by Phil Martin
As I’ve been traveling in churches I’ve noticed a rift that separates churches. It is not that churches disagree on whether or not they need to change to continue being gospel outposts in a changing culture. It is the solution that is prescribed.
Category A churches assume that we have gotten the bible, theology, and gospel teaching correct, but we’ve applied it incorrectly as we’ve misunderstood our culture. The solution is to have better strategies, preach culturally sensitive sermons, and to seek to be relevant to the audience. Certainly there is a place for all of these changes as we shouldn’t hold on to forms just for the sake of maintaining traditions.
However, Category B churches believe the problem goes deeper. That our situation is not that we’ve had the gospel and misused it, but that we’ve had the gospel and replaced it with a non-gospel. The reason our churches seem lifeless, our people disengaged, and sermons powerless is because the gospel is missing altogether! Therapeutic Moralistic Deism rules the day. The gospel is assumed and “do better” moralism is preached. That is not a recipe for health! All of the strategies and cultural research will merely put a fresh clothes on a dying corpse. Our churches need gospel resuscitation not cosmetic refreshment! A pretty corpse still stinks.
I would much rather be sent by a category B church that is centered on the gospel.