Sunday, February 25, 2007

Question Time - Part 2

Once again, consider that LCMS pastor who stated he would sooner offend 100 churchgoers than 1 unchurched person. I suppose he really means that his heart burns with an admirable passion for reaching the lost. But what he said is, basically, "We do church for unbelievers. We don't care about believers. If it was like church in any way that most Christians would recognize, the people we are trying to reach wouldn't come. So we're bending over backwards not to be a Christian Church, in order to get them in the door."

That's just too bad for six (6) significant types of people who are hungry for God's Word. You might say they are "Left Behind" by the Church Growth movement. Here are some of the questions the proponents of "megachurch" evangelism may have to answer some day...

1. What became of the person you had no chance of making a member of your church (for example, the one-time visitor who's just passing through town)? Did you preach him into heaven? In your one chance to reach him, did you give him all that he needed?

2. What became of the person who was leaving Methobapticostalism, searching for the Lutheran alternative to where she came from and for the precious, unique, free forgiveness she had heard about? Did she walk out of your service feeling let down?

3. What became of the foreign Lutheran congregation that was struggling against unimaginable pressures to build, or maintain, or restore faithful Lutheranism, and that was hoping that you would help them by example and encouragement, if not by sending resources and aid? Were they let down as well?

4. What about faithful old Mrs. Schmidt, who never expected her church to become something that she couldn't belong to any more? Why did you give her a choice between changing her religion or losing it altogether?

5. What became of the younger generation? Did you bring them up to know & appreciate Lutheranism, or did your Sunday School and Youth programs teach them to expect their church to be Methobapticostal in form and substance? Did they end up changing churches later on? Or did some of them, perhaps, grow up to change your church in ways even you didn't foresee?

6. And what ever became of that “unchurched person” you didn't dare offend or challenge or confront in any way? It was lovely of you to give them hospitality and refreshment on the road to hell. But how many of them continued on it? Did you waste your one brief opportunity to reach them with the saving Word, the teachings of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins? Or did you despise them so much that you didn't expect them to be able to handle the truth?

If we do not take the chance of offending anyone, we will never make disciples for Jesus. His Gospel is offensive, but it is life. Either men will hear His Word and believe it, or they will be offended because they reject His Word.

WORSHIP: It’s not about pleasing you—it’s about honoring Christ & receiving His gifts. It’s not about what’s fun, pretty, upbeat, or happening-right-now—it’s about what Christ did once and is doing, about nailing our sins to His cross, crucifying the world & the flesh, and living by faith in God's forgiveness.

EVANGELISM: It’s not about getting more people into our church—it’s about getting more souls into heaven! It’s not about getting them to come & save our church—it’s about getting the teachings of Jesus to them & saving them! Most importantly, it's not the opposite pole from teaching; it is teaching, teaching all things wherein Christ has instructed us.

STEWARDSHIP: It’s not about investing what belongs to us in keeping our church solvent; it’s about recognizing that God loans us what we need, and it all belongs to him. Why shouldn’t we give back what we can to help move His work forward?

MISSION: It’s not about teaching ESL, handing out vaccines, and translating the Bible. It’s about proclaiming the message of Christ crucified, sins forgiven, and sinners freed from the mastery of the devil. It’s not about making an LCMS outpost in the bush; it’s about encouraging the church of each nation & people to proclaim the same message!

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