Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Consuming the Gospel
A few weeks ago, I asked the question if it was possible to turn The Gospel into an idol. You can read that post HERE.
What prompted that post was a negative conversation that occurred by someone saying that they didn't hear "their gospel." This statement has at its root many layers of problems that are facing the church today.
Is the gospel personal? Absolutely.
Is the gospel social? Absolutely.
But when we make it one over the other, we have changed the transformative power of the gospel and made it into a commodity of religion. We are of course a consumer culture. But the gospel is never something to be consumed.
As soon as the gospel has its limits, the transformational power of the resurrection has been co-opted for personal interest, comfort, tradition, power, and consumption.
Consider this very real scenario...what is emerging in Christianity is the church of the global South. Primarily, the global South is made up of developing nations and third world nation states. The church and Christianity is exploding in the global South, whereas it is disappearing in the West. The version of Christianity however, looks very different. Its very tribal in its existence. It appears much more pentecostal in nature, as the spiritual aspect of faith is heightened in these parts of the world. The notion of prosperity is also gaining ground. And even though much of the West does not participate in these "types" of Christianity, does it mean that the global South isn't teaching gospel? Is it possible that the gospel is JUST THAT BIG?
Gospel is defined:
1. The proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus and the Apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.
2. A similar narrative.
3. a doctrine maintained to be of great importance
So lets go back to the initial argument... is the gospel ours to claim, and ours to define when its not heard (as we prefer it heard)?
In the particular case I'm referring to, there was not a liturgical time set aside where the gospel (text from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) was read. What did occur was a narrative approach to show how the gospel is interlaced throughout the totality of scripture.
The argument defined what equals gospel, and what does not equal gospel. The argument makes the gospel totally liturgical in its methodology and practice. The argument denies God's ability to speak gospel outside of the liturgical hour and outside of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. The argument limits God and is dangerous. The argument was made from the standpoint of something to be consumed during the liturgical hour.
That's my two cents anyway...