I’ve just noticed that a new video is coming into the limelight and is facing speculation, comment and critique. You may remember the “Why I hate religion, but love Jesus” video that I commented on. You can watch the video and read my views on that here. Over the last 24 hours though, a video has gone viral entitled ‘The Gospel Message’. It’s sparked discussion and thought. And now, I’m adding to that discussion. But where the gospel is concerned, it is important for us to think through things, and especially consider how we can communicate the gospel to others in a comprehensive way.
The current video in question is this one:
You can read some critiques of this video:
Dave Bish’s Critique states that the gospel is bigger than this. He has helpfully provided some other links for us:
(Taken from http://thebluefish.org/2012/02/we-believe-better-gospel-than-this.html)
I’m expecting that more and more videos will be critiqued and scrutinised for various reasons. Sometimes this is good. I think the ‘Why I hate religion, but love Jesus’ critique was necessary, due to the connotations within society which so often talk about hatred and religion.
Sometimes, critique of Christian videos is a bad thing. Sometimes we misconstrue the message that is trying to be aired. Sometimes we get the wrong end of the stick. Sometimes the attention is drawn away from the message that the video is trying to give (often a Gospel message) and is drawn to the Christians debating and disagreeing over said video.
Sometimes, it’s best to say nothing. Doing a theology degree, I tend to over think things, carefully singling out individual strands of theology. The thing is, 90% of other Christians who watch the same video won’t be doing that at all. And to be honest, I’m envious of them. I’m all for studying theology and getting deeper with God, but sometimes, we go on theological overkill, finding something wrong with every sentence said, every wrong word used and every idea which doesn’t tie in to a particular form of theology.
It’s important to keep the main thing the main thing.
Personally, I don’t have an opinion either way on this new video that’s starting to go viral. On one hand I think it’s great for explaining the bones of the gospel message, yet on the other, I see the points raised by various folk such as Dave Bish.
However, I think this raises a few questions for us to consider, discuss and mull over.
Secondly, why or why not are they a good idea?
Thirdly, if the theology is too basic, and the message is too small, how can we present the gospel in a way that is accessible, relevant and to the point?
Fourthly, how far do we take the ‘secondary’ theology into a Gospel Presentation, whether it be video, by speaking to someone or something else?
Here are some more variants of a gospel presentation. I would encourage you to get discussing this issue in the comments. Sharing the gospel is a big deal to Jesus and should be to all Christians. Therefore, it’s important we get it right. Maybe our combined ideas will help us to be better communicators of Christ’s love for the world…
So, get commenting – let me know what you think about this issue. It would also be good to know which videos you liked/didn’t like and your reasons.
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
Love the implication that a few tweets constitutes going viral… I tend to agree that critiquing isn’t helpful so much of the time, and I want to be generous… the value can be in getting us to think better about things because one persons video makes me think about what I’d say.
On other occasions I’ve sought to use Rob Bell’s trailer video constructively… because I like the questions he raises and I think it provokes us to think deeper… when people put media out its presumably to be interacted with…
Thanks for the comment, Dave.
It’s not just you and the people you’ve been interacting with. A few of the people I follow have been posting it too (though it’s definitely not as viral as the ‘Why I hate religion, but love Jesus’ video. I’ve seen ‘The Gospel Message’ around before but never really had the chance to have a proper look.
Yeah, I completely agree with what you’re saying. Like I said, I definitely share the same concerns that you do in your blog post, and it’s well worth thinking over. I was just opening it on a wider scale – how we communicate the Gospel and how much we include or don’t include for the sake of making it clear to those who don’t know the truth of the Gospel for themselves yet? And how far in theology do we go before saying that something has been simplified so much that it’s incorrect.
Takes a lot of contemplation and theological reflection…
The great peril of the internet is unhelpful conversation, the great win of the internet is helpful conversation. And as long as we pursue it generously then talking about “what is the gospel” should be constructive.
Thanks for a thought-provoking article Dean! I think context is everything here. One size fits all does not work! Sure the message is universal, but different elements will resonate with different people at different times. It’s like a sermon in church – it may touch only a handful of people who are ready and open for God to deal with them on the subject matter at that moment but for others, perhaps most, they may wonder what on earth that was all about and maybe it’s time to look for another church!
I’m all for online video presentations of the Gospel message like your examples, and they will speak to some; other formats will speak to others at other times, depending on what’s going on in their lives and how God is dealing with them.
Is the Gospel bigger than this? I think so. I’m not yet convinced that the Gospel in ALL its rich fullness can be presented and experienced online, although others argue that it can be. But let’s not knock initiatives such as these, even if they are not our cup of tea. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22 wrote that he had ‘become all things to all men’ that by ALL MEANS some might be saved.
Andrew, thank you so much for coming to the blog and engaging. I’m really encouraged!
Thank you also for your comments- I think they’re valuable and need careful consideration. And you definitely have a valid and justified point. We need to have these things in mind when sharing the Gospel; every person is unique and will respond in their own way, which means that the one size fits all model will definitely not wash!
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