Social media provides a HUGE platform to reach thousands, even millions, with the Good News of the Gospel, which is amazing.
However, for all of the solid biblical content out there on social media (such from Ligonier, Desiring God, For the Gospel, Dial In, Relearn HQ, and others), I’d contend that there’s even MORE unbiblical content. Nothing new is under the sun: just as Paul had to constantly refute false gospels (see the book of Galatians, for example), social media connects so much unbiblical theology to anyone and everyone…who are often unaware.
We must be vigilant.
Getting biblical content from social media is a blessing, but it does take discernment. Over the past several years of being on social media as a consumer and making my own mistakes, I wanted to share some principles that have been helpful for me in evaluating who I follow.
It’s super important to evaluate what content we are intaking. It’s not just inappropriate content or addiction to social media that we need to avoid—but also bad theology. Before you follow someone, or as you evaluate who you are currently following, these are some questions I encourage you to consider that I’ve found to be helpful!
What is their view of God?
Is the God they share about the God of the Bible? Do they have a high view of God based on biblical reverence and fear of the Lord? Too often we see a “buddy-buddy” or “Jesus is my homeboy” attitude on social media which does not reflect the biblical awe and fear we are to have toward the Creator of the universe. Does their view of God reflect how His attributes are revealed in His Word?
“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.”Isaiah 45:5-7
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”John 4:23-26
We’re called to worship in spirit and truth to the one true God. We need to make sure we’re being influenced by content that accurately upholds God’s holy character so that we’re not gaining a false, unbiblical view of Him—which is idolatry. “What is idolatry? Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God who has manifested Himself in His word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust.” (Taken from the Heidelberg Catechism)
How do they handle the Word of God?
Do they take passages out of context? Do they affirm the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture? Do they have a biblical worldview on gender, sexuality, the church, marriage roles, depravity, the atonement, etc?
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible must be the foundation for everything. It is perfectly sufficient because it pertains to all of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-11).
Who are they associated with?
Associations aren’t everything, but they’re revealing. Does this person/account endorse or repost content from questionable or heretical Bible teachers/ministry leaders that don’t meet the previous qualifications in their view of God and biblical doctrine from the Scriptures?
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.Galatians 1:6-10
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth…Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 3:1-7, 12-15
As an extra suggestion, I tend to follow less people rather than hundreds. It’s easier to keep track of what people post and is especially helpful to not overload my feed. (Information overload is something we deal with majorly in this digital age.)
Some of you may remember how recently a prominent reformed social media account, which had been pretty theologically solid, tragically went off the rails to “Christian universalism” (which is totally heretical). I believe some people are still unaware that he deconstructed biblical theology in his stories and still follow him out of ignorance. This is just one example of the importance of keeping track of who we follow—continually—so that we’re intaking biblical content which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
This doesn’t mean everyone we follow won’t make mistakes, because only the Word of God is infallible. But we should seek to be wise and follow content that is as biblical as possible.
We need to remember the ultimate goal of intaking theologically sound doctrine online is because we want to have a biblical view of God, ourselves, and His redemptive plan for humanity through Christ. If we allow unbiblical input to seep into our lives with our guards down as we scroll through social media, we’re in trouble. We don’t want to be distracted or led astray from the truth.
I’m continuing to be convicted, learn, and grow in all of this. May each of us seek to fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word as we engage on social media!
How do you use discernment on social media? I’d love to hear! Share with me in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter: @girlsgracetruth.
2 thoughts on “Using Discernment on Social Media”
Thank you so much for your email! It was extremely timely. I just got done discovering who Sister Cindy is and the way she preached on college campuses. It does not seem at all like she is thinking or talking about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, or lovely(Phil. 4:8) It seems like her attitude towards people isn’t one of “kindness leading towards repentance” (which is God’s heart)(Romans 2:4).
Though I agree with her general message of being sexually pure and turning from all sin to be saved and follow Jesus, I do not believe she is going about her preaching with the heart of Jesus. Jesus did not throw stones at the adulterous woman but simply told her to sin no more(John 8:10-11). His speech was full of grace and truth. The New Testament is very clear that this is how we are to present Christ as well, with “gentleness and reverence(1 Peter 3:15-16).” I wonder if she’s actually trying to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading in her ministry or if she’s just doing what seems right to her?
I would like to hear your thoughts on this if you have time.
In Christ, Anna Sleppy
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I don’t know much about Sister Cindy, but honestly she really concerns me from what I’ve looked up.
We should never share the Gospel out of a place of pride or haughtiness. That is a completely anti-Gospel approach to life and evangelism. All of us are underserving of God’s grace. After describing the wickedness of the unrighteous in 1 Corinthians 6:11, Paul says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” We should always share the Gospel from a place of humility (because that is what the Gospel results in us: humility as we obtain a right understanding of who we are before Holy God!), remembering how we were naturally hostile to God until He graciously intervened through regenerating us, resulting in our repentance and faith.
We are absolutely called to unwaveringly preach the Gospel — the whole Gospel — according to Scripture without compromise or fear of man. Some may take it as “fire and brimstone” and that’s fine. In this age of toleration and relativism, the world will hate most of what we preach as Christians. We must seek to honor the Lord above all. “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:13-17)
Our heart in evangelism should be as 2 Timothy 2:24-25 says, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” Our hope is to show people the brokenness of their depravity which righteously demands God’s judgment, pointing to the holiness and goodness of God, and His mercy given through Christ–that the Lord might open their eyes to the truth and save them.
From what I’ve seen, I’m concerned about what she believes in general. I’d caution you to stay away.
I hope that helps!