Here are a few notes from the presentation posted below in which he outlines “The Evangelical Reality: Five Diseases of the Evangelical Church”
- Body Count Evangelism: too much of an emphasis on saying a prayer to register a conversion or decision, but nothing significant happens to shepherd them into becoming disciples. This is due to a loss of theology that emphasizes God’s sovereignty.
- The Christian Industrial Complex. Where ministry and industry collide…industry thrives, but ministry suffers. In Christian radio, marketing has replaced ecclesiology. “Humans are not consumers who need to be satisfied. We are sinners who need to be justified.” Most major Christian radio stations market not to Christians, but to soccer Moms driving kids around town, 30-40% who listen are not Christians. So the music you hear on Sunday morning is based on popularity, which is not determined by theologians or pastors, but by marketers appealing to thirty-something soccer moms of varying faiths and commitment. As a result, we get what we want, not what we we perhaps need.
- The Triumph of Sentimentality–seeing the world as we would like it to be rather than the way it is–the way God created it. Hence we have the prosperity gospel, universalism, positive thinking books and teaching. “We show our acceptance of the Gospel when we behave in ways that show our acceptance of God’s ordering of the universe.”
- The New Provincialism. CS Lewis: “We are more advanced, more progressive, smarter, more highly developed than those who came before us.” Disconnected from the past, we are left in denial of the incarnation and resurrection, or with belief in continuing revelation as found in cults. We are surrounded with “chronological idiots” who aware only of current celebrity affairs rather than significant historical figures who have actually achieved something. The emphasis on new, hip and relevant is a form of unintentional new provincialism.
- The Great Stereopticon. Are media morally neutral? Does the medium affect the message? Surprisingly, there is a good argument that media are not culturally or morally neutral. The written word requires abstract thinking. “The medium IS the message”–Marshall Mcluhan. Does God have a preferred medium?
The Evangelical Future: Prescription
- Recovery of the “Natural Family”
- Recovery of community and a properly operating church
- Recovery of vocation–we need to lose this modern concept of extended or permanent adolescence for young people
- Recovery of widow and orphan care
Purchase the book A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church