Internet ministries...why move in that direction?

 

Online networking....should churches market themselves online?

 

Should there be a church that is ONLY online?

 

Should churches / ministries and ministers really be part of the social media craze?

 

Is it an unholy alliance?

 

Is social media a fad?

 

 

Or....

 

 

 




Views: 39

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I am intrigued by the notion of "virtual assemblies." With the video conferencing equipment available these days, some folks have interactive worship meetings without being in the same physical space. But there are some limitations with that form of assembly, not the least of which being how a church that never meets in person can perform the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Hello Joseph, thank you for responding.

You bring up some vaild points. Think about these questions that were posed to me when I asked the same things you asked:

THE LORD'S SUPPER
1. Do you take the Lord's Supper at home with your family?
2. In the scriptures, was the "Lord's Supper" (a passover meal) done with the Assembly or at home?
3. If the Lord's Supper was a passover meal, then why do we (Christians) not do it just as Jesus did... a passover meal. Do we (Christians) understand that there is more than one "cup" (drinking) in a passover meal and much more significance is understood of the "Lord's Supper" when we view it from the understanding of a passover meal?

BAPTISM
1. Who is allowed to baptize an individual?
2. Must it be done in an assembly (church) or can it be done wherever there is a body of water?
3. What happened with the Ethiopian Eunich..where was the assembly? Which brings us back to question #1 "who" is authorized to baptize an individual?


Overcoming limitations:
How did the Apostle Paul overcome his limitations of being imprisoned and/or under "house arrest" and having to communicate to churches that were spread out?

Could an eChurch strive with families and/or small communities of Believers gathered in their homes and receiving the word online?

Has there ever been a record of prayers being prayed for someone who was not in the physical presence of the person praying and that prayer being answered (via phone, letter, etc.)
Those are great issues to explore. I'll take a stab at them, through scriptural references.

THE LORD'S SUPPER
Our most specific mention of the "love feast," or the meal that constituted a rehearsal of the Lord's Supper, is found in 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul criticized the practice of this ordinance by the Church in Corinth:

Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes... So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. [1 Cor. 11:20-26,33,34]

In Paul's words we see some important details about the ordinance as it was actually practiced by the earliest Christians. "Therefore when you meet together," tells us that they met as a whole congregation to perform this ritual. "For in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk," shows us that they were treating the Lord's supper as a communal dinner, and this was a cause of serious problems. Paul instructs them to remember the sacredness of this congregational activity, and to divest it of mundane purposes, like satiating hunger: "Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink?" "If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment."

This passage seems to place significant hurdles in the way of online fellowships. Even if we could assume that each online participant was part of a household of believers that could partake of communion at home, the early church believed they should practice the ritual all together as a local church. Of course, as a practical matter, we modern churches do distribute communion to people who are unable to join the rest of the congregation (like the hospital- and house-bound saints). But separate little suppers isn't the optimal choice of how to fulfill this ordinance.

Fortunately, Paul's writing answers the question that sometimes rises about the Lord's Supper being a Passover seder. The supper that Jesus and his disciples took was on the occasion of the Passover, but the early church clearly believed this ritual could be performed as often as they came together. We are not restricted to taking communion only during Passover.

BAPTISM
I wonder how many churches today recognize that baptism is a duty given to believers through the Great Commission [Matthew 28:19]? Like witnessing to unbelievers, baptizing new converts can fall to any believer to perform (and indeed any body of water can be utilized). Unlike the Lord's Supper, I would not hold that baptism has to be a congregational activity (although as one it can make for a wonderfully uplifting worship service). However, it seems obvious to me that we cannot perform "virtual" baptisms online. Like the case of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, at least two individuals--the evangelizing believer and the new convert--must meet together... they must share the same physical space for some small duration of time. The real question is how do these internet assemblies fulfill this ordinance the bible way?


Some final thoughts. The epistolary ministry of Paul is not really comparable to sharing in fellowship with a church. Paul couldn't pastor any churches via long distance: he could only exercise a type of superintendency or oversight. His letters would be like those of a modern bishop or prelate to a local church: they could resolve conflicts and clarify doctrine, but they could not replace the regular teaching and preaching of pastors.

However, the teaching and preaching portion of the congregational assembly is the part that most easily could be conducted via internet, I think. It's the other aspects of communal worship--anointing the sick with oil [James 5:14], the laying on of hands [Acts 8:17, 13:3], the Lord's Supper and Baptism as discussed above--that seem to defy an eChurch.
You make vaild points. And honestly, I don't really see how an eChurch could exist without bodies of Believers in various places meeting.



There are a few additional questions to be asked (albeit we are getting wayyyyy off the topic of social media and onto the topic of the eChurch)

I do believe the idea of "virtual" church can be taken to a radical understanding or even radical "misunderstanding".

BAPTISM
I don't see how an eChurch could use water ON a computer. But I can see how any Believer can use a body of water to baptize another. I don't think anyone would assum that you should stand on top of your laptop or desktop and perform the ordinance of baptism. So, just as there was no assembly with the Ethiopian eunuch, there is only the need of the one being baptized and someone to baptize them and a body of water. Badda bing badda boom.


THE LORD'S SUPPER / THE LAST SUPPER / A PASSOVER MEAL

What was happening at the meal in Corinth that Paul had to tell them what he told them? What were they doing that would cause him to tell them to eat/drink at home before coming to the Lord's Table? Was there any clique-ish behaviors at this gathering? Was there drunkeness that was disrespectful of the Lord's Supper? Was he telling them to act like this at home... not up in da church house per se? What was the "love feasts" that took place at the same time at the Lord's Supper? What went wrong during these "feasts" where both rich and poor gathered together?



One of the worst things that can happen is that we use the word church from different perspectives. One believing it is brick and mortar; another believing it is a large assembly; and others believing it is the universal Body of Believers whether the lone person stranded on an island or those assembled at a mega church.

If a ministry teaches the Love of God, and serving their community, why not use the internet to reach people.  If we define the church as being confined to the 4 walls then that group will never agree to an internet ministry.

 

We should not be afraid to use the media, and the web to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, just because one does not come into your building and adhere to your rules and regulations does not mean they are not a part of the church.  "Same Spirit, different administrations"  Change and New methods are always challenged, but does not mean they are wrong.

 

As I travel the country preaching and talking to young and old, the masses want to strengthen their relationship with God, but they are feed up with what is going on inside the 4 walls of our churches.

RSS

© 2021   Created by Raliegh Jones Jr..   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service