A new technological trend is sweeping across vast sections of our country. In particular, this trend can be found in the emerging/emergent church movement. TBNN has discovered that a growing number of these churches have taken a dogmatic stance on the scriptures. They claim to be ESV-Kindle-Only (EKO).
Christ the Redeemer Community Fellowship is currently the fastest growing church in the greater Phoenix, AZ area. It is also unashamedly ESV-Kindle-Only (EKO). David Hopper, lead pastor at Christ the Redeemer, told us, "When we began our church, our people were using all kinds of bibles. It was crazy. We couldn't even follow along when someone else was reading. That's when we decided to go ESV-only. We strongly believe the ESV is the actual word of God, free from any error. All other versions have problems because they have been corrupted."
Gene Carmer, pastor of small groups at Christ the Redeemer, told us, "We used the regular ESV for a while, but it was just taking too long for our people to find bible passages. It required them to know where the different books of the bible are located, etc. Additionally, regular book bibles are really bulky and a pain to carry around. That's when we decided to give Kindle a try. What happened was amazing! Our people were no longer stressed about how to find their way around the bible. They had full electronic access at their finger tips. This is clearly a far better option that the book version of the ESV. The Kindle is also far lighter, especially when compared to the ESV Study Bible."
While many people are happy with this situation (as shown by Christ the Redeemer's 350% growth rate over the past two years), not everyone is thrilled. Frank Jacobs loves his church, but does not like the Kindle. According to Frank, "I'm just not that technologically oriented. I like to bring my ESV book bible with me to church. Ever since the church went EKO, I have been getting stares and rude comments from people. Some church members who I thought were my friends now walk the other way when they see me. Last week was the worst when one young lady pointed at my (non-Kindle) bible and yelled, 'Why do you carry that counterfeit version? It was made by the Devil and belongs in Hell!' I was shocked and didn't know what to say. Now I'm hearing through the grapevine that the pastors are considering bringing church discipline against me and possibly denying me the Lord's Supper."
When we asked about Mr. Jacobs' situation, Pastor Hopper replied, "We in the emerging/emergent movement have been criticized for not saying what we really believe and for not taking a stand on important issues. Well, this is an important issue to us. We strongly believe that the ancient manuscript evidence shows that not only is the ESV the only valid bible version, but that the ESV-Kindle is what Paul would have wanted us to use. We will accept the persecution that comes with being ESV-Kindle-Only. We will not give in on this issue."