The Internet Is No Substitute For The Church


Did you know that 1 out of 6 teens believes the Internet can be a substitute for church?  This bit of information gleaned from a survey conducted seven years ago is not hard to believe.  Computers and the Internet spawned a new age and with it new ways to communicate and relate.  We are living in an age where people are spending more time interacting with computers.  Is it any wonder that traditional church services may not appeal to the younger generation?

"Old-fashioned" worship has a hard time competing with the constantly changing toys of the Internet.  This desire for something new is an old problem though.  When Paul preached the message of the crucified Christ at Athens, he encountered people who "spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21).  Man can easily fall into the snare of the devil with this preoccupation.  The majority of the Athenians rejected the gospel to the ruin of their souls.  The problem was not in the message or its delivery.  The problem was their lack of interest in the truth.  It is no different today.  If the younger generation is bored with Biblical Christianity and its simple worship, the reason is the same.  It is easy to be captivated by instant messages, chat rooms, streaming video and the like.  However, to worship God means pleasing Him.  That is what true worship is all about.

In His wisdom God directed that Christians should assemble on the first day of the week to worship (Acts 20:7).  Worship means to pay homage to, to adore or to show reverence.  Jesus said "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24; NKJV). Clearly then, God ought to be the object of such praise and adoration.  He is the audience whom worshipers seek to please by their acts of worship.  The scriptures reveal five acts of worship that should be done when the church gathers on Sunday.  They are singing, praying, taking the Lord's Supper, giving and preaching God's word.  To be done scripturally these acts must be done when Christians are together.  Communion cannot be taken over the Internet. Singing praise to God requires Christians "speaking to one another" (Ephesians 5:19).

Though worship is directed to God it spiritually nourishes the worshipers.  It also encourages one another to continued faithfulness.  Early Christians were reminded not to forsake their assembling (Hebrews 10:24, 25).  Corporate worship of the church symbolizes the unity of Christ's body.  Paul even wrote about how the church came together in one place (1 Corinthians 11:18, 20). This is something that can never happen over the Internet.  The heavenly Father knows what is best for His children.  When Christians seek to worship God over the Internet and not according to the Biblical pattern it will weaken the church collectively and Christians individually.  The Internet can not accomplish what the Lord's church was designed to do.


You have my permission to use this article in any non-commercial way (e.g., bulletins, web sites, e-mail). All I ask is that you reproduce the article in its entirety including the original title and author's name.  Douglas Hoff, Flat Rock church of Christ, Flat Rock, MI