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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ashamed of the Gospel

I just downloaded the update to Flashplayer. I wasn't paying attention and got Google Chrome with it. I have never used Google Chrome so I can neither say good or bad about it. I just wonder: If it is any good, why do they have to sneak it in with another program's download? Wouldn't my friends tell me how good it was if it was all the rage?

This made me think of all the times Christians and their churches have invited their friends to something that turned out to be a presentation of the gospel. They treated it like they were inviting someone to an Amway meeting. You don't know what the meeting is all about until you get there.

I remember being invited to a Billy Graham film before I became a Christian. My friends took me to the movie. I thought it had some interesting points but when a guy came to the front and made a religious speel, I rebeled. I got up and walked out. I told my friends that I couldn't believe someone could be such a con for religious reasons. I walked out while the guy was still offering the "invitation."

Shouldn't we tell people that we are going to talk to them about the gospel if it is such a great deal? After becoming a Christian I notice that there were people sitting by themselves late at night on the campus. (I didn't know that this was a homosexual tactic to get picked up. This, of course, made no difference except that I thought they were just lonely. Maybe they were.) I got a friend and went out to talk to these apparently lonely people about Christ. Our approach was, "We're out here talking to people about Jesus Christ. Do you want to hear what we have to say?" It wasn't much of an introduction but at least it wasn't dishonest. Most of the people we asked responded positively.

Why do Christians and their churches do this? Is it because they think the gospel isn't good enough? Are they ashamed to tell the truth of the gospel to their friends?

Our church is somewhat strange. We are in a Navy town. There are so many naval bases in the area that a sailor can spend his or her whole career here even though accepting obligatory normal transfers. However, many people do not get that privilege. They come and go within a couple of years.

Thus, I will see someone come to our church for some time. Hear the gospel many times. Finally, they give their hearts to Christ. I baptize them and they are shipped out to another port of call. I rejoice that it is those who are already here who are bringing their lost friends. No one doubts what they will receive when they arrive. They know they will hear the word of God preached. They know that they will hear the gospel. We will not be ashamed of this.

I actually believe that the gospel is so good that all believers will invite their friends to share in it with them. It is so good that it doesn't need to be veiled behind something else.

Romans 1:16 (ESV) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1 comment:

Deb Willbefree said...

:D

In my last comment I mentioned that I had once volunteered for the agency I have now sought employment with.

I quit volunteering there because I soon realized that they were a "stealth" ministry.

When they screened volunteers or promoted their services to churches for funds, they were all Christian. They required volunteers to have a reference from their pastor. They talked about the love of Christ when they spoke to the churches, etc.

My original intent of just sorting donations in the backroom was refused when the volunteer coordinator discovered that I was a licensed social worker and counselor. I was asked to do some program planning and development for them and some individual counseling.

In the process,I discovered two things. One was that the agency wanted NO mention of Christianity in their promotional material--OR in their informed consent for counseling services.

And, second, they had no indication that they were a pro-life agency in either their agency name or on their door or in their "made for the public" material--or in the aforementioned informed consent form.

Well, okay. I had two reactions to the above two discoveries.

The first, you explained perfectly in this post. Perfectly. I need add nothing to it.

The other thing, of course, is that I DO have a real license--and the state of Pennsylvania would call their practices--> unethical. The nonprofit version of bait-and-switch. One cannot do the Billy Graham movie version you described in a counseling office or when providing social services! :o

Now if a stand for righteousness and Christ risked my license, I'd come against PA in a New York minute, license revocation or no. But, in this case, PA was right. It WAS unethical practices.

Beyond that, I don't do stealth ministry. Not ever.

I talked to the volunteer coordinator, the Executive Director, the Board of Directors.

The Ex.Dir. kind of got the pro-life part and stuck a typed "pro-life" sign in the window--which the Board promptly took down. The staff person responsible for working with the unwed moms revolted against it, too, stating that it would keep young women from coming to us if they knew we were pro-life. Sigh.

No one would budge on being openly Christian stating that they didn't want to scare people away...didn't want to "beat people over the head with the Bible."

Really? That's your options? You deny your Christian identity or you bruise people with the Word? Really? argh.

Sorry. This is your post. I'll climb down off of my soap box.

You may wonder why I applied for a job with them. :)

Before I found out that the job was open again, I noticed that large pro-life decals were up in their window and on the front door. (Which would not be necessary if they just included something in their agency name to indicate their Christian and pro-life mission.

Besides that, only one Board member that was there when I volunteered remained. The others had left.

And (and this is kind of funny under the "what did you expect?" label) the reason the last director only lasted six months is that in addition to being an experienced marketer and "brand developer" (sigh) who had a certificate of sorts in women's ministry--she was also very New Age in her "spirituality".

It seems that she also wanted to shine the agency up a bit too much in her brand improvement efforts. I'm not quite sure what they expected from someone who marketed herself as a "brand developer," but apparently it wasn't what they got.

At any rate, I had hoped that the new openness about the whole pro-life thing and the new board's dismay over the New Age bent would make them ready to shed the stealth ministry approach...and ready for me.

We'll see.

Sorry, I rambled on, but I wanted you to know that this post on this day was a gift to me. I am willing to stand alone, but it sure is nice to have fellow soldiers in the fight.

March on.

Deb