Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

Why hold web church to a higher standard than other churches?

with 4 comments

By now, you probably know that I’m pretty serious about exploring whether the church can be the church online.

I feel like I’m called to that purpose, and I feel like we need to be brave enough to try things that we aren’t entirely comfortable with in order to “by testing discern what is the will of God.” I have plans to take Mark Driscoll’s critique of the Web Church and offer my view of whether his theological points are sufficient to disqualify the web church at this point in its maturity.

I don’t want to be an uncritical apologist for the Web Church. There are many aspects of the Web Church that I’ve got personal reservations about, and many others that I think need to be tested before we can claim that it can fit within Biblical orthodoxy.

But what does bother me is that so often the critiques are coming from the point of view that the web church is a church expression that is incomplete, artificial (p.14 of link) or limited.

To which my response is: When has any church at any time not struggled with those things in one form or another?

Overall, it just seems like the church — even the early church! — was and is always and gloriously in the process of reaching toward the full expression of God’s grace and glory in the world — and failing backwards and forwards.

Why should the web church be held to a higher standard?

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Written by NickCharalambous

June 25, 2009 at 10:32 am

Posted in web campus

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. Good way to raise the question, re: how to evaluate the church-ness of a web-based church vs. a in-person physical gathering known as church. It’d be a much better world if followers of Christ would allow differing expressions of church rather than spending all this energy on criticizing how someone else is worshipping the very same God we love and adore, wouldn’t it?

    djchuang

    June 28, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    • Thanks for your comment, DJ … love what you do with the Leadership Network. I think everyone spends way too much time on criticism and confrontation. I love that Jesus approach was “if they are not against us, they are for us.”

      ipiphanist

      June 28, 2009 at 9:14 pm

  2. Nick, one thing I’ve noticed is that some of the critiques of online church are applicable to the mega church model as well.

    For example, Matthew Anderson’s argument is really interesting, but it is probably just as valid to make concerning large suburban mega-churches where someone must have the technology of a vehicle to get there. Furthermore, if homelessness is a concern, one should be aware that a homeless person is much more likely to have internet access (via the library) than a car.

    Of course, you mentioned that you too have personal reservations regarding the church online, and I think those should be explored vigorously. But I do find it unhelpful when those in the discussion fail to realize how “high tech” their church is already and that their own models would fail under the same scrutiny.

    johndyer

    June 30, 2009 at 8:43 am

    • Awesome comment. I think there are plenty of planks in the eyes of those who seek to delegitimize online worship. Overall, i still think leveraging the web more fully in our physical churches is the way forward, rather than trying to create a self-contained online worship environment.

      ipiphanist

      June 30, 2009 at 10:06 am


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