Thursday, April 22, 2010

Questioning Sproul?

I know I start just about all of my once-in-every-two-month posts with nearly the same line, but I have to do it again. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll attest to the fact that I often find myself guilty of committing the same sin as those described in 1st Corinthians 1:10-13. In which way you ask? When it comes to pledging allegiance to a Christian figure. That figure: R. C. Sproul. Some years ago while debating my brother on the finer points of Calvinism I believe he once called me R. C. Sproul Jr. I responded back somewhat childishly by saying, “Chris, R. C. Sproul Jr already exists.” Antagonistic, but clever, no? Eh.

In any event, the reason why I’d share that with you is because if you look back at some of my history of posts you’ll notice that Sproul takes up about ½ of my commentary. What’s the significance of that? Well here’s the reason. While 99% of the time I find myself agree with Sproul, for once I’m actually on the opposing end of my buddy ol’ pal R. C.

Nowadays I don't subscribe to his award winning magazine TableTalk, so I’ve been reading the articles online when I find the time. Well, while reading this article I noticed a bit of a contradiction within his reasoning. Well maybe not necessarily contradictory, but humor me.

To summarize, the article is shaped around the premise that the church should not conform to the patterns of this world as is often the case. This of course is not something I’ll argue with, after all it is a biblical principle. Though I will say that there is very grey area involved when assessing “how” and “when” the church is adopting the patterns of this world, but nevertheless I agree with Sproul.

Where I don’t agree with him is where he takes the example from. The April 2010 issue tackles the tough questions surrounding the advent of technology and how it’s affecting the church as a whole; surely a noble task.

Sproul writes:
With this moral relativism came technological advances that also altered our daily lives. The knowledge explosion rocked by the advent and proliferation of the use of the computer has brought a new culture of people who live more or less “online.” This relativisitic culture brought with it a culture of eros and heightened addiction to pornography, as well as a culture of drugs with the subsequent invasion of addiction and suicide.

I won’t disagree with his assessment of the negative affects of the technological advances. But what I will say is this: I felt it extremely ironic and somewhat contradictory since I was reading this article on their website, or,“online.” Couple that with the fact that Ligonier has not only participated in this aspect of technology for some time now, but I remember downloading MP3’s of Sproul’s teaching as far back as 2001 when MP3's were scarce especially among the church. Likewise not only does Ligonier have a full blown website (as most every church does), but they also participate in the latest and greatest social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook…and they even have a section for blogging. :)

I guess I just felt a little let down at the fact that while I fully understand the point Sproul was trying to make, he failed to speak of, or qualify rather, the fact that with the explosion of technology also came a way to expand the Kingdom of God. Take for example Logos Bible Software. And that's not the half of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love R.C. and of course will continue to support the efforts of Ligonier Ministries. But I felt Sproul should have explained himself a little further, lest it give off not only a negative connotation in opposition to the use of technology, but to also avoid what may appear to be, well, hypocritical.

2 comments:

chris@foosis.com said...

Damian,

Thanks for interacting. I'd be glad to send to you a hard copy of the April issue of Tabletalk wherein you would see how Dr. Sproul's article fits in with the other thematic articles on this topic of faith and technology.

Best,
Chris Larson
Ligonier

Damian Romano said...

Chris, thanks for the note. No need to send a copy, I plan to re-up my subscription next month.

Now I have no doubt that R.C's article fits into the overall theme of the issue, his articles always do. What I'm speaking to is the potential contradiction Sproul uses in his illustration. In the quote I employed above it seemed that he was alluding only to the negative effects of technology without speaking to the positive. The fact that I'm writing this ftom my DROID attests to positive impact technology has on the church. And the fact that I read the article online seemed, well, ironic.

So while I fully agree with the overall premise of his article, I think he should have just qualified himself when using technology as an illustration for the church's struggle with conformity.