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Lots of Content, Lots of Trash
We need to talk about Youtube. This one has been a long time coming – all things considered. This will not so much be a piece bashing youtube, but rather giving clear warning on its ‘content creators’ and a lot of the ‘Christian’ content on the platform. Let’s begin with the basics.
Youtube is an advertising platform. It hosts videos, and it’s monetary priority is revenue from ads ran between content viewing. At this point youtube is an abyss of videos. Let’s not forget that the content creators themselves get paid based on traffic volume, which doesn’t always constitute to quality or accurate content. Continuing, youtube can feel like a blackhole of content when you find yourself watching something you never intended to watch. I think we have enough crazy cat videos uploaded to last a lifetime ? I’m sure some of you will disagree. Regarding more serious matters – most of the ‘christian’ content will need a discerning eye. Let’s elaborate on that.
Deception, enough to go around…
There is a ton of deception on youtube – flat out. A ton of it. Years ago, I was carried away with every which way, because I had no truth to stand on without the foundation of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. This will also be the case with unsuspecting and undiscerning viewers getting distracted with endless videos about ‘potentially truthful’ topics, but kept far enough away from the TRUTH. This is a mainstay tactic in a lot of the disinformation on youtube.
They give you enough truth to string you a long, but ultimately leading you, albeit slowly but surely to left field. For example, almost all of the content that I watched way back when, were endlessly ‘exposing’ this or that regarding secret societies, cults, symbolism etc. The problem with a lot of these types of videos is they get you focusing on the wrong things. Although, some of these types of videos shed light on the absolute wickedness in this world. This is a reality that deep down a lot of people realize, willingly or not, and in one way or another. Furthermore, here are few things to consider when distinguishing between the tares and the wheat per se…
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Does the content rely on sound doctrine & scripture?
Back to the many videos I watched years ago. One thing major thing I realized later was that most of these focused on the evil in this and the symbolism in that but…. had little to no scripture in the video. It was a broken down analysis of the satanic imagery, themes, etc. in a particular music video or whatever. To be honest, God can use anything for his will and glory, even wicked men. Even if these videos which were teaching little to no bible, somehow I ended up at the bible later on. I cannot say what or won’t be used if the Lord is calling you.
The fact remains though, after learning and understanding the Truth of the Word, those videos were of little to no interest to me because I could see them for what they were. Shallow, sometimes deceptive, and almost unbearable to watch due to the emphasis and constant harping on here is evil, there is evil. The narrator would often act in a prideful manner for ‘exposing’ such evil. Yes, much of the symbolism and what not is pretty much ‘in your face’ , in my opinion almost as mockery when you see how prevalent it is in media, architecture, books, culture, etc. Be that as it may – we ought not to focus our attention on seeking out evil or trying to find it in everything. There was point where I realized that putting wickedness continually before my eyes often was grievous and unfruitful.
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
If the content is not backing up statements or reasoning with scripture, I’d say it would likely be best to avoid, if you are not a mature Christian. Why ? It will be too easy to pulled into non-sense without a firm foundation. At the same time it’s not my place to say you won’t learn this way. I still don’t recommend it just because opinions in videos are just opinions.
Another point: just because it has scripture doesn’t necessarily mean the context of scripture is being used correctly – (I’m no exception). Too many twist scripture for their own pet doctrines and justified actions on certain topics. It’s easier to continually do something unbiblical if you can use the bible out of context to justify it – happens ALL the time- especially in modern ‘churches’. There is also the bible version issue comes up, which we won’t get into now. I personally recommend the King James Bible version.
Of What Spirit is the Content Creator?
This is one that I overlooked for quite some time and often goes overlooked. I’m talking about the railers for the most part here – but this is not exclusive for them. This one gets overlooked because using scripture and biblical teaching can create a false sense of security with people. What do you mean ??? I mean that there are plenty of preachers that preach the word in a spirit that is not of Christ.
I’m talking about the ones go around bashing ‘sinners’ or ‘false converts’ at every opportunity with a forgetful eye on their own life and actions. I’m talking about the preachers who’s intent is to be hateful and condescending with their message. There is a stark difference in someone sharing truth and boldly proclaiming the Word of God, versus someone coming down hard on others in a hypocritical manner with pride, hate, mockery, etc. That’s not the spirit of God. It’s just not. There is nothing wrong with preaching boldly – it’s warranted. Also, simply pointing out sin, doesn’t necessarily need to be done in loud or aggressive manner.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
–1 Corinthians 5:11
What Company does the Content Creator Keep?
A lot of youtubers in general will use each others’ channel to cross promote themselves. The idea is to cross pollinate audiences in hopes of expanding their subscriber list. With that said, a lot of youtubers will shout out to other creators as well as list recommended channels that they associate with. As the body of Christ we all have our specific gifts – for example there are people I go to for sound teachings, while others might do research on certain topics, etc… at the end of the day each is serving the Lord in their own unique way and it would make sense for certain ministries or creators to build off one each other’s strengths.
A lot of insight can be gained by who the content creator actively promotes and recommends. The suggested promotion, is someone who is an obvious and proven heretic ? Probably a red flag that they are leading you astray onto a path laden with garbage and false doctrine. Is another ‘friend’ of theirs recommended who’s obvious main goal is to extract mass amounts of cash and preach prosperity gospel ?
The question should be why does this person associate with the false prosperity message to begin with? Shouldn’t they be looking out for their own subscribers and protecting them from such nonsense rather than promoting it via another channel ? Is this person willing to compromise truth for a little popularity via the coattails of someone else who has already compromised truth for fame, money, power, etc?? Pay close attention to this dynamic even with references and endorsements.
Most of the time if you can’t fully endorse someone’s ministry or doctrine – it’s best to let your audience know that so they don’t assume that person is sound, outside of a specific reference or point of discussion. Reminder: Be wise and discern the company that content creators keep and who they’re yoked up with regarding their own ministry.
How does the content creator react to potential rebuke or correction?
Not sure about you… but, sometimes I make mistakes. I’m not always correct on the things I write or say. Who is ? No one. This is not an excuse however to through your cares to the wind. Most would agree that they’re not always correct, but looking around on youtube you’d tend think otherwise. Everyone is an ‘expert’ apparently, and how dare you try to correct them? How many times, honestly has someone humbly accepted correction – whether they’re worldy (secular) creators or Christian content creators? I’d not that often.
Let’s cut straight to the case – is this person able to be corrected? If not… I’d tread carefully with further teachings or videos. Why? Well if they are too prideful to be corrected – they probably aren’t a good teacher… because they are sinning at your own expense. Yes, pride is sin. In this case their pride is not only hurting themselves, but also effecting their viewership who would likewise benefit from their correction. Contrary, if the person is able to be corrected- how do they respond to the potential reproof? Do they respond in harsh and condescending way? Or do they genuinely hear you out and consider going back to scripture to either correct or stand firm in the Truth of the scriptures ?
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
What is genuinely motivating the Content Creator?
This one is the most obvious one, because the most prolific charlatans of our day make it very easy to see their motives, but not always. Take note of the word ‘genuinely’ in my question. This is because with some of these folks say one thing and ‘genuinely’ do another. For example – an easy target is the ‘prosperity preachers’ who get paid, cough I mean ask for ‘tithes’ so that they can come back next week and tell you that God would like you to be very rich on this terrestrial Earth.
You see, the Son of God in sinless flesh had not a place to lay his head… but somehow these preachers come up with the idea that God wants us to have lavish material lifestyles. I’ll do one better – they want YOU to give them lavish lifestyle while serving their father the devil. Whoa – bold statement. I say it because there is not biblical grounds to show that God wants us all to focus on ourselves and material riches on Earth. In fact it’s the opposite. This is not to say that God couldn’t or wouldn’t provide blessings and stewardship of wealth – but we’re missing the point if we think that is what his real plan is. Regardless of, if you’re rich or not – he will be glorified.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
While, the prosperity preachers are an easy target, there are far more reasons why someone might aim to have their teachings propagated via youtube. Some other examples would be pride, fame, social proof, social influence, marketing products, power, keeping up appearances, causing strife among the brethren, trolling, mocking, railing, lying about others or scripture, flat out deception, etc. I know it’s hard for some to come to terms with… but hear me out: There are people out there who’s sole intent is to deceive you.
I don’t know why many people act like this is not part of reality – but it is. It’s as if their ‘world view’ has to change because of the reality of such liars. The world somehow isn’t the same place as they once knew when some of these lies are exposed. You’ll see this resistance even with believers who come to terms with many many pastors preaching heresies and propping up man-mad traditions. As I’ve written in the article here, it’s far easier and convenient to continue with the lie for most people. Many many people are not discerning even in trivial matters of day to day life.
Regardless, pay attention to the motive and examine fully the spiritual fruit from the content creator. It will tell a lot about that person if you’re paying attention. Are they seeking to serve the Lord in spirit and truth or for their own carnal desire ?
Wrapping up – some basic aspects that should be considered when approaching youtube content:
- Does the content rely on sound doctrine & scripture ?
- Of What Spirit is the Content Creator ?
- What Company does the Content Creator Keep ?
- How does the Creator react to potential rebuke or correction?
- What is genuinely motivating the Content Creator ?
As mentioned, they might be obvious to the discerning. At the same time – I’m surprised at how undiscerning some folks can be at times. I will note that I can honestly count with one hand the people on youtube that I’d recommend. Another thing I realized very recently is that I was led to these creators OUTSIDE of youtube prior! It’s just convenient to access their material on youtube. I think that speaks volumes, because it would seem some people think they can’t reach people outside of these wicked social media companies. I disagree – the Lord will lead those who are his as he may. As far as the select few out there comparatively speaking, thank the Lord that they are out there and sharing truth. More to come in part 2. -MD