With the rise of social media, it is very easy to “friend” someone you are complete strangers with, or with someone who may be a friend of a friend. Within Western Christendom there is the opportunity to connect with your favorite pastor/teacher, or at least one of their close associates. And if you know one of their close associates, then you’ll probably get bombarded with friend requests. And if people are flooding to be your friend because you know X person, then that makes you pretty popular too and somewhat influential. But herein lies the problem.
Some people on social media are doing what I call “bandwagon fellowship.” They only care about who you are or what your ministry does only because of who is associated. It has been something that has turned my stomach for a few years now. And one of the dangers is that unless you are in the circle of the elite, it can easily become an “us vs. them” playing field. Also, what eventually happens is that people begin to gossip and slander on social media for all to read simply because their social media associate did not do, or did do, something they didn’t agree with. Because no real fellowship or Christ centered foundation was present, it is just as easy to divorce yourself from someone as it was to be their “friend.” It is sort of like dating, but for socialmediaphiles.
That’s not the worst part. The worst part is that this inevitably breeds the very worst, demonic mindset that it is not about what you know, but who you know. And sadly, this kind of thinking has been around for centuries. How that looks may change, but the reality of it does not. And this grieves me. Very much so. Instead of believers being known for their knowledge concerning the Gospel/Scripture, their character in accordance with God’s word, and whether or not they are truly a believer in Christ, we seem to only turn our heads and give notice to those that are most influential or are friends with those that are (or at least friends with friends who are friends with those that are). One day, you’re a nobody, and another day, get a famous person/preacher to mention your name or take a picture with you, then you get a thousand likes on Facebook. Or even better, friend requests and a following! Perhaps even start your own discernment blog, apologetics ministry, radio show, etc.
I’m not saying that we can’t appreciate the approval of godly men. I would be a hypocrite to say that I haven’t sought counsel or advice from prominent men I respect. Also, I’m not saying that it’s evil take selfies with respected members in the Christian community. But beware of vain-glory and self-seeking. Beware of bandwagon fellowship and false pretenses. I have had a great time with popular people in the faith, but often chose not to post selfies or friend them on Facebook just because I had few moments with them (sometimes I didn’t know they were popular). I seek genuine Christian fellowship. One that does not vainly recognize, or even ignore, someone because they are/are not popular. One that glorifies Christ and furthers the gospel in a way that would solidify the fellowship in time of trial rather than dissolve at the first drop of conflict.
If you build upon another foundation other than Christ, be sure that whatever you gain will crumble. If you base your friendships on the superficial surface of social media, don’t be surprised to have your phantom fellowship wiped away by something else just as superficial. If your hope of salvation is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, then you should have your hope of true Christian fellowship built upon the same pretense. Anything else leads to contentions, strife, bitterness, envy, vain-glory, and self-seeking. May God deliever us from bandwagon fellowship.
See James 3:13-18, 4:1-5; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 1:6-7
– Until we go home