Monday, March 5, 2012

Discipleship in a Facebook World (Part I)

The Deficiency of the Information Age

 The information age began in the 1970's with the advent of the personal computer. Four decades of information and data seem to have done the evangelical world very little good. The church as a whole remains ignorant of the Scriptures, biblical theology, and even church history. It seems that ignorance prevails with information literally at one’s finger-tips.  Whether it is the “superhighway,” the electronic book age, computer data-bases, or libraries on line, the church as a whole seems to be biblically illiterate.

I do not believe that this ignorance and illiteracy stems from a lack of intelligence or personal ability. I think the illiteracy of today’s church lies in the fact that the church rarely, if ever catechizes its membership any longer. Catechism has fallen by the wayside due to the advent of the seeker-sensitive movement that has infiltrated the church.

Catechism (/ˈkætəkɪzəm/ comes from the ancient Greek: κατηχισμός from kata = "down" + echein = "to sound", literally "to sound down" (into the ears) It literally means to indoctrinate. It is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized, a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well.

Catechism worked for centuries because it was face to face, interpersonal between the catechist (teacher) and catechumen (student.) Catechism was demanding. If catechism even takes place today it is rarely demanding because church staffs are afraid to make any demands. They are afraid of losing their constituents to less demanding organizations.

Face to face discipleship is the only method of discipleship that makes a lasting impression. This is the kind of discipleship that strengthens believers against nominalism. All of our modern technologies, including social networks cannot take the place of face to face discipleship.

Churches have abdicated their responsibilities. One by one churches have abandoned education and entered into entertainment. The “line” dividing education and entertainment has been breached. An article states that American students spend approximately 9hours a day in from of electronic media devices and yet score lower than eastern counterparts in science, math, language acquisition, and proficiency.

The internet was a great accomplishment and addition to the information age. The internet had been developed in 1969 but did not come into its own until 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web. (Sorry Al Gore. We really didn't think you invented the inter-net) When the World Wide Web went on line in 1991 it made the internet a global network. The internet can place a wealth of information into the hands of the average Christian, yet it has not made the impact upon individuals as the simple one on one face-to-face method of discipleship. Face-to-face discipleship provides the avenue for quality disciples.

Facebook has come along as the newest media to romance the church. Face-to-Face Discipleship now competes with Facebook discipleship. Facebook discipleship is failing and will fail. I will develop this proposition and provide the biblical remedy in this four (4) part series, Lord willing. Stay tuned! 

To be continued...


Persis said...

Looking forward to your series, Gregg. We just started a Sunday school class on the 12 disciples in re: the importance of discipleship.

Petra said...

My ears just grew an inch. Can't wait to hear more... like it already! Preach it, Gregg!!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I look forward Gregg, write it as only you can.