By Nathan Jones
How can we use the Internet to spread the Gospel of Christ?
On the March 25th edition of the radio program Prophecy Update, I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing how technology plays a role in end times Bible prophecy
Utilizing the Internet For the Gospel
Bill Salus: Maybe for those who would like to get their foot in the door on something like Web Ministry, speak to them for a moment before we get more into some of the prophecy stuff.
Nathan Jones: There is a lot of fear especially among the older generation who wouldn't have grown up with technology that the technology of today is just beyond them. They conclude that they just can't use it or figure it out. But, there are many mature folks I know of who use it just fine.
Now cost-wise, technologies like Facebook and Twitter cost either next to nothing or are free. It's all free stuff! Websites are real cheap and really you can even set up a website now that doesn't require a lot of programming knowledge. You can also produce e-newsletters using a WYSIWYG editor, meaning "what you see is what you get." I know some of the other Bible prophecy ministers are starting to use them to get their newsletter out.
Technology isn't all like it was back when I started as a Web developer over 10 years ago when you had to understand the code. Now it's a lot easier for people. Bill, you yourself have got all those blogs and websites and you are doing a great job with them.
There is just no excuse for getting online and sharing the Gospel, even if you don't want to post your own material. I have people all the time from our Facebook group and on the blog who do nothing but go to different online forums and share the Gospel with people. One of our best volunteers lives down in Florida, is a grandmother, and she is a gun nut, if I can use that term affectionately. She is on all the gun nut sites. She shares the Gospel with people wherever online she can.
I am amazed when I look at the statistics of our website and sometimes see visiting websites that are totally against what we stand for. There was a lesbian group for instance that had an issue with one of our articles on homosexuality. The site owner goes ahead and posts our beliefs on the topic based on what the Bible says about homosexuality on her website, and in response her people stampede onto our website to read all about it. Well, I don't know if she realized it or not, but she just opened the door of the Gospel to all her readership. That is the power of the web!
Everyone can have access to the Gospel. All you have to do is like what you would do when you share your faith with your neighbor next door or your family. You can just get right online and do the same thing.
Bill Salus: Great! A lot of the articles that we find coming out on various blogs give you the opportunity to make a comment. It is the perfect opportunity to express your faith on some level depending on what the article is about. I encourage people to use these opportunities.
Bible Teaching Technology
Bill Salus: Gutenberg came out with his printing press around the 1600's or whatnot and it revolutionized the ability to get the Bible into different languages and to get more scriptural information into people's hands. In these days, there are Bible software programs. I will be honest with you and I am guilty of this and I almost hate to admit it, but I seldom even open my paper Bible. I am always opening my Bible on my computer.
Nathan Jones: The search features are just so wonderful to use when studying with an online Bible.
Bill Salus: When I study, I study in my Parson's Bible Software. There is Logo's Bible Software. What software do you folks use over there at Lamb & Lion?
Nathan Jones: I prefer Biblegateway.com. It's software is on a website. You can get on with any Internet connection and Web browser and do searches by topic and keywords. It allows you to pull up specific verses. It's got all sorts of different versions as well as commentaries built into it, and it's all online. It's all free. They just ask for a donation now and then if you're interested. Other online Bibles are the Blue Letter Bible and Bible.org.
Bill Salus: So, you don't even have to buy software. You prefer to use Web driven sites that are free to go to?
Nathan Jones: It's my left hand. My right hand is probably dictionary.com to correct all my spelling! So, between those two I study the Bible and help people answer their questions.
I teach Bible Drill to fourth and fifth graders and so I've learned to ability to look up a verse in under 10 seconds like the best of those kids, so I'm not worried about losing the ability to find references in the Bible.
The technology is out there so anybody can access the Bible. Having Bible's online are so wonderful because they open up the Bible to the entire planet. Places where Bibles are illegal like North Korea, well now through the Internet they can access them and most of those sites are not blocked from what I understand. Even North Koreans can get to some of those websites.
Bill Salus: It would be very difficult to censor all Bible-related websites without totally cutting off the Internet access, so it does reach the unreachable places. Wasn't the ministry of reconciliation to get out from Jerusalem and go to the outermost parts of the world? That is our job as Christians.
Nathan Jones: I firmly believe we will not reach the entire world with the Gospel over the Internet at this time period. We do know from the Bible that once the world is in the Tribulation it talks about the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem, the 144,000 Jewish evangelist, and an angel that travels all over the world. And so, the fulfillment of when Jesus says that every nation, tribe and tongue will get the Gospel is Tribulation oriented. Still, we can get really close nowadays.
Again, though, the Web does have it's limits, because we only have only about a third of the world population accessing the Internet right now according to the latest statistics. So, that still leaves two-thirds of the world who aren't using it yet like your aborigines and your tribes people. I'm not saying the Web should replace missions work, but it is a tool within God's tool belt that He's using really mightily right now to get the Gospel out.
In the next segment of this interview with Bill Salus concerning Bible prophecy and technology, we'll look at the source from where our technology flows.