Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Be the Judge!

by Todd Friel

Let’s play a game. You are the judge. Your job is to rate the following two scenarios on a scale of one to ten. One=just plain dopey. Ten=that makes a ton of sense. Ready?

Scenario One:

Dr. Megan U. Feelgood walks into an exam room, puts on her best bedside manner and begins, “Mr. Johnson, I know you are a successful man and you have a lovely home and family, but I would like to invite you to spend some time in a place that really makes me happy. Now, perhaps you have had a bad experience in the past with hospitals, but I want to tell you about my hospital. There is a frozen custard machine in the cafeteria. It is the tastiest custard I have ever had and you can eat as much of it as you want if you will just check into the hospital. Won’t you come?”

Mr. Johnson considers how much he likes custard and responds, “Um, thanks Doc, but I can get custard any time I want. Besides, I am not that nuts about custard. Can I go now?”

“Not yet,” Doctor Feelgood blurts. “You see, the hospital has a killer sound system and the announcements they make are really relevant. No more of that, ‘Paging Doctor Schultz business.’ These are really relevant announcements.”

“Can I get out of this goofy robe?”

“You aren’t getting it, Mr. Johnson. Every Friday night the hospital organizes a patient social and all the patients get together and have a great time.”

“See ya, Doc.”

What do you rate that scenario? Illogical or brilliant?

Scenario Two:

Dr. Grace O’Lone walks into an exam room with a serious look on her face. “Mr. Johnson, I have taken ten x-rays and they all conclude the same thing. You are sick and you are going to die. Your demise is certain and painful. Look at these x-rays, they don’t lie.”

Mr. Johnson is trembling, “But Doc, I don’t wanna die.”

“Are you certain?”

“I have never been more certain in my life,” Mr. Johnson sobs.

“I have some good news, Johnson. They have a cure at the hospital.”

Mr. Johnson doesn’t even wait to take off his flimsy robe as he runs out the door to the hospital.

You be the judge. Is that scenario more reasonable and logical? One to ten?

May I ask you, how do you share your faith?If you encourage someone to attend your church because it has Starbucks coffee, a thumpin’ sound system and relevant messages, then you are Dr. Megan U. Feelgood. You are Dr. Grace O’Lone if you hold up the mirror of God’s Law in an effort to help a sinner understand his infinite offense against God. That is the man or woman who will flee to the cross of Christ in gratitude. If we lure people to our churches by promising fun or relevance, then we are doing two things wrong:

1. We are using the church as an evangelism method. We were told to “go and preach,” not invite and entertain.

2. We are creating false converts who are visiting the hospital with the wrong motives.

Now, it is possible that someone may step foot in the hospital’s door because they like custard. It is possible that some may hang around the hospital long enough to somehow discover they have a terminal illness and need the hospital for more than fun. But honestly, doesn’t that sound silly?

And so, my seeker sensitive friend, may I challenge you? Is it really a good idea to lure people into church to fill their felt need until they eventually hear the truth about their real need? More than that, is it a Biblical idea? Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, not send out postcards promoting a relevant lecture on marriage. Furthermore, we are not commanded to make sure people have fun on Sunday. We are sent to preach repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins. Please. Please. Leave the safety of your church and do what you have been commanded to do. Go make disciples. Use the Law as a schoolmaster to help them understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Then they will flee to the Savior for mercy and you will not have to plead with them to attend church. When God soundly saves people, they will desire fellowship with the brethren all by themselves. You be the judge. But remember, you will be judged for your decision.