Putting the dusty word “theology” right next to the gleaming word “technology,” may seem a little bit odd. Theology and technology feel like opposite poles on the planet of science. This is the year 2010, however, and the church has the responsibility to transmit theology through technology. But why…and how?
Methods are Many
Someone once said, “Methods are many. Principles are few. Methods always change, Principles never do!”
Besides being a catchy little rhyme, it’s a true statement. In the case of the church, some things ought never to change—the principles of God’s Word. Sure we have different tools than the believers did in the first century. We have new and refined approaches to interpretation. We have had a long time to work with and understand God’s Word, but the Bible remains the same. Even though we are “the age of a new church,” there is nothing new about the message we carry. The only thing that changes is the way of carrying it and broadcasting it—the tools, the methods, the means.
A Look Back
Timeless principles communicated through changing methods have been the historical model of Christianity. Let’s take just one example.
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German tradesman, inventor, and sometimes huckster. His business savvy was equaled only by his creativity. He is recognized as the first person in the West to print with a movable type printing press. The invention rocked the world. It was like flint and steel to the European Renaissance, and was a huge contribution to the Reformation.
Luther, the German reformer, leveraged the power of the printing press, circulating thousands of theses, broadsheets, and 300,000 copies of his tracts. Bibles poured off the presses, furnishing thousands of European readers with their own copy of the Holy Scriptures. The Reformation providentially advanced because Christians used cutting edge technology—the printing press—to advance the Kingdom. The Christian community seized upon what was a nascent and even controversial piece of technology. It allowed them to essentially turn the world upside down. The impact of the Christians’ use of technology in the 1400s and beyond cannot be underestimated.
Technology continues to shape our age and mold our society. The church finds itself in a milieu bristling with new modes of communication, methods of entertainment, and tools for industry. We have a choice. We can cling to comfortable traditionalism and suffer anachronistic decline. Or, we can embrace the technology and advance the gospel. Choice A means reaching fewer people. Choice B means the potential of riding the crest of evangelistic success.
It’s a Stewardship Thing.
The very fact that you’re reading this is a testament to your acceptance of technology. The only question is are you maximizing it for the gospel’s sake? It is one thing to admit that technology can be a powerful tool. It is quite another thing to find it, learn it, invest in it, and use it. After all, learning new technology is quite a bit of work. It costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of time.
There is a principle in the Bible known as the Stewardship Principle. In Luke 12:41-49, Jesus tells a story with a powerful point. The point is this: since we have been given so much, we ought to be doing all we can with what we have been entrusted. “Aggressive,” “active,” “faithful,” “productive,” and “visionary” are the kind of traits that ought to characterize a 2010 Technology Steward.
At the risk of sounding cliché, technology is flat-out astounding. As I write, I’m typing on a MacBook Pro, using a wireless connection to stay plugged in to the web. I don’t flinch when I download megabytes of data, or upload blogs for the whole world to see. I email, tweet, Facebook, blog, and watch videos. Technology is a gift from God. Creativity, by which people develop technology, is part of the human’s persona—a trait hardwired in by a Sovereign Maker who designed man in his own image.
Thus, we not only can embrace technology, but we should. Think about it—the gift, the privilege, the potential, and the God-endorsed nature of technology! True, humans pervert creativity for their own sinful desires, but this does not denigrate the potential of the technology. It only reemphasizes the need for redemptive usage of that technology.
“Theology through technology” is not just a cute phrase for a blog post. It is a mandate for the modern church.
Okay, so this article would be absolutely useless without some practical “how-to” about theology through technology. Prepare to be disappointed. Since this blog article is already too long, I’m going to have to wait until another day to provide the in-depth how-to on theology through technology. (But stay tuned, I will provide practical advice…).
The potential is literally at your fingertips, though. To make a list would be futile and insufficient. For starters, you can use email, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can check out the resources on Sharefaith.com, which provides media for the modern church.
Whatever you do, do to God’s glory. This is the age of a new church. This is an invitation to do theology through technology, to the glory of God.