Monday, June 25, 2007

Worldly churches do not convert anybody

I have been thinking about this posting on Many in the seeker movement believe that you must lure people into the church with cool music and videos and then God will work on their hearts. It is my firm conviction that many who say that to save the world the church must look like the world are well-meaning - I really do respect their desire to reach their unsaved neighbors, and indeed wish that all reformed believers were as zealous - but just as "zeal without knowledge" (Romans 10:2) is not good, I believe that many of them really do not know whereof they speak. How many of these seeker/emergent folks are anywhere from 20-somethings to 40-somethings and have spent virtually their entire lives in the church? I think that most (not 100%, but I believe the vast majority) have lived in somewhat sheltered Christian communities their entire lives, and are, quite naturally, reacting against both perceived and real problems in the church.

As someone who was on the outside for my entire adult life until God sovereignly chose to save me at the age of 35, I can tell you that I would not have been taken in by worldly music, videos, and self-help sermons, nor by cussing preachers. Believe me, I knew cussing plenty well: my friends and I did enough cussing for all the cussing preachers out there put together.

While I might have been willing to attend such a worldly church - for awhile anyway, until I got bored or had something better to do on Sunday mornings - what brought me to Christ was several people who, without being judgmental of me, were different. Although on most occasions they didn't rebuke my profanity, they were always strangely silent when we were using it. I'll always remember one guy who made one single, soft-spoken remark after one particularly vile thing I said: "That's kind of gross if you think about it." He probably does not remember saying that, but 20 years later I still remember it clearly.

What converts people? The Holy Spirit working through the word of God and examples of changed lives around them. Not churches copying the world.


Douglas said...

Very true, Gary. Good post. Thanks.

I used foul words in every sentence I spoke before I realized I was born again, after that, they burned my own ears. I have let fly from time to time in the last 26 years as a Christian but man, I am convicted straight away. I do not expect swear words to be flying from Christians lips on a regular basis. I understand it from non-Christians but not Christians.

There is a worldly spirit that is very obvious and it does not belong in the church. I would even say it is not only sinfully inspired from the deceitfulness of the corrupt human heart but that it is also demonic.

Gary (aka fool4jesus) said...

Thanks, Douglas. I too occasionally, in a fit of extreme anger, still say something foul - although compared to years ago, it's rather mild. And as you say, I repent of it right away. It really makes you wonder about those self-styled "cussing Christians" - although I am not perfect today, as soon as I was converted 12 years ago, I knew I had to stop.

I think therefore we would agree that just because somebody uses profanity does not mean they are non-Christians. After all, God (for his own sovereign purposes) allows us to continue sinning, and he allows different people to sin in different ways. I may have virtually immediately stopped cursing, but I'm sure some other Christian immediately stopped committing other sins that I am still dogged with after 12 years.

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your friendship. Maybe some day (in heaven, if nowhere else) we can enjoy a game of rugby together. :-)

Douglas said...

Rugby? What's rugby? ROFLOL!

Is it a disease "rugs" get?

What team do you support the most? I'm biased, I reckon the "All Blacks" are great. I used to watch as much rugby as I could but now I love studying God's Word more than anything else. I do get out and about though.

It is getting to be a very exciting battle for The Americas Cup, a?

We may end up having another invasion in Auckland by ye old Yankee-doodle-dandies for the next Americas Cup? I better not get too bold just yet. There are 9 races altogether.

Gary (aka fool4jesus) said...

The All-Blacks? They're a magnificent team, I do very much enjoy watching them. But I don't watch too much anymore either - maybe one match every few weeks. Not much of a sailing fan, but since I enjoy pretty much every sport (I have enjoyed watching Gaelic football, water polo, and curling matches), with the AC coming up, and I think there's live coverage on satellite, I may watch a race or two.