When Martin Luther stirred up the flames of the Church Reformation, he was inseparable from the technological advances of that century. The printing press technology discovered and developed by Johannes Gutenberg was very influential for the Protestant Reformation. This changed the face of European history and the church forever.
The discovery of printing technology is a moment that changed the culture of Europe until now. Gutenberg’s discovery has enabled many Catholics in Germany and other European countries, to read Luther’s 95 thesis and his arguments against the church at that time.
Technology played a major role in fuelling the flames of change in established Catholic society at the time. Technology has been instrumental in the work of Luther and other Reformers in Europe.
At the 503rd year of the current Protestant Reformation, the church again is on the verge of another real change in the world – the “Digital Age”. This era is thickly coloured by technology that increases the speed and breadth of disseminating information and knowledge in society.
The digital age can be seen as a development of an evolutionary system in which the flow of knowledge is not only profusely, but also increasingly uncontrolled by humans. This makes it easier and practical, as well as difficult to manage. For example, various types of information that flow on the internet can be accessed by anyone and at any time. Positive and negative sides will not be released in reality like this.
How is the church’s response in this situation? If the Reformation of the Church in the sixteenth century was able to utilize and empower technology for revival in Europe, then is the present church also clever enough to use and empower technology to reform the “now” generation?
If the “smartphone” and “soc-med” technology users mostly are teenagers or young people, can the church use this digital age technology to reach them? The social and economic implications of the digital age are enormous and will increase as the function of technology becomes more based on knowledge and practical life.
Understanding the digital age in serving people will undoubtedly ensure the church to build better socio-religious relationships with its congregation or even a wider society. Again, this is inevitable only if the church is willing to embrace technology and science to serve people.
The Church needs to continue to execute Christ’s Great Commission, to go and preach the gospel and disciple the nations, while realizing that technology helps us to make it happen.
Michael Dhimas Anugrah is the Youth Pastor at Millennial Christian Fellowship, Indonesia. He is currently enrolled at Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life, UK.
Photo by Ramón Salinero on Unsplash
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