I recently posted something controversial on Facebook.
This is not surprising to my friends.
One such friend tentatively joined the discussion with a remark about how he hates getting into “Facebook Debates.”
Thankfully, the exchange was peaceful and professional. No one’s mind was changed (as is frequently the case), but information was shared well.
You’ve seen it, and unless you just like arguing, you’ve probably been annoyed, disgusted, or aggravated by one or more social-media-soap-box-back-and-forths. And you’ve likely asked yourself with the tone of a backstabbed Cesar,”Why?!”
I’m glad you asked.
Here are 5 Reasons Christians Must Engage in Facebook Debates and how to do it to the glory of God.
1. God Created Us to Communicate
When God created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1), He could have designed the human body without ears – demanding that all communication happen via sign. He could have even given them the power to read minds. But He didn’t. He chose verbal and written communication to be the medium by which His Truth was conveyed to man.
This dynamic observation requires a lifetime of study, but for now let it be sufficient to understand that communication is pregnant with spiritual purpose.
2. God Commands Us to Communicate
After equipping us with the content, ability, and desire to communicate Truth, the Godhead then went one step further by commanding us to engage everyone with said Truth.
We are constrained by the very writ of God to sharpen each other, pray with each other, encourage, remind, edify, rebuke, admonish, preach, teach, counsel, and even answer each other. Paul described it as an Gospel indebtedness to all men (I Corinthians 9:16-19). Guess what! We have the same indebtedness (Matthew 28:19-20).
J.Gresham Machen rightly noted that “A Christianity that avoids argument is not the Christianity of the New Testament.” because God wants us interacting with Truth.
3. The Gospel Is More than Justification
Okay, so you’re not going to argue that we owe all men the Good News of salvation. But if we merely introduce people to God, but refuse to help them grow in their relationship with Him, we have sorely misunderstood the gospel.
God’s grace doesn’t only save us, it transforms us in our everything. Salvation is the glorious beginning, but Sanctification is daily refining with which God purifies us as we fulfill our responsibility to share the Gospel with the world.
The necessary application is, then, that God’s Truth touches every area of life. Therefore, if we owe the Gospel to all men, we must apply God’s Truth to every facet of life – whereby helping them be sanctified by the Gospel.
4. Facebook Offers a Wonderful Venue for Corporate Sanctification
The world wide web is a clamoring Areopagus of ideas. Every book is bellowing its philosophies, every merchant is advertising his wares, and every desire is pleading her delights.
It’s a glut of lies yet a famine of Truth.
But where’s the salt?
Where’s the light?
Where’s that city set upon a hill (Matthew 5:14), those reapers for harvest (John 4:35), this Christian with a burning desire to use his God-given vocal folds to spread the glorious news of life more abundant?
Facebook is merely a patch of land in the online world. If we look on a map for Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth, you’ll find Facebook nestled in our own backyards – on our bedroom nightstands.
5. We Must Engage in Redemptive Relationships in Every Sphere
If we’re created to communicate, commanded by God to apply His Word to eating, drinking, and living (I Corinthians 10:31), and if Facebook is the perfect soil in which to plant that Truth, why don’t we use Facebook to cultivate redemptive relationships?
Probably because we’re not cultivating those relationships anywhere else either.
Sadly, American Christianity has decidedly given up on intentional, personal one-anothering. Our relationships are freckle-level. Our interactions are polite, pithy, professional . . . yet pathetic.
Don’t engage in Facebook debates merely to abuse, hurt, argue, or even win.
Involve yourself for these 2 reasons:
- The one who posted has asked a question or posed an idea that they want you to know about. They’ve invited you to share your worldview the moment they pressed “post.”
- You have divine, relevant Truth to bring to bear on the subject.
And when you find yourself in the middle of a digital debate, keep these 2 goals ever before your eyes:
- God wants to be worshipped in your communication. Glorify Him.
- You cannot glorify God with your words unless they are Truth-filled and love-filled.
Please evermind that any time Truth comes to bear on a worldly disposition, it will either awaken life or loathing. You must choose carefully how and when to interact. We mustn’t cast pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6), but we must always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks (I Peter 3:15). We mustn’t answer a fool according to his folly, but we must also be ready to answer a fool according to his folly (Proverbs 26:4-5).
Knowing when and how to speak requires wisdom and discretion, but we must do it. Don’t lament the fact you have a sovereign chance to preach the glorious news of grace!
If you’d like to learn more about using Facebook redemptively, please read “Can Facebook be Redemptive?“