Friday, June 2, 2017

The Faceless Face Book: Blessing or Curse?

The original intent of Face Book (FB) was primarily meant to bring family and friends together who were separated geographically. Almost immediately FB became a vehicle for everyone who simply wanted to share information or certain life events within their realm of relationships. That sharing expanded to the public arena whether the viewers were friends or not. By the use of textual comments, photos, videos and a variety of “fun” communications FB became an international phenomena.  

FB has now metamorphasized into many things, some of which boarder on
voyeurism and self idolatry. The FB culture has succeeded in manufacturing a cultic following some of which have become so dissatisfied with their life that they have decided to live through the seemingly exciting life and experiences of others. From the traveling exploits to the mundane “Here is what I am having for dinner tonight” (as if anyone really cares), or here is a new picture of “Me; see how beautiful, sexy, strong or good looking I am” FB has become a daily addiction. For those indoctrinated into the FB community, not a day goes by without the FB fix. The Christian community is very much a part of this addiction.

The FB Blessing

To be fair, FB does have its benefits. Generally, it assists families and friends to keep in touch who they would not be able to as easily without the FB venue. Pictures of children and grandchildren are an especially wonderful blessing of FB. Old friends can catch up and current friendships can be cultivated. Fb is also a benefit for businesses in their effort to advance their agenda and market their product. Private discussion groups and messaging are also part of the advantage of FB.

The FB Curse

Having said that, it is the sinful heart of man, and his addiction to the Athenian mindset, which makes all that is new and exciting the focus. (Acts 17:21) The depraved heart of man has polluted the FB venue changinf its blessing into a curse.

Because everything that sinful man involves himself in has a tendency to devolve into something awful. FB is not immune to this deprivation. Nor is the Christian community immune to the negative tendency of FB’s impact. This is mostly evident within the various Christian groups. One of the problems with FB is the anonymity of its participants. Comments are injected into the comment box with every opinion imaginable many of which are ‘off the cuff’. To be involved in a “discussion” seems to be the goal even if no discussion or comment is warranted.

Within the Christian debate forums sin is rampant. Rather than using the FB group to build up the saints these forums have devolved into battle grounds of slander, hatred, pride, vulgarity and even the threat of violence against disagreeing parties.

The Bitter Root of Group Think

Everyone acts in a way consistent with their belief. This is true for everyone. 
A vulgar man will act in accordance with his character which coincides with his belief structure. When a professing Christian acts according to traits which typically represent unbelievers, questions must be asked as to the validity of their profession.

It only takes one individual to spark an aggressive thread of debate. Once that begins, especially if it is instigated by someone with perceived popularity, knowledge of the subject or social influence, group think takes effect and the battle begins. In studies by Myers, Bishop, and Stoner dealing with dominant attitudes in group discussions and a comparison of individual and group discussions involving risk, they found that identifying with aggressive internet participants make those who normally are not aggressive become aggressive. 

Richard Wiseman explains in his book 59 Seconds,

“Have aggressive teenagers hang out together and the gang will be far more likely to act violently. Allow those with strong religious or political ideologies to spend time in one another’s company and they will develop more extreme and often violent viewpoints. The effect even emerges on the Internet, with individuals who participate in discussion lists and chat rooms voicing more extreme opinions and attitudes than they normally would….

Other studies have shown that compared to individuals, groups tend to be more dogmatic, better able to see their actions are highly moral, and more apt to form stereotypical views of outsiders. In addition, when strong willed people lead group discussions they can pressure others into conforming, can encourage self censorship, and can create an illusion of unanimity.”

The Chiefest of the Commandments

Although FB is called Face Book, it is not a face to face
venue at all. In fact, it is the exact opposite. FB has provided almost total anonymity for those involved in group discussion. It is here where the problem exists. The Lord tells us that we are to go face to face when disagreeing with a brother. And then we are to deal with that brother in the spirit of love, kindness and meekness.(Eph 4:2,15,16,32, Col 2:2, 1 Thesss 3:12,Gal 6:1) FB has stripped the Christian community of that Biblical factor that is so essential to loving our brethren.

The Hypocrisy of the Hypocrite

Those theological FB discussion groups which have become battle grounds within the community of the saints need to take special care that they do not accomplish more in destroying Christendom than building it up. The Apostle declares that knowledge, when it is not disseminated with the spirit of love and concern puffs up, whereas only love edifies. (1 Cor 8:1) What good is arguing about the proper application of the Law and the Gospel if we cannot even show forth the fruit of the Spirit by our own conduct?

If the Christian community is to ever come together against the common enemy of secularism and anti Christian humanism, it must obey the Word of God at its most basic commandment; Christian Love. 

 1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tenacious Continuity

Once a purpose is finalized focus is needed. But focus is not enough if it is sporadic. No project worth undertaking can be completed unless it is tackled tenaciously and continuously. Only then can a project be competed. In a fast-paced world of immediates it is no wonder that it usually takes an individual an insurmountable time to finish even the smallest of projects. The “Fast Food Nation” mentality combined with the dumbing down of the Human spirit has produced a nation of sloths. While this may be a natural result of unregenerate man, it should not be the testimony of the Redeemed.

Good Intentions

Every professing child of God begins with good intentions. However,  good intentions never bring a project to fruition. Good intentions usually begin strong, and may remain for a season, but they quickly grow old and are finally left off for something new. The process then repeats. At last nothing of any value or lasting effect is established. As with the parable of the Sower, if the grounding of the intent is not rooted in God and His Kingdom’s honor then once the sun comes up, or the fowls of the air bring distraction, the original intention is left for dead. Good intentions are only good if they are accomplished with tenacity and resolve. This requires continuity. It requires a covenant obligation oath before God to get something done.

Do the Hard Thing

Sticking to a project or a ministry for God’s Kingdom advancement is not an easy task. It takes commitment. It takes focus. It takes much prayer. It takes the intervention of God the Holy Spirit. Committing to a task, especially when that task will take years, or even a life time to accomplish is no small feat. It is not easy. If it were easy everyone would be productive in building a legacy for the Glory of Christ. Commitment requires conviction. Persuasion is not enough. A man that is persuaded one way can be persuaded another way if the argument is cunning enough. The persuaded man easily vacillates and may even become unstable.  But a man of conviction is immovable. Christians that are given a Divine conviction know what they to do. They are convinced by Scripture that it is Christ’s call that brings them to contemplate this or that service. As a result, the convicted Christian remains steadfast because the conviction is of God. Without conviction, the hard things will derail the entire purpose of every good intention.

The Plan

Everyone should have a plan. When God created the Universe and all that is therein is, He had a plan. His plan is precise to the minutest detail. Everything is mapped out. Nothing is left out. Before executing His Divine plan, He made sure that once it began it would come to fruition and culmination. He also wrote it down. In the counsel of the Eternal God-head God constructed the plan. He made a Divine decree by an oath before He executed it so that it would be perfect and competed within a certain time frame of history. The oath also contracted God to compete the plan. He divinely obligated Himself to complete it. Moreover, it is a long-term plan executed with patience over time and throughout many generations.

If we Christians are to think God’s thoughts after Him we must being with a plan. We should use a daily log-book and write down what we seek to accomplish for the day, the week, the month, the year and the next 5 years. We also need to keep tract of our progress and accomplishments. Only what is measured is managed. In this way we can have a running account of whether or not we are closing in on the culmination of or desired task or ministry. I have always encouraged folks, especially young Christians to have a Christ-Centered 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and 25-year plan. But if they cannot even plan for the week or the month ahead then a 1 to 25-year plan is impossible. Without setting goals, goals cannot be realized.

And yet, this model is still incomplete. A Kingdom centered 25-year plan still
omits the generational aspect of planning. We must look beyond our mortality into the next several generations. Christians must build for a generational Inheritance. Christians are to look into the future and plan for the years after they are long gone from the face of the earth. Then God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23

Monday, April 17, 2017

Singleness of Purpose

Every true Child of God desires to change the world, by the advancing of Christ’s Kingdom for His Glory. Only the sincere regenerate sets forth his or her life in consistent self-sacrificial service to the living and reigning Christ. They alone understand the great commission of Christ’s global conquest to establish His reign in the midst of Time and History.

While the desire to change the world for Christ is admirable, there are certain problems the ambitious saint faces.

Problem 1: The overly ambitious saint wants to see change NOW, which means
that he is very impatient and often doesn’t understand that the Kingdom of God is only advanced to its fullest extent throughout many generations. This is known as the doctrine of gradualism. Kingdom change does not happen in a catastrophic fashion. It does not happen immediately but over time through patience and tribulation. Patience, mingled with faith is the key to resolve. Impatience, on the other hand, tends to cause the saint unnecessary discouragement and frustration. It also fragments the saint’s focus.

Problem 2: As a result of the saint’s fragmented strategy, due to over ambition, he “bites off more than he can chew.” He tries to attack
everything that is wrong with society. Every evil and injustice is in his cross hairs. But in order to feel as if he is successful in this comprehensive desire to change every institution by his own individual efforts, he resorts to a verbally assaulting what is wrong with the world without giving a clear Biblical alternative to the issue at hand. This verbal battle usually is staged within the realm of social media, the blog-o-sphere, op-ed newspaper letters to the editor, book writing or open live debate. While these, in and of themselves, are beneficial for educating the masses, they do little in actually changing anything concretely. Education must lead to action not merely contemplation. The contemplation, or in this case debate and argument, does little unless action is the result.

Problem 3: Philosophical contemplation becomes the default answer to every
problem because it is easy to cry out against injustice as long as it is not backed by action. Debate is actually a placebo. It really doesn’t solve anything, and so, in the long run it is often unfruitful. It is easy to debate against an evil. It is quite another thing to build a viable solution and then execute it. Ideas must be crystallized and applied to the world in order for them to make a difference. Ideas must have real consequences otherwise what good are they? If solutions were realized via debate Nehemiah would have been in constant debate with the gainsayers of His day. His answer was “Rise up and build”.

And so, the ambitious saint is torn by a thousand different possibilities to change the world. This burrs his focus on the ONE thing God has for him to consider and actually accomplish.

The ONE Thing

Every Christian must take an assessment of his or her passion as it concerns the Kingdom of God and then focus upon it. That is the ONE thing. We cannot do everything otherwise the example of the Body of Christ would not be so prominent in Scripture. While the Body is One, it is comprised of many different parts accomplishing different things. Yet, its goal and purpose is One; the glory of God via the Advancement of His Kingdom. Even though none of us can do everything, we can all do ONE thing.
That One thing is our purpose.

Build On The ONE

Whatever direction God calls you to, focus and build upon it. Be sure it is for God’s Kingdom purpose and not your own. I have witnessed the disestablishment of a Godly purpose simply because its ulterior motive was for the advancement of the individual, or the family, and not for the greater Glory of God.

Begin small and build upon it.
Pray for direction.
Get Godly counsel.
Read the Scriptures.
Be patient.
Look to the long term even to many generations ahead.
Plan for your great grandchildren.
Set the stage for them.

Lay the foundation so that they might compete the building in their lifetime.
Remember, if you are focused upon God’s Kingdom you will look beyond yourself not caring whether or not you benefit from your efforts. As long as God’s Kingdom grows by your efforts that should suffice.

Now go and build a legacy for the Glory of Christ’s Kingdom.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


WHY do professing Christians do what they do? This question holds the key to whether or not those who profess Christianity are actually being faithful. Too often we focus upon the HOW rather than the WHY. But it is the WHY that is critical to the WHAT and the HOW. Without the WHY, the What and the HOW matters little.Successful leaders are distinct from those that fail because they begin with WHY rather than with WHAT or HOW. 

The Gospel itself is based upon the WHY. Of course, the WHAT and HOW naturally follow, but WHAT and HOW did not launch the Gospel. It was the WHY.

 GOD Begins with "WHY"

Why did God send the Savior? It was to save an elect  people for Himself, for the glorification of His Holy Name through the righteous reconstruction of the world as a result of Adam’s fall. He accomplishes that with the WHAT, i.e. the Second Person of the Trinity, the LORD Christ. The life, crucifixion, death, atonement, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost is the HOW. God accomplishes the totality of His Covenant plan with the WHAT and the HOW, but it begins with the WHY.

Fidelity, Productivity and the "WHY"

Once we begin with WHY we do what we do, the WHAT and the HOW follows. WHY is the motivation which leads to faithful productivity and Gospel success. The WHY is our calling under God. It is what we believe. It is our cause and purpose in life. We do what we do because we love the Lord in response to His love toward us. This WHY should be behind everything we do. If we do anything that does not have Christ and His Gospel as the motivating WHY it is no longer for the Glory of God.

Communicate with "WHY"

In Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”1 he explains the importance of communicating with the WHY before discussing the WHAT or the HOW. Transposing his ideas and applying them to the Christian faith was very helpful to me personally. His premise is that before explaining to people WHAT we are going to do, or HOW we are going to do it, in our case for the reconstruction of the culture, we must explain to others WHY we want to change the culture. The WHY clarifies our purpose. It telegraphs our passion. This serves as a very impressionable tactic for a starting point. 

By sharing the WHY, our message becomes inspirational rather than manipulative. People need to know WHY we are doing this thing or that thing before they become interested in WHAT we are doing or HOW we are going to accomplish it.

Case in point: Postmillennialism

If we begin telling people HOW, or by WHAT methods, we are going to promote the Crown Rights of King Jesus and His total conquest of culture within the realm of time and history we have already lost our hearers if they do not understand WHY we are promoting it. This principle can be applied to just about everything we seek to accomplish. Explaining WHY you do something Kingdom-ward can be used as a challenge for the empowerment of others to change the status quo of secularism. 

Once they know WHY you are so passionate about the thing you are doing the
WHAT and the HOW naturally follows. Every Gospel reconstruction message must start with WHY; a purpose, cause or belief that has nothing to do with the WHAT or the HOW. People don’t care as much as to the WHAT or HOW you do this or that thing, but WHY you do it. Every worthy cause must be championed first with the WHY before the WHAT and the HOW can materialize.

“Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” Simon Sinek, Penguin, 2009

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reformation Action

“Reformation ends not in contemplation but in action.” George Gillespie (1613-1648)                                              
No cultural solution of value is achieved merely from ambition or a sense of duty. Solutions arise as a result of their need coupled with the driving passion to effectuate it. A problem has to be enough of a problem before its solution is seriously addressed. Then, and only then, can the solution be properly developed. This however, is not the end goal. Simply because a problem begs a solution, is taken seriously, and then developed, it must be executed. Execution is the goal.

Identifying and developing societal solutions within the framework of Biblical Law does not translate into actually getting anything done. Without the execution of cultural reformation, the problems remain. Position papers and debate, no matter how accurate, is entirely ineffective until action is taken. Whenever something is identified as a “problem", yet remains unresolved for years without the execution of a solution one can only conclude that it was not considered as a serious problem.

Becoming Serious about Cultural Change 

Only when a problem becomes compelling is it taken seriously. That results in that problem getting solved. Taking things seriously is a gift of God especially when it concerns advancing God’s Kingdom. Once problems become compelling, solutions are developed and then put into action within the real world.Action is the proof that a problem has been taken seriously. Talking about problems in conjunction with debating theological solutions cannot take the place of actually getting something done to alleviate the problem. Talk is cheap. It is usually a time waster especially when talking about a problem or a solution actually becomes the goal of its solution. Solutions to cultural situations require well planned actionable strategies and tactics.

Actionable Issues

The only way to solve cultural problems is to develop a Biblical strategy and then implement those tactics that will effectuate the desired change. The key to this is focus. Choose an issue and focus on it. Simplify the problem so that the solution itself becomes simple. Stay with it until it until the plan is developed and then executed. Albert Eisenstein once quipped, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

Difficult and complicated problem require perseverance. This can be discouraging especially when dealing with the modern status quo of anti-Biblical ideas. In order to stay motivated and focused reduce a big problem into one that you can solve. Scale your problem down into something manageable. Reduce the issue onto a practical first step. Then go to the second and then the third. Control the problem. It is the same way a man eats an entire elephant, one bite at a time. This will keep you encouraged and motivated as you seek progress along the way.

Write it Down – Get it Done

Problems which are articulated in writing focuses the mind. Problems cannot be solved without a clear view of what they are. Write out exactly what the problem is and then what the end goal might look like when that problem is solved.Between the declaration of the problem and the desired end requires strategic planning. A strategy must be developed with actionable items prescribed along the way.

Example: Private Real Estate Property Taxation.

As with all other legislation taxation is a moral issue. While some taxation is

Biblically sanctioned, there are those that are not. Property taxation is one of them. It is also a local issue regulated by either the county, city, or town. Local magistrates have a direct say in how much taxation is placed on personal real estate. As a local issue, you have more power in addressing it and dealing with it since generally these local officials are more accessible being a part of the community.

The Problem Stated: Personal real estate property taxation is not Biblical and must be abolished.

The Goal Desired: The abolition of real estate property taxes.

Strategy A: Get enough people to understand that they do not own their land and that at any time it can be confiscated as a result of defaulting on the taxation annexed to their property.

Tactic A: Build a team of like-minded people willing to take action.
Have them write letters to the editor, circulate Petitions, Flyers, attend Town Hall meetings, go door to door encouraging face to face discussions with literature backup, Get on the radio or local cable TV, schedule newspaper interviews, Lobby the clergy by showing them how unbiblical taxation is oppressing their congregation, Give a public address before the local county, city or town council members, use social media for the purpose of educating the people and calling them to take action, encourage brainstorming by starting a Facebook group or Blog.

Strategy B: Encourage those of like minds to run for local office.

Tactic B: Find people in your church or in your community who are on board with your theology concerning real estate taxation.

Offer to support them with manpower, and organization, if not money. Run for a
local office yourself. Get on a government committee or encourage others to do so. Publicly lobby against any candidate or local official that seeks to raise property taxes. You can get a lot of response from both the carrot and the stick but mostly from the stick. Carrots and sticks must however be compelling otherwise they cannot motivate to a resolution of the problem.

Strategy C: Develop a Biblical solution to replace real estate property taxation.

Since property taxation is the lion’s share of local government revenue a Biblical alternative must be suggested.

Tactic C: Calculate the head tax revenue if the county, city or town adopted the Biblical model. This is no small feat. Nevertheless, a needful one. It is very likely that the head tax levied on heads of households will surpass the revenue amount raised from property taxation. This would include all those living in apartment buildings.

You may want to suggest a caveat where this real estate exemption would only be applied to noncommercial property and limited to one family dwelling.

The point is there must be a starting point to every problem. If no action is taken, no solutions will be forthcoming. Get people to start thinking outside of what they have been accustomed to. This will create a rippling effect for change. Small changes can lead to big effects.

“Some problems suffer more from lack of effort than from a lack of solution” Scott Thorpe, "How to Think Like Eisenstein".

Where to Go from Here?

Accomplish something. Anything. Start somewhere. Do something. Anything. Fail fast then begin again. Never give up. Ben Franklin once stated that after he had failed over and over trying to solve a certain problem, he at least knew what didn’t work which, in his mind, brought him closer to the solution that would work.Get started!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reformation: Then and Now

The stability of today’s Reformed Christianity, especially those of the Theonomic, Christian Reconstruction adherents, is in danger. As with most movements the destruction rarely comes from without but rather from within. This seems to be the case today. As we celebrate the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s bold rebuke of the Roman church, it’s tyranny and apostasy, we too seek for a Reformation in our own time and  history. Yet, reformation cannot be successful without a unified front.

The European Reformation along with its Puritanism, both in England and then in the American colonies, had to tackle some critical issues, many of which we seem to be revisiting today. Obviously, we’ve learned little from history.

The Giving of Gifts

In Ephesians 4:8-13 the Apostle draws almost verbatim from Psalm 68:18 with
one exception. In Psalm 68 the Psalmist refers to the victorious Messiah that will receive gifts for men. In other words, one of the benefits the Lord Christ gains by His victory over sin, death and the grave, are these gifts. Paul, siting Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4, explains that after Christ atoned by descending into the lower parts of the earth He then ascended leading captivity captive, i.e. leading the elect to salvation and gospel service. The result is the giving of gifts to men, as opposed to for men.

Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, ‘When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’

Paul goes on to explain what exactly those gifts are and what their purpose is.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Faithful pastors are God’s gift to the Church eternal and the church institutional. To deny this is to deny the clear teaching of Scripture.

Revolution and Order

As with any revolution, the Reformation exploded without order or organization. Instead of Christian Liberty being understood as the Freedom to Follow God’s Law, Liberty in Christ was perversely translated by some as to mean every man could do whatever he saw fit. Many were promiscuously proclaiming themselves as a prophet, pastor and priest without a valid calling. This sent the Reformation into a tailspin. Seeing the chaos, both in the streets and within the walls of the Reformed churches, Luther realized the need for greater order.

David Hall explains Luther’s response to the chaos,

“By 1530 he [Luther] was describing the ministry in more formal terms as an
institution established on the express commands of Christ. Originating with Christ, the office drew directly on Him for authority. Ministers belonged to a separate order, and only ministers in office could admit new members to it. Though Luther still argued [as did Calvin] that the power of the keys belonged to all believers, he confined its use to church officers. IN the long run Luther made it unmistakably clear his preference for a limited sacerdotalism; not a sacrificing priesthood but a ministry of the word that ranked as a special order.” The Faithful Shepherd p8

During this time the Anabaptists took an even more anarchistic approach. They denied any distinction between the visible church and the invisible Church and insisted upon defining the church subjectively in terms of the faith of its members. 
The moderates on the other hand, men like Martin Bucer and John Calvin,
emerged as leaders by 1530. It was while living in Strasbourg that Bucer and Calvin jointly developed a Reformed ecclesiology which was in opposition to both the left and the right. 

Hall again observes

“Contrary to the Anabaptists, Bucer and Clavin always insisted on the distinction between the common priesthood (of all believers) and the ministerial vocation. They argued, “If priesthood is common to all Christians, so is not the ministry.” ibid

No Special Privilege

Men who unilaterally seek theological or prophetic pre-eminence without actually receiving a call to the office of minister often undermine the office. In an effort to place themselves on par with those men who have rightly been called by a congregation they foolishly set themselves up as prophets in their own right.

Ministerial Hierarchy

Christ has organized His local church as a visible witness of the Eternal Church. It is organized according to a hierarchical order which gives spiritual oversight obligations to the ministers. This oversight is not a controlling or tyrannical position. Rather it provides order and accountability to both the congregation as well as to the ministers. Without such an order the assembly fails to reflect the Biblical model.

Within the walls of the local church are both the redeemed and reprobate. All however have a verbal, even a behavioral profession of faith. This visible profession makes it almost impossible for ministers to distinguish between the two. The wheat and tares always grow together. Both groups are to be ministered to by the session of ministers regardless of this fact. When there is open un-repented sin, the ministers are to address it according to the dictates of the Word. 

The New Reformation’s Anarchy

The direction of today’s Reformation movement is troublesome. In an effort to set things right within the apostate church, this new mindset is actually undermining some of the basic Biblical truths concerning the order of worship and the role of the ministers of the Word. This misguided approach to Reformation has resulted in individuals and para-church ministries to commandeer what is not rightfully theirs according to Scripture, creating a cultic following from those who are usually young and often theologically immature. What is far more troubling is that in an effort to be viewed as “Top Dog” with some new revelation or slant on Christianity, these self-proclaimed prophets and organizations have launched vicious attacks against local Reformed churches via social media without considering the unintended consequences of their actions. The new mantra is “If you don’t agree with everything I believe, or apply Scripture the way I say, or focus upon the social evil that I focus on, then you are an apostate and a heretic.”

Accountability to God and to One Another

Accountability before God and one another is a Biblical requirement.  Rogue theologians refuse to be accountable to anyone but themselves. This situates them as “God” Who is accountable to no one but Himself. And so, once again, we are faced with the very same sin that Adam had to deal with when he decided that he would be as God.

The Cure

If there is to be a Blessed Reformation that will last throughout many generations Christians must first humble themselves before God and learn to respect one another and work together for the health and prosperity of both the eternal Church and the local institutional church. If this cannot be accomplished God will not bless the effort. God’s blessing will be reserved for another generation that knows and fears God, and who understands what it is to love the brethren. Only in that way will they be seen as true disciples. Only then will God prosper the work of their hands for a New and Glorious Reformation. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Social Transmission Theology

According to 1 Corinthians 1:18 the Gospel itself is the power of God to all those that are called. The method of its disbursement is through the economy of preaching; or to put it another way, by word of mouth marketing. This ancient strategy, of what is now called Social Transmission, should never be under estimated. Word of mouth transmission is what makes a thing contagious. Whenever there is the human element attached to setting forth an idea it telegraphs a passion. Only people can do that. Newspaper advertisement campaigns cannot nor can radio ads. These, as good as thy might be, cannot transmit human vision or passion.

The Transmission of Experience

Whenever person A tells person B of a thing, it is because person A has had some kind of experience of importance what that thing. This can be either a positive or a negative experience. Whatever the case, the impression is both strong and memorable. It is, however, more than simply strong and memorable it is usually actionable.

For instance: If I tell you that I have had a terrible experience with a certain health product you would most probably steer clear of using that product. On the other hand, if I testified that a certain health product did wonders for my overall health you might be tempted to give it a try yourself. Either way you have acted upon my word of mouth transmission of an experience.

Social Transmission and the Gospel

When Jesus healed the man possessed with a legion of devils, He told him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” Mark 5:19 Christ was commanding the man to give a ‘word of mouth’ testimony of what God had done. When something is important, people talk about it. That is what makes things contagious. It is the real-life story which generates a buzz and draws people, beginning with friends and neighbors, into the experience. It is often the personal experience shared by others that makes their hearers want to experience it themselves.

The Psychology of Sharing

Why do people share things? Why do people share experiences? Usually it is because they are important, memorable or exciting. Worldly people share worldly things. That is what is important to them. To this fact we should not be surprised. What should surprise us is when Christians are consumed with sharing worldly things rather than the things of God.

The Reformation and Word of Mouth

The Reformation was a word of mouth event. All Luther had to do was post his ideas on the door at Wittenberg for people to start talking. Word of mouth, i.e. social transmission, did the rest. It didn’t matter that the original writing was in Latin. Once the ideas were translated into the common tongue they caught on like wild fire.

Why was Luther’s ideas so contagious? Obviously, people were ready for it. It resonated with the common folk. It spoke to something that was already in the subconscious of the masses and they ate it up. They took action. The Reformation promised life changing results. It viewed the World as God’s World and His Law was the organizing tool for society’s redemption. Every institution was to be subservient to the King of Nations. The idea that God’s Law was to be applied to every area and realm of the culture was something new. Until that time the world was divined into the sacred and the secular. The Reformation would change that. The Reformation challenged the status quo. Now people saw that everything belonged to God and everyone was to come under His Lordship as Lawgiver, Judge, and King.

Social Media and the New Reformation

I believe today’s social media was providentially introduced into the world to inaugurate a New Reformation. Its success is predicated upon its ability to unify the saints for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. However, while Social Media can be a path for a new Reformation it is also a test to see who will use it profitably for God. 

Social media is a word of mouth tool. It is to be used to encourage, galvanize, challenge, and equip the saints. It is a vehicle where the saints can share Kingdom advancement strategies and tactics. It is a globally conspicuous market place of Biblical ideas hatched and refined for the Glory of God. Sadly, I am afraid that it is not being used to the extent or purpose intended.

The Social Media Temptation

Kingdom building is not about what one person can do alone. It is about what the entire Body of Christ can do in concert, working together for a common God Glorifying, Christ-o Centric end. Within the ranks of Christendom, social media however has turned into a soap box for self-proclaimed gurus in order to advance their economic agenda. Every theological pendant is being tested to see whether or not they are seeking to advance God’s Kingdom or their own. Social media often devolves into a battle ground for innuendo, slander, verbal abuse and sarcasm. Instead of equipping Reformed Christendom and galvanizing it to work as a unified Body, social media seems to have divided it further.  This is because we have forgotten what social media is for.

Generating Word of Mouth

Social media is not simply Face Book. It includes Twitter, email, blogs, chats, websites, Skype, Google Plus, Go to Meeting, conference calling hubs, Sermon Audio, and a host of other internet venues that are flooding cyberspace at this very moment. These are tools. Tools for the advancement of the Kingdom. These should be effectively used for generating conversation, for generating word of mouth experiences, challenges, strategies and tactics. They are for the advancement of Christendom. They should be used for that end.