Ecclesiology


At the beginning of Thomas á Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ he speaks of the most important thing a Christian can do in their life time is to study Christ.  Yet it is not enough to merely study him but to imitate him in our everyday lives.  The very practice of doing or saying what  Jesus said or did is to experience a bit of life through the mind of Jesus Christ.  Think about it, when Jesus didn’t ignore those who were often invisible in his culture (like children) but embraced them.  Such an act changes a person from the inside out.  One learns to see the disenfranchised with compassion and love.  Or when Jesus said to turn the other cheek or walk the extra mile for an enemy.  This sort of sacrificial living teaches that life is not all about us and that even the hearts of our enemies can be softened.

We can also examine the lifestyle of Christ, how he spent significant amount of time away in prayer.  We all need this time of prayer and fellowship with God.  We can often fall into the trap of feeding our rational/intellectual side of being human and neglect the other basic need of being a social being as well.  We need that time to simply have relationship with God.  This is vital for becoming like Christ.  Paul encourages us in Romans to have the mind of Christ, to renew our minds.  A very big element of this is spending time, getting to know Jesus.  What does this do?  It helps us to truly think, act, and speak like Jesus.  I believe that this is the reason for so much nonsense in the world and even among so-called Christians who appeal to a gospel, that Paul says in Galatians 1, REALLY ISN”T A GOSPEL AT ALL.  Why?  Because they have perverted the faith of Christ, the apostles, the early Church fathers and mothers, and great men and women of God down through the ages for a lie.  How?  Because they do not truly know Christ or have not spent significant time in his presence getting to know him.  Instead they follow their passions, imaginations, feelings, emotions, lusts…to create something that though it sounds biblical because they use scripture, it is not biblical at all because they twist scripture.

In Jeremiah God speaks of false prophets crying out, “Peace, Peace” but the message and warning from God was that “there is no peace” but judgment.  Why is this important to recall?  Because we need to be in tune with God the Father and be aware of what is coming down the pike.  We need to be able to heed his warnings.  We need to be able to know the truth when we hear it and know what is false.  There is a lot of false teaching out there as we speak.  We live in a very pluralistic society where people are making up beliefs as they go along.  While studying philosophy in my undergrad, one thing that drove me nuts was that there was a philosopher for every crazy belief you could think of.  One day my professor said, “Philosophy is a dangerous thing, with the right charisma and eloquent rhetoric, a philosopher or orator could prove that a toothpick is God.”  Sounds ridiculous huh?  Well there are people that teach that god is in everything, in all matter and that that matter possesses the essence of God.  Therefore if God is in a tree and that toothpick came from the tree that housed God…the toothpick is God too.

So what is the safeguard to all of this.  Praying, and sticking to the faith you have received.  Pay attention to that check in your spirit that says, “You know…that sounds all nice and stuff but something isn’t right here, something is off.”  St. Irenaeus was a bishop in the ancient Roman province of Gaul in the second century AD.  He was very close to the time of the apostles and had received the faith that had been handed down to him by very trusted and faithful men.  In turn he taught the “barbarians” in Gaul, the simple folks who could not read or write.  Yet he says in Against Heresies if someone came and began to teach them a different Gospel than what the apostles had handed down to them they would recognize it immediately as a lie and would turn and run the other way.  It is a faith that many have suffered for, died for, and guarded, not only with their words but with their hearts, minds and lives.  We need to honor them by taking our faith as seriously as they did.

The moral of that story is that it is better for most Christians to not even listen to deception and to flee from it instead.  Now God has called many throughout the Church ages to practice what is known as “apologetics” or the defense of the faith.  Yet these individuals are usually deeply grounded in the teachings of Christianity and are very familiar with why we believe what we believe and most of the details behind our faith.  But the truth of the matter is that most Christians do not have the time, the resources, the interest or the calling to engage in this.  We are all part of the same body with different gifts, passions, and callings that are equally as vital and useful to our community as the next.  I have no ability in leading worship because I sing like a sick duck.  Yet I am thankful for those who are called into this ministry who can lead us into the presence of God through worship.

I say all this because it is necessary in our day to stay anchored in the faith and know what that faith is.  There are a lot of false gospels as Paul says in Galatians, but they are no gospels at all.  In fact, he says “If anyone teaches you another gospel than the one we have given, even if I or angels come doing so, let him be cursed.”  Pretty strong language that wouldn’t go over big in our day.  But his language emphasizes the urgency of his warning.  This is why Jesus was so sturn with those who departed from the true faith, same as the apostles, same as the early Church fathers and mothers.  Thomas Oden says in his three volume work Systematic Theology that “the vital question for Christians is not rather it is palatable but rather it is true.”  We are not interested in only the things we like about scripture but what is true…what is scripture and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles claiming is true.  That’s what we want to know.  That’s what we need.  That’s what God expects of us.

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Let me start by saying this, “YOUR TESTIMONY AS A BELIEVER IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL OF EVANGELISM YOU HAVE IN YOUR ARSENAL.”   Piggy backing off of my previous article, it is apparent that the world is filled with Christopher Hitchenses.  That is, our faith as Christian believers is being challenged on a daily basis.  I have watched several of Hitchens’ debates against many Christians and people of various faith backgrounds.  He has debated theologians, scholars, authors, ministers, social activists etc.  As I have mentioned, overall, I think they have all lost the debates to Hitchens for various reasons.  Yet in the midst of all of these debates there was one debater, and one single moment that seemed silent but POWERFUL. 

During the debate between Marvin Olasky and Hitchens, Olasky says to Hitchens (my paraphrase), “I don’t know what teaching you have absorbed over the years that has made you believe the way you do.  But whatever the reason…I pity you.”  Olasky went on to say, “There is something that you and I have in common.  We were both married and then divorced.  In my first marriage, I was an atheist and did not know how to be a husband.  I was a bad husband.  It only lasted two years.  Then I got remarried but this time as a Christian.  Christianity taught me how to be a husband and a father.  I have been married for thirty years.”  WOW!

If you watch Hitchens, his demeanor changes and he seems taken back.  He even says something to the effect of, “Well said” to Olasky.  It may be the first time I have seen Hitchens like that.  Why do you think?  I think it’s because Olasky used, and maybe not purposefully, the most powerful element of Christianity we have.  EXPERIENCE!  No one can refute your testimony.  No one can dismiss your witness.  No one can reject your experience.  Why?  Because it is your proof that it is real, that something is going on here that no outsider can convince you with all their logic, reason, and rhetoric otherwise. 

What Olasky was saying was that he has experienced the power of the Gospel in his life and not even Hitchens in all of his brilliance can take that away.  Hitchens, I think, knows this too.  The Gospel has the power to change and transform lives and it has done exactly that.  Hitchens can’t convince the ex-drug dealer or alcoholic who came to Christ and was delivered that there is no power in the Gospel.  In fact, I know some of those people.  I have heard their stories how the impossible was made possible because they had an encounter with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

I work with a man who I knew as no more than an alcoholic bum.  God got a hold of him and flipped him upside down and then right side up. He went through a traumatic divorce during all of this and I thought for sure he would go back to drinking.  Yet the power of God that changed his life, identity, and desires stuck with him and he is still living strong for the Lord.  That’s an experienced reality of the power of God in someone’s life.  No one is going to tell that man there is no God and that Christianity is a flop.  I think he might just laugh at such a remark.

I am reminded of John 9.  I trust you have a Bible to look it up…if not you must be viewing this from a computer so you can search that passage on an online Bible.  If you need a Bible, email me and I will get one to you.  Okay back to John 9.  This is the passage where Jesus, rather sanitarily spits on some dirt and makes mud balls.  He smothers the mud onto some blind guy’s eyes and tells the man to go wash the germy mud off.  The man does and could see.  He was healed miraculously!  The Pharisees get their robes all in a bunch and get mad about the healing.  After much interrogation of both the blind man and his parents the blind man says one of the most profound things in scripture.  The Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a sinner and try to undermine him.  The blind man responds, “I don’t know if he is a sinner, but one thing I do know—I was blind but now I see.”  Wow that is awesome!!! 

The man was blind from birth.  Jesus heals him.  The Pharisees pout and have a hissy fit about it.  Who is really blind in this narrative?  Who?  Right…the religious leaders who should have known better.   These leaders were the intelligencia of their day.  You know…the guys who knew it all and were well studied in matters on many subjects.  But their whining and reasonable arguments did not matter a hill of beans to the blind man who could finally see.  HE COULD SEE!  Nobody was going to take that away from him…NOBODY! 

This is my argument against those who want to align themselves against the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ: all the bells and whistles of reason and logic don’t hold a match to what we have personally experienced as Christians.  I have so many testimonies I don’t know where to begin.  I know people who have so many testimonies it would take weeks to cover.  So while we sit around holding debates and theorizing about the God of the Bible and the reality of the risen Savior Jesus Christ being real or not—there are people all over the world experiencing his power NOW.  If you don’t believe me I will point you in the direction of many folks that are in the midst of it and seeing it move like wild fire across countries like China and Sudan.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it I say this…get out of your dead and dried up churches into a church that actually expects God to move and live.  If you haven’t been to church find one that expects God to be real and to move in their midst.  If you walk into a church that hands you a bulletin of how the service is going to go…walk back out… because they have obviously structured and choreographed God right out of the service. 

This may rub some of my Christian brothers and sisters the wrong way but listen.  There is a world that is hungry for the reality of God in this decaying world and they are depending on you to proof it to them.  Stop playing church for goodness sakes and start calling out for the fire of God to fall on you.  You don’t want to?  Then slowly wait for the day when your old church doors and windows are boarded up and ICHABOD is plastered across them. 

God is moving and waiting for YOU to jump in!  Throw off the chains of this culture that are holding you down!  Stop protecting your reputations and securities and get embarrassed for God!  Let him interrupt your controlled life and infuse it with the power of his Holy Spirit.  Does that make you feel uncomfortable?  Right…it’s suppose to. God wants to invade your life and fill it with his presence.  But you have to let him in.  Whatever is holding you back needs to be submitted.  Yuck, not that word again.  SUBMIT and YIELD yourself to God…I promise, you won’t regret it.

As you embrace him he will give you an experience, testimony, and reality that no one can ever take away. 

Blessings!

Have you ever been so at odds with someone that you find yourself making very stubborn, hard-headed decisions specifically to spite that individual?  To be honest, I have.  I have been so mad at a person that I have done things and reacted in ways that caused bigger headaches for me than the one I was trying to spite.  But you know, it felt so darn good at the moment.  Looking back I am embarrassed and ashamed at the immaturity in which I have handled myself at times.  Yuck!

The unfortunate thing is that I am not the only one who has done this.  The Church pews are filled with Christians who do it to their brothers and sisters often.  Growing up in the Church, I have observed that Christians can be the most vengeful and vile creatures that have ever walked the face of the earth.  How odd when our Lord has commanded us to love one another and that it is this very love that would set us APART from the world. 

I bring this topic up because today I read an article in a popular biblical archeology magazine.  The article mentioned that there are two horrid and ugly scaffolds that dangle oddly from the temple mount in Jerusalem.  There is one on the eastern wall and one on the western.  Why?  Because some years ago work had to be done on the walls because the stones in the wall were bulging out.  Why were they bulging?  Well it depends on who you ask.

If you ask the Jews they blame it on the Muslims who brought in a bull dozer some years ago to dig up the ground on the mount.  Well why shouldn’t they, they own the area up there?  They dug up the ground to put in underground mosques.  As they dug they dump much dirt and debris over into the Kidron Valley.  Carelessly they unearthed many archeological riches that were underground in what is known as “Solomon’s Stables.”  They discarded into the valley ancient pottery, vessels, a pillar, and an assortment of goods.  The Jews say that during this process they compromised the ground causing it to put added pressure on the walls.

If you ask the Muslims they blame the Jews, saying they somehow mischievously interrupted the structures so that they could cause an uproar and blame the Muslims.  Others say that it was from years of erosion, given the fact that their had been an earthquake and unusually heavy snowfall the same winter.

Regardless of who was to blame, neither party would allow the other to fix the damage because of pure bitterness and mistrust for each other.  So what did they agree to do a year after bickering?  They hired the Jordanians to do the job.  Well unfortunately the Jordanians did a shotty job and it looks horrible.  The new stone brick they used stands out like a sore thumb next to the old brick and they did nothing to blend it together so it would sort of flow.  To add insult to injury, they took off when the job was done (I use that term lightly), leaving the ugly scaffolds still suspended against the walls. 

Years later the scaffolds remain.  Why?  Because the Jews and the Muslims can’t agree to who should take the stupid things down.  Right now you are probably thinking what I’m thinking–WOW!

Yet miles away, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands a ladder that has been in the same position for 200 years.  Why?  Well that’s simple, because two conflicting schools of priests will not agree on who should move the thing. 

We may laugh but I would venture to guess that something of this nature is occurring in every church in America, not to mention the world.  Picture this, So-and-So not talking to Mrs. and Mr. Whatsdername because they sat in their pew one Sunday that they have been sitting in for the past 15 years.  Or how about a rotting steeple that’s ready to collapse because the Board of Trustees can’t agree if the extra money in the budget should fix that or by new hymnals for the sanctuary.  Or a shared parking lot in disrepair (causing a hazard to everyone) won’t get fixed because the Baptist Church can’t agree with the Methodist Church (or you fill in the denominational name) on whose turn it is to pave it.  Worse yet, the outreach program to the inner city gets cancelled because there was too much bickering amongst the church on if they should allow homosexuals into their church or not.

For whatever reason we snicker when it’s those Jews and Muslims shaking fists at each other or when those Protestants and Catholics are throwing rocks in Belfast, but when the light is shone on our silliness we squirm.  Yet these words of Paul come to my mind and stand in blinding contrast to our shallowness.  To the Corinthians in his first letter in chapter one he writes:

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose.  11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.

Then again in 3:1-4 he writes:

1 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4 For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human?

We see here from Paul’s letter that there was obviously division as silly as the ones mentioned above in the church of Corinth.  Paul’s message is that such division is according to the flesh.  Such fleshly attitudes and behaviors lead to our spiritual lack of growth.  As long as we get hung up on such things we will never be ready for the meat of the gospel. 

I pray that you and myself are able in all things to be humble in all circumstances and passionate about the unity of our family in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

We are all familiar with the story in the gospels of the “Rich Young Ruler” who comes to Jesus and asks him what he must do to “inherit eternal life.”  I suspect most Christians could summarize the entire story found in Matthew 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-31.  However once the young ruler walks away disappointed and sad at Jesus telling him to sell all of his stuff and give it to the poor, we tend to forget what comes after.  With a few more exchange of words we heard Jesus conclude by saying, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  (Mark 10:29-31; NIV; italics mine for emphasis). 

One will note at first that Mark and Matthew differ in their time fulfillment emphasis of when this 100X reimbursement will take place.  Matthew leaves it open-ended and does not quite mention when he thinks it will be fulfilled.  His addition of the words “and eternal life” almost seem to place it in the future when the Lord returns and the consummation of all things has occurred.  Yet he could very well see it the way Mark sees it, that the fulfillment or at least the beginning of it is received “in this present age.”  If so what does this mean for the follower of Christ NOW?  Some have interpreted this as a hundred fold return in a Prosperity Gospel manner of understanding things.  I have heard several Prosperity Gospel sermons about this passage supporting the belief that God wants us to have many homes and properties–NOW!  Yet this seems a bit too shallow of an interpretation for me.

A couple of thoughts come to my mind at this point.  First, I consider Mark’s audience.  They are part of the early church.  They are a mostly a gentile congregation in Asia-minor.  There is no doubt that they are under persecution from the circumcised Jews as well as pockets of the Roman Empire, as evidence in Jesus’ parenthetical addition to his list of 100-fold returns, “and persecutions”.  Many of them have lost everything for the gospel and choosing to follow Christ.  Many have lost their jobs for not being willing to join or remain in working guilds that require one to bow to Caesar to be part of the guild.  Others have been rejected by family members for joining this new sect of Judaism or leaving their true Jewish tradition as circumcised Jews believed

Secondly, the flavor of this passage does not seem to me to taste what the Prosperity Gospel interpreters taste here.  I think Jesus’ message of a sort of reimbursement is deeper and flows more with the overall message of the New Testament.  I think what Jesus envisions here is what Paul speaks of in Ephesians.  In 1:5 he speaks of us being adopted as God’s children, therefore having a new family.  In 3:15 he speaks of our “whole family in heaven.”  This is what Jesus means by a 100-fold return of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers etc.  As mentioned in a previous article, we are leaving one family for another.  Does this mean we do away with the biological family? By no means, it means we are adopted into a new one with the hope of bringing the biological ones along.  But if the biological family rejects Christ, they are not to come between you and the Lord.  You see this of Jesus’ life as well in Mark 6:1-6 and 3:31-35.

Yet there is a third reason that jumps out at me like a hungry hyena.  In Acts 2:42-47 we find the very beginnings of the fulfillment of what Jesus was speaking of in the gospels above.  We see the new family of believers doing exactly that, living this new Christian life as a community of believers.  Luke reveals to us that these early Christians:

 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This, I believe, is what Jesus was talking about—a community.  He was speaking of the Church community and this is what the gospels were emphasizing.  But Mark wanted to make sure that unlike Matthew, we were told that it is for “this present age.”  What you see in Acts is that these believers were not a self serving people and they were definitely not storing up treasures on earth.  They were selling their possessions and goods so that they could help and provide for ANYONE in need.  Do you see this in the Church today?  Is this what the guys on TV are preaching?  I think not. 

Jesus foresaw, if you will, a community of believers who left their homes, fields and families only to inherit a new community of homes, fields and families.  It may be illustrated in this way.  Imagine a man who left all those things behind to follow Christ.  As he wanders through the street a Christian land owner sees that this fellow looks a bit glum and anxious.  As he asks this wanderer who he is and what he’s doing, the wanderer tells this Christian that he is a fellow believer who has just left so much behind including his home.  The Christian tells his brother-wanderer, “Do not fear, mi casa sui casa.  What is mine is yours. “ 

This is how the new community was meant to live.  We are to have all things in common so that everything I have is not mine but the community of believers’.  We are to lend but never have to borrow.  Why?  Because if I see all these things as ours, I am not really borrowing am I?  We are sharing.  If the Church was living in such a manner, what difference do you think it would make?  I think we would be a lot better off and fewer Christians would be struggling in as many areas as they are.

  Why are so many Christians lonely?  They should have 100-fold of a family.

Why are so many Christians financially struggling?  They should be helped by their new family 100-fold.

Why are many Christians homeless in so many ways?  They should have 100-fold homes. 

I am not talking about get rich quick schemes or people working the system.  I am talking about a selfless community where we all work for the common good of the Church and each other.  What does it look like when we don’t live out the vision of Christ?  It looks like a minister living in a $3 million dollar home driving a Rolls Royce while his brother-wanderer lives in a shack, barely a meal a day, walking to his three minimum wage jobs, while trying to feed his family.  It looks like a local church taking up constant offerings to build a new $12 million church instead of taking up offerings so that the money can be distributed in such a way to help those in need. 

Most recently my wife and I have been thinking very seriously about the so called, “Prosperity Gospel.”  I don’t know exactly who coined this phrase or named the movement.  What I do know is that it has permeated some of the evangelical church and has several ministers who promote the belief.  Men and women such as Ken and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Bill Winston, Jesse Duplantis and the list goes on.  My goal is to give this belief a honest, thoughtful, prayerful consideration before I commit my life and family to it. 

I do believe that God wants to bless us and meet our needs, scripture is clear on this.  However, I do have difficulty seeing exactly where the excess of material gain is promoted.  It is notable that many men of God were men of significant substance in the Old Testament.  To name a few we find Abraham and his sons, Joseph, David, Solomon and Job.  Yet one must also note that these men were also leaders of sizable groups and the wealth was shared as a community.  In addition, there is scripture that is hesitant if not unpleased with great wealth and accumulation thereof.  Deuteronomy 17:14-20 warns against the kings of Israel accumulating too much wealth and specifically says, don’t do it.  Deut. 31:14-29 also predicts the departure of the Hebrew people from Yahweh as they enter the promise land and get fat on prosperity.  In the words of Walter Brueggemann, “Affluence can tend to produce amnesia.”  That is to say, wealth can cause us to forget our identity and our God. 

Yet especially when we transition to the New Testament I am not sure I see the Prosperity Gospel as being as bold and as observable a message as some would paint.  I wonder if in many cases it is forced into the text, that a presupposition colors the truer interpretation of the message.  Often times, PGP’s (Prosperity Gospel Preachers) point to a passage like Matthew 25:14-30 as support for their view.  This passage is often referred to as, The Parable of the Talents.  If you are unfamiliar with this passage, it is the one where a master goes away leaving three servants with different quantities of talents.  The first servant is left with five, the second is left with two, and the third is left with one talent.  The first servant doubles his talents with action, the second doubles his, and the third buries his out of fear of his master.  The first two are approved by their master while the last one is scorned for his laziness and unproductiveness.  Because this parable uses the imagery of money PGP’s make this parable a money issue.  It’s used as prooftext for why we need to multiply our monies.  I believe this sort of interpretation trivializes the richness and depth of this parable.  I think the imagery of monies is no more literal than the imagery of people being sheeps and goats. 

Another challenge I have is how much this endeavour actually looks like 21st century, western-capitalism.  It is a drive for materialism.  Often PGP’s begin sermons with a disclaimer saying, “this is not materialism, but…”  Yet the content does not sound far off.  One baptist preacher in Atlanta says, “If you can’t tell the difference between a rapper and a Prosperity Gospel Minister, there’s a problem.” Now this may be a bit exaggerated but there may be a valid point here.  Rappers rap about money, how they get it and are going to get more and preachers preach it.  Is this what the gospel intended?

I am also struggling with putting Jesus in the shoes of some of these PGP’s.  For instance, I can’t see Jesus cruising around in a Rolls Royce, wearing Italian made designer suits, shuffling through money on a platform at church with his feet, or selling his books and cd’s at prices comparable to Best Buy or Walmart.  For him the gospel was FREE!

Also, what about humility and coming to Christ as little children?  Do little children care about enormous amounts of wealth?  When you bring up humility PGP’s say you are asking about a false humility, but I beg to differ.  What I am talking about is Jesus telling his disciples in Matthew 23:11 that the greatest among them would be their servant.  These men don’t seem to be ‘servants’ but often times ‘the served.’

In summary what I am finding difficulty with is:

1) I am not sure it lines up with scripture

2) It looks too much like our secular culture

3) Not sure I can see or hear Jesus preaching and acting like a PGP.

4) Doesn’t look like humble servitude.

     These observations are by no means exhaustive but introductory.  I would like to know what your thoughts are and how you might point me in the right direction if you find my perspective wanting.  Thank You!

The Digital World: Good, Bad or a Non-Issue for Christianity?

This article was written by a friend of mine.  He is a PhD Fellow at Regent University in Virginia in the field of communication.  I think my readers will find this article most intriguing.  Click on the title of the article above and it will link you to his site and the article.  Below I have posted my feelings on the issue.  Please feel free to comment on his site, I know he would greatly appreciate it.  In addition, I would very much enjoy to hear your responses (both to his article and my comment) here at “Jeremiah’s Trumpet” as well.   

“Mike this is such a thought provoking topic and mental exercise. By the way–great paper! I really think that the ethics of this age of digitalization is dependent on how the Church chooses to respond to it like all ages in Church history. Will we respond like we did in the age of Augustine and then Aquinis, often putting philosophy above scripture? Or how we responded in the modern era? Some of the church over-rationalized at the expense of faith while others ran and hid the light as it were under a haystack.

In this age of digitalization, will we run up the white flag of surrender and yield our ethics and message replacing Jesus with this new god? Will we over-digitalize the church, scripture, faith, and our Lord? Will we run and hide in a monastic commune somewhere wearing 1900’s clothing and only watching movies on Beta or VHS because new technology is evil (if you follow my satire)? I think all these responses are cowardice and unscriptural.

As always the Church is to engage the culture, being it’s conscience, and leading the way in using technology responsibly and ethically. We ought to be using the minds Christ gave us to explore and contemplate the dangers and abuses of digitalization and be teaching the flock to be responsible.

Obviously, the factors run very deep on this issue but I believe as always, if the Church is following the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit on these matters she will flourish. We need to be teaching the body of Christ that it can engage digitalization soberly while keeping up as Paul says in Romans on “the renewing of the mind.” We are aware of many of the issues at hand already and must educate our people so that they are not sucked into the black hole of “second life”, “facebook”, and endless searching. It is up to the Church through the guiding power of the Holy Spirit to alter the future of society and not become inept victims of it. (Sorry its wordy:)”