New technology in our modern world is now bleeding over into people's religious lives. What does God expect of us?
[Darris McNeely] I was once called to a hospital emergency room to pray for and to anoint someone who had had a heart attack at work. I'd known the man, he'd been a part of my congregation at one time but he had stopped attending and he began listening to a minister from way off on cassette tapes.
Now, this goes back a few years, I realize and dated here. But that man became his pastor. But the problem was his pastor, off the cassette tape, lived more than 1000 miles away. When he needed me, he called me to come and pray for him in the hospital to anoint him as scripture says. Now, you know, I kind of smiled when I did that. The man got better and he actually went on to get better and was healed. And I thought to myself, where was his pastor, his virtual pastor that he was listening to on cassette tape when he really needed him?
You know, we've gone a long way from cassette tapes. Now, I was reading an article recently about what they call virtual churches, how with all the technology of virtual reality and the internet and streaming services, all of this invading churches and religions today, now people can go to Jerusalem in virtual reality. They can go to church from their living room with a virtual reality headset on and engage with other people virtually. They can even be baptized virtually, I guess.
It's hard to imagine fulfilling the scripture of teaching in a virtual way but that's what we've come to. And of course, the article here that I was reading in a newspaper was talking about how this is appealing to a new generation, how it's bringing people who are not interested in religion into church at least in a virtual way and getting them interested in talking about God, the Bible, debating various things. But could there be something lacking? Well, I think that there may be.
One of the quotes that came out of this article was quoting some pastor of a church for us speaking about how he adapted to this virtual technology. It was all about being relevant to the times. He went on to say, "We have to begin to reimagine how a church has done because we're seeking to minister to a generation of digital natives and the only way to reach them is to be intentional about your digital engagement."
Now, what does that mean? I don't know. But I do know that we do need to be together. That if you're going to follow the scriptural teaching on the subject of religion, God, fellowship, the Church and it's full of meaning, we need to be together. We need to be looking at each other in the eyes. We need to be hugging one another in that sense of fellowship and doing exactly what the scripture tells us.
In fact, in Hebrews 10:25, the Apostle Paul writes about not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, "Don't forsake coming together as the manner of some are, but exalt one another," which means to basically come together and encourage, to love one another, to help one another. And so much the more as you see the day approaching."
Virtual reality, interesting. Certainly, internet technology that can reach people with the Gospel does have this application. But there's no substitute for getting to know people, problems and all, learning to grow, develop, worship God together as we are instructed within the scripture. That's what we need. That's what my friend really needed. And at some point in our life, we're going to need that human touch of a friend who shares our faith with us.
So don't get caught up in the technology and neglect basic scriptural teaching about the church, fellowship, and our need for one another.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.