What Does Matthew McConaughey Know that the Gospel Industrial Complex Does Not?

I am no fan of religious “journalism” that functions as publicity but here I may be guilty of that of which I complain — at least, to paraphrase the Pharisees, I’m no reporter.

All about mmmmeeeeEEEE, but I really like Nick Foles if only because he is so hard to like, not for having rough edges but for his vanilla qualities. He generally answers reporters questions with generic affirmations of hard work, team spirit, and respect for the other team — in a monotone that is singularly dull. He seems to suffer from the professional QB disease of not being fleet of foot. He even gets that deer-in-the-headlights look when on camera. After a scintillating start in his rookie season (under Chip Kelly, mind you), he fell back to the back of the pack.

Oh, by the way, he just won the Super Bowl, went pass-for-pass with the legendary Tom Brady, and also was MVP. Add to those accomplishments Foles’ profession of faith in Jesus Christ and his on-line seminary studies and you might think the journalists at Christianity Today or the “reporters” at Gospel Coalition would be delighted to draft on Foles’ success the way the Co-Allies did with Bubba Watson at the Masters, if only for the sake of winning more people to Christ. But no. Nothing at either website.

Not even the endorsement from Frank Reich, the Eagles’ Offensive Coordinator (and now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts), who was once-upon-a-time the president of Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) commanded the gospel industrialists’ attention:

“Nick is the real deal — an authentic Christian who has a contagious love for Christ and for others,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich told The Washington Post in a text message.

Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey took out a full-page ad in the Austin American-Statesman to congratulate Foles.

The actor’s response likely has nothing to do with the coverage that even the Washington Post gave to the Eagles’ QB:

Foles’s up-and-down career in the NFL, which included him considering retirement, has prepared him to discuss adversity and character building for a Christian audience. In a video on the YouVersion Bible app, he slipped into preacher mode by reading and explaining 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“This verse has brought so much meaning to my heart and in my life,” he says, later adding, “Everyone feels weak at some time in our lives, but we have to realize when we’re going through that, God’s shaping our hearts and allowing us to grow to become who he created us truly to be.”

He said the week of the Super Bowl that he envisions ministering to students because he understands the temptation with social media and the Internet.

“It’s something I want to do,” he said in an AP story. “I can’t play football forever. I’ve been blessed with an amazing platform, and it’s just a door God has opened, but I still have a lot of school left and a long journey.”

Carson Wentz, the Eagles’ injured starting quarterback, posted an Instagram picture with Foles before the game, writing, “God’s writing an unbelievable story and he’s getting all the glory!”

The Liberty connection may be what puts off the evangelicals in the center of evangelicaldom. Liberty University issued a press release that reads a lot like the kind of features reporting in evangelical publications:

Foles has been bold about his faith during his football career, indicating that he would like to be a youth pastor someday. As the Eagles were presented with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Foles held his infant daughter, Lily, and said, “Being here with my daughter, my wife, my teammmates, my city, we’re very blessed.” At the post-game press conference, he said God gets the glory. “I wouldn’t be out here without God, without Jesus in my life. I can tell you that, first and foremost in my life, I don’t have the strength to come out here and play a game like that. It’s an everyday walk.”

But Liberty’s president did not even spook the Washington Post’s editors who have been known to be a tad tough on Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s favorite POTUS:

Liberty President Jerry Falwell tweeted after the game: “Congratulations to Liberty student @NFoles_9 on an incredible performance tonight and on becoming the first @LibertyU student to quarterback a winning @SuperBowl team! Amazing job by @Eagles! Great game and a real testament to the character and perseverance of the Eagles team!”

So what gives? Even Liberty University English professor, Karen Swallow Prior, isn’t toxic for Christianity Today’s purposes.

My gut tells me Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition still hold a grudge against J. Gresham Machen who started Westminster in Center City Philadelphia. But don’t the editors know that Machen protested the change in Blue Laws that allowed the NFL to play on the Lord’s Day?

10 thoughts on “What Does Matthew McConaughey Know that the Gospel Industrial Complex Does Not?

  1. I thought you were talking about motives but I guess it was only sarcasm. Does the Falwell complex also have possession of the keys of the kingdom, or you only being tolerant as an American and not as a sabbath keeping member of the church?

    Cary, Good News for Anxious Christians, p 84–” We need to love our neighbors, not our motives. So it would be perverse to wonder whether you had the wrong motivation for seeking their good. If what you’re trying to accomplish really is good for your neighbor, then that’s good enough. For Christian love is about the GOOD OF YOUR NEIGHBOR, not how good your heart is.”


    John Cotton explained that heretics like Roger Williams are stubborn, prideful people who, even though they know better, rebel on purpose. If these sinners refuse to change their ways, they should be punished, either by church excommunication or, if they corrupt others, then by the “Civil Sword” of the state. Otherwise, these sinners would expose THEIR NEIGHBORS IN SOCIETY to “a dangerous and damnable infection”

    Matt T–Our primary calling is not to show the world that we are very moral people – very good people – zealous for the glory of God. Our calling is not to show that we have kept the law as well as can be humanly expected and that we expect others to do the same. Our primary calling is to reflect Jesus Christ and the work he has done and is doing, in love, for sinful people such as ourselves…To be sure, following Christ means that we fulfill the law, but it means so much more than that. It means we reflect the Gospel….The law doesn’t have a lot to say about the sort of self-sacrifice that puts the good of an undeserving other ahead of our own rights, but such self-sacrifice lies at the heart of what it means to be conformed to Christ. No matter how much cultural power or influence we have, it cannot match that which Christ had when, though he was in the form of God, he came down incarnate as a human being, and took up the form of a servant, even to the point of the cross.

    Machen—a church is a voluntary association. No one is compelled to be a member of a church. No one is compelled to be one of its accredited representatives. It is, therefore, no interference with liberty of a church to insist that those who do choose to be its accredited representatives shall not use the vantage ground of such a position to attack that for which a church exists. . .

    DGH–The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and the Great Commission have been perverted to mean that ministers render services that are no different from what other believers do, except that pastors do it full-time, whereas the laity does it as an avocation. Yet, if preaching really is the Word of God and if the Sacraments really communicate the benefits of redemption, then the people who perform such acts are clearly different from other believers and should be set apart (ordained) to perform such holy tasks. What is more, Christ’s words in Matthew 28:18–20 to go into all the world and make disciples are not a legitimate basis for every Christian thinking…”

    …that famous football players have a platform to influence people with the gospel?


  2. if you can bring Mcconaughey with you, Liberty will not find you toxic.

    September 28-29, 2017
    Plenary Sessions by Timothy George, Carl Trueman, John Woodbridge, and Paige Patterson


    What about listening to JAZZ on a Sabbath afternoon? The way things have been is the best way…

    A loyalty to what the Dutch call “het historisch gewordene” (that which has come about with the passing of time)

    Tackle football is on the way out, just like slavery was. And gradually, we will get used to thinking that Falwell knows and believes the gospel.

    Football is a time situation thing, not a “weaker brother” thing. Even if God has ordained the changes brought about democracy, nothing should ever be done one way or the other in haste.

    Does the quiet after the second sabbath service end in a fever when you begin to read stuff (for work) about the gospel industrial complex?

    Machen—“The only question, therefore, is whose liberty is to be curtailed. I am convinced that in this case it ought, for the welfare of the whole people, to be the liberty of those who desire commercialized sport. The curtailment of their liberty, through the EXISTING law, does not, I am convinced, go beyond REASONABLE bounds.”


  3. ““So what gives? Even Liberty University English professor, Karen Swallow Prior, isn’t toxic for Christianity Today’s purposes. “

    I have no idea how I accidentally posted the above.

    Could I prevail upon you Dr. Hart to further elucidate your point about Dr. Prior please? I don’t think I understand.


  4. I have plenty of problems with Liberty as you might guess.

    It’s a very long story (you have no idea), but Dr. Prior is a fairly close personal friend of mine with whom I also have plenty of rather severe disagreements. I was honestly just wondering what made you single her out specifically?


  5. I hasten to clarify that I’m not faulting you for doing so. It’s almost impossible that you could go after her like I have on her own page at times, I’m really just wondering.


  6. “I really like Nick Foles if only because he is so hard to like, not for having rough edges but for his vanilla qualities. He generally answers reporters questions with generic affirmations of hard work, team spirit, and respect for the other team — in a monotone that is singularly dull.”

    This is great. It’s refreshing to encounter “vanilla” in an over the top world of hype.

    Dana Perrino once said, “Good government is boring.” I agree. Steady faithfulness to our vocational calling will almost always be “boring”… even if winning the Super Bowl is involved.


  7. chuck says: Steady faithfulness to our vocational calling will almost always be “boring”… even if winning the Super Bowl is involved.

    probably not the best word to use. The Spirt would never say anything about God or His ways and means is boring; though the flesh regularly would.
    boring: causing weariness and restlessness through lack of interest: dull; repetitious; uninteresting


  8. The gospel industrial complex some time ago stopped publishing Billy Graham’s predictions about the urgent need to save the earth from Obama before Christ’s soon second coming.


    Just before George H.W. Bush launched the Persian Gulf War, he invited Graham to the White House. On Jan. 16, 1991, they both watched the “air war against Iraq on CNN.” Later that same evening, Graham prayed “three times” with the president before he delivered a “televised address to the nation.” In a phone call to Bush , prior to that White House invite, Graham had supposedly referred to Saddam Hussein as the “Antichrist.” This conversation reportedly helped Bush to resolve “all the moral issues in my mind. It’s black and white, good versus evil.

    When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out, in 1967 against the war in a sermon at the Riverside Church in NYC, Rev. Graham, jumped right in and tagged King’s criticism as “an affront to the thousands of loyal Negro troops who are in Vietnam.”

    This is what President Truman had to say about the war-loving, camera-mugging preacher: “Graham claims he’s a friend of all the presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was president. I just don’t go for people like that. All he’s interested in is getting his name in the paper


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