Friday, September 28, 2012
Truth and Faith
In support I offer you the following from Vishal Mangalwadi (HT: Joe Carter):
In November 2011, I visited two classes at a Christian university in North America. I asked both: “How many of you would still believe Christianity if you found out tomorrow that Christianity was not true. That is: God never became a man; Jesus did not die for our sin; or, that he did not rise from the dead?”He goes on to discuss the necessity of truth for the church - an important point and you very much should read the whole thing, but I want to focus on branding. That is a form of messaging, one much picked up by the church these days.
Twelve hands went up in each class of about 25 and 45 students. These sincere and devout students had grown up in Christian homes, gone to church all their lives and studied in Christian schools. Some had been in that Christian university for three years! They respected their elders who taught them that Christianity was all about faith with little concern for truth.
Christianity lost America because 20th-century evangelicalism branded itself as the party of faith. Secularism (science, university, media) became the party of truth. This is one reason why 70% Christian youth give up meaningful involvement with the church when they grow up.
In the second class, only one in four students perceived Christianity as disconnected with truth. This was because my host professor had taught them to believe because Christianity is true. Some professors and pastors do teach that, yet the “truth-less” brand is common perception because it is reinforced by most pastors, Bible teachers, and some Christian professors.
But if you study branding as a marketing force, which is what it really is, it matters less what you sell and more that you sell the brand. Hence comes merchandizing in the wake of a big movie. You make a Star Wars movie, it's a hit, and you can use the Star Wars logo to sell cereal. What precisely does space opera have to do with cereal?
It is easy for the church to become void of truth when it is busy branding itself. The medium has thus not just changed the message - it has eliminated it.
These things matter.