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January 17, 2005

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Great survey. Thank you for sharing its results. I don't really like the idea of there being a spokesperson for Christianity, though. It seems like there would be too much potential for conflicts of interest. Often those who get the most attention are those who have written controversial books that aren't aligned with what most people believe. This is even more true in lesser-known religions like Kabbalah - the wackier you are, the more press you get, no matter how far you are from the mainstream of your group.

Not to be too Jesusy, but shouldn't Christ be the spokesperson for Christianity?

"but shouldn't Christ be the spokesperson for Christianity?"

Yep! Yet another reason why the truly conciliar model is so foreign to us moderns. We either get the Roman papcy or the Protestant "papacy of celebrity" ...

interestingly enough a NY Times article recently indicated that if protestants had a pope it would be john stott ... i think that perhaps if evangelical's had a pope it could be john stott (if they knew who was most don't which was the point of the Times article) but clearly like the pop culture around us the smaller christian sub-culture has it celebrities too ... these people listed are celebrities of that 'pop christian sub-culture' ... but that's a different story ... God's peace :::

Here's my top ten list of who best speaks for Christianity today:

1. A.W. Tozer
2. Leonard Ravenhill
3. Francis Schaeffer
4. C.S. Lewis
5. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
6. Keith Green
7. Andrew Murray
8. Watchman Nee
9. Jonathan Edwards
10. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Too bad they're all dead--but isn't their message timeless? Will anyone rise up today to fill the shoes of these men? Anyone?

I look at your chart DP and all I can say is how lightweight it feels. I've read one good book by Graham and a half dozen by Swindoll, but other than that there's not a whole lot going on there.

(Yeah, I know this list is a bit cynical, but still....)

Karl and David -- you've both mentioned or alluded to the "celebrity" factor in all this. I fear it's a bit of an indictment against the popularized (and commercialized)Christianity that's out there.

Karl, you've talked about the "cult of the nice" before, but perhaps it may also be known as the "cult of the popular" -- what do you and David (or anyone else, for that matter) think?

Taking a look at the chart, another disturbing trend comes into view: There is no consistent theology on display from the unlikely gathering of men on that list, not only within the list as a whole, but within each sub-category, too.

I wonder what this says about the ability of respondents to discern truth from error. You've got quite a few dispensationalists on the list, you've got Pentecostals putting Kennedy at #6 (and he's a hardcore Calvinist from the PCA, I believe), you've got a full-blown Oneness Pentecostal (anti-Trinitarian) in Jakes...it's just a mess, even within the sub-categories. Seems like people don't know who they are voting for.

Perhaps this list is indicative of the lack of discernment and lack of serious inquiry on display in those who classify themselves as Christians.

"cult of the popular..."

I certainly think this plays a role in who we listen to or consider to be trustworthy guides.

Even in Orthodoxy, this mentality has crept in over the last 20 years with writers like Frederica Mathews-Green, Peter Guilquist, and Bishop Kallistos Ware becoming very "popular" more because of their media exposure rather than for their holiness. (Note: I love all 3 of them as people and think they are worth reading. No indictment against them personally!)

The "cult of the nice" is a different phenomenon, although it probably ties into the celebrity issue. Both can be summed up by the phrase "style over substance."

As for your list: One of the reasons Orthodoxy is attractive is that, if we made a list like this, it would include the likes of St. John Chyrsostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory, St. Maximus the Confessor, etc.

In other words, we don’t restrict our sources of influence to those who happened to have been born in the 20th century.

Who Speaks Best for Christianity?

none on "The List"

but here is my list ...

1. Tammy Sue Schoch
2. Lydia Mae Schoch
3. Jesse Adam Schoch
4. Aaron James Schoch
5. Jerry Grieser
6. Louie Weber
7. Jeni Woodson
8. Sharon Wyse
9. Drew Costen
10.John Wilsford

I'm wondering why/if we need a "spokesperson". In the posts above it is clear there is enough variety in theology amongst "the list" members as to render any one of them non-representative of Christianity as a whole.

But I'm wondering also -- to whom would this spokesperson speak? Would s/he represent us to John Q. Public? To the U.S. Government? To the U.S. or International Media?

Would this spokesperson be our voice in communicating with the other Spokespersons in other nations, which would make up some ecumenical United Nations-sort-of-thing in The International Church?

To have a spokeseperson (flesh and blood, walking the earth today) implies we as a body would rely on that person to communicate to some other group...

...but like (my interpretation of) Shok's post above, in my life the spokesperson for Christianity is my family in Christ: those with whom I live out this life, endeavoring by our lives -- problematically, yet faithfully lived -- to make an impact on those not yet following The Way, so He can receive the Glory He is worth, both now and in the age to come.

... the ‘cult of popular’ we have with us …

... a 'cult of nice' ... interesting concept … with the enormous numbers of difficulties many ~ ministry types ~ encounter that would probably be a welcomed cult ... and we might even find a few at least temporary deserters among our own ranks … and the wives of many of my friends are the first that might visualize going to the other side … they typically take more ‘hits’ than there husbands …

... i suspect that the point you are moving toward is the logical slippery slope ... if you are 'to nice' then you are in danger of marginalizing effectiveness ... it is a logical argument ... and i agree that the potential does exist and if realized it might even be extremely dangerous in the long term ...

however, my personality weaknesses have never given me the luxury of considering that as a real danger . . . at least for me . . . theoretically this sort of danger may exist . . . practically speaking however, it reeks of being improbable . . .

peace :::

"...but like (my interpretation of) Shok's post above, in my life the spokesperson for Christianity is my family in Christ: those with whom I live out this life, endeavoring by our lives -- problematically, yet faithfully lived "

your interpretation is correct ... my heros of the faith are family and friends

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