Yesterday a number of you shared with me recent comments made by Josh McDowell, including his opinion that the Internet is the greatest threat to Christians. It’s never helpful to attack anyone in the Church, and I respect Josh McDowell greatly. (In fact, my non-profit’s online church in Poland distributes McDowell’s book More Than A Carpenter to new believers to whom our team ministers.) I share this response to present a side of the issue that isn’t mentioned in The Christian Post article.
I agree with Josh McDowell when he states that many young “evangelical, fundamental, born-again Christians” believe “There is no truth apart from myself”. While this is a watered-down worldview present in the Church that could be a result of youth being exposed to incorrect teaching online, this attitude also develops when we as parents fail to:
1) establish God’s Word as authority
2) exemplify Christ in our relationships and money or time expenditures
3) discuss the tough issues (sex, drugs, homosexuality, porn, addiction, etc.) with our kids before someone else does
When we don’t take responsibility for investing Godly influence in our kids’ lives, they search other sources for answers (particularly on the Internet).
…And this is why Church Online is a necessity! While I don’t know whether Josh McDowell mentioned online ministry in the speech referred to above, I will not pass up the opportunity to state that the plethora of anti-God information available online needs to be met with equal access to Truth. The Church’s presence online is crucial. When God’s word is shared on the Internet, we’re claiming territory for His Kingdom and glory.
Those of you who volunteer online know that countless times each week people ask spiritual questions and express doubt or fears related to God, many of them having never had the opportunity to discuss them face to face with a trusted grown-up during their formative years. If a person didn’t feel comfortable discussing spiritual matters with caretakers as a teen, they aren’t likely to darken the door of a local church to get answers as an adult.
So rather than create division among believers over what is *truly* the greatest threat to Christians, let’s directly address how to shine our lights in the darkness around us online (without cutting off the Internet access in our homes).
The Internet is not going to disappear, and it’s our role to set healthy boundaries at work, home, and in our families to be responsible. Tami & Toni of @LiveSticky say it well: …there is no need to renounce your residency in The Land of Shiny Things [the digital age] or mask the evidence of your connected life. There’s no shame. This is the hour to which you’ve been born—so by all means, power up! Just power up the way God wants you to. That means with God-breathed strategy; Holy Spirit power, and divine discernment.
One of my trusted resources for parenting wisdom in the digital age (which would not be available to me were it not for the Internet) is the blog of my friend Chris Spradlin at EpicParent.tv. Take a look at Josh.org, too – where McDowell has a number of biblical resources to help you answer others’ (or your own) spiritual questions. Finally, I want to share a project that is near to my heart, ThePornEvent.com, as a resource for people already struggling following exposure to the dark side of what’s available online.
Do you think the Internet is our greatest threat? If you allow your kids to get online, how do you navigate the issues presented here?
Thanks for joining the discussion,
PS – My prayer is that church online be available in every country around the globe so that people who are far from God would hear the Gospel in their own language. Interested? Check out my non-profit organization, which is already involved in projects in 28 different countries, BlueDoor.tv.