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Technology and Christian Formation
January 20, 2023, 2:00 PM

Technology can be a blessing or a bane for Christian formation! It can be blessing in that it allows increased convenience and efficiency concerning the activities of ministry and Christian living.  Moreover, it affords Christians the opportunity to increase their Gospel reach.  The “uttermost parts of the earth” is now being accessed just by a click of mouse or the press of a key.  Through technology, we are in contact with the nations in our neighborhood as well as the nations across the globe.  This “glocal” influence of technology such as computers, Internet, social media sites, and podcasts are a great blessing from God!

With anything good, however, comes the possibility and the probability that the bane may be present.  In this sin-stained and sin-sick world, Satan often uses what is intended to be a blessing to hinder the cause of Christian and the growth of Christian believers.  So, it is with technology. 

There are a least two (2) ways in which technology has been detrimental to many Christians’ theological or spiritual formation.  First, with the increased convenience that technology has provided, it has fanned the flames of a similar expectation of many Christians with their relationship with Christ and the Church.  Any notion of a relationship with Christ that is not easy or convenient is often rejected by some professing believers.  This kind of thinking or expectation taken to its logical and fullest expression can yield a Christianity without a cross. The reality is that this is not Christianity at all!  In truth, any Christian who desires to live godly will experience persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).   In fact, life itself is fraught with difficulties, trials, and tribulations.  So, to have a view of Christian that is convenient does not comport with reality and will leave one disappointed and disillusioned.  By extension, some Christians expect the program of the church to be convenient.  (It is not that convenience is a problem in and of itself and not a goal to sometimes be desired).  The problem emerges when convenience is expected but when sacrifice is required.  Again, we must be reminded that Christianity involves self-denial, cross-bearing, and obedience.  All of which, sometimes, works against our desires or notions of convenience.

Second, intricately connected to modern technologies is increased speed. Consequently, some people have come to expect increased speed in the movement of God and even the Church.  God sometimes moves quickly, even immediately.  Luke 13:13 records an event in which Christ touches a woman and immediately she was healed.   There is no doubt that God and will move quickly or immediately.  Yet, the Scriptures are replete with examples of God moving much more slowly and even requiring us to wait! God is a God of instantaneous miracles, but He is also a God of process.  God, in His infinite wisdom, moves at the perfect time for each of our lives! The problem is that, because many are accustomed to the instantaneous movement of technology, they come to expect God and the things of God to move in the same manner.  Even our expectations for the worship and work of the Church are influenced by this mindset. So much around us conspire to lead us in this direction—microwaves, remote controls, and light switches.  We have even become accustomed to this convenience and speed with even related to food—fast food drive-through lanes instant coffee, instant tea, instant oatmeal, and even instant grits.   

The reality is, however, that God sometimes work more like the crockpot than the microwave.  Let us not be governed by technology in our relationship with God, His Kingdom, or His Church.  We should be grateful for the blessing of technology, but we should not allow technology to become a bane!

Let us, instead, be directed by our theology—our understanding of Who God is, how He moves, and what He requires of us!

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