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Resurgence Text and Context: Preaching the Gospel in the Evangelical Capital by Matt Chandler

March 13, 2008

Here are my notes from the Text & Context Conference in Seattle and one of Matt Chandler’s messages. The notes do not do the message justice. Download it at The Resurgence and listen when they post it.

Preaching the Gospel in the Evangelical Capital
By Matt Chandler

How vs. Why
Evangelicals focused on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’.

In response to liberal claims that we are simpletons, we filled our minds with intellectualism. We withdrew from cities and as we have matured we have tried to engage, but we have serious baggage. Our missional approach has the baggage of the evangelical community that went before us. We don’t really want to live in the city but we will bus white people downtown and ‘track bomb’ them.

We have to love the older brother though. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be here. The Father goes outside and entreats the older brother to come in. Don’t judge the older brother. It is just the other extreme of pride. Drinking beer and cussing is our pride.

Religion is now in the free-market and now we are voted on by popular culture. We are democratic, moralistic, a fierce individualism that has been shaped by pop culture.

The shaping force of the enlightenment has killed the soul. Rational pragmatics now builds big churches and the victory is people in the room, not transformed lives. A pragmatic linear approach is now what builds large churches.

Americans became disillusioned with institutions and progress in the 60s. We changed from deep, real liturgy to Christianity-lite that is more concerned with your life than the beauties of Jesus. Instead of walking with Jesus, we get the how, not the why. The ‘how’ is not as important as the ‘who you are’. The issue is authenticity.

September 11 reminded everyone that religion motivates people. Before that, no one thought it did. A growth of journalism and politics has occurred regarding religion. There is now a fear of fanaticism and we are afraid of being labeled as fanatics. It is ok to like Jesus; you just can’t love him to much.

Consumerism is another huge influenced. (did not talk much on this, everyone else has anyway)

Evangelicalism and Missional Side by Side

How do we serve missionally right next to fundamentalism?

We must put to rest thoughts of bigness. Bigness attacks the elements of deep change. Christian Hollywood is gathering people who are afraid to boldly proclaim the truth of Christ. The goal of bigness destroys us. If you want to draw a crowd then you will sell out. Preach faithfully and preach well and let God grow the church. Preaching must become more Christ focused as it becomes more text focused. We need to pay a deep attention to the deity of Jesus. We have people getting saved to a different Jesus.

We must boldly preach the gospel but with less combative language. If we come across as arrogant and smug it is not a win for us. The second you are combative, they will file you as a fundamentalist and ignore you.

We must reaffirm our faith in the sufficiency of scripture and not just the inerrancy of it. God as creator must be proclaimed week in and week out. As creation we will be held accountable for how we view the creator and creation.

The ultimate reality must be preached. Everything isn’t perfect the moment we get saved. Sanctification is a crawl. It hurts but Jesus is enough. That is the ultimate reality. Obedience can be costly and suffering is included.

We must teach right ecclesiology. We are to teach them to ‘observe’ what God taught, not what to ‘know’.

Has God removed some of His common grace in this country? Do we now have Isaiah’s ministry of preaching, but that they won’t hear? We must fearlessly preach the gospel, engage right ecclesiology and trusts God for any growth. Trust the Holy Spirit.

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