The Church of Scotland wants to increase membership by letting worshippers attend online. The Presbyterian state church is also considering allowing “access to the sacraments” for people are not “physically present in the congregation.”
It isn’t clear what this would look like. I believe this has been done for communion in other “virtual churches” by streaming the words of institution to consecrate elements in front of your computer. I would think baptism would be harder. Baptism wouldn’t have to be part of a church service anyway, so people could be baptized at home by a pastor or even a layperson, but my impression is that members of a virtual congregation would not like even that much human contact. So can you baptize yourself?
You pastors, if someone were to transfer into your congregation from the Church of Scotland who had an online baptism, would you consider that a valid sacrament?
Even if you draw away from virtual sacraments, do you see any possibilities for online worship, as described here? For shut-ins? For other members? For visitors? Or does online church fall short of the Biblical exhortation to “meet together” (Hebrews 10:25 )? [Read more…]