I recently watched John Edmiston deliver a talk titled: “The rise of internet spirituality and the decline of Biblical Christian community” I don’t agree with everything Edmiston said in the talk, but I do agree that an Internet church is no replacement for meeting together in fellowship.
Hebrews 10:23-25 states: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Our faith is not one of selfishness, but selflessness. In the USA many people go to church expecting to be served or fed. This is a selfish attitude and reveals that this type of person is only concerned about himself or herself. We can see by the above scripture that we are to assemble to encourage or edify one another. We are not to assemble to be served, but to serve.
I have heard people say that they love Jesus, but hate the church. Where is the wisdom in that? The Lord commanded us to love one another. There is no excuse for this type of attitude. This type of person will complain about some doctrinal issue or the hypocrisy of the congregation. Neither are valid arguments. Every denomination, church, pastor, and believer tends to think they understand one doctrine or another better than anyone else. In the end we will all find we were mistaken in some interpretations.
Others will use disability as a reason not to attend. While there are people who are truly homebound, many are not. They can make it to medical appointments or the supermarket, yet ignore the wishes of a God who can do more for them than doctors or food.
Internet communities are called virtual communities for a good reason. They have the appearance of a community, but are without substance. It is no more than electronic data passing from one point to another. It is a tool we can use for communication, but it is not a fellowship.
As a tool we should use the Internet for all we can. We can use it to share the Gospel with nearly the entire world. Including many countries where it is forbidden; however, we must not use it as an excuse to abandon fellowship.
As members of the body of Christ, our duty is to love and encourage each other so the entire body is equipped to minister to the lost. We are not to attend church to be edified but to edify others. It is in the process of giving that we, in turn, receive.