Matthew 7:5-13 tells us of a time the Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples’ non-washed hands before they would partake of a meal. Jesus responded to them about their own traditions where they were dishonoring the word of God through what they thought to be wisdom. In other words, they did not rely on the sufficiency of the Scripture. The Pharisees said they believed the Scripture but developed numerous rules to keep the Scriptures and these rules ended up being used to violate the Scripture they said they believed. These, over 600, rules used to keep the Ten Commandments could be said to be the wisdom of man in determining how to follow the Scripture. This example of affirming one’s belief of Scriptural authority raises a question; “If the Scriptures are sufficient to guide my life, why does my wisdom keep me from engaging in an action the Scripture affirms?
I was reading the On Mission magazine from NAMB when I saw a study done by the Barna Research Group. The research was done to show how lost people between the ages of 16 to 29 see evangelical Christians. I’m not sure why this is so important, nor what you and I can do with this research. I mean, lost people are not gonna like Christians. The Lord told us this. Did He not? Matthew 10:22 (English Standard Version) says that ”you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” In the book of Luke 6:22 (English Standard Version), the Bible says that “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” And, in 2 Timothy 3:12 (English Standard Version) we’re promised that “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
So, when the research tells us that 91% of non-Christians see evangelicals as anti-homosexual, what are we supposed to do? Quit saying that homosexuality is a sin? Because, I’ll guarantee you that no matter how nice you try to say it, and no matter how many times you say that you love the homosexual person; whenever you say that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, people are gonna accuse us of being anti-homosexual. I’ve seen this first hand on more than one occasion. The lost crowd just does not want to hear that it’s sin against God; plain and simple.
And, when 87% of the lost crowd sees evangelical Christians as judgmental, are we supposed to stop calling sin what it is…”sin?” Because, listen, the lost, rebellious crowd will say this just because we call sin by it’s ugly name. That’s just how a lost person is, when they’re living in those sins. They don’t like for their sin to be brought to light. And, once again, no matter how nice and loving you try to be, once you name a sin as a sin, especially one that a person is living in; then you’re labeled as judgmental. Go on a talk show, and as nice and as lovingly kind as you can possibly say it; say that any sex outside of the marriage boundary is a sin against God. See how the crowd responds. It wont be pretty.
Okay, the next thing on the research list is that famous old, worn out line that a lot of lost people like to use about evangelical Chrisitans. 85% of the lost crowd sees us as hypocritical. So, what’s new here? I’ll bet this has been said ever since Noah first lifted a hammer and told people to get right with God, because it was gonna rain. Christians have faults and shortcomings. Every Christian sins; every last one of us. We all fail to be all that God wants us to be. So, everytime a Christian fails God, the lost crowd is waiting to pounce on it like a coyote after a fat, plump bunny rabbit. I think it makes them feel better about their own sins, when they can call Christians “hypocrites.” I think it eases their consciences just a little bit to point out the failures of a Believer. It gives them a good excuse to stay lost. And, you know what, lost people just dont understand grace. Again, what do we do with this info? I mean, we cant stop sinning. We’re gonna sin. We’re gonna fail God. So, what good is it to know this info? How does this help us? What in the world can we do with it?
Now, I’m not gonna go over every single research item that was listed in the Spring 2010 On Mission magazine by NAMB. But, here are the other topics: Non-Christians see evangelicals as Old Fashioned 78%; Too involved in Politics 75%; Out of Touch with Reality 72%; Insensitive to Others 70%; Boring 68%; Not Accepting of Others Faiths 64%; Confusing 61%. Well, some of these things we can work on. The old fashioned thing can be remedied, and it is being remedied by many, many Churches with contemporary music, technology, and dressing more cool and hip at Church. The “Too involved in Politics” thing is something that we’ll always be accused of, if we ever take a political stand for moral reasons. I do agree that some Pastors are too involved in politics. But, I’m glad that some Christians feel led to get into politics, in order to do good. And, any political stand that we take will be seen as too much for a lot of the lost crowd out there
Now, I’d imagine that evangelical Christians will always be looked upon as being out of touch with reality by the lost crowd. After all, we look thru the lens of faith at the world, and the lost crowd doesn’t. We can work on being more sensitive to others, but I doubt that us being more sensitive to others will ever be good enough for the lost crowd. The boring thing….well, I was bored with worship and Bible study and prayer, too, back when I was lost and living in sin. It didn’t do anything for me, as a lost person. I doubt that there was anything that could’ve been done to make it less boring for me, as long as I was lost and living in sin. Then, the “Not Accepting of Other’s Faiths” thing…well, this is just how it’s always gonna be. How could it ever be seen as any different? I mean, as Christians, who believe the Bible, Muslims are lost and wrong, and they worship a false god. Buddhists are lost, and they will not go to Heaven. Jews are not going to Heaven when they die, unless they put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah. Mormons are involved in a cult, and they definitely worship a false god. So, how in the world could we ever change this perspective, and still be true to God and to His Word? The Bible is exclusive. God is exclusive. All dogs don’t go to Heaven.
You know what I think? I think that the lost, rebellious crowd is always gonna view us, Christ Followers, as a strange and peculiar people, no matter what we do. I think that the lost crowd is gonna look upon us in a bad light, no matter what. I think that the lost crowd is not gonna be accepting of our beliefs, nor change their view of us, unless we’re willing to compromise our faith. They will look upon us in a bad way, unless we’re willing stop living for the Lord. I knew this before this study was ever done, and we all knew this before NAMB chose to put it in their magazine. I mean, I didn’t expect to win any popularity contest in the arena of the world, as a Believer. Who does? Anyone? The simple fact is that the lost crowd does not like us due to our walk with God; due to our being a follower of Jesus; due to us calling sin what it is; due to us preaching the Gospel….exhorting them to repent and put their faith in Jesus.
I’m not really sure why NAMB put this in their magazine, nor what we’re supposed to do with this study; but I’m sure that there’ll be some wimpy Christians out there that this will really disturb. There will be some namby, pamby Christians out there, who’ll be really upset that the lost crowd doesn’t like us. And, they’ll want to make every change possible to “get the lost crowd to like us.” Why? Why are there some Believers out there, who think like this? Who think that we have to please the worldly crowd? Who think that we have to be acceptable to the lost bunch? Who honestly think that somehow we can “make the lost people out there like us and accept us?” Who think this study is even important to know?
Are we gonna stop preaching against the sins of adultery and fornication and lying? Are we gonna start preaching that “all dogs go to Heaven?” Do we need to start telling homosexuals that “you’re ok, and I’m ok?” Are we gonna start having scantily clothed dancing girls in our church, so that the men will not be bored? And, sign up men from the church to be in our newly formed, worship leaders group the “Holy Chippendales,” so that the ladies will be more excited about coming to church? Do we need to start advertising that pre-worship cocktails will be available in the lobby? Maybe that’ll make the lost crowd feel better about us? or, at least, less bored with our worship?
I dont think so. I think that what we really need is for Christians to be more like the Believers in the book of Acts, and turn our world upside down. I really think that we need to trust the power of the Holy Spirit to call people to salvation. I really think that we need to preach the Gospel, stand on the truth of God’s Word, and leave the results to God. I really think that we should tweak how we do worship without violating Scripture; be creative in our outreach without getting stupid or crazy; and be open to making sensible changes that might open doors for us to able to reach lost people, without compromising our faith. Now, please know that I was not saying that NAMB, nor Barna, was saying anything about compromising, nor even hinting at compromising. I’m really not sure why they felt that this study was important. Maybe they just did it, and printed it merely for information’s sake, or out of curiousity, or to tell us what we all should already be aware of? I don’t know. But, I can just see the wheels turning in some “Evangelical Christians” minds about this info. They might start thinking of all the things that we need to do to be more acceptable to the lost crowd. I can just hear their thoughts about the shame it is that the lost crowd would think this of us, and how we need to change this perception.
Again, I ask how? And, will anything really change their perception of us? Do we honestly think that the lost crowd will ever view us in a truly positive light? I mean, if we really live for God, and preach the Gospel?
UPDATE: Franklin Graham was cancelled from speaking at the Pentagon for some remarks he made about Islam. Franklin Graham spoke the truth about Islam, and he was censored. Anyone surprised? Some of the people, who think that lost people will love us are probably a little shocked.
Tonight..at 9 pm, Gail’s mother went home to be with the Lord. Of course, a lot of yall know that Gail is Tim’s wife, but for the rest of you; well, I just thought I needed to let you know. All of us at SBC Today want to ask for your prayers for this wonderful family during this time of grief. We ask that you especially pray for Gail. Losing your mother is always a hard thing. Rebekah also needs special prayers. Rebekah is Tim’s daughter, and she lost her grandmother tonight. That’s a hard thing for a young lady to deal with.
So, now yall know why Tim hasn’t been answering much in the comment stream. They have been very preoccupied with Gail’s mother taking a turn for the worse, and then passing on to the next life tonight at 9
Thanks for your prayers. God bless.
In perusing the churches represented by the various ones being appointed to committees I am beginning to see signs of encouragement. For example the following statements are found on the websites of some being appointed to the Committee of Resolutions.
In this first statement I have not placed emphasis on any statement. The bold emphasis and large capital letters are placed there in the website. Thus, the church seems to desire that one understand their belief concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe that the baptism taught in the New Testament is by immersion. Baptism is an act of obedience by a person who has received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Baptism does not have power to save or forgive us from sin, but the message of baptism is significant:
1) Baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior.
2) Baptism also is a picture of the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life, in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, baptism is a personal statement of your faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism doesn’t make you a believer . . . it shows that you already believe.
Who Should Be Baptized?… Every person who has believed.
“Those who believed and accepted His message were baptized…” Acts 2:41
“Simon himself believed and was baptized…” Acts 8:13
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News…and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth. But He did instruct them to remember His death and resurrection. The Lord’s supper is a memorial meal that was instituted by our Savior the night in which He was betrayed and delivered to die for our sins on the cross. As is true of baptism, we are not saved by eating the Lord’s Supper. It is a memorial of the death of Christ, that we may always remember His sacrifice for us. When believers observe the Lord’s Supper they proclaim His death until He comes again.
Who may take the Lord’s Supper? . . . Those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord and who have been baptized in obedience to His command.
I heard a Pastor say that we should not teach and preach the Bible verse by verse, because the people will just not get it. That expository preaching is just for preachers; that only preachers would understand it. Thus, we should not preach and teach the Bible. But, instead, we should preach what we think the people would want to hear. And, this fella also seemed to be justifying his remarks by the fact that he has a big crowd at his Church on Sunday.
Another Pastor told me, one time, that a certain fella went crazy on the Bible. He said that the man started studying his Bible, too much, and it caused him to lose his mind!
I’d like to know what your thoughts are on these two statements. And, is a “big crowd” what’s the measure of success in a church? Is Bible preaching, or expository preaching, or text driven preaching not the way to go, if you really want to be a successful Pastor?
Maybe we should have the Holy Ghost Hokie Pokie at our Churches, in order to get the crowd coming?!!? Peter Lumpkins had this video at his blog, and it reminded me of what some Pastors and Churches do in their attempt to be “relevant” and gain a big crowd. I mean, if a big crowd is our measure of success, and we’re willing to just preach shallow, fluffy, psychological, self help messages to gain the crowd, then shouldn’t we look to things like the Hokie Pokie, or Christian Country line dancing, maybe, depending on your culture, to “reach” people; to get the crowds? Take a look.
I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this.