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Monday, January 03, 2011 

iPad And iPhone Apps As A Means Of Grace, It's Only A Matter of Time

I stumbled across a story last week that highlighted an iPhone / iPad app that allows Jews to now “visit” the Western Wall. The reason that visit is in quotation marks is that the visit (allowed at any time except the Sabbath or on religious holidays when electronic gizmos are said to be forbidden) is only visit in a virtual sense and the notes left in pixilated Western Wall are really only emails.

It’s really only a matter of time before such things hit the Americanized Christian church scene. Already there are pastors who encourage their members to utilize Twitter during the Sunday worship services in order to "make it not suck". How much longer before some enterprising pastor tells his people to just stay home and attend the weekly gathering in only a virtual sense. Who wants to bet that the local media will be on hand when this little stunt is perpetrated?

In a country that for the most part has no ties to the historic Church which confesses a Jesus who comes to us in a real, actual presence in the Holy Supper and instead looks to a crucified Lord who can only be with us poor humans in a spiritual sense, it won’t take that much of leap for someone to suggest a virtual spirituality in, with, and under the iPad. Mark my words, it’s gonna happen. The only question is which purpose driven or soul winning congregation does it first.

When spirituality is divorced from Christ’s presence in the Word and in the Sacraments, iPhone or iPad apps as a means of grace is just a minuscule step away. Mark my words…

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As misguided as their theology is on Christology and the sacrements, do you think the Reformed will sink to promoting a virtual church? Some of the Lutheran links seem to make the Reformed worship a false god, which is way out of line.

Ted, I do think the reformed will go there because I've already seen Lutherans talk about a virtual church in the context of mission. Yes, they will go there and so will some of those missional type Lutherans

It already is happening, in a sense... with the multi-site campuses where you get to 'see your pastor' on screen at a campus several miles down the road... a 'pastor' who has no connection with you whatsoever, except, as you say, in a virtual manner...

so while current evangelicals can meet at a building to watch a tv screen, like going to the movies, and see some pastor sermonize... you're right, the next logical step, is just to view from home...

A church in Florida, Northland - A Church Distributed, has been doing this already for some time... in the name of those who are sick, phsically unable to leave home, etc...

Zach, and it's happening in our beloved synod as well... with the blessing of the previous leadership. While the current synodical president may not like the satellite concept, that features the pastor shepherding his flock via TV screen, he really is powerless to intervene short of removing the DP.

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