I have always attempted to make people see the seriousness of the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m really unsure if I’ve always come across in this way but it has always been my intention to show that the gospel is a message of hope in light of a destiny of despair for those who refuse its message. If we think of the seriousness of the good news in light of God’s holiness and judgment, we can appreciate just how much is at stake. There are many today who have not been enlightened to the truth of God’s salvation in Christ and do not see just how serious it truly is. The church should portray the message in this fashion, not only in word, but in the manner in which it presents itself. Men and woman should be confronted with the reality that they are sinners in the eyes of a holy and righteous God and that their sins will eventually lead to the eternal judgment. They need to know that God will judge sin but that the good news is that He has judged sin in His Son Jesus Christ at the cross on Calvary. The judgment of sin in Christ is for all those who repent and believe and for those who refuse to repent and trust Christ that they will be judged. These believers will be raised from the dead like Christ was raised and they will be the recipients of the eternal inheritance. They become the heirs of God! The church needs to take this message seriously and make it plain that these things are so.
I’m sure most Christians in Moncton would agree with me for the most part that the gospel is serious but I wonder if they’ve really considered just how their church presents this. What I’m getting at is just how often I’ve seen churches in the Greater Moncton Area attempt to use gimmicks to lore people in and hence diminish the seriousness of the message. I could use a few examples to demonstrate this.
I remember a few years ago now when the Wesleyan Church (the largest church in the greater Moncton area) allowed a death metal music concert to be held in their building. My understanding is that their reasoning behind it was that by allowing this concert to be held on their premises, they were inviting people into the church and a gospel message was presented prior to the beginning of the concert by a youth pastor. I wonder if this church asked: Do the means justify the ends? Was anyone at that death metal concert drawn into the building due to wanting to hear the gospel? How serious did these people take the message once the concert started? The church used a gimmick to lore people in!
Here’s another example; I was driving today on route 114 towards Moncton and while passing by the Lower Coverdale Baptist Church, I noticed an old rusted out truck with orange spray paint in front of the church. The words on the truck invited people to attend the church on Sunday where they had as their theme “Duck Dynasty” , a popular tv show and even appealed to people to wear camouflage clothing (wear what you want but would you seriously wear this on any other given Sunday?). What’s the point of this? The church is obviously trying to use a gimmick to lore people in. Again, I’m sorry to seem critical here but Is the pastor from this church thinking that anyone is going to take the message seriously? Why were these people there, Duck Dynasty or Christ?
There are numerous church signs across the city that have slogans that they seem to think are cute but quite honestly reflect the lack of seriousness that the word of God demands. Why the cheezy slogans on signs? Again, they are trying to be trendy and use a gimmick to lore people in. I have had people tell me that they laugh everytime they read those signs because they realize they are just a slogan (gimmick) in hopes to get them in.
All this is not to say that God cannot use any means to bring people to salvation however it should never be our intent to use unbiblical means to presents His precious message. The question that we all need to ask ourselves is why are people coming to our churches? Is it because of the music, dressing up, a catchy church sign, a charismatic pastor or are they coming to have an encounter with the holy God is Israel? Are they coming to hear of the message of salvation through His Son? Is your church evangelizing to get this message out there rather than trying to bring people in with ungodly methods? I’m left puzzled as to why these churches in the Greater Moncton Area believe that the message of God’s salvation in Christ is something that needs a gimmick to be taken seriously. They trivialize the message and I would even argue that they offend God by this worldly methodology (1 John 2:15). God requires us as ambassadors of Jesus Christ to proclaim the message with the understanding that it will offend. There are few in the New Testament who were confronted with their sins who were left indifferent or didn’t recognize the seriousness of the message. Some of these repented and came to Christ in faith while others were completely offended and walked away.
I would urge these churches to reconsider their approaches to the message they are sending out the their respective communities and to get back to the biblical means of building the church.