The Expository Files

Going to E-church to E-Worship and E-pray 

Shall we Gather by the E-river? Blest Be the Modem that Binds. The Old Rugged Pentium 120.

One article I read recently began by asking the question, "When the faithful gather online, are they a church?" In another article, the question went, "We have E-greetings, E-business and ebay. Why not have E-church?"

A national survey by Barna Research Group two years ago found that one of six teen-agers expected to use the internet as a substitute for church activities. Another Barna study found that those who claim to be "born again" Christians spend more time surfing the net than they do praying.

We need to understand that there are things that can be done on the internet and things that cannot be done. The internet can be used to disseminate information about anything. The information, of course, can be good or bad, but there is here an avenue and a potential to reaching many thousands with a message.

Also, the internet can be used to discuss matters pertaining to faith. Things can be debated and examined. Discussion groups and chat rooms can be found, some of which might be limited only to those of a certain limited persuasion while others are wide open. In some places, one can find, for example, a six way discussion/debate/rumble between (in alphabetical order) an atheist, a Catholic, an Evangelical, a Hindu, a humanist and a witch.

The internet can be used to gather information as one researches any and everything. I have done quite a bit of this myself. Recently we were studying early church history, for example, and I found rather extensive histories on the Roman emperors mentioned in the Bible as well as the Herodian kings and their families.

But, again, there are some things that cannot be done. One cannot have a Scriptural church online. When the Lord set up the arrangement of a local church, or body, He gave it responsibilities that cannot be met online. Local churches in the New Testament met together on the Lord's Day, or first day of the week, to partake of the Lord's Supper together (Acts 20:7). These early Christians were told not to forsake assembling themselves together in one place (Hebrews 10:25). Churches were told to select men from among them to function as elders and deacons, and the elders of a local congregation were told to watch over that congregation ( 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 20:28). There is a mutual sharing and fellowship that requires being physically together, a "coming together as a church" (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; 14:23)

These and other Scriptures answer the question, "Why not an "E-church." This is also why no one can successfully substitute what they can find on the internet with what God means for them to find in a Scriptural church patterned in work and worship and fellowship after the local church in the New Testament as they were established by the will of God according to apostolic doctrine."

By Jon W. Quinn
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From Expository Files 8.6; June 2001