When social media is used to engage culture and theology through meaningful and constructive discussion of current events, biblical truth, and theological perspectives it is a great thing. Our words must be seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6) and generous towards those outside of our Christian community. There are numerous examples of pastors using social media to express their opinions about church and social issues. One noteworthy example of this was when pastor Mark Driscoll, in July 2011, commented sarcastically about effeminate male worship leaders on his Facebook.
Tolerance of others should be a Christian value, not just a secular and consumer marketing buzzword. While our increasingly secular and consumeristic culture wants to be more inclusive of all philosophies and lifestyles to be “tolerant”, we must not let tolerance become a justification for avoiding God’s truth about uncomfortable societal issues. Grace on social media should reflect compassion and love towards the potentially infinite audience our post might effect. Although, what Driscoll did alienated and demeaned anyone who would consider themselves as not fitting into his definition of manhood from the pastel-wearing worship pastor, sexually confused teens, to the openly flamboyant homosexual. In contrast, Trinitarian ethics require generosity in speech, and a life that imitates and communicates the truth of God’s word, while not avoiding complex issues, in order to give our reason for hope: Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
A biblical example of this is Paul in Acts 17:16-34 when he is explaining the gospel. He used his observations of the city of Athens to speak to their religious pluralism and misconceptions, and instead of mocking or belittling them he gave them the answer to their quest for the “UNKNOWN GOD” (17:23). He explained who God is, what their soul’s situation was, and even represented the gospel by using a quote from a poet that they were familiar with to point them to Christ. His message changed a few people’s hearts, and that is what matters. Our generosity can turn people towards knowing Christ, but our lack of generosity can turn people away from God’s love and the truth of the gospel. An example of this in my engagement of social media is through the blog that I write on youth ministry. I have written multiple times about current movies and music that teenagers are listening to. While I do point out how the content within the type of media could effect students negatively, I also have pointed out how movies like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (coming soon) could spark conversations about God, redemption, and loving others between parents and youth leaders, and the students that they desire to reach and serve with the Gospel.
Evans, Rachel Held. Mark Driscoll is a bully. Stand up to Him (Blog). (Read 11/6/12)