NZ Stuff ran a fascinating article on NZ Tourism whereby there was a fear that NZ Tourism sites were ‘over promising and under delivering’ and suggested it should be the other way round ‘under promising and over delivering’.
Lorner Thumber wrote: New Zealand is still marketing itself as the real Middle Earth more than four years after the release of the last film in The Hobbit trilogy and it feels almost fraudulent. Then is listed numbers of examples – I recommend the article.
This got me thinking theologically.
What about the marketing of the Australian Christian scene. Is the marketing of the Saving grace of Jesus Christ in some way getting the cart before the horse and in effect, what ends up happening in reality – is over promising and under delivering.
The New Testament
There are way too many New Testament verses to quote, in reality that is - all this article might do, quoting. Rather I’ll explore the philosophy of this subject in order to begin to comprehend whether –
Under-promises OR Over-deliver
Over promises OR under deliver
There were two things happening side by side in the New Testament. There is evangelism without drama and at the same time, we are cited the same evangelism which has drama – ie, persecution in various forms.
In each situation, the evangelism line which is theologically described as the ‘kerygma’ – that is the key components of New Testament preaching.
Old Testament prophecies
Preaching the Kingdom of God
The Second Coming
This New Testament preaching created response. Three thousand persons at one time became followers of Jesus Christ. Other responses were quite the opposite with persecution, imprisonment, stoning, and death by a thousand cuts (as it were).
The question is - was this New Testament presentation ‘under promising and over delivering’ or the other way round – ‘over promising and under delivering’.
The Montanists of the C3-4 of which one of the greatest of all Early Church theologians was Tertullion. The Montanists were the forerunners of centuries later, the Pentecostal movement of our era,
They certainly over-sold the blessings of the Gospel message and like the Pentecostals of today many were big on personal prophecies, they spoke in tongues, and so on. Like any community, some were much more well-off than others, I need not go further.
Then in the C4 there were the White Martyrs who after a period of persecution thought that those who compromised should not hold church leadership roles. As a response thousands upon thousands decided to establish communities (many in austere circumstances) where strict regimental Christian life styles were led. A bit like the Strict Brethren. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun.
By the time of the Reformation there were so many anomalies that Luther, Zwingli and the others bought fresh colour into Christian thought and teaching and in this era it might well be said they ‘over delivered’ … history reveals this.
John and Charles Wesley certainly ‘over delivered’ as did Christian theologians such as Jonathan Edwards and as the 20th century came around great Christian movements such as the Oxford ‘holiness’ emphasis, futurism with the Schofield Bible, and the post war evangelists such as Billy Graham. All these ‘over delivered’.
What of our era
Televangelists might be said to ‘under deliver’ as is evidenced by the mass transfers of Pentecostal churches in Australia where congregants regularly change their worship centre from one Pentecostal congregation to another.
But in areas of Christian education they have ‘over delivered’ and in terms of social ministry with mainstream church life with retirement villages, old age care, youth programs, life groups, play groups and pre schoolers, bible study groups, seminaries, mission societies, home missions, chaplaincies – they have ‘over delivered’.
My recommendation is have a careful look at your own local church, denomination, other similar situations with different Church groups, and make an assessment.
Under-promises OR Over-deliver
Over promises OR under deliver
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html