Whether you tweet or not, Elon Musk’s $45 billion purchase of the social media platform Twitter is a big deal because he promises to curtail the censorship of certain perspectives. While the promise to curtail censorship of public discourse is promising, what is more remarkable is the apoplectic response of many to the prospect of more free speech. You would think more public discourse would be a good thing.
Perhaps we should be cautious. Do we want more public discourse of pornography or paganism or prejudice? Probably not. Who is to say whether more public discourse will mean a civil exchange of ideas? Based on past social media performance where anonymous posters lob word bombs at distant strangers, probably not.
So, how are we as Christians to consider this potential Twitter loosening of tongues? Already we see posts and memes begging Musk The Benefactor to take over Facebook so the untweeting generation can be freed from FB prison. One of the complaints for how these social media platforms operate is that their use computer code to limit the reach of messages they deem unwanted. Many Christians think their bible posts could get more eyeballs. Maybe.
Is the intolerance of this world to the posting of God’s message new? When the Logos of God, the Word of God was posted in the world, the world did not receive it (Jn 1:11). Even the very people to whom the Word was shared rejected and tried to censor it completely by hanging it on the cross.
What limits the reach of the Gospel message in people’s lives? The Bible prophesied about social media. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of tweeters to say what their itching ears want to hear.”(2 Tim 4:3) Jesus anticipated the hours and hours this generation would spend on their phones, saying, “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving”(Mk 4:12)
The censorship of the Gospel message is not new, even if it is new to us. Apostle Paul dealt with so much more than mean tweets, restrictive algorithms, or shadow banning. So, what is the answer to getting more follows and subscribes on social media? Do we have an advocate? What will overcome the censorship of this generation that does not want this Word?
The Word of God relies not on Twitter or Facebook, nor does it even rely on us. The inherent power of the Word comes from the Holy Spirit. The Word creates faith where there was none, not by boosting posts, but because the Spirit speaks the Truth of God.
So, our Advocate encourages us to pray the Holy Spirit will open doors.(Col 4:3, Rom 15:30-31) Paul’s request applies to every Christian, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph 6:19). Rather than worry about Sam in San Francisco or Denise in Dallas, we will share with our relative, co-worker or neighbor the reason for our hope with gentleness and respect.(1 Pet 3:15)
May the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you glorified in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess 1:12)
Preacher of the Word and your servant in the Gospel,