Moody and magnificent!
April 4, 2011
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
No Other Gospel (Crossway, 2011) has just been published and I have duly been doing the rounds of radio interviews on Christian radio in the US. They have certainly been fascinating. Whereas in the UK there is Premier Radio listened to by a loyal audience, no doubt, in the US there is a very large population of Christians who listen to Christian talk radio, with news and music, and regular preaching programming. Some of it perhaps classifies as ‘naff’ or ‘cheesy’, but much of it is genuinely edifying and helpful. There is also the very fast-paced twitter and blogging world. Recently a controversial new book, with a pre-release video, was posted by a well known American blogger and over the weekend received something like a quarter of a million hits. That kind of attention, and internet traffic, was enough to get CNN interested. We are talking — still, despite some hand wringing among Christian leaders here about decline — a serious market in the Bible belt. That comes with great opportunities. There is any number of massive conferences going on during conference season. Every now and then I still come across a church numbering in the tens of thousands that I have never heard of before. Be assured: if this was England a church numbering in the tens of thousands I would have heard of and probably personally have known half the staff.
Resources and responsibilityWith that sort of ‘firepower’, the evangelical world in America continues to generate massive amounts of energy, missionaries, and theological ruminations, if not ramifications. Other parts of the world are growing faster in terms of sheer number of Christians, but the resources of the American church outweigh everywhere else. And the responsibility. That all said, there are difficulties too. You occasionally hear people talking in passing about ‘the church they used to go to’ as they do their shopping in the American equivalent of Asda, and describing to their friend all of the advantages of the new church which they are now attending. Consumer Christianity, as one pastor colleague recently described to me, is one thing to hear about, but it is another thing to live with and attempt to do authentic church within.
Gaining attentionHow do you garner attention for the gospel in a place where the gospel is old news not new news? The answer that many Christian leaders seem to come up with is to get their head above the crowd by doing something new. That’s at best; at worst, they get their head above the madding crowd by saying something new. Hence, that recent controversy over an upcoming book that I mentioned. When asked myself in one of those radio interviews by some radio Christian talk show host who probably has an audience of a zillion or two, how, then, if we are not to do or say something new, we can make a statement — my response was that instead we need to be new. That message, the power of the gospel, the power of God’s Word, to do something new in us and through us, well that’s the message we need, wherever we are.]]>
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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