I was reading this article on Think Christian last week, and was particularly struck by the comments, especially Jason Wells’ reference to 2 John 12. I often talk about the need for face-to-face community and about how internet evangelism still needs the foundation of a physical gathering in a local area. But I had never considered the relevance of 2 John 12 to the discussion (probably because it would largely seem like an obscure verse without much relevance to anything — shame on me for thinking like that!).
Here’s what 2 John 12 says:
Having many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that your joy may be made full.
The clear implication is that there is something incomplete about communication only through paper and ink — face-to-face communication is necessary for our joy to be made full.
The Greek word which is translated “be made full” in this verse means “to bring something to completion, to finish something already begun.” The verse suggests that face-to-face communication is necessary for believers’ joy to be brought to completion.
If writing letters with paper and ink could not make the believers’ joy full or complete in John’s day, can email make our joy full or complete? Can discussion forums make our joy full or complete? Can online video chat make our joy full or complete? Is there something incomplete about digital communication?