1. Greater opportunities for communication enable believers spread out over the globe to connect
Believers may correspond, pray for one another, and share digital resources via the world wide web. This facilitates greater cooperation as Christians move from country to country in this era of globalization. Introductions can be made before a believer visits a far away place on vacation or a business trip. Some of my friends and I regularly conduct home Bible studies using Skype to teach others in various far flung places.
2. The internet is a needy mission field
Chat rooms abound with lonely, desperate people. Social media sites like Facebook and Google+ can be used for posting gospel verses, explaining Christianity, advertizing gospel meetings, etc. The proliferation of evil on the internet is well-known; yet this generation has a unique opportunity to publicize God’s love in Christ.
3. Disseminating God’s Word in audio, video, and written format in a multitude of languages
As a sort of mini-digital Pentecost, the internet is now a place for finding the Bible in almost any widespread language. Many sites play the Word in audio format; thus benefitting the visually impaired and those with long commutes to work (an mp3 player is a worthy investment for listening to Scripture, Christian podcasts, books, and audio sermons.)
4. Making available more Christian literature and study tools than have ever been available in the history of the world
Downloadable free software such as E-sword, The Word, and Bible Explorer 4 put hundreds of Bibles, commentaries, and language tools at the willing student’s disposal. Other online Bible sites – such as blueletterbible.org and biblos.com – place many tools on the web for easy access wherever there is an internet connection. Many helpful Bible apps (e.g. You Version) turn one’s smartphone into a mobile library. What is more, book.google.com and archive.org have the contents of millions of public domain works (i.e. books with expired copyrights) posted for online reading or for download in epub, kindle, and pdf. formats. Other sites like stempublishing.com and biblecentre.org are rich treasuries of the commentaries, articles, hymns, and other writings on the Scriptures by old writers like Darby, Kelly, and Mackintosh.
5. Intelligently praying for global missions and keeping in touch with specific missionaries
In former generations, missionary reports were conducted when a missionary came home on furlough. Now they may be conducted on the web by the means of services like Skype or Facetime. Instead of waiting months for the missionaries to receive news from home, or for praying Christians to receive news from them, emails may keep all parties in touch on a regular basis.
6. Penetrating closed countries with the gospel and edifying believers in those places
Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and other countries are closed to open missionary work. The internet makes it possible to reach Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists and many others through gospel websites in the languages of those respective countries. Christians ought to pray for these efforts, as well as financially support those who are spreading the Word to closed countries through the world wide web.
7. Bringing the teaching and the preaching of saints who are now with the Lord to a new generation who may be unfamiliar with such ministry
In my teens and twenties, I was privileged to spend time with and sit under the ministries of several godly brothers who are now in glory. Many of their sermons are available at sites like voicesforchrist.net; thereby bringing the teaching of departed Christians of former days before the students of today.
This series of four posts are based on Keith Keyser’s final keynote address at the recent Why We Web Conference. This is the final post in the series.
Jump back to the first post in this series
The advent of the internet and the wider explosion of computer technology has opened the world to previously unimaginable opportunities in communication, education, and commerce, touching virtually every aspect of contemporary life.
This epoch-making change does not alter the essential mission of the Church. Believers must maintain the same core beliefs and practices, while using the new electronic tools for the glory of God.
The Mission Remains the Same:
1. Personal discipleship following the Lord Jesus Christ
E-mail, social media, and other ubiquitous aspects of online life must not be permitted to divert Christians from growing in their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Bible programs and online study tools abound, but they will not pray for you or impart teaching by some mystical digital osmosis. Believers still need to spend time with the Lord, prayerfully seeking Him in His Word. They must allow Him to speak to them through His Word, and they must obey what He says.
2. Dependence on the Holy Spirit for His power and gifts
Electronic tools can give one a false notion of power. Real power comes from God via His Holy Spirit. Saints must permit Him to work in and through them, producing His fruit (Phil. 2:12-13; Gal. 5:22-26.) They may use the internet as a tool for evangelism, Bible study, fellowship, and everyday life; yet this all must be done in reliance upon the Lord.
3.Glorifying God in personal worship
The highest duty of saints remains to worship the triune God. Whatever they do or not do on the web, daily adoration of the living Lord must be the priority to Christians. As Psalm 29:2 exhorts them: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
4. Carrying out the Great Commission
Before returning to heaven, the risen Christ commanded His church to “…Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matt. 28:18-20.) Believers must witness in real life, as well as online. The internet may be used as a tool to reach the lost with the gospel. It certainly must not sap our energy in holding forth the Word of life.
5. Edifying the Church
The church is to proclaim and teach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27.) Believers are to encourage each other and cultivate the fellowship that they have in the Church. What is more, they must pray for one another. The web may aid some of these efforts, but it cannot replace them.
In summary, the Christian Church must retain the same teachings and practices that the Lord Jesus Christ bequeathed to the apostles through His Spirit – the things that are recorded in the Bible for our instruction (John 16:13-15; Acts 2:42.)
This series of four posts are based on Keith Keyser’s final keynote address at the recent Why We Web Conference.
Do you have an interest in reaching Muslims with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you having a difficult time distinguishing between stereotypes and the truth? Is it your desire to share the truth in love with Muslim friends, but not sure how? If so the Understanding Islam – What Christians Need to Know Conference will help you learn what you need to know about this important topic.
The conference will be held at the Burton Manor in Livonia, MI on Saturday March 24, 2012. Doors open at 8am with the first session beginning at 9am, the conference concludes at 3pm. Registration is required. See the conference website for more information and to register.
The conference speakers have an intimate knowledge of the subject through years of personal experience. Ata Mikhael is a Lebanese Christian who is in full time ministry in the Detroit area as a church planter, radio host in the Arabic language, and translator. He has translated many books into Arabic including William MacDonald’s Believers Bible Commentary. Kenneth Hampton is also in full time ministry in the Detroit area working in the African American community and hosting a regular radio show. Paul Bramsen is a former missionary to Senegal and has authored several gospel books including One God One Message and The Way of Righteousness.
Don’t miss this event…. see you there!Read More
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Over the last 25 years the world we live in has radically changed. Back in 1987 most people had never heard of the Internet, sent an email, or even made a call from a mobile phone. People regularly used a phonebook, not Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was only 2 years old on this date in 1987!). In fact, if you are old enough to vote, the world of today neither looks nor functions like the world you were born into. The world is radically different.Read More
What part of “go” don’t you understand?
A quote from a missionary to “other areas” in regards to our response to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). 2010 CMML Annual Fall Conference, Lincroft, NJ.Read More