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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.

Monday, May 08, 2006

$5,000, A Double Union, and the Gospel

The past month has been especially busy with the end of the semester, four papers, Band of Bloggers, T4G Conference, and several photog events, and this week will not be any less difficult as it is finals week. I have three: one Tuesday and two Thursday, and I have much studying to do to prepare for them. Also, I have been posting some "heavy" stuff lately, so I thought I'd post something lighter--well, sort of. Yesterday afternoon, I drove an hour southwest of Louisville to shoot a wedding with my good friend Dan Canales. The wedding was supposed to start at 2:00, but this did not happen as the bride just arrived from having her hair done, so the wedding started at 3:10. The minister officiating was a woman, of which I won't make any other comments. However, something happened in the wedding that quite disturbed me. She lead the couple through a series of yes/no questions about "accepting Jesus" and pronounced them Christians there on the spot! She made the statement, "What you have just witnessed is not only the union of a man to a woman in marriage, but a double union of two joined to the Bride of Christ." So everyone is to assume they became Christians right there as they said their vows, right? I left early to make it back to church last night, and a couple of miles from our church I saw a big LED sign propped in front of another church. I thought they were having revival with a big name speaker or something. I slowed down out of interest as I saw $5,000 on the big screen. The next thing that came across was, "Texas Hold'em Tournament." Yep. You got it. A church was holding a $5,000 Texas Hold'em Tournament that Sunday. I guess that's what they call faithful stewardship of God's money and a contemporary way of reaching out to the lost. These two occurrences made my heart really heavy. Is this what Christianity has become in America? On the drive back, I pulled out some CD's to listen to, and having found one by Paul Washer, I decided to listen to it again because of hearing his move to Alabama. It was so encouraging (I know it won't sound like it) because he gets the gospel right, something very few people seem to do these days. I encourage you to listen to his sermon which you can find here. I would love to hear your response to it. Sadly, these occurrences are not anomalies. They are happening all across America. I can't imagine what our holy God is thinking. O that there be a people to turn tables these days! If there be a minister to clearly communicate the gospel to the lost and not give people a false sense of security! This is a reminder to me, that, while I may not get everything in Christianity right, the one thing that I must get right is the gospel. If I fail in this, my soul and the souls who hear me weigh in the balance.

3 Comments:

Blogger Gavin Brown said...

tim,

this is something i have been struggling with for awhile. i am on staff at a church where, for lack of a better term and of the space it would take to actually fully explain, easy believism is the norm. we've employed seeker methods, even gave away a cruise to attract visitors (allegedly to hear the gospel, but then it becomes clear that the "gospel" we're inviting them to hear has already been grossly compromised).

well, by the convicting of the Spirit about this matter, i have purposed to be committed to the true nature of the gospel, and this (at least in my present context) has made me less than popular, as i am now speaking up (not angrily but with genuine concern) when things like this are discussed or proposed. it s a weird place to be in, as i am getting used to being not-so-well thought-of by certain folks. but at the end of the day, i cant with pure conscience endorse this sort of "raise-your-hand-and-be-saved" sort of gospel.

i know texas hold'em on sunday is an extreme case, but the cruise thing at my church seems to me to be a close second.

5/08/2006 11:02:00 AM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Gavin,

Thanks for sharing. I don't know if you remember this or were aware of it, but there was a church in Texas that gave away a house through a raffle drawing to attract folks to a New Year's Eve service. Folks from the community got a raffle ticket through visiting the church in the previous months. Twelve raffles were called out (to reflect the twelve apostles), and each was given a key (key to heaven I guess). The one that opened the door won.

Cruises, give-away homes, playstations, ad nauseum . . . this is how the gospel and the church is propped today. It is devastating to the cause of Christ today, and those who went before us who faithfully and sacrificially contended for the faith would be utterly ashamed.

I sense your struggle in your church. I, too, was once in that situation. To disagree or not go with the "agenda" of the church automatically dubbs you as insubordinate, divisive, and "doing the work of the devil" (or so I was told). I would encourage you to be careful about how you express your concerns, especially in public. Some will inevitably view you as attacking the church or its leadership while others will consider it gossip. If you have not already communicated to your leadership your differences and ask to work them out, I encourage you to do so. If they will not even consider your concerns (as it was in my case), then it may be that God is calling you elsewhere.

We are living in a day where to be faithful to the gospel makes you dangerous and distinct. To defend the gospel makes you divisive, and if the truths of the gospel cut, then so be it. But may it never be that the attention drawn to us be because of our attitudes or approach! If we are reproached, let it be because of Jesus, His gospel, and our passion for His glory.

I will be praying for you Gavin. May the Lord give you wisdom, humility, and discernment in the days ahead.

5/08/2006 01:30:00 PM

 
Blogger The Traveler said...

First let me say that Paul Washer is a man of God. I respect him so much. If you haven't heard him preach you need to. He drips the presence of God like no one else I know of.

Second I completely agree about the need for radical reform. The church in America looks very much like Rome in Luther's day

I just put up a post about the process of conferring salvation here: http://stiflethefolly.blogspot.com/2006/05/salvation-is-of-god.html

5/08/2006 06:39:00 PM

 

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