Pitfalls and Possibilities (Or How to Think Biblically about Church in Your Pajamas, VR Baptisms, Jesus Avatars, and Whatever Else is Coming Next)
March 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2080-0
Is virtual reality a biblical reality?
The invention of the printing press catalyzed Martin Luther’s reformation; radios and televisions delivered Billy Graham’s gospel proclamations to millions of households. Technological advancements have undoubtedly advanced kingdom work for centuries – but is the same true for the burgeoning technologies of today?
As virtual reality becomes increasingly prominent throughout society, churches must assess how to respond thoughtfully and biblically. In Virtual Reality Church, theologians Darrell Bock and Jonathan Armstrong present a systematic reflection on how to faithfully apply virtual reality for ministry purposes. They examine the risks – like compromising the meaning of tangible worship – and opportunities – like safely reaching persecuted churches – of integrating revolutionary technologies into the Christian life. Learn to think critically, theologically, and pastorally about new technologies so that you can faithfully advance the gospel into the future.
The most robust book on understanding virtual reality for the church. You get a great historical overview of all the ways the church has creatively embraced the newest tech along with a solid theological framework for embracing VR and whatever else comes online down the road.
– Jay Kranda
Online Campus Pastor at Saddleback Church
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Darrell Bock (BA, University of Texas; ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, University of Aberdeen) has earned recognition as a Humboldt Scholar (Tubingen University in Germany), and is the author of more than forty books, including well regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) for 2000-2001, is a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College and Chosen People Ministries. His articles appear in leading publications, and he is often an expert for the media on New Testament issues. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas. When traveling overseas, he will tune into the current game involving his favorite teams from Houston – live – even in the wee hours of the morning. Married for over forty years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son, and is also a grandfather.
Jonathan J. Armstrong is Professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute, where he lectures in New Testament studies and church history. He consults at the intersection of faith and technology and serves as the president of the Aqueduct Project (aqueductproject.org). He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and three children.
In a world connected globally by the internet and increasingly affected by virtual reality, Bock and Armstrong help us – whether we receive the help eagerly or with apprehension – to understand the brave new world in which we find ourselves. The authors observe accurately the place of innovation in the history of evangelicalism, as evangelicals seized new technologies for the sake of the gospel. They provide a useful history of the rise of technology from newspapers in the day of Whitefield, to radio, to controversial televangelists, to D.J. Soto’s recent VR Church. Their assessment of both helpful and harmful aspects of new technologies available to the church will help every church leader think through the ramifications of technology. This is a topic every Christian leader post-2020 needs to understand, and Virtual Reality Church boldly goes to where few in the church have gone before.
– Ed Stetzer
Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership, Wheaton College, and Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center
The church today rarely discusses with substance its greatest available missions tool. Read Virtual Reality Church and catch a vision for what God can do. The VR harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few!
– Douglas Estes
Author of SimChurch and Braving the Future