This will be brief, but I may expand on it and clarify it over time…
Online communication is just a newer technology than writing letters – I hope we can agree on that. But it’s tempting to look at online communication as if it’s a different place rather than just a method of communication. We talk about ‘going online’, ‘meeting people on the internet’, and so on.
I’ve certainly heard of churches that have been set up online, and churches which have started ‘digital campuses’. I even think there’s a church within the Second Life community – but is this biblical?
Well, the apostle John talked about this a couple of thousand years ago:
I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 1 John 1:13-14
John could have written more, but he didn’t want to; he recognised that being physically present with the church was better than communicating in his letter. It didn’t mean he didn’t write the letter, only that he intentionally kept that to a minimum to maximise the time they would spend together.
Would the apostle John have approved of online church communities?