Pastor Cedric Miller, a New Jersey minister, recently advised his married congregants to delete their Facebook accounts, saying that the social media site leads Christians into the ‘temptation’ to commit adultery.
On Faith asked Mark Driscoll, a Seattle-based minister for his view on faith, marriage and technology. Driscoll’s use of social media is legendary: the NYTimes said in a recent profile that given Driscoll’s “omnipresence on Facebook and iTunes” he “is on the cutting edge of American pop culture.” (He even frequently posts date night tips for his married congregants.)
So, Pastor Mark, should Christians use Facebook? Is there a conflict between marital faithfulness and using social media?
When the Bible speaks of the center of our person–where our motives, feelings, and thoughts reside–it uses the word heart. So, to really deal with any issue, we must get to the heart of the matter.
When it comes to technology in general, and social networking in particular, the heart is simply revealed. Impatient, angry people post flame-throwing statements in haste. Boastful, narcissistic people post statements and photos constantly to ensure we do not ignore them. Dissident troublemakers post trolling inflammatory comments, seeking to have the same effect as a hose on a bees’ nest. And the perverted pursue illicit connections, including adultery, as they enjoy posting and seeing sexualized photos and statements.
To be sure, some people should avoid technology such as Facebook in the same way that alcoholics should avoid liquor stores. For them, the risks outweigh the rewards. However, to state that such technologies should be avoided because people abuse them is a grievous error. It shifts the blame from the heart to that which reveals the heart. In the same way that people abuse technology to commit adultery, some also abuse food as gluttons. But calling for an international boycott of food is not the answer, just as boycotting Facebook is not the answer. Why? Because the issue is the heart. This is why the Bible says that meeting Jesus is akin to getting a new heart with new desires for that which is good, and new disdain for that which is bad. Even if someone does not commit adultery because of Facebook, if that sin remains in their heart, they will find another way to act upon it (even if only in their mind, which counts as well, according to Jesus).
As a pastor, I use a lot of online technology, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, podcasts, vodcasts, blogging, and so on. Such information portals are opportunities for my heart and the hearts of others I interact with to be revealed and transformed. We can pray for one another, ask and answer questions, serve one another, apologize to one another, and encourage one another–the very things that God asks of us and that help our hearts to reflect his.