Running Amuck Online
by Al Diestelkamp
The computer, with internet and e-mail capabilities, has proven to be a mixed blessing. Like many other opportunities God has made possible, it has been used both for building up and tearing down; for good and for evil.
It has truly been a blessing that some computer-literate brethren have developed and maintained web pages as still another means to reach the lost and edify saints. Indeed, the more well-designed internet sites which direct people back to the Bible, the better. Perhaps home pages will be to this generation what church bulletins were in the past.
The opportunity for almost instant communication with large numbers of brethren at the same time has arrived via e-mail lists: Preachers have been able to share sermon ideas and illustrations with each other; congregations have been able to issue their own “Macedonian calls” for help (Ac. 16:9); news of interest to Christians everywhere has spread all over the world quickly, allowing us to rejoice or weep with others (Rom. 12:15), and to pray for one another (Jas. 5:16); open-forum discussions of Bible topics have taken place.
It should be no surprise that Satan and his forces also take advantage of this avenue of communication. Besides the obvious use of the internet to peddle smut, infidelity and humanism, he has used it in a more subtle way to spread false doctrine and gender strife.
It seems, based on the discussions I’ve seen on the various e-mail “lists,” that a few brethren are inclined to run amuck. I don’t know—maybe there’s something about sending comments over a modem that emboldens some to make outlandish arguments. Or, maybe arguments are being made while “on-line” and not enough thought and study has gone into them. The result is less than edifying.
I’m not calling for an end to discussions, nor am I suggesting any kind of imposed control—other than self-control. It would be good if we all would measure our words as we discuss the Bible among ourselves.
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