Technology

Technology & Ministry: Benefits, Drawbacks, and Dangers

Read the series.

In our previous installment, we saw that human culture and technology are a necessary part of the creation mandate and as such should not be viewed as necessary or intrinsic evils. Moreover, we argued that religion is part of human culture, and it will, therefore, employ some of the tools of culture. But before we suggest some ways in which we can use modern technologies to advance the Great Commission, I’d like briefly to highlight the tension that exists between the benefits, tradeoffs, and dangers of technology. We’ve noted that human technology brings with it certain benefits or, to use a biblical term, “blessings.” Nevertheless, over and against those benefits and blessings, we need to be aware of the resultant tradeoffs as well as the potential dangers that new technologies introduce.

Lessons from the Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution brought with it many benefits. Various kinds of manufactured goods become more available and affordable. Many of the things produced by factories facilitated the services of other vocations and even occasioned the need for new vocations. As a result, many new jobs were created and people employed.

1845 reads

Environmentalism: A Biblical Perspective

"While Dr. Northcott and others prescribe abandonment of industrial civilization, or what Dr. Northcott calls 'the machine world,' and a return to a hunter-gatherer, or at most a 'primitive,' subsistence agricultural social order, as the solution to environmental problems, we believe a technologically advanced society and ecological well-being can co-exist, and indeed that they must coexist" - E. Calvin Beisner

330 reads

Running So Fast Our Souls Can’t Keep Up: An Interview with John Eldredge

"...the deeper issue is that our online media consumption has taken away all our “margin;” all the time we used to read a book, or take a walk, or listen to music. In other words, we’ve lost our souls to a cyber world that does nothing to enrich our lives in God." - Bible Gateway

811 reads

A Biblical Theology of Human Culture & Technology, Part 2

Read the series.

What biblical reality do we need to add to creation and the fall in order to cultivate a more balanced view of human culture? What part of the biblical picture do the “counter-cultural” only Christians often miss?

Culture, Technology, and Common Grace

The simple answer is “grace.” According to the Bible, God does not completely abandon mankind in his sinful state, but he shows kindness or grace. To be more specific, God bestows two kinds of grace: common grace and saving grace.

I think we’re all pretty familiar with God’s saving grace, which enables us to turn from our sin and trust in Jesus—the grace by which God endows us with every spiritual blessing in Christ and secures for us an eternal inheritance. But sometimes we lose sight of God’s common grace. What is “common grace” from a biblical point of view? Like the word “culture,” the phrase “common grace” doesn’t appear in the Bible. But the concept of common grace does. Common grace refers to God’s blessings on the human race that fall short of salvation from sin. Theologians usually classify these blessings as follows:6

1348 reads

A Biblical Theology of Human Culture & Technology, Part 1

Read the series.

Since culture and technology describe what humans made in God’s image do and make, it shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible has something to say about them. And I believe it would be useful for us to develop a biblical and theological framework for human culture and technology before we attempt to relate them to church ministry.1 As we look at the biblical data, what we discover is that the Bible portrays human culture and its corollary human technology as good, as bad, and as both good and bad.

Culture and technology as “good”

We’re first introduced to human culture and, by way of implication, to technology in the creation account of Genesis one. Here we learn not only the origin but also the nature of human culture and technology.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:26-28).

1155 reads

Silicon Valley’s latest fad is dopamine fasting – and that may not be as crazy as it sounds

"This idea did not entirely originate in Silicon Valley. As a scholar who studies digital technology and religion, I’d argue that the motivations and benefits of dopamine fasting resemble what many religions have been teaching since ancient times." - The Conversation

584 reads

Pages