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6 Comments

  1. Sarah Ignacio says:

    Hey Brad! Glad you liked it! Thanks for giving me a shout-out! Everyone should check out the page!

  2. mike says:

    yeah, i think one can make a solid case that paul’s evangelism/mission efforts showed, if anything, strategy. there’s the whole “start at the synagogue and move out” initial strategy, the coordination of efforts and funds, the use of local color in his language, both in preaching and writing, among other things. i think some of what you are talking about are simply contemporary strategies, thought-out attempts to reach people with our message.

    i think i understand where dissenters are coming from (maybe they want to show more dependence upon God as well as faith), but i’m at a point now where my walk has plenty of room for both faith and “means.”

  3. theophilogue says:

    Mike,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Glad you are at a point to leave “room” for means.

    showing more dependance on God = not using all the means of communication to get out the message of the gospel and engage the culture with God’s truth?

    Somethings wrong with the above equation.

  4. Rhirhok says:

    Bradley,

    I think I understand your point, but we certainly need to make some distinctions. For example, someone could argue that Christian T-shirts, bumper stickers, and all manner of Christian nick nacks are simply attempts to spread the gospel through “methods of cultural communication common to the culture.” If we really want to “market” the gospel, then that is the way we market many other things in our society. The problem with using those marketing strategies is that those Christian nick nacks are often silly, hokey, and trite, and thus they end up communicating ideas about Christ and the gospel that are much different than what we intended. And I don’t think that it is simply because of bad products, but rather it is tied to the very way we are attempting to communicate the gospel. The gospel is deep, heavy, sobering, glorious, amazing, etc., and trying to market it like we do toothpaste will only do serious damage to the message itself. Sometimes the “common cultural avenues of communication” are antithetical to the gospel we are proclaiming. I guess my main point is that the “way” we communicate the gospel is not neutral, and sadly it seems like those who are interested in selling the gospel in the most effective ways give little thought to the “way” they present the gospel and the affect it will have on the message.

    Perhaps we are both simply protecting against two opposite extremes.

  5. theophilogue says:

    Rhirhk,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that we need to make distinctions.

    Your first example about corny bumper stickers, etc. is well said. I would harvest your point by saying that we must make distinctions between high quality communication and poor quality communication. Many bumper stickers and Christian T-shirts are poor quality. Not all bumpers stickers have a hokey feel to them, such as the one’s, for example, that say, “Abortion is Murder.” I don’t find those bumper stickers corny or silly. We would be served by someone who could use those same avenues of cultural communication in better ways (i.e. make high quality bumpers stickers and high quality Christian T-shirts), not by giving up on a common avenue of communication altogether.

    You go on to say that some of the “common methods of cultural communication” are in and of themselves antithetical to the gospel. Can you give me five examples? I’m not sure I know which methods your talking about.

    Thanks again for your helpful thoughts. Your helping me think through this better.

    Bradley

  6. Rhirhok says:

    Bradley,

    I have certainly not arrived when it comes to this issue, which is to say that I am also still thinking through these things.

    You asked for five examples. If I have a chance to go down to my local Christian bookstore, I will get back with you about specific examples. Generally speaking, I am referring to bumper stickers, button pins, T-Shirts, bracelets, and all the other Christian nick nacks.

    But how are these methods of cultural communication antithetical to the gospel? Let me give a specific example. I have seen button pins that say things like “Real Men Love Jesus.” Someone may say that the problem with this is not the button pin itself, but rather the message. However, is it not the case that real men love Jesus? Overall, I think I agree with the message. The “real man” is the person who lives as His Creator intended, which includes loving God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving his neighbor as himself. It includes living a life integrity, humility, boldness, compassion, etc. Without a love for Christ, a man cannot live the life of a ‘real man.’ The reason I am not a big supporter of that button pin is because that method of communication seems to trivialize profound biblical truths by making them into slogans that we wear on our chests. Anything that lends itself to making light or treating flippantly glorious, amazing, and profound truths stands in opposition to those very truths.

    Perhaps the problem is tied to the reputation that many of these methods of communication have received in our culture. For example, most bumper stickers, T-Shirts with messages, and button pins are often used to amuse us through clever statements or jokes. While there is nothing wrong with these things, inputing sloganized biblical truths through this medium may be counterproductive in that it could trivialize them.

    This is not to say that we should condemn every common form of communication in our culture when communicating biblical truths. We should take advantage of those things. I simply wish that we would give more thought to the “ways” we present biblical truths and the affect they can have on the message itself. Also, I do not go around condemning people who wear such things. While the issue is not insignificant, there still needs to be a good dose of Christian mercy and grace for those who differ.

    In the end, if you still disagree with me, then I expect to see you post a pic of yourself proudly wearing your “Real Men Love Jesus” button pin 🙂

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