By Elizabeth Prata
On Twitter there is a function that lets you put up a poll. Typically, there is a question followed by three or four answers. You can choose one and then go see the current results.
I’ve had qualms about polls for a while now, but was unable to put my finger on why, until this morning when I read Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional.
I can understand the reason some people put up polls. Some may want to gather information for a book they are researching. Some may be genuinely curious about a position people in their Twittersphere hold.
However, it has been my experience that many of the poll questions ask the kind of questions where answers can’t really be stated from scripture. They are the kind of questions that ask how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or can God make a rock so big he can’t pick it up type of queries.
These lead to debates, to brothers arguing, to lurkers witnessing the exchanges and subsequently becoming dismayed. They’re a temptation for me. At any rate, time is wasted that could be more edifying doing something else. I’ve become a little frustrated with Twitter polls.
I’d mentioned Spurgeon’s morning devotional. We know Spurgeon lived and died well before social media was invented. So how could he possibly have anything to say about Twitter or Facebook polls? Well, if one relies on the scripture for all doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16) then, yes, there is an instruction for us here. Spurgeon draws it out below.
Brothers, Sisters, Myself, before putting up a poll, let’s consider the scripture being expounded here. In paragraph 2, Spurgeon even gave some excellent examples of non-starter questions. I believe these kind of questions and polls set the platform for needless strivings and contentions. I’ve seen it happen. Let’s do everything we can to provide opportunities for peaceful interactions, edifying and grace-filled.
Meditation for this Morning
“Avoid foolish questions.”—Titus 3:9.
OUR days are few, and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.
Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials, are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.
Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.
There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?
Such enquiries as these urgently demand our attention; and if we have been at all given to cavilling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peace-makers, and endeavour to lead others both by our precept and example, to “avoid foolish questions.”