I just finished reading the article “Who’s in charge of the Christian blogosphere?” by Tish Harrison Warren, an Anglican priest. Her article is bringing to focus the challenge that Christians have regarding the pursuit of truth and the balance with authority in the church. Specifically, she is dealing with the implications for women. Historically, there are many traditions that do not allow women to be in places of governance in the church, but with the onset of the internet blogging culture, many women have garnered a platform on par with many mega-churches. So the question arises, “where do these writers get their authority?”
This is a very difficult subject to tackle in this day and age, I would say especially for Millennials. For better or worse, there was once a day where hard denominational lines meant some consistency in teaching. It also meant that you had to go through certain academic and authority structures to get a platform. Not anymore. If you have access to the internet and a computer or microphone, you are able to put your message out online.
Throughout my research into why people are leaving the church, I have seen many conversations regarding why people think this is happening. Even more than that are people who are speaking freely about the ways in which church should go forward. The problem I see, like Tish pointed out, is that these speakers are speaking on their own accord and have no accountability for what they are saying. The gospel and the truths in the bible are no small matter. I believe there should be reverence and sober-mindedness when dealing with these issues. You are potentially messing with people’s salvation.
I understand that Pandora’s box has been opened and that there is no shutting it again. We will never go back to an age before the internet. I also understand that there are many authority structures that have gotten some important things wrong or have lost their way. It is in these cases I think that the internet is a wonderful tool. It provides the people with the opportunity to seek and communicate outside those structures. But that same freedom is also what makes the medium dangerous. I believe the best thing that we can hope for is that the people behind these computer screens have someone who has more life experience and theological experience that can be assisting them in their journey. Everyone needs people to reach out to for advice and to make sure we are heading in the right direction. This way isn’t going to be perfect, but I think it is the best we can hope for.
Be sure to check out Tish’s article at http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/april/whos-in-charge-of-christian-blogosphere.html