In this article from Steve Camp’s blog, he talk about the evils of contextualizing the gospel. I am not going to re-hash the argument that has been made here over and over about contextualizing the gospel. However, I found it ironic that Camp used this image of Christ in his article. Any ideas where it’s from? You guessed it… Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, in which he contextualizes the gospel for film, to present to a theater audience. I guess it’s ok to contextualize the gospel, as long as it is your style…. tear drop from God, and all.

P.S. — I loved this line from the blog… “In the name of connecting with “the culture” they want their people to know they have … learned the lyrics to countless tracks of gangsta rap” You know… all of us crizzzazy emergizzle pastors learning the gangsta rap… raise the roof, fo shizzle.

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58 Comments(+Add)

1   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
December 19th, 2007 at 1:09 am

Credit where credit is due. The gross over-generalization and mind-reading cited in your PS are the words of John MacArthur, Camp’s “friend and mentor”.

Is this the part where I’m supposed to be impressed?

2   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 2:29 am

Yep, Steve is well cocumented as speaking out two sides of his mouth… or should be say saying one thing while doing another…

Double minded men do that… ya know…

Letting my yizzle be yizzle and my nizzle be nizzle,

Peace out my frizzle,

iggy

3   ianmcn    
December 19th, 2007 at 3:50 am

That’s not from the passion, that’s a library photo of the actual crucifixion! Do your research!

4   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 8:26 am

And this is the open inconsistency of people like Camp. On his blog face he advertises “blog Awards” which has been borrowed from the world and is drenched in pride and comparing ourselves with ourselves. I would guess many like him criticize the dove awards, another post modern approach. And then, and this is the height of hedonistic post modern behavior, Camp advertises a “Worship Centered Life Cruise” which is a high priced, gluttonous, self centered cruise which also was borrowed from the world and is an exquisite example of conforming to the relevant, post modern lifestyle.

You see, you can’t have a Worship Centered weekend in your own building, we post modern types must have lobster, steak, accoutrements, and at the end everyone disembarks while smiling and nodding how much they enjoyed it. All the speakers and their wives go free and make money on top with books and CDs while still reciving their salary back home, and overall it is a hedonistic ritual that excludes the poor and ministers to the well off. Yea, real old fashioned.

So while you take down others for their modern approach, you yourself promote modern approaches that are in your own eyes “respectable”. And you have the guts to call it a “Worship Centered” experience. We don’t even know what worship is anymore. There is more genuine worship among ten African Christians singing in a hut without music than all the “Christian” cruises that have ever sailed!!

I hope I’ve clearly shared what I think about it, no? If you want to go on a crusie go ahead, but when you pretend it is Christian cruise you are a liar.

5   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 8:51 am

I expect Steve Camp to be against relevance. If Christians were actually relevant he’d never have had a music career.

6   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
December 19th, 2007 at 9:03 am

OUCH. haha

7   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:11 am

I wonder how many of our comments would not fit through the filter of Chris’s proposed “Challenge” section?

That said – I can understand an opposition to compromise, but it’s obvious that contextualizing the Gospel is one of the missions of the church… as far as the ODM’s are concerned they just can’t discern the baby and the bathwater.

What greater example of contextualizing is there than the one we celebrate next week?

8   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 9:57 am

“What greater example of contextualizing is there than the one we celebrate next week? ”

Excellent point, Neil. If there ever was a cultural, relevant, contextualized, hedonistic, cpmromised, secular driven observance it is Christmas. Jesus’ birthday was never meant to mbe celebrated, so how can those who claim sola Scriptura make up the rules as they go along?

9   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Thanks Rick, but you missed my point – or I failed to make it well enough… I agree that Jesus’ birthday has become everything you described – but…

My point was that the incarnation of Jesus, his becoming human, was/is the greatest example of becoming cultural, relevant, contextualized.

10   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 12:06 pm

I disagree that Christ came to be relevent. Of course Christ came to save the world, that was His purpose. There was no other way that this could be accoplished according to the scriptures. Why did God come to earth in Christ? For relevance or salvation?

11   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Kyle,

Neil’s point was that in his very coming and being human and being part of the culture in which he was located, Jesus WAS relevant. He came for the purpose of bringing salvation, but he was relevant in the way he lived (which is different than purposing to be relevant).

12   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 12:13 pm

i would agree partly. Christ came to fulfil our greatest need. But he did not come to fulfill our desires. Most of the time when I think of relvance i think of someone or something trying to meet the desires of someone. To relate to them personally. So I agree partially with that.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Neil – you have made me think which is a rare bird. Would the angels, as they heard of God’s plan to be incarnated, believed that was way too relevant and contextual? I mean to appear as a man brings God down to their level, no? It is an interesting perspective to think that when God came as a man he was exhibiting the ultimate condescending relevance.

Could He have come in spirit form and accomplished His mission? Of course, He can do anything. But we would have never understood that vehicle, so He came as one of us only divine. We could by the Spirit’s help understand that. He didn’t come as a man for Himself, He did it for us.

That just may be defined as relevant. Hmmm…I don’t enjoy not being sure about everything.

14   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 12:43 pm

i would agree partly. Christ came to fulfil our greatest need. But he did not come to fulfill our desires. Most of the time when I think of relvance i think of someone or something trying to meet the desires of someone. To relate to them personally. So I agree partially with that.

Yeah, when I hear teachers say that God died so we could have life abundantly it really makes my blood boil. I mean, God died so we could have the bear minimum survival, not so we should actually enjoy the gifts he’s given us.

15   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
December 19th, 2007 at 12:46 pm

That’s why I don’t think John 10:10 belongs in the canon.

16   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Joe,
If you don’t quit blowing my sarcasm cover I’m going to have to ban you.

17   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
December 19th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

lol. I was trying to be your strait man.

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

What is the abundant life? Is it the Ethiopian believer who is content and with spiritual songs from her lips while dwelling in abject poverty?

Or is it the baby boomer who has all the material things America can offer and enjoys many of the entrapments of the culture and in those he finds his “abundance”?

Material things have nothing to do with the abundant life.

19   merry    
December 19th, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Aw, you guys are harsh. :) Actually, if relevance is not important, some bloggers mentioned and commenters here wouldn’t even be using the internet.

20   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

He did not come to fulfil our desires! He came to save us from our desires and give us a new heart. He came to conquer the penalty of sin the the power of sin. The desires of men are sick and hostile towards God. So Christ did not come to fulfil our natrual(worldly) desires or our pride of possesions. So Christ was not relvant to the culture or the world he was revoluationary. Changing the way all men thought of God and the God approaches men.

21   merry    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Kyle, nobody here said Christ came to fulfill our selfish desires! They said Christ was relevant to his culture, meaning:

Christ was relevant to the culture in which he lived in that he dressed like they did, talked like they did, ate what they ate, was up on current events, etc. Actually I read somewhere that Hypocrites (sp?) were actually Greek actors of the time. So when Jesus referred the Pharisees as hypocrites, he was telling them they were acting like something they were not, and being relevant at the same time.

22   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Material things have nothing to do with the abundant life.

Just let me be clear, I did not mean stuff.

Also let me be clear. The idea that following Christ is some kind of grim journey made now so we can have better stuff later is stupid, and just as much health and wealth as Rod Parsley.

23   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
December 19th, 2007 at 1:22 pm

There is a false dichotomy when we say that because people are suffering in India for their faith today and I am not there is something wrong with my faith. God put that Indian there and He put me here for His reasons. I don’t know why I wasn’t born in Russia but that’s the way it is.

24   nc    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Be careful Tim Reed…
If you bash Mr. Camp, Pastor Silva will get mad.

25   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Philippians 3:8
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

It is not grim. It just on how you see life. There is so much joy in suffering. It’s hard to grasp but in suffering we find glory. Life may not be a bed of roses for christians. This quote is great from Thomas Wilcox.

“Judge not Christ’s love by providences, but by promises.”

26   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Shockingly Kyle manages to re-build the strawman I just pulled down in my previous response.

27   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 1:31 pm

The abundance is in the spiritual realities that come with the habitation of the Holy Spirit. I do believe that we are born with different responsibilities. To whom much is given, much is required. So if by God’s providence we are entrusted with material means, we have a responsibility before God to minister to those who do not.

A man wins the lottery for 100 billion dollars. As he drives to Tallahassee to pick up his winnings he stops for a coke. When he reaches into his pocket he pulls out 6 dollars which is less than the 8 dollars he thought he had. He rips the seats out and furiously looks for that lost 2 dollars and gets all stressed about it.

As he goes into the store with no joy because of his loss, he sees a mother with a little child who asks him for a dollar. He refuses because he is running low now. We have been promise eternal life and yet we stress and hoard about material things. Compared to millions of brothers and sisters in Christ around the world we live out of extreme material abundance. Not because of God’s geographical providence, but because we want to.

Ghandi, an unbeliever in hell today, lived closer to the abundant life than do most believers. Love, joy, peace, etc. = abundance. Total contentment.

28   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

I am sorry Tim how did I build a straw man?

The Christian life would look grim to the wisdom of the world. It is foolish to them to kill yourself to find life, to find joy in suffering. These are counter to the wisdom of the world.

I hope this is not just more staw. How did I build him? Was what I said wrong?

29   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

You built a straw man and he built a Tin man. I am the Inwardly Lion and Chris L. is the wizard.

Julie is the Good Witch of the North, the rest are munchkins!

30   Kyle in WI    
December 19th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

If I only had a brain

31   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Rick,
You’re getting more emergent everyday. Now you’re teachign in narrative form! Next stop: Missional! It won’t be long before you’re starting a beer brewing ministry.

32   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 1:54 pm

No beer – diabetic.

The narrative to which you refer is part of my doctrinal statement.

33   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
December 19th, 2007 at 2:11 pm

I resent my munchkin-hood.

I want to be the flying monkey.

34   merry    
December 19th, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Can I be a horse of a different color? :)

35   Jimmy@RelevantChristian    http://www.relevantchristian.com
December 19th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

I’m too big to be a munchkin!

And by the way….i didn’t even like Steve’s music….it was too…well….dare I say it…corny!

36   Robbo    http://goldcoastbereans.blogspot.com
December 19th, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Rick,

8 dollars for a bottle of coca cola in Florida? I would be upset too and I don’t play the lottery

37   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
December 19th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

And by the way….i didn’t even like Steve’s music….it was too…well….dare I say it…corny!

Wow Jimmy, you avoided the obvious pun. I’m not sure if I admire you or not for that.

38   Jimmy@RelevantChristian    http://www.relevantchristian.com
December 19th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

I know….I somehow just didn’t feel right saying it…but now I wish I had.

Ok…dang….I will say it….his music was just too ‘campy’.

39   Jimmy@RelevantChristian    http://www.relevantchristian.com
December 19th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

AND irrelevant to boot!

40   Jimmy@RelevantChristian    http://www.relevantchristian.com
December 19th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

:)

41   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Rick,

That just may be defined as relevant. Hmmm…I don’t enjoy not being sure about everything.

Welcome to the Post modern world! LOL!

Relevance to me and most I talk to and “hang” with on the blogosphere is more about making the Life of Christ relevant to others. Most do not think it is at all. “It” is just one of the many major religions and one can pick from here and eat of there… but they do not see the essence the core of our faith, being Jesus Christ alive and Him in us and us in Him.

To take Jesus to people and to show that He becomes our Life… that in all “things” He is King and thus relevant to all situations.

It is like the early church who faced martyrdom yet as the beasts of Rome tore them apart held hands and sang love songs to Jesus. Jesus becomes more of a reality than the situation.

Now, as we rise above our circumstance to see that Christ Jesus is our Life then we live out the Incarnation. Being “In Christ” (Living the incarnation) we become part of the mission of God… we become missional, or the ambassadors of Christ that bring the message of reconciliation to those who do not know Him.

Relevance is knowing the society the culture… that more people one might hang with might be able to quote the Simpson’s than the bible, but to state, hey it is like that Simpson episode where Bart learned that _____. It is not that we sit and watch every Southpark episode… but that if one knows of some “cultural” icon that can be used… such as Paul at the Areopagus was familiar with the Greek philosophers enough to quote them to the Greeks and use that knowledge to show them Jesus in their culture yet also how to recognize Him in it.

It is not about being hip or candles or cool music or whatever… that is our culture that infuse already into our services… I mean culturally many third world nations a believer will leave their home the day before and walk hundreds of miles to “service” then spend the whole day in worship and prayer and teaching… with meals. Unlike our culture they do not even think of and hour or the length of the sermon must be 20 minutes or an hour… they think only that they walked 100 miles and want to fellowship as long as they can and worship as long as they can before they journey back into their “world”. That is their “relevance” to their world.

A Christian naturally is “relevant” unless they ghettoize themselves and purposely don’t even try to reach a person for Jesus.

Camp is hilarious to me as he condemns those for being relevant, he condemns CCM for being worldly… yet he uses secular musicians for his music and uses “cruises” to “teach” and “learn” how to worship… He lifts up Luther as a great Reformer then attacks Mark Driscoll for his language, which Mark as far as I recall has not stated anything close to Luther’s choice of words… This is whitewashing the “truth”. This is a little leaven of lie in his ghetto world of “truth”… this same truth he uses his little whitewashed lies to protect truth with.

One cannot help but be relevant and reach out to others with Jesus… not if we are to go to all the world and make disciples… yet according to those of the “truth war” we can lie and pretend we are not like the world yet still have all the “things” of it in our ghetto. The world sees all this and cries out “Hypocrite!” and they blindly state that it is because “Satan” has so blinded them…

I wonder who Satan as really blinded… those who hypocritically use the worldly pleasures in their ghettos or those who use the worldly things to reach out to those destined to the Lake of Fire?

I wonder who is more “relevant” by their definition… one who uses lies to promote the truth to a fallen world wrapped in lies, or one that sees these lies and is honest about it but wants to show those in the lie a more abundant way to Life… in Christ Jesus.

OK, I will now step off my soapbox…

iggy

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Oh, and “i am the lollipop guild”…

Just being relevant… = )

iggy

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

I must study and pray, I must admit I do not understand everything. By next week I will!

44   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Rick,

then let me know first OK?
iggy

45   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 3:29 pm

OH BTW, here is The Camp talking like Snoop Doggy Dog, yet can anyone tell me of one book or sermon that any “emergent/emerging” leaders quote Snoop?

It seems that Camp is more postmodern and trying to be “relevant cool” like the world and misses how Christ is relevant today as He was when He walked across Israel.

But, as usual, let us not let “facts” show the truth will we?

iggy

46   inquisitor    
December 19th, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Rick,

“Could He have come in spirit form and accomplished His mission? Of course, He can do anything. ”

This isn’t true. He HAD to become human. You might as well claim that Christ could have saved us without dying, simply because “He can do anything.” He HAD to die. There was no other way. He HAD to be human, there was no other way.

Through one man sin entered and through one MAN it has been taken away. He had to be a man.

47   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Inq,

On one hand I agree with you… but then are you stating that God could not do something… and then would that not make him all powerful and all knowing and the God who could do the impossible? IOW, are you not limiting God?

Just asking…

iggy

48   inquisitor    
December 19th, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Iggy,

I do not believe that I am limiting God. I would expound on that answer more but then it would lead to many other disagreements. So to answer the question. No, I am not limiting God. “There is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood.” That is all.

49   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 7:36 pm

What I meant is that man is a spirit living in a body. Could Jesus have come in human spirit without the body? If He had we could not have identified with Him since we could not relate. That is relevant.

50   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Again, Inq, I agree with you, but I often get in these circular arguments with “Calvinists” who insist on “sovereignty” and also that God not do such and such…

I see it as inconsistent, yet I see it a bit differently as is do not see both as exclusive. (but we don’t want to go into that right now).

Just wanted your thoughts that’s all… I not out on some inquisition or anything…

iggy =)

51   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Q: “Why did God come to earth in Christ? For relevance or salvation?”

A: Yes.

52   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

“…the rest are munchkins”

hey now!

53   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

“Most of the time when I think of relevance i think of someone or something trying to meet the desires of someone.”

This may be true, but it is not the sole definition of relevance. Relevance can also mean you are meeting the need of someone. And that’s what Christ did.

He is the ultimate example of relevance.
He is the ultimate expression of contextualizing.

Both can be abused, but abuse of something does not render it useless, wrong, or evil.

54   Neil    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Maybe it’s too long, but I wrote about this here and here. 

55   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
December 19th, 2007 at 9:52 pm

For what it’s worth, I regularly use the word “shiznit.”

56   inquisitor    
December 19th, 2007 at 9:54 pm

Rick,
Not only could we not “relate” but we could also not be saved!
That was kind’a my point.

Iggy, Inquisitor simply means one who asks questions. You seem to hold on to a sour connotation.

57   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
December 19th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

“There is a false dichotomy when we say that because people are suffering in India for their faith today and I am not there is something wrong with my faith. God put that Indian there and He put me here for His reasons. I don’t know why I wasn’t born in Russia but that’s the way it is.”

I have pondered this very thing before, Joe. I have done mission work in the Amazon jungle in Brazil. I looked around and there is food and water everywhere! Mangos in the trees, fish in the rivers, all sorts of animal running around. Why do you think that one continent (South America) would be so blessed with abundance of water, vegetation and wildlife and one would be cursed with drought, famine, and pestilence (Africa)? I just have theories.

F Whittenburg

58   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 19th, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Inq,

Tell that to the victims of the Spanish Inquisition

I want to apologize for being a bit rough on you if I have been… I just found that in the past some come here and give no identity seem to drive by and give smart aleck remarks and think they are so great…

It seems you are here to actually ask questions.

Yet, why use “Inquisitor” as it give images to many of us of the Spanish Inquisition where some thought that they could torture and force others to come to their belief… sadly it was forcing those to become “Christians”…

It also seems that this is the attitude of many of the ODM’s which recently seemed to have self imploded and become rather irrelevant…

So… for now… handshake and let’s start over…

iggy