Hey Pastor, Online “Church” is Still a Sinful Deception

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As churches are returning to “normal” after cowering in the face of COVID-justified government tyranny, there has been almost no true repentance for the sin of closing down Christ’s church. Rather, world-pleasing innovators in the pulpit are continuing to push yet another distortion of biblical church practice that just so happens to completely exonerate them for the inexcusable sin of closing the doors of the church in the face of the faithful.

Much like the modifications to marketing and operations made by traditional retailers in the face of e-commerce was given a violent shove by economically-destructive government lockdowns, modern churches have rushed to offer their online “presence” as a full-fledged replacement for church. The faith (and therefore practice) once and for all delivered to the saints has become wide open for market-sensitive modification, and churches are continuing to take their place among the vast array of self-help and self-affirmed services offered to spiritual customers.

These pastors and churches pay lip service to movement of the Spirit, but it is the movement of polling and metrics that bring about their decisions. The same world-pleasing, market-driven culture that welcomed doctrinally-void, emotionally-manipulative throwaway music from Hillsong and Bethel, turned sermons into TED talks for 7th graders, and removed sinful rebellion as the primary cause of our need for Jesus has likewise removed the spiritual necessity of the physical gathering of the saints on the Lord’s Day.

These pastors are afraid to tell Christians not to forsake the gathering, and have demonstrated through their lack of repentance for closing down their churches that gathering is no longer required for Christian worship. They fail to understand that Spirit-filled believers will either respond in obedience to the call to gather or be rightfully rebuked for their disobedience, and instead these pastors enable believers to disobey by offering a false “church” for those who would rather not worship publicly.

Pastor, “We did the best we could with what we knew at the time” or “they lied to us” has never been an acceptable excuse for direct disobedience to clear scriptural instruction. You acted out of cowardice and/or ignorance unbecoming of your scriptural calling, believing that God would allow a pandemic virus to spread that would necessitate the closure of his church.

Pastor, God will judge you for your lack of courage. He will judge you for your lack of repentance. And he will judge you for your continued lack of obedience. Repent, apologize, and seek reconciliation with those you’ve sinned against rather than push forward with self-servingly advocating “online church.” Stop pushing unbiblical innovation, and call God’s people to public, unapologetic obedience in gathering in worship as the true church.

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