In Your Face! Christian Witness and Facebook

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.(Proverbs 9:7)

When our Christian beliefs get slammed on Facebook, how are we to respond?  The question that has been weighing on us for years is: What do we do when our Christian sensibility is assaulted by postmodern thinking ?  This conflict is now spilling over to social media .  If posts from our “friends” on Facebook get “snarky,” begin to pronounce judgment on our beliefs, and even condescend to take aim at our personal integrity, what are we to think?  How do we respond?  We are to be faithful to our Christian duty and witness and proclaim the Gospel, but how can we cope with what the Bible calls “scoffers?”

There are several Biblical guideposts for our Christian walk and talk in the world.

1.  We should expect the scoffers of the world to revile our Christian faith, attack our efforts at Christian witness, and vilify us personally. The true object of their outrage is not us individually, but our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.(1 John 3:13)

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:7)

2. The scoffers of the world hate God because His living presence demands a response.

He is Lord and Master and deserves and demands our obedience.  Even if one does not believe, He Is Who He Is.  Truth is not dependent on belief.  You don’t have to believe in gravity for it to operate.  Truth is Truth.  Since scoffers are unwilling to obey, they seek to deny the power of God and the right of the Creator to be Lord, Master and Judge of His creation.  Scoffers fear the consequences of the truth that we are all under judgment.  It scares them to know that there is freedom from condemnation only in Jesus Christ–through His blood sacrifice on the cross.  Since the Apostolic Age, scoffers have ridiculed believers and our hope in the promise of eternal life bought for us through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah.

 “…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.  They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”(2 Peter 3:3-4)

Why do scoffers reject the Good News that Jesus offers them eternal life?  To avoid the scrutiny of the Almighty Judge, scoffers must deny Christ, His first and second comings, and the very power of God, that they may continue to revel in their own wretched lives.  They hide from the light that the Gospel sheds on the meaning and purpose of our lives.  The Bible tells us that the unbelievers who dare not repent (turn away from their sinful ways) crave the darkness.  They shun the Light that would bring their hearts, minds and deeds under God’s scrutiny.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

Unbelievers refuse to acknowledge God as the light, as the source of our truth and wisdom and goodness.  Instead, scoffers proclaim their own light, a light they themselves create through their own knowledge and worldly wisdom.  But the truth that God reveals in the Bible tells us that this self-proclaimed wisdom is folly.

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12)

3. We should expect the world to condemn Christians for asserting that we hold to the one Truth.  We will be called “arrogant.” 

Scoffers describe Christians with words like “intolerant,” “prideful,” and “mean-spirited.”  They say that Christians are out of touch with the real world in which no one can claim to have THE Truth, because there is no truth!  That’s the mantra of the postmodern world.  Everyone’s version of truth is valid.  So the world looks us in the eye, wags a finger in our direction and shouts:  just get over yourselves!  However, it is not our lives to get over anymore.  We Christians do not belong to ourselves.  The Truth is that it is the life of Jesus Christ that animates our very being.  We are a new creation, and can no longer be conformed to the world.  In our new life of the Spirit, we cannot compromise Jesus Christ. 

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

4.   Man either loves and embraces Jesus Christ as God, or rejects, vilifies, attacks, and crucifies Him.  This divide is what truly separates believers from the world.  We must understand and acknowledge that there can be no compromise with the world.

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (James 4:4)

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11:23)

5. Unbelievers cannot understand us.

If we have been truly transformed by the power of God, then the Holy Spirit has softened our hearts, opened our minds and allowed our ears to hear the truth of God’s word.  This transformation is the gift of God, and can even change the hearts of the most grievous of sinners, like Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of Jesus Christ’s followers, who as Paul became the greatest evangelist and defender of the faith.  Those whom God has not touched, has not saved, cannot hear the Word of God and do not understand us and our message.  They are blinded to the truth.  Our efforts at engaging with them cannot succeed by our power.  Only the power of God to regenerate them and renew their minds can open them to the truth to which we bear witness.  Without regeneration, our words will be dismissed and hated.

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5)

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. (Proverbs 23:9)

6. Like the church at Corinth, there is danger in trying to accommodate the world with our faith.

What risk is there in mixing with the world, its ideas, in sharing in the diversity of human beliefs?  Isn’t all religion just a single beautiful mosaic describing man’s relation to God?  NO.  There is real risk in commingling with the ideas of the world: the risk that the truth that is Christ Jesus be compromised or altered.  The church at Corinth was guilty of allowing accommodation with the false teachings of the world and it had begun to corrupt their true faith.  In his first epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul called them out and rebuked them.  Paul’s message was plain: believers must keep separate from these influences.  While in practical terms, we must live in the world, and be part of its society and its culture,  we cannot allow our faith to be diluted or compromised by the false teachings and philosophies of the world.  There can be no compromise of the Truth.

 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
   and I will be their God,
   and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
   and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
   then I will welcome you,
 and I will be a father to you,
   and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

7. Unbelievers are not the neutral, independent, rational creatures they purport to be.

Those unbelievers who pretend to be independent, tolerant, rational thinkers, are, as Paul tells us, actually not free.  They are not what they think themselves to be: independent, wise and self-reliant.  For there is no neutrality in the spiritual warfare that rages in the world; either we are for Jesus Christ, or we are for His adversary, Satan.  All unbelief, all unrighteousness, all lawlessness is of Belial, Satan (see 1 Corinthians 6 above).  The real object of all unbelievers’ scorn and the focus of their attacks are Jesus Christ and the book that proclaims His story, the Bible.  Postmodern unbelievers who reject God do not attack Buddhism, or Hinduism, or  Islam–they do not waste their venom on those false idols.  Satan focuses their attention on his real enemy, his conqueror, Jesus Christ.  That hatred of Jesus Christ so evident in the world today is what tells us that His Truth is The Truth.  If it were merely myth, merely the opium of the masses, then the world would just ignore it and move on.  But they cannot ignore it.  It is real.  They must destroy it.  Unbelievers, in attacking Jesus Christ, unwittingly serve another master, Jesus’ adversary.

8. Our purpose in life is to give glory to God in all we do.  By standing apart from the world we choose to become holy as God commands.  By bearing witness to our faith in the world, we offer evidence of the fruit of the Spirit that God has given His children.

But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. (1 Peter 1:15)

Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8)

Our life’s purpose is to give glory to God by being conformed to God’s will, be holy as God is holy, and witness to a lost and fallen world.  The Gospel that we proclaim does not resonate with unbelievers by the force of our reason, by the clarity of our own human minds, but by the power of God, expressed by the goodness of our hearts, and by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that works in men.  Our mission is to preach the Gospel, to reflect the truth of God in our lives, and pray that God will unharden the hearts of those following the false faith of Unbelief and the demonic religion of self-righteousness cloaked in a philosophy of “tolerance.”  We must pray tirelessly that the Holy Spirit work through their consciences, unharden their hearts and allow the Word of God to transform each into a new creation.  Then, only then, can they hear and understand the truth that we proclaim.

Therefore, let us persevere and exhort our brothers and sisters in Christ to engage those around us, be faithful witnesses of our faith and pray for the lost.  We do not however, have to fight the battle for souls with every individual on every front at every instance.  We cannot  respond to every Facebook post that cries out against Christ with a false view of the world.  We do the work of God when we witness faithfully to our faith, proclaim the truth, the Good News of Jesus Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the consciences of our fellow men and women.  We pray that God will do a miraculous work in their hearts, the work of regeneration.  We witness and open the door; God enters and saves those whom He will save.  God desires to reach the lost.  We are His agents.  We must continue to witness everywhere we meet people, even on Facebook, and speak the truth, but we should for the most part expect closed minds and hardened hearts.   After all, before our salvation, were we any different?  We know that the victory has already been won on the Cross.  In our quest to witness to the truth and power of Jesus Christ, we will be mocked, derided, dismissed, attacked, and vilified.  Be of good cheer.  So were the apostles.  So was Jesus.

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 10:52 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “While in practical terms, we must live in the world, and be part of its society and its culture, we cannot allow our faith to be diluted or compromised by the false teachings and philosophies of the world. There can be no compromise of the Truth.”

    Amen!! No compromise. Wise words, Mr. Stevens 🙂

  2. “The Gospel that we proclaim does not resonate with unbelievers by the force of our reason, by the clarity of our own human minds, but by the power of God, expressed by the goodness of our hearts, and by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that works in men.”

    Not by the force and clarity of our reasoning abilities, but by the power of God! Amen! WE have no power to change hearts and minds, only God possesses that. We sow; He grows. We labor; He accomplishes.

    On another board I used to belong to, one where atheists would come in to have their so-called intellectual debates about creation, evolution, etc., I noticed this over and over. The Christians used their own reasoning abilities (instead of the Gospel) which accomplished only a self-serving show of their own supposed intelligence. The dialog would eventually erode into a battle of wills and 4 syllable words – both sides using the same ploys in order to show off their superior intellect. I’d pull my hair out reading it all! The Word of God is a double-edged sword that cuts through man’s reasoning abilities and exposes their true thoughts and intents as what they are – deceitful and wicked. And only God can turn their hearts to Him. Our efforts are in vain unless we are guided by the Spirit and welding the sword of His Word – not our own pathetic abilities.

    The only place of peace and safety for us is inside the ‘secret place’ – the place where we first dwell in and then abide in if we are not to be tossed about like reeds blowing in the wind.

    Great thoughts, Brother Will. A good exposition of one of my favorite verses – “This battle is not ours and we do not need to fight in it.” We actively go forward, we must participate, but the battle is His. He accomplishes it according to His good purpose for the glory of Christ Jesus.

  3. Maybe you should become a professional blogger. I think you are beyond hobby status 🙂

    Mark Wright
    Faith Fellowship Church

    • Thanks, Mark. I am just letting the Lord use the gifts and resources He has loaned me. All glory is His.

  4. This blog is part of my witness, and thus is my life.

  5. It seems so closed-minded to respond to criticism of your beliefs by simply quoting scripture like, “”…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires, etc…”

    If you are intellectually-honest, spiritually-honest and are seeking the truth no matter where it leads, it seems to me that you should be open to others identifying inconsistencies with your biblical worldview.

    What I get from your blog is that, if someone finds your belief system unconvincing and ridiculous, that person is a ‘scoffer’ who simply hasn’t been transformed by the power of the holy spirit. This is a very, very dangerous mindset to have.

    • “no matter where it leads” seems like a postmodern relativist ethos which says “everyone has his own truth and it must be respected.” Everyone has the free will to choose truth or untruth and then call it “their own truth.” But truth is truth is truth. Not mine, God’s as revealed in the Bible and in his son Jesus Christ. It is only those made alive in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit who can discern the truth. All other paths to truth are false and lead to condemnation. A Biblical worldview is the only picture of reality.
      If your truth is different God bless you, but by creating your own truth you have turned God into an idol of your own making. Your tower of Babel will not stand.

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