Spiritual Warfare and Technology
Greg Reynolds, in his book The Word is worth a Thousand Pictures: Preaching in the Electronic Age, suggests that there is both blessing and curse in the realm of media. He writes:
“In the common culture, inhabited by believers and unbelievers, there is common curse and a common blessing in every area of culture under the terms of the Noahic Covenant. Media are no exception to this covenantal principle of historical reality since the fall. Another way of putting this is that when we fail to understand the limitations of media our failure becomes part of the liabilities. Many of the extravagant claims made for various new inventions are caused by failing to assess the limits of that invention. For example, the computer is not going to solve all of the world’s problems. Some educators imagine that the incorporation of the computer into the classroom situation will “revolutionize” education by making the students more “computer literate,” or putting more information at their fingertips. As Postman so tersely puts it: “any problems the schools cannot solve without computers, they cannot solve with them.”
This is just one of many helpful observations that Reynolds makes concerning the use of the internet and other media sources. I wonder if we have overlooked the relationship between spiritual warfare and the use of media. As the internet is being used to promote all sorts of wickedness (placing it into the privacy of the home and making it accessable for free at the push of a button) it is also being used to promote solid Christian literature, sermons, and networking.
There is defintely a blessing/curse element to the resources available online. As Satan floods the internet with his lies and deceits it appears as if Christ is offering a stronghold of means with which to fight back. As pornographic websites are formed daily so are written/aduio resources to help Christians effectively battle these sinful lusts. But the opposite is true as well. As Christians go to the internet to learn more about Scripture, to listen to good preaching, and to discuss important elements of the Christian life they are, many times, putting themselves in the way of danger. This is where the issue comes to a critical standoff. The discussion is not one of whether or not we should use media but how the tools of media are to be used. While there are many benefits with the use of the internet there are also many limitations and temptations. We need instruction as to the right use of the internet. God’s people need to thoughtfully consider such matters as how to stay pure while using the internet, how to be a good steward of time, and how to use care with what they say on blogs.