joel muniz
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Today I want us to look at something that is of utmost importance for evangelicals to grasp and make a foundational principle in every area of our lives, but particularly when it comes to interacting about politics, social issues, and even theology.

It’s the fact that SCRIPTURE has to be our filter and our guide. In doing so I want to look specifically at three ways that can happen. There are more ways to be sure, but because of space, time, and caffeine levels, I’ll stop at three…

Why is this so important?

First, because I see way too many Christians decide something is true just because they see it on Facebook or X, especially if it’s about their least-favorite politician or political figure. Oftentimes, what they’re seeing and forwarding is filled with half-truths, errors, and even blatant lies.

Here’s a hard truth: when Christians pass this stuff on, we are literally aiding the enemy – Satan, the father of lies – instead of Jesus, who said that He is the truth itself.

I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I see things posted on Facebook and X that I know for a fact aren’t true, and that literally 2 minutes of research will show. I see accusations and insinuations from Christians that are untrue or based on errant information, but they are passed on as true.

Sometimes they are mistakes made by well-meaning Christians who honestly believe what they’re passing on without checking it out. Been there, done that, and know that embarrassment. But even in that case, Christians need to be much more diligent in checking things out before passing them forward.

As we talked about last time, we are COMMANDED by Scripture to be discerning and to speak truth – and to speak it in love. When we neglect this we are doing a major disservice to the Scriptures, Jesus, and the people reading your posts.

Second, because Jesus is truth. When we spread misinformation, whether mistakenly or on purpose because you think it serves the greater good, you are working against the character of the one you claim to love and follow.

Can you see the contradiction in that? Can you see how that would make you appear unChristlike and take away any credibility you have when it comes to the things of God? Can you see how people would be uninterested about anything you have to say when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus with them?

That’s why this is so important. Now let’s look at how the Scripture can be our filter and guide.

  1. Scripture is the filter for truth.

What do I mean by that?

  • If someone makes a claim regarding the things of God, the Scriptures, Christianity, or whatever, we can look to the Scriptures to find a solid, biblical answer.

“Jesus says…” Really? Show me.

“Christians should believe…” Really? Show me where we’re supposed to believe that.

“God wouldn’t do that or say that.” Really? What Scripture do you base that on?

I expect people who don’t follow Jesus to make statements about God, Jesus, and the Scriptures that are in error, because most simply don’t have the exposure to the Scriptures that followers of Jesus do, and they don’t have the Holy Spirit living in them to help them learn and discern truth through the lens of Scripture.

But when supposedly mature followers of Jesus are making such statements, it’s a cause for concern.

  • Just like a water filter cleans out the impurities in the water, Scripture can help us reject error and even call it out when appropriate.

Here’s a silly example, then I’ll go on to a more serious one.

We have all seen Facebook memes that show a picture of Jesus saying, “My people will pass this on, but those who don’t love me will keep scrolling.”

False, right?

Or the posts that say if you’re not ashamed of Jesus you’ll paste this post on your wall.

So because I don’t obey guilt-laden Facebook posts, I’m someone who doesn’t love or follow Jesus? I don’t think you’ll find any Scripture rightly handled that supports either of those.

Here’s a more serious example: If you’re a Christian, you’ll vote Republican, because the Democrat party supports abortion on demand.

First of all, nothing in Scripture supports such a notion. And second, did you know there is a very vocal group within the Democrat party that is solidly and vocally pro-life? Some of these are born-again evangelical believers who agree with Democrat stances on most things, but disagree vehemently about abortion on demand.

Second, polls show that approximately 90% of Black Evangelicals vote Democrat! There are numerous reasons for this, according to people who actually research this stuff. Are you ready to say that all these people are not believers and followers of Jesus because they vote blue instead of red? I can guarantee that there are some of these people who think you can’t be a Christian and vote Republican. And while that is just as wrong, you might find it instructive to find out why they believe that.

  1. Scripture is the guide for how we respond to and treat others.

Even if Scripture isn’t clear about a specific issue, it is VERY clear about how we

interact with people, including people we disagree with vehemently. For instance:

  • Scripture says we are to gently teach those who oppose you. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
  • Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Speak to win the person rather than the argument. (While there is not a specific Scripture passage referring to this, it is apparent through the Gospels that this was the model of Jesus.)
  1. Scripture is the guide for how we pray about what’s going on.
  • Panic that the world is going to hell and we’re going to “lose” America if this person is elected is not a “faith-full” response. God is in control, and as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, we can rest assured of His care and provision.
  • Trust that God is sovereign and His plans will go forward regardless of who is in the White House is much better (Isaiah 40, anyone?).
  • Prayer “for” or “against” a certain president or policy. (1 Timothy 2:1-4) You’ll have a hard time convincing me that Jesus wants us to pray for the death of a leader or other public servant – especially given the fact that when Paul wrote this, Nero was the emperor and was putting Christians to death left and right. Oh yeah – he killed Peter. And Paul…

Making sure the Scriptures are your filter and guide is so important because with all the voices calling out, we need to be people who listen to the voice of God above all else, no matter who the other voices are and no matter how well-intentioned they are.

People need to hear the truth of GOD above the noise of the politicians and special-interest groups. And Scripture is the primary source of the truth of God.

2 Questions: 

What if your idea of what God says is different from someone else’s? 

First, determine if the both of you are getting your positions from actually reading and studying Scripture or if it’s from your favorite preacher/teacher/politician who you WANT to be right… If you honestly come to your positions, then fine. If the other person honestly came to their positions, then you need to respect the fact that people who love Jesus and love the Scriptures can come to different conclusions about stuff – even important stuff.

What do we do if we find out something we said or posted was wrong?

  • Remove the post.

You don’t want the wrong information to continue circulating, so delete it wherever possible.

  • Set the record straight.

Put out a new post that references the deleted one, describing the false information, what makes it false, and giving the correct information.

  • Commit to being more diligent.

Decide never to be suckered in by false information. Commit to actually taking the time to research something before posting it. Be VERY careful to not post anything you can’t verify. It generally takes very little time to make sure you’re being accurate.

  • Alternatively, simply edit the original post with an explanation that the information in the post is erroneous, and that this edit describes the error and how it is incorrect.

How do we really get to the point where we filter everything through Scripture?

Surprise! Read, listen, study, meditate, and apply the Scriptures.

I know – you’ve heard all that in Sunday School and church. And with good reason: it’s true. Time in the Scriptures is THE way to develop this skill. Not to mention what it does to develop your character in Christlikeness, right?

Also meeting with other believers to help you do these better helps (iron sharpens iron).

And then there’s good old-fashioned prayer that God gives you the discernment to see things clearly and can respond in a Christlike manner.

One last thing: make Scripture the default, not the back-up. Go to Scripture first, not last.

Be wise, people!

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