A lot of my Christian friends have been leaving Facebook lately, while others have shunned it from the start. While I believe that everyone should hear from God for themselves and that the church has been notorious for telling people what they think God thinks they should do, prefaced by a “thus saith the Lord” type of intro, I firmly believe that it is a mistake for Christians to give up Social Media to the world and the devil the same way that those before us gave up television, movies and music.
Social Media is the marketplace of ideas of our day. Even politicians know this, as several of the 2016 presidential candidates have announced their campaigns via Social Media and have whole teams devoted to tweeting or posting several times a day. Every time an issue hits the news, it is fiercely debated, discussed, and ranted about on Facebook and Twitter. And, say what you want, but minds are changed through these venues in a way that they have never been before. I have had my own ideas altered, sharpened, refined and, on several occasions, made a 180 degree change because of discussions on Facebook. While there are certainly those whose minds are made up and locked up and who are too busy thinking about what they are going to say next to hear another person’s viewpoint, there are also countless people that we come into contact with via Facebook, Twitter and other forums whose minds and hearts will be changed by someone. The question is, who is going to do be doing the changing? If Christians leave Social Media en masse, the only people left to persuade anyone will be those whose opinions do not come from Heaven. The affect will be more devastating to the Kingdom of God than the numbers that we lost to the shameless propaganda that floods our TV and movie screens and resounds from the radios in our cars and our kitchens.
Jesus told us to “be in the world but not of it”, yet it seems that in every generation, the rallying cry is, “Don’t have anything to do with that! It’s of the devil.” Even things like dancing and playing cards were once (and in some circles still are) shunned by believers. Now, twerking has replaced the sophisticated, romantic dancing of past generations and the days of passing the time with innocent games like canasta and bridge have been replaced by card games with Occultic roots, like Magic, because Christians have refused to have a hand in shaping popular culture.
Don’t get me wrong, we should absolutely be separate and different; we are, after all, pilgrims in this world. (I also believe that our children should be kept separated from the culture so that their easily-influenced minds can be shaped by Godly principles apart from the influence of government schools with an atheistic agenda, but that’s another blog.) But, how can we be salt and light in the world if we refuse to actually live in the world? Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors on a regular basis (tax collectors apparently being a whole different class of sinners in Jesus’ mind!). He walked around teaching in the same manner as the Greek and Roman Orators and Philosophers. He engaged in the marketplace of ideas of His time and in so doing He, and His apostles, had a hand in shaping the ideas that would carry through to our time. Can you think of any other venue in the world right now that has as much of an affect as Social Media? I am involved in several Facebook groups that have members from all over the world. There are upwards of half a million Facebook groups today and 1.49 billion active Facebook users. Twitter is growing by the day, with 304 million active “tweeters”. If you had never heard of Facebook and I told you that there was a way to get the Gospel and Biblical teachings to 1.49 billion people, would you be interested? So would I. That is the opportunity that is available to us via Social Media.
We are living in an increasingly dark world, where satan’s influence is becoming greater and more widespread. I have watched people walk away from the faith because of the influence of the demonically-inspired opinions of their unbelieving friends and family on Social Media, predominantly Facebook. Yet, my Christian friends and acquaintances believe that now is the time to exit these venues. What would Jesus do? It was on all of our bracelets and bumper stickers a few years ago, but have we ever really stopped to ask that question before jumping on the latest Christian bandwagon? Far too few of us do because we are more interested in what good Christian role model Susie would do. We are more concerned with the opinions of our Christian friends than we are with the lost souls that will be doomed to an eternity separated from God in Hell if we don’t reach them. We shut ourselves up in our little Christian circles and have nothing to do with the world. But, I ask, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” Are we really going to hand the masses of lost humanity over to the influence of the devil and the world via the life-changing, mind-changing, soul-losing venues of Social Media, or are we going to do as Jesus and Paul and the Prophets of the Old Testament did and dive into it with all of our hearts, minds and souls and engage the culture with God-inspired opinions and ideas before it is too late and we lose these people for eternity?