In many ways, the words of Charles Dickens ring in my ears when I think back on the past year. “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
What I mean is that the church body, as a whole, has been able to utilize technology to reach those who have been marginalized in the past due to physical restrictions or even fear of attending live services. We have embraced and are still embracing the world of the internet and live streaming to send a message of love and hope to those who may have never heard it before.
On the other hand, there is the fear that many of these very same people will be fooled into believing that watching a person speak of the Gospel and the Body is actually participating in the body or the church. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is only when believers come together, pray together, worship together, and fellowship together that we truly begin to live the life Jesus called us to and died so that we may have. The very analogy of a body precludes any separation of that body. One cannot simply leave their lungs at home and still be considered a fully functioning body. Without the heart and other systems to sustain them, the lungs cease to function, and the body does as well.
While this pandemic goes on, we recognize that some must isolate and stay home for their physical safety. What of the time when we have conquered the disease, though? Will there be some or many who have fallen into the trap or allure of the internet church and still believe that this fulfills their obligation to a body? This is my fear for this time.
Matthew 24:10-14 speaks of the end times and states, “At that time many will fall away and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
While I embrace the opportunity to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in all the world through the internet, I fear the rest of the passage is too true a description of our world today.
Pastor Steve Bergfield