Fulmer, Spurrier, and the Church

John Pennington and John Adams are not my favorite Knoxville News Sentinel columnists, but THIS ARTICLE by Pennington was really insightful.

I couldn’t help but think it was a very good parable for the Church as well.

Just substitute ‘church’ for Fulmer and Spurrier, and you’ll see wha I mean.

– Brad

19 thoughts on “Fulmer, Spurrier, and the Church

  1. So, churches are in competition with one another to see who can get the most what? Souls, bodies in pews, tithes? And, if they don’t adapt to the changing times they lose? Lose what (souls, numbers, money)? Churches compete against each other and the one who has the most (?) gets the biggest crown/trophy? As you can see, I find this post confusing.

  2. I guess I’m confused with the confusion. The one, singular point of Pennington’s article was that football changes, the SEC has changed significantly in the last 15 years, and the coaches and coaching strategies that were most successful in the past, are no longer very successful today. To win, one must adapt to the change.Football teams compete against other football teams because other football teams are the opponent.Why would the church compete against other churches? Other churches are not the opponent?

  3. Let me put this as simply as possible for you. What will churches lose if they don’t adapt? Success in what? What are we trying to succeed in? Still confused.

  4. The church is called to take the Gospel Message to world. The souls of lost men, women, boys and girls are what is at stake. Paul said it this way: “For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law–though I myself am not under the law–to win those under the law. To those who are outside the law, like one outside the law–not being outside God’s law, but under the law of Christ–to win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, that I may become a partner in its benefits. Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:19-27If we do not adapt, and change our methods of proclaiming the timeless unchanging message of the gospel – the souls of people far from gone are what we lose.

  5. Thank you for answering my question. If I am understanding you correctly, the church must adapt/change or souls will be lost, correct?

  6. After all, what do you think Paul meant when he said:”Για το αν είμαι ελεύθερος από όλους τους ανθρώπους, που έκανα εγώ σκλάβα σε όλους, για να κερδίσει περισσότερους ανθρώπους. Εβραίων Για να γίνω σαν Εβραίος, για να κερδίσουν τους Εβραίους? Με τις προβλεπόμενες από το νόμο, όπως και μία με το νόμο – αν και δεν είμαι εγώ ο ίδιος σύμφωνα με το νόμο – να κερδίσει εκείνες βάσει του νόμου. εκείνους που είναι εκτός νόμου, όπως και ένα εκτός νόμου – δεν είναι έξω από το νόμο του Θεού, αλλά σύμφωνα με το δίκαιο του Χριστού – να κερδίσει και εκτός του νόμου. της ασθενούς που είμαι αδύναμος, για να κερδίσει την αδύναμη. Έγινα όλα τα πράγματα σε όλους τους ανθρώπους, έτσι ώστε να μπορεί με όλα τα μέσα εξοικονομήσετε. Τώρα κάνω όλα αυτά εξαιτίας του ευαγγελίου, που μπορεί να γίνει εταίρος στην οφέλη. Δεν γνωρίζετε ότι οι δρομείς στο γήπεδο όλα φυλής, αλλά μόνο ένας λαμβάνει το βραβείο; Εκτέλεση με τρόπο που μπορείτε να κερδίσετε. Τώρα όλοι όσοι ανταγωνίζεται ασκήσεις αυτο-έλεγχο σε όλα. Ωστόσο, θα το κάνουν να λάβετε ένα φθαρτό στεφάνι, αλλά ένας άφθαρτος ένα. Επομένως, δεν τρέχει σαν κάποιος που τρέχει άσκοπα, ή κουτί σαν κάποιος που χτυπάει ο αέρας. Αντίθετα, το σώμα μου πειθαρχία και να θέσουν τη χώρα υπό αυστηρό έλεγχο, έτσι ώστε μετά το κήρυγμα στους άλλους, εγώ ο ίδιος δεν θα αποκλείεται. ???

  7. I happen to believe (agree ?) that the church has, in large part, become ineffective in revealing Christ/The Gospel to the world. But, I’m not so sure that you have given a clear and compelling argument that this is because we haven’t adapted or changed with the times. The article you sited, one could argue, is a bit of a stretch. How much has SEC football changed in the past 15 years? We still have coaches. We still have the same amount of players. Even things like the spread offense, etc. have been around for years in some way, shape or form. Do you see what I am saying? Some could argue, “I’ve been watching SEC football for years. The only things that have really changed are the over commercialization and obscene amount of money people make from it.” Sadly, one might say the same for churches.

  8. I’ll conclude by simply saying that I never set out to give “a clear and compelling argument that this[the church’s ineffectiveness at proclaiming the gospel] is because we haven’t adapted or changed with the times. I simply said the article was a good ‘parable’ – not an explicit representation.However, I believe that the lack of change and adaptation is reason for some of the church’s ineffectiveness.Secondly, as it relates to football- the SEC hasn’t changed that much? Come on now – the SEC has changed DRAMATICALLY since 1993. That isn’t debatable – it is fact. The complication of offensive and defensive schemes are remarkably different. There wasn’t anything remotely resembling the spread offense – almost everyone ran various versions of the I-Formation, and Spurrier had just introduced the Fun n Gun. The Speed of defensive linemen is so drastically different that Tommy Tuberville made a point of saying just last week that was the number one position you have to recruit.

  9. I believe your explanation is very pursuasive. As a guy who has been to more colleges and seen more different churches and types of people over the last 7 years than most, I have seen exactly what you mean. Growing up I thought there were simply more old people in the world then young. That is because the average age of the person in my church choir was receiving S.S. benefits. Moving out and going to Morristown for my freshmen year in college, then Chattanooga for my Junior year till graduation, I had to force myself to attend church. I was bored and left during invitation every service. I would use any excuse to miss. I went almost every week that I was not working, but if I was a bit more sore from baseball or whatever from the day before, I used it as an excuse to sleep in. The fact is, the last couple years of my life has been the first time that I have woke up on Sunday and look forward to going to church. Rock Point in Chattanooga and Faith Promise in Knoxville have done this for me. I love those churches. We need more of them. Is there something wrong with desiring more and more people to be in pews at church? When a church does not grow are not more souls being lost?

  10. I’m so glad Jess had added his thoughts to this. Finally, someone is willing to say what I thought was being implied all along. Souls will be lost if the church fails. Wow! Christ is so weak and finite!I say Christ is the victor! He has won and His body will be built, no matter what the church does or does not do!

  11. “I’m so glad Jess had added his thoughts to this. Finally, someone is willing to say what I thought was being implied all along. Souls will be lost if the church fails. Wow! Christ is so weak and finite!I say Christ is the victor! He has won and His body will be built, no matter what the church does or does not do!”I could not agree more! Christ will build HIS body. Christ is building His body. This growth originated and is sustained by HIM alone. Has nothing to do with men and their churches.Religious men will prop up this organization they call church. That’s why they are looking to the world to see what works. They have to “adapt or evolve” or “change or die” to keep the numbers. They cry aloud in the street trying their hardest to get people to come into their doorway. It reminds me of this comparison:Proverbs 7 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings [a] at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.Christ said “Follow me”. It’s that simple. So that’s what I will do.

  12. 1) I see the reason for the conflict on this issue. I see the church and the body of Christ as the same thing theologically – Paul apparently did so to. The church is body of Christ – His bride – you can’t separate the two. Local churches or congregations meet in building which may be sanctuaries or houses – but the buildings and houses are not the church. Also, God clearly ordained leadership for local assemblies in the New Testament. Of course Christ is victorious and infinite in might – but the church, the body of Christ, His Bride, Me and You can fail – just read the Pauline epistles or the book of Revelation.2) Second, Kelly – I won’t take it this way, but you essentially said that I am a prostituting ‘religious’ man than is manipulating the church as an organization for personal gain or status of numbers. Really?Have men done that before? Sure. Do most, no.

  13. Brad,I didn’t say those things, God did. Who is the Head of the body?Individuals and churches may fail but His body does not. It is directed by the Head, Christ. His body doesn’t depend on us getting things just right for it to grow or function.God has been showing me religious men are propping up an institution rather than pointing people to Christ and allowing Him to be the head of His body.

  14. I am confused on where some of these people get their ideas and thoughts. I’m not a theologian more of an American Historian, but I could have sworn that God made it our job to win the lost for him. I could have sworn that was one of the responsibilities of the church. God saves people but the church is to spread his word. A church that does not win souls in the twenty-first century because they are using 19th century technique is not doing its job. The way the sancturary is built does not matter but what the church (body of Christ) does is important. God’s strength is seen through the church as well. Maybe I’m wrong I’m not a theologian. It almost seems that some people are trying to make an excuse for not going to church or something. God will be God no matter what! What a weak thought and excuse for not doing our part. I’m a bit confused with some of this!!

  15. We can at least all agree on this. If you believe the Body of Christ is local, regional or denominational churches, then yes, much work is to be done. One could easily say that “adapt or die” is just the tip of the iceberg.I believe the work is already done in Him. He will continue to build His body the same way He always has. The church’s inquisition, wars, and historical self-proclaimed, and corrupt leadership didn’t stop Him in the past, so I don’t think the notion of “adapt or die” will have any effect either. Personally, I don’t want to be associated with a denomination, or a pastor, or a ministry, or a church movement. I want to be found in and associated with Him. Frankly, you can have your lights, and bands and dynamic speakers. You can revel in your beloved churches. I’ll revel in Him.

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