Monday, January 22, 2018

Video Preaching Churches as Forms of Gnosticism

My praying chair, on the river in my back yard

(My new book is Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)

Some of us have concern over the deep impact technology is having on the idea of church as community, and on spiritual formation into Christlikeness.

This concern is not a form of Luddite-ism; i.e., it is not anti-technology. Rather, it grows out of the need to not be naive, unaware, and ignorant of what technology is doing to humanity, and that technology is transforming humanity, not all for the good.

I teach spiritual formation. My view, after decades of study and immersion in transformational processes, is that technology adds little or nothing to the process, while hugely hindering spiritual growth.

So, I am protesting, and warning. As are many others, whether Christian or not, whether theistic or atheistic. 

Here's a warning from theologian Roger Olsen. "Baptist Theologian Warns of Gnosticism in Churches that Feature Video Preaching Only." 

NoteOlson is not using "Gnostic" in some special way. Gnosticism is indebted to Platonic and Neo-Platonic metaphysics. At the very heart of such metaphysics is precisely the denial of the physical. It is only on that metaphysical foundation that one would infer a Platonic/Neo-Platonic, and following that, Gnostic epistemology. Metaphysics comes before, and is foundational to, epistemology. Hence, the Gnostic idea of esoteric, non-empirical "wisdom." From such radical philosophical Idealism comes an epistemology that intends to be coherent with that Idealism. Metaphysical non-physicalism is actually the most concerning part of Gnosticism, without which Gnostic epistemology makes no sense. So Olson, who understands this, raises his concern, appropriately.