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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The House That Pragmatism Built

While getting ready today, I was checking out Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News and happened to catch the interview with Walter Hallam, pastor of Abundant Life Christian Center (note: center not church) in La Marque, Texas, who will be giving away a $120,000 house on New Year's Eve as a means of promoting church attendance and growth. In previous years, they have proudly added that they have given away car, motorcyle, and furniture. Here's what is supposed to happen: During Saturday's service, 20 names will be selected at random and placed with 100 others chosen from services throughout the year. Twelve finalists -- symbolizing the 12 apostles -- will be selected. Each of the finalists will receive a key, which they will try in a door on stage. The person whose key unlocks the door wins the home. Lightning, music, indoor fireworks and balloon drops will also be part of the festivities. I happened to be at my computer when the interview took place and attempted to type ver batum what was said (transcripts should be availabe tomorrow on the Cavuto website). Here's a part of the interview: Host: "Is this not just a game-show gimmick trying to manipulate people to come to church." Hallam: "Well, we see it as a unique opportunity." Host: "But it's a game show!" Hallam: "Well, it's a lot of fun. It's going to be great!" Hallam (continuing): "It just a little incentive to encourage people to come to church. We want them to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ." Host: "It's just hard for me to square this idea with a house of worship. Have you found people to be criticizing this?" Hallam: "People have mostly been positive." Hallam (continuing): "Who wouldn't take a home with only taxes to pay?" Hallam (concluding): "What a way to start the new year!" (END OF INTERVIEW) Now, I was not able to type the entire interview, and a few words may have been paraphrased (from the host but not from Hallam), but you get the idea. Friends, this is pragmatism in action. I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind he said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. In America, however, and in many churches, pragmatism and the euphoria of the church growth movement have prevailed against the Church. Whatever it takes to get people to church is also what it is going to take to keep them there. What next I wonder in the great giveaway? In America, we live in the Disneyland of the world, and the Church here has become the playhouse of many Mickey Mouse ministers. Did you hear Hallam? "Well, it's a lot of fun! It's going to be great!" Sounds more like a plug for an amusement park than the house of God. Nevermind the holiness of God. Nevermind that judgment begins with the household of God. Let's just prostitute the church for the sake of Baal. We have fertilized our strategies with our own dung, and the stinch is making its way into the nostrils of a jealous God. It is not interesting that the host of the T.V. show on business had more conviction about the Church than did the minister? What he called a "game show gimmick" the pastor called "a unique opportunity." And you wonder what's wrong with churches in America! Pastors are using American prosperity and the toys of Disneyland (i.e. houses, cars, motorcycles) to get people into church. Churches have capitulated to capitalism and buying into the "whatever works" mentality all the while sleeping with the enemy. I guess our treasures are really not in heaven. It will be a great day in America when the Church seperates herself from American consumerism and worldly manipulations. Rather than be concerned with feeding the poor or ministering the needy in our community, we are putting a message of health and wealth prosperity which is nothing short of heresy. When people come to Christ, they do not get a three bedroom/two bath house in suburban white America. They get a Savior who will take them unto the least of these and call them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. By the way, foxes had holes, and birds of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. Maybe some of the Apostles should have built him house. But wait a minute, I forgot that this is not our home. And by the way, this is not the way to start a new year nor a new day. It is the way to start the handwriting on the wall which says, "ICHABOD." To read more, see: Slice of Laodicea: House Give-Away Church a Complete Disgrace and Church: The Price is Right! Paul Proctor: Whatever Works AP News Article (in LA Times) Abundant Life Press Release

3 Comments:

Blogger -mike- said...

Six Flags over Jesus!

12/29/2005 12:13:00 AM

 
Blogger joe kennedy said...

You know, Timmy, that stuff is absolutely asinine. The game show church stuff. I read this great quote recently about how youth ministers have become babysitters and game-hosts, and how they've lost their ministerial purpose.

When we become entertainers instead of leaders, instead of shepherds, instead of teachers, what good are we in ministry?

[Not that I think we shouldn't be artists: singers, writers, painters, sculpters, photographers, etc. as well.]

12/29/2005 02:24:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

I'm just flabberghasted about the lack of biblical discernment among the leaders of churches today. We think we can do anything we want to and couch it "in the name of Jesus" and it becomes acceptable. We drag the garments of the Bride through cultural crap and expect "in Jesus name" to be the spiritual detergent to wash away our stains. Who are we foolin?

12/29/2005 03:10:00 PM

 

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