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Posts tagged ‘virtual reality’

What is a Virtual Church?

Partake Virtual Church 04 – What is a Virtual Church?

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The writer to Hebrews in Hebrews 10v24-25 says “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Therefore, how do housebound or, geographically isolated people, assemble with others as the writer to Hebrews commands? This is particularly pertinent if the geographically centred local churches do not have the resources to collect these people for worship services and other meetings. So what can be done to ensure that these groups of people are not isolated further from an active Church life.

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Can God interact in a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’?

03 – Can God interact in a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’?

The previous Podcast can be found by clicking here

G’day and welcome to Partake Ministries. We continue our investigation into Virtual Church. I have heard respected Bible teachers say that virtual worship equates with a virtual God. In other words, worship in a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’ is not worship. Certainly, not to the Almighty God of Scripture. So that is the question we face today: “Is it possible for God to interact with people in a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’?

David Clough in his book “Unweaving The Web” questions the idea that Virtual Reality can be considered a sacred space due to its inability to “communicate sacredness” like that of a cathedral. However we know from Scripture, that it is the presence of Christ in people’s hearts that makes the church, and not a building with four walls. Jesus promised that where His followers meet in His name, He would be there (Matthew 18v20). The church therefore is not a building but, according to Miroslav Volf, the “continuation of Christ’s anointing by the Spirit.” God operates within the hearts of people by His Spirit (Galatians 4v6) and not within the four walls of a ‘sacred’ building (Acts 17v24). It is in people’s hearts that His light shines the knowledge of His glory (2 Corinthians 4v6). But what is community? For the Church Father, Augustine, community is a harmonious collection of individuals. This most certainly describes an online community, certainly where a group of Christians are meeting in order to discuss Scripture, worship Almighty God and pray to their God and Saviour in the majestic name of Jesus Christ in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. People interact with other people all the time within a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’. If people can do that, then certainly the God who is outside of time and space, be able to interact. Indeed, God can and does interact within a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’, because He works within the hearts, minds and will of people, and is not restricted by physical barriers.

Now, in the previous Podcast of this series, we discovered that Virtual Reality, according to The New Penguin English Dictionary is “a computer-simulated environment with which a person can interact almost as if it were part of the real world.” But, I would like to suggest that that definition is too narrow. I would like to suggest that there are many more Virtual Reality Environments, than just a computer-simulated environment.

Many people have come to a living faith in Jesus Christ in all forms of ‘Virtual Reality Environment’s. Whether through a computer, a radio or television, a book, a letter or just from reading Scripture itself, all those things are a form of “virtual reality”. For example, reading a book – unless you have the author present in the room, are you not engaging with the author in a “virtual” environment and reading his written thoughts? God has used written literature down through the ages, in order to interact with people. This would of course include the Bible, His written Word. Just as people, even arch-critics of church in ‘Virtual Reality Environment’s would admit, that when listening to a CD of religious songs in the privacy of their own home is worship and that God interacts with them. Yet, is not that musical CD a basic form of ‘Virtual Reality Environment’? Therefore, God has and still does interact within a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’ – even with those who deny that He does. But does that mean that church located in a ‘Virtual Reality Environment’ is still church and moreover, part of the historical church? That is the next topic in this series. Thank you.

The previous Podcast can be found by clicking here

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