It’s really easy to try to do something about this mentality when it’s those “evil guys over there” on the Left always trying to cancel Conservatives. But what about when it’s Conservatives cancelling Conservatives and Christians cancelling Christians.
Obviously, there is a time and a place for us to cancel those within Christianity. We see this in Scripture in regards to false teachers and believers with unrepentant sin. When it comes to false teachers, if they are preaching a false Gospel, we need to reject them.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. -2 John 9-11
And then Jesus gave us the steps for church discipline. In this instance, only after exhausting all other avenues to try to bring the sinning Christian to repentance do we expel them from the Body, from then on treating them as the unsaved.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. -Matthew 18:15-17
Those are the two examples of the Biblical equivalent of Cancel Culture. The problem? For too many, we are cancelling way too many people way too often!
For many “discernment bloggers”, we see a hardline approach to supposed “discernment”. What I mean by this is that if there’s any disagreement or critique, the person getting critiqued is cancelled. Far too often, we see ministries cancelling each other and creating way too much unnecessary division within the Body of Christ. This often turns into personality wars, blowing perceived differences out of proportion and even a refusal to engage with those with disagreements out of fear of “legitimizing” them.
I used to be one of these people. It was always reinforced to me that we don’t legitimize those that disagree with Calvinism, Lordship Salvation or who are Charismatic. Almost any doctrinal difference was seen as a justification to divide.
The interesting thing for me is that I feel like God has been working in my life over the last few years, and I’ve been waking up to the fact that I had created my own echo chamber and essentially cancelled those not within my camp. However, once I started joining in the fight over Social Justice within Evangelicalism, I realized that many of those outside of my camp were seeing the problem and providing a more biblically sound rebuttal than those from my Calvinistic, John MacArthur crowd.
As I began talking to these pastors, I realized that we agree on the essentials of the Gospel, but have secondary differences that, although important, should not necessitate complete separation. I began to want to discuss and debate our differences and then partner with them based upon our agreements. This allowed me to work with people like Dr Mike Spaulding, Dr Andy Woods, Pastor Ken Peters and Dr Michael Brown, all of whom I have theological differences with. However, we find a common purpose in defending Biblical truth in a particular arena and have a common salvation in Christ Jesus.
I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we disagree theologically. We have to remember that we are all sinners, we all have blind spots and are all wrong in certain areas of our theological understanding. We shouldn’t ever actually want to cancel anybody. We should want to see people come to repentance. We should also self-reflect to see where we can improve, ourselves.
Cancel the false teachers. Preach the Gospel to unrepentant sinners. Other than that, critique that which is unbiblical and promote that which is biblical. And then go about your life loving and encouraging each and looking for how you can help someone instead of simply tearing them down.
For those of you in the “discernment world” who have made it your life to sniff out something you can blow up with a click-bait title, you are a part of the problem. When you spend your entire life looking for someone new to get cancelled and to DESTROY, maybe you need to check yourself. Your job should be to discern between truth and error… or even better, right and almost right. If your “discernment” site reads more like a TMZ of Christianity, you aren’t practicing discernment.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. -Ephesians 4:29