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  • Writer's pictureKent Chevalier

Twitter Theology

I started this ‘False Jesus’ journey by drinking from an already open can of cultural controversy. I addressed the question…why does God hate gay people? This one question is an example of hundreds I’ve received and conversations I’ve had in the last 25 years of ministry. I have wondered in these last few years if the questions are getting harder and more complex with the ever-changing culture, or am I just more aware of the grace required to answer such complex issues while still sharing God’s truth at hand.

Jesus was the master at this.

Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He had this beautiful ability to share the truth with a person while extending grace in a way that left that person feeling loved and cared for at the end of their conversation. Jesus modeled for us the importance of lacing the truth with love.

When it comes to Christianity in our social media culture today, I believe this aspect of Jesus’ character is generally missing. Truth without relationship. Truth without conversation. Truth without the opportunity to ask clarifying questions. Truth without looking into another person’s eyes to feel what it is that they’re really saying. Truth without hearing the tone of grace.

Last month I shared that “Twitter Theology is ruining generations for the true person of Jesus Christ.” There are so many layers of what I mean by that, but this relational component is one aspect. Jesus showed us the value of relational currency when it comes to sharing truth.

We have to recognize that the currency of our social media feeds has drastically changed the way we do relationships. Let me give you a few examples:

  • People no longer need to come over or call on the phone to tell each other what they just experienced. They just post on their feed for friends and family to discover on their own time.

  • People feel relationally connected to a pastor, artist, or celebrity because they’ve seen pictures of their family or watched video clips of a sermon.

  • People cancel a person based on what a “friend” said about that person on their opinion page.

Canceled without conversation. Connected relationally without ever meeting. Sharing life-changing experiences without ever talking.

I am obviously not against social media. I’m using it right now. I love so many aspects of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Substack. I’m too old for TikTok and Snapchat doesn’t make sense to me. Truth be told, I think I might be on these platforms way too much. I wonder if I’m addicted. Sorry, I digress from my point.

Twitter Theology has replaced the innate need for candid conversations about complex cultural issues. The sad perceived reality is that Christians yell “truth” on social media, on street corners, and on television. I’m not saying that these platforms are bad in and of themselves. I’m just saying that they lack the relationship needed to absorb truth. They lack the grace that is needed to have loving conversations.

This is not just about social media interaction. This is about all social exchanges whether on a screen or on the street. Twitter Theology is leading us to a false theopraxy (a lifestyle that seeks to know Christ and imitate Him in all things).

The truth is that most of us would rather be right than build relationships. We’d rather launch a truth bomb from the safety of our phones than do the hard work of actually talking with the person that our post was aimed at.

Jesus talked with people. He did not “tweet” at them. He did launch truth bombs, but they were followed up with a grace-filled invitation to come and be with him to talk about it. For the sake of time, let’s take a look at one of the many conversations Jesus had where he spoke truth, but he did so with grace-laced love.

The Woman at the Well

John 4 records a lengthy conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman. I want to invite you to fight the urge of Twitter Theology and slow down with me to actually read these 26 verses of scripture. Yes, this will be longer than a tweet. But it’s worth our attention.

Eventually he [Jesus] came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”

Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Thanks for sticking with me. I know that was a bit long. But I believe it was worth it because Jesus made a huge statement with that conversation.

Jesus chose to build a bridge rather than build a wall. He engaged with someone his culture told him to cancel. He laced the truth with love.

Jesus knew the “reputation” of her people. Jesus knew this woman’s sketchy sin-filled past and still talked with her, and he lovingly shared truth within this conversation that was rooted in grace. Jesus even called her out for “living” with a guy who wasn’t her husband. She apparently didn’t want to talk about that truth anymore, so she quickly changed the topic.

And here’s what I want us to see…

Jesus went there with her! He allowed love to take him down her path. He let her lead their little well-side chat. He didn’t try to redirect the conversation back to her questionable life choices. He didn’t interrupt her train of thought for another shot at the sin she was committing. He already called it out once, and he didn’t feel the need to make his point again. In this conversation, Jesus chose relationship over the right to be right.

And what was the result?

She led this complex cultural conversation right into the self-discovery that Jesus, the Messiah, was standing right in front of her. He was the truth that she was admittedly waiting for and seeking. She was so shaken by this moment of truth that she left what she originally came for at the well and ran back to her entire community to announce that she had met the Messiah.

Truth that is laced with grace and led by love leads to life transformation.

This woman felt the truth of who Jesus was through this grace-filled conversation. Her life was transformed by Jesus’ truth. So much so that she said to her entire community, “Come meet this man who told me everything I ever did!” She invited the whole town to meet the Messiah, who lovingly called out her sin.

Getting Back to Twitter Theology

No matter the sin, Jesus calls it out in grace and love to call us up into a fresh revelation of who He is. That’s how Jesus does it. He doesn’t sugarcoat sin, but he doesn’t beat us over the head with it to get his point across. He doesn’t shame us into a label and cancel us because of our sin. Rather, Jesus invites us into a relationship of self-discovery and self-awareness juxtaposed to His holiness and righteousness.

Twitter Theology is teaching the exact opposite. Christians feel that it’s okay to call out the sins of people they don’t even know. Shouting truth with their thumbs. Verbally vomiting on “followers” they’ve never actually met. Instagram evangelists are putting people in their place without considering that real people with real feelings are reading. Social media martyrs are dying on meme hills without any real relationships of substance.

God led the Apostle Paul to write one-third of the New Testament, which is quite a bit longer than a tweet. In Romans 2:4, he said that “God’s kindness leads us to repentance.” He also wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

The Spirit of Jesus led Paul to write at length about God’s hard stance on sin. He spent a great deal of time calling out the sin of those he was in relationship with because he established multiple churches filled with sinners who were saved only by God’s grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Paul’s list of sins was quite long.

On that extensive sin list is sexual immorality. Yes, this includes a man engaging in sex with another man. It encompasses a woman having sex with a woman. People having sex with animals.

Do you know what “sexual immorality” also includes? A man having sex with a woman who is not his wife. People viewing pornography. A man sexually abusing his wife in the marriage bed. Just to name a few. I think you get God’s point.

All kinds of sexual immorality is rampant in today’s culture. It was in Jesus’ day too.

In John 8, a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was thrown in front of Jesus. Culture demanded that she be stoned to death for her actions, but Jesus said, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” When everyone left Jesus asked, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Full of grace and truth.

Twitter Theology is just a new way of stoning people to death because of their sin. As true followers of Jesus, we have to be different. I have to be different. Why?

Because Jesus was different. He led truth with love and built a bridge to relationships in a divisive culture. We have to follow his example. Anything else would be representing a False Jesus.

Before you go…

You need to know something about me. I am a sinner. Shocked, I’m sure!

I believe that I am saved only by God’s grace through my faith in Jesus Christ. I bet you my sin list is longer than yours. You’d probably say the same. There are sins I commit that you don’t, and you probably indulge in sins that I’m not tempted to engage in. So, I’ll leave you with this…

What could happen in our world if we built relationships with sinners like Jesus did? What could take place in our schools and communities if we engaged in conversations and let love lead us? What if we laced the truth with grace?

I sincerely believe we could change the world. Why? Because Jesus said we could.


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