When the Bicycle Threatened the Church

In 1896, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church condemned bicycling on Sunday for enticing parishioners away from church and violating the Fourth Commandment:

The Sabbath, the Lord’s Day of rest for the body, and of worship for the soul, is especially threatened by many unscriptural innovations…Sunday bicycle pleasure riding…

Hard to imagine in our modern world isn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I heard someone describe the bicycle as such an amazing innovation that it puts the Sabbath in jeopardy.

But to me, this passage isn’t just an interesting bit of history. It speaks volumes about how the Church reacts to innovation at times. Instead of embracing it and looking for ways to leverage it, we feel threatened.

What we've learned:

What’s your ministry’s bicycle? In other words, what’s holding your church back from reaching people it needs to reach? Sure, bicycles aren’t in the Bible—but neither are cars or iPhones. Be an innovator. Do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ.

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