Granted – there is no verse which tells us, “Go forth and conquer the Internet.” There is no verse which says, “Go ye into the Twitter and facebook and preach the Gospel.” However, if we look at the spread of God’s Word through history, we will see the evolution of the Gospel. Of course, the Holy Spirit of God knew the Internet would come. But when the Spirit of God superintended the holy men of old, God could not convey the concept of the Internet to them. In fact, The Lord told John not to write of some of the things he saw. Did John see the internet? I don’t know. I do know John, Paul, and the others, would have had no frame of reference to use to describe the Internet, if they saw it. Of course, these penmen of the Bible could also never have understood the concept of the movable press, the radio, the television, the computer or the Internet. Since there is no direct mention of the Internet in the Word of God, should we just ignore the internet? Consider the question this way: because the movable press was, at one time, new technology, should we ignore it? In both cases, the answer is a resounding no. Just as we rely upon the printed Word of God, we must also embrace technology as a tool to spread the Gospel of Christ.
Over the last century, we have witnessed technology evolve faster and further than our fathers could ever have imagined. Likewise, we cannot imagine where technology will evolve in the next century. When radio arrived on the scene, the majority of our brethren in fundamentalism cried against it. When moving pictures arrived, preachers likewise preached against it Similarly, fundamentalists have cried out against the Internet. Yes, each one of these technologies are heavily used for evil purposes. In fact, a great deal of profit from pornography has been made through each one of these technologies. Does that mean we ignore the technology? No.
Genesis 50:20 (KJV) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
If you recall, Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him. They wanted Joseph dead. However, God worked through the brother’s evil actions to do good. No, we shouldn’t sin to spread the Gospel, but using technology is not a sin.
Many people have a misconception of what the internet really is. Some still think of the Internet as a mysterious beast which will come into your home and steal your children. This is not true. The internet is a means of communication. Nothing more. However, through this means of communication, we can access any form of media imaginable. We can read, listen to, or watch anything ranging from great preachers of the past to pop-culture idols to pornography. Yes, the internet is a tool which can be used for evil. However, just as Joseph’s brothers conspired evil against him, God used them as tools to do a good thing. The internet is a tool God can use for good. As fundamentalists, we must embrace the internet, understanding that it is a dangerous tool.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are little more than a means of communication. Two hundred years ago, if you wanted the latest news, you could not turn on the television and watch your favorite news channel. If you wanted the latest news, you went to the town square and listened to the town crier. If you needed to purchase something, you found a vendor in the town square. If you were interested in politics, you went to the town square. Somewhere near the twon square, you could find a church. It is likely that a preacher would be standing in the town square proclaiming the Word of God to the people. Somewhere near the town square, you could find a bar or a pub. Of course, if you were immoral, and wanted to commit some immorality, you could also find that at the town square.
Today, the town square is not a popular gathering place. When we need a product, we go to a store, or we buy it online. Many of our communications are through the internet. Almost everyone born after 1990 gets all of their news and most of their entertainment from the Internet. In fact, many millennials are not using broadcast media at all. No radio. No television as we understand it. Does this mean we should move our churches to the Internet, too? Of course not! But, we must acknowledge the Internet for the modern town square that it is. We cannot fear the modern town square, we must embrace it. We should never neglect the pulpit, but we must adjust our focus. We must devote at least some of our resources to an internet ministry.
People Are Searching
Do you know of anyone who was saved as a result of so-called “random chance” which led them to read a tract? If you pass out one-hundred tracts, it is likely fewer than one tract of that one hundred will actually be read. The same random chance which could lead someone to read your tract can also lead someone to a random website. As a matter of fact, the at the time of this article, the phrase “how to get saved” averaged, on a daily basis, in the 23rd percentile of all searches. While that does not seem very high, remember that Google handles billions of searches per hour. When a lonely soul searches for salvation at four in the morning, will they find your church’s site or will they stumble into the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witnesses website? Do not be fooled – jw.org and Mormon.org are both well=designed, well=marketed websites which certainly get a lot of traffic.
Just as Paul could never have imagined a computer network we call the internet, we cannot imagine where technology will lead us. The only question is: will we embrace it, or will we let the cults and perverts use this tool for their purposes.
Genesis 3:1-6 teaches us that Satan was the most subtle beast of the field, but Proverbs 7 teaches us about another one who is subtle:
Proverbs 7:10 (KJV) And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart.
With the subtle of heart in mind, think about the gossip for a moment. Granted, she may not dress like a prostitute, but here heart is just as perverse and she is just as much a devil. In the past, we have discussed how the gossip is at the top of God’s most despised Proverbs 6:1 teaches us that those who are liars, who are proud, who have hearts full of mischief, whose hearts devise wicked imaginations. Still, there is another aspect to the gossip. Like the harlot, the gossip is subtle in many ways: she disguises herself as something she isn’t, she is subtle in how she gathers her information, she is clever in how she spreads her information and she does not care who she hurts – even if she damages the cause of Christ.
First, the harlot disguises herself as something she isn’t The harlot on the average street corner doesn’t reveal her true identity. Her attire, her makeup, her hair, her demeanor all disguise her. Today, there are many men who go so far as to masquerade as women to play the role of a harlot. Likewise, the gossip does nor reveal her true identity. In a congregation of believers, she uses the right language. She may dress modestly (or, she may be so ugly that she just wants to cover up). She even claims to be a Christian but her lying heart reveals God is not her father and Jesus is not her role model. As she is a liar, so is her father:
John 8:44 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Second, the gossip is subtle in how she gathers most of her information. Remember, she is a liar at heart and it is through her lies that she gathers her information. She may approach you claiming to be your friend. She may see a burdened look on your face and offer to help. Like the harlot, she uses clever words, flowery language and a chameleon’s tongue to weave her way into your life and into your trust. Despite her claims, she is not interested in your well-being. Her interests are her own. What she can do to make herself look better.
Before his fall, Satan was considered an angel of light. Many people believe that, before he fell, Satan was a magnificent creature to behold. They believe that Satan’s appearance was not what we think of today as a red-devil with horns and a pitch fork. Rather, before he fell, most Bible scholars believe Satan was beautiful and radiant beyond our comprehension. Likewise, many people believe that Satan’s appearance, today, is beautiful, as well. We want to believe that Satan would appear as a monster. In reality, Satan’s appearance would be quite attractive. Likewise, the gossip adorns herself in the robes of Godliness. She is a master of disguises. When you see her in a congregation, you cannot pick her out from God’s people. If you search the church membership roles, you will find her name. By being clever in how she blends in with the believers, she develops a trust with the believers. Believers who do not know her, begin to believe that she is a believer. She gains trust, her words gain validity and she lies herself into the hearts and lives of the believers.
Finally, like her father, the Devil, the Gossip does not care who she hurts. You have to remember that Satan is not interested in souls being saved. Satan was your soul eternally condemned and burning in hell. The only way Satan can claim a win is by stealing a soul from God. The next best thing to keeping a soul in hell is keeping a child of God living in defeat. For everything Satan does, these really are his only two goals. The gossip is nothing more than a puppet whose strings are being pulled by her father. What you will find is that no matter how nice her words are, how pleasing her compliments are, how encouraging her words may seem, they are lies. They are not the fruit of a Godly heart, but the deception of the devil. Remember Genesis 3. When Satan deceived Eve, he used the very words of God. Yes, they were not exactly God’s words, but they were close enough to be deceptive.
We see many ways the gossip is like a harlot. But, ultimately, the gossip is most like the harlot in how she sells herself for pleasure. Her currency isn’t money, her currency is friendships and trust. The pleasure is her own. Like the unrepentant streetwalker, the harlot needs to be marked and avoided.