Social Media and the Truth

October 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We live in a time when the Christian Church has an opportunity to witness to the timeless truth of God’s Word and show our family, friends and neighbors how to live in grace, truth and love with our differences.

It’s no secret. We live in a nation divided. We are divided by “blue states” and “red states.” We are separated by issues that seem polar opposites. Are you pro-life? Or pro-choice? “Black Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”?

There are other issues that separate us: Build a wall or open the borders? Want gun control or second amendment rights? And now in this election time, it becomes even more polarizing because there seems to be little middle ground. As Living Way Bible Study author Michael Kasting wrote in his comments on Romans 14: “It’s enough to make your head spin and your blood boil! We are a polarized people, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get from ‘e pluribus’ into ‘unum’ any time soon.”

Making matters worse, for those people that follow social media, they tend to follow sites that agree and support their own views, to the exclusion of views with those who think differently. Since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, we are quick to divide into separate camps, preferring to view issues through what benefits ourselves. If someone differs from our opinion we try to fix the blame on them for our troubles or separate from them completely.

Divisions within the nation and in the Church are the result of sin. Thanks be to God there a place where we can turn for Truth, for healing of our divisions and for forgiveness for the sin that separates us, God’s Word. This month’s TLO Disciple theme is Social Media and the Truth.

Sins separate us from God alienating and isolating us from one another. While cell phones, internet and apps have provided tremendous blessings and opportunities to bring people closer and to bring the Gospel to more people, social media also amplifies our divisions and can be used for evil. Many will use their comments to cast blame creating further division.

I pray that through this month’s TLO Disciple, the Holy Spirit will guide you to know Jesus is the one Truth you can trust. And I pray that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth, that you will be able to discern His good, pleasing and perfect will, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Serving Christ,

Pastor James Kroonblawd
From God's Word

Pilate asked Jesus "What is truth?" John 18:28
From God's Word

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
From God's Word

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Are your social media platforms trying to shape your truth?
According to a recent documentary, The Social Dilemma, Social Media Platform algorithms promote content that sparks outrage, hate, and amplifies biases within the data that we feed them. The discrimination dilemma: 64% of the people who joined extremist groups on Facebook did so because the algorithms steered them there. (Internal Facebook report, 2018). How does this happen? Watch a sampling below
Explore full information

Reviews on The Social Dilemma
From God's Word

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The social fragmentation that exists today in our digitally connected world has been traced to rising rates of suicide, drug abuse and depression: “Since the 1980s, reported loneliness among adults in the U.S. increased from 20 percent to 40 percent. The former surgeon general announced recently that social isolation is a major public health crisis, on par with heart disease or cancer. He noted that loneliness is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, premature death, and violence.”Responding to the crisis of loneliness in Great Britain, in January of 2018 the Prime Minister appointed a “Minister for Loneliness.”

Topics included in Christians and Social Media:
  • Friends and Followers: Social Media and Community
  • Trolls and Fake News: Trust and Social Media
  • Podcasts and Blogs: Knowledge on Social Media
  • Views and Shares: Social Media Influence
  • Likes and Selfies: Identity on Social Media
  • Tempted: Social Media, Sin and Repentance
  • #RoyalPriests: Vocation and Social Media

Lasting Community in Christ Jesus
How does a Christian live in community? In the Apostles’ Creed we confess, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” True community already exists in Christ Jesus, a community created by the Holy Spirit, who has called us by the Gospel. Social media use may encourage or harm community, but it cannot destroy the Body of Christ.
In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther gets right to the heart of the Spirit’s saving work in his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
Truth that Transforms
By Ken Klaus Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20

Every survey says our nation is packed with people who have concluded nothing is always true.

They have decided nobody can be believed and nothing can be trusted, at least, not all the time. Perhaps you are among those who feel so lied to that you find yourself doubting ... everything. Well, I can understand where you're coming from.

I understand because many of the things I used to know were true, well, they're not.

Need a few examples? Here's one: Read more

From God's Word

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11
Thoughts from the midst of the virus
by Rev. Derek Lecakes

Life has changed. We have all been forced to adapt. On March 1, 2020, the first case of the novel coronavirus hit New York. No one could have imagined the impact it would have on our lives in the coming weeks.

We have adapted the way we teach, lead worship, care for members and so much more.  Read more

The Rev. Derek Lecakes is president of the Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Free book study from energetic pastor Jonathan Fisk.

In each of these 6 video lessons, author Jonathan Fisk will teach you nothing less than the distilled, unbreakable Christian Echo, the very thing which has radically changed humanity in every nation and tongue that it has ever been repeated. It the most astoundingly complete description of what life is and why it is worth living. And it’s worth repeating. Again.

A Story of Personal Sacrifice for the Truth
During the years when these Confessions were written and defended, faithful men and women of God, both laypeople and clergy, sacrificed all they had—in some cases their very lives—to defend and extend the truths of God’s holy Word as confessed by the Lutheran Church. Men died in battle fighting to defend the right to teach Lutheran precepts in classrooms and preach the Lutheran faith in pulpits. They died defending their cities and towns—and most important, their convictions—from armies of political and church leaders trying to stamp out Lutheranism forever.

For example, during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) Roman Catholic rulers attacked the Protestant regions of Germany with the hope of stamping out the Reformation. The battles that followed forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

Read more of this fascinating history
Martin Luther (portrait by Lucas Cranach)
From Martin Luther

We Christians must learn to familiarize ourselves with this phraseology or diction of Holy Writ, indeed of the Holy Spirit, which is so strange to the heathen, to the worldly-wise, and to all unbelievers. This is the evangelist’s meaning: “The Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us, whose sermons we heard and whose miracles we witnessed, lived and deported Himself in such a manner as to constrain us to say that He is the true and natural Son of God, full of grace and truth.”

For that mission, Christ, our Lord, very God and very man, was ordained and appointed by the Father. He is to be the Fountainhead and Spring from which flow sheer grace, truth, and righteousness. From Him we are to acquire, and through Him we are to enjoy, the benefits of grace and righteousness. From Him we receive, as we shall hear later, “grace upon grace” and truth upon truth.

Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospels of St. John, CPH, 1999.
From God's Word

Jesus said] "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." John 17:17
Movie Review: Glass
by Ted Giese

Believing something doesn’t make it true
Some elements in the movie suggest spiritual connections. Staple has the three men in her custody for three days, a number that is significant in both Christianity and Hinduism. Clover members wear a three-leaf clover tattoo on their wrists. The three-leaf shamrock has long been used in Christian art to point to the Trinity.

The ancient heresy of gnosticism, which links salvation to knowledge, is also suggested by the film. Gnosticism often depicts the serpent in the Garden of Eden as an agent of wisdom, and the Creator of the world as a vengeful, petty and evil god who desires to subjugate and limit humanity. Christian viewers will want to remember that salvation is not about tapping into one’s true potential or achieving personal transcendence, but is rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Christian viewers should be careful not to buy into its thesis on what makes for a good life. In a world that says a person can be whatever he wants to be, it is important to remember that just believing something doesn’t make it so. For the Christian, truth is not found in self-actualization, but in the Word of God.

Martin Luther (portrait by Lucas Cranach)
From Martin Luther
[Jesus said] "the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:7

Christ calls the Holy Spirit a Spirit of truth in contrast with the spirit of lies. He also spoke about this in the fourteenth chapter (v. 17). The Holy Spirit will teach the disciples and show them that everything Christ told them is the truth; for He is a Spirit who confirms the truth in one’s heart and makes one sure of it.

Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, CPH, 1999
From God's Word

[Jesus said] " When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 16:13
The Meaning of Concordia
Concordia comes from two Latin words meaning “with” and “heart.” It describes a commitment to the truth so strong and so deep, it is as if those who share it have a single heartbeat. To many twenty-first-century minds, the claim that there is objective truth is regarded with deep suspicion. To suggest that there is one, and only one, absolute truth about God is regarded by many today as absurd, foolish, ridiculous, or the sign of an intolerant and weak mind. Sadly, even many modern Christians now view claims of truth and certainty with a good deal of suspicion.

But truth and falsehood are real. It is possible to know truth and it is necessary to reject all errors that contradict the truth.

This declaration…is our faith, doctrine and confession. By God’s grace, with intrepid hearts, we are willing to appear before the judgement seat of Christ with this confession.
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, XII 40

With Intrepid hearts indeed! What could possibly be so important that you would stake eternity on it? What gives a person such courage and conviction? Only one thing, the Truth. This is what this book is all about, the truth of God’s Word.

Introduction to Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions
If you would like to know more about worshiping our Lord, have questions about anything you've read in the Bible or want to talk about any aspect of your faith, contact us! We'd be glad to visit with you about it!
TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month. Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at 651-454-7235 or via email.
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Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121