Stott on Technology & the Local Church

Posted: Friday, March 2, 2018 in Books, Church, Culture, Pastoral, Preaching

41qbl4zea4l-_ac_us218_One of the most famous books and oft-used texts on preaching is Between Two Worlds by John Stott. First published in 1982, it contains some thoughts on the future of technology that we might snicker at in 2018. To hear Stott ‘prophesy’ about computers and the Internet is a bit amusing.

However, I give him some credit. His assessment far exceeded that of one of my instructors in college, who said in 1986 that with the 386-processor, technology had reached its max because any further ‘speed’ would cause the processor chip to melt due to the heat it generated, and further, the size of the chip was maxed out, allowing no room for expansion. I am not sure that instructor is still instructing… and that Stott outlasted him in ministry!

But amusement aside, Stott was certainly prophetic with the following statement concerning the importance of the local church in the technological age, an age we now know far exceeded his projections – projections that lacked understanding of the social media age of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.

It is difficult to imagine the world in the year A.D. 2000, by which time versatile micro-processors are likely to be as common as simple calculators are today. We should certainly welcome the fact that the silicon chip will transcend human brain-power, as the machine has transcended human muscle-power. Much less welcome will be the probable reduction of human contact as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary. In such a dehumanized society the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important, whose members meet one another, and talk and listen to one another in person rather than on screen. In this human context of mutual love the speaking and hearing of the Word of God is also likely to become more necessary for the preservation of our humanness, not less. [Between Two Worlds, p. 69]

Meet and speak to one another — real words, not Tweets. Meet and see one another — in person, not on screen. Meet and love one another — in action, not just a Facebook greeting. I am thankful for the opportunity that social media provides us – but it can never replace the importance of community – where we gather together in the name of Christ and fellowship/commune together with Him. Necessary – for our humanness – and for our Christianity.

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Comments
  1. directorfsm says:

    Thank you Pastor Todd this is SO TRUE: “I am thankful for the opportunity that social media provides us – but it can never replace the importance of community – where we gather together in the name of Christ and fellowship/commune together with Him. Necessary – for our humanness – and for our Christianity.”

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