The printing press was invented in the Holy Roman Empire by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, based on existing screw presses. Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed a complete printing system, which perfected the printing process through all of its stages by adapting existing technologies to the printing purposes, as well as making groundbreaking inventions of his own. His newly devised hand mould made for the first time possible the precise and rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities, a key element in the profitability of the whole printing enterprise.
From a single point of origin in Germany, printing spread within several decades to over 200 cities in a dozen European countries. By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had already produced more than twenty million volumes. In the 16th century, with presses spreading further afield, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies. The operation of a press became so synonymous with the enterprise of printing that it lent its name to an entire new branch of media, the press. As early as 1620, the English statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon could write that typographical printing has “changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world”
If Bacon was alive today would he say the same thing about the Internet or the computer?
I think it’s too new to tell. It’s only been around for 10-15 yrs (mainstream and its probably going to evolve a lot more before it becomes the final internet. We are in the dawning of the Age of the Internet.
The invention of the printing press transformed the way people learnt and as a result church changed in how it operated because of a massive culture shift. We have to gear up to hear what’s in store for the church post Google and how we can take church and discipleship into a digital age because we are at the dawn of another major culture shift.
There are of course some experimental out-workings of this shift in church, sometimes we are hitting it some times we are missing it. There is no doubt though that the new culture will continue to emerge – we can’t stop it. It is therefore crucial that the church catches up with and embraces this new culture in order to reach the younger generations and I’m talking about any one under 60!!