I have this idea that video games can be used as a tool to spread the Gospel. I really don’t know if it’s possible. The medium of video games lends itself to choice, control, and interaction as opposed to words which convey linearity, specificity, and propositional truth. Looking at these attributes, you can see why words are the optimal medium for transmitting the Christian faith as Lutherans confess it. Choice, control, and interaction are not primary concerns when we speak of the faith, so video games may be a completely incompatible medium for proclaiming the Gospel. I’ve made several feeble attempts (here, here, and here ) but they certainly don’t convey Law and Gospel in any sense. I am not going to stop trying, I’m just not laboring under any illusions.
That being said, I will say definitively that video games don’t belong in the divine service. “Of course,” you say, “Who would ever do something like that?” Well, here’s a blog post where the author talks about his idea for using an interactive experience to reinforce the message of a sermon. The tool is in its early stages of development and is implemented as a video clip, but the author sees its future as a fully developed interactive environment. The post has a video clip for how it was used in a “worship service.” This is crazy! It utterly and completely takes our focus off of Christ and what He has done and has us concerned about our experiences. If I were a fundamentalist, I’d say this was proof that video games are tools of the devil. Used in this way, they are completely turning us from Christ. (Since, I’m not a fundamentalist, I’ll say that sinful man has turned these gifts from God against Him.)
The other thing that caught my eye was that this was done at Lutheran Church of Hope. I did some digging and they appear to be an ELCA congregation but that doesn’t excuse them from obscuring the Gospel gifts uncovered by the reformers. I wish they would drop the “Lutheran” part of their name so the casual onlooker doesn’t confuse them with confessional Lutherans. My sinful side thinks they kept the Lutheran prefix because churchofhope.org was already taken.