By Jonathan David Faulkner
So earlier this month we published a question about The Babylon Bee in our Faulkner on the Fifth. I had a generally positive response to the website, and I still do, but I had readers coming to me expressing their concerns about the popular Christian Satire site, and about my support of it. So let me articulate here my thoughts on the site and afterwards I hope you have a better understanding of why I am supportive of it.
The Babylon Bee is satire, Satire is generally the breaking down of a cultural norm or folk idea in a way that is generally humorous. So, by participating in Satire the Babylon Bee is breaking down issues within a group of people, specifically Christians, in a way that is generally humorous. Now, they can go too far, and there are some articles that I have seen that do just that, but we are fallen human beings and Satire can be such a sensitive thing.
My reader base is split on my enjoyment of the Babylon Bee. Some find it offensive, and indeed it is, others try to fact check it and still others absolutely love it. I enjoy it, but I also find it offensive, like in most issues I sit in the middle of two extremes. I do have concerns about it, I have not blindly accepted it.
So why am I supportive of it? And what are those concerns that I have?
I will start with my concerns:
- It tears down the Body of Christ.
- Some of the articles are ungracious towards certain people. As funny as the Joel Olsteen Posts are I have to admit that instead of seeing Joel torn down I would like to see him return to Orthodoxy and to preaching the truth of Gospel.
- This is also the direct opposition to what we are trying to do at God’s Heart. We have a “Blue Print” if you will, for building up the Church, BT and I spend hours talking through these issues that we address on the website, searching God and His Word for our answers to your questions and to those things which we are addressing on this site. We want to see the body renewed, not just to each other, but to the world in general. To see the Church recapture that love that once made it so compelling.
- It “Airs out the Churches Dirty Laundry.”
- To borrow a quote from my Uncle who disagrees with the website. He is right, it does, and it is unfortunate that it took a Christian Satire website to get us to the point where those things we have held so dear in “Christianity, American Style” (Zahnd), that are not in line with scripture. Organizations like Church Leaders, The Dirty Christian and God’s Heart that have tried to address these issues are by their very nature unpopular because they call for a change in attitude among the general populous. A move away from those things that we have added to the Gospel.
- It is Offensive:
- Indeed, it is, and if it were not, I would have concerns. Again, I do wish there was another way to expose some of these things than a Satire site. The truth is, the things I have been offended by are things that I myself need to work on. It forces us to look inside and see if the attitude being portrayed is one we hold to and ask ourselves: “Does this really line up with the Gospel?”
So why support such a website?
- It exposes Heterodoxy and Folk Theology that have brought us to where we are as the American Church.
- If you disagree with me, that is fine, but remember I am one of the many who has become very disillusioned with American Christianity. A lot of the attitudes that they address are attitudes that I grew up hearing all the time or even some of the more modern issues within the bounds of our technology infused world. In fact the first article I ever read by them was entitled: “Girl finished morning devotions without posting on Instagram.” No Folk Theological idea is safe, and folk theology in America has done much more harm than good.
- Heterodoxy, which is the opposite of Orthodoxy, is dangerous, it perpetuates heresy such as what we have had to deal with from Joshua Feuerstien, Kenneth Copeland and Henry Wright (See David Faulkner’s A New Look At Job). You cannot deal with false teaching until it is exposed as such, and they have done that.
- It opens the Doors for Conversations:
- Again, I do not necessarily like that it took a Satire Site to open these doors but now they have been thrown open with a great thrust and now we can discuss why a lot of the ideas that have become prevalent in the American Church. Ideas about Evangelism (method and execution) and our reactions to things that are happening the world or the problems presented by certain Christian Leaders. Like Art in the Medieval Church the Babylon Bee opens the door for the Lay Christian (among whom are its reader base) to discuss these issues with their Church Leaders. It can also help to bridge the gap between the Laity and the Leadership.
- It gives us a reason to laugh at ourselves:
- Let’s face it, we take ourselves too seriously as believers. We have such a hard time laughing at ourselves. Sure, it is easy to laugh at Target or Apple or the rest of the World. Laughing at the world of its issues is easy, but turn the microscope back onto us and all of a sudden we become the most rigid people on the planet. In the words of Christian Comedian Brad Stine: “We have to laugh again.” After all, God did create laughter and he did create us, so why not be able to laugh at our shortcomings and show each other grace while we address these issues.
I know, this is a sensitive topic for us as a Church, we do not want to be told we are doing it wrong, especially in the American Church. The truth is we have a lot of work to do if we are going to impact the next generation. That has to start by addressing these attitudes and issues that have brought us to where we are. To rediscover the truth of the Gospel without addition or subtraction and to move beyond the label of being the “American Church” and learn to see ourselves amongst the universal Body of Christ. So that the church can be the Church for all generations until the return of Christ.