By Sim Lee
An Elderly person’s view
“In crisis or transition, people are most likely to come to faith because they are looking for stability. They are looking for some kind of salvation.” Marcus Rogers
In the West, there has never been a better time than right now to have your Christian articles and poem on line as more and more people are turning away from church and going to internet churches more than ever before. No longer desiring church fellowship, people are filling the void with Facebook communities. Many who do so say it is far more inviting and comfortable to consider and exchange religious views on the internet than it is to do in a face-to-face in the church.*
On the Facebook Church Community side of things, preachers with a flair for writing sermons and motivating people are rapidly coming to the forefront. With an on-line audience of over 800,000 followers, one such internet preacher, Chicago’s Marcus Rogers, has the simple mission of preaching this thought: “I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody! His name is Jesus…” and then delivers his views by posting articles and videos to millions of viewers. This is the typical formula of how an internet church functions today.
Unlike well known Christian articles internet sites that draw a very diverse audience of followers and has significant editorial oversight, the internet church sites are more apt to be the destination of those who were never raised with the hope that comes with any type of Christian fellowship. As more people migrate to the internet for this type of cyber worship and fellowship, fewer and fewer will turn to the church for answers to spiritual questions.
Older Americans like myself would say that an internet church preacher and community is a non-traditional practice and that many followers will fall victim to the rambling of anyone who thinks they are a pastor or a prophet. Yet, the younger among us think it is made to order for their preferences and likes.
For those who say that internet churches are a wave of the future that cannot be stopped, they have the projections of the future on their side. For those of us who have seen fifty or more years of change in the church, we see it as another place that some can go for answers and fellowship after they have left their church.
* “Internet preachers rise as more worshipers migrate online” by Leonardo Blair — CP World, 6/24/2019
A Young Person’s View
Internet Churches, while possessing inevitable merit for preaching the gospel of Christ, nevertheless have an innate and crucial failing in their inability to adequately supply the personal elements of close Christian relationships, going, typically, only so far as the published words may affect, the listener otherwise remaining isolated in their daily life, left to struggle privately in their sins without accountability to such Christian brethren as God may use, like Nathan with David, in restoring the straying soul to Christ; furthermore lacking local ministries of work to keep hands and minds from the idleness Satan so cleverly manipulates to his degenerate purposes. These assemblies likewise comparatively fail, significantly so, with respect to unifying Christians in matrimony, and therefore fail to promote the natural growth of Christianity via the counsel, “be fruitful and multiply”, as the Lord naturally seeks from us “godly offspring”–a conformity portrayed by the subjugated Israelites which ultimately boasted of no small advantage over their pagan taskmasters.
That being said, at large, Christian “churches”–(what have mistakenly come to be considered but a public building, so designated)–have long been failing to regard God with the reverence due Him as a daily–(which may be better expressed as a week-long)–reality, Sovereign over all aspects of life, not merely to be regarded for the length of the sermon preached by the pastor, but to fill our conversations, whatever we discuss, directly afterwards and to be found seasoning our speech, whether obviously or otherwise, with whomever we find ourselves talking to, unmindful of place.
As a man having attended many churches–(far too many frankly)–and attaining unto a respectable distinction in all, being even sought for the office of elder, among others, despite my youth, and now finding surpassingly finer nourishment for my Christian development in such impersonal fellowship as the one in question, I subsequently find myself at no loss to account for the rapid growth of such online assemblies, where seekers of truth can finally discover its fullness, unobstructed and undiscouraged, if only among numerous unassociated and disembodied teachers as the internet readily supplies. Alas, physical ‘churches’ teach more of man’s tradition than of God’s instruction, (hearing more from a pastor than from the reading of God’s Word), and indulge such carnal routines as the Lord sternly forbids indulging, caring more for banquets, performances, and general frivolity, as well as the care and decor of the building they themselves have consecrated, doing so in place of the temple, which tabernacle they are, consecrated by God Himself.
It would be nice to see a return to the way God established His church, making the faithful move back to nondenominational localities, with elders being appointed in strict accordance with the qualifications laid out for them in Titus and Timothy, and there not being one overly-regarded pastor singled out for headship in the place of the Head and Shepherd who is Christ; with the churches being the people, and so meeting in one another’s houses, the members being given to acts of hospitality, which begets healthy community and indirectly addresses all manner of social weaknesses, instead of having a separate building, requiring all the additional funds for its maintenance, with concern for the exemptions, rights and benefits which the pagan state may or may not award it or possibly revoke from it; with husbands teaching their wives and children, and disciplining the latter, commanding respect at home and among the fellowship, and so exercising the abilities which might make them into proper Christian teachers and leaders.
Congregants in these modern denominations remain weak, as concerns a knowledge of Scripture, and the hardest thing to discuss with others in ‘church’ is the Word of God, and His impact on one’s regular life and thoughts, which conversation, if promoted among believers, would only prepare one for witnessing and sharing the Gospel to those lost persons which he invariably befriends or associates with in his life. My heart laments the long, slow, stubborn rejection of what God has given us.
The internet churches are the last stronghold for the communal believers of Christ, which won’t take much for the government to squelch with its ever-growing censorship; and then what will have become of Christ’s great Church, which He in His great wisdom has given to believers due to the fact that, much like the secular adage of there being “strength in numbers”, “it is not good that man should be alone”!