Pointing to Gospel-Driven Again

kinnon —  December 11, 2008 — 10 Comments

We recorded our first two podcasts, yesterday. We being Dan MacDonald, Darryl Dash and me. The podcast hasn’t got an official name yet but I hope to have the first show up next week. (I have a theme song playing in my head – it’s Andrews Sisters-like vocals singing “There might be flies on some of you guys, but not Dan, Darryl and Bill.” It could probably use a little work.)

In the recording for the second show, we talked about doing future phone interviews with people like the iMonk, Ed Brenegar and a number of my Missional Tribe friends. One of the people I specifically mentioned was Jared Wilson. Jared continues to be near the very top of the list of my favorite bloggers. He’s a passionate, Gospel-driven guy – and a bit of an agent provocateur – like certain other people I know.

Jared takes on the profoundly consumeristic preaching tendencies of one of the more “successful” young preachers in the U.S. He’s uses this as an example of virtually Jesus-less, gospel-less messages that are coming from too many pulpits in an effort to people-please the audience. I know the preacher Jared uses as an example to be a good guy – but I also believe he’s one who has bought into putting on the best show to bring the folk in. Much of his preaching appears to reinforce the consumeristic nature of the attractional church – his messages well informed by the self-help ministries of people like Ed Young Jr.

I’m not worried about offending this pastor. I know he doesn’t read my blog anymore. It brings him down. And he’ll put his audience numbers up against mine any day of the week to prove who’s winning – as if that’s what this is all about.

It’s oddly reminiscent of Stalin’s purported response to a worried adviser, concerned about the Catholic Church, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Stalin sarcastically replied.

How many does he need” should have been the advisors response – well said by Robert Higgs in the linked article.

But that would have made the advisor a prophetic voice – and Stalin’s response to the prophetic would have been no different than much of the western church to the prophetic voices in their midst. Voices like Jared’s.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

10 responses to Pointing to Gospel-Driven Again

  1. Honored and flattered. Again. Thanks, sir.

    I find it interesting in a bemusing sort of way that today’s PN blog post regurgitates the “feed yourself” line so popular in the attractional church.

    I’m also disheartened that for every objection he means to address, he basically says everyone who raises these objections or asks these questions are shallow, workless, arrogant Christians.

    It must be nice to be so huge you don’t even have to take people’s concerns seriously any more and you can insult them to the applause of all your supporters.
    And by “nice” I mean “arrogant.”

  2. Let the record show that this time I didn’t just sit back silently when Jared’s name was mentioned, like I did on the Drew Marshall show. Jared’s a great guy.

    Have you told him that our podcast is looking for sponsors? It’s our only hope to get rich. Maybe if we keep saying nice things about Jared, he can be our first one. πŸ˜‰

  3. As soon as I can figure out how to put on a good enough show to grow my church big enough to pay me something, I’ll put sponsoring you guys on my list of things to do. It’ll be somewhere around 43, 44, 45, but it’ll be on the list.


  4. Don’t worry, Jared. We covered all of that in the podcast. You can have your best ministry now!

  5. Wow. Didn’t know Perry Noble was discouraged by your blog, Bill.

    I want to see the good that God is doing within these churches and ministers – even Ed Young – but bluntly, going to a show and hearing a great speaker is not going to minister to people’s needs. If you’re lonely, and want to connect, aside from the sovereign move of God it ain’t gonna happen inside a huge arena.

    I’ve been there, done that, got sick of it (though the church is a great church and the people there love Jesus tremendously), and moved on.

  6. I wonder why we in the church find the need to be judgmental of others in the church who may differ from us, rather than living by the words of Christ:

    A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. – John 13:34-35

    Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: – Luke 6:37

    How might the world be different if the church left judgment to God, focusing our energies instead on loving one another and carrying out the last instructions Jesus left for us:

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20

  7. Hey EM,
    Thanks for the input. It’s a great example of proof-texting.

    I did note, however, that you left Paul’s comments out that might also have worked here to “win” your argument. I’m referring to Galatians 5:12, of course.

  8. LOL – I should have thought of that one!

    I did think of the first part of Matthew 7…

  9. so help me out here, Bill…

    How have I taken these texts out of context? Is not love for one another a consistent theme?

  10. EM,
    Taking your response to it’s logical conclusion there would have been no Reformation.

    There are plenty of scriptures, as you’ve shown that seem to suggest we ‘just need to be nice.’ But I would challenge you to wander into the prophets, read Paul when he’s ticked off with any number of churches, and I’d ask what the Lord is saying when he says, Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    Many of us see an unintended perverseness to the preaching/teaching of many “big dog” church leaders. Though they are convinced otherwise, they are not preaching the Gospel. And then they go further, bragging on their “blogs” about their numbers and how they get them. (These are only blogs when they allow conversation. Most of these fellows don’t. They aren’t interested in conversation.)

    Many of us, like Jared, are not attacking the individuals but we are questioning strongly their messages and their understanding of the Gospel.

    I say this at the end of a recent post (and forgive me for self-referencing),

    I will continue to love and honour churches like Redeemer and the Meeting House, which are the very best of megachurches, while critiquing the more predominant consumeristic megachurch culture of places like Willow Creek, Fellowship Church Plano and Joel Osteen’s Coliseum-sized church in Houston – churches that actively promote & market their methodology as THE way to grow churches in the west. All of us, however, must come to a realization that any church in the West swims either with or against the tide of consumerism – whether small, medium or large.

    I hope that helps.


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