16 Feb “What Would Jesus Tweet?” by Stephen Hutchins
It happened in the mid-fifteenth century and it changed your life. Indeed, some have referred to the invention of the printing press as the most important event of the second millennium and its inventor, Johannes Gutenberg as its most influential person.
Perhaps more importantly, the first book Gutenberg completed (circa 1455) was the Bible (see actual pages HERE). Historians rightly see Gutenberg’s accomplishment as one of the most seminal events in human history as the technology spread through Europe leading to an explosion of the writing of books which in turn led to soaring literacy rates. It wasn’t long into the next century that the printing press helped midwife the Reformation.
But, as Seinfeld might put it, was this invention a “good thing or a bad thing?”
No doubt, it was a very good thing! The printed word became the currency of the church as people were now able to own and read their own Bibles and do so in their own language.
There was a dark side though, as there always is. Our foe Satan was right there to capitalize on this innovation as well. As much as the Church was growing exponentially during this time through to the present, other things were being printed along the way that weren’t so edifying. Political propaganda leading to wars, corrupted philosophies used to justify the killing of innumerable innocents, heresies, cultic writings, and pornography are but a few of the most egregious examples of his co-opting of this medium.
The same pattern has continued apace with each passing era. Some new invention or innovation appears on the scene, which God’s people appropriate for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom while, on a parallel level, the enemy uses the same medium for his dastardly purposes.
The telephone was a great invention as it helped us all communicate better, especially across great distances, but think of what it did for the sin of gossip. Radio, TV, and motion pictures have been incredible mediums for bringing the Gospel to the unreached while concurrently flooding our society and Christian homes with God-dishonoring ideas and entertainment. And as exceptional an invention as the internet has been, think of what it has done for pornography and terrorism to name a couple of satanic fruits visited upon our world.
Of course, there’s not much we can do to thwart the enemy’s perversion of all these things other than pray against him while trying to keep ourselves pure. The Church should continue to regard these inventions as God’s gifts and appropriate them for His Kingdom and glory. We should also resist our enemy’s efforts to deputize us for his nefarious purposes.
This brings me to another great innovation of our time—social media. Its benefits are legion and I won’t attempt to list them all here, but it has also become the playground for the devil. Volumes could and probably have been written about how he does this. I would just like to leave you with some simple admonishments.
Don’t tweet, “like,” or “share,” anything that Jesus wouldn’t and, if you’re not sure, pray first.
For better or worse, social media has put our lives on almost constant display. As with all the other aforementioned phenomena, this can be an opportunity for or a detriment to the Gospel. When it comes to social media, the choice is entirely yours.
The world is watching us who profess to know Christ. More importantly, Jesus is watching. Gutenberg’s choice for using his new medium was a worthy one and a great example for us to follow.