If you’ve been a believer for an extended period of time now—at least two years, I’ll say—you’ve come to the understanding that growth in Christ and His Word isn’t an overnight process, but can be compared more to the process of a planted seed, which takes time to germinate.
Nevertheless, there are Christians, many who’d deem themselves “mature” Christians, who give no grace to those who are newer to the faith, expecting them to have arrived at every aspect of the knowledge of God’s truths as soon as they acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. If not, these Christians deem the babes false converts and dismiss them as members of the Body.
This should not be.
As we know, no one begins a physical journey or marathon in life at the finished line; it takes time to get there. In the same way, no one enters into the spiritual Body of Christ having already arrived; it takes time to get there. In the Bible, this truth is displayed to us through several different avenues. One of the first is Jesus’ extensive training of His disciples during His three years of earthly ministry. A second is through the life of Paul, who went into Arabia to study with Christ three years before beginning his ministry (Galatians 1:15-18). A third we see through the Ethiopian eunuch, to whom Philip was sent to teach of Christ (to clarify His truths to him) and to bring him into the Kingdom (Acts 8:26-40).
Friends, if those who have done great things for God (working in partnership with Him to build His church) needed time to learn and grow in Him, why would we think it any different for those God is adding to the Body today?
We can’t be so quick to condemn or to call someone out due to a false statement they may have said, or quote they may have shared, or because they’re following or recommending a “pastor” who teaches a heretical ‘gospel’. The better way, the biblical way, would be to contact the person personally, or pull them aside in person, as Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos (Acts 18:24-26), and correct them gently. Teach them in that moment to not be so quick to post their first thoughts, or to endorse everyone who “seems” credible, but to study and research God’s words carefully first concerning all matters they want to execute publicly (as well as for their own private knowledge). In correcting in this way, you will have won that person over (the complete opposite of what embarrassment would have done) and given them the knowledge needed to grow in grace and truth.
Now, will everyone who professes to be in Christ want to hear and heed your correction? No. But, even in cases such as those, there is no need for condescending remarks or bickering back and forth. We can simply shake the dust from our feet and continue in the works of Christ, praying that if the person who rejected the truth is indeed a child of God, He will bring him or her to the knowledge of truth through a different avenue (I’ve done this several times, and God has responded accordingly).
That said, let us seek, in every way, to display Christ. Sure, it may be somewhat shocking or unnerving to see a professing Christian post or write something online that is blatantly false, or share a video clip of a pastor who is openly teaching the ‘gospel’ of prosperity, or some other perversion. However, we should never jump to conclusions, in an instant, about someone’s status in the Kingdom due to it. Let us remember our own growth processes during those times, where we started and how far we’ve come, and extend that same grace to the next person. Because, just as God graced us with a better understanding of the truths He had written out for us long ago, He can and will extend that same grace to others.
Remember that, and pray.