I have some swampland – water surrounded vacation property in Florida.
I have a high mileage, oil burning truck – well-loved truck that uses a little oil.
I have a complete gut job house – fixer upper forever home.
A coat of paint and a little polish, a rename and a new approach, that’s all we need.
How did the gospel spread before we had books on the proper presentation of our Christian faith? How did people find out how great it was to be a part of a church before we had glitzy productions and programs? How did Christianity spread without the tried and true marketing plans of today? I find it amazing that there is any remnant left of the movement called The Way, after all, they were not as sophisticated as we are at representing and marketing; Christianity should have been doomed to fail.
A return to the good old days of living in a Christian country, that’s all we need.
How did the gospel spread before we had Christian countries? How did people become Christians without federal laws to tell them what to do? How did people know what it was to be a Christian without a government legislating boundaries. I find it amazing that there is any remnant left of the movement called The Way, after all, they did not have a sophisticated system of governance backing their beliefs; Christianity should have been doomed to fail.
The nicest of outhouses still smell bad inside.
We have been sold a beautifully wrapped box adorned with an eye catching ribbon and bow, but what we have bought doesn’t pass the smell test. We have bought into the idea that slick marketing and strong legislation will lead to growth in followers of The Way when all it does is create the appearance of what we want without the substance of what we need.
We shouldn’t be surprised that we have bought into this lie so easily, after all, this salesman has been plying his craft since the beginning of time.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6 (NIV)
The fruit looked good and from all appearances would lead to an improvement in the lives of Adam and Eve. Although not contained in the Bible account I must assume that the fruit was as tasty as it looked or Eve would have spit it out instead of offering it to Adam. The fruit also had the desired effect on them, they gained wisdom.
This dessert experience was a delight to the palette and a boost the brain. It also led to a change in how humanity sees its need for God.
Our desire for wisdom has moved us beyond the only one with true wisdom.
Adam and Eve had the wisest council ever to exist walking with them in the garden and yet they looked outside of that council for wisdom. They decided to do it their way, falling for the appearance of wisdom (which is all we can have as flawed humans) rather than the one who is wise.
The cunning of the evil peddler, the one who sells us the pipedream that we can do it ourselves, is alive and well today. Reliance on man’s wisdom and man’s ways has created a desire to do it on our own.
If we could just present the message with flair and finesse, if we could just create laws that match that message, then everyone would become Christ followers.
The lie is beautifully wrapped and adorned with an eye catching ribbon and bow.
The lives of those who followed the morality legislated in the past were, for the most part, changed in appearance only.
The lives of those attracted by the church marketing campaigns were, for the most part, changed in attendance only.
It is great to have laws that reflect and protect Christian ideals. It is great to present Christian ideals with professionalism and flair. It is unwise to count on these things to change the hearts of mankind from self-reliance to God-reliance. We must make disciples through the wisdom granted us by the one who is with us always.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
The laws of so-called Christian countries and the marketing of so-called Christian evangelism will always look good and from all appearances will lead to an improvement but by themselves only manage to relabel swampland as a water surrounded vacation property in Florida, a high mileage, oil burning truck as a well-loved truck that uses a little oil and a complete gut job house as a fixer upper forever home.