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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Friday, October 28, 2005

NBC Nightly News and Tom Brokaw Covers MegaChurches, Evangelicalism, and Politics

As I write, I am watching tonight's news via NBC and Tom Brokaw. I caught it mid-stream, but was able to catch some of the segment. Apparently, secular media is picking up on the rise of evangelical faith in the midst of declining religious devotion in other forms of mainstream and liberal Christianity. Of course, the end aim is to figure out the political agenda, talking points, and game plan of evangelicals so as to understand and counter the influence they bring. They are not interested in Jesus, or becoming a Christian, or other essential matters of Christianity. Rather, they are interested on the impact Christianity is making on the culture, in particular against their secular worldview. But as I listened to Mr. Brokaw interview Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church - another megachurch of 11,000 - and realized that evangelical Christians are really concerned about the essence and distinctives of Christianity either. For instance, when asked about what is the main emphasis of your teaching, Haggard replied, "We do not focus on forgiveness of sins because that is easy; rather we emphasize how to fulfill your destiny." Buzz words like "purpose" (Warren), "destiny" (Haggard), and "full potential" (Wilkerson) are catch-all theological formulas which encapsulate their theology, or lack thereof. You see, it all comes back to what evangelicals are know for. What are we known for? In our world, are we known for what we believe? Who Jesus is? The message and gospel of the kingdom of God? Not anymore. We are known for our pragmatic ideals expressed in the church growth movement. We are known for our political and cultural agendas (same-sex marriage, abortion, judicial activism, Ten Commandments, etc.). We are known for our pop-culture (national best-sellers, religious movies, and concert-driven entertainment. Apparently the very thing which should define and distinguish us (what we believe and who we are) are replaced with what we do. This, in my opinion, is very problematic. If we don't hold truth as foremost among our concerns, heresy is inevitable and compromise the path to absorption into irrelevance. Pastors who don't say "Thus saith the Lord," but rather, "In my opinion, you ought to . . ." has lost the mantle and authority derivative of God's Word. If what we get excited about is our political agenda and not the spiritual agenda of the King and His Kingdom, then we could be guilty of treasonous citizens of another world. Don't get me wrong. I totally believe that Christians should be informed and engaged in cultural and political affairs, but this should not be what we are known for - at least not predominately. We should not get press coverage for our picket lines or political prowess, but the transforming power of the gospel in changed lives. What should be on the front page and headline nightly news is the advancement of the kingdom of God through the glorious work of saving wretched sinners, not getting another person to vote Republican or conservative. We can overturn Roe v. Wade and have the Ten Commandments on every courtroom and classroom in America, but that is not going to change a person's life any more than lowering the speed limit is going to keep people from speeding. We are not a voting block or political interest group, but children of Almighty God and ambassadors who carry the message of reconciliation to a world broken, barren, and beaten down by the effects of sin. There definitely needs to be a balanced and biblical understanding of the Christian's emphasis and priority in matters of cultural, social, political, environmental, judicial, and governmental matters. But above and beyond all these and driving all these things is the matters that are theological. I long for the day when Christians are known for Christianity. When that day comes, we will know what revival is like. More than getting press coverage for man's agenda, the greatness and glory of God and His agenda will in that day be covered whether NBC picks up on it or not. Then we will be awakened the terrifying reality of a transcendent and holy God more than losing next year's election. If tonight's coverage by NBC serves anything for me, it would be to remind me to stick with the message and not deviate or delve into matters which only strain the gnat or legislate morality without giving the power, yea Person, to do it. To read the article and other links to the segment called "In God They Trust" click here. To read Brokaw's article click here.


Blogger wisdomofthepages.com said...

About 10 years ago, Jennings did an hour production that focused on Hybels... much of the same stuff. I remember one particular quote when Jennings asked him why they didn't even have one cross in the auditorium, Hybels said something like, "We don't like having one symbol that is so easily offensive that people will see even before they hear our message." Jennings seemed fascinated/perplexed by it all - in a way I will never forget. I think the title of the show was something like, "Selling God's House". Scott Lamb

10/28/2005 09:05:00 PM

Blogger Jimmy said...

Reminds me of Derek Webb's "T-Shirts" and "Ballad In Plain Red."

10/28/2005 09:57:00 PM

Blogger Phil Steiger said...

Here, Here!

10/29/2005 12:37:00 AM

Blogger Nathan White said...

Did the gospel get proclaimed once during the program? Nope. Just more of 'your best life now'. There was nothing evangelical about those evangelicals, but I think they wanted it that way. Remember, we have to show the world we're just like them right??

There was not one person on there who I thought truly had the Spirit of Christ. How can you say some of those things (believing them) and yet truly be born again? Getting forgiveness of sins is easy??

Sad indeed.


10/29/2005 09:14:00 PM


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