Technology is changing our lives at breakneck speed and in unpredictable ways. In just one decade, for example, the mobile phone has transformed the daily life of virtually every church leader in the world. Technology also changes the way the gospel gets communicated, whether through PowerPoint slides, websites, or screens at multi-site churches. We sought out a man who has decades of practical experience with technology in business—as well as wide and deep thinking about its significance.

Al Erisman spent 32 years at Boeing, and for the last 11 of those years was director of research and development for technology. He now teaches in the business school at Seattle Pacific University and is co-founder and editor of Ethix magazine (Ethix.org). He also consults and lectures on faith and economic development, most recently in the Central African Republic and Nepal. He recently spoke with Global Conversation editor and CT senior writer Tim Stafford.

What does technology have to do with the gospel?

A lot. Narrowing our scope just to information technology, we recognize it is all about information and communications, a fundamental element of proclaiming the gospel. It is also about what kind of people we become, and how we communicate to people who are part of the digital generation. We could also look at the broader impact of other technology, such as automobiles, nuclear power, or biotechnology—anything that comes from a step-by-step process or the use of tools. But we have our hands full talking about information technology.

I think of information technology in five layers. The bottom layer is the basic technology—the microchip, for example. Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, predicted what is now called Moore's ...

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