Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg stirred some controversy earlier this summer when he seemed to suggest that Facebook communities can serve the same needs as traditional communities, including churches.
He noted that more people are dropping out of those communities, including churches, and seeking new ways to connect with others.
Zuckerburg says he wants “Facebook’s whole mission” geared towards creating “meaningful communities” on the giant social media platform which has two billion users.
However, Christians who understand the role of the church will never accept a substitute, Dr. Corne Bekker, Dean of Regent University’s School of Divinity told CBN News.
“When we simply build communities of interest, those communities cannot last. There’s not enough there to keep people together,” he said.
He says Zuckerburg misunderstands the “nature of the Church.”
“What makes the Church the Church, is not community,” he said. “It is the presence of God.”
Bekker says this presence is what “brings the Church together, what binds the Church together, what gives the Church the ultimate meaning.”
He reiterated Christ’s own words in Matthew 18:20
“When two are gathered together, ‘I am there,'” he said.
He agrees with Zuckerburg’s claim that church membership is dropping, but says it is because congregations are not focusing on this key factor.
Bekker also said that the Church is different than other “community organizations,” not only because of God’s presence, but because “it is where we worship Him (God) and the beauty of holiness; where all meaning is ultimately communicated to the people.”
“It’s what gives us purpose” he added.
And although Bekker believes Zuckerburg misunderstands the Church, he welcomes the CEO’s desire to form “meaningful communities.”
He added, “I think we as a Church should go to Mark and say ‘yes, we’ll take hands with you, we can work together, we can indeed do this together.'”