At X Baptist Church in Technology, Texas, the "minister of music" had for a number of years provided all musical accompaniment by tape recording, and all special music was pre-recorded in order to edit mistakes and provide necessary enhancement. The pulpit minister, inspired by his example, determined to record a sermon for the big screen to show while he was away on vacation. He eagerly returned the next Sunday, hoping all had gone well. To his surprise, the pews were empty. He walked down the aisle and found the pews filled with CD players. The auditorium's silence was soon broken by a chorus of electronic amens!
I recently read Ray Van Neste's Video Church and Brett Maragni's Franchising Church blogs, which raise some significant questions. Invention and advance in technology have revolutionized our world. We possess technology unknown to our Baptist forebears -- cars, planes, televisions, telephones, computers, satellites. Instant communication, knowledge of world events and rapid transit abound. Few have stepped forward to advise us concerning these advances. Many advocate embracing all that technology has to offer, and in any manner that it can be used. What is lawful and what is expedient?
Very few folks would object to the use of devices to record sermons for the home-bound. Most would probably object to assembling Sunday after Sunday just to hear a pre-recorded sermon. Where is the "happy medium"? What is lawful and what is expedient?
I would suggest that the following questions might be helpful:
1. Will it violate the scriptural concept of the gathered church?
2. Will it hinder or help worship?
3. Will it introduce an element we would otherwise reject (in a non-technological format)?
4. Does it meet standards of propriety?
5. Does it substitute for and exclude something that God commanded?
6. Will it change any element of actual worship?
7. Will it complicate our worship?
8. Will it cause division?
9. Would it be good if applied generally?