I watched my daughter pedal by on her new periwinkle bicycle. She had always been skilled with her bike, always doing things like standing while riding. Funny that her immediate request to ride came after a long period of absolutely no interest in doing so. One thing that changed during this period of no riding was that she developed epilepsy. Her medications were so devastating at one point, that she was in her own world—forgetting memories, words, and skills. Over time, she experienced a reset of sorts; new taste buds, deciding she now likes neon colors over deeper hues, and relearning interests. Some tidbits even came back naturally. Several months later, she very decisively told us she wanted to ride a bicycle again! We were thrilled! Our girl has fallen back into bike riding with ease. Her memory held the functions needed to ride, though many other pieces were missing.
In numerous ways, the church is navigating new conditions of our digital age. Which begs us to ask, “Can leaders, pastors, parents, and mentors train others to be grounded in God’s Word when individuals are bombarded daily with digital (tech) content, news stories, global hardships, and the current status of all our friends that most of us were unaware of growing up?” The amount of processing has increased greatly. The idea of being equipped to help others remain ready for all things, let alone oneself, seems daunting, if near impossible.
So then, if it is too much for us as humans, why would God tell us in His Word, “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Did you realize our minds process the data of 16 movies through tech devices daily? (Heim & Andreas, 2017). Every year we absorb 5% more than the previous year, and the daily amount we take in is the equivalent of what an educated person would consume in their lifetime only 500 years ago (Heim & Andreas, 2017)! The fact that God is not fazed by the gravity of these specifics, and that He tells His children to be ready at all times, is a reminder of His omnipotence and omniscience. Even more amazing is the fact that the Lord sent His Holy Spirit to guide us in filtering truth. God’s wisdom and power are in each Christ-follower.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is critical in using wisdom and helping believers sense when we may be hearing something that is not of God. But how can we prepare our minds and clearly assess content? God also provided His Word and apologetics. Apologetics is the practice of studying why you believe what you believe. Remember: always be prepared to make a defense. In church, Christians should learn what the Bible says and why it’s important to study the Bible, which is the basis of all apologetics. If you only studied the Bible, but had no idea why you committed your life to Christ, or why you believe Jesus to be God, you will not likely hold firm to these beliefs when they are questioned. Knowing why you believe as you do is essential for your Christian walk.
Now, you may feel stressed that you need to know every argument and all things apologetic, but that is not realistic. If we live our lives in God’s Word, and study why we believe what we believe, God will give us what we need in each moment. God gave our daughter enough memory to pick up her bike and ride after major brain trauma. Our daughter does not remember everything, but she remembered what she needed for the moment. God provides and He has imparted His Holy Spirit to help us, even if it is just sensing something is off, so we can then do our homework to further understand why.
As I daily engage with the digital industry and social media, I realize a greater need for wisdom from the Holy Spirit. People not only engage with a much larger mass of information, we also intake numerous uninformed and/or false “facts”. Most anyone can post on the web. If we are honest, we often take what we read at face value. Filtering is essential in weeding out reliable versus unreliable resources and content. In addition to poor sources, Christians must learn to engage with apologetics in an age that does not value fact, actual truth, or the Bible.
Media splashes false information on our devices daily. Some examples of this are: (1) a woman is not defined by her physical make up, but rather gender is subjective and based solely on the decision of an individual; (2) a fetus is not a baby or a life when conceived, rather it begins whenever the government decides; (3) marriage is now legal between the same sex; (4) God’s creation and natural order are not to the liking of society, so reality is now based on theory, emotion, and preference; (5) the Bible, reality, and fact are not reasonable arguments, even on the news or in official government meetings, so you should expect to find this also true in conversations with neighbors and co-workers.
In “theory” presented as truth, sources confirm that one’s own emotions and speculation overtake objective reality. In this cat and mouse game, words and their meanings change for the narrative to make sense of its inconsistent morality. Thus, confusion abounds. “Critical Race Theory—like many Marxian Theories—resists being clearly and concisely defined” (Lindsay, 2022, p. 17). Christian organizations and believers often take concepts from Marxist Theory and Social Justice, many without ever realizing this error. Twisted scriptural interpretation and CRT have flooded Christian academics and sources. Believers that are not familiar with the secular sources of CRT and its confusing dialect, can easily fall prey to what now presents as a worldview and religion.
“I don’t mean to say that Critical Race Theory is like a religion here. I mean that it is one, both in terms of how it believes and behaves and also in terms of the relevant legal standard. (Since this is true of all Critical Theories, it’s probably more fair to say Critical Race Theory is a denomination within a constellation of related religions” (Lindsay, 2022, p. 30-31).
Our digital age has done many great things, like giving us access to our Bibles during a sermon via numerous mobile apps, but neither are we ignorant of the negatives attached. False content and false teachers have a platform to deceive. The Holy Spirit is needed, as one might even say this digital age is now the “Age of Confusion”. God imparted the Holy Spirit to help us discern when something is off and to give wisdom. Believers need to be grounded in absolute truth so they can stand firm if/when they face a counterfeit. If you ever feel confused, remember that God is not the source of confusion, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33, ESV)
This is where a good grasp of apologetics is even more necessary. Start by knowing how to recognize a fact. In a conversation, distinguish terms, and if a person is speaking with facts or through emotion and personal theories. Not all theories refer to CRT, a Marxist derived term. You may have trouble meeting on common ground if the other person will not agree with facts and reality. You, however, will not be left confused and can remain grounded.
You will find that you have questions and need to grow in your method of defense. That is natural; you are learning how to use new muscles, just like my middle schooler affected by tonic-clonic seizures. As you practice, you will remember things you have learned, but you will need to keep learning. Do not quit practicing. Satan is a master deceiver and is always twisting the truth. Read the Bible and know God’s Word, while also studying why His Word is true. Research the facts. Learn how to defend your faith so you do not live in a state of confusion!
The Savior of the universe is not worried, wondering if He is able to help humans filter the “16 movies worth of content” taken in daily (Heim & Andreas, 2017). Fellow Believers, God is fully capable to provide wisdom and He is living in us. Make a note on your bathroom mirror, or put a reminder in your phone to see first thing in the morning, that God is all-knowing and active inside you! Remain diligent to read new books, subscribe to an apologetics ministry, read some new articles and biblical commentaries to better understand your faith in Christ. Know the facts found within God’s Word, and the arguments that support absolute truth. Pick up your bike and start riding—learn some new “tricks” and be confident navigating through this digital age!
What we do know is that Christ-followers who do not take time to know God’s Word or why they believe what they believe, will find that they do not have the answers when needed. These people will falter in life. It is also important to note that you are setting the foundation for those in your care. What might these individuals take away from your faith and knowledge of your Savior, who is the only truth? Do not just watch others ride by, while you sit in your lawn chair, coasting through life at a bare minimum. Live as God has taught us—by being prepared to always give an answer for the hope within.
Heim, S. & Andreas K. (2017, June 1). Too Much Information, Too Little Time: How the Brain Separates Important from Unimportant Things in our Fast-Paced Media World. Frontier. https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2017.00023
Lindsay, J. (2022). Race Marxism: The Truth About Critical Race Theory and Praxis. New Discourses.
Kelly Benware spent her early years learning Spanish in Latin America, earning a BS and MA in Intercultural Studies, and working in various Christian organizations and universities. After years in a seemingly woke “Christian” environment, she noticed the diversity conversation changing. The anti-biblical message of the new “social justice” gospel forced Kelly to ask some pertinent questions, as it should do the same for all of us. Her research led to the formation of “Steadfast Truth Ministries,” a 501c3 of which she is both Founder and President.