On Tuesday night more than 2,000 students attended a worship night on Auburn University's campus hosted by the organization Unite Auburn. Immediately following the service around 200 students walked over to a small lake on campus at Auburn's Ag Heritage Park to be baptized.
The man who emailed me referenced last year's "revival" that took place on the campus of Asbury Seminary, expressing gratitude that God was moving among young people here in the United States.
But wherever someone is praising God for something good, you can count on someone else taking the time to poo-poo the whole thing. And it's especially delightful when that someone else is a fellow professing Christian. This time it was self-proclaimed "thought leader" Joash Thomas of International Justice Mission Canada who seemed to critique the celebration by tweeting:
Given the timing, it seems almost certain that Thomas was referencing the Auburn "revival." If not, I'll be extraordinarily relieved. If so, I have some questions.
Why does everything have to be a fight? Why does everything have to be contentious? Where is the spirit of unity? Where is the generosity? Where is the love of others within the church?
One of the most distressing things to me about the rise of social media and social media "celebrities" is this very thing. The seeming necessity so many feel to capitalize on every opportunity to be the smartest guy in the room, the wisest voice in the chamber, and in Christian circles, the most pious. Who cares if I'm running down the spiritual joy being expressed by other believers, look at all the likes, retweets, and impressions I pulled for that comeback, right?
Who knows but what some of those baptized at Auburn aren't going to become the next great Christian champions of biblical justice in a culture that mocks it?
Who knows but what some of those baby Christians who were prompted to respond to the gospel by "noisy worship songs" aren't going to become some of the most compassionate ambassadors to the most marginalized among us - those with mental illness or perhaps those struggling to combat sinful sexual attractions.
Putting aside the Marxist use of the word "marginalized" that individuals like Joash love to push, for my money there's no greater marginalized people than the latter. They hear from some on one side of our polarized culture that they are unnatural, perverse, and abominable. They hear from most on the other side of our polarized culture that they are lying to themselves, disgracing the out and proud, and fools to think they can avoid being slaves to their passions. That's what marginalization by society really looks like.
Personally, I find it a cause worth celebrating when people accept Christ and surrender to His Lordship in their life, and I simply do not understand how any fellow believer wouldn't share that joy. Finding salvation in Jesus is the most miraculous, most freeing, most exhilarating transformation a person can experience.
With all due respect, I'd strongly encourage Christians to serve the Kingdom by either finding a way to praise and honor God from the rooftops when it happens, or to at least keep the disagreeable finger-waving off social media.