The other day, while on a long drive, I began to ponder how technology has hurt and hindered the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I came up with a long list of pros and cons concerning this issue; a list that some will agree with, and others might take serious issue with. Nonetheless, here is what I came up with:
Television sets allow viewers the ability to watch graphic sexual images in the comfort and secrecy of their own home, but they also allow televangelists to reach people who are physically unable to leave their homes and visit a local church several times during the week. Also, people who may be afraid to admit they need spiritual renewal can privately pray along and learn from the men and women appearing on that television screen.
Radio has become a medium overloaded with music and talk shows dedicated to pushing raunchy lyrics and perverted influence on teens and preteens who happen to tune in. Yet, nationwide, Christian radio stations are enjoying great success as parents and their children seek out alternative choices that are more inline with their family values and character. We can listen to music and messages that work to invigorate our spiritual commitment as we travel to and from work.
Computers and the Internet have created a vast cyber-hunting ground for online sexual predators and con artists. However, the Internet has created the ability for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be available 24/7 to anyone who is searching for answers. Some amazing Christians have developed places on the Internet that present the Christian faith in a loving, concise, and accurate way. These online ministries can be a true blessing to people who do not consider social interaction among their best assets. Asking a question about faith is sometimes easier online.
Transportation advancements have made it possible for people to travel around the globe at a much faster pace, and there is a greater chance for people to see that moral standards vary from place to place. Some travelers interpret fewer moral standards with a more open-minded society, and upon returning to their own land take up the cause of ethical leniency. But giant gains in transportation capabilities have allowed faith-based groups to reach out farther and faster to regions of the world that are in dire need. When workers for Christ offer assistance to the physical needs of the global population, questions about the spiritual commitment behind such efforts are bound to be asked, opening up hearts and minds to the message of salvation.
Advances in the sciences have caused some to believe that the physical characteristics of this world deny the Biblical accounts portrayed in the Bible. Some even see science as the sort of antidote for the spiritually ill masses. Yet, there are others who see scientific discovery as a testament to the intricate detail used in the seemingly intelligent design used to create our universe and all that is in it.
I could go on an on with my list, but the final conclusion is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, itself, has not been hindered or advanced by the gifts of modern technology. But one thing is definite: Those of us that have access to technological advances in society and do not use them to further the Kingdom of Heaven had better get busy. We have never had so many different ways to reach out to the lost.
Imagine a missionary traveling to a remote jungle to preach the Good News. He studies the language, history, and geography of the location he is set to visit. He has money, supplies, a guide, and all the necessary accommodations needed. He arrives and begins his new life among the villagers; people who have never heard a word about Jesus Christ and what He did. Technology has allowed this messenger access and preparedness missionaries forty years ago could only dream about.
The missionary gains the trust and respect of the natives. He becomes much more fluent in their language, and he begins to master their customs and traditions. He feels completely comfortable in his new land. But he is making little progress in trying to verbally explain the faith he holds so dear and wants to share. Then he remembers that he brought along an extra tool to use in his ministry. He has a DVD player and a very special DVD for the natives to watch.
A few hours later, after watching Mel Gibsonís Passion of the Christ dubbed in the nativeís own language, the natives want to know everything about the man who conquered death.
Technology only opens doors to the hope of the Gospel brings when those who understand the urgency and importance of reaching the lost take advantage of all resources at their disposal. It is clearly practicing Christians that help or hinder the delivering of the Gospel to the world. We must always be asking ourselves which direction our work, or lack of work, is taking the message. Idle hands, feet, and minds usually result in idle ministry.