What Constitutes Addition?

I don’t usually read the editorial content on Relevant, but for some reason felt like it today. I checked out this article called The True Gospel because I (admittedly skeptically) wanted to read a nice, complete definition. And while I agree with the writer’s heart for the church and for the sufficiency of Christ, it brought up some interesting questions in my mind and so I emailed him and I hope he’ll weigh in via the comment section.

Writer/church planter Matt Conner says in his article

Why is it that at every turn there is another pastor, another leader, another congregation doing something to be memorable in the hope of attracting more customers? We run advertising campaigns to reach the masses. We have slick promotions and direct-mail pieces… The problem is that we, as Christians, are falling for the belief that the Gospel needs our help in some way… When we do this, we are attempting to add to the Gospel. What we are saying is that the Gospel is not enough to change lives-that it needs our help in some way to make it more acceptable or palatable…

Yes, the gospel is enough to change lives. It’s the ONLY thing that can change lives. But it has to be communicated to people somehow. It does not exist as some intangible vapor in the world. God is concerned with spreading His glory and He uses people in relationship with other people to do that (very often). The gospel doesn’t need to be dressed up to make it more attractive… drawing people to Christ is only in HIS power to do and He does it quite well… but it does need to be contextualized so that people can bypass all the religious trappings and preconceived notions and see the person of Christ. If we love and pray for those around us, shouldn’t we attempt to remove the potential obstacles? 

If “…advertising campaigns… slick promotions and direct-mail…” are adding to the gospel or doubting in Christ’s power, then explain to me why Christ Himself taught in parables and stories and why He framed the gospel and the unfolding of the kingdom of God in the communication style of the day? 

Matt says, “God doesn’t need our creativity to reach the masses.” My initial reaction to that is that of course God doesn’t need our creativity… He doesn’t need anything… from us or from anywhere or anything. The better question is why do we have creative talents? And more specifically, why does Matt’s own church have a very well-done logo? What purpose does that serve? How is that any different from a piece of direct mail? God doesn’t need your creativity… He doesn’t need your logo to reach the masses… isn’t the gospel enough? Why do you even need a church name? Do you see how this line of thinking becomes illogical if it’s taken out from the narrow argument?

And let’s be honest, this argument seems to be leveled at what most people lump together as either “seeker-sensitive churches” or “mega churches” and their format (and those other churches who are immulating those methods). My question is… when did methodology become adding to the gospel? When did creativity become adding to the gospel? 

Open conversation. 1, 2, 3, go.