Yes, you read that right. Gospel Spam.
Gospel Spam is the answer to the gatekeepers. In today’s Reformed Christian world there are gatekeepers who determine what gets blasted out to the blogosphere and what gets ignored or a pat on the head. If you have enough alphabet soup behind your name, enough conference draw, enough people on your mailing list or Twitter followers, you can either be a gatekeeper or be recognized by them.
We’re not gatekeepers. And that’s the crypt keeper over to the left. We’re not him either.
And so, on this blog, the writing isn’t going to be nice and clean and sanitary and fit in a nice, neat little methodological box. The gatekeepers usually decide to open the door to those who keep it respectable. For example, if you advocate for abortion ministry, they advise supporting crisis pregnancy centers even if they don’t preach the gospel. Why? Because it’s nice and neat and tidy, even if it goes against everything they preach in conferences. Think middle class American-tidy. Write the check and it’s done. Someone holding a Babies Are Murdered Here sign or who preaches in front of a clinic? The best they can hope for is a pat on the head.
Another example: if you advocate evangelism, write about the most aseptic methods imaginable. You could have an Easter egg hunt! WOW! Insightful! Or you could share common interests. Common interests? I never thought of that! Sterile. Just like the gatekeepers like it.
The only way you can get the attention of the gatekeepers in Christian media is not with sound theology, nor with finely reasoned arguments. You basically have to spam them. You have to get their readers to get excited about something that deserves some play and then you have to go all guerilla-marketing on them. We’ve discovered that works. Sure, they might threaten to sue you at first, but eventually they will condescend to pat you on the head while they marginalize your message. Others will tell their devoted readers that they will block them because they are excited about something that does not come through the “approved” channels.
Well, technically there is a way to get recognized by the gate keepers. Write something heretical or hang out with someone who does. But we’re not going there.
Gospel Spam is founded with the idea that we’ve had enough theological show and tell regarding issues that have long been established and every major conference is preaching about. We don’t really need any more theological exhibitionism \voyeurism. Theology is what you’re supposed to be getting at your nine marks church from your nine marks pastor. [Remember when people used to get their sermons from their pastors and not on scheduled iPod downloads? We don’t either, but we’ve heard tell of it.]
We at Gospel Spam believe that Reformed is not just a label. It is (gasp) a verb. It works like this: Reformed people reform things. Read that again, slowly. Let the words sink deep into your brain bucket. “Reformed people reform things.” Hmmmm.
Imagine if all the Reformers did was have conferences and write blogs for people who already agreed with them? Would there have been a Reformation? What if Luther nailed his 95 Theses on Melanchthon’s door instead of Wittenberg’s? Who would have cared? You’d still be paying indulgences somewhere in Europe by candlelight and listening to sermons in Latin.
Semper Reformanda is not just a phrase to use for the local church. We should be “always Reforming” everything for the glory of God. Politics. Social ills (abortion, gay marriage). Evangelism. Apologetics. Taxes. Film. Media. Arts. Pretty much everything the Bible speaks about. Everything should glorify God because it was created to do so. If it doesn’t, reform it. I can almost hear the erudite reader now: “Radical! Shocking!” The fact that this is radical and shocking should be shocking in and of itself to “Reformers.”
So who will be contributing to this rag? A bunch of outsiders. No one you’ve ever heard of. Will it be worth reading? Absolutely. Come here when you want to think outside of the sterile box. Go elsewhere for “safe.” I’m sure you know where to find them. Check your bookmarks.
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Jon, thank you for this. May it too bring glory to God. And thank you for the work you did on the Babies Are Murdered Here video. It surely does sting one's conscience if we stand by and do nothing. Or just silently protest. Thank you for your faithful boldness. We have far too many milquetoast preachers as it is.
Soli Deo Gloria
While a natural progression of preaching the gospel is and was in the 1st century changing culture, to make this a must is I believe patently not biblical. No where in the bible are we called to change the culture but the hearts of men that will undoubtedly change the culture in which we live. Changing the culture will simply make nicer people for hell that awaits.
@robcreeceIt's not only a straw man, it's also evidence of a false dichotomy. It goes like this: you can either change culture OR you can change hearts. As if the spread of the gospel and its inherent power to change hearts WON'T change the culture (which is absurd theologically and historically). I believe that the gospel actually changes people. When that gospel changes enough people, culture changes.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have spent most of my saved life preaching the gospel on street corners, in festivals, on college campuses, at sporting events, door to door, through debates, and in church (and training others to do the same). Over the last few years, at abortion clinics as well. The real difference between those who usually raise this line of argumentation is whether they preach the gospel inside of church or outside of it.
The fear of many in the Reformed world to take the gospel outside of the church walls is an indictment on the modern resurgence of Reformed doctrine. The Purtians, Covenanters, Great Awakening preachers, missionary pioneers of the 19th century, Spurgeon, etc., knew nothing of this idea of a gospel that did not change culture. As long as we keep preaching to the choir and the padded pews I think we can expect self fulfilling prophecies to repeat themselves--"we have no mandate to change culture, just preach the gospel. Until Christ comes back things will only get worse."
I recommend a book I wrote on this (shameless self promotion)--Evangelism in the New Testament. You can get it here: http://www.shop.onemilliontracts.com/Evangelism-in-the-New-Testament-JS-EITNT.htm
@robcreece I don't think Jon Speed believes one can change the culture without first changing the heart. It's a straw man to say so.
@JonSpeed @robcreece ok ok you got me. I am a friendly.. I was trying to get a dialogue going here, presenting the argument I get from seeker sensitive attendees. I am a fellow open-air evangelist and about to start an abortion ministry because of #BAMH. We are "friends" on facebook btw. I was hoping to get some more conversation going, but how both you and @CrownRights answered is exactly what I say to those who argue that point to me. God bless you guys.