The beginning of Ezekiel 33 tells us that God made Ezekiel a watchman for Israel. Jeremiah was a prophet who tried to warn Israel about the upcoming consequences of the nation’s failure to live up to their part of the covenant with God. Daniel and his friends were placed in positions of power in a nation hostile to their faith—and yet they wielded their influence for God’s glory, even when it might have caused strife with people. Paul was not afraid to get into a war of words with people who disagreed with him and the message he brought. In all, Scripture is filled with people who used the gifts they were given for God’s glory, and sometimes that meant reasoning, arguing, debating, etc.
3 times this year, I have been called out 3 different times that I’m essentially compromising my witness because of the things I post on social media. And yet, my opinion is that these people don’t know the gift sets that God has blessed me with to use for Him and His kingdom. But first, allow me to do two things to make things clear—I am not writing this to bring attention to me and make people go “oh poor Tom.” That is not my intention, either with this post or any other post on any other platform. The second is to make clear the reason why I post the things that I post.
Now, what are my gifts. Allow to first say what are now my gifts….Primarily, I am not:
What I am is a particularly good writer, critical thinker, and good at discipling. These are the skill sets that God has given me.
God calls us to be engaged in the culture but not to become part of it. Practicing the idea of extreme ascetism is not biblical. When I was in college, people were afraid to engage in topics of politics or social topics because they didn’t want to argue or they saw no point in debating—whether on social media or in person. But here’s the thing—most of these people who hold to the idea of “Do evangelism, Not (insert action)” don’t realize that when they evangelize, they are being offensive and will definitely cause argument and strife. The gospel, by its very nature, is offensive and argumentative because it makes a claim of exclusivity. So, by simply evangelizing, they will be stepping into a world of argument. And if one hasn’t sharpened that skill to make persuasive arguments and know how to talk and counter ideas, then that person’s witness has been compromised, for they will have failed to show and represent what God’s kingdom stands for effectively and clearly. Jesus says that he came with a sword that would divide friends and family—the sword being the Gospel and God’s Word.
The reason I engage in the topics I talk about and post the things I post is not to start an argument, but start a discussion in the hopes that it will open up an opportunity to share Christ. But I am not primarily an evangelist, but a discipler. To me, someone who has disciples is one who is knowledgeable, reasonable, teaching, and understanding. I have done this in mentorships, my job, and in my church. Another reason I engage in politics is that the topics upon which that realm includes, is because those topics were made political when they never should have been. But since those who have taken a decisive stance against God have made these topics political by dragging them into that realm, it has become necessary to educate myself on them and then share what I read and observed with others. Political learning has become necessary in order to steer the realm of politics effectively and to engage with those people who are very hostile to God. God calls us to be Salt, Light, Watchmen, Ambassadors, Soldiers, etc. And the one thing all of these have in common is to know God’s Word well and to represent Him well. If you’re afraid to engage in the culture and to educate yourselves on topics, then you’re part of the problem that faces the American body of Christ. The body of Christ in America has become what John in Revelation has called lukewarm and God will spit us out if we do not become on fire for him—in ALL manners.
I embrace the fire—I’m not afraid to walk towards it. But if you don’t want to argue or reason with people, which is a dying skill, then you are the ones who are unprepared.
If you read writings by Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and others on these very topics I have addressed myself but have no problem with them doing it—then your calling me out rings hollow.
Now, if you’re going to practice reasoning, arguing, and persuading there are two skills from the Bible you will need to practice:
“Be slow to speak, quick to listen”
When talking to someone who holds another belief or viewpoint than yours, listen to them first and wait for them to make their point. Then present yours in a clear, calm, concise way.
Meditate on God’s Word
Know what God’s Word says on a particular topic but most importantly, know how to communicate it to the secular world that doesn’t mention the Bible, since the secular world doesn’t consider the Bible an authoritative source.