PAUL SPEAKS TO THE CHRISTIANS ON THE INTERNET
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But you, man of God, flee from all this.
The existential commandment above is a piece of advice from Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith.
In the 1st century, around the year 60, many religious fanatics appeared. There were those who would go from town to town looking for Christian heretics, as Paul was seen — in fact, he was “the worst”! —, in order to accuse and disturb them, turning their lives into hell.
There was also a horde of “preachers” who were esoteric, syncretistic witchdoctors and magicians. Some mixed Jesus with the worship of Mitra; others tried to show Jesus as the result of alchemies like those fashioned by the New Era today. They all tried to blend Him with whatever was tasty to the “widest-open senses”. Not to mention the host that came as a wave of “Christian” charlatans who offered to trade the “Gospel” and healing for money.
In the 1st century, Jesus had become a profitable business for many people already!
Therefore, Paul tells Timothy that they were surrounded by people who taught what they had not understood and used Jesus’ Word as a wrapping for the greedy ideas they themselves thought up. For this reason they were unable to relate the Gospel to godliness. This led them to become conceited, proud people, because their knowledge was only good for selling their performances. But in fact they knew nothing, for those who actually know only know according to truth and love, and, in this way, they know that they do not know. That is why the minds of the ones whose knowledge is not in the heart end up as slaves to fantasy processes. This causes their emotions to be obsessed and delirious, as they dedicate themselves to things linked to fights for superiority. So they are always struggling for an alleged truth found in phrases and words or in a man-made kit of foolish wisdom.
And such a mindset, separated from the truth according to godliness and love, is the wellspring of all envy, fights over power and totally blasphemous arguments over the “truth”. This leads such people to develop malice, hatred and mind corruption, because everyone who has a commitment to superiority in disputes or persuasions no longer has any commitment to the truth. For this reason, their minds, used to treating the Gospel as if it were a “product”, can no longer think about anything related to the “faith” that does not give them some kind of advantage. That can be money, human authority, the ability to influence others, or the power that derives from their fame or their magic or simply their manipulative control.
That was how slanderous campaigns ran rampant against everything and everyone, according to interests, with or without grounds. Besides, Paul’s letters, for instance, as they were deemed true although polemical — according to Peter —, all kinds of people scrutinized them: Some sought truth; others, a “basis for their madness”; others, “recorded heresies” on which they could ground their hatred and campaigns against the apostle and his disciples.
Well, from then on things grew in such proportions that even Paul could never have imagined.
For example, if he accessed the Internet and watched how Christians treat one another, and saw the crowd (a real Legion) of unclean spirits that travel across the web filled with all those things Paul himself had said would happen to those who behaved as he described above, even so he would be taken aback, as things are becoming unimaginably filled with what is anti-Gospel. Worse, they are becoming filled with the diabolical spirit of hatred. And it is not about non-Christians hating Christians, but “Christians” hating Christians.
As for the person who develops the spiritual disease of faith as a way to personal gain, Paul says: He is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
Day after day I have seen a Legion of unclean spirits overflowing with hatred and blasphemy fill the Internet with their talks that are no good at all for the human soul and give no glory at all to the name of Jesus. They only use their emotion and their psychological, emotional and spiritual fixations as a pretext to become increasingly loveless and shameless regarding the Gospel and their neighbor.
Be careful with “email groups” and “chats”. Many people with the bad spirit described by Paul are there. Today this spirit has found the ideal way to express itself with no shyness, because in the “virtual world” the most cowardly become the most daring.
The result, however, is tragic to the soul of those who learn from such spirits!
Day by day I feel the spirits who travel here, in this “environment”. And I have noticed that they get worse with each passing day. I can see, especially among the “Christians”, an increasing spirit of hatred, revenge, persecution and delighting in other people’s misfortunes. Nowadays, the Christians’ worst enemies are Christians.
I read many things — articles, opinions, reflections, studies, etc — and wonder, “Lord, what can this help anyone with? Which profit do they want? Who gains? Who is built up? Who starts loving God more deeply after reading this? What kind of spirit are they of if they love visualizing fire coming down from heaven on other people?”
And the brag? And the bravados? And the canine persecutions? And the almost sexual fixations in the hatred of some? And the dedication of some to living solely for hating you? And the increasing dishonesty of people with themselves that the “virtual life” allows? And the bytes and email prophets? And the snails that disguise themselves as anacondas?
There are too many lies! There are too many devils! There is too much corruption of the heart! There is an ever-increasing Legion!
If you are wise, take care of your own soul, mind and spirit, and do not be corrupted by the spirit of spiritual corruption that has been growing faster than the greenhouse effect.
Take care of your mind. Flee from the minds that are corrupted by lies and the spirit of hatred and greed. Love what is simple as the simplicity of the truth in Jesus.
As practical help, let me offer you a suggestion: set apart at least 1/3 of the time you spend obsessively talking to others on the Internet and start reading the Word; read the New Testament and the Psalms. And pray too. Yes: dedicate this time to discerning God’s voice in the Gospel. In this way, when you access the web again, it will be you yourself, not a character, a fake, a fantasy, a bragger, a neurotic “super-godly” person, a bomb-man, a virtual murderer or an erotically narcotized soul in the tormented religion environments.
The Internet has been a gift of God’s grace for me, and I believe that, in the Lord, I have used it in the best way I can, according to the evolution of my conscience in God and in relation to the times that we have experienced together on the Earth.
However, I would not be honest if I did not warn you about the outbreaks of diseases that the Word had diagnosed in advance, and that spread out as a spiritual plague of irreverence, lack of love, resentment, numbness, cynicism, meanness, vengeance and a lot of ill feelings and hatred.
Think about it. And flee from all this!
From the original “PAULO FALA AOS CRISTÃOS NA INTERNET”
Translation: F. R. Castelo Branco | November 2007