Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Gospel, The Church, The Culture

Fundamentalism and Liberalism are both wrong. One excludes the culture, the other excludes the gospel. I read a very insightful book recently called: The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll. In the book he talks about how today's church needs to be about reaching out, without selling out. In other words, he talks about being conservative theologically and liberal culturally. His driving question in the book is: how do you proclaim the hope of Jesus Christ, the gospel message, to an ever-changing and diverse culture, without selling out the core tenants of the faith in an effort to be relevant?

I have witnessed two growing trends that concern me deeply. First, old, stagnant, traditional churches that could care less if they reached anybody, they just don't want to change anything about the way they "do" church. Second, the new, cocky, looks like every other young pastor guy who wants to plant the next "GREAT" church who doesn't even really care about the people in his community, but instead idolizes a possible position of status and greatness in the church world. In addition to this, this pastor/church have such loose or non-existent theology that they are on a dangerous slippery slope.

When I read this book, it had a couple of equations that were brilliant and profound. Check them out and weigh in about what you think.
  • Gospel + Culture - Church = Parachurch (Promise Keepers, Women of Faith, etc.)
  • Culture + Church - Gospel = Liberalism
  • Church + Gospel - Culture = Fundamentalism
  • Gospel + Church + Culture = A Radical Reformission


  1. Gospel + Church + Culture = A Radical Reformission

    I think you have hit on something, but I'll also add this...

    Gospel must influence Church (mainly speaking of Christians) before the Church can influence Culture, I think it is only in that order can it = A Radical Reformission. I don't think we can just have all 3 sums and it make Radical Reformission...

  2. Agreed Josh, I think the Gospel influencing the church creates discipleship and greater devotion to Christ. That is what I believes fuels mission/evangelism.

    The equation doesn't hold true through and through, but I think the equations serve as good ways to see how particular elements present or missing begin to create a very different looking Christianity.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. Great often....we want to be Jesus People....great lovers of Jesus...and "can't we all get along" theology. Many of the earlier Jesus Folks of the late 60's and 70's had it right.....Love Jesus...but their love fest...often left out dynamic truths from the Bible.

    Amen to Gospel influencing the Church and the Church enpowered with those spiritual truths influencing the culture...not dead theology, but a living understanding of how God desires for us to not be of this world.....but to live in this world !!!