Should Technology Replace A Mature Believer?

I am not sure that I am a fan of how mobile technology is going when it comes to discipleship. I believe discipleship was modeled not only by Paul but also by Moses. A tool is a great thing to have, but where to draw the line is obscure. Here are some criticisms I have of one app, which I won’t name. I don’t think the issue is isolated to this particular app. The makers of it, I am sure, believe they are doing the right thing and being led by God. The quotations come from their website and training materials. I know it is standard to cite sources and give credit, however, I don’t want this article to be seen as calling anyone out.

“People in the church don’t know how to make disciples.”

This reveals a deeper problem, a shortage of mature believers and pastors not utilizing the mature believers in their congregations. Churches do not teach sound doctrine anymore. They teach a liberalized progressive version so as not to offend and there are many reasons why. The people in the congregation are ever learning but never coming to an understanding of the truth because they are never discipled like Paul discipled Timothy. The app essentially takes the place of close contact with a mature believer. It takes my place. Just like seminaries, the app would be unnecessary if church leadership were fulfilling its purpose. However, some in leadership seem to believe that their school is better than another. Don’t get me wrong, the school one goes to is incredibly important. Not in the name, though, but in they teach. Don’t let accreditation be the determining factor. In fact, accreditation has destroyed many seminaries and good Christian universities. Accreditation drives the cost of tuition too high for most. They rely on loans and grants from the government. In order to get that government money, schools compromise their doctrine to satisfy the watchful eye of Uncle Sam. As long as a pastor can keep you dumb enough, you will never be a threat to their position.

People can’t do what the pastor does because he does not teach them how. People don’t know how to make disciples because they don’t know God’s Word. What they know is a watered-down version that has no power to change their own lives, much less someone else’s. If a person needs an app to “empower people to make disciples,” the app is an idol that replaces the Holy Spirit. An app does not “change hearts and bring people to God.” It is the lowest form of what could be considered a “tool” that replaces the work of the Holy Spirit through a mature believer.

The pastor is also overworked. He is so busy chasing down the sheep that he has no time for anything else. While huge megachurches have a plurality of what they call “pastors,” small churches have one guy who’s paid to be their spiritual leader. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless, of course, the pastor becomes the pope of the congregation. Again, I am not calling anyone out. If you are a pastor of a church, it is up to you to look in the mirror of God’s Word and get an answer from Him.

The idea that an untrained person could lead a group and disciple others is a recipe for disaster, 1 Timothy 3:6. What will happen is that the untrained person will get the idea that they should be the pastor and break their group away from a local body because the trained pastor does not see how great they are. I believe in church planting, but this is not how Paul did it.

The Bible studies in the app would be equated to indoctrination. Without a firmly established hermeneutic, application without interpretation would also be a disaster. If there are “different visions of the Word of God,” there is a huge problem. Every verse in the Bible has one and only one meaning. It’s not subjective to the reader. If the leader is not trained in drawing that out, the message is destroyed because it becomes subjective. In other words, “It means what I need it to mean to support my view. If you do not agree with me, then you are the problem because I got this from Scripture, and the Holy Spirit taught me this.” If “everyone hears a different thing from God,” they are listening to the wrong person. If that were true, discovery of truth would be impossible.

I fully understand if you do not agree with me. If you think I am being too radical, there is a compromise of unity because I think you are being too liberal. The problem is that modern-era Pastors will not contend with these issues under the guise of unity among believers. In this case, the liberal side wins because truth is weakened to its breaking point. Pastors fear that if they are too radical, people will leave their congregation. However, it could be the proceeds of the offering and his salary he is concerned about. It seems, also, that pastors do not use people who are trained because either they are a threat to their position or did not go to the “right” liberalized school the pastor did.

In conclusion, you will have to determine for yourself if these apps are tools or not. There is a mysterious line at which we have gone too far. Once that line is crossed, we can’t go back. It will be just a matter of time before there is an app to replace a trained pastor—that is if it does not already exist. It’s difficult to be the guy to say, “Hey, I think we should pump the brakes and talk this over.”

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