What Ever Happened To That Gospel of Grace?
August 25, 2011
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Just stumbled on a very interesting post:
Not long ago I came across a newspaper story about a church that is trying to attract worshipers by imitating radio news programs that promise: “Give us twenty-two minutes, and we’ll give you the world.” Their 9:00 a.m. Sunday service is called “Express Worship,” and the hook is that church-goers can come in and be out in twenty-two minutes. In one service described by the newspaper, the pastor began with a greeting and a short prayer, followed by a reading from Luke 7:1-10. He then asked the worshipers to write down their thoughts on what constitutes authority in their lives. Finally, they sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and went out. The pastor described it as “a restructuring of the way we think of the service”. Not one person delivering the truth to you, but a shared experience.
The newspaper said, “Give him twenty-two minutes, and he’ll give you the Lord.”
Here is another example. An evangelical church in Philadelphia recently distributed a brochure giving “ten reasons” to visit their Sunday evening service:
- The air conditioning feels great.
- Coffee and goodies for everyone after every service.
- The music is upbeat and easy to sing.
- You get to meet some really neat people.
- The sermon is always relevant to everyday life.
- You can sleep in on Sundays and still make it to church on time.
- Child care and children’s church are provided.
- Free parking!
- You can go to the shore for the weekend and still make it to church on Sunday night.
- You will discover an awesome God who cares about you.
When I saw that I was reminded of an advertising brochure I had come across some years before. See if you can guess what is being described. This brochure was printed in full color with pictures of attractive people, and the cover read: “This Is Where It’s At.” Inside it had headings like these:
- It’s about the best way to please everybody.
Actually, the brochure was an advertisement for the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, Massachusetts. But its appeal is virtually undistinguishable from that of the churches I am describing.
[HT Old Truth via Jim Bublitz ]