Wednesday, June 29, 2005

2 churches: different & similar

thank you for visiting my has been some two weeks since i posted a new update...had a pretty hectic period for a while...thank God i now have a breather...came across this article about 2 churches...the author discussed their differences and their similarities...the point being made by the author was that none of these 2 churches were making the Gospel clear in their so-called evangelistic meetings....2 different styles, 2 different sizes, 2 different outlooks, but both not making clear what the Gospel is all about to the unbelievers that they seek to evangelise....this ought to get us thinking and re-examining what are we doing in our own an earlier posting, THE THREE DOCTRINES FROM HELL, there was a point made about churches painting a painless comfy type of gospel, to appeal to those seeking a comfort of sorts to accompany them through this life and hopefully into the the article below, the author exhorts the churches to be diligent so as not to lose the Gospel...the one according to the Holy Bible, the Gospel that Jesus came to preach, and not some adulterated and twisted version....

that sort of got me asking...what really is the biblical Gospel all can't just be about a sure-way ticket to heaven, there must be more to it than just can't just be about being blessed by God all the time, there must be more to it than can't just be about sufferings and pain in following Jesus; that would be the Gospel without the power of the Resurrection and the joy of Pentecost...then it occurs to me the following U.G.L.Y. truth about the Gospel....

U.G.L.Y. stands for UNITY, GODLINESS, LOVE, YAHWEH...isn't these what Jesus came to preach and what the early Apostles taught and wrote about, as we now have it in the New John 17, we have Jesus' prayer to the Father God, revealing what is foremost in his heart and the heart of the Father...UNITY among believers, from the heart...if the Gospel according to Jesus has truly reached our hearts, we will want this UNITY the way Jesus had prayed for your utmost to preserve the unity of the Spirit, wrote the Apostle your best to live at peace with all....this is the call to often believers grieve the heart of the Father by being disunited, holding more firmly their petty little issues than the commands of their God....GODLINESS, Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy how we ought to train ourselves to be godly, to be holy, just as HE is holy...we were made in HIS IMAGE, and RE-MADE into the likeness of this godliness evident in your version of the Gospel, as reflected in your life, right now?....LOVE, Jesus came to remind all that LOVE is central to all that the Old Testament stood for the Father God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul, and to love our neighbour as our selves...Jesus gave a new commandment, and that is we believers are to love one another the way that he has loved us...without conditions and without restraint, meaning unto, this is the love that God has for us, and the true Gospel tells us that believers of God and followers of Jesus are to love, for by this shall all men know that we are HIS disciples....even wonder why the world has so much difficulties recognising who the real church is?....finally, YAHWEH, this is the Name of God that we are identified HE the God we love? or is it something else we seek? is YAHWEH the one we serve, or is it something else we want in our service? YAHWEH's Glory the glory we desire, or is it the glory of men that lights up our path?...this is the U.G.L.Y. truth that i wonder about as i read this article about 2 different churches...Read on and be edify! Consider anew what is the state of your church and what is the state of U.G.L.Y. truth in your the Spirit leads, rise up and decide today what you must do differently to realise God's purpose for your life.

2 churches: different & similar

Jun 29, 2005 By Nathan A. Finn

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--The two churches are very different.One is a small, rural congregation of less than 100 active members. The people are largely blue-collar, working-class types. In the heart of tobacco country, many of them are farmers. They prefer old-fashioned preaching, the loud kind with lots of shouting and sweating. They like traditional gospel music, with men’s quartets, choir “specials” and mansions of glory on the other side. These folks are missions-minded, dutifully instructing the children through Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action, holding a regular missions emphasis night and regularly taking on projects through the local association’s Woman’s Missionary Union and Brotherhood. The church has been more or less the same size for years, and the congregation is getting older and older.The other church is a large, growing congregation in a bustling metropolitan area. The church regularly has more than 1,000 worshipers in attendance. The members are mostly white-collar, professional types. In the heart of the suburbs, many of them are college-educated. They prefer sophisticated preaching, the kind with lots of pop culture references and video clips for sermon illustrations. They like contemporary choruses, with praise teams, solos and experiencing God in the here and now. These folks are missions-minded, dutifully instructing their children through AWANA, holding regular outreach events and participating in both domestic and global mission trips. The church has grown significantly over the last decade, and the congregation is getting younger and younger.As different as these two churches are, they have several things in common.Both churches are part of the Southern Baptist Convention. Both tend to be theologically and politically conservative, preaching an inerrant Scripture and voting for Republican (and the occasional conservative Democratic) candidates. Both hold to traditional views of the family and adhere to old-fashioned moral values. And to their great shame, both have recently held worship services where the Gospel was not clearly proclaimed.In the rural church, the occasion was a revival service in which the visiting preacher regaled the congregation with stories of people who met their death earlier than expected. He graphically depicted the sufferings of Christ, though his vivid allusions were from the gospel according to Mel instead of the Gospel according to Matthew. He spoke of the horrors of an eternity in hell and speculated about the joys of being reunited with deceased loved ones in heaven. At just the right time, when the people were at their emotional peak, he gave the invitation, encouraging them to step down the aisle and “come to Christ.” The problem was he never explained what it means to “come to Christ” or how one does such a thing. For weeks, people talked about how great that sermon was.In the suburban church, the occasion was a Sunday morning service in which the pastor regaled the congregation with verses from modern Bible translations (sometimes paraphrases) and self-help books. He graphically depicted the sufferings of those whose lives are too cluttered and stressful, boldly proclaiming the gospel of a simplified life. He spoke of the horrors of depression, stress and strained relationships, while speculating about the joys of a relaxed life with less anxiety. At just the right time, when the people were convinced that their lives were too complicated, he gave the invitation, encouraging people to step down the aisle and simplify their lives. The problem was he never even mentioned the Gospel in this service. Even the songs, while ostensibly about Jesus, never presented the Gospel itself. After the service, several people commented about how much the sermon was “exactly what they needed to hear.”In both of these services, in two different churches, I was quietly relieved when no one walked the aisle. It’s not that I didn’t want to see anyone converted -- far from it. It’s just that those particular sermons were wholly devoid of the Gospel, so someone in the audience would not know how to be saved unless he had previously heard the Gospel and the Spirit was already drawing him to faith in Christ.Southern Baptists fought a long and bitter battle over the direction of our convention. While much was at stake, at the heart of the battle was the very definition of the Gospel itself, what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In these days when full-scale warfare has turned into regional skirmishes, we must be diligent so that we do not lose the Gospel in our ongoing battle for the Bible. The Gospel is not being religious, having your anxieties assuaged, avoiding hell or even acquiring heaven. The Gospel is not doing good things or even necessarily having a “personal relationship with Jesus” (which almost everyone claims to have these days). Though many of these things are admittedly desirable, none of them are the Gospel.The Gospel, at its heart, is nothing more or less than what the Apostle Paul says of God in 2 Corinthians 5:21, that “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (HCSB). This is the Gospel that we preach, and Southern Baptists have no greater obligation in these days than making this Gospel clear, so that whosoever will may have faith and believe.--30--Nathan Finn is associate archivist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and a Ph.D. student in church history.

No comments: