In part one of our discussion on graceful internet speech, we looked at God’s biblical expectations of Christians in their communication with one another and examined a few faulty excuses sometimes used for stooping to the world’s level when dealing with disagreements with other brothers or sisters in Christ. We noted, among other things, the hypocrisy of burning bridges with brothers in the name of the Lord’s work and the support from James for taking a stance against this double-minded manner of conversation. We’ll continue with a look at the harm of such speech and possible alternatives to handling disagreements.
I’ll be direct. Why do we Christians tolerate hateful diatribes, vindictive one-upmanship, and snide sarcasm between brothers and sisters in the faith on the web? John wrote, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother” (1 John 3:10-12a, KJV). Wicked speech, full of calculated hurt, plagues the web among Christians. Perhaps, for the sake of argument, it does not occur too often–only in a few places. But if we say that it happens only on this particular site or in that particular forum, we ought also to say that such is one site or one forum too many.
NOTE:This article appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Frontline Magazine. It appears here with permission of the publisher.
NOTE: The following standing resolution was presented at the 86th Annual Fellowship of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International on June 13, 2006, at Hamilton Square Baptist Church in San Francisco, California.
The FBFI realizes the great tool for ministry and discipleship the Internet can be, and we encourage those that do advance this tool to do so with New Testament principles in mind.
Use it wisely, considering the temptations and shipwreck that can be made through unfiltered and unaccountable Internet use.
Use it personally, avoiding the anonymity that often abandons the decorum that is Biblically appropriate between real people—such things as respect for age and elders, discretion with minors and children, consideration of position and wisdom.
Use it with restraint, avoiding the “knee-jerk” reactions and unbridled speech that commonly accompany private discussion. Remember that the whole world can see what is being written.
Use it with conviction, taking a stand for the things that are true and right and avoiding softness toward worldliness and compromise.