The Internet Church

Walter P. Wilson, Author
Walter P. Wilson, Author Thomas Nelson Publishers $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8499-1639-7
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Take 12 back issues of Wired magazine, add one large dose of evangelical missionary zeal, carefully remove all qualms about technology (except for an obligatory nod to the dangers of pornography) and stir enthusiastically. You've got the recipe for this Silicon-Valley-meets-evangelism manifesto. Wilson, a technology executive, helped his California church move from zero to full speed on the information superhighway, and he urges his evangelical peers to do the same. Much of this book is a Christian retread of the now-familiar litany of impending technological revolutions (instantaneous communication, constant connectivity, global interconnection) with dramatic social effects (the end of totalitarianism and the rise of customized ""communities"" based around interest, not geographical location). Net-savvy readers would be better served by going straight to the source (such as MIT's Nicholas Negroponte, whom Wilson credits), but Wilson is addressing church leaders who are unlikely to be familiar with primary texts of the Internet culture. Each time Wilson seems close to addressing the complexities that new information technology foists upon its Christian users--how, for example, does one observe the Lord's Day in Internet time?--he lapses back into more rapid-fire predictions. His theology seems shaped mostly by information technology itself: ""The church is in the information business,"" he says with little further elaboration. Ultimately, this book teaches more about the religion of technology than about the technology of religion. (Feb.)
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