Tim Ellsworth has an intriguing post on his blog entitled, “Body Slammin’ for Jesus”. It has generated much discussion concerning the methods to which many churches are resorting to draw a crowd. This debate, which extends far beyond Tim’s blog, has risen from concerns that the way that we present the Gospel is almost as important as the message itself.
It seems that many have the philosophy, “If it adds souls to the kingdom of God, then it is ok to do it.” Another argument that is often heard is, “Paul became all things to all people”. Can I say that human logic will never prove something right when it is inconsistent with God’s Word?
Let us look at the first statement. I agree that the most valuable thing in this world is the soul of man. Jesus died to save them. He himself described the soul as being priceless. Therefore, it is important that we reach them. The question is, does it really matter what method we use as long as we preach the message? I say it does. Flawed methods will produce flawed results. Many claim that they are not diluting the message, but in reality, many of the numbers who are claimed to have been “saved” through questionable methods do not demonstrate a changed life, often are never seen in church again, and if they are, it is only because another gimmick is being presented.
I realize that I am painting with a broad brush here. Not every method is flawed. There is nothing wrong with being creative in presenting the Gospel. But we should be very cautious about operating under the philosophy that the end justifies the means.
My favorite evangelist, Junior Hill, preached a great message once called, “In Search of Foolishness”, from I Corinthians 1. Allow me to share the main points of that sermon.
1. God Uses a Foolish Message.
I Corinthians 1:18, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.
God never commands us to make the message appealing. We are simply to exalt Christ and preach the Gospel to every creature. Some will be drawn to Christ, many will be indifferent, some will be downright offended.
2. God Uses a Foolish Method.
I Corinthians 1:21, For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
It is true that there are many ways of sharing the Gospel, but nothing will ever take the place of the servant of God, standing with the anointing of God and preaching the Word of God. Preaching declares the truth and demands a personal verdict from everyone who hears it. Entertainment becomes a matter of taste. Preaching is a matter of eternity.
3. God Uses Foolish Men.
I Corinthians 1:26-27 For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called:but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty.
Is it possible that too many in the church have become respecters of men more than respecters of God? That they fear the personal rejection that they may experience if they do not appear wise, wealthy, powerful and noble to the world?
Again, there is nothing wrong with being creative in our presentation. But let us give great care to make sure that our method does not cheapen the value of that for which Jesus paid the highest price.