Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Giveaway Gospel

(Here is an excerpt from an article by Pastor Ray Baumann from the Christian Worldview Network newsletter posted on 11/15/07.)

I recently walked out of a Wal-Mart and noticed that all the cars in the parking lot were covered with flyers. Sure enough, there, on my truck, stuck under my windshield wiper, was a flyer. It read, “Win a car this Sunday!” and had the name of a local church that was giving it away. A car! Man, who wouldn’t want to show up for that?

What a great marketing idea if you are looking for exposure; if you’re a bank looking to open new accounts or a car dealer looking for people to come in for a test drive. But a church? Come on! It is now a very popular trend in the modern church to entice people with giveaways through contests and raffles. I guess the thought is along the lines of, “We can’t reach people if they don’t come to church.” So, go ahead and bribe them.

Churches are becoming more like the Price is Right than a place for training disciples and a resource for believers. But, that is not as attractive to unbelievers because they are looking for something for nothing. The church calls this evangelism while people crowd in tight to see if they have won one of the many mega prizes given away each Sunday, all done in the name of boosting attendance. Why? The pastor’s own pride. If you win people with gimmicks you have to keep them with gimmicks.

Through all of this, Jesus sits back and watches the foolishness of man and his desire to push his agenda over the Lord’s agenda.

An intense statement was sent to me in the title of an email I received from an atheist. It said, “Nothing secures my atheism more than the fact that religion needs marketing. You would think that the truth would be all that’s needed wouldn’t you?” This is probably the most profound statement I have ever read coming from an unbeliever.

A numbers-driven gimmick gospel has compromised the American pulpit all in the name of being more effective in our culture. But the last time I checked, life and death and where people spend eternity are subjects that transcend every culture and cut right to the conscience. There is only one gospel and it can’t be marketed, it can’t be repackaged to be an attractive product for our culture. If anyone will hate the true gospel of Jesus Christ it will be Americans.

Why do we think the message must change with the culture? We need to realize that the message must never change. There is a judgment to come. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Remember the last time judgment came upon the earth? It had something to do with a giant boat and a man named Noah. I don’t recall the gimmicks used by Noah. It’s not recorded that he enticed anyone to come on to the ark. There were no freebies, no free food or raffles. He didn’t open the ark as a petting zoo. He sure wasn’t very relevant, because he just preached repentance and left the rest up to God. Noah was a prophet who lived in an age similar to our own a time where greed, gluttony, drunkenness, sexual license and violence filled the earth.

Matt. 24:38-39 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

All of the prophets in the Bible proclaimed repentance. If pastors try proclaiming anything else they lead their flocks astray. Just getting the world’s attention is not what we are called to do.

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Blogger shadman said...

allow churchs to do there thing Jim. Y is it that your way is the only one in the church.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Randy Scott said...

That's right! Too much "strange Fire" these days. Let's get back to the Bible the true living word!

11:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm afraid too many "christians" of today know very little about the living word today, ignoring the plain statements from God's Word.

8:01 AM  

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