“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Chrisian Life -- Part IV -- The Cult of Technology

Some may balk at the title of this one -- "WHAT cult of Technology; should we not use modern methods in our church?" No, this is not what I am saying -- this post addresses the fascination with, and adoration of, technology within the church. You see this quite often -- "Now we have bluetooth and wireless for your enjoyment during the sermon." Oh, you mean instead of actually listening to God's Word being taught, and interacting with others in the Body?

Some would argue that having these conveniences makes it easier for people to 'share' in the teaching and preaching of God's Word by being able to download the sermon notes RIGHT TO THEIR LAPTOP! I would say that the danger of technology is (at least) two-fold:

First -- technology does not bring people together in a true sense of the word (I don't say this in isolation, I work in the technology field); most often it is a cheap imitation of being in fellowship -- I know, I know, here I sit posting on a blog, and I have developed some wonderful friendships via this medium -- I do not deny that -- but I believe that TRUE and LASTING accountability and friendships should be EXPERIENCED in the real world, and not the ether-world. I look forward to meeting up with, and spending time with my blog-friends sometime in the future; I feel that only then will we know each other in the truest sense of the word.

Also, those who are busily pounding away on their keyboard, or following the ppt presentation are NOT interacting with others around them -- it is like many individuals and strangers sitting in the same room. Instead of coming together to worship corporately, we now have 'internet cafe's' disguised as churches. And don't fool yourself, many of the younger folks are IMing, or gaming!

Secondly -- I have been to churches that have elevated technology to an idol; the means have become more important than the end. In other words -- a preacher will use technology to get a specific reaction, or to surprise and shock the gathered Body, rather than using the Word of God to transform the souls of the people. I have literally been to places where the primary topic of discussion by the pastor was the latest and greatest technology that they were employing to 'reach the lost'. (I will write more on this in a future post).

I believe that some churches would have to shut their doors if they lost power for an extended period during a service! And yet, the persecuted church in China sings in whispered hushes whilst hidden in a dank, dark basement cave, and they worship just fine without even a single powerpoint slide! What of the church in Africa? They often gather in a hut without power, or for that matter, even walls! And the singing, oh my word, what singing! And my friends in India gather in open areas worshipping (for HOURS) without the aid of a single wireless connection!

I am NOT saying that the use of technology is wrong, or unbiblical, but I am saying that it is profoundly unbiblical to elevate it to a 'golden calf'.

This is where my friends in the 'simple church' movement have so opened my eyes and been wonderful sounding boards -- they believe that we have become far too infatuated with the 'trappings' of the modern church, and far too disinterested in the transforming message of the Gospel and the healthy life of the Body!

I agree -- and while we may disagree on some of the finer points, I truly believe that the simple church groups have tapped into what the early church was about -- worshipping God in simplicity, not disguising or obliterating the message with the use of glitz and glitter; raising the 'entertainment bar' so that every week a church has to outdo its whiz-bang from the previous week.

So, before you comment about how technology is being used in a wonderful way at your church, please reread this post -- I will reiterate -- Technology, in and of itself, is not a problem, it is the adoration and idolizing of technology which crosses the line! I cannot speak for simple church folks, but I bet some of them use technology in their gatherings; however, from what I understand, they do not allow it to become the focus of the gathering, nor should we!

We should be about the business of proclaiming the Gospel, and we should actively be involved in meaningful fellowship with other believers -- let's turn off our computers for a few hours every Sunday so that we can focus on Christ and His finished work on the Cross!

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