I have a friend who says he’s worried that the church sometimes offers more of a “good deal” than it does in just sharing the Good News. It seems to me that many in the Christian world have a tendency to offer their brand of Christianity (sometimes denominational: Baptist, Methodist, charismatic, Catholic) which in essence says something to the effect of “come join us — our brand, our church, our faith — and you, too, can share in this good deal we’ve gotten in on.” –Buddy Duncan
You may remember a best seller about four decades ago entitled The Gospel According to Peanuts by Robert Short. The message of Jesus as portrayed through the characters of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy. Big hit, millions sold, many imitators: The Gospel According to the Beatles, the Matrix, the Simpson, U2, etc., have followed.
Pastor Buddy makes a legitimate point: why don’t we reference Jesus as the best source for espousing his message?
Instead of asking what Jesus would do, maybe we should just do what He did. He proclaimed the good news. He reached out and accepted people, right where they were. He invited them to come along and walk with Him. His Good (Dare I say GREAT!) News was that the Kingdom of God has come actively into our world… Maybe if we practice the Kiss principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), we won’t have to be so creative and feel the need to write future editions of The Gospel according to: the Black-Eyed Peas; Walt Disney; Paris Hilton; Steven Spielberg; Oprah, or any other pop icon …
I love the current era’s emphasis on Jesus. Sadly, it is the younger generation that is carrying that banner. We 40+ folks have really fallen on our faces. It’s time for us to make a difference and not solely rely on our offspring to carry the banner. Our younger leaders are making some of the same mistakes we did because we bungled things badly, missed the gospel message, and have made them react instead of respond to Jesus.
Their mistakes look different. They do actually point people to Jesus and want to gather in as many as possible; but so often they, like us, end up presenting a gospel according to something else… just like we did.
Perhaps it’s time for us older believers to put our hands to the plow, learn from our younger brothers, and do what Jesus did. Time to act, not criticize.