If all of the world were to fall down today and worship our Father and submit their lives to him, it would not add one bit to his holiness and glory. And if all the world were to reject our Father and deny him today, it would not subtract one iota from his sovereignty and reign. In the same way, the Gospel itself — the Good News of salvation from God through faith in the Christ — is not strengthened or weakened by our attempts to proclaim it. The perfect Gospel of Jesus cannot gain power or lose effectiveness.
But just as Paul told the Corinthians that “it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,” even though they were eating and drinking and praying as a body of believers just like everybody else, the Gospel isn’t really the Gospel if it’s proclaimed in a way that contradicts the message.
And sometimes the package can contradict the message so that it’s not the Gospel at all. It’s something else.
If the National Enquirer’s headline was “Tony Romo Dating Jenna Bush,” you wouldn’t believe it for a second. But if that same headline appears in the Dallas Morning News, you don’t doubt it at all. You never question it. The reputation of the package and the public perception of the package definitely impacts the message. Give Away Day and Trunk Or Treat are effective ways to preach the Word. But if we used Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in the church parking lot or off-color innuendo on our flashing sign out front to attract people to Give Away Day or Trunk Or Treat, that’s a problem.
What if I used four-letter curse words while I preached? What if I preached while holding a gun and shooting anybody who refused to be baptized? I know those are extreme, hyperbolic illustrations but they make the point. The packaging definitely impacts the message. And we’re setting ourselves up and jeopardizing the Kingdom if we ignore that.
My point is this: we are the ones who control the medium. We control the packaging and the way things are presented. It only changes if we decide to change it. We make those decisions. No one else is making those decisions for us. But for some reason we in the Church just assume that since everything around us in our culture is changing, the Church must change also. For some reason our attitude in the Church seems to be “We must be like the culture” instead of “We must change the culture.”
Why is our culture and “the way things are” seen by us as a reality to which we must adapt instead of a point of view with which we should argue?