My prayer n writing blogs and recording podcasts is to help others understand the importance of truth and apologetics within and outside of the church. Over the past three weeks I have written in a way that, if applied, could be used immediately. Today, some may not take this as being helpful. Yet, consider the points I am suggesting with an open mind and please do not be offended.
My family is currently searching for a church to attend. That is harder than it may seem. We are not looking for a perfect church. It does not exist. I am looking for a church that teaches and makes disciples. Every church reads scripture. However, without explanation and application I am not sure how that is helpful. It only shows, at a minimum, all churches are doing the same thing. Thankfully, they are at least using the Bible. Do not get upset yet. Just read the rest and think about what I have written.
I am confident the primary goal of the church is to carry out the Great Commission as stated in Matthew 28:19-20. Now I very well may be wrong. I don't think that I am, but it does appear to be a common theme. Me being wrong. Anyway, there is a famous saying attributed to Albert Einstein that states something to the effect of "doing the same things over and over and getting the same results is a sign of insanity
As anyone that reads my blog knows, I was agnostic for forty-one years. Yes, I did attend church as a child. And yes, the church then was doing the same things then as we are today. As I write this I keep questioning myself on whether I have written it before. If so I apologize. If not, well then here it is: my thoughts, from coming from the other side, on what Einstein's quote and today's church have in common.
Sharing your personal testimony
In my experience the church has taught that sharing one's personal testimony is the best way to reach the lost. Simply tell people what God has done for you. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn't work. I am not sure it has ever worked. In fact, I question where this concept ever came from. It isn't in the Bible. So why on earth would anyone think sharing your experience as a "Christian" would lead others to want to be a Christian? My personal testimony would do the opposite. This has been the hardest ten years of my entire life. Sure, things are different now. I have less friends, less money, and less fun. It is almost embarrassing, at times, to be known as a Christian. Mainly because of other "professing Christians". But that is for another time. Brothers and sisters, the Bible tells us to have an answer for the hope we have and to love God with all our minds. Nowhere does it state to give your testimony. Doing so makes it about you...not God. Think about it.
Hot dogs, revivals and VBS
Churches have been giving away, or selling, hot dogs since the apostles. Okay, maybe not that long. We feed the poor at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And we often give food baskets to whomever may need one. These are all great and wonderful things to be doing. And it is Biblical to feed the poor. What a concept! But, please do not think giving food away is leading anyone to Christ or your church. I am sure it is appreciated. In fact, I am sure people are hungry and need food throughout the year, not just at Christmas and Thanksgiving. So yes, we need to feed the poor. But, we also need to be sharing the gospel when we do. Feeding the poor is not showing the love of Christ, it is simply being nice. A lot of organizations feed more people than most churches' will ever come close to doing.
Revivals are a wonderful thing. I guess. Most Christians at least seem to think so. But again, revivals are not Biblical. We seem to plan a revival, which I again am confident revivals aren't planned, and look forward to reaching the lost. Seriously? If one is to read about revivals throughout history, first they were not planned, and secondly, they involved believers. Jesus never said to plan a revival and invite people to an event they do not understand.
VBS is a sticky one to mention. Please understand I am not bashing VBS and if you like it then I would assume it to be a wonderful thing. However, once again, please stop feeling that if we get the kids we will get the parents. Or that we are reaching the children for Christ. Both "feel good" thoughts are mostly just that; feel good thoughts. It is not to say we have never reached a parent or child through VBS. However, the point remains the same; it is not Biblical. I would go as far as to say it is a great time for parents to have "free babysitting". Ouch! Sorry. Children need to hear the gospel. Not Sunday school stories. Stop calling the Bible stories. Teach them the Truth. We are losing 50-80% of our kids when they go to college. The gospel is not fun and games. I know, I know, the kiddies won't come if it isn't fun. See the point...
Coming from the other side, if I wanted to attend a concert the church would be the last place I would go. Yes, I enjoy contemporary worship. Yet again, please do not have a false sense of security that contemporary worship is reaching the younger generation. It may be fun for the younger professing follower. But the twelve to thirty something that want loud music, lights and smoke can find it anywhere. It really doesn't matter to me what type of worship service your church has. Many have both a traditional and a contemporary service. I question that. It seems we now bring Mr. Lincoln in to the picture and something about "pleasing all people all the time".
Do you see my dilemma? Again, please do not get me wrong. If you enjoy doing the things I have addressed, fine. My search is ongoing. I want to know why some think the universe is young and others believe it to be young. I want to be taught of the problem with the Christmas story. I want to learn how to address the appearance of contradictions in scripture. I want to know why I should believe any of it. I am confident that is what God wants as well…
I guess in the end some things will never change. It appears the church may very well be one of those things. The entire point of this blog was to make a point. Look around at society. We, the church, and very sadly God, are not relevant. What we have been doing isn't working and I am not sure it ever did. So, what can we do? The easy answer...what does the Bible tell us to do?
John Mays is the Regional Director for the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. He is also the Chapter Director at Marshall University. Contact him at: email@example.com
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