Gospel Preaching vs. Entertainment: On page 49 Platt rightly criticizes that most people are just looking for a good show that won’t put them to sleep when they go to church. Obviously this should be criticized. But Platt goes so far as to create a false dichotomy between true gospel preaching and entertainment. I’m sorry, but since when did entertainment become the enemy of the gospel? Since when did holistic experiences become the enemy of the God who created us with 5 senses? And if well written sermons, dramas, and music are so terrible, why in the world is the Bible one of the most well articulated, well crafted, symbol-laden, entertaining books in the history of the world?
Let me be clear: There are churches that let entertainment rule the day and be an end in itself. This is sin. But that doesn’t mean that we must resign ourselves to passionless preaching and terrible music. Growing, dynamic churches are churches that appeal to people at all kinds of levels (because God created us with so many different levels). The Gospel preaching vs. entertainment dichotomy is one we must carefully consider, but the two are not, in my opinion, ultimately antithetical…unless of course you believe truth should be dull, irrelevant, and eye-gougingly boring.
God has a plan for your life vs. You’re a sinner who can’t save yourself: One of Platt’s primary points of pontification is when he sets up this false dichotomy. He wants people to believe that the way the gospel is often presented (God has a plan for your life) is a false gospel that should be replaced by You’re a sinner who cannot save yourself.
The problem I have is that I don’t see these two things as necessarily contrasting. Again, I think we can take the former too far – American individualism has hijacked this idea and suggested that God’s plan for people’s life is prosperity and comfort. But we need not overreact to that misunderstanding of the gospel. After all, is “You’re a sinner who can’t save yourself” equal to, “God doesn’t have a plan for you life”?
The fact is, God does have a plan for you: his plan is that you be conformed to the image of Christ, that you participate in his renewal of all creation which is happening in the present. But in order to do so, we need to understand that this is his work, and we are only participants because he invited us. We do not save ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. But, yes, God has a plan for us: to save us, so that we might work with him to save all of creation!
In other words, Platt needlessly separates these two ideas.