The Body Politics

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It seems it might be helpful to clarify my earlier reference to preachers merely setting up virtual equivalents of themselves to carry the church into the indefinite future.

Nobody, as far as I know, has yet made the suggestion - although I do not tend to hang around in circles where such is likely anyway.   But my point is this: once preaching in a church setting has been detached from physical presence/local embodiment, it seems to me that there is no compelling reason why it should not also be detached from simultaneous time as well.    Whether the video-link is playing live, or on a five second delay, or a week after the original service, or twenty years after and drawn from a database of sermons, seems a matter of indifference.   Arguments about sermons losing relevance over time have a veneer of plausibility; but many of us still benefit from reading sermons delivered twenty, a hundred, five hundred or even more years ago.  Further, any argument based on the need for the video preacher to 'know his people' seems inherently implausible when we are dealing with a cast of thousands, dispersed over a wide geographical area. Thus, the case against post mortem preaching by video in a Sunday service based on nebulous notions of relevance is really very weak.  Once the importance of embodiment is abandoned, the act of preaching is no longer subject to the normal constraints of temporality either.

I am convinced that the physical presence of the preacher in the congregation when he preaches is absolutely vital, for reasons I have outlined numerous times before. That there is an apparent agreement to differ on this among the pace setters in the evangelical world, given the need to keep all those federations together, is very worrying.  Indeed, such leaders may one day be seen to have sold the pass on a very critical matter and fatally undermined anything approaching New Testament church life for future generations.  

Posted January 5, 2013 @ 7:11 PM by Carl Trueman

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