Are computers in churches
by Mark J. Ward
It is my sincere belief that using computers in the local church would be a "liberty", that is, optional, and thus scriptural (See Romans 14 and I Cor. 8). It is also my belief that we can sin in these liberties, and therefore caution would (of necessity) have to be used in proceeding with such an endeavor.
Please consider the following:
1. There is church action and there is individual action (I Tim. 5:16). We are studying about "church action" in this lesson. Using computers at church services and at the church's building (paid for with money from the Lord's treasury) is what is under consideration here. The church might even buy the computers and have religious CDs comprised of commentaries, word studies, sermon outlines, debates, versions of the Bible, Bible class study material, or articles and web sites such as this one for religious growth.
2. Anything that the church OR the individual does, must be authorized via generic or specific authority (Col. 3:17; 2 John 9; I Cor. 1:10).
3. Certainly we are NOT dealing with specific authority here, for there are NO COMPUTERS MENTIONED or "necessarily implied" in the NT.
4. The church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth (See I Timothy 3:15).
5. Elders are to feed the flock which is among them (Acts 20:28).
6. God has not specified ONE TEACHING ARRANGEMENT to the exclusion of other teaching arrangements for the local church. Therefore, (all else being equal) the local church may use "the assembly arrangement", "the Bible class arrangement", "the radio program arrangement", "the television program arrangement", "the church bulletin arrangement", "the debate format arrangement", "the question and answer format arrangement", "the go-to-the-internet-for-Bible study arrangement", "the read-a-debate-book arrangement", "the watch a video tape of a Bible sermon arrangement", "the listen to an audio tape of a Bible lesson arrangement", etc., etc. (There ARE some things God has specified, like eating the Lord's Supper in the assembly of the local church, for example, but concerning "church teaching" God has not specified one arrangment to the exclusion of others.)
7. The elders may make use (all else being equal and considering the weak brethren who may lack knowledge in the matter) of all scriptural aids and teaching arrangements for the church to be the pillar and ground of the truth...and for the flock to be fed spiritually and grow in Christ. Decisions must be made as to which means and methods are to be used in this regard. The computers would be a great tool, but we must recognize that they could also be ABUSED. Abuses are wrong, but they do NOT (in and of themselves) make a practice wrong per se. So, if used, they simply are to be used properly, for their intended and authorized use ONLY in church teaching settings.
8. It would be UNSCRIPTURAL (i.e. acting without authority) for a person to use any of these aids (computers included) for non-religious, secular, or recreational activity. This would include social use of computers to view usatoday.com, espn.com, bama.com, search for secular jobs on the web, listen to secular music via realplayer, write a personal (non-religious) letter, etc etc...for there is NO AUTHORITY to use the church's building, or tools (aids) bought and paid for by the church for any reason other than "church work". This is a point often overlooked by brethren.
Hope this helps. The computers, if used SOLELY, for religious educational purposes, are no more than an "aid" like a Bible class workbook, a Bible encyclopedia, a commentary, an overhead projector, a blackboard...etc. They CAN BE INCORRECTLY USED. Folks ought not play solitare, or other secular games (Bible quiz games, however, in their proper place would be great) on these computers though.
One other thought. If there are well-meaning brethren who oppose this "aid" being used by the local church, there should be loving studies of the authorized use of such an "aid" as long as brethren oppose it. Since it is not MANDATORY to have such, we should not run over the convictions of brethren who may "lack knowledge" that such is really scriptural. We should work toward proper teaching, exercising study, patience and love in order to effect agreement that such an aid is authorized by generic authority.
If you have further questions about what I have taught, please ask. I only want to do what is right. THANKS. I will consider any opposing views in the spirit of love and in the interest of truth and righteousness in view of eternity.
Thanks for reading. - mjw
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