Virtual Church – Online Church Only? | Watch This Episode on YouTube


Virtual Church – Online Church Only? | Watch this episode on Vimeo

Virtual Church – Online Church Only?

What is wrong with doing or having church online? Isn’t virtual church attendance still being present and active with the body of Christ? Why is it so essential that churches meet face-to-face?

These are questions that Dr. Philpot presents to Dr. Caldwell on this week’s episode of the Straight Truth Podcast. Dr. Caldwell seeks to guide and instruct us biblically in our thinking about these questions. He explains what the Church is. Why meeting face-to-face is an act of obedience, not just essential, and why doing or having church online does not reflect church body life.

Dr. Caldwell begins by telling us that the Church is an assembling of God’s people. It is the body of Christ gathering together for the purposes that God has set forth in His Word; it is what He has commanded. Therefore, the Church does this on the Lord’s Day, gathering to mutually encourage one another, sing songs of praise, study God’s Word and partake of the ordinances. This is church life that God has commanded for His people.

Dr. Caldwell speaks of 1 Timothy 3:14 and 15, where Paul writes to Timothy so that people will know how to conduct themselves in the Lord's household. He tells us this instruction is absolutely unnecessary if there is no need to gather together. Paul speaks of things here that take place in the Church through the fellowship of God’s people. So through Timothy, Paul wants the people of God to know how to do these things. Next, Dr. Caldwell turns to Hebrews 10:24 and 25, where the people who belong to the Lord are explicitly commanded to gather together.

Dr. Caldwell says that all of the mutual ministry verses of the New Testament require interaction with one another; they cannot be lived out without other people. Sitting at home accessing truth online does not equal obedience to these sorts of commands. He shares that we can be thankful and rejoice in our ability to access and obtain sermons and written material over the internet. Yet, he grieves over the lack of Biblical ecclesiology that he sees in many believers in our time (ecclesiology: the doctrine and study of the Church, her being, ministry, mission, and worship.).

Many people are accessing truth like they are going through a cafeteria line, picking and choosing from a variety of sources. This, he says, reveals a real lack of understanding about what it means to love the head of the Church if we are not listening to the head of the Church regarding His household.

Lastly, Dr. Caldwell speaks about the New Testament. While it is written and communicated through letters, there are still things those writers wanted to share and impart to people that could only be done so face-to-face. There is something about face-to-face communication with other human beings that is needful for us. There are things that we cannot communicate well any other way. Things can easily be misunderstood when not done in person.

While email and texting are helpful ways to communicate, they are voiceless communication. These are absent and void of facial expression, intonation, body language, and more. There is nothing in these forms of communication beyond bare words. The value of engaging with one another in person cannot be overestimated.

While we can watch live-streamed church services online and can download sermons, sermon notes, and entire messages in print, we cannot download the Christian life or church life. These are for sure wonderful means available to us when we are temporarily unable to gather with our local church body. However, they should never replace our physical gathering. To do so does not constitute participation in church life. A digital church is not the household of God. Interested in gaining a better understanding of the Church, the Christian life, and church life?

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 16 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas


Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by

Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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