Healthy Media Consumption
Dr. Scott Warlow | Church Life
As disciples of Christ, our goal is to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and in our living out of the Word. The basic criterion for everything we do is: are we intentionally working toward this goal? With this in mind, how should we deal with the multitude of media sources and the seemingly limitless amount of information that they can provide? I would like to suggest the following guidelines:
1) Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) can be a useful way to maintain and enhance fellowship with others, both Christian and non-Christian. As you interact, ask yourself: Could I see Jesus doing this? (The famous “What would Jesus do?” or WWJD works great here.) Is this use of my time intentional? If so, what is its purpose? Is there a better way to accomplish that purpose, in-line with the primary goal above?
2) Topics Dealing with Christian Doctrine and Discipleship: We should be intentional about growing in our understanding of the core doctrines of the Bible. When you consider content from a website, webinar, podcast, online presentation, etc., it’s crucial to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is the doctrinal position backed up by reference to Scripture, or rather by personal opinion, tradition, etc.? If it’s not directly supported by Scripture, ignore it; if the position were scripturally supportable, the author would have done so;
2. Are supporting scriptures used appropriately in their original context? Satan used Scripture out of context to tempt Jesus (Matt. 4:6);
3. What is the position of teachers within the ICOC? Douglas Jacoby’s website, www.douglasjacoby.com, is a treasure trove of articles on doctrine;
4. What opposing arguments are there from reputable authorities? You should ALWAYS consider the strength of opposing viewpoints – the truth will always triumph in the end;
5. Have you studied the topic yourself thoroughly, and asked for input from other brothersand sisters? This is not a dialogue you should be engaging in on your own. In Luke 10, Jesus sent out the 72 two-by-two, so they could counsel and support each other.
3) Topics Dealing with Christian Belief: You may come across articles that question God’s existence, the inerrancy of the Bible, the crucifixion of Christ, etc. In many ways, this is similar to (2) above. The primary difference is Scripture is not being misused under the belief it is true, but rather under the belief it is false. This strikes at the foundation of your faith as a Christian, and Satan is trying to separate you from the body of Christ and the head, Christ. The worst thing you can do is to try to “gain some perspective” by self-isolating yourself, which is exactly what Satan wants. There is no neutral territory in this engagement. I have not seen a single question of this sort that does not have a strong, logical argument in support of the biblical position. Again, Douglas Jacoby’s website is a gold mine for questions such as these.
Note: A word of caution in using the internet to search for content on topics. Sometimes we go looking for information on one topic, and after a chain of searches, each one leading to the other, usually prompted by curiosity (our “itching ears” – 2 Tim. 4:3-4), we wind up searching for a topic we originally had no intention of investigating. In this case we have lost sight of our original intention, which may well have been prompted by the Holy Spirit. Remember, we need to be intentional about growing as disciples of Christ, and not distracted by Satan’s schemes.