Sunday, December 9, 2007

Marketing the Truth?

MormonI noticed a banner ad on a website the other day promoting the Mormon church (term used loosely). Now, it's not surprising to see the Mormons advertising and marketing themselves and their false religion. They have done so for years through all kinds of means like their missionaries and their "elders" that roam the streets. Frankly, the Mormons are far more mission-minded and evangelistic than most Christians today. Too bad their "evangel" is a false gospel, and far from good news. And it doesn't surprise me to see them using the internet media as a means of marketing, especially right now with so much visibility of Mormonism thanks to Mitt Romney. No, what surprised me was the message that they were using. Their tagline is "Truth Restored." Yep, that's right. Truth. A visit to their website showed that this was the major theme in their promotion. Followed by questions like "How Can I Know This For Sure?", and "Is There A Purpose For My Life?", and the like.

Now this seems very interesting to me on a lot of levels. On the face, of course there's the fact that Mormon teachings and doctrines are far from truth. Mormon theology is just plain wacky and cosmic, and the Book of Mormon is a clear false revelation. But the real thing that intrigues me about this approach is that it stands out so much from most of the messages in our culture these days. We live in a world that questions even the possibility or validity of the concept of truth. The postmodern mindset is in fact skeptical of truth, seeing any claims to truth or certainty as arrogance. For most people today, the pursuit doesn't seem to be about finding truth, but instead finding self-fulfillment or self-expression. So for the Mormons to offer the restoration of truth is pretty counter-cultural.

So then contrast that approach and theme with the message that much of contemporary evangelical Christianity is putting forth. The Church today seems to be doing everything possible to avoid offering people the truth. Even though we are the only people on the face of the earth that possess the real Truth. But instead, what do we offer people? What do we hold out to the world around us as the message of Jesus? Things like "Your Best Life Now", or "The Purpose Driven Life", or any of the other variations on the theme. Rather than being counter-cultural, as we really are called to be, we co-opt the culture and proclaim Jesus, The Truth, as another means of self-fulfillment. We assume that people really don't want to hear the truth, and that we instead have to shape the message to fit the times and make it "relevant."

So does anyone else see the irony in this? Here we have a false religion based on untruth, marketing itself on the basis of being the restorers of truth. And we have the true Church of Jesus Christ, those whom God has entrusted the True Truth to, essentially abandoning that message in favor of a message that would seem more tolerable and favorable to the world. It's absolutely upside-down, isn't it?

See, I think the Mormons are on to something here. I think that in spite of the postmodern suspicion about truth claims, most people deep down really are interested in finding ultimate truth. They may not realize it and likely wouldn't express it that way, but I think we are all wired to be seekers of truth. It's part of the imago dei that we still bear, marred and tarnished though it is by sin and depravity. But it looks like we as the people of God have abandoned the battle for Truth to others, and the Mormons have picked up the torch. The question remains, can or will the true Church of Jesus Christ return to a commitment to the Truth, and abandon it's flirtation with the worldly? Only time will tell.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not a regualr "blog reader" but I stumbled upon this posting and was intrigued by your point of view. I haven't had a lot of time to read any of your other postings to find out more about you, so this is probably answered somewhere else that I haven't read. You referred to the church that actually has the Truth, yet doesn't use it as it should. I'm assuming that's the church you belong to. I was just curious as to which church that was. Thanks!

The Doulos said...

Anonymous:

No, I am not referring to the church I belong to as possessing the real Truth. I am of course referring to the true church of Jesus Christ, the body of Christ, those who have believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as disclosed in the Bible and who have trusted Him and Him alone for justification and eternal life. Those who are participants in the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" as described in Jude. There is no single institutional church on earth that has a lock on the real Truth. But there are many that are closer to the Truth than others.