A number of years ago, there was a popular app called “Sprinkle of Jesus.” This app would provide users with daily quotes and phrases that were supposedly from “Jesus,” or at least Biblical wisdom. When the app first came about, there were some sayings that were genuinely based on the Bible; I believe some were even verses taken directly from the book of Proverbs. However, as the app grew in popularity, the slogans and daily sayings became less and less Biblically-founded. I remember one in particular, which made the rounds on social media, being in reference to a significant other and how to deal with certain drama. Someone shared the post on Facebook, with the caption “Jesus is being extra spicy today.”
The app provided feel-good slogans and self-help, empowerment ideas, rather than truths founded on God’s Word. While this may not seem like an issue on the surface, for an app to claim to be the words of Jesus himself, this is severely problematic.
Remember: just because it sounds Biblical, does not mean it is Biblically sound. That is, just because you come across a slogan on social media that sounds like something you might hear in the Bible, does not mean it is a Biblical truth.
Too many people within our culture today have worldviews built on slogans. A slogan is a catchy phrase or saying that is easily “tweetable,” but oftentimes has little or no basis in reality. Slogans are easy to share on social media, which is where they are permeated most often, and therefore go viral without ever being challenged. People see or hear a phrase that sounds good, or is catchy, and before you have a chance to check the source (if there even is one), it has been shared thousands of times.
Slogans are everywhere. From abortion advocates to LGBTQ+ supporters, from atheists to religious folks; too many are guilty of using slogans to “defend” their position. For example, one of the most popular slogans today, in regards to abortion, is “my body, my choice.” Advocates of this position completely ignore the utter absurdity of the claim. There is another, separate body in question! This is the reason abortion stirs so many debates to begin with!
Many Christians are guilty of espousing non-Biblical phrases, such as “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” “God helps those who help themselves,” or “when God closes a door, He always opens another one,” among other bad cliches. Skeptics of Christianity will hold to slogans such as “the original meaning of the Bible was lost in translation,” “Science has disproved Christianity,” or “all religions teach basically the same thing.”
The problem with each of the slogans I visited is just that–they are only slogans, and bad ones at that! The pro-abortion slogans are not founded in reality, the “Christian” slogans are not based on the Bible, and the anti-Christian slogans are not grounded in fact or reason.
So, we must be cautious when we encounter slogans like these. We must be prepared to combat them. But how?
The Best Defense is to Ask Questions
Greg Koukl has a fantastic book called Tactics, in which he provides numerous tools to Christians to be able to defend the Christian faith in everyday conversation. One such tactic is what he refers to as the “Columbo Tactic” (based on the 1970’s TV character, Columbo). Columbo was a detective who was known for drawing conclusions about a particular mystery by asking questions.
Koukl prompts Christians to do the same when faced with seemingly challenging objections to the Christian faith, God, and the Bible. He says to do so by essentially asking 3 questions:
What do you mean by that?
How did you come to that conclusion?
Have you ever considered…?
What we will often find is that these slogans are the very foundation of their proponents’ arguments. In other words, those who espouse them often have nothing backing up the claims. Thus, when pressed with those three simple questions, the reality of their worldview is exposed, and they are left with the burden of proof, to which they hold nothing.
When someone makes a claim, it is not immediately your job to refute what they say; it is their job to support what they say.
For example, should someone claim “science has disproved Christianity,” we would simply respond by asking “what do you mean by that?” What do you mean by science? In what ways has it disproven anything?
Next, we would ask “how did you come to that conclusion?” Have you actually taken the time to investigate the evidence for Christianity for yourself?
Lastly, “have you ever considered…?” Have you ever considered that science does not say anything? Scientists do. Science is merely a method of inquiry for determining cause and effect relationships. Have you ever considered the fact that there are logical, scientific arguments for God? If God exists, which the scientific evidence seems to point to, then resurrections are possible, thus Christianity has not been disproven in the slightest!
Another example: “The original meaning of the text was lost in translation.” What do you mean by that? How did you come to that conclusion? Have you ever considered that the process of textual translation is not based on copies of manuscripts, but instead, scholars to the sources? Have you ever considered that the New Testament has been reconstructed with an accuracy that surpasses any other historical document of its time?
Beware of slogans, even well-intentioned ones. A famous pastor, Steven Furtick, recently tweeted a statement that received thousands of likes and shares throughout social media. He said, “Following Jesus doesn’t change you into something else, it reveals what you’ve been all along. What would it be like to see the you that God sees.” Right away, Furtick’s followers pressed “like” and “share,” and commented things like “amen!” But they did not realize that the tweet is not even Biblical! That is a false statement, coming from a pastor who boasts one of the largest churches in America!
Following Jesus does change you into something else. It changes everything about us. We put off our old selves, dying in order to live in Christ. Paul says it best: “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). And yet, many Christians are deceived by false slogans such as these. False teachers spread lies from many pulpits across the world.
How do we combat the false slogans? By knowing the truth.
The way to discern lies is to know truth. We must know God’s Word in order to detect false gospel. We must know the truth of reality in order to deflect arguments in favor of abortion. We must know what God says about humanity in order to be able to answer LGBTQ activists lovingly but truthfully. We must know the reasons for the truth of Christianity in order to be able to answer skeptics and critics with gentleness and respect, never wavering from the truth.
Do not be intimidated when someone shares a catchy slogan on social media. Just because it gets a lot of traction and attention, does not mean it is difficult to deconstruct.