Facebook Theology

When I woke up this morning and checked my Messenger app, I read this message entitled: “30 Second Prayer.” 

It said: “Lord, thank you for this Great Day! I love you and I need you to come into my heart to bless Me, my Family, my Home, my Work, my Friends and my special Loved Ones, Amen.” The message went on to say: “Please send this prayer to a minimum of 20 People. Something good will happen to you tomorrow at 10:30 am. Someone will call you be phone or will talk to you about something you were waiting to have. This is not a joke. Do not break this Prayer. Miracles do happen.”

Well, when I read this, I was immediately struck by the selfishness of the prayer! But then, we do live in a selfish and self-centered culture! We are so selfish and self-centered that we think Christianity and faith is all about what God can do for us! Now, I am going to say this now, so you can decide whether or not you want to continue reading the rest of this post: Much of what we read and see on Facebook and other social media platforms is not representative of real Christianity or real biblical faith! Much of what we see and read falls into the category of what can be called; Facebook theology or media theology.

Like the folk theology of yester-years, Facebook or media theology is theology that is constructed, not from a correct study and exegesis of the biblical text, but rather from a cursory reading of the Bible, that produces swallow and often non-sensical theological thoughts and concepts. Because we are living in the “Google Age,” most people don’t take the time to do in-depth Bible study for themselves, they just look up what someone else has said on the Internet. They think that just because it’s on the Internet; it must be true!

But let’s dissect and analyze this prayer to illustrate my point. “Lord, thank you for this Great Day!” So far, so good! We should all be thankful for any and every day we’re on top of the dirt and the dirt is not on top of us! And, every day is indeed a great day! But the prayer goes on: “I love you and I need you to come into my heart to bless Me . . . . .” Here’s where the real issues are: The prayer acknowledges a love for the Lord, but immediately moves to what ‘I need’ the Lord to do for me! No acknowledgement of the Lord’s majesty or sovereignty, it immediately goes to what ‘I need’ the Lord to do for me! But then, it is ‘a 30-second prayer!’ But the prayer asks the Lord to come into my heart to bless me, my family, my home, etc. Well, many people might be shocked to know that the primary purpose of the Lord coming into our lives is NOT TO BLESS US! Salvation or the Lord coming into our life IS THE BLESSING! Our primary quest should not be for what God can do for us; our primary quest should be for God Himself! In the Bible, we are not instructed to seek His blessings; we are instructed to seek Him! The reason for that is because when you have Him; you already have all the blessings you will ever need! The Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (ESV) Note the tense; he didn’t say ‘will bless,’ he said ‘has blessed.’ If you are in Christ, you don’t need to be blessed, because you’ve already been blessed! Now, I hear you! You’re saying, “That’s sounds good, but Paul was talking about ‘spiritual blessings in the heavenly places’ but I need material blessings in the earthly realm!” Well, you have to understand that everything material is produced from or has it’s genesis in the spiritual! It is the spiritual that produces the physical. If it is not produced by the spiritual in the spiritual realm, it will not be manifested in the material or physical realm! The Apostle Peter wrote to his readers in 2 Peter 1:2-3: “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (ESV) Again, note the tense: “His divine power ‘has granted’ to us ‘all things’ that pertain to life and godliness. . . .” My point is this, if we are in Christ: Every blessing we need; we already have! We don’t need to pray for God to bless us because God already has blessed us with every blessing God has to give! God cannot give us what God has already given to us! No! We don’t need to be praying for God to give us more blessings; we need to be praying for the wisdom and understanding to manifest the blessings we already have!

Now what really got me was the message said: “Please send this prayer to a minimum of 20 people. Something good will happen to you tomorrow at 10:30 am.. . .” I understand the Old Testament Prophet told Naaman to wash in the Jordan River seven times, but I think much of what is happening today is not Divine instructions but rather superstitious bent toward on luck or chance! In this case, the prayer is not enough, I must send it to 20 people in order for something good to happen at 10:30 am! Well, when you think about it; if you wake up in the morning, something good has already happened, long before 10:30 am, unless you are a late sleeper!

But do we actually think we can be blessed and be right with God by simply saying a prayer and sending it to 20 people on Facebook Messenger? Seriously? I’ve even received chain messages that imply if I break the chain and don’t pass it on; I won’t be blessed and I don’t love the Lord! Seriously? I tell the members of the church I serve: “Your best witness for Jesus at your work-place is not sending out Facebook chain prayers or messages when you should be working! Your best witness for Jesus on your job is to do your job with a spirit of excellence!

Facebook and other social media platforms can be excellent tools for spreading the Gospel, but we should make sure we are indeed spreading Gospel and not religious folk-superstition! The Apostle John said in his context: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 ESV) If he were writing today in our contemporary culture and context, he would write: “My friends, do no believe, pass on, or repost every Facebook or Messenger posts you receive. Read and study your Bible to make sure the message is biblically sound and theologically correct first! For there are many who are posting today who have not read or studied the Bible and are not of God!”

If My People. . .

woman prayingYou would think the world would be a much better place if only all the notorious sinners would just quit sinning! But I was looking at 2 Chronicles 7:14 the other day and it dawned upon me that the responsibility for the condition of the land rest with the people of God! Look at the text! The KJV renders it: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Do you see what I saw? Look at what the text didn’t say! It didn’t say that God would heal the land if all the dope-boys came off the corner! It didn’t say that God would heal the land if all the sinners joined the church! It didn’t say that God would heal the land if the government did justly! NO! It said: “If my people. . .” Who are your people Lord? The Lord says: “The ones which are called by my name! If they would just do right! If they would just acknowledge their need for me and sincerely pray! If they would just seek my presence and turn from their wickedness, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land!”

Now there is a principle throughout the scripture that suggests that God honors the saving or preserving effect of the righteous. As evil and corrupt as Sodom and Gomorrah was, God would have spared them if there had been only ten (10) righteous in the land (See Genesis 18:32)! The last post prior to this one (See “Get Jonah Off Your Ship”) suggests the presence of certain people in our lives may be the reason for some of our troubles. But on the other hand, the presence of certain other people in our lives could very well be the source of some of our blessings! Genesis 39:4-5 says; “So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, [Potiphar] and he [Potiphar] made him [Joseph] overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field.” (ESV) Wow! Do you see that? That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said to his disciples in Matthew 5:13-14, “You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world!” Our calling is to be salt and light; to be preservatives and sources of divine insight!

Notice in the Chronicles passage that the Lord said: “If my people would. . . .Seek my face!” From much of the preaching and teaching I am hearing today, there are not many who are seeking His face! In the Bible, the phrase “to seek (my, his) face” means to seek the presence of God. But many, who claim to be Christians in America today, are not really seeking His presence because they are too busy seeking His presents! They don’t really want the face of God; they just want the favor of God! They are like a man who has a hard time looking in the face of a woman who is wearing a blouse with a revealing cleavage! They don’t seek the face of God because they are too preoccupied with seeking the favor of God! Little do they know; there is no real favor without His face!

But the key to the welfare of any society or community is the spiritual fidelity and maturity of the people who are called by His name! So, my brothers and sisters, don’t get so upset with “sinners,” they are just doing what they do! The real power for change is in the hands of those of us who are called by His name! When we get ourselves together and quit “playing church,” take God and His word seriously, and seek first the Kingdom of God and His/Its righteousness, all the things we need will be added unto us and God will heal our land!