A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Fishers of Men: Did Jesus mean bait fishing or net fishing (part 2)?

This is an excerpt of an interesting post by Chris Rosebrough looking at the purpose driven approach to church growth in light of scripture. It does ask pertinent questions. (Read first part here)

The Purpose-Driven / Seeker Sensitive model of evangelism attempts to attract so-called ‘seekers’ (Rom. 3:11) to attend a church service by radically changing the nature of church. Gone are hymns, and Biblical expository sermons. These have been replaced with culturally appealing rocks shows and practical self-help, felt-needs, life improvement seminars that contain a few ripped out of context verses thrown in to create the illusion that they’re based on the Bible. The model of fishing that Rick Warren is teaching his fleet of ‘fishers of men’ to employ is Bait Fishing. It is important to understand that the primary strategy of bait fishing is deception. Bait fishing deceives unsuspecting fish into believing that they are about to enjoy in their favorite meal but instead they find themselves being killed by a well hidden hook.

Deception is precisely the method employed by Purpose-Driven / Seeker Sensitive ‘evangelists’. They’ve discovered that they can convince unbelievers to come to their churches IF they deceive them by hiding the ‘church hook’ in culturally relevant self-help stage shows. These churches are experts at marketing. They purchase newspaper advertising and send out thousands of mailers promising to give non-Christians the secrets to achieving ‘Red Hot Sex’, financial freedom, and a less-stressful life. But, Biblical Christianity does NOT offer or promise ANY of those things. The truth is that many marriages have been destroyed because one partner has converted to Christianity while the other persisted in their unbelief (Matt. 10:36). Many Christians around the world and in the U.S. struggle to pay their bills while other believers cannot even afford the basic necessities of life. Faith in Jesus does not include a guarantee of wealth or freedom from debt. In fact, financial status has never been a indicator of one’s standing before the Lord (Eph. 6:5, Col. 3:22) God warns us of the dangers of wealth and the love of money (1Tim. 6:10). Furthermore, the Bible does not offer Christians a less stressful life. Around the world Christians are persecuted and martyred for their faith. Rather than offering stress relief, confessing Jesus Christ in many portions of the world is a guarantee for experiencing life threatening danger and the stresses that go with knowing that you have been marked for death (2 Cor. 11:24-28). At its core Purpose-Driven / Seeker-Sensitive “evangelism” engages in lies and deception (bait fishing). That alone should disqualify it from being eployed in ANY church. So what was Jesus talking about when He told the disciples that He would make them ‘fishers of men’?

The fishing that Jesus calls His church to engage in is the same type of fishing that the humble men of Galilee were familiar with. This type of fishing requires them to leave the safety of the shore and head out to the deep water, where the fish are. Once there, they cast their nets into the sea and drag the fish into their boats. There is no disguising a net. There is no deception involved in net fishing. There’s no need to “think like a fish” or to understand what their favorite food is to lure them in. Instead, a fish that is caught via net fishing, one minute is swimming along with its school minding its own business the next minute it is being dragged against its will into a boat.

Isn’t this exactly what Jesus said in John 6:44?

Net fishing drags all sorts of fish into a boat. Evangelism that utilizes Net Fishing does the exact same thing. The net that the church has been called utitlize is the gospel. The focal message that we are to use for our nets, according to Jesus, is the message of ‘repentance and the forgiveness of sins’ (Luke 24:46-48). If our nets are to be effective at dragging in fish we must preach both repentance (the law) and the forgiveness of sins (the gospel). To omit either of these key points is the equivalent of using a compromised net that is full of gaping holes. Holes make a net useless.


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