For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2
Everyone has a message. Everyone thinks his message is worth hearing. But there is only one that is truly transformational - the gospel of Jesus Christ. In light of that, how peculiar that so many professing believers spend so much energy online making political arguments, pushing political messages.
Is it the best thing for the Kingdom for believers to use our social media voices for political purposes? I’d like to make the argument that it is not.
When we advocate for political opinions on social media:
We unintentionally add a political component to the gospel in the minds of unbelievers.
When we post political opinions and argue for those positions, and then share the gospel and appeal to people to repent and trust in Jesus, in the minds of some, we have attached Jesus to a particular political persuasion. In other words, we may have inadvertently communicated by example that in order to come to Jesus one must repent, believe, and become a Republican or Libertarian or Democrat. The last thing we should want to communicate to someone is that they must have a particular party affiliation in order to be a Christian.
We unintentionally alienate many of our friends from us and the gospel.
The gospel itself is inherently divisive. In spite of what many in the world would say, Jesus Christ is the greatest divider of all time (Matt 10:34-39). He divides all people into two groups - believers and unbelievers, the found and the lost, the blessed and the damned. They are divided based upon how they respond to His call to repent and trust in Him.
The gospel doesn’t need any help from us in offending people. When we advocate for political views, we may be alienating half of our friends or more before we’ve ever spoken a word about Jesus. In other words, we’ve offended before the gospel has had a chance to!
Only the Lord know how many doors for the gospel have been closed by online political disputes. Some people are so opposed to one set of political views that when they hear those views espoused by a person, everything that comes out of that person’s mouth then becomes suspect, or worse, automatically intolerable. I’ll admit, there are some celebrities that I find so obnoxious because of their political views that if they were to say, “the sky is blue,” my Pavlovian response would be to say, “No, it’s not!” That phenomenon is a two-way street. So when someone of the opposite political persuasion hears me first contend for my political views, then share the gospel, they may lump the gospel together with the political views and say to all of it, “hogwash!”
I want to do everything possible to refrain from giving unnecessary offense so that a door to the gospel is always open. If offense is going to take place, let the gospel do it!
We advertise that our hope is in man and man’s solutions to man’s problems.
Remember that the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hands of the Lord - he turns it wherever He wishes (Pro 21:1). Politicians, armies, social institutions, and social media political warriors are all pawns in the hands of a sovereign God who is working out His plan in His perfect time. This does not deny our responsibility to do what is right - this short article is not the place to discuss the interplay between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility - but by clamoring, arguing, and posturing for political solutions to man’s issues, we betray a lack of faith in the one thing that makes all things new - the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is one thing that can set the world aright. It isn’t getting guns off the streets or protecting the 2nd Amendment. It isn’t social programs or lower taxes. It isn’t a donkey or an elephant. It is the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have repented and trusted in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. If we’re going to exhaust ourselves pushing a message it should be a bloody cross not a party platform.
We advertise hope by what we talk about. When we preach political solutions, we implicitly tell our audience that ultimate hope is in man. When we preach the gospel, we tell our audience that ultimate hope is in Christ. There is a reason that Paul said, “I purposed to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” It’s the only hope! Everything else distracts from the one thing that can save.
We show that political wins and losses are more concerning to us than lost souls.
If we know that contending for political causes ostracizes those on the other side of the political divide and costs us a hearing for the gospel, and we continue to do it, what must be said about our concern for the lost? We would rather be known to be right politically than to see the lost be reconciled to God. Are we willing to ostracize half of our social media friends to make a point about guns? Are we willing to pound our chests politically at the cost of an opportunity to proclaim the Lord of Glory? May it never be!
“What’s my message?” What a critical question to consider as we engage with people online. Everyone has a message. Everyone is communicating a worldview. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the only message that saves and sanctifies. It’s the only message that fixes the problems man clumsily tries to remedy with his political solutions. It does it by reconciling sinners to God and changing their hearts. We must be so careful with what and how we communicate. If you’re a believer, your message is the gospel.