All we need is love: discussion with Frank Viola about Social Media Principles and Practice for Christians

All we need is love: discussion with Frank Viola about Social Media Principles and Practice for Christians February 12, 2014

Frank Viola and I connected online to record this conversation via, a tool I am finding very helpful. We spoke about how to approach the Internet, and especially how to approach the arguments that occur online.  We spoke about the risks and benefits of social media.  God’s people do not stop being his people when they launch an Internet browser. Exploring together how God would want us to behave in this brave new world is vital.

The conversation was at times humourous, and at times Frank was really quite kind towards me, I tried to reciprocate as best I could but I think I don’t have his smooth tongue!  There is no video as I think Frank is camera shy!  But the audio is well worth a listen whether you are totally new to social media, or are a veteran.

Please let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this, and whether you would like us to record part two.  We both felt like we had a lot more to say.  Also, if you agree with me that Frank should get a web cam, put that in the comments also.

We would also like to hear about your own thoughts on how Christians should approach their online life.  Feel free to link to anything you have written, or found helpful from someone else anywhere else  below.

We really feel this could be a helpful resource for people, so please do consider linking to it via your own blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

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Related Posts by Frank:

The Buzz Seminar: For Bloggers & Authors (Early Bird Ends February 20th)

The Art of Being a Jerk Online

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear or Read

The Most Ignored Sin

Warning: The World is Watching How We Christians Treat One Another

Rick Warren’s Horrific Tragedy & the Sickening Response of Some Christians

Twitter vs. Facebook


Related Posts by Adrian:

Twenty Types of Tweets

I don’t want balance I want it all 

Using Technology to Grow your church

Google Hangout on creating social media buzz

What is a Christian? Defining what really matters

Plagiarism principles

How a generation of Evangelicals failed to colonise TV

Theological Spectrum Posts

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I listened to the podcast and agree with you that a webcam would have enhanced it.

    You dealt with the issue so broadly, it might be well to follow it up with one that deals with individual platforms (e.g. Twitter, FaceBook, etc.) and how communication practices vary from one to the other. This was more of 1) an exhortation to get involved and social media, and 2) do so in a way that is faithful to Christ’s spirit. Many of your listeners may be beyond this point and hungry for more. There are so many social media platforms and tools coming on the scence that many folks might appreciate a separating of the more important from the less important.

    • Thanks…I think we were thinking the same thing to be honest, but run out of time to talk specfics

  • You also said something on the podcast about having written a post on tips for using Twitter, but I could not find it through your blog’s search function.

    • Its the 20 types of tweet post linked to above in this article

      • Ah, I should have seen that. Thanks for not mentioning how obtuse I am.

        • Not at all, probably my fault for not making it more clear. Hope you enjoy reading some of the articles that support this podcast.

  • Greg Carlet

    Man, I really enjoyed this and it resonated with me so much. This is where I have been for the past few years, and it was very refreshing to listen to. I agree with so much of Reformed theology, yet I am very much part of meeting together as the body of Christ in a more organic, non-institutional way. I still on a weekly basis listen to podcasts by Reformed preachers/teachers, but don’t “go to church” in the institutional way. I like so much of what both Frank and you had to say on these issues/topics.

    And AMEN! to the Matthew 7:12 reference. I preach this to my children every day, and as well am preaching it to myself.

    P.S. My answer is yes! I hope to hear more soon.

  • Gabriel Powell

    Hi Adrian, I listened to the podcast and here are my thoughts:

    Because the discussion was so general, I generally agreed with it. Who wouldn’t? We definitely need to be courteous and careful when addressing issues and brothers and sisters in Christ. But here’s the thing: discussing and disagreeing on minor issues (or even some major ones) is one thing, but differing over the gospel and mass deception is another.

    The Apostle Paul repeatedly charges elders to refute and rebuke (sharply!) and confront those who teach false doctrine. He is clear that those who preach another gospel are anathema. He has harsh words for the Galatian and Cretan false teachers, and he indicates that such harshness is necessary in order to guard the truth and protect the flock. Can one go overboard? Sure. But this is an issue never broached in this discussion.

    Also, I don’t think it is necessary to try to reach someone personally to confirm what they have taught publically. Making public statements about private matters that you heard second hand is indeed dangerous, if not wrong. But if someone has published or spoken in public forums, and that content is widely available, then it is not necessary to reach them personally to confirm what they believe.

    Furthermore, I doubt most public figures are as accessible as Frank thinks. He said Piper is likely accessible to someone who tries hard enough. Well, he may be accessible to a radio show host, but not to a random person who wants to confront him on something. Matthew 18, mentioned by Frank is irrelant to public dialogue. It is speaking of personal and private offenses, not one’s publically held beliefs.

    I’d also like to comment on the statement that each of you made that you’re largely ignorant of what is on Christian TV. I don’t watch Christian TV, but in this day and age it doesn’t take much effort at all to see what’s on it. If it is the elder’s responsibility to protect the flock, I think it is his responsibility to make sure he knows what is going on out there. You might think the people in your church don’t watch it either, but are you sure? You might think the people in your church aren’t reading the latest book by a prosperity preacher, but are you sure?

    Frank seemed to affirm Mike Bickle, or at least referred to Sam Storms’ affirmation of Mike Bickle. Should we affirm and welcome Mormons because they say they believe in Jesus? Should we worship with Jehovah’s Witnesses because they believe in Jesus? What are the parameters for “receiving the Christ in someone” (as Frank put it)?

    Also, you talked about how quickly you are to correct yourself when you realize you’ve misunderstood someone. What isn’t that the case regarding your insistence despite mountains of evidence that MacArthur condemns all Charismatics? Why are you so unwilling to acknowledge that he has repeatedly affirmed (before, during, and after the conference) faithful charismatics who believe and preach the true gospel and have a high view of Scripture?

    Lastly, if you guys do a part 2, I think you should discuss the Holy Spirit’s injunction to church leaders to call out false teachers, rebuke them publically, and warn the church against them.

    • Gabriel, you are skirting dangerously close to the edge of conformity with my blog comment pollicy by your comparison of Mike Bickle with Mormons and JW’s, which incidentally is similar to John MacArthur’s claim that charismatics as a group follow a false religion. To me the GOSPEL is the thing we must look for, and if Bickle and others believe in the gospel of Jesus why would we anathematise them over secondary issues? As far as MacArthur is concerned I have tried to be very fair to him, for example posting this:

      “I’m not saying that everyone in the charismatic movement is not Christian” John MacArthur

      I will not simply let this go. Unless and until MacAthur publicly apologises for some of the comments he made and admits he was wrong to make them I will not be simply giving him a pass on this. See for example this post on which I have acollection of the worst of them, although this is far from all of them:

      VIDEO: MacArthur consigns charismatics to hell and likens them to Mormons

      But the harsh really from your perspective, Gabriel, is that as far as I can see NOBODY outside of the Grace to You set up have backed up MacArthur’s approach. From public and private conversations I have had it is plain to me that most reformed people are at best embarrassed and at worst appalled at the way he has gone after parts of the body of Christ. I am FAR from the only one who thinks this. Take for example this debate I had with Doug Wilson, who expressed his concern about the conference.

      Premier’s Unbelievable? with Adrian Warnock and Doug Wilson on Strange Fire

      I wish that MacAthur would repent for his divisive comments that have sought to make a secondary issue into a primary one. I wish that he would be willing to have a public conversation with any Bible loving charismatic of his choice. I wish that he would look that brother in the eye on camera and say, “May I apologise to you on behalf of all the charismatics I have hurt these past few months” I wish that he would be razor sharp in his focus nor scattergun in attacking real Christians.

      As far as rebuking false teachers is concerned, most of those verses seem to me to be talking about the context of a local church congregation. We do have a responsibility as leaders of churches to keep our own churches pure. Fascinatingly as far as I can see most of the most egregious examples of unhelpful teachers are not part of a local church or denomination at all. Our independence as Christians is what is hurting us the most. One of the reasons I don’t speak out much against the real false teachers is because I am busy putting forth a positive message. I want to help people understand the truths of the Bible, so that they will be able to recognise for themselves falsehood. I also want to be able to receive positive things from people that I may disagree with on important secondary issues.

      I think that a key verse for us to understand in all this debate is Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

      Paul tells us to speak the truth, and I will concede many of the accusations MacAthur made are true. And perhaps people in the camp I am in are less good at speaking out truthfully at times.

      But he also tells us to speak it in LOVE. I did not feel winsomeness on display in the conference. I did not feel love flowing to someone like me who is just trying to follow Jesus as best I can, and am a charismatic because I am convinced that is what the BIble says. I think that our camp is a lot better at showing love.

      Perhaps there is a middle ground that we both need each other to discover, where we actually do speak the truth in love.

      But notice the other part of the verse I quoted that speaks of EACH PART of the Body of Christ doing its work. I am concerned that if we bring division in the Body, this will prevent us from benefiting from each other. My new friend Rice Broocks spoke of how some parts of the church are good at building the structure of a fireplace but can’t light a fire. Us charismatics can sometimes light a fire alright but we burn the house down. We all need each other. See this post: God’s Not Dead: The Movie, and a new friend

      The sad thing is that the number one effect of this fiasco so far is that most of my charismatic friends who said they used to listen to MacAthur’s radio ministry are now saying the do not want to do so any more. They are missing out. But I understand why. We are one Body, and we should act more like that.