Friday, March 29, 2024

It’s Friday, March 29, 2024.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

‘Social Media Harms Children in a Variety of Ways’: Governor DeSantis Signs Bill Prohibiting Social Media Accounts for Children Under 14

Big news came out of Florida this week on the issue of teenagers, children, young people on social media. Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law legislation that would basically ban Florida citizens under the age of 14 from access to social media platforms such as TikTok. You can go down the list. Now, almost immediately there were charges that this is just too restrictive. It cuts down on First Amendment access on the part of teenagers to social media. It cuts down on free speech, all the rest you can imagine where this is going. But what’s really interesting is to look at the legislation to look at what the governor said and to look at what critics are saying about it now.

Natasha Singer reporting for the New York Times tells us, “Florida, on Monday, became the first state to effectively bar residents under age 14 for holding accounts on services like TikTok and Instagram, enacting a strict social media bill that is likely to upend the lives of many young people.”  Well indeed, it might well upend the lives of many young people. Then again, it might not because almost immediately this is going to go into the courts. And then you’re going to have a very interesting setup where it’s not just going to be say, a liberal/conservative question. There’s actually increasing bipartisan concern about young people in these platforms, but it is a free speech and say free technology worldview on the one side and one that sees law and public policy as at least a necessary part of the answer on the other side, some limitation by government on the access of children and teenagers to social media and smartphones. That’s the logic of what’s going on here. That’s the big dividing line.

The New York Times is clear by saying that the Florida law is more strict than any other law adopted by a state thus far, and it appears that it is. Governor DeSantis himself had registered some of these concerns. The Florida legislature was about to pass an even more restrictive bill. He required some changes, but he did rather energetically sign this bill into law.

Now, one little footnote here, the New York Times reported on this on page B3. That is to say, not even on the first page of the second section, but on the third page of the business section. So, this tells you what kind of story the New York Times thinks it is. They think this is a somewhat interesting business story. I think most of us would come to the conclusion that it is, first of all, a bigger story and certainly it was reported as a bigger story in Florida, but I think we’d also understand there are bigger issues here than the business dimension.

Now, just in terms of the specifics, and this is important, the newly passed Florida law prohibits social media networks and platforms from giving accounts to Floridians under age 14. It also requires the services to “terminate accounts that a platform knew or believed belonged to underage users.” Okay, now that’s really fascinating, because one of the things going on here is that many of the social media platforms have said, “Well, we have a policy.” Now that’s really interesting because one of the things going on here is that many of these social media platforms have said, “We have a policy that says you have to be age X or Y, and we publish that policy.” Yeah, but you’ve also allowed ways for young people and teenagers to go around that policy and using falsified information, gain access to these media platforms. It comes with a wink and a nod, and now Florida said, “You know, that is a legal loophole that we are closing.”

The next requirement in the law is that even for 14 and 15 year olds, parents must give authorization for the opening and functioning of accounts in these social media platforms by their children. So before 14, none. 14 and 15, parents have to actively sign on in some form of authentication in order for 14 and 15 year olds to have access to these platforms.

Now, the libertarian dimension of this is that people are crying out, “This is just too restrictive. How are these kids going to live if they don’t have free access to these platforms? It’s a restriction. It’s too restrictive,” many are saying. And that shows you that the worldview divide in this country is increasingly not just Left/Right. It certainly is that. But it is also those who want to put virtually no limits on the technological future and social media and the digital revolution, and those who are saying, “Especially when it comes to children and teenagers, even young adults, the indication of damage is so overwhelming that this government needs to do something.”

But I want to look at this from an even different dimension, and I think listeners to The Briefing will understand why. Governor DeSantis said this, “Social media harms children in a variety of ways. The new bill [said the governor] gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.” Now, it’s not so much that what the governor said there’s controversial or even that it’s political, it’s just that it tells us something that many parents evidently are so afraid of adopting policies that would restrict their children in social media. It’s almost like the parents are saying, “Make it illegal so that I can tell my kid not to do it.” But this is where Christians have to understand, we as Christian parents should not look to the government to rescue us from the predicament of parenthood.

It’s very telling and frankly bizarre that there are so many parents who act like they’re victims, like they don’t have control over the situation. Now, let’s be honest, if you give your child or your teenager a smartphone, and privacy, and wireless connection or cellular connection, guess what? You don’t have all that much control. If that’s without supervision, and it’s without review, and it’s without prior authorization, and it’s without all kinds of boundaries the parents actually do have the ability to put in place. And parents also have the ability to put in place the young person not having a cell phone, or more urgently, the young person not having a smartphone.

And so we’re looking at a whole complex here. If you look at the classic situation of the greatest vulnerability, it is of an unsupervised young person who has access to the social media platforms and frankly can be preyed upon and manipulated by other people without adult supervision, sometimes without an adult in the house. You just look at the vulnerability. Who would be surprised that a teenager, or for that matter, a young person alone in a bedroom for a matter of hours with a smartphone and a social media account just might be up to something that would be emotionally damaging? Or at the very least, not encouraging, not enriching.

For one thing, you have very clear data that the use of the social media platforms and the smartphone in that kind of setting is correlated with increasingly fragile adolescents and young adults. Again, no surprise there. And if you are demanding causation rather than just correlation, then quite frankly, I don’t even know how to make an argument to you.

Secondly, we have very real evidence that the use of the smartphone, particularly in solitude, the kid comes home from school, puts the backpack down on the floor, takes a smartphone, goes to the bedroom, that is correlated with very little face-to-face engagement. And that includes not only with parents and others in the home. I think we all know exactly how that would work. It also correlates to actually less face time, less physical presence, less emotionally enriching experiences with their own peers, with their own friends. It turns out that a relationship on a smartphone, again, who would’ve thought it, a relationship on a smartphone is not as enriching as a relationship in real life. As a matter of fact, it can often truly be devastating.

So as we look at this and we look at this law coming out of Florida and we look at the headlines about the law, we recognize a real battle is engaged here. And it’s not just a policy battle, it is also a cultural battle. It’s a moral battle. But it’s not just that. It is a parental responsibility. And parents, guess what? Parents of teenagers, parents of young adults, parents of children, you’ve got no way out of this responsibility. What you are looking at here is that the governor’s not even saying, the state legislature’s not even saying they can’t have a phone. They’re saying, “You know what? They can’t, at least, have access to the social media platforms or so much damage is being done.”

And I just want to ask parents the question. The first issue is the phone. The first issue is the internet access. The first issue is the digital revolution and the vulnerabilities that come. That’s one thing. But the second issue is: What takes place on social media platforms? And at this point, I just want to state this as clearly as I can. Anyone who doesn’t know the vulnerabilities and the dangers there, I think at this point is not really being uninformed. I think they’re being truly dishonest.

Part II

Why Did God Wait So Long to Raise Jesus From the Dead? — Dr. Mohler Responds to a Letter from a 5-Year-Old Listener of The Briefing

Next we’ll turn to questions. Unsurprisingly, a good many questions have to do with Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A pastor wrote in from Texas saying, “My five-year-old Holt asked why Jesus had to stay in the grave for three days after he died. Why couldn’t God have raised him from the dead quicker than that?”

Well, first of all, you got to love a five-year-old who’s being taught scripture and exposed to biblical truth and told to the gospel in such a way that he can come up with this kind of question. But sometimes five year olds have a way of just cutting to the quick and asking a question like, “Why did it take three days? Why did God wait so long?” Well, I want to tell this 5-year-old, first of all, God could have raised Him from the dead instantaneously. As a matter of fact, God can do anything. He is omnipotent, which is to say He has all power. So He could have raised Jesus from the dead the moment Jesus was put in the tomb. But he didn’t. And the reason he didn’t is because Christ himself had said that he would be in the grave for three days, that he would rise on the third day. He illustrated this, Christ did, with reference to Jonah there in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights. So this is how this came to us in terms of a biblical teaching.

It was Jesus, before the crucifixion and the resurrection, who said to his enemies, “You can destroy this body, but it will be back in three days.” And that’s why Christians celebrate the Festival of the Resurrection, and that’s why we speak of this coming Sunday as Resurrection Sunday. But actually, the Bible tells us that Christians worship on the first day of the week as a matter of our pattern and commitment, precisely because that was the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. So the best answer to Holt here is that God did it exactly the way he said he would do it. And he knew why he wanted to wait three days in order to raise Jesus from the dead. And he did so. And Jesus acknowledged this even before it happened, and he pointed to it as significant. So evidently, this is exactly as it should have happened, and it did. Alright. I’m very careful with that language. I try to watch myself on it.

Part III

Why Do Many American Evangelicals Use the Term ‘Easter’ to Refer to Resurrection Sunday? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

I had someone write in from Miami and a listener ask, and I quote, “Why does the American Evangelical Church almost across all denominations use Easter as the word to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord?” He says he looked it up and Google says that Easter is a pagan celebration.

Well, it is certainly pointing to pagan roots. As starting, perhaps even in terms of the fertility cult, Easter. I try to avoid saying Easter, and so I speak of the Festival of the Resurrection, Resurrection Sunday. I am most comfortable with that. I also understand that most people who use the word Easter certainly do not understand any kind of pagan connotation. And so I don’t want to go up to people and say, “Stop saying Easter” and then go into the pagan connotations. But I’m glad to answer the question, “Why do I customarily not refer to it as Easter?” I do feel pretty strongly about this, but I also want to recognize that in the Christian tradition, Easter became a word pretty fast associated with the Festival of the Resurrection and the period of years actually marked on liturgical calendars as Easter tide.

And so I don’t know that we etymologically, historically can say this is exactly what the history of the word is. It’s just that once I know what I know, it’s very difficult for me to use the word without feeling that it’s either awkward or wrong. So that’s why I refer to it as Resurrection Sunday or the Festival of the Resurrection. Christmas, no such problem. The only name in Christmas is the name of Christ. But when it comes to Easter, I’ll admit, I think it’s a really awkward issue, but I don’t think it’s a really awkward issue for most believing faithful Christians. And so I don’t think it’s my job to go make it an issue, but I’m glad to explain why, along with you, Jonathan, I do see it as an issue.

By the way, another listener, Kobe, wrote in with virtually the same question and talking about its usage by churches and denominations. Once again, it’s not the word that I would prefer to use that I think is most accurate to use, but I understand many churches and denominations for that matter, many Christian organizations refer to it as Easter because in the culture just about everybody knows what that means in terms of inviting people to Easter services and all the rest. I also want to concede the fact that the term Resurrection Sunday, or the Festival of the Resurrection might not be as well understood by the larger public. And so you asked me why. I’ll tell you why I think why, and as I also said why I find the issue of concern.

Part IV

Does God Have Jesus in His Heart? — Dr. Mohler Responds to a Letter from a 2-Year-Old Listener of The Briefing

Well, now frankly, while we are talking about the relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the fact is all this comes up with the Festival of the Resurrection, but of course it comes up with Christianity. This is because the doctrine of the Trinity is at the very heart of Christianity. Without it, we are unable to say who the Father is, who the Son is, who the Holy Spirit is.

The question in this case is prompted by a 2-year-old and a parent writing in about a 2-year-old daughter, sweet thing, asked the question,”Does God have Jesus in his heart?” Now it’s clear what she means by that. At least I think she means by that is, does the Father have the Son in his heart? Because we talk about having Jesus in our heart, a staple of evangelical spirituality. And what that means is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and we know that he indwells us. But I am trying to figure out how to talk to a 2-year-old about this.

Now, in order to do that, let me talk to the two-year old’s mom who sent this in. Okay, so Mom, let me tell you, the doctrine of the Trinity is so important and so central to Christianity that we have to be certain we get it right. And I am teaching about this in a class right now as we talk about theology and the very heart of Christian theology. And I cited, a man, I think is just really brilliant on this issue, Harold O.J. Brown, who said, “When it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, we need to say everything the Scripture says, and we need to say everything the church has learned that it has to say, and then stop and not engage in any kind of speculation.” I think that’s very, very good advice.

One of the things the church has learned to do, and I’m going to say one of the things the church has learned to say, is that when it comes to the relations of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one in three, one God, three persons, we need to say what the Scripture says and then not conjecture about all the rest. So I’m also going to throw us into the deepest water here by saying that central to the Christian understanding, the Doctrine of the Trinity are what are called inseparable operations, which means the Father of the Son of the Holy Spirit are involved in all things. Even if the scripture says it’s the Father who does this, it’s the son who does this, it’s the Holy Spirit who does this, the inseparable operations also point to the fact that there is a relationship within the Trinity among the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And that’s made very clear in Scripture.

And so to answer your sweet two-year old’s question, I think to use that kind of language, yes, they all have each other in their heart. We know that’s not really good theological language, but it’s really sweet two-year-old language. I think the other thing to say is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit perfectly love each other. That’s probably the very best way to say it. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit love each other perfectly.

Part V

Is Christ Still Fully Man After His Resurrection? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Alright. A pastor from northern Kentucky writes in about our confession of faith for the Southern Baptist Convention, The Baptist Faith and Message, but it’s also just about an issue common to all biblical Christians. He asked the question raised by one member of his congregation, “Was Christ still fully man after the resurrection?” And the answer is absolutely yes. He is perfected humanity. He has a body even now. The New Testament is very clear about that. But it’s a glorified resurrection body. And the Scripture says that as He is now, one day we shall also be.

And so Jesus right now has a body, to take a classic example, just look at the concluding chapters of the Gospel of John, but it is a body that is continuous with his earthly body. After all, God the Father raised the son from the dead. He raised his body. He didn’t just create a new body. There’s continuity. So also there’s going to be continuity between ourselves, our bodies, and the resurrection body that is to come. Can I explain that in detail? No, I cannot other than to say as Christ is now, one day also we shall be, meaning that we also will have glorified bodies after the resurrection of the dead.

Part VI

From Where Does Jesus Derive His Humanity as a Man? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Alright. Another really smart question sent in by someone who asked the question and is asking a question by quoting the Athanasian Creed. So that’s one of the historic creeds of the Christian Church is associated with Athanasius from Alexandria in Egypt, one of the great defenders of orthodox Christianity. And Trask writes in saying that the Athanasian Creed says that Jesus is both God and man. Equally, he is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time, and he is man from the essence of his mother born in time.

So one of the questions raised is, what does this have to do with the maleness of Christ? Well, the word man in this case means humanity. But the Bible’s abundantly clear that Jesus in His incarnation and now is rightly referred to as male, and is he as man. He was described in the gospels as a boy who grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. One of the problems with English language is that times we use man to refer to a male and at other times to humanity. When it comes to Christ, the answer is both.

One of the mysteries of the incarnation has to do with what we call the virgin birth, the virgin conception of Christ in Mary. And thus in every way, Mary was Jesus’s mother, even as in every way God the Father is the Father of Jesus. And so He had no earthly father, but he did very much have an earthly mother.

Part VII

My Wife and I are About to Have a Daughter. What is Something You Wished You Would Have Done Differently in Raising Your Daughter? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

But alright, final question for today sent in by a father who has a, he and his wife, have a two-year-old son who is overjoyed now, we’re told, to have a little sister, a second child, born a baby girl. So this father writes, “My question for you is this. As a father, what is something you wished you had done differently in raising your daughter?”

Now time’s running out here, and there are many things I could say, but I took this question at the conclusion of this session because very unusually, just as a gift, my daughter is in the studio as I’m speaking these words. And the one thing I would say is, dear dad, I would’ve savored every moment, even more sweetly as God’s gift, treasure every single moment. The other sweet thing I want to say is that our daughter is now also the mother of our grandchildren. So get ready for that too. So you’ll understand why I looked at that question today, and I said, just right now recording The Briefing, this is really sweet.


Jesus is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed: Resurrection Hope and Joy to Listeners of The Briefing

I want to wish for every single one of you, all the joy and celebration of the Festival of the Resurrection as we turn our minds, not this Resurrection Sunday to the resurrection as if it’s not on our minds and hearts and at the center of our worship every single Lord’s Day and as if it’s not the central truth claim that constitutes Christianity every day of our lives and past, present, and future until Jesus comes, but it is because we as human beings need particular prompts to memory, particular cycles in which we remember the things that are always in eternally true. We also remember what God has done for us in Christ and space and time and history. And thus, it is absolutely right that at different times of the year, we have a festival of the incarnation celebrating the birth of Christ, and we have a Festival of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, which of course, as we just said, only makes sense because it comes just days after the crucifixion of our Lord as our substitutionary savior to redeem us from the power of sin.

And so I extend the warmest resurrection greeting to you, to your church, to your family, and to all who can hear my voice. Jesus has risen. 

He has risen indeed.

I’m happy to tell you that Southern Seminary’s next Preview Day is coming up, and it’s coming up fast. It’s going to be on Friday, April the 12th. In our secular age, we see an increasing need for those who are called to ministry. And we see the need for them to be trained with the highest level of biblical and theological education for a lifetime of faithful service and faithful conviction. That’s why Southern Seminary is committed to providing rigorous theological education that you and the church can trust. That Preview Day, April the 12th, you’ll tour our beautiful campus, meet our world-class faculty, and learn how God is using Southern Seminary to train faithful ministers of the Gospel. Listeners to The Briefing, now get this, can register for free at by using the code, now you’ve already figured this out, thebriefing. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. 

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again on Monday for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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