Is all Christian media good?

Dear BPCWAians, We live in an information age, full of information from many sources. Daily, many of us get our information for different areas of our lives from various forms of media. While previously handwritten materials were the main, if not only, means of passing on information, the dissemination of information was greatly accelerated with the invention of the printing press. This invention, which greatly advanced the cause of the Reformation through the printing of Bibles, marked the start of print media. Since the use of print media greatly aided the advancement of God’s truth in the 1500s, does it mean that all “Christian” media is good today?

Types of modern media used for dissemination of information. The last few centuries have opened up way more avenues than were available thousands of years ago. I summarise some which are common in our everyday lives today: 1) Print media. Probably familiar to most people of all ages, these come in the form of newspapers, magazines, brochures, and books. They are available at bookshops, newsstands, libraries and even outside restaurant entrances. 2) Broadcast media would include the television, radio/audio and video/films/ movies. While at one time this was the most popular medium, these do not have as large a reach in today’s technological and digital age. 3) The Internet and the Digital media which surrounds us. These would be probably the most prevalent sources of information that have the widest outreach to audiences through various devices. These include online resources like the internet and social media (like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs). With the advancement of technology, media has converged, with books now being available digitally as eBooks, and videos being found online on YouTube. While once you had to go to a library for research or to get books, much of the same information is now available at a click of a mouse, from your own home. Information travels across borders, outside of your neighbourhood or social circle, into one’s home. If Christianity spread rapidly during the period of the Reformation with print media, it can propagate much faster in today’s digital age.

Good Christian use of modern media. When the Bible was first written, they were handwritten on parchments and manuscripts. As we saw from God’s use of the printing press during the Reformation, media, put to good use, is not evil. Today, Bibles are available both on print media, as well as on Apps on laptops and mobile devices. The tracts that we give during City Evangelism, the brochures at University O-days and even the weekly Sunday pastoral letters are a good use of print media that we can use to forward the truth. BPCWA supports the publication ministry of the Myanmar BP churches there, so that good Christian material can be published in Burmese for the propagation of the truth. But with today’s world, we cannot just stop at print media. We thank God for the many that work behind the scenes in our ministries that promote God’s truth through online resources. Many of our audio sermons, as well as the Pastorals, are available from our church’s website. Videos of our services are livestreamed online for our worshippers who are sick, or for those who do not have access to good churches when they are not in Perth. Additionally, we have a YouTube ministry where the videos of our Bible Studies, Basic Bible Knowledge classes, and Fellowship sermons are available for viewing and learning. At the same time, we also use the sound resources available online, such as those from the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). Every Wednesday night, we screen the online FEBC classes in church as well, so that more can learn from it together. Through these reliable resources, Christians can learn more of God’s Word from trusted sources.

Are all “Christian” media truly Christian and sound? In the past, salesmen used to sell volumes of encyclopedias at hefty prices. Today, few would bother with it, with the easy availability of websites with online encyclopedias, books, articles, and even journals, to name but a few. Search engines like Google are multi-billion-dollar industries. Type a phrase, and a search will bring up many websites for you to browse through to get the answers to your questions. Is  it not great? The question is – are the answers biblically sound? Many of such sites may present what may seem to you to be the information or help that you were searching for. This is where Christians must be especially careful and discerning when reading online sources.

Today’s technology is truly an enabler for many things. Technology in itself is not evil. As we have seen, it can be put into many good uses for the progress of God’s Truth and His kingdom. There may be good information available online, as many researchers would agree. But at the same time, the Bible warns us that “all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Cor 10:23). Christians must be aware of the dangers of this as they use the powerful world wide web. What you read and accept can affect your spiritual wellbeing.

Mt 6:22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] thatdarkness!

Yours in our Lord’s service