A local church in Austin, Texas was led by AI this week. Seriously. The order of service was planned, the prayers, the message, anecdotal humor…even an original song was the product of ChatGPT.
The pastor at Violet Crown City Church, a Methodist church–the kind that broke off liberally, not the kind that remained with the globally conservative Methodist churches–staff and church members gave prompts to ChatGPT, and voila! A message appeared from on high.
Because this is how church works now. We tell it what we want it to be and it assimilates, accommodates, and regurgitates a “worship” experience based on our commands.
That is literally what happened. You can discuss the “whys?” or the relevance, but that is what happened. On purpose. And we called it good. The pastor said, “AI is an inevitability…and he wanted to address the fear of machine-learning in his congregation.”
However, inevitability is not the criterion for what happens in corporate worship. Acts 2 is. Lots of things are inevitable like a gender/sexual revolution untethered to Scripture or God, but that doesn’t mean they belong in church…I say again, a gender/sexual revolution completely untethered to Scriptural authority and guided by a lost culture IS NOT ONE OF THE THINGS LISTED IN ACTS AS A PILLAR OF THE CHURCH.
But here we are. So why would gathering your congregation for a social/technological experiment instead of the declaring of God’s Word as directed by His Spirit not be embraced as well?
Pastor Cooper went on to say that he was more excited than anxious about AI and hopes it can be a “sacred tool…” that can solve the problems of climate change, education and healthcare in remote villages… Hey, man–I hope so too. I hope it can solve some problems. Someday. But it clearly has created problems TODAY.
Herein lies the problem. We do not get to outsource obedience, wisdom, or direction to a machine. We do not take our directives from any other than THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD.
I mean, is there a better picture of idolatry? You make the statue than worship the statue as one greater. You feed the information and make the commands and then you do what it tells you to do because it has superior intelligence? Even though it too, is manmade? You don’t see any similarities?
It is literally called ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. It is a counterfeit. It may allow the Beatles to record “Baby Got Back” and make ancient memes… it is still the wisdom of man, from the heart of fallen man.
You can’t make this stuff up. AI or Ai in the Bible? It means the “heap of ruins,” it is the scene of Israel’s humiliating defeat because they harbored sin in their camp. You think we are more righteous this time?? Ha!
And we have THE Source of ALL Wisdom, neglected and unheeded at His own worship service and watching His children play with a new toy in His presence rather than BE IN HIS PRESENCE. Now that I think about…anyone remember who wants to steal the worship of the Lord?? Let’s see…(cue the Church Lady) Could it be SATAN?? Yeah it could. Because it is.
This is demonic and we aren’t to dabble or give platform to it. AI is the ultimate usurper of God– propped up as all-knowing, all-powerful, the source of every answer and we assume its inherent good…because WE MADE IT AND PROGRAMMED IT?? Are you kidding? Are naivety is only matched by our arrogance.
Pastors, if you think you have a Sunday to waste on gimmicks you likely have not lost a church member on Monday morning. The next week is not guaranteed. This pastor had one glorious hour to labor over and provide the encouragement and hope needed to navigate our fallen world. One hour to pray over, be led by the Spirit in Truth and to Truth and communicate those exact things with the Body. And he didn’t. People left confused, disappointed, and as empty as when they came. We know this because they said so.
An hour was wasted to demonstrate what could have been said in three seconds. “A service planned and provided by AI lacks the human touch.” You don’t say. That was a hypothesis that needed to be tested? That needed to be tested on the sheep who came hungry to be fed, hurting to be healed, and weren’t? What a gross misuse of influence, time, and authority.
AI may indeed be a tool–use it to schedule, communicate, research, etc., but don’t dare give it the responsibility of ministering to the Body. There is nothing sacred about outsourcing obedience. AI’s sole purpose is to do work so that man does not have to. Which is entirely contrary to God’s purpose for man–that we do the work and are refined by it, as He is glorified in it.
Nothing was glorified last Sunday accept technology.