Skip to content

Event: Learning to speak Christian in an online world (17 March)

On March 17, I’ll be speaking at Moore College’s first Centre for Christian Living event for 2016. The topic: Learning to speak Christian in an online world.

Thursday March 17 2016

Learning to Speak Christian in an Online World

When: 7.30pm
Where: Moore College, 15 King St Newtown
Speakers: Lionel Windsor and Tony Payne
Tickets available: Centre for Christian Living website


I’m not going be speaking as an “expert” on the internet / social media – because I’m not! Rather, I’m going to be exploring the Bible’s teaching on Christian speech, and applying that teaching to the weird and wonderful world of online communication.

The CCL asked me some questions to “meet the speaker”:

CCL: How many devices do you have in your home?

Lionel: It’s easy to count them, because our family of 5 keeps all our laptops and mobile devices in a plastic tub every night (to charge them and to keep them out of our bedrooms). The answer from last night’s count: 17.

When did you write your first blog post and what was it about? What sort of response did it get?

2003. It was called “Should theological students have a day off?”

It’s hard to know what kind of response it got, since my website didn’t have any kind of commenting or stats feature at the time!

What do you think are the best three things about the internet and online communication? 

  • It opens up new opportunities for the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to be broadcast and heard / read by people who otherwise might not know of him.
  • It “democratises” evangelism – i.e. it provides opportunities for all Christians to speak / type the gospel and be heard by others without feeling they have to be a “professional speaker”.
  • It gives people a connectedness that they might not otherwise have had, especially those who would otherwise be isolated by their location or life circumstances.

What do you think are the worst three things about the internet and online communication? 

  • It “disembodies” speech and relationships – i.e. it fosters and encourages fast-paced shallow “conversations” without the element of relational context, personal presence and most of those non-verbal cues that make personal communication deep and real. As the words are multiplied, the actual communication becomes shallower – and more antagonistic (see Proverbs 10:19).
  • It turns our speech and relationships (including our Christian ministry and evangelism) into a commodity that can be owned, manipulated, bought and sold, and twisted for profit.
  • It creates multiple opportunities for misinformation, slander, degradation, and just plain crazy weirdness to be given a voice, perpetuated and believed. I’ve seen friends of mine being bullied. I’m not sure if the perpetrators realised that’s what they were doing. But it’s awful to watch, and leaves long-term scars. Moreover, the clarion call of the gospel can be muted by the endless noise.

Why do you think it’s important for Christians to think seriously about how they ‘speak’ online? 

Christians need to be online – or at least some of us do. That’s because there are real people who spend a large part of their lives online, and these people need to hear (or read!) the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Romans 10:14). If we Christians aren’t there with them, they will not hear of Jesus. All they will hear is the “noise” – the endless frivolous chatter, and worse.

But – we need to be very serious about how we speak. That’s because God takes our speech incredibly seriously. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, for example, when he talks about living God’s way, much of the time he’s talking about the way we speak. We need to speak the truth in love to one another (Eph 4:15), speak the truth to our neighbour (Eph 4:25), let no corrupting talk come out of our mouths (Eph 4:29), not even mention sexual smuttiness, let alone joke about it (Eph 5:3), but instead be thankful (Eph 5:4), etc. The gospel must make an impact on our mouths as we speak (and therefore on our fingers as we type). Otherwise, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30) and perpetuate the darkness (Eph 5:7-14).

For more information on the event and to get tickets:

MTC386-CCLMarch16-MiniSite-Slider

Published inEphesiansEthicsEvangelismEventsMoore College

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • The Named Jew and the Name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • Yes no“Paul within Judaism” and Romans 2:17–29
    My article on Romans 2:17–29 supports one key feature of the "Paul within Judaism" perspective, but undermines another common feature.
  • Photo by Engin Akyurt on UnsplashThe goals of Bible teaching (1 Timothy 1:1–11)
    In gospel ministry and Bible teaching, if you’re not committed to the right goal, or if you have the wrong goal, it’s not just a matter of being ineffective: you’ll be downright dangerous. So what is that goal? What are you seeking to achieve in your gospel ministry and Bible teaching - now and in the future? And how would you know if you’d done it right? This passage in 1 Timothy 1:1–11 speaks to this issue of the goals of ministry and teaching. It challenges us to think about our own aims in teaching, and to see how important it is to get it right. A sermon preached at Moore College Men's Chapel on 14 July, 2021.
  • Slow-burn crazy-making behaviours. Photo by Vadim Sadovski on UnsplashSlow-burn crazy-making behaviours: recognising and responding
    Do you know someone who seems to have drama and problems constantly appear around them? Whenever you relate to this person, perhaps you find yourself feeling vaguely guilty, or uncomfortable, or put down, or obligated to affirm them? Do you often feel like you’re questioning yourself and your actions because of what they say and do? You don’t feel the same way around other people; it’s just this individual who seems to attract these dramas and give rise to these feelings in you. If that’s the case, the chances are it’s not you who is the problem. It’s quite possible that the person you’re thinking of is exhibiting a pattern of behaviours that can be significantly detrimental to you and to others. This pattern of behaviours is hard to pin down; it doesn’t seem too serious in the short term, and indeed it might appear quite normal to a casual acquaintance. However, over the long term, it can cause serious problems for you and others. That’s especially true in close-knit communities, like families, churches and other Christian ministries.
  • Romans Crash CourseRomans Crash Course (video)
    A 75 minute video course in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans designed for church members and leaders.
  • The Mistranslation "Call Yourself a Jew" in Romans 2:17: A Mythbusting StoryThe mistranslation “call yourself a Jew”: A myth-busting story (Romans 2:17)
    This is a story about a scholarly myth and how I had the chance to bust it. I’m talking here about a small but significant 20th century biblical translation: “call yourself” instead of “are called” in Romans 2:17.
  • Breaking news: Religious Scandal in RomeThe named Jew and the name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29
    I've just had an article published in the journal Novum Testamentum. In it, I provide a detailed defense of my new reading of Romans 2:17–29. This passage is not primarily about Jewish salvation - rather it's primarily about Jewish teaching and God's glory.
  • Photo by Joseph d'Mello on UnsplashPreaching the Pastoral Epistles
    A one-hour audio seminar with principles and ideas for preaching the biblical books 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus ("Pastoral Epistles")
  • A Crash Course in Romans: Livestream
    Here's a <90 minute "Crash Course in Romans" I'm running on Monday evening 1 Feb 2021. It's aimed at leaders and any interested members of my church St Augustine's Neutral Bay and Church by the Bridge Kirribilli. Anyone is welcome to watch the livestream.
  • Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on UnsplashWhat’s wrong with the world? Is there hope? (Ephesians)
    Guilt, weakness, spiritual slavery, prejudice, arrogance, tribalism, conflict, war, victimhood, persecution, pain, suffering, futility, ignorance, lying, deceit, anger, theft, greed, pornography, sexual sin, darkness, fear, drunkenness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, workplace abuse, spiritual powers... In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says many things about the problems we face in this world. He also gives us wonderful reasons to find life, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Along the way, he provides practical teachings about how to respond and live together.
  • What does Ephesians say about reconciliation?
    We humans are not very good at living up close with others. This is especially true when we have a history of conflict with those others. Reconciliation isn't easy. No matter how much you might want healing, it’s hardly ever a matter of just everybody getting on and pretending the hurts didn’t happen. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says some very important, fundamental things about peace and reconciliation, and gives many other very practical teachings about how to live together in light of these truths.

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor