(Imagine The Following 1st-Century Social Media Thread)
“Apostles And Disciples On Facebook”
James of Jerusalem: I believe the gospel should only go to the Jews. Or at least we should circumcise Gentiles who want to become Christians.
Simon Peter: Poor James. I used to think that way, too. But I know better. You should check with Cornelius and his people.
James of Jerusalem: Where did you get your education? The Samaritans?! LOL
Paul, the Tarsus Teacher: James, James, James. I used to be right where you were. I even had to set ole Petey straight because of you troublemakers. You just keep turning up like a bad denarii.
Apollos: Apparently, the pedagogical philosophy of the Jerusalem saints is as circumscribed as the Strait of Sicily. My buddy Paul always cuts straight to the point. What do you have to say for yourself, J.J.?
Barnabas: Guys, let’s not make this personal. Let’s deal with the issue. OK?
Simon Peter: Barnabas, did somebody steal your man card? Ha ha! Jimmy, are you going to answer Paul’s powerful point? Or will you crawl back into your cave?
Apollos: Well… James?
Simon Peter: Apollos and Paul, that’s just the way “brother” James is. Hit and run. SMH!
OK. So, the apostles and disciples did not have social media in the first-century. But if they did, is the sample above how we would imagine them discussing the issues between them? Church leaders did meet to discuss a matter similar to the imaginary scenario just depicted. It is recorded in Acts 15. There was sharp dispute and debate with them (3). There was much discussion (7). Imagine what you’d like about what was said and how it was said, but look at what the Holy Spirit preserved. There was lots of Scripture quoted. Love and civility carried the day. Even in Galatians two, when there were issues of actual prejudice, they handled the matter head on. But there was no vilifying, name-calling, or slanderous libeling of brethren.
How is it that some among us have lost the ability to discuss passionately without attacking personally? Especially if our intent is to be a part of restoring first-century Christianity, why would we think we could exempt ourselves from the spirit and attitude faithful brethren exhibited as they sought to work together for the cause of Christ? This is baffling!
Certainly, we live in tumultuous times. Truth has been redefined and the church is being pressed by some enormous, identity-changing issues (i.e., same-sex marriage, an expanded women’s role in teaching and church leadership, the contention that the idea of non-denominational Christianity or the singular nature of the church is arrogant and false, etc.). There are a great many other matters that merit discussion, but no matter what we are addressing we cannot—especially before the eyes of the world—fail to exhibit the love Jesus commanded His disciples show. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).