John Stott, I Believe in Preaching (1982), page 69:
It is difficult to imagine the world in the year A.D. 2000, by which time versatile micro-processors are likely to be as common as simple calculators are today. We should certainly welcome the fact that the silicon chip will transcend human brain-power, as the machine has transcended human muscle-power. Much less welcome will be the probable reduction of human contact as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary. In such a dehumanized society the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important, whose members meet one another, and talk and listen to one another in person rather than on screen. In this human context of mutual love the speaking and hearing of the Word of God is also likely to become more necessary for the preservation of our humanness, not less.
4 thoughts on “I Believe in Preaching”
What a great quote! What prophetic insight! Very instructive and thought provoking Tony.
Indeed. Imagine if those with whom we have been carrying on e-conversations are merely computer programs.
By the way Tony, I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
“The Matrix has you”
Very astute observation. It’s amazing what the “eyes” can see when God has opened them.
1982… I don’t think I had even upgrade from my Atari 2600 to the TI99/4A at that point. Although I blog and provide for my family as a network engineer, I definitely see the downside technology has had on real social interaction with people. I think a good many people have become increasingly reclusive because of so-called “social media” like texting, instant messaging, and Facebook because it often provides a sort of “replacement” or alternative to the dirty work of spending time with real people. It also provides a convenient way of hiding your warts and keeping all of your attention on yourself. Relationships like people themselves have become shallow and rarely go beyond the surface, and our churches are not immune. I think technology has had a lot to do with that.
Francis Schaeffer also made some astute remarks back in the 1970s about technology and “noise”. He wrote:
“People today are afraid to be alone. This fear is a dominant mark upon our society. Many now ceaselesly sit in the cinema or read novels about other people’s lives or watch dramas. Why? Simply to avoid facing their own existence. Many of us can sit in front of the television and, except on rare occasions, not face our own private life. Entertainment so fills every cranny of our culture we can easily escape thinking.”
“No one seems to want (and no one can find) a place for quiet–because when you are quiet, you have to face reality. But many in the present generation dare not do this because on their own basis reality leads them to meaninglessness; so they fill their lives with entertainment, even if it is only noise.”
“The Christian is supposed to be the very opposite. There is a place for proper entertainment, but we are not to be caught up in ceaseless motion which prevents us from ever being quiet. Rather we are to put everything second so we can be alive to the voice of God and allow him to speak to us and confront us.”