Some Christians, churches, and ministries purposefully avoid hard or controversial issues that might offend their non-Christian friends. They will talk a long time about the love of God, but almost never about his wrath. They will mention the cross, but not the conquest of Canaan. They will preach on family, but try to avoid the topic of gay marriage.
This makes sense as an evangelistic strategy, when the plan is to find common ground and not needlessly offend out of the gate. As Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). I get it, and myself participate in an evangelistic ministry that doesn’t want to needlessly ruffle feathers.
But there are dangers. For one, we may begin to function as if there is a canon within the canon. There are some parts of the Bible we never talk about, unless they bring it up. Another danger is that we can begin to lose integrity. We have two different sorts of conversation: an open discussion with our Christian friends and a more guarded, careful communication with the people we are trying to reach.
It used to be easier to keep these two conversations distinct and discrete. But now social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, has brought these two worlds together. Both sets of friends see all your posts, likes, and favorites, and it is sometimes hard not to offend one side or the other. Recommend the story of an evangelical florist who refuses to participate in a gay wedding, and you might offend the father of a gay child who feels ostracized by the church. Link to a sympathetic story that this father might like, and you will raise questions in the minds of your Christian friends who assumed you believed that God’s Word has the last word.
I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this modern problem. Do you think about the various friends and followers who might read your tweet or post, and does that change what you say or how you say it? What steps do you take to maintain your integrity and yet not needlessly offend?