Click Bait Evangelism

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Click Bait Evangelism
(Have you looked in the “mirror” lately?)

Wings Of Faith

Wings Of Faith

Now we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then, we shall see face to face…” (1 Cor 13:12, (NEB).

Sometimes, when I look at The Church; how its designed, how mission is carried out, what people are calling “evangelism,” I feel very disoriented, and confused. And the picture of “the message” seems to get worse each year. If you are reading this, you may also be able to relate to the utter confusion and pandemonium that is in many churches and their “message” of what we keep getting told is “the good news.” And yet, the confusion continues to expand, and the wondering where is God’s Voice in it all prevails.

In the text for today, Paul is referring to how “we are seeing through,” as in using, the “mirror” and by means of a “dark image.” At the time of that writing, Corinth was well known in the ancient world for producing some of the finest bronze mirrors available. I would assume that Paul’s point in this analogy, then, is not that our current understanding and relationship with God is distorted, (as if to say that the mirror reflected poorly), but rather that our relationship with God and our perception of His message is obscured or “indirect,” as it might be when looking in a mirror,” which in our case today could be “the news,” or Big Media, or the many false prophets.

When compared to the relationship we will enjoy with God in the future when we see him “face to face,” what we are seeing today will pale in comparison.

I don’t know about you, but has all of the dire warnings and fake news made you feel like a failure when it comes to discerning the purpose of God & Church in your life? Have you wondered “where is God’s Voice, today?” Do you sometimes feel that there seems to be no real reason or rhyme for the trials in your life, or in your church? The question of “what is missing” is very real to many today.

The thing I have noticed is that God’s Word, (His Voice), tells us “Dear friends, don’t be surprised by the painful suffering you are going through. Don’t feel as if something strange were happening to you..” And this very same Word assures us “No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does that for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11).

One Christian writer put it like this:

like the discontented weaver, people are looking at the wrong side of the web. They cannot trace the plan of the Designer; and everything, to them, is all confusion. Instead of waiting until they can discern the purpose of God; they will hastily communicate to others their spirit of doubt and darkness. “ (Life Sketches, pg 306).

Often, we cannot see all the good results of our trials in this life, (as in Rom 8:28), But we shall see the results in the hereafter. We have the promise: “the life of Christ’s disciples is to be like His, a series of uninterupted victories, not seen to be victories here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter…” (6 T 307).

We have all heard the “modern” term which to most is called “Fake News.” It seems that everywhere we look, Fake News is screaming for attention, and luring the unsuspecting populations into the frenzy of “click bait,” among other things. One of the major ways that Big Media siphons money out of people, and distracts them from truthful journalism is the very frenetic click bait which almost everyone clicks on as soon as they see it. The internet is full of such sensational headlines, and “Christian” data on the web has not been exempted from such “Fake News.” The false prophets who propel it forward with all the latest about various conspiracy theories, and leaving us with a trail of whats being called “the message,” or “the good news,” and yet, we remain seeing darkly, as in a mirror, and we become more entrenched in the stark loneliness of our “message,” and the isolating shadows it continues to cast over our lives, our church, and the world at large.

Fake news is written and published with the deliberate premeditated intent to mislead people with their “message,” by which they gain financially or politically, sometimes, even religiously in nature, often with sensational, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab our attention; distract us from the good news, or sometimes, that drive us away from the church.

Intentionally misleading and deceptive fake news is different from obvious satire or parody which is intended to humor rather than mislead its audience.
Fake news often employs eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated news stories to increase readership, online sharing and internet click bait revenue streams. We would be very wrong to assume this is not also happening with “church,” and “evangelism,” that is being boisterously displayed now online.

In the latter case, it is similar to the sensational internet “click-bait” headlines and make no mistake about it; the many clicks on so many sensational religious statements on the internet are generating huge advertising revenue for certain entities from this activity, regardless of the veracity of the published stories!

The crazier the religious headlines, the better for those who profit from them! When we “share” such stuff, under a guise of “truth,” or “good news,”  or “the warning message,” all we are doing is putting money in the pockets of the big corporations who generate multiple revenue streams from all the clicking on those sensational head lines.

Fake news destroys any chances of serious, truthful media coverage and makes it much more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories; and for people in general to be able to decide what is true and what is not true. And this is exactly what is happening to “the gospel,” or “the truth,” as it is being darkly presented in so many places online. Where is God’s Voice in it all?

How can we possibly give any serious/truthful coverage to “the good news,” and call it “the gospel,” when all we “share” with others is essentially “the bad news?”

Religious Fake news by Fake Prophets is rife online, and is eating away like a canker at the real truth, and the actual GOOD News. The world generally sees the Church now as being just as filthy as we say they are. No difference between the holy and the “unholy,” as we like to call it.

What is the antidote to all of the internet “fake news,” or “fake gospel” that is presented now online?

Sometimes, the fake good news is about Catholics, sometimes its about Protestants, and other times, about Adventists, or yet, just about anything you could name. But people keep calling it “the truth,” and it seems almost anything goes, as long as it puts somebody down, in order to lift us up. Is that how the gospel really works? No wonder we, as the church, are losing our vision, and have no concrete, or relevant mission anymore.

I am reminded of a time recently when I heard a really loud lawnmower running outside our place, at the neighbor’s house. I complained to my wife about how loud that thing was, and started to say things about that neighbor that I had no way of knowing, and no real right to say.

At one point I had to go out into our yard and start our lawn. Before I could get even ten minutes into it, the guy with the loud lawnmower, came over and said “can I cut your grass for you too?” He had a riding lawnmower, and I was using a good old walking behind machine. Needless to say, I said “of course, and in 20 minutes he had cut what would have taken me at least two hours to do. Suddenly, I couldn’t hear how loud that lawnmower was. Was I seeing through the mirror darkly then? Guilt attacked me about what I said about the guy. But my lawn looked great. So it wasnt the grass cutting that was at fault, nor was it the loudness of the machine, it was how I was choosing to view and express what I thought I was seeing that was the “darkly” part. (1 Cor 13:12).

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

How much that is acknowledged to be truth is mysterious and unexplainable to the human mind! How dark seem the dispensations of Providence! What necessity there is for implicit faith and trust in God’s moral government! We are ready to say with Paul, “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” {6BC 1091.6}

We are not now sufficiently advanced in spiritual attainments to comprehend the mysteries of God. But when we shall compose the family of heaven, these mysteries will be unfolded before us. Of the members of that family John writes: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” {6BC 1091.7}

Then much will be revealed in explanation of matters upon which God now keeps silence because we have not gathered up and appreciated that which has been made known of the eternal mysteries. The ways of Providence will be made clear; the mysteries of grace through Christ will be unfolded. That which the mind cannot now grasp, which is hard to be understood, will be explained. We shall see order in that which has seemed unexplainable; wisdom in everything withheld; goodness and gracious mercy in everything imparted. Truth will be unfolded to the mind, free from obscurity, in a single line, and its brightness will be endurable. The heart will be made to sing for joy. Controversies will be forever ended, and all difficulties will be solved (ST Jan. 30, 1912). {6BC 1091.8}

If we really want to see more “good news” on the internet, if we want more peace in our hearts; then we simply need to put more actual Good News into them.

When Paul wrote of “full understanding,” (1 Cor 13:12), he was referring to when we will see Christ face to face. God gives believers spiritual gifts for their lives on earth in order to build up, serve, and strengthen fellow Christians. The spiritual gifts are for the church. In eternity, we will be made perfect and complete and will be in the very presence of God. We will no longer need the spiritual gifts, so they will come to an end. Then, we will have a full understanding and appreciation for one another; each one as being unique expressions of God’s infinite creativity. We will use our differences as a reason to praise God! Based on that perspective, let us treat each other with the same love and unity that we will one day share.” (Life Application Bible Study Notes).

For Further Study: The Way Of Love



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