The Message Is the Medium

An excerpt from The Gospel Coalition:

The medium is the message. This is the idea Neil Postman popularized 25 years ago when he dropped his literary bombshell, Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Obviously we Americans could do with less entertainment, whether it’s Netflix, FarmVille, or our insatiable appetite for sports. But Postman wasn’t critiquing entertainment per se; he was critiquing our attempts to deal with serious matters through it. His thesis: We live in an age not of exposition but of entertainment, making thoughtful interaction essentially impossible, since light media can’t support serious ideas.

Amusing Our Church to Death

The church-growth movement has bought into the entertainment paradigm with catastrophic results. The unfathomable riches of God’s wisdom in Christ just cannot be plumbed by video clips and sermons on loneliness. The Christian message—salvation for hell-deserving sinners through Christ’s death and resurrection by faith alone—has been subjugated to the entertainment paradigm and predictably distorted, truncated, and even lost altogether. As a result, the church has become increasingly ignorant of its faith and, not surprisingly, increasingly confused about its mission.

This gospel distortion has spread with mind-numbing speed, resulting in a near wholesale return to the liberal church mission of the early nineteenth century. Rob Bell now wants to “save Christians” from a heavenly fixation by having them focus on the here and now.

And many have done just that. Churches have allowed the medium to dilute the message to the detriment of the mission.

Read the rest at The Gospel Coalition Blog

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