Seeker Friendly vs Friendly Seekers
by Lucian Thompson
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It seems that many Christian workers today are getting confused about how much social and fun events the Church needs to be involved in to create an environment that will be acceptable to bring in the lost and still be able to share the Gospel without error or infallibility?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this one of the most pressing issues of the Church today. How far to go, if at all, with music, drama, interpretive dance, skits and plays, social programs, fellowship events, fund raisers, and…well, you get the picture.
Let me just say from the start that I feel the “seeker friendly” churches are doing a great disservice to the proclamation of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and many are even preaching “another gospel” than that of Jesus. Without mentioning names, I am sure most Christians have heard of purpose driven churches that are getting far from the “old time Gospel.”
Now, that said, how far is too far and just how friendly are we as Christian Churches supposed to be?
Personally, I go by the presumption of “balance.” More on that later.
I just read an article, By Paul Proctor, April 12, 2006, NewsWithViews.com titled, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”, posted at: http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor91.htm, that is very informative on this subject. Paul is a little more adamant about some of the positions he takes than I am, but his rationality is right on.
Paul states in his article: "God's transforming power is not and never has been dependent upon the toys, games and schemes of people acting in stealth. No one will be tricked into the Kingdom of Heaven by being lured into a church group or fellowship through a flattery and bribery called "love;" but many WILL be tricked into believing they are saved simply because well-meaning people tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear from the Word of God.”
I agree with the above statement one hundred percent. Many will be lead astray by False Teachers who want to preach what their tickling ears want to hear.
Paul goes on to say: “Christians who do 'whatever works' and 'whatever it takes,' even for a 'good cause' ARE NOT people of faith; but only people of pragmatism who believe 'the end justifies the means,' which is lawlessness and disobedience in the eyes of God. Jesus is not and never has been pragmatic, because pragmatism is nothing more than a shortcut for lazy, faithless, impatient and undisciplined people who covet results over righteousness.”
Although the above statement applies in many cases, I feel Paul is too strong about applying this to all who use some of these events as tools for evangelizing. We are instructed in the Bible that nothing is sinful in itself. Yes, we can make anything sinful with the wrong intentions or motivations, but here is where balance comes into play.
My small church goes into our neighborhoods and gives away free hotdogs, sodas, balloons, etc. This is preceded with door hangers the week before, announcing the coming event and a brochure on our church with an invitation to come and worship Jesus with us. This event is designed to “give something free” to the kids as an act of love and kindness. We turn it into a lesson on how God gave a free gift to us in Jesus and all we had to do was receive it. Granted, the evangelism is low key here, but none the less, it is to the glory of God.
We have a small interpretive dance team of children and adults, not for entertainment, but done to worship music and done in a worshipful manner. This gets the kids involved in a ministry to glorify God. We also put on at least one no-frills drama each year. They are written by our staff and carry a very strong message from the Word of God. Again…balance, proper motivation, does it glorify God?
Every sermon from the pulpit is preached from the Word of God. Every sermon carries the strong Word that caused so many of Jesus’ early disciples to turn back from following Him. Each sermon has a call to repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
No, we don’t believe that the end justifies the means, in the secular way. No, we wont preach the love that so many seeker friendly churches preach. We preach the love of John 3:16, not watered down, nor distorted to make one feel all warm and fuzzy without the need for repentance. It came at a price and there is no compromise with that.
Socials, very limited fundraisers, fellowship gatherings, programs geared at Christian growth, contemporary praise Christian music…yes, all things done in moderation and to the glory of God. Nothing is sinful in itself, unless we make it that way with the wrong expectations.
We must not let the movement of the “Seeker Friendly or Kingdom Now,” churches distort our own views of fellowship and Christian works. The Bride of Jesus is to be without spot or wrinkle, not blemished by the things of this world. Until we are united with Jesus, at the rapture, we need to be about His business. That includes, going into the highways and hedges and COMPELLING them to come in.
Oh, folks, let’s not get all tangled up with what the OTHERS are doing, rather keep our focus on the prize just ahead. Don’t let wrongdoers rob us of the tools we can use properly and for God’s glory, to tell this lost and dying world God does love them and He will forgive them if they REPENT and receive the Savior into their hearts.
Churches that grow not founded on the undefiled inerrant word of God, grow in people only. These churches will be those aligned with their father, Satan.
So, what’s love got to do with it? That’s what you have to work out with fear and trembling.
When I say balance, I don’t mean balancing the world in one hand and the Word in the other. I mean making any program or event or practice of a church balance with the Word of God. And, you can take that to the bank!
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Love has EVERYTHING to do with it. Love doesn't water down, gloss over, play games or pretend. Love tells people the truth--what they need to hear. I think your balanced approach is on the money. Bless you for sharing it.
Lucian, You did good! I also agree with Wayne Cook in that we should be careful in saying everyone else is wrong and we are he only ones correct. I know that was not your intention, but sometimes folks take it that way. Many seeker friendly churches do preach an "Anything Goes" gospel. Abortion, Homosexuality, Adultry, Forenication are OK. They say Jesus came to the sinners. That was indeed the reason why Jesus came to the world 2,000 years ago, but Jesus admonished the sinners to go and sin no more. These seeker friendly churches are indeed doing a diservice and are not preaching a gospel of repentance. And the Lord did say that in the end times folks will believe a lie. They will say what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right. When you see these things happen, look up your salvation comes soon. Lee