An editorial on CNN’s Belief Blog by author Lisa Miller suggests that the accessibility of the Bible online brings the traditional community of the church body into peril. Miller says “changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it” because digital technology does not require Bible-readers to commit to or attend worship within a local body of believers in order to learn or practice their faith. She said users can now get the text of the Bible without the “interpretive lens of established authorities.” Users can then pick and choose pieces of their faith similar to the way they browse social media without feeling like they need context or direction. “With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures otherwise known as the church—in favor of a more individual connection with God,” wrote Miller. Bobby Gruenewald, pastor and developer of the hugely popular YouVersion bible app, tweeted that he “disagreed with the articles’ title/conclusion,” saying “the Church will prevail.”
What do you think? Does the availability of the Bible online and within smartphone apps expand the church community or diminish it? What are the benefits? What are the threats?