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!