Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Be Careful Who You Post on Facebook"

I'd written recently that there were pros and cons to using social media as a Christian. It's useful for staying in touch with distant family or friends, to learn of new pastors & ministries, or to share the Gospel. It's not useful when we publicly sin or cause a stumbling block to a weaker brother, or in trying to tighten up time management. There are a lot of temptations on social media, that's definitely a con.

One thing that is also a con but is part of the reality of life as a Christian anyway (i.e. there's no escaping this) is the weak Christian who posts or repeats quotes and tidbits from ministries that are run by a false teacher. We agonize over our brethren who are embroiled in the snares of the devil and who prove it by unidscerningly following them, and by repeating the lies the ministry puts out there.

A pastor named Jordan Hall wrote a heartfelt warning about this and I re-post it here. In my opinion they are good words well stated. I use most of the discernment ministries Pastor Hall mentioned, and I'd also suggest my own The End Time blog, Sharon Lareau at Chapter 3 Ministries, Erin Benziger at Do Not Be Surprised, Sunny Shell at Abandoned to Christ, and Aimee Byrd at Mortification of Spin (The Housewife Theologian), DebbieLynne Kespert at The Outspoken Tulip, and already mentioned in the essay, Amy Spreeman at The Berean Examiner.

His warning:

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By Jordan Hall

Not too long to read: My friends, from a pastor's heart, we must be careful who we quote on Facebook and whose material we share. Please take the time, before you do either, to spend just a single minute to research the individual or ministries you're promoting by sharing their material. Before you quote or post a meme from Beth Moore, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick or other popular 'Christian' leaders or organizations, please search the web with their name and the word 'discernment.' You'll find the information you need in no time flat, and you'll avoid causing your Facebook friends to stumble by introducing them to chaff and tares.

Why do that, you ask? Do that because Romans 16:17 tells us to "Mark those that cause divisions and create obstacles that are contrary to the doctrine taught [in Scripture]." That instruction is two fold (A) Mark them - that means to qualify, characterize and typify them as dangerous as a warning to others and (B) avoid them. When you post something from TD Jakes or Andy Stanley you are marking them as trustworthy. You are then exposing your friends and loved ones to their false teachings.

It is here that some say, "Well, I liked the quote. I'm not endorsing the person." Well, I get that. Really, I do. I'm sure Charles Finney or Adolf Hitler might have said something at some point I might agree with. But, we shouldn't go around quoting Hitler or Finney. Whether you like it or not, it IS an endorsement, and you might turn people onto ministries that are spiritually toxic.

Likewise, be careful when you "like" statuses that repeat the words of false teachers. I know you like the person who posted it. I know you liked their good intentions. But for the love of Jesus (literally), do not 'like' the words that proceed from the mouth of those who masquerade as shepherds but are inwardly wolves. Do not give the impression to your friend that you like it that they appreciate false teachers. Rather, you ought rather to mourn and warn them.

Here's a tip for your convenience if you think, "Good grief, am I supposed to research every pastor or ministry I post or 'like' on Facebook" (the answer is YES, by the way). As stated above, google "person/ministry's name" and "discernment." You'll find a wealth of resources from polemicists (those who specialize in errant teachings) like Chris Rosebrough, the late Ken Silva, Amy Spreeman, Michelle Lesley, Jeff Maples, Pulpit & Pen and more. Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and God has gifted people with discernment to edify and equip the church.

Finally, this is the information age. This does not require going to the library and looking up handwritten sermon manuscripts on the microfiche. A discerning Christian, through just a little bit of research (literally, just minutes) can determine wolf from lamb in short order. For the love of Jesus and his church, please be careful with what you post.

EPrata photo

13 comments :

  1. Yes!!! Also, pretty pictures with random verses taken totally out of context (Psalm 46:10, anyone???) with attribution given to someone other than the author of the book of the Bible... (although I follow you on Facebook and love your photography and encouraging verses!!).

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    1. Thank you Rachel for the compliment about my scripture pictures. I agree about the out of context verses, and that is the reason I decided just to do my own. I was taking so long for me to verify that someone's posted photo was not copyrighted and their posted verse was correctly attributed that I just decided to use the time to create my own. That way I could be sure.

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  2. Thank you, Elizabeth! Sharing and liking on social media is getting to be practically an art form, as so many well-loved leaders are falling away. Keep standing strong!

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    1. Thank you Any, I will by the Lord's grace, and you stay strong too! Thank you for all your ministry.

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  3. Who gets to decide weather the fruit is good or bad?
    And therefore they are fully accredited ...... by whom shall we say that they are given the seal of approval as judge over all manner of interpretation of thought!
    God of course -

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    1. 1. No one is interpreting "all manner of thought" . Don't' be a hysterical ninny.

      2. We get to decide. Read Matthew 7:16, the "You Will Know Them by Their Fruits" passage. Jesus is --
      a. warning that false prophets will come
      b. telling us they will bear bad fruit
      c. encouraging us that we will recognize the bad fruit, which will be evidence they are false.

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  4. Fantastic article by Jordan Hall, and kudos for your posting it. I will be sharing, and trying to keep up with your blog as I am able. May the Lord continue to give you discernment (something I have prayed for myself for many years) and to make use of your service in His name. ><†>

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  5. Thank you so much Laura, and also for you kind comment on the other essay too.

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    1. You’re welcome Elizabeth, but I have a question about the article. In searching for its source, I have discovered that Jordan Hall is not the author of the piece, but is >>>
      “...Jordan United Church of Christ is a vibrant, growing church, with an incredible music and Christian education program, programs and activities for all ages, and an easy to find location. With strong children’s and youth ministry, and unique opportunities such as clowning and sacred dance, we strive to be a church that lives our faith through sharing the gospel with others and helping those in need.”
      [http://jordanucc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40&Itemid=47]
      The senior pastor is currently listed as "The Reverend Doctor David Charles Smith”, and I have not found the article on his Senior Pastor’s Blog.
      I am most generally unfamiliar with the United Church of Christ, but in being discerning, I make an effort to know the source of information, in particular if I am going to pass it along.
      Can you help me untangle the web and discover the original post? Thanks :)

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    2. Hi Laura,

      I got from Jordan Hall's facebook page. He co-writes a blog with others and when he is not the author he always attributes it correctly. Since this was posted on his own personal FB page, and he is a pastor writing from a pastor's heart, and had not attributed any other author, I am making the assumption in good faith that he wrote it and is the sole author.

      https://www.facebook.com/jordan.hall.5836/posts/10207303576524354?pnref=story

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  6. Thank you for including my site, Elizabeth, and for all the work you do here.

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