The Apostle Paul’s 9 Rules For Healthy Online Conversation

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When you read Titus 3:1-11 it is almost like Paul knew Facebook was coming and that Christians would use it as a platform to thrash each other. Obviously he had no idea about that but the Christian internet community would be a lot more Christ-like if we put everything we type through the filter of what Paul wrote in these verses,

Remind the people to 1) be subject to rulers and authorities, 2) to be obedient, 3) to be ready to do whatever is good, 4) to slander no one, 5) to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And 6) I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to 7) devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

8) But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 9) Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

We only live so many years in the flesh and it is my goal to spend as little of that time as possible in futile arguments with other Christians. Just think if people took all the time they engaged in arguing about weird stuff and did real ministry with it. The world wouldn’t look the same! I would challenge you to let these words of Paul inform and guide your use of language online and the discussions you choose to join in on.

5 Responses

    1. Thanks brother! Hope you had a great birthday. Would love to see you before the move or maybe while driving down I10 🙂

  1. A lot of the the reason that the online chats are getting a bit hostile is that the frustration of younger people has reached a boil over point. You can only keep people and their opinions and questions suppressed for so long. Once the blogs started gaining popularity, ideas and free speech were flowing. Now Matt’s recommendations go both ways. They apply to the younger people who have gotten a bit hostile and the older people who don’t like their authority and leadership being questioned. Also, a lot of the hostile younger people have been condemned to hell so many times that they quit counting and now figure they have nothing left to lose. Both sides need a time out, but it will take someone with a lot of guts to get the older people to do anything close to sharing power.

    Also, some of these hostile arguments are being fought between hard-line conservatives aka legalists and the progressives. There is another blog where one of the people who comments is a hard-line legalist and it is tiring to have to constantly argue him.

    1. Valid points there. The biggest thing to me is to try to always listen and learn from anyone I can. When you approach discussions as a student, it helps you not act crazy and actually try to hear what the other person is saying. The problems come when the other person has no interest in learning and just wants to tell at you.

  2. Mark,

    The 9th “rule” above addresses your concern.

    Matt, another great post. Very irenic in tone and content, especially when you begin to identify the “these things” of verse 6. However you identify these in context , they are gracious actions that respond to God’s grace.

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