National Association of Marriage Enhancement

Should pastors delete their Facebook accounts in an effort to avoid extra-marital affairs?

Recently, New Jersey pastor Reverend Cedric Miller ignited a firestorm of comment by prohibiting his staff pastors to maintain Facebook accounts.

Reverend Miller stated from the pulpit that the married pastors and leaders in his church must delete their Facebook accounts in order to continue working at the church. He witnessed many marriages disintegrate due to reconnecting to old relationships, and others fall into new temptations while meeting others online.
The Associated Press quoted Miller, “The advice will go to the entire church. They’ll hear what I’m asking of my church leadership. I won’t mandate it for the entire congregation, but I hope people will follow my advice.”

We at NAME (the National Association of Marriage Enhancement) have our opinion on this controversy.

With the rise of various new communication vehicles, there have been more avenues of temptation than ever before. However, it is not the driving of these vehicles that constitutes evil in and of itself; it is the submission to Satan’s temptation that can make an innocent Facebook account turn into an avenue of adultery. Ever since sin entered the world, Satan has made his mission to divide and divorce marriages. Adultery is not a new scheme by Satan, but with the wide variety of portals of secrecy available now, it seems that marital affairs are ever increasing.

But are affairs more rampant than at any point in history? We are not sure, because the way data is gathered has changed markedly in just the past few decades. What we do know is that there is an increase in the awareness of adulterous activity.

As America’s culture of divorce has mainstreamed adultery in the common consciousness, it becomes easier for individuals to experiment with “forbidden fruit”, especially through technological avenues in which they think no one is watching. A false sense of unaccountable security which has grown in the midst of an environment of feigned electronic privacy has encouraged many people to see “how far they can go” in electronic flirting and fantasy.

The sad fact is that many of these “electronic edge walkers” will fall off their carefully navigated computer cliffs and destroy their families in the valleys of despair below.
But just because the unwitting and the unknowing have fallen into Satan’s trap, we feel it may be an unwise knee-jerk reaction to try to outlaw use of effective and widespread social media. We don’t need to attempt to morally legislate a vibrant new media.

Social media is not an evil; it is merely a tool of communication. The tool itself is not evil, but how one uses any tool can distort its original potential and turn it into a negative weapon of destruction. Chainsaws allow for more efficient cutting of trees; yet today some associate chainsaws with their negative cultural depictions as murder weapons. Simply put, a chainsaw is by itself not evil but a potential good and productive means of accomplishing a task more efficiently. Facebook is by itself not evil but one of civilization’s most efficient tools ever of creating community electronically while diminishing geographic hindrances in time and space. Facebook has been used to reunite families, and to even encourage people to get help for their marriages leading to restoration, as in the case of our group page “NAME Marriage Network.” The fans of that page consistently receive and comment on scriptural encouragements and relational insights for their marriage.

Again, facebook itself is not the enemy. Remember who our enemy is! Satan is the enemy, and he is out to divide, divorce and destroy. He uses lies that say that you are allowed to have secrets from your spouse. You and your spouse are one (Genesis 2:24)! Your facebook inbox is not to be a secretive entity that is not within the confines of your marriage. Create an open communication with your spouse. Share your password. Allow them into to the private parts of your life. Your spouse should be your accountability partner. Keep each other accountable, and keep an open line of communication. Let your spouse know whenever someone attempts to talk to you privately. By creating an open line of communication, it strengthens trust and suppresses the ability to have secret and separate relationships.

NAME believes some pastors (or laypeople) should delete their Facebook accounts, especially when it has become obsessive or even if used without proper boundaries. Social media and its effective use is not a question of morality but maturity. Like any potentially dangerous power tool, it should not be placed into the hands of the immature without training and supervision.

Facebook itself is not evil. Monitor your marriage. Watch for the evil one who is seeking to rob, kill and destroy. Create parameters to keep yourself accountable. Don’t let the devil have his way with the growing technologically advancing culture.

Let’s use technology as a tool to spread our faith! For example, there were couples who attended this year’s International Marriage Conference because of viral Facebook marketing efforts, and their marriages and generations will be blessed as a result. Let’s use technology to glorify God! To God be all the glory in all things! Colossians 3:23, “Whatsoever you do, do heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men.”

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