Hearty Heresy

Who’s Preaching the Real Gospel?
October 26, 2007, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Faith, God, Jesus, Religion

When I started this blog last February, I said that one of the things I wanted to do was keep tabs on “rock star” ministers–those pastors who go out of their way to project a up-to-date, contemporary (dare I say “worldly”) image to the world in hopes of attracting secular folks to their mega-churches or church plants so they can hear the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Christ: “Acknowledge that you’re a hopeless sinner and that God deliberately killed is darling little boy so you won’t have to suffer eternal torment. If you don’t accept Jesus, well, you suffer eternal torment. Oh, and God loves you sooooooo much!” So the only minister I’ve named so far is Perry Noble, who’s started a “no hell” campaign at his church. He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, so for Christ’s sake, please accept the crummy deal God is offering! But the current issue of Sojourners magazine has an article that’s got me thinking about another blogging pastor and the way he presents the Gospel and how it just doesn’t seem to fit with the message I hear from Jesus.

First, the article. It’s called “What Would Jesus Buy?” and it’s by noted scholar Walter Brueggemann. It’s about “Rev. Billy” and his Stop Shopping campaign. (You can read a printer friendly version here.) Rev. Billy (who’s not a real clergyperson) stages “shopping interventions” at corporate havens like Starbucks and McDonalds and Disney stores. His point is pretty simple: we should be seeking “the god that is not a product.” I don’t know about you, but this sounds close to what I perceive to be Jesus’ main theme–you don’t have to pay anyone for salvation because God is always already within you.

Contrast Ben Arment, blogging pastor of Reston Community Church in Virginia. Read a few of his posts where he salivates over the features of his new iPhone. Linger on the passages where he sings the praises of the nearest Starbucks. And reflect on this post where he mulls over the possibilities of the iTunes Wi-Fi store being accessible at Starbucks. Then ask your self, “What the heck does this have to do with Jesus?”


4 Comments so far
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Ok, now I’m a bit worried. This Sunday (for the first time in about 3 years) I am preaching having been put on the lay-preaching schedule. My Topic? Jesus’ understanding of the gospel!!

Comment by rgillingham

There are a lot of approaches to that topic! What would Jesus preach?

Comment by heartyheretic

I think Rev Billy would be higher on Jesus’s dinner party invitation list than Ben Arment!

Comment by Tess

Could be. But Jesus dined with tax collectors and prostitutes, too, so I supposed he’d find it in his heart of invite a church planter or two!

Comment by heartyheretic

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