No, our future children or grandchildren will not be evangelized by a robot.
This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.
ChatGPT, the eerily accurate artificial intelligence (AI) information-gathering and writing chatbot that launched this past November, is worrying a growing number of people.
Teachers are wondering how a genuine high-school or college essay will be possible again when any student could produce, within minutes, a fully formed, original, footnoted paper. Some ask whether this or future AI could do job-performance reviews for employees. And some are starting to ponder whether the smart tech could be headed for another place: the pulpits of our churches.
Journalist Matt Labash, in a delightfully “neo-Luddite” rant in his newsletter, noted that New York rabbi Josh Franklin had the chatbot write an entire sermon for him. He didn’t tell his congregation until afterward that the sermon was written by someone else.
When he asked them to guess who wrote it, they identified the late rabbi Jonathan Sacks—perhaps the most renowned Jewish preacher of the past 20 years. Imagine the synagogue’s reaction when they were told that the sermon they liked so much was assembled with zero human contribution.
Is that the future of Christian preaching? You might respond, “Of course not.” Maybe you just can’t believe such a thing could happen. But imagine trying to explain Google or a smartphone Bible app to a person 30 years ago. What if everywhere-accessible AI could write completely orthodox, biblically anchored, and compellingly argued sermons for pastors every week?
Garrison Keillor told a story about a man whose pastor asked whether he believed in infant baptism. The man responded, “Believe in it? … I’ve seen …
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