A Los Angeles church decides to make the big time by producing, writing, and directing a Doritos ad to enter a contest to win loads of cash and tickets to the Superbowl. The church in question is Mosaic, which (after doing some digging) is a Southern Baptist church which is headed by Erwin McManus.
The reason that I bring the Doritos ad to this forum is in part because when doing research for the post immediately before this one, it was curious to me why my link to www.erwinmcmanus.com lead me not to a page about none other than Erwin McMaus, but instead brought me to a screen with a single screen shot (above) and the words “We need your vote.”
What has occurred is that the creative powerhouse that is Mosaic teamed up to win a bunch of money. What better way to “get out the vote” but to replace your website with a forum to collect said votes.
Good question! The old adage “where there’s smoke there’s fire” may come into play. First there is the issue of a desperate attempt at cultural relevance. The trap of relevance is that pop culture moves so quickly that there is always so much to catch up on. It also implies that the Bible and the message of the Gospel is not relevant. I will absolutely agree that the Gospel is not relevant in an organization that avoids talking about sin and instead cremates the term and instead heralds the terms “issues” and “mistakes,” which become a creamy way of avoiding the truth of the total depravity of humanity and our need for a Savior.
From my research (including following McManus’ podcast and reading all but one of his books), I have grown more and more concerned about the presentation of the message of the Bible. It would seem that he generally uses Scripture to gloss over his own salient points of wisdom rather that speaking out of the text. He takes a historical exposition of a battle of King David and makes it into how we need to step out and do stupid things and that God will save us. What this misuse of Scripture does is claim that our situation is as significant as the story of the nation of Israel, which God chose to use in fulfilling his plan of bringing Christ into the world. Forgetting Christ does not make a historical battle story relevant to my life.
But then it goes further. Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs featured a long conversation about McManus’ lack of presentation of the Gospel in his messages. In fact those involved in the conversation were not able to produce any examples where McManus presented the Gospel or even mentioned a need for repentance. It seems that as Doritos have taken the place of the opening page of www.erwinmcmanus.com, the Gospel has been replaced by… well, I am not sure what to call it.
No Gospel = No Church
My contention is that a sermon that lacks the presentation of Jesus Christ and his self-sacrifice for the remission of sin is NOT a Christian sermon. I will further content that if an organization whose leadership does not call its people to repentance of sin and does not present the Gospel as a solution for the state of human depravity is NOT a church.
How can I make such statements? Tell me how a “church” with out the Gospel is any different from spending an hour with Oprah once a week. How is this experience any different from attending a convention of humanitarians? What different work does this organization do than that of United Way or the One campaign?