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Christian Web Conference and The Great Debate

Criticism of Virtual Community and Cyber churches

Is the cyber-church a REAL church?

I was studying and writing last weekend on virtual communities for a number of articles and also for speaking in Las Angeles next September at the Christian Web Conference.

There are lots of arguments against virtual communities being "real" but there one quote that is probably the most comprehensive one I have come across. The author hits about 7 criticisms on cyber church. I have some answers to this but I want to throw it out to you guys to get you thinking on how you would respond.

Read on for the quote.

Here it is:

“Cyber-worship and churches have begun replacing traditional Christian worship and churches. This increasing phenomenon will result in a certain wearing away of the historical institutional churches and worship.”

The problems of the cyber-church are as follows. First, the cyber-church can never be a spiritual church. It risks the danger that in the electronically mediated virtual world the experience of the holy will become visual and secularized. It also faces the danger that the Word of God pervading the depth of the soul will be changed into the on-screen messages of the electronically reduced multimedia. Second, the cyber-church is not a real church. It is merely a virtual church, existing only in the electronic network of the Internet. Third, the cyber-church lacks face-to-face encounter and personal fellowship. Dialogue with a partner on-screen is not the same as dialogue with someone whom one knows personally. “

Yuang Han Kim, The Identity of Reformed Theology and Its Ecumenicity in the Twenty-First Century: Reformed Theololgy as Transformational Cultural Theology, Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity, Wallace M. Alston, Michael Welker editors

See the quote in context on Google books.

So, what do you think?