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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Great Way To Destroy Our Witness

Feb 28, 2017

It goes without saying that having a strong and consistent Christian witness and testimony in the public arena is vital. The way most people will think about God and Christ will be based largely on what they see in us, his followers. If we offer a lousy testimony, our Lord and his reputation suffer big time.

There are many obvious ways we can damage or destroy our witness, and turn people off to Christ. If we get messed up in and promote false doctrine, that will damage our witness. If we fall into sin, especially in very public manner, that sure will harm our witness. If we follow the ways of the world instead of standing on biblical truth, that too will ruin our testimony.

internet 4But here I want to speak to just one other way that we can really screw up our witness and drag the name of our Lord through the mud. It may not seem like such a big deal, but believe me, it sure can do plenty of damage to the cause of Christ. And it happens far too often.

I refer to something that most of us have been involved in. It is fair to say that we all have been taken in by something that is false, bogus, a set-up, a fraud, or a scam. We may have seen something that seemed really interesting or concerning and we quickly passed it on to others without checking it out a bit first. This happens all the time online.

While the Internet is great for getting quick and easy access to all sorts of information, it is also a great place for rumours, urban legends, frauds and just plain moonbattery to be spread around so very easily. One must take care not to believe everything one sees, and not to pass it on without doing at least a quick check first.

Sure, we cannot closely check out everything that there is, and if something comes from a reliable, dependable source or friend, it may be safe to pass it on. But we need to be more guarded in what we believe and in what we pass along. There is just far too much rubbish out there.

And added to all the garbage, the conspiracy theories and the nut jobs, there are also many satire sites out there. Often the satire is quite clever and quite funny, but it is satire nonetheless. Yet how many times have I had Christians passing something on from a satire site, fully believing it is authentic, and getting all bent out of shape by it.

Come on folks, this happens far too often. God gave each of us a brain, and he has commanded us to use our minds to love him with. Yet so many believers act as if they have had a lobotomy. They show zero discernment, and they will pass around the most ludicrous material at the drop of a hat.

I am shocked at how many believers are utterly duped by stuff like this. They are taken in like fools, and they sure look foolish when they peddle this stuff, no matter how obviously bogus it is. Sadly there are way too many examples of this.

Let me mention just one recent incident. A satire site did a piece saying Rick Warren had changed his name to fit in better with Islam. The headline said this: “Rick Warren Changes Name To Muhammad Hussein Warren; Assures Everyone That It’s ‘No Big Deal’.”

Um duh, it took me approximately 0.00032 seconds to realise this was a spoof, a send-up, a nut job piece, or a satire article. Yes I know a lot of Christians can’t stand the guy and are looking for any excuse to bag him further, but this is ridiculous!

I am not always thrilled with everything he has said or done either. But really!? Can anyone actually be so dumb to buy this hook, line and sinker? What happened to hard–headed Christianity? Or do we just have a bunch of brainless believers who will fall for anything? Puh-leeese Christians, try using your brains for a change.

Passing on a satire site piece as if it is true is of course intellectually lazy and also ethically damaging. Good grief, don’t be so gullible! Try to use a bit of common sense and a little discernment. Spend five seconds checking things out before you pass them on.

Indeed, if these clueless Christians would have taken just a few seconds to actually look at the site, they would have instantly seen immediately above this article the following in big letters: “THE END Times: Apocalyptic Christian Satire.” And it says the same thing in even bigger font right after the article!

Yet here we had Christians actually falling for this, with countless concerned Christians commenting about how bad things are and how we are in the end times, etc. Um, excuse me: sure, things are bad, and yes we have been living in the last days for 2000 years now. But really, show a bit of intellectual backbone here.

When Christians pass around nonsense like this as if it were gospel truth, they sure do damage the cause of Christ and greatly tarnish our Christian witness. And it is all so unnecessary. The briefest of checks will often help us decide if something is legit or if it is bogus. And if you are not sure, simply ask a trusted friend for their assessment.

If you are still not sure about something, probably the rule of thumb is to not share it. When in doubt, don’t. The world already thinks Christians are a bunch of morons, fools and idiots. We do not need to be giving them any more ammunition so they think this way even further about us.

As I say, we have all been guilty of this in the past. Once or twice may be honest mistakes. But if you are up to three or more times being sucked in with this stuff, then you may be guilty of being a serial sucker or spammer, and maybe it is time for you to take a break from the social media.

Constantly passing around bogus and patently untrue stuff sure does not help our cause. It hurts it greatly. And worse yet, it does great damage to the name and reputation of our Lord. So stop it already! OK?

theendtimes.news/2016/04/25/rick-warren-changes-name-to-muhammad-hussein-warren-assures-everyone-that-its-no-big-deal/

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7 Responses to A Great Way To Destroy Our Witness

  • Hi Bill, thank you for a very important article. As you so rightly have pointed out, there is a lot of pseudo Christian garbage out there in cyber space. As a rule of thumb, I will usually run my curser over a suspect email to see where it has been sent from. 99% of the time! I can then delete it without even opening it. The other type of email that I’m now extremely wary of are those sent by “well meaning friends” depicting horrific Christian martyrdoms or persecutions. Bottom line, be extremely careful with what you pass on. Many thanks again Bill, for highlighting a very real cyber space problem. Kind regards, Kelvin.

  • Thanks. A breath of fresh air. It’s astonishingly tedious to write ‘hoax site’ after posts daily. And yes, we’ve all done it, once or twice. But we can learn fast!

  • Ha ha. Reminds me of the Y2K freakout by the Christians (mostly in the US) and their doomsday prophesies and end-of-the-world scenarios.
    And what actually happened? A great big fat nothing.
    Talk about embarrassing. And it was Christians who led the way – the wrong way.
    There seems to be particular areas of gullibility that attract certain types of Christians. For example – the fictitious stuff by the late Ron Wyatt – the Indiana Jones styled Bible archeologist who claimed to have found Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant and a bunch of other impossibly incredulous super discoveries. None were ever confirmed, but he still sold books.
    To the gullible Christians in our congregations I would say – please look up Snopes before emailing your latest warnings to your friends. Then give up and read your Bible instead.

  • Kelvin…
    Re: “horrific Christian martyrdoms or persecutions”
    I have never in my life ever had someone send me a hoax martyrdom. I am puzzled – what does it even look like?

  • Thanks Tim. Actually I may have been guilty of sharing 2 of these on the social media. One was a pic of charred African bodies, said to be killed by Muslims. Someone else commented that they were actually airplane crash victims.

    The other was a pic of a smiling person being hung in Iran or somewhere like that, claiming he was a joy-filled Christian martyr. Someone else said he was actually just some common thief being hung!

    So with little more than a pic to go on, it is hard to tell either way what some of these things are really about. So I now do not share these things quite as freely without trying to verify them a bit more first.

  • I’m with you Bill, in recent years, I’ve encouraged my friends and family from around the world to do some solid verification on material before they forward it on to me or others. Since then, a lot of this material has now dried up. Regards Kelvin.

  • Hi Bill, one comment I should have made about dodgy emails, is that a lot of them do the rounds every 12 months or so. You see an absolutely horrific event portrayed, it gets circulated, everybody gets upset by what they’ve seen, and after a few weeks it dies down and disappears off everyone’s “radar”. After one to two years, the SAME email magically appears again out of no where, and the whole silly rigmarole begins again. I hope this comment will be of constructive use to some of your contributors, regards, Kelvin.

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