Words with Friends

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women fret about the unbiblical things their friends or family members share on social media. Whether it’s a Beth Moore study invite, or a prosperity preacher’s meme, or even the thumbs up on a post from a known false teacher.  I get it, I do. And I fret about these posts too.

That kind of fretting is a good thing, if your motivation is caring concern for your loved one. Because the last thing we want is for our dear ones to be deceived.

I’d like to share a little habit of mine with you.

It’s not a feel-good habit of the flesh, but one that makes me flinch, gets me in trouble, and often costs me friends.

You see, when I report on cult movements or teachers who’ve departed biblical Christianity, my research often takes me to the social media pages of people and ministries engaging in monkey business. And that’s where I see just how many of my Facebook friends either like or follow said monkeys.  Often these friends will share posts from these sources.

And that’s where my habit kicks in.  Because I. Can’t. Just. Say. Nothing. 

As we see more and more well-known celebrity preachers fall from doctrinal truth or expose their worldly agendas, I believe we need to step it up.  It's time to take these friends aside and ask them about this. But how does one do that with grace and love? 

I’m glad you asked, and happy to provide an example of how I did this recently. First, some prep work:

  • Do your homework. Is this truly a case of your friend knowingly or unknowingly promoting a false teacher? How does this teacher or post differ from Scripture?
  • Next, pray. Pray for your friend to have an open ear. Pray for your own motives to be out of a true love for them, and not the need to “be right.”
  • Remember that you yourself may well have been deceived by false teachings. I know I was, and I’m glad for the friends who were brave enough to take me aside and tell me the truth.

Recently, I researched a well-known Christian author and church speaker – a woman -  who divorced her husband and jumped into a relationship with another female celebrity.  As it turned out, 16 of my Facebook friends and acquaintances had “liked” this woman’s ministry page. I posted my article, but I couldn't just hope for the best. I needed to connect personally with my friends and alert them to the news.

I decided to take each friend aside privately. I didn’t know most of them well enough to call or text, so I sent a note and a link via Facebook. Short and sweet (leaving room for lengthier explanations later, if necessary):

So far I’ve heard back from nearly all of them. No one unfriended me this time, although it’s happened. That’s the risk we take.

One of the respondents gave me permission to share her reply:

"Thank you so much for calling my attention to her! I thought you had made a mistake, because I did not recognize her name and did not remember "liking" her. When I checked I saw that I at some time "liked" her, although I did not remember her at all.

I noticed my niece and 9 other friends had "liked" her too. They are all more liberal than I am. One of them is the young wife of a popular pastor that I love and admire. She had posted a picture showing her & friends at a Beth Moore event. I felt in my spirit that I should warn her, but I have posted many warnings about Beth Moore and only a few have responded favorably.

One of my Christian friends has blocked me because she thinks I am too critical on political posts and spiritual discernment. She disagrees with me about Rob Bell and as soon as I saw he had endorsed Glennon I knew that was not good! I am torn about sharing your warning because I know that there will be negative backlash. I already feel alienated from my husband's family because of the stand I have taken re: gay relationships. It breaks my heart and I feel so discouraged and defeated. The spirit of apostasy and heresy is so insidious and prevalent in our churches now and I have backed off the gay issue because my posts seemed to be doing more harm than good. I feel like I should share your warning, but I am afraid to. Please pray for me that I will have the courage of my convictions and honor God rather than hide out of fear from being rejected. Thank you again for your ministry."

I share this because the times we are in are growing darker, especially in the visible church. I’ve lost too many friends to the likes of feel-good false gospels, and I feel a growing sense of urgency.

We can no longer sit on our hands when we see our loved ones inches away from the salivating jaws of an enemy who wants us comfortably fooled. So I urge you my friends, if you see something, say something.  Just do it. 

We must be about holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:9)