Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Won't Believe Your Eyes....

I received this invitation in the mail for a new church starting in my area in a movie theatre. There will be free food, gifts and prizes including a Grand Prize giveaway of a Home Theatre Audio System. In order to win you must fill out an information card and be present to win during the August 23 service. Although I do not know them, I care about the pastors of this church and others like it. I do not know their motives but do know the error with which they have engaged and will be sharing this with them for their prayerful consideration.

Below is the front and back of the mailer.

All this has a familiar ring to it. I spent almost a decade in radio broadcasting in my 20's. During that time I ran many contests and giveaways that provided these exact requirements to win and utilized top notch mass marketing techniques to reach targeted demographics. Any cursory read ofthe scriptures will show that this modern approach to draw people to church is worldly wisdom and nothing more.

Paul preached "Christ crucified"... not "Home Theatre System limit one entry per household void where prohibited all rights reserved."

This issue is not about Church in a movie theatre. It is about the method and message used to draw people to Church regardless of where it is located. The desire to be the coolest Church and reach some men by any way possible has become a twisted means of justifying anything goes in reaching the lost. It reeks of idolatry against God and the turning away from Christ and Him exalted. Is this really the message that Jesus came to preach? Is this what the Savior died for? Is the great commission to be reduced to gifts, giveaways, gimmicks and gadgetry? May it never be!

The end does not justify the means. In God's word He provides not only the promise of His will but also the Biblical means with which He carries out His will. To disregard His means is to disregard His will which is to disregard Him. To disregard Him is to disregard the only means by which men may be saved. Yes we must reach the lost. But we must reach them by the means that God has commanded that we use and not clutter and confuse theGospel appeals to the lusts of the flesh.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his very soul? If the whole world does not compare to one's soul then how much less does a Home Theatre prize? The world is dying and the best we can come up with is this? The words of life are not enough? The gospel is insufficient and requires Marketing 101 to get results and reach the masses?

Truly the depravity of our times is reaching its fullness when Churches abandon God's way and succumb to the ways of the world in order to reach the world. But in doing so they reach the world by giving the world more of the world which only expedites its death instead of giving them Christ and Him crucified the only one who can save. The last thing the world needs is more of the world with the only difference being "Church" labeled across the top of it which in reality is no church at all because it has a gospel that is no gospel at all.

Christ and the apostles were up front with the Gospel. We should be as well. At best this marketing plan is a bait and switch if the gospel is fully preached once the lost show up for the prizes. At worst it is the despising of the Holy Spirit that has a form of godliness but not the power thereof. Who needs the Holy Spirit when pragmatic and calculated marketing plans and secular wisdom have everything taken care of? This is not a game. On judgment day that will be clear. It therefore should be clear this type of affront to the precious Gospel of our Lord should be mourned and rebuked. People can come and win free gifts and even become a church member but they will still die and go to Hell without saving faith in Christ.

It is the Father that draws all men to Christ when He is lifted up. We must stop lifting up the things of the world in the name of the Church that do not have the power to save but work against the Holy Spirit to the condemnation of men's souls to Hell. Such men will be held most accountable on the Day of Judgment. Pray for their souls and the souls of those they reach that they would turn to God and that Christ be given all glory. Even in marketing mailers to a world of lost people that need much more than another contest. They can get that anywhere.

Love, Rob-roy