Beware the Social Media Gospel

By Hannah Benac

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I know this may seem ironic because I am in fact writing this article on a blog of my own, yet it appears to me that the Christian community is taking far too much stock in what blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts have to say when it comes to shaping our own beliefs about God, the world, and how we should live as believers.

The other day I received a text from a high school student I mentor through Younglife. She was confused about a recent post she had seem from a prominent Christian author promoting a social stance that did not match up with what the Bible teaches. I commended her for her sharp eye and we talked through the danger of statements like these being put out all over the Internet. We then talked about what was true in this situation and what God had to say about it. It became a great teaching opportunity for her and I but I couldn’t help but think of the thousands that read this and applauded loudly without thinking about the implications of the belief and worldview they just supported.

Don’t get me wrong… I love a good blog! I get so many ideas from them that some days I wonder how people ever cooked dinner for their families without cooking blogs or decorated their house without Pinterest! However, my reservations begin to rise when I see people redefining what the church has believed for thousands of years in 140 characters. Here in lies the danger of ingesting false teaching when all we think we’re doing is checking twitter on our lunch break.

The Bible has warnings about false teaching everywhere. Notice Paul’s warning to Timothy here:

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV)

 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

 When Paul wrote this, he was speaking of false teaching coming primarily from prophets and teachers. In our present day, we have information coming at us from all angles, not only from teachers and pastors but also from multiple forms of media. Because of this, anyone can have a platform. We have seen this over and over again where any regular old Joe becomes a YouTube sensation overnight or amasses a large blog following; before long thousands of people tune in daily to hear what they have to say. Many times these authors choose to use their fame to speak on current events or social stances they are taking. While sometimes this can be a great thing we have to beware of the destruction it can also bring.

I’d love to offer up a way to filter information before we believe something to be true. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself while reading:

Who is the person that is saying this? What is their background? (ie: is it credible for me to believe something a food blogger just wrote that might change my Biblical worldview? This is dramatic but you get what I’m saying…)

What are the implications of this statement or article? If I take this belief to scripture, does it match up with what it says? Do wise people around me who are walking with Jesus also think this to be true? Think about what you read and ask questions

Where was this posted? Is it on a website with editors and a solid belief statement where a piece has to be read over by others before it is posted? In other words, is this person accountable to anyone else besides themselves?

Why would they say this? They may genuinely believe what they are writing but it may be written out of emotion or to appease the masses of the followers they have.

In sum, let us be followers of Jesus who know our Bible well enough to identify a false statement when we see one. Let us be thinking Christians who read with discernment instead of just inhaling everything we see and calling it Gospel. Let the first thing we read in the morning be God’s words to us instead of someone else’s. This is vital to our culture and our nation so that we might live in His truth, which leads to freedom, instead of man’s, which leads to deception.

P.S. Here are a few quality blogs that have accountability and a Biblical worldview in their writings:

www.desiringgod.org

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/

http://www.tvcresources.net/resource-library/articles/

**Also let’s not forget about books! Books have to go through hundreds of edits and many eyes see it before it gets into the hands of the public. It’s still important we check the credibility of the author and content, however, it is typically planned, researched and thought through before publication.

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