Trapping People in a Gospel Silo

Business management has of late developed concern over the problems generated by a silo mentality. This Forbes definition summarizes these concerns.

The Silo Mentality as defined by the Business Dictionary is a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.

I am deeply concerned that evangelical Christianity has succumbed to presenting a Gospel message ensconced in a cultural silo into which it lures and traps those who hear and respond to it.

Gospel Networking

This has not always been the case. This Gospel silo is a product of the culture shift that occurred beginning with the 1960s that has carried us into a post-Christian era. During the Christian era of the past the American public was for the most part conversant with Christian concepts. Therefore, even when exposed to a brief gospel presentation they could connect the concepts being presented with Christian perspectives supplied by the culture.

For example, being told that Christ died for their sins so that they could have eternal life, they were aware that the Bible categorize them as sinners, that their sin elicited God’s judgment, and that the result of the judgment was eternity in hell. Likewise, they knew that the Bible taught that Jesus was the Son of God, and therefore when presented with the gospel they were aware that this entailed submitting to His authority, which meant living “like Christians are supposed to live,” which included being moral and loving persons who exercised Christian disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance.

Consequently, as the person heard a gospel presentation he networked the concepts in that presentation with all of this information supplied by the culture, which provided him with a rather comprehensive and accurate platform for responding to the gospel. This knowledge supplied the new believer with a solid foundation from which he could commence his relationship with the Lord.

Gospel Silo

A person in our post-Christian era does not have access to all of that information that was previously supplied by the culture. To make matters worse, not only is he functioning in a biblical vacuum, but he also exists in a culture of spiritual disinformation. Rather than seeing himself as a sinner, he has been taught that he has a right to do his own thing, a concept which renders sin impossible—makes it a nonexistent category. He has also been taught that he should be accepted unconditionally, therefore assuaging any guilt that he might possess. In addition, this right to do his own thing and to be accepted unconditionally informs him that he has a right to carry his autonomy with him into this new relationship with Christ. Not knowing a whole lot about Christ, that He is deity, that He is holy and requires us to live holy lives, that His followers are actually His servants responsible to do His bidding 24-7, and other information, his understanding of the implications of entering into a relationship with Christ is extremely limited.

The result of this lack of information and the presence of disinformation means that he is unable to connect the information supplied in what we might consider a normal gospel presentation with a broad base of spiritual truth. Instead, he is living in a spiritual silo that walls off the elements of the gospel from the broad array of related biblical implications. To the contrary, this person is trapped in a silo of misunderstanding and the resultant misapplication. It prevents him from expanding out in Christian growth, and may even create a false hope of salvation, the person not realizing the implications of the message he heard, thus responding inadequately.

Our current American cultural context mandates that our presentation of the gospel is much more comprehensive, including the various implications and obligations inherent in biblical faith. Unfortunately, often today’s gospel is even more truncated, leaving the person receiving it trapped in a silo of misinformation and misunderstanding. This explains why it is so difficult for many evangelicals to progress in their walk with the Lord.

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