Olsen Park Church of Christ

The Christian and Technology

Introduction. This generation has seen an explosion of technological advancements unequaled in human history. Within fifty years we have gone from…

·         Wired dial-up telephones, black and white televisions with “rabbit ear” antennas, and computers that would fill a room…

·         To devices that fit in your hand with more capability than all of those older devices combined!

In some ways the challenges posed by these advances is nothing new. The same moral issues we face now have been around since the beginning. But, in other ways, there are some new challenges that come from the use, capability, and dangers of such devices that we as Christians must consider if we are to be pleasing to God.

Definition: What do I mean by Technology? Many things such as 1) cell-phones and smart-phones; 2) computers and touch-pads; 3) video games, and controllers; 4) televisions (big-screen, hi-def, 3D), blue-ray, DVDs, Net-flix, You-tube, and cable television; 5) audio devices, such as mp3 players, i-pods, etc. All of these things fall into what we could call technology.

Technology Presents Some…

I. Great Opportunities.

A.  For Study and Teaching.

1. There are Bible study tools that can do in minutes what it would have taken years to do in the past. Now in services, it is quite common for people to pull out a smart-phone to look up a Scripture.

2. There are studies, and publications, and articles, and online sermons (audio and text) that would have cost a fortune in the past.

3. People separated by hundreds and thousands of miles can communicate instantly.

4. Opportunities to teach people are more convenient than ever before—if only we choose to use these tools to glorify God. (2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:15-16).

B.  For Encouragement and Contact.

1. So called “social media” provides ways in which we can stay in touch with one another without being intrusive.

2. Phone calls, text-messages, e-mails, Facebook postings can allow Christians to encourage brethren who are down, watch for discouragement, offer a positive influence, and show love for one another. (Rom. 12:15-16; Phil 2:4).

C.  For Positive Influence.

1. There are literally millions of resources available to watch, listen to, read, and interact with that can offer positive, godly influences to help shape good attitudes, positive behaviors, and wholesome character. Rom. 12:9 – “Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.”

2. Christians can produce and publish on the internet materials that can counter the wicked influences of media and culture. You don’t have to have great resources and lots of money. A camera, a computer, a word-processor, can offer great tools to help others. (Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:14-15).

D.  For Time Saving.

1. When my father was preaching when I was a little boy, he used a teaching tool that was common in his day—bed sheet charts. A bed sheet (or cloth sheet) was hung up on a stand to visibly show the sermon points he wanted to present.

2. Preparation of such charts took hours. You had to buy the cloth, carefully write the text by hand. Purchase markers or paints and hope you didn’t make a mistake or run out of ink.

3. Now, while it still takes time to write a sermon, when it is finished, you can “cut and paste” the outline of a sermon into a PowerPoint file and produce an image easier to see, in only minutes.

4. Letters, articles, class preparation, Bible study, can all be done in a fraction of the time it used to take—allowing Christians to do more study and teaching, if they will choose to do it. (Eph. 5:15-17).

II. Great Dangers.

A.     Time It Consumes.

1.      While technology can save time, it can also consume time.

2.      We feel like we always have to have our computer or smart-phone with us. We become “glued” to these devices and sometimes become oblivious to the world around us.

3.      We may devote hours to texting, Facebook, Twitter, You-tube, video games, television shows, or movies—but then we find no time for serving God, our family, or others. (Rom. 13:11-12).

B.      Influences It Presents.

1.      While technology can present positive influences it also can expose us to some of the most wicked and evil influences we can imagine.

2.      Cable television, the internet, DVDs, and music can expose Christians to images, and language, and actions that in the past could only be found in the dark and wicked environments of the ungodly.

3.      Not only crude and sensual kinds of influences, but even the influence of false religion, intellectual challenges to faith, and the negative influence of a godless and unbelieving world can be poured into our minds through technology in ways never dreamed of in the past. (1 Cor. 15:33-34; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).

C.     Actions It Motivates.

1.      There is a curious phenomenon that is resulting from the flood of modern technology which Christians probably never even anticipated.

2.      The anonymity that can sometimes result from technology can allow people to do things they wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise.

3.      Text messages, e-mails, or postings, may use language we wouldn’t ever say if talking to someone directly, but people will type rude responses to people, or offer angry thoughtless comments for the whole world to see.

4.      Pictures may be sent, or videos posted of actions that are shameful—imagining that no one will ever see them, but how many stories have we heard on the news of celebrities shamed by such things? (Col. 3:22-24; 2 Cor. 8:21).

5.      The very technology that can give us instant information, can also pose distractions. The smart-phone we can use to look up a Bible verse, can also tell us the score in that game that is going on during services. Is that really what we ought to be doing when it is time to worship God?

D.     Attitudes It Fosters.

1.      In addition to actions that are immoral or speech that is rude and unkind, attitudes and actions fostered by technology can include discontentment, ingratitude, and a constant hunger for something new and different.

2.      Think about the power that companies have over us! We scrimp and save and go in debt to get that latest version of a game, or a device—a new television, computer, smart-phone, or touch pad. Then two months down the line there is a new feature added. Everyone has it. It can do so much more. How can you get by without it?

3.      So, we scrimp and save and go in debt to get it, until the next version comes along.

4.      This is one thing if we are talking about things, but does this ever spill over into other areas of our life? Do we start to view our mate this way? Are we only going to be happy with something new and different? Do we start to see the church this way? Are we no longer content with the simple “old paths” of the gospel, and find ourselves craving something new and different? This attitude can be very dangerous! (Heb. 13:5-6).

Conclusion. The religious group known as the Amish took a position years ago in which they chose to essentially freeze their own culture at a set stage of technology in order to foster contentment and avoid negative influences. To this day they drive horse drawn buggies, have no televisions, telephones, or radios, and avoid most conveniences of modern life. We might admire some things about this choice, but must recognize that in doing this they not only cut-off their ability to influence the world around them, but set down rules God did not bind upon man.

            We cannot totally “come out of” the world or we lose our ability to influence the world, but we must make certain that we do not allow the world, and the “things of the world”—whether we are talking about people, or the flashy, fascinating, devices they create to control us.

Kyle Pope 2012

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