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Modern Media — Are They Safe?

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Modern Media — Are They Safe?

9 minuten leestijd

Last time we wrote an article stating the Synodical decisions concerning modern media, especially regarding television and the Internet. In short, television is to be completely rejected, and the use of the Internet is to be limited to cases of necessity. Since decisions concerning the Internet are not always easy, we have urged you to make them “on the side of restraint rather than permissiveness, for the safety and protection of our families and congregations.”

In this article we wish to deal with just that subject, namely, of safety. In many ways in this life we seek to protect ourselves and our children from those dangers which lie about us. These efforts are vain without the Lord's protection, as Solomon writes, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31). Yet, indeed, the horse must be prepared, as the same wise man also writes in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Considering these things, we may well ask ourselves, “Are we honestly able to bow our knees and ask the Lord to bless our efforts to protect our family?” Such a looking up to Him for His help and blessing certainly does not go along with a lighthearted and permissive attitude about the dangers associated with modern media.

In order to make informed decisions concerning the safety of our children, and ourselves, we must know what those dangers are which need to be guarded against. Whether or not we place ourselves in a dangerous situation in life has much to do with our purpose or need. A father or mother is sometimes ready to risk his very life in order to rescue a child in danger. That risk may be justifiable in that situation, which certainly would not be in many other situations. We may never place ourselves in unnecessary danger; to do so is to slight the very gift of life, which is from the Lord. Needs and dangers, therefore, must be carefully weighed. Often we must experience, to our regret, that hindsight is clearer than foresight. It lies in our nature to think that the worst will not happen to us, but to our neighbor only. How would those parents, whose child has become addicted to pornography or has become involved with some stranger through the Internet, have weighed needs and dangers differently if they had known what would come from it? Especially when we consider the dangers of the Internet, we must realize that we are not dealing with insignificant matters about which we may be indifferent. It certainly concerns the safety of our children.

What is so dangerous about the Internet? The Internet has become a tool that is used by the devil to propagate evil. This would not be so dangerous to us if we did not have a heart that is predisposed to follow Satan's devices. Under his temptation in Paradise we have fallen so deeply. We now have hearts that are “inclined to all evil.” This is where the greatest danger lies. There was no danger for Christ under the temptation of the devil, for His heart was pure and resisted all evil. With us it is the opposite; and for this reason temptation is so full of dangers. Young people, do you ever have an impression of this? Or do you not wish to think so “dismally” of our fallen nature? When Samson's hair was cut off and the Lord left him, he did not realize how weak he was. He went forward as before, thinking he was able to subdue the enemy. Was not this time the most dangerous for him? Was it not at this time that he was taken by the enemy? Do we realize our helplessness in and o f ourselves, after our deep fall? Even God's people are so weak that they must be taught to pray, “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.”

Our human nature is one of inquisitiveness. The Internet gives an opportunity to satisfy this inquisitive impulse. There is no end to the massive amount of information available on the web. Much of this material is good, instructive, and useful. There is also much that is irrelevant to us, yet many fall easily into the trap of an endless search for detailed information, by which they receive no profit at all. At the same time, much material on the Internet is exceedingly evil. The ease by which this material can be retrieved is an extremely tempting situation. Who is able to resist these temptations without falling into sin in thought, word, or deed?

Seeing how vulnerable we are to danger because of our fallen nature, we ought to ask ourselves if we are considering this as we make decisions about our use of the Internet. Such a dangerous tool should not be taken into our homes without any necessity. When this necessity exists, does this dangerous tool have safeguards? We will not discuss filters at this time since we hope to deal with that issue in another article. Where, however, is the computer placed in your home? The safest way for us to use the Internet is at a time when we are not alone but are in a place where everyone around us can see what we are doing. It is to our great shame, but the reality is that we have no impression that God sees everything. Often we do in secret many things that we would not do publicly. It is already, then, a resisting of temptation to set the computer in a public place in our homes.

Parents, do you realize that it is possible that your children are watching television via the Internet? Many computers today are being sold with this capability built into them. If you are purchasing a computer, you need to take specific steps against this. Do you know, parents, with whom your children communicate by e-mail? Is this something over which you have control? It is through this avenue that children are being solicited daily by persons intent on practicing the evil works of darkness.

Internet chat rooms are also places where wickedness often abounds. Generally, we would be ashamed to be physically present in a place where such evil Communications existed. In a public room we cannot divorce ourselves from our identity. The situation is different, however, in Internet chat rooms, where our identity is hidden. When no one really knows who we are, we feel freer to express things that we would be ashamed to have others connect to our person. In this way the evil heart of man becomes openly and shamelessly manifest.

The Internet is also opening the door to stock market speculation from our homes. When this means makes it so simple, how many of our own people are tempted to be involved in risky financial practices?

Because of the decisive stand of our denomination against television, we become more vulnerable to the Internet, just as we do to the VCR, and today also to DVD players. Whether movies are on TV or video or DVD makes not much difference. This type of entertainment has been decidedly rejected by our Synod and does not belong in our homes.

What are our children doing on the computer, even without the Internet? How many are using this device for games and entertainment instead of as an educational or productivity tool? How many such games do not involve greater or lesser degrees of violence and promote computer addiction?

Friends, we live in very difficult times; times in which the devil seeks to destroy us and our children with devices never known in the history of the world. The more we open the door to these things, the faster we descend a downward slope. There are things to which we may and must say “no,” for the sake of our children and, the Lord willing, their children. We realize that there are also things to which it is impossible to say “no” in the world in which we are living and raising them. Let us seek in these cases, however, to be very cautious. When the Internet is necessary for business or student use, we also have a responsibility to warn our children seriously about the dangers and to maintain very close contact and open communication with them.

Young people, we hope that you also understand and agree with these things. There is much concern for you and your future. The world is not becoming an easier place in which to live and raise a family. When we are young, we do not always see the dangers which are about us. The devil seeks to keep your soul in his power. He lures you with the world. He seeks to keep you from searching and obeying God's Word. Be sure that you cannot keep yourself. The enemy is much too strong for us. We need to be kept. Be much therefore upon your knees in your secret chamber. Ask the Lord often to convert, instruct, and lead you, and that He may give you to “abhor that which is evil” and “cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).


Our Weakness

For ourselves, we are weakness itself. We have no strength, no power to withstand. Confidence of any strength in us is one great part of our weakness; it was so in Peter. He that says he can do anything, can do nothing as he should. And, which is worse, it is the worst kind of weakness that is in us—a weakness from treachery, a weakness arising from that party which every temptation hath in it. If a castle or fort be never so strong and well fortified, yet if there be a treacherous party within that is ready to betray it on every opportunity, there is no preserving it from the enemy. There are traitors in our hearts, ready to take part, to close and side with every temptation, and to give up all to them; yes, to solicit and bribe temptations to do the work, as traitors incite an enemy. Do not flatter yourself that you shall hold out.

— John Owen

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 augustus 2003

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Modern Media — Are They Safe?

Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 augustus 2003

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

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