There’s value in standing firm and using these sites to spread the Gospel.
To say that we’re living in a time of division would be an understatement. I am sure I am not the only one who has witnessed the war of words being exchanged while scrolling through social media. This exchange has no boundaries and infects denominations, cultures, politics, genders, and more. Guarding my heart and mind has been a real challenge. Holding my tongue has never been easy for me, especially when confronted with assaults for sharing my beliefs online. I cannot tell you how many times I have deleted my accounts from pure hurt and anger.
Confrontation in digital form is the new norm in a culture where communications are limited to texting, posting and tweeting. Many of my friends and family feel it’s time to leave Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and others for selectively censoring Christian voices, ideals and values.
However, the idea of Christians abandoning social media entirely is troubling. As new platforms start entering the arena, we can begin using social media alternatives like Christian-owned Gab.com, or others like Parler and MeWe. But this doesn’t mean abandoning the dominant platforms.
Taking Advantage of a Big Reach
Evangelicals have an incredible opportunity to reach a mass audience to spread the Gospel and speak God’s Truth. In 2019, Facebook reported that each day, 1.6 billion users spent an average of 58 minutes on their platform. Twitter boasts a whopping 140 million daily users. YouTube comes in at 149 million daily users. Instagram 600 million and WhatsApp topping the charts with 1 billion daily users.
What would Jesus have us do with social media? Would he ask us to turn our backs and avoid the opportunity for evangelism?
A Faulty Case for Withdrawal
Some might argue that Corinthians 6:17 is an excellent reason for a mass exodus from Big Tech and social media:
This passage is a direct reference to Isaiah 52, where God spoke to the Israelites and called His people to “come out from among them.” His command was for Israelites to abandon and discard the idolatry they had adopted while in Egypt. But, this passage is misunderstood and taken out of context as a feeble justification for unplugging from mass communications.
We should, however, also keep in mind that social media can breed narcissism and idolatry of all kinds. We need to keep ourselves in check, not boasting, showing off our intellect, or coveting others’ lives, money or possessions. Otherwise, we risk making gods of ourselves and following idols while ignoring our calling to serve and love others before ourselves.
Here in Matthew 16:23, we have a perfect example of the difference between the concerns of Man vs. the power and might of God:
This passage is as applicable now as it was then. Jesus would most probably say to us today that the Glory of God is mightier than any corruption of Big Tech or social media. He may also have reminded us that He would build the Church here (even on Facebook), for God will use everything for His glory and our good.
Engagement and Encouragement
The solution does not have to be to flee and unplug from the temptation. Instead, let’s strive to be good stewards of our time online. We can be beacons of hope, and engage and encourage others with the Gospel. Christians are responsible for carrying forth the Gospel; whether we share it in person or use one of the Big Tech platforms, our mission should never cease.
You would be hard-pressed to find a passage in the Scriptures where God warns us against evangelizing in hostile or ungodly nations. We are commanded to do as the disciples did after the resurrection of Christ. All 12 put themselves at great risk and peril to spread the Gospel and paid the ultimate price. James, Judas (not Iscariot) and Matthias were stoned to death. Andrew, Peter, Phillip and Simon were crucified. Thomas was speared. John was exiled. Today, our most significant risks are censorship, ridicule and criticism. If we could make a difference in one person’s life, shouldn’t we accept the challenge?
Surely, there will be a day when all Christians’ obedience will be tried and our trust ultimately tested. As for now, there’s still work to be done. We should be in the World and yet not of the World. With this will come many challenges. But through the fruit of the Spirit, we will overcome adversity for the sake of building the Kingdom of Christ.
Investing: Another Way to Make a Difference
Christians have the power to impact the Big Tech companies without abandoning our mission field. Many Christian investors have never thought about what companies they are invested in or even profiting from. Unless each investment is purposefully selected to complement their Christian values, the likelihood of owning one or more of the Big Tech FAANG stocks are pretty high. FAANG stocks are a collection of five of the highest-valued stocks in the technology sector. Together they make up Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
Consider IRAs, 403b plans and 401k plans. These retirement plans own mutual funds, ETFs, and other investments. As an investor, you could be unaware that you are part owner of companies that would be opposed to your worldview. None of the Timothy Plan funds hold any of the investments discussed here.
Since 1994, Timothy Plan’s mission has been to offer a Christian investment alternative centered around Biblical stewardship by avoiding investing in companies that undermine Christian values. Timothy Plan is a suite of Biblically Responsible Investing products. Through its mutual funds and ETFs, Timothy Plan uses faith-based filtering to avoid being invested in companies involved in abortion, pornography, anti-family entertainment, unbiblical lifestyles, persecution, child labor, gambling or the manufacturing of alcohol and/or tobacco.
Despite the Big Tech censorship, Timothy Plan will not own Big Tech FAANG stocks for violating biblical filters. I encourage everyone to try the free eVALUEator tool to know how your current investment holdings line up to your values. Here are some links to eVALUEator reports for each of these companies to determine why Timothy Plan filters them out of their portfolios: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
Contact your financial advisor, let them know you are interested in Timothy Plan to align your investments with your biblical values. If they cannot help you, call Timothy Plan directly for assistance in locating a Christian financial advisor in your area.
[i] Stout, Dustin https://dustinstout.com/social-media-statistics/