Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Internet Evangelism


Guess what modern Christianity?

We've got a big problem. 

We're losing the battle of ideas in the United States.

I know, it's a bummer.  Our culture is becoming increasingly hostile to the message of Jesus Christ.  There are things we can do to change this grim fact.  I'd like to propose just such ideas, to provide for a powerful swing in the climate of thoughts and ideas in our Western culture.

In any climate of ideas, the primary transmission of ideas and mentality itself must be examined.  In our case, we're looking at media.

What are the primary media transmitters?  Well old-timers, it's not word of mouth.  It's not the newspaper either.  The primary media transmitters are:

Cable Television News - Fox, NBC, CNN, MSNBC
Cable Television - Discovery Channel, MTV, VH1, History Channel, etc
Local Television News
Print Newspapers/Magazines - Time Magazine, Boston Globe, Seventeen
Internet News
Internet Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Internet Videos -Youtube

I will be referring to these transmitters, primarily in Cable television, Magazines/newspaper news, reality tv, music, and celebrity gossip as well as certain high profile internet websites as "The Mainstream Media." 

Assuming that the media transmitters are pro-Christian or at least neutral, then we've got a climate of ideas that supports the propagation of the Gospel.  Unfortunately we have a mainstream media that is generally working in direct opposition to Christian values.

Consider the views that permeate our culture.  Cultural lies, you could call them.  Some examples:

Churches just want your money.

The Pastor has an agenda.

Science has disproved God.

Evolution is a fact and adequately defines reality.

Religion causes incredible suffering in the world.

Religion leads to war.

"I'm spiritual, not religious."

Church is boring.

Church is irrelevant.

The church caused the dark ages.

The crusades were Christians attacking Muslims.

Universities have survived despite the church.

Christianity has done very little good in the world.

These are just some of the many lies that permeate our culture.  I'm sure you could create a list of your own, of just some of the generalizations that are mentioned in table talk, local news, national news, and the internet.

Nothing is so dangerous to the truth as the generalizations prevalent at a cultures' kitchen tables.  

Think about it.  How do the national news networks portray Christianity?  The Bible?  Creationism in general?

I tend to see coverage of Westboro Baptist Church and their signs that say "God hates fags" and so on and so forth.

When is the last time you saw coverage of something positive Christians are doing?  Inevitably, and I've seen this many a time, a Pastor will be on national news and the issue of homosexuality will inevitably come up.

Mark Driscoll calls it the media's litmus test.  They pin you to the wall with that question, if you say you don't agree with homosexuality you're intolerant.  The mainstream viewership is going to write you off, and you've lost a chance to bring the Gospel message.  If you say nothing, or try to avoid the question fundamental Christianity is going to call you out on it, and you're in trouble with mainline American Christians.  Either way it's futile.

With the church of middle America in decline, and middle America in general vanishing quickly due to economic turmoil, the strength and vitality of Christianity is in trouble.  We saw an incredible decline in Christianity across much of Europe during the past fifty years.  I don't want that to be the United States next.  

I recall recently I was watching a debate between Christian apologist William Lane Craig and Atheist Sam Harris.  What caught my attention was at the beginning the moderator was listing off the accomplishments of both men respectively.  Craig had many books and papers and such under his belt, but when it came to Sam Harris one by one every major news network was listed off, major magazines, for carrying his articles and ideas, and it became clear at that moment: Something isn't right here.  Another example would be Ravi Zacharias.  Consider how this incredible apologist one of the great men of our time has traveled the globe, speaking to the United Nations, at top colleges like Princeton, Yale, and Harvard.  And then consider how many times he has been interviewed on national news.  Almost never. 

Possibly the worst tyranny of the mainstream media is that Christianity, Christian missions, Christian stories, they just aren't mentioned at all.  Like Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig, great leaders are never mentioned or recognized.  The blessing of that is as Christians we aren't seeking recognition from the world, but the curse is that a whole generation of young people today are unreached in our culture.  The entire topic of Jesus Christ is deleted from the public mind, and it simply isn't discussed, and if it is, it's to bash it and condemn religion as evil and backwards.

I have experienced first hand the hostility toward the message of the gospel, not just viewing the exclusion of it in the media, but the effects of that exclusion on middle America, and working class America, and the climate of ideas in general.

While Christianity is not mentioned, or at best misrepresented by prosperity gospel televangelists, depravity is on fire in the modern culture.  If you aren't noticing this, if this isn't bothering you, or setting off alarms, pray for some discernment.  This is a serious issue.  Where do I even start on this topic?

Miley Cyrus, twerking.  The power of the NFL and the Superbowl.  Commercials, constantly playing on our sin nature.  Temptation, temptation, temptation.  It's ugly out there.  Watch a few music videos.  Or a few movies.

I'm done illustrating the issue.  Let's say it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, too much depravity, the media is deliberately shying away from Christianity.  Is this a vast conspiracy?  Probably not.  But Christianity doesn't sell.  Guess what does?  Depravity.  Indulgence.  Excess.  Rebellion in general.  I want what I want, and I want it yesterday.

This is our biggest problem.  Millions and millions of people are sucked into this mini culture within the television screen, internet, and cell phone.  Young people are raised on evolution and then transitioned into a money/materialistic society.  This was a suffocating atmosphere for me, and I know it is for them.  I escaped it, by the grace of God.  But will they?

Endless amounts of people built into entertainment addicted atheists.  This is the issue Christianity doesn't want to face.  It's too ugly.  But we have to face it.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot we can do about the television screen.  The gates are locked there, and starting our own television stations hasn't always worked out the best in the past.  But it's certainly a long term goal, to retake the television news, and networks, somehow.


Problem: The mainstream media endlessly hides the Gospel and misrepresents it, while actively promoting depravity.

Solution: The internet can be used as a method of evangelism for altering the climate of ideas in Western culture to return to Christian morals and truth.

The internet is an incredible tool for social change.  The internet has really become the new public square of our time, in many ways, via social media.  That role seems to be growing, as the internet has finally given so many groups and individuals a voice.  This is where ideas grow and take off.  The technology is not evil, or wrong.  It's just the latest medium for the transmission of ideas.  We can suit up and keep our message relevant by getting into these realms and expressing the truth of Christianity.

Let me be clear, this does not replace in-person relational evangelism.  But maybe while all the evangelical extroverts are out there holding twelve conversations at once with six different people, all leading them to the Gospel, perhaps we introverts can take advantage of our talents, creativity, art, writing, and interpreting truth, and apply them to evangelism in the realm of the internet.

Now I've got your attention.

The Goals:
1.Change the climate of ideas in Western Culture.
2. Share the Gospel through the medium of the Internet.
3. Use our creative talents to provide some "air support" for the evangelicals extroverts on the "frontlines."

Desired Results:
1. A less hostile culture being confronted with the truth of Christianity
2. The rise of a new great awakening in Western society
3. Doing our part in taking the Gospel to all nations through the power of the internet.

I hope you understand, we are engaged in a Spiritual war.  The Bible makes that very clear.  If the relational extroverts engaged in the various forms of in-person evangelism are the ground troops, the churches must be the tanks, artillery, and ground leadership.  If churches and individual Christians are our ground forces, I suppose one could say missionaries and international organizations are like our Navy, taking the Gospel to all the nations.

However, in World War II what was possibly the most important asset for the Allies against the evil Nazis and Japanese?  Superior Air Forces.  Air Forces won the battle of Britain.  The Allies had air superiority as they reconquered Europe from the Nazis. We can provide that Air Support in the Spiritual war of truth going on in the World today.

Have you ever heard of the B-17 Bomber, nicknamed the Flying Fortress?  They were powerful bombers used to incredible effect in World War II and after. 

I propose that we, as Evangelical Jesus Loving Christians, must become B-17 Bombers in this spiritual conflict.  How can we do that?

Churches and organizations are not always too thrilled about Christians working as lonewolfs.  But as introverts we're good at that.  We don't like sitting down for in your face meetings time and again.  We prefer to read, and study, and learn by observing.  Those are powerful assets.  If you love the internet like I love the internet, you can become a B-17 Flying Fortress for the Gospel truth.

The method is Internet Evangelism.  And it takes serious dedication.  It means spending more time in your Bible and study books than messing around on Google or Facebook.  There are many great training programs and classes out there, but often we end up training ourselves.  But we have the tools, like say, the library.  Or the many high quality Bible study websites like and 

You would be amazed at how effectively the Internet has been used in political campaigns, as well as for grassroots organizations, altruistic causes, and spiritual growth.  Libertarians and members of the Occupy movement, as well as Democrats, Republicans, and so on have made use of the internet to organize meet up groups, gather funds, and promote ideas.  Day in and day out activists work posting picture after picture with political messages on them on Facebook; Tweet after tweet on Twitter with links and quotes and brilliant one-liners.  Activists build video presentations and upload them to Youtube hoping they'll go viral.  If you recall last year this was done with a video calling on people to stand against Joseph Kony.  Whatever your opinion about those various groups and their values, the point is the internet has been used to spread ideas and beliefs to great effect, without large amounts of money, but with a lot of hard work by average people.  Perhaps one of the scarier developments in the power of the internet for change is the broad, all inclusive new age mysticism movement's explosion in popularity via social media, and of course, Oprah.  The New Agers are out there day and night starting websites and posting to Facebook and Twitter about auras, astrology, channeling, telepathy, and world consciousness paradigm shifting.

We as Christians have to meet this powerful and growing lies with truth, truth, and more truth.  A man once said, facts are stubborn things.  Believe it or not, all the facts support Christianity and they support the philosophy of Jesus Christ.

So let's do this! 

Here is the plan, as I see it, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Be Armed with the Truth: Be constantly growing in communion with God.  Prayer, prayer, prayer.  And Bible study, know your Bible really well.  Perhaps just as important is knowing the intellectual defenses for Christianity.  Research apologetics, and the arguments of greats like Ravi Zacharias, Francis Schaefer, William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, and Lee Strobel.  That is the key to this, grow, grow, grow! Learn, learn, learn!  Get better and better at what you're doing.  People raised on science, logic, and evolution are going to want some reasoning, history, and science behind belief in God.  That's great, let's give it to them.  But after reaching that point, it's all about the Word of God.  The Bible has the power to inspire, and change hearts and minds.  So does prayer, so pray for those you speak with.

A B-17 Flying Fortress is just a sport plane out for a joy ride unless it's armed and ready.  However, do not wait until you know everything about everything.  Start now, and learn as you go.

Post, post, post:  Here is the key.  Spread the Gospel truth, spread Bible verses, Spread apologetics, spread the morals and love within Christianity.

Post on Facebook.
Post on Twitter.
Post on Reddit.
Post on Craigslist.
Post on LinkedIn.

Constantly throughout a single day be posting Bible verses, or Pictures, or Video sermon links from YouTube.  Two to Four times a day, be posting something Bible/Jesus related.

Be Creative: There are constantly new social networks starting up, new websites, and possibilities with email, or with building your own website or blog.  You have incredible ideas in your head that I haven't thought of, ideas that take time and effort, but can bring about incredible opportunities for revival in our time.  Get energized, and get excited.

Start a Blog or a Website: It takes some dedication and effort, but if you love writing and journaling on the Bible consider starting a Blog or a Website.  Believe me, incredible things can happen.  I started this blog just under a year ago to simply journal about my spiritual journey in Christianity, and since then I've had just over 17,500 views from over 50 countries.  Countries like Japan, China, the Philippines, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, France, the Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Poland, and the Czech republic.  Consider the steep cost of sending even a few missionaries to foreign countries, and consider the impact you could have just by writing in your spare time on the internet!  This is for real, pray on this, and try it.  Let God use you to his glory.

The B-17 Fortress had turrets and gun slots at angles facing the back and the front and the bottom and the top.  In the same way we must consider all possibilities and approach in sharing the truth from multiple angles.

Pray Forcefully: This is something introverts are good at.  Prayer and meditation.  Let's direct our efforts of prayer to the national and international stage.  Or start an online prayer group on Facebook.  Gather friends together at your home for prayer or Bible study.  Make the choice today to make a difference in this spiritual conflict.

Pray for Revival.
Pray for Political Leaders.
Pray for Churches.
Pray for Atheists.
Pray for Agnostics.
Pray for Scientists.
Pray for those on College Campuses.
Pray for a new Great Awakening.
Pray for Celebrities.
Pray for teenagers in public schools.

Constantly be on patrol as a Fortress of prayer and intercession.

Establishing Relationships: Yes, relationships do happen on the internet.  Friendships do happen.  I have spent much time in conversations with people I'll never meet from around the globe.  I love it.  Just as in person evangelism, we can establish relationships with non-believers, and share the Gospel with them.  And just as in person, we can be focused on being polite and compassionate, and loving.

That is a point I want to stress.  On the internet it's very easy to get into mindless, endless arguments and fights over foolishness.  The goal in this is not to win the debate with someone you don't know, but to lovingly politely share truth with them, and establish a friendship.  You will, absolutely will come against insults, and very mean, awful comments back to you, much more so than in face to face discussions.  So be it.  Block the person, move on to the next.

 Form Groups: On Facebook and other websites there are options to start groups and pages to gather like-minded folk together.  I myself am a member of many Christian groups on Facebook, as well as apologetic defense of the faith groups.  This is useful for gathering and unifying efforts with other believers.  Eventually the goal would be to establish organizations and missions to continue to push for Christian truth in the public realm of thought.  Remember, use your unique strengths. Flying Fortresses are ineffective unless they work in large groups, flying in formation. 

Under the Authority of God: Since we don't report to any particular church or organization, we are under the direct Authority of God, specifically Jesus Christ.  Because there is no one to get in our face if we're doing it wrong, we'll need to constantly be in prayer, and checking our words and actions by the timeless truth of the Bible, scripture.  This is extremely important, because a few mean spirited rebukers can cause a lot of damage on social media for the cause of Christianity.  When in doubt, be loving, compassionate, and very forgiving.

B-17s have the entire trip to the target and back to make decisions, but at the end of the day the authority is the Commander of the air group.

Dominate Social Media:The goal eventually is to have people constantly posting scripture, encouraging quotes, Christian pictures, Christian blogs, Bible websites, and video sermons all over social media.  The idea is to plug into the realm of ideas and debate, and interject constantly with Christian hope, Christian truth, and Christian love.

Build your social media presence, and share daily, at least 2-4 posts a day sharing Christian pictures or just copy-pasting Bible verses.  If you're doing it right you'll come against militant atheists, agnostics a-plenty as well as people with genuine interest.  This is great for local friends and family as well, because you are indirectly inviting people to your church by posting links to your church website and making updates about how great service was.

There are a lot of Christians already doing this on social media.  There are tons of great websites, like God Tube, and Christian social networks.  But I've gotta believe we can do much better.

With superior air forces, and the work of troops and tanks on the ground, as well as naval forces at sea, the Allies pushed Hitler's Nazis across Europe, defeating the enemy and occupying her territories.  The Japanese were driven back island by island, until they surrendered.  Maybe in the past 25 years in America, Christianity got hit with a Pearl Harbor surprise assault of evil.  As Mark Driscoll put it "Christianity in the United States has passed through a wormhole."  Evil and depravity of all kind has overrun our country, our culture, and we've got to take it back.  

Let's build a new revival, a new Great Awakening in the West.  

Let's do our part, introverts and extroverts alike.  Be a Flying Fortress in this Spiritual war.  Be an autonomous Christ-powered message of truth in the realm of public thought, via the Internet.  Our weapons are love, truth, and forgiveness.  Our weapon is the word of God.  Our defense is the truth of apologetics, in the realm of ideas.

God bless you all in your mission, and take heart, He has overcome the world!

Matthew 22:16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 17:8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  -Jesus Christ