The self authenticating gospel


"The medium is the message", so in the final analysis this means that television shapes people differently than say, the print medium. Yet are people, who are moulded by the printed word, more objective than television addicts? We could even extend the thought to include presentation. The actual message is not as powerful as the message of the presentation. That's what we mean when we say, "a word done is more powerful than a thousand words said." Richard Nixon lost against John F. Kennedy because, on television, it looked as if he needed a shave. Still, there are many politicians who look as if they need a shave, but do wear the right suit.

When it comes to the message of the Christian church, where is the substance? Is it in the medium of the peculiar buildings and paraphernalia of institutional Christianity, or is it in the words themselves? As children of the "box", we do think presentation is what matters. It's not so much what we say, but how we say it. We tend to support the notion that a "Sesame Street" format is better able to communicate ideas, but then, communicate what? Did "Sesame Street" ever teach children how to read? All it probably communicated was joy and happiness rather than information. It is entertainment, and quite good entertainment at that. So we believers in the shape of things, rather than the substance of things, are right into perfecting the medium.

Yet is the medium the message, or is the message the message? If God has chosen to give us a message, is the message dependent on how we package the message? Surely God's message is not dependent on what medium I use to communicate the message. Is God's capacity to communicate his message to humanity somehow dependent on my ability to get the medium right? I would rightly want to argue that since God has given me the responsibility to disseminate the message, I should use words that people can understand. Yet surely that is the end of it, for God's important message to humanity, the message we call the gospel, is self-authenticating. It carries its own power and authority. "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation."

The gospel message proclaims that Jesus has risen from the dead and that because he lives we can live also, live eternally, just for the asking. This message is self-authenticating, self-fulfilling. To accept its truth is to experience its truth. The message is the message; the medium is irrelevant.