Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The message is the medium"

In a blog posted at The Gospel Coalition about a church-planting conference called "Plant New England":
.... The church-growth movement has bought into the entertainment paradigm with catastrophic results. The unfathomable riches of God’s wisdom in Christ just cannot be plumbed by video clips and sermons on loneliness. The Christian message—salvation for hell-deserving sinners through Christ’s death and resurrection by faith alone—has been subjugated to the entertainment paradigm and predictably distorted, truncated, and even lost altogether. As a result, the church has become increasingly ignorant of its faith and, not surprisingly, increasingly confused about its mission. ....

Christianity is all about proclaiming the message of the gospel. So what is a fitting medium? The message actually contains the medium God has endorsed—the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and in these last times, God has spoken to us by that Word, his Son. ....

This realization should profoundly affect how we do all things “church,” including church planting. In gospel-driven church planting, the message of the gospel is the church-planting methodology. As one NETS planter put it, “I’m a gospel-only kind of guy. No tricks, no gimmicks, no rock-climbing walls, no bait to get them in and then preach the gospel. The gospel is the bait. The gospel is the hook.” ....

The Message Is the Medium: Gospel-Driven Church Planting – The Gospel Coalition Blog


  1. Anonymous7:42 AM

    It seems the author blames the Church Growth Movement for the direction of "entertainment". One cannot totally lay this sin at the feet of this movement. Rather may I suggest the roots of the "entertainment" movement are in a corruption of Pentecostal style of Worship primarily shaped through TV Evangelist, the Crusadism and Revialism tradition (i.e, Oral Roberts and to some extent Dr. Graham; historically Finney, Billy Sunday) and the penetration of our worship culture in the States and Canada of Protestant Worship styles brought from what used to be labeled as 3rd World Countires.

  2. Insofar as the church growth movement is responsible for the approach that uses the weekly church service to "attract" non-believers rather than for believers to worship and learn, it is guilty.

    What you call "Crusadism" is explicitly about converting the unconverted.

  3. Anonymous11:18 AM

    The only point was the showmanship attched to it. Dr. Roberts Healing Services under the tent.

    Even Billy Sunday sliding into the Pulpit area.

    The entertaiment value was part of the attraction of the Service.

  4. That was showmanship. But those weren't church services. They were evangelism and therefore appropriately "attractional." [Although not to my taste.]

  5. Actually, Ken, you're right - this post is about church planting.


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