Pastor attacks online church services

AN ESSEX preacher has slammed the launch of “virtual worship” on the internet and insisted it is a prime example of how church leadership has lost its way.

AN ESSEX preacher has slammed the launch of “virtual worship” on the internet and insisted it is a prime example of how church leadership has lost its way.

Peter Glover, a part-time pastor at the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Clacton, slammed concepts of online services after the launch of Church of Fools, a cyberspace meeting place for Christians.

The site takes the form of a graphically-generated church building in which web surfers can meet up, pray together, attend services and discuss their faith.

But Mr Glover, who lives in Great Bromley, claimed the very concept of an online church showed how the meaning of church and worship has become flawed in modern times, and demonstrated how modern spiritual leaders have “lost the plot.”

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Mr Glover, who has written a book condemning internet worship, said: “If leaders think non-communal, virtual worship will be acceptable to the God of the Bible, they are in for a very real shock.

“The world's concept of what it means to be church and to worship has become severely flawed in our age, and it doesn't help that so many contemporary church leaders also seem to have no idea.

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“The trouble is, in a desperate bid to halt numerical decline, many leaders have chosen to abandon the historic church path of Bible-centred fidelity, and have bought into the non-biblical understanding that the church is there to pander to the felt-needs of lazy congregations, rather than meet their true spiritual needs.”

In his book, Mr Glover pleads for the church to return to its historic and traditional roots by restoring a Bible-authorised understanding of church and worship.

“If what we do offer as worship is unacceptable to God, then not much else we do 'for him' is likely to be acceptable either,” he said.

But last nightthe Reverend Philip Banks, spokesman for the Bishop of Chelmsford, said he disagreed with Mr Glover and felt use of the internet and, was in keeping with the Christian doctrine.

“When you are made a vicar you commit yourself 'when called upon to proclaim afresh with each generation the good news of Jesus Christ.”

“An initiative such as this is doing just that. It is doing church in a fresh way which may be helpful to a generation where access to the internet and computers is available in everybody's home.

“It is not designed to be a replacement for church, but may be a way in.

“It is simply making the best use of current communication technology in the same way that the church has so successfully used the printing press in order to produce bibles.”

The Virtual Church: and how to avoid it: The Crisis of De-formation and the need for Re-formation of the 21st Century Church is available from Xulon Press or via

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