In our modern world where the line between secular amusement and what presents itself as “church” is increasingly blurred, Life Church, under the leadership of Craig Groeschel, stands as a paragon of innovation—or so they claim. This past summer, they spearheaded the “Hollywood in the pulpit” movement, most notably with a Spiderman-themed sermon by Jonathan Herron of the Michigan campus.
Life Church equates Hollywood films with the parables of Jesus and suggests that these modern fictions, often littered with foul language, obscenities, and blasphemies, are somehow laced with divine truths just waiting to be unearthed by faithful exegesis. This silliness, while eye-catching to the many goats in their pews, raises serious questions about the motive of these megachurches—is it to feed the sheep or entertain the goats? Is the church to be a place of serious theological inquiry and sound worship, or has it become merely another venue for amusement, indistinguishable from the movie theater down the street?
Life Church’s latest ridiculous foray into Goat City is not to preach the Scriptures to the people in the pews, but to exegete 30-second Super Bowl commercials. In what they dub “30 Second Theology,” Life Church has decided that the pinnacle of biblical teaching now rests on the analysis of what are essentially the most expensive slots of advertising real estate in America. According to their own promo, this spectacle is accompanied by “tons of food, tons of games, tons of fun,” perverting what should be a solemn assembly into a halftime show where pretty much anything but God goes.
This inanity, festooned with the trappings of a booze and cigar sports bar on game day, is essentially the exact opposite of the biblical calling of a shepherd to feed his flock not with literal food, but with the spiritual nourishment of God’s Word. I mean, I hate to sound mean, but just look how foolish these two look in this clip.
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The apostle Paul didn’t traverse the ancient world to preach or critique the entertainment of his day—he preached Christ crucified, a message that seems to be on the back burner when the kickoff time rolls around at Life Church. The function of a biblical church, as outlined in Scripture, is to equip the saints for the work of ministry and build up the body of Christ, not to serve as critics of commercial creativity. Of course, we all know that Life Church isn’t a church, and these are not pastors.
This Super Bowl-themed “church service” is emblematic of a broader trend where God’s word is abandoned in favor spectacles designed to keep the goats in their pens—a trading of the profound Word for the profane turd. In their quest to be relevant and engaging, Life Church has forgotten that the Gospel itself is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, not the fleeting thrill of a cleverly marketed beer or the latest car. The church ought to be a balefire of light in a dark world, teaching people the truth of Scripture and urging them to obey it.