Saturday, October 4, 2014

Google Results for the Gospel

It's impossible to ignore how our lives have been impacted since the Internet revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we receive information, and generally the way we experience, and interact with, the world around us. Many churches, therefore, are taking their online presence more and more seriously, realizing that this is often their first point of contact with the outside world and a key way to engage their congregants. More attention is being given to the creation of well-designed church websites, dynamic Facebook pages, an engaging presence on Twitter, etc. And understandably so; for Christians to exhibit a "Luddite" type of resistance toward these technological advances would be to deny the reality of the Information Age and to disengage with the world—for if we aren't contributing to the information of this age, there are always going to be plenty of others who will be.

And that's the point isn't it? In an era dominated by a group of Internet-based applications that enable the creation and exchange of user-generated content, anyone and everyone can be heard. And any content holds the potential to go viral. In light of this, we need to speak the truth in love with a sense of urgency, for as the Apostle John points out, "this is the final hour" (1 John 2:18). Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov 18:21)—and the tongue, when given a virtual mouthpiece, now has more far-reaching impact that ever before. The power of the Internet can be harnessed to spread the Word of God across the world with never-before-seen speed and magnitude. Formerly unreached people groups are now being reached for Christ as a result of gospel-centered Web content. But, false teaching is being disseminated widely online too.

And so, in order to combat this, Christians should be focused on generating biblically sound, high-quality content that points people to Jesus. The more Christians engaged in saturating the Internet with the gospel message, the more Google searches will yield Christ-centered results.

Why is this so important? Because people all over the world are searching...When I look at the web stats for this blog, I am often surprised by how many people arrive at the site via a string ofwhat sometimes seem like randomsearch words...Here are a few I picked up today:

"convenient, carnal, committed, christ-like christian"

"selfism versus external salvation"

"institute for gnostic studies"

"christ consciousness flipping temple table"

"cotton candy gospel"

"disunity on a church team"

"effects and results of disunity in the church"

"grace isn't amazing if"

"how should i live"

I have no way of knowing if these people found what they were looking for when they arrived at this blog, but I know one thing for sure: they found gospel-centered content. I pray that the person who was searching for information on the Institute for Gnostic Studies found something of way more value: a personal relationship with the one true God. I pray that the person who was seeking an answer to "how should I live?" found the only way, the truth, and the life.

People are frantically searching for answers within a confusing galaxy of information, and so we need to shine the light of Christ more brightly than ever. We can do this online by sharing God's Word, which is living and activesharper than a two-edged sword it cuts through all the confusion, right to the soul (Heb 4:12).

But what happens today when we Google-search for Jesus? Do we actually find Him? When I searched by "jesus" today, I got 52,400,000 results. The first result was a Wikipedia entry that gave an overview of various perspectives on Jesus including the Christian view, the Islamic view, the Jewish view, the Bahá'í view, and others. Confusing to say the least. The second result was a op-ed titled, "Would Jesus OK same-sex marriage?" in which Jay Parini, a poet and novelist who teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont, concludes—in a round about way albeit—that He would. If one continues to scroll, however, ranks third. Thankfully, this website serves well to present the biblical truth about Christ. Needless to say, there is a mix of information out there, pointing up the need for Christians to continue to put out solid, truthful information about Jesus.

In this vein, the important role of apologetics in upholding the truth of God's Word cannot be underestimated. To simply tell people you believe the Bible because you have faith isn't enough when there are so many compelling lies widely propagated about who Jesus is and so many attacks launched against the credibility of the Bible. But these lies can be fully discredited. The Zeitgist movie, for example, that went viral claiming to prove the Messiah is a mythical figure, was presented in a persuasive way, consequently duping many people. But a closer look at the Zeitgist premise quickly reveals its arguments to be deeply flawed and a play on semantics. There are great resources online to bolster the biblical position. Be familiar with the facts. Visit The Poached Egg to equip yourself in defending the truth.

As Christians, we are urged to set forth the truth plainlyrejecting the use of deception, and the distortion of the Word of God (2 Cor 4:2). It is not our job to sell the gospel, to dress it up, to tweak or finesse it. It is not our job to join the chorus of self-promoting virtual voices out there. That is to arrogantly think God needs us to help Him out by peddling Christian goods and services. All we are asked to do is to set forth the truth plainly. We can then fully rely on the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of those who hear it.

Join our mission to saturate the World Wide Web with Google results that point unequivocally to Christ by generating or sharing gospel-centered articles, biblical resources, and posts. This is one way we can live out the words of our Savior:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 
(Acts 1:8)

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