Monday, November 16, 2009

If multi-site is OK, why not online?

Eric Carpenter linked to a CNN article about online churches and it reminded me of a prior post where I made the argument that this is just the logical next step for churches.

Hjalti á Lava was searching his iPhone for a Bible app when he stumbled across Church Online, a service of Web site Soon he was regularly logging into the Oklahoma-based cyber-church -- some 4,100 miles away from á Lava's home in the Faroe Islands, west of Norway.

"It allows me to connect with others and have conversations about the message," says á Lava, who shares his faith with other believers in the site's live chat room. "Technology allows us today to have fellowship across borders and cultures."

In doing so, á Lava joined growing numbers of Christians worldwide who are migrating from the chapel to the computer. A map on the Church Online site showed users from 22 countries logged into a recent service.

Online religious services offer convenience to those who are too isolated or infirm to attend a real-world church. But can worshipping via a computer offer true spiritual fulfillment?

pastors and parishioners cite their 24-hour access to interactive tools and social-networking platforms to show their online experiences are as meaningful as those that take place with face-to-face congregations.

Even this seemed in step with modern evangelicalism:

Links allow congregants to "raise their hand" and publicly commit to Christ, while prayer requests and one-on-one guidance are a click way. Sermon notes can be shared and discussed. And many online churches are aided by volunteers, allowing them to hold services several times each day.

Well, how much different is that from "making a decision" in response to a sermon, walkin' the aisle, signing the card, raising your hand? Clicking a button from a computer is as Scripturally as walking an aisle.

Ultimately my point again is that if the primary purpose of "going to church" is to hear a sermon and some music, why not just do it online?

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Steve Martin said...

The primary purpose of going to church is to hear the Word (and that includes the visable Word of the Lord's Supper)and also to be amongst the brethren for comfort and encouragement.

The Holy Spirit calls, GATHERS, enlightens, and sanctifies us in true faith.

I don't know. But church (for me anyway) is one of the very few places that is counter-cultural and reflects something of the other worldliness of God (in addition to the other benefits I mentioned above).

Seth said...

If you have a church at which you can be amongst the brethren for comfort and encouragement, you're in a small minority. Most churches (in my experience) are as Arthur said, a place to go hear a sermon and sing a few songs. And if that is all church is, I'd agree that an online version is the most efficient way to do it...

Steve Scott said...

Arthur, I think I see the direction you're going here. Logical conclusions are occasionally difficult to swallow.

Steve Martin said...


That's a shame. When the Spirit of God calls us and gathers us and we are amongst each other for a brief time, we ought take consolation from that and speak to each other and find out what's afflicting each other, and speak to that pain with prayer and the Word the Lord.