By Dr. Ken Matto
(Eccl 12:14 KJV) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
With the advent of the Internet, a new breed of Christian has been emerging. It is the Christian who sits at their keyboard and sends out the Gospel to the world without even leaving their homes. This is a wonderful thing that we can reach the uttermost parts of the earth with the truth of the Gospel. Once we place our studies on line, they can never compromise since written works do not fold under pressure. However, I do not want to focus on those who are using the Internet for a legitimate purpose in doing the work of the Lord. This treatise is going to focus in on the new branch of Christianity called Keyboard Christianity, which uses the Internet to spue false teachings and harass those who are doing the work of the Lord.
There are many Christians out there who are using the Internet to promote sinful practices and false doctrines. It seems when some get on the Internet and do not see another human being in front of them, they find it easier to lambaste or tear others down, believing that somehow they will never be found out nor held liable for doing Satans work. The truth is if you are reading this and you are one of those Christians, then you are as accountable to God on the Internet as you are anywhere else. The Christians accountability before God never changes.
(Heb 4:13 KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
We expect to be attacked by unbelievers who have no concept of the Gospel, but when Gods children use this wonderful tool to tear other people and their ministries down, then it is time for them to be rebuked. God will never condone His children to be used by Satan for the sake of tearing other Christians down. If there are Christians on the Internet teaching heretical things, then they leave themselves open for challenge. There is nothing wrong with challenging a teaching found on the Internet but it must be done in an orderly fashion. I want to share with you some dangers of Keyboard Christianity which we must be careful that we have not adopted into our life. I want to be honest with the reader. I have done some of these things (pseudonym) which I am now listing under the guise of scoping out groups which were teaching false doctrine and I wanted to know what they were saying. I have stopped this practice because I do not believe that deception is to the Glory of God.
(1 Cor 10:31 KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Hiding behind a false name is akin to those who are unbelievers. It is really a lie to go by a false name for the purpose of hiding your real name. When a person hides behind a false name, they open the door to become or to say anything they want. Having a false name makes it easy to fulfill an evil agenda. Satan tries to get us to believe that we have a lot more freedom if we can only hide our true identity. God says it is a sin because as Judah thought nothing would happen to them because of their sins, they became sadly mistaken when one day Babylon came and took them away. We also may concoct a belief system that nothing is wrong if I take a phony name. If we are truthful to ourselves, we must know that we are using a false name to make it easier to be evil, for why else would you want to hide? (Psa 90:8 KJV) Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
In this verse the Apostle Paul was speaking concerning His ministry. On one hand in person he was a meek lamb but when he is absent he is a bold. This is the same situation with many on the Internet. If they were confronted in person, they would be found to be a meek person, probably one who never speaks up in church. When we can sufficiently hide ourselves and count on the fact that people are not going to drive 1,000 miles to confront us, we tend to puff ourselves up behind a false safety net. You know what problem can arise? The guy down the street may be pretending to be 1,000 miles away and may know or find out who you are. We live in an age when human life is severely devalued and maybe the guy you are tweaking, is a person who may not care what bodily damage he does to you. Another thing we must take into consideration is that when you send a crushing or critical E-mail to a group or to someone, there is a human being behind that computer. Your reviling may cause the person receiving it to do bodily harm to themselves or maybe to you. If we are to be bold, we are to be bold in the Lord and bold above ground. (Phil 1:14 KJV) And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. If you are fearful to reveal your name, then may I suggest that you do not take corrupt communication and send it to others. Unholy boldness is a sin which God must expunge from your life.
The Internet with its system of anonymity will allow anyone to claim to be anything they want. If a person wants to set themselves up as a ministry and then use it for the purpose of raising money for personal use, you can set up a web site and make it look as spiritual as you want. People can pretend to be a Minister, Elder, Bible Teacher, Theologian or whatever just to give worldly meaning to their life. They would be doing the secret life of Walter Mitty except it would be in the Christian realm. This would be a dangerous thing especially if the person putting on the charade is giving out advice under the guise of being a trained person. Unfortunately, the Internet affords people who want to add fantasy to their lives, a great opportunity to do so. This not only applies to the unbeliever but to the Christian also. Whenever you receive an e-mail from a person who entitles themselves as Apostle or Bishop, you better make friends with your delete button. If the person re-creating themselves starts believing their own creations, they will enter a world of deception which can have catastrophic consequences. We must remember that every e-mail or post that we create is highly traceable.
Whenever we continue to send false posts and e-mails, we find that with each successive one it gets easier to deceive others. Sin starts to become a part of our life and we begin to start living our old life all over again. I wonder how many Christians are involved in cyber-sex? If you have a false name, the person on the other end does not know you are a Christian and you may get away with anything with them. I wonder how many set up false accounts on Yahoo or some other free e-mail service and then sign on to porno sites? Many older Christians are also caught making dates with young girls or boys, and have even crossed state lines to have sex with them so they will not get caught by people in their own town. The problem is that when sin begins small and we think we are getting away with it, we tend to get bolder until we are actually committing crimes. Those who go across lines to have sex with minors are violating Federal Law and the FBI has to step in. The time to stop the sin is at the moment you are contemplating going off the narrow road. Isnt it comforting to know that the pastor of your church has been arrested as a pedophile?
If a Christian does not like a certain doctrine which is being taught on line, instead of confronting it honestly under their real name, they will do it under their pseudonym and cause strife. For some reason, they think that this will be to the glory of God. No matter what type of doctrine is being challenged by a person, whether it be true or false, it should be done in truth and not under false pretenses. The verse above speaks of a fools mouth delivering foolish chatter but we can expand that to say that a fools keyboard can be just as destructive and cause much contention. When intentional contention is introduced in a group on line, that may confuse other Christians who are sincerely seeking the truth about a certain issue, it may muddy the waters and cause a true doctrine to be seen as a false doctrine, simply because someone chooses to be contentious for no other reason than for self-gratification, which is sin in the life of a believer.
There are many Christians who feel that since they can get their spiritual material on line it is no longer necessary to attend church. For a while, I was listening to the Internet every Sunday Morning to a sermon by a decent preacher. However, while I was being somewhat edified, I was also sinning by not attending church. God expects His children to gather on Sunday. All the false religions in the world gather together on certain days of the week. It sure makes no sense for Christians to stay away and be separated and set up for spiritual disaster. There are some who have chosen to have on line church services which advocate people avoid church and listen to them. These are dangerous Christians who draw other Christians away from church and will be held accountable for doing so. The Internet should be supplemental to the local church and should not be used to usurp the place of the local church. If a person is sick and cannot attend church, then it is a blessing to be able to find an online service, but it should never be considered a home church.
I am not equating drinking alcohol to the Internet but what I am equating is the principle in this verse. The Internet can be as addicting as alcohol or drugs. There are people who stay at their computer for countless hours each day while the rest of their life is neglected. This is now being made easier since DSL, cable, or WiFi allows your computer to be on twenty four hours without interrupting the telephone service in your home. There are Christians out there who moderate many groups, which means many hours per day. Staring at the screen for many hours can be dangerous since there are fluctuations in the screen that you do not notice but is playing havoc with your eyes. Internet addiction can take away your Bible study and Prayer time. Satan will keep hounding you to turn on the computer because you might miss something. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is running high because instead of personal contact or telephone contact, instead, we are sending e-mails which takes much more time to type than to speak.
Moderators of Christian groups need to be discerning. They should not be removing the true gospel and allowing idiotic theology to remain unless it is a group for idiots. The moderator and group owners must see themselves as shepherds of those groups and take the responsibility which goes along with it. Eternal Souls are at stake and to take this lightly is to elude responsibility. No Christian should start a group unless it is to the Glory of God. Believe me, I have not seen too much to the Glory of God on many so-called Christian Groups. Let us make Keyboard Christianity a light to the world and not a tool of the evil one.
(Psa 33:4 KJV) For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. All the works of the Lord are done in truth, and we better make sure ours is too.
(1 Sam 12:24 KJV) Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.