Written by Alex Fleischer / September 2017
Looking back at the generations preceding me, I often wish that things worked like they did then. Communication worked more slowly, there were breaks of contact with people. Less than fifteen years ago I recall cellphones being an “in case of emergency” item. People wrote physical letters and sent physical photos to pen pals or family. My parents would tell of writing letters back and forth and calling once or twice a week when they dated and were far apart. Now that sweetheart is a text away. Photos from a trip can be shared with all your friends in an instant. Many people act like it is an emergency if they don’t have their phone.
Communication happens constantly today, and the nature of communicating, collaborating, arguing, etc is much different. We share and tag people in posts on Facebook that can generate long, drawn out debates in the comments, we send each other pictures we’ll only see for ten seconds all during the day, and for many people texting is easier than actually speaking with someone face to face. It astonishes me how much has changed in so few years with emergence of new technology. I don’t mention all these changes only as an underscoring of the negative side only. The Church of the Lutheran Confession benefits from the web directly. Publications such as The Witness or The Lutheran Spokesman are made readily available by the internet, allowing our fellow Christians to share their views and bring the message of the Gospel to the reader, Christian or not. With blogging, we can keep up to date with the mission work that goes on overseas. On a personal level, each of us as Christians can use social media to share what we know from the Bible to be true, and to defend that truth when it is attacked.
No arguments or hateful words or actions will ever destroy the salvation won for us by Christ.
Several weeks ago I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook and I liked an article from Answers in Genesis that Ken Ham posted. It was an article about the several new “earth like” planets that were discovered. It brought a good perspective of taking this news with a grain of salt, and explained the science behind the find and how there was more speculation than several sources let on. A childhood friend of mine saw that I liked the post and commented the following: “Alex Fleischer, please tell me you haven’t fallen for this man’s lies. I understand we disagree when it comes to religion, but this man doesn’t have any integrity. You should distrust anyone who says with a straight face that the pyramids were grain silos.” I corrected him on his quote (from Ben Carson, not Ken Ham) and tried as best I could to defend why I liked the post and to defend Mr. Ham’s name. Concerning my friend’s comment on Ham’s “lies” I said that he was going too far. I stated that as far as I know, Ham and I share the same basic faith, and that Ken Ham is simply defending that faith in the way he sees fit. After offering that rebuttal, the situation made me wonder about how often people witnessing to the truth of scripture, like Ham, are called liars, how often a knowledge of the truth is seen as ignorant foolishness.
It’s great how easily someone can witness to God’s glory on social media, but it’s disturbing how many people immediately decry these witnesses or get into long comment wars trying to disprove anything Biblical. It seems that if any major page posts something related to Christ, there’s someone in the comments, guns loaded, ready to try and disprove the Bible. It’s not just on social media that this happens. Hop on Google and you can find any number of sites a click away ready to tell you why the Bible is fake, how it’s impossible the Earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, and how there is no God. It’s a staggering, saddening blow to one’s heart reading through the efforts of those who hate our Savior. It surprises, angers, and saddens me to see these attacks on the faith, but this is nothing new. From the beginning of the early church there were people set against the truth. We’re told in 1 John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” It may not always seem like there are many who hate us personally because we are Christians at this time, but I don’t doubt those days are returning. We can already see denial and hatred of God’s Word, and we are told in John 15:18 that “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”
So what do we do when we face hateful things said against our Savior or against us? What do we do when we face arguments compelling us to forget what we know to be true? We need to return to the word. We need to return to the word and find comfort when the world hates us, in the words of Christ, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When we face those questions and doubts forced on us by the world, we turn to the word and defend our faith with its truth, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15). Through God we have all the power and tools to defend our faith and persevere until all believers are brought home to Christ, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13).
The way the people communicate, the way we share our faith, and the way others may attack God, His Word, and us may change, but something we can take heart in is that I AM will never change. No arguments or hateful words or actions will ever destroy the salvation won for us by Christ. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)