November 19, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session


Mediator of the New Covenant
Hebrews 12:14-15, 18-29

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“Verified”

Recently, the powers that be behind the social media entity known as Twitter.com decided that there is going to be a hiatus of verifying Twitter users with its infamous Blue Check. A verified account on Twitter is a mark of stature in social media circles. Verified Twitter users have a special status, recognized as major social influencers and thought leaders. Usually verified accounts are made for government agencies, politicians, well-known authors, businesses, actors, and celebrities. Twitter has a social hierarchy: the verified users and everyone else. The words of verified users are prioritized first on Twitter users’ timelines. Their words are the first ones that Twitter followers will usually see. Social media is viewed as the great equalizer to a limited extent. A person does not have to be an actual celebrity or official to obtain a verified account. Verified Twitter users are selected based on the fact that their words are of public interest. But who decides what is the public interest? In this case, it’s the moderators at Twitter.com.

Just this week, a few of my Christian friends were having a conversation about who Twitter decides to give the Blue Check and who it denies. Some of the reasons my fellow believers believed that their accounts should be verified included having multiple television appearances on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as having over 20,000 followers. My friends were concerned that their voices are not being heard on Twitter, and that their words are being ignored even though they have significant weight on social media. Like the media appearances on cable news networks, the verification process for Twitter accounts provides opportunities for my friends to give a message of hope in a different medium.

With my friends, I do share a concern for the different voices that influence us as a society; however, gaining verification on Twitter is just another way of gaining approval of the world. Approval processes such as this are always conditional. As Christians who live in the new covenant, we are recipients of God’s unconditional love. The new covenant is a better covenant (Hebrews 12:24) because it is a better story than the story of Cain and Abel. The new covenant is an invitation for all of humanity to experience and enjoy the firstfruits of Christ’s labor demonstrated in his unconditional love for us on the cross.

  • What are some of the ways your local church excludes people from the new covenant?
  • Has there ever been a time when you had to meet a condition to gain the approval of others?

—Rod Thomas, miteewarrior@gmail.com

© 2017

Rod Thomas is a child-centered, fair-minded academic; a Christian who sometimes writes; and an aspiring preacher and layperson at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is actively involved in his congregation’s homeless and children’s ministries and is a syndicated blogger for MennoNerds.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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