Real Bible vs. Social Media Gospel

I had my very first cellphone when I was 21 (in 2003) and it was a blue Sony Ericsson 1999 model with a 'flip cover'. The phone had a very annoying ringtone but ,hey, it was good for that time where we were all fresh from the 90's.

Back then, there was no real social media platforms except for Google group chat, the strange 'Mix-it' until some IT companies created platforms like 'Hi-5', 'my space'....and then Facebook came...

When Facebook arrived, I never thought in my mind that it would become the giant that it is now. And I think we, teachers of the Word, should be grateful for such social media platform because it brought a vehicle that is used to spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world.

And this is where my post begins:

'I mentioned earlier that I had my phone in 2003 and it was a different time from today where we would only pull out our phones to make or receive phone calls. While today, people (especially kids) have this tendency of burying themselves into their cellphones on social media whether they are in public places or in trains...

The development of social media has brought an opportunity for everyone to have a voice and express themselves by sharing political views, business advice, advertisements and even the Gospel...

I don't mind it when people share their opinions on politics, news, business, music, etc...but it bothers me when people share the Gospel incorrectly in order to gain popularity.

Now that we are leaving 2019 and entering a new year, I know that many people had a nightmarish year. For some people 2019 was pretty much like '2013-part 6'.Same year, same troubles, same challenges that they cannot overcome, same unrealized dreams, same stagnation...

And after having used social media for a while, I realize that one of the reasons why many people are failing to see the effects of the Word of God in their lives is because they rely on 'Social media Gospel'.

There is a difference between 'Gospel on social media' and 'the social media Gospel'. The 'Gospel on social media' refers to someone who genuinely takes the Word of God and shares It in Its integral form without misleading people.' There are plenty of good blogs, videos, pages and websites sharing the Word of God that really feeds the Church.

On the other hand 'Social Media Gospel' refers to the use and sharing of non-Scriptural positive words (masked as Biblical), butchered Bible verses, and false prophecies always offering a way out as fast as a McDonald meal. One of the main motivation behind the spread of the 'Social media Gospel' is to gain popularity and 'likes'. There is nothing wrong with gaining popularity and 'likes' if at least you will use them to share the Gospel truthfully.

I like what this Christian author once once shared: 'Simply because something is popular on social media, it does not mean that it is coming from God'

Therefore we all need to open our eyes when we read Bible verses or positive messages on social media. I say this because many people wake up in the morning with the hope to hear something from God but unfortunately they stumble upon a social media post or video masquerading as a Biblical message and then they use that non-Biblical message as the basis of their expectations.
Sadly, their expectations won't reach any realization because the Bible never said exactly what they were reading on the masquerading post.

Let me use a few examples:

Example 1: 'Next week, God will give each one who types 'Amen' on the comments, a bag full of money in your account!'

I mean, really? First of all, the owner of such posts is making himself a prophet sent by God.
(As I am typing this, I feel like trembling)
The prophetic ministry is not a 'kinder-garden toy' to mess with people's heads with. If you claim to bring a prophetic message on behalf of God, even on social media, you better be right and really be sent by God.
You better be right because you will be judged for this on Judgement day.
I say this to help you.

Here is another example:

Example 2. 'God will give you the desires of your heart' (and everybody types 'Amen' in the comment section).
Though the example might sound scriptural, it is a 'butchered version of Psalms 37:4 which says:
'Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.' (NIV)

Example 3: 'God will open the floodgates of Heaven upon you' (And everybody types Amen).
Though the message has Scriptural roots, the passage is a butchered of Malachi 3:10 which says:

'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'

Example 4: 'No weapons forged against you shall prevail'

Though the passage has Scriptural roots, it is taken out of a butchered passage from Isaiah 54:16-17 and which says:

'“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

If you take the time to study those examples, you will realize the following:

In example 1, we have a classic example of irresponsible preaching...
In example 2 and 3, the part we have to play has been removed. Social media Gospel posts that remove our parts to play are popular because they not require any efforts. They are like quick McDonald meals. And finally in example 4, we have a clear example showing that the promise is an inheritance for those who serve the LORD.

Now, there are two dangerous aspects to the examples I have just mentioned:

1. IRRESPONSIBLE TEACHING: 'It is very irresponsible to throw messages out there and present them as Biblically conclusive while butchering them from their premises. This is why James wrote:
'Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.' (James 3:1)

2. IT NULLIFIES HOPES: People who grab and eat those messages 'on the go' end up having expectations that are not in line with the Bible. When finally those expectations don't come to past, they end up calling God a liar while they are supposed to read the Bible for themselves as well.

I now realize that many people are not seeing any transformation through the Word because their expectations are based on improperly presented messages. They prefer to read 'quick-on-the-go-butchered-positive' messages on social media instead of reading the Bible since they are always on their phones.

You cannot expect changes through the Word of God if you don't read and practice IT in Its integral context at the first place.

Here is a quick exercise for self-testing:

'If you are not seeing any transformation through the Word from January to December in spite of reading many butchered messages on social media, then ask yourself:

'How many times do you read butchered messages on social media VS. how many times do you read your Bible?

A response to that question can give you an indication.

Here is a good list to remember:

1. Verify and read for yourself in the Bible.
2. Practice the integral message of the promises. Don't just grab and go with butchered message versions because if you do, then you will be deceived.
3 And if you teach, do it responsibly. Share the full passage. Be generous enough to explain fully the content without hiding anything.

That way, we will all win...even on social media