Friday, November 12, 2010


"Centering" The Church

Ben Witherington looks at satellite video churches and church related vagaries of the modern age:
There was always an embodied real live person delivering the message in Paul's day, whether it was Paul or one of his co-workers. This practice provides no precedent for what Pastor Young is doing. Were he to follow the Pauline precedent, he would send a real person to his other umpteen churches to deliver the same message. The second major problem with this model is of course the disconnecting of preaching from pastoral care and getting to know one's people.
Witherington goes on to declare such a congregation "not a part fo the body of Christ." Not sure I would go that far, that is judgment beyond my portfolio - "wrong." "troubled," "misguided" certainly all apply, but I'm not prone to throwing anyone out of the club with out a much bigger reason than this.

But I do love his point about separating preaching from pastoral care. There is something about presence - or incarnation to use a big theological word - that really matters in all of this. If video would really work then God would not need to have bothered with all that incarnation stuff - He could have "mailed it in."

This is little more than entertainment - but then so much of the church is reduced to that these days. Simply asking what music people like instead of what music best expresses the message of the moment means we are considering entertainment above the gospel.

While remote video makes a fine medium for the presentation of ideas, being a Christian is far more than ascension to a set of principles - it is even more than a way of life - it is a consuming fare in which we are remade into new people. It is transformative, or it is less than the totality of Christianity. Transformation is a fleshy thing, not a purely intellectual one. It takes presence.

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