Friday, June 29, 2012

A Bible in the Hand

I am sitting in a Baptist Sunday School class listening to a teacher teach on the New Testament Church from 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and I quickly notice that he doesn’t have a book in his hand. He has an iPad. He has his notes resting next to the iPad, typed out and printed, and even highlighted by his own hand, but he has propped up an iPad right in front of his face, and is reading every once in a while from it to his class of young married couples. This just is not right. I hate being critical, but I need to make a comment on this mindset, because the very same man, just a little while later was standing in front of his congregation again using his iPad as his Bible. It not only looked wrong, it just was wrong for various reasons. No. I don’t have a problem with the use of technology in a church. It is not a problem with envy either (even though I would LOVE to own an iPad). It is a problem with three things: a pastor and teacher’s pride, disrespect for the word of God, and disrespect for preaching. The idea is that people think technology is neutral and can be used to do any and all aspects of the Gospel ministry. I disagree. A Bible is not an abstract object. It is something that should be visible in the hand of the man of God, since it visually implies that it, as a BOOK is in charge of both HIS life and those who are hearing him. That may not seem like much to you, but it is the very bedrock of what it means to be a Bible believing Christian! We are Bible believing Christians that can point to a BOOK and confess that we obey THAT Book called the Word of God! Let me make it very clear: the word of God is not just “words,” but a BOOK! It is not electrons and memory circuits all ligned up a certain way… it is a collection of specific words on pages, bound in a Book that is unchanging! When the Bible has been replaced with a piece of technology, the authority of that Book becomes almost invisible, and the MAN that is supposedly preaching and teaching it becomes the only thing visible, and therefore, is seen as THE authority, which is the exact opposite of what Christ wanted His ministers to appear like! An iPad therefore becomes a literal device of the devil that pumps people up with pride, whereas the visible Book called the Bible critiques and humbles both the preacher and the hearer, when visibly held and preached without compromise (Heb 4:12), Nehemiah 8:5 says, “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up.” Notice that they stood up NOT for the man, but for the BOOK! The BOOK is what we Christians honour! Yet many men today want the respect that is due to the Bible for themselves, and that is idolatry! No wonder there is so little respect for preaching! TEACHERS have replaced preachers just as Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 4:1-3! Oh that preachers did not ever sell out on the absolute necessity of visibly holding forth (Philp 2:16) the very word of life instead of a modern day GADGET that quickly erodes people’s respect for the preaching AND the preacher! Once a preacher or teacher stands up to teach WITHOUT a Book in their hand, watch out! They will usually “quote” from the Bible, but will be followed by their hearers without any checking up on his reasoning themselves. People today are way too gullible and trusting of men with gadgets – but that is a whole other subject! If your pastor or teacher is turned on to gadgets and has replaced the Bible with a iPad or Android tablet, then politely ask them to hold forth the life in the form of a Book once again, and to beg God for power to preach from God, and not from Apple, the internet, or from Google! For our Bible believing Baptist church in Ireland, we have a rule: anyone who stands to preach behind our pulpit or in any of our classes, will have to have a literal, physical, Bible in their hands that is a 1769 edition of the King James Bible. That is, until the day that it will be illegal to preach from such a Book; and THAT day is fast approaching! THEN we will have to preach the Word, from memory, and probably from prison!

7 comments:

Tony White said...

Amen Brother,The Book is there for a reason,how someone could even think of using an iPad as a substitute for his Bible is beyond me,but once again today's generation lacks the compassion,respect and Love of Gods Word to do this.The Bible is also a Christians way of life and is carried with him(or at least it should be) at all times when in the field.
I could never see this being done with any form of Tablet.as far as I'm concerned the only Tablet that was ever used in Biblical history was the ones brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses.
Anyway God Bless You Brother,your Friend TW!!!

Unknown said...

After reading the article, the blogger is absolutely wrong and taking a militant stand that is opinionated. To say that the use of an electronic device "uninspires" the Word is a knock against Gods preserving authority. The man preaching may have been a good man. The Bible is the inspired Word of God regardless of its form. I agree that nothing replaces the written Word, but to claim that using a different form gives a man "authority" is simply a personal point of view. Let's keep the fight where it belongs... Reaching souls, lifting up Christ, and fighting for actual doctrinal issues. :)

Unknown said...

After reading the article, the blogger is absolutely wrong and taking a militant stand that is opinionated. To say that the use of an electronic device "uninspires" the Word is a knock against Gods preserving authority. The man preaching may have been a good man. The Bible is the inspired Word of God regardless of its form. I agree that nothing replaces the written Word, but to claim that using a different form gives a man "authority" is simply a personal point of view. Let's keep the fight where it belongs... Reaching souls, lifting up Christ, and fighting for actual doctrinal issues. :)

csledbetter said...

I have to respectfully disagree. The Word of God is not an object to be held in your hand. If you look inside the book with the title "Holy Bible" that is in your hand you will find a different definition for the Word of God. If it is indeed "a literal, physical, Bible...that is a 1769 edition of the King James Bible" then how did it become flesh? How does it live inside us? How is it with God, and how is it God? Also, I have to wonder at your faith in the translation ability of the scholars back in 1769, and your lack of concern that the English language has changed tremendously since then. Why is a modern English translation a bad idea? In every other human endeavor, we learn more and become better at understanding the things we study because we keep adding to the existing base of knowledge. Human understanding increases specifically because we learn from those who came before us. Why in this one area--translation of certain old manuscripts--do you think that scholars today cannot do a better job of translating than those who still thought the sun rotated around the earth? Arguing for ink on paper vs. pixels on a screen is missing the entire point. It is the same characters forming the same words. Is it the words that are important, or the format? You are actually arguing that it is the format that is important, as if ink on paper can display inspired words but pixels on a screen cannot. This is magical thinking, when there actually is no magic in paper and ink. I can understand how people can become "comfortable" with what they know and prefer not to change anything. This is why there are so many denominations within what *should* be the single church that Jesus Christ envisioned. But get your human prejudices out of the way. Others are not the least bit uncomfortable with pixels on a screen (you are reading them now) and you should not try to judge either the person who uses them, nor what God might or might not be able to do with them.

Cecil Day said...

You just refuted your own argument in your second sentence: "The Word of God is not an object to be held in your hand." The Word of God is the Word of God - in whatever media it may be found.

The Discreet Gentleman said...

I must say that I understand what fueled Pastor Craig's blog regarding the iPad having been used instead of an actual Bible, and I'll go further to support his argument in the next few sentences. The Word of God uses the word book, or scrolls in several instances when it refers to the holy scriptures. I contend that this is the very reason we should never lose sight of what it means to hear the pages of a physical book ruffle as we thumb through it. As a matter of fact, God's word illustrates this as we look at Rev 10:9-10 and Ezekiel 3:3. The Word of God here describes the prophet or servant of God actually eating the scroll. If it's that important that we should eat it, I'm sure the paper will go down way smoother than the iPad. Even more, in Nehemiah 8:5 the Word of God describes Ezra opening the book, and guess what? The people stood in honor of God's Word because they saw him actually opening a book! Further, I was reading a great online article about this the other day (http://churchtechtoday.com/2011/08/22/5-reasons-bible-church/), and it gave several great scriptures referring to the need of having a Bible in church. I know that many people are looking for an easier and lighter way to carry their Bible, but should we? Think about how heavy the cross was when Jesus carried it. When we carry a Bible in our hands it is a visual sign of us carrying our cross, and following Jesus. The Word of God is a symbol to others that its carrier has decided to let God's Word lead his life, and not society's consistent advertisement of sin. Other than our actions and faith, what other physical way do we have of showing that we subscribe to God's Word than to be seen wielding it? I vote for Bibles to continue to be in the pulpit for a few reasons. The first is because the individual is in a leadership position as a teacher, and the first lesson the disciple should learn is not to be afraid of outward expression. The second reason is because Jesus took up the cross for me, and I should certainly not complain about having to keep up with a Bible everyday. I mean let's be honest, it certainly does not come with the torture Jesus went though for me. Although, that is coming to change here soon, and those that will turn and hide their faith will simply erase their electronic Bibles off their iPads, but those that physically carry and read their Bibles will not be able to hide. I realize the electronic devices open up a whole new world of convenience to their users, but God is not about convenience. In fact, if you read HIs Word, He's actually about the opposite. God takes your world of convenience that you have tailored to how you want it, and realigns it to Him where we must live the way He wants it. I've always been fine being a living sacrifice as it is requested of me in Romans 12. The last reason that I will share as to why we should still carry a Bible into the pulpit is because it shows an appreciation for what the many martyrs before us did. Did you know that men the likes of John Wycliffe and William Tyndale died because of simply PRINTING an english translation so that ALL people could understand the scriptures and not be subject to false teachers and their philosophies. Those men opened the doors so that believers like you could have your own Bible to read in the middle of the night when crisis strikes and wakes you out of your sleep. Oh! One last thing I've noticed is that when you walk into a home dedicated to the righteousness of God, some have chosen to have a Bible opened to Psalm 23 on the mantle of the fireplace or on a coffee table for everyone to see. Have you ever tried that with an electronic device? Unless you keep them plugged up and charged, they won't last forever, but the physical paper version will because it doesn't need any charge or plugs. It stays sharp and charged without any accessories in the right believer's hands or home. God bless you Pastor Craig!

Arlie Spargur said...

What about using the tablet for the notes? I agree that we must use our printed Bible for preaching and teaching. I just wonder about the use of our notes for the message being acceptable. Thanks.