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jesus the radical pastor
The American Sound Byte Gospel
I am stunned that some Christians still defend a sound byte gospel. You know, the 4 steps, the “bridge over troubled waters” packaged presentation. Shrimpy little things. The wondrous, thunderous, mind-boggling, heart-stopping gospel of the Bible and of Jesus himself is horribly reduced to bumper sticker phrases.
With what other literature or great story do we do this
? None to my knowledge. Imagine the classic story (and movie) of
Ben Hur accidently killed a Roman soldier.
Ben Hur was a galley-slave.
Ben Hur drove in a big chariot race and won.
Ben Hur met Jesus at the Cross when his mother and sister were healed.
Wow. I really know the story now. Do YOU believe in Ben Hur?
Anne of Green Gables
Anne Shirley meets Marilla and Matthew.
Anne worries over her freckles and dyes her hair green.
Anne doesn’t like the Pye children.
Anne becomes a teacher and serves blind Marilla.
Doesn’t that story just rock? Do YOU believe in Anne of Green Gables?
Pilgrim goes on a journey.
Pilgrim carries a sack of sin.
Pilgrim meets a lot of interesting people.
Pilgrim ends his quest and his sack of sin falls off.
Wow! Pilgrim gets saved! Do YOU believe in Pilgrim?
You think, “John, this is so silly.” I agree. But the question remains: Why do we reduce “the greatest story ever told” and confidently act as if we’ve done something noble, even holy? This horrible reduction is actually stupifying. The sweeping, rumbling, massive saga of the
andthe Spirit-energized, Jesus-intense
get miniaturized to…
God loves you.
You are a sinner.
Jesus died for you.
Believe in Jesus now.
Hand me my microscope so I can see this “gospel.” Wow. Do YOU believe in Jesus? If so, you get to go to heaven when you die.
A bumper sticker gospel creates sound bite believers who
things rather than live into the sweeping Story of God’s amazing, amazing grace. A reduced Gospel has produced no-different-from-the-sound byte-culture Christians. When will we wake up?