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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is Church Whacked ?



This is a picture from a church in Abilene, Texas.
I thought it might add to the discussion of "Threats Facing The Church" that was posted earlier this morning.

Notice the ipod give away?
What do you think is the focus of this church?
Is it whacked?
Are you drawing people with the preaching of God's Word or the give away?

Post your thoughts, I would like to hear them.
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> posted by Charles Fry at

10 Comments:

Blogger Jason McFadden said...

So this church wants to draw people in. That's good. What Christian would not want the lost to be drawn into church to hear, hopefully, the gospel and God's word?

Obviously, the question is how are they drawing or what are they using to draw people?

John 12:32, Jesus says, "And I, when I am lifted up from the Earth will draw all people to myself (ESV).

So when Jesus is lifted up on the cross, he will draw people to himself. How does that play out in our everyday lives as we live the gospel in deed and tell others in word??

Sure, most people would want an iPod Touch, but not all people want Jesus.

This also sounds like Abilene Christian University offering free iPod touches or iPhones to all incoming Freshman. It draws people to ACU.

An iPod Touch will draw kids to this church. But it won't draw people to Jesus. In fact, it will be an idol in place of Jesus. So this church had better have a solid gospel presentation and preach the whole counsel of God's word or else they'll just be helping kids be iPod idolters (and maybe join the oft so-called Cult of Apple).

November 11, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Jason McFadden said...

Well, churches are made up of people, and most people are whack to some degree or another, Christians notwithstanding.

If we weren't all whack, what need of Jesus would there be?

Original sin, Total Depravity, = whack.

Being saved, Christians should be being sanctified, or in other words, becoming less and less whack.

Although the longer you go, the more whack you realize you've always been. Paul was the whackest as he referred to himself as the chief of sinners and less than the least of all saints. But I think of Paul as a spiritual giant, so I feel really whack.

November 11, 2008 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Charles Fry said...

Like Pastor has always said, "What you win them with, is what it takes to keep them."

If you win them with God's word that's what it takes to keep them.

If you win them with give aways or entertainment, you have to keep doing it to keep them.

November 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jason McFadden said...

So I guess if you take what I said to its logical conclusion, we’re all whack to some degree or another, even Christians, then all churches are whack to some degree or another, including my own! (though I’d rather not say that)

Of course I’d defend my church as less whack than all others, and so our job is to help other churches become less whacked by helping other Christians become less whacked one at a time (equipping them with the word, not iPod’s), and witnessing to the lost so they can start becoming un-whacked.

I guess then knowing we’re all whack in some way, that keeps us humble as we gently and lovingly lead others out of whackness.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression (whackness), you who are spiritual (not so whacked) should restore him (help them become less whacked) in a spirit of gentleness (in a non-whacked way). Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted (don’t get whacky in the process).

(That’s ESV plus my commentary.)

November 11, 2008 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

What if the iPod comes with the entire bible in audiobook form. Then it's a kind of easter egg. But don't get me started on easter eggs!

November 11, 2008 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Jason McFadden said...

To clarify, I think the working definition for "whack" according to my comments is having a sin nature.

But I think the definition of "whack" initially in question would be more like churches acting in such a way as to not represent true Biblical churches.

My comments leaned towards the idea that even true Biblical churches can be considered "whacked" in a general or loose way. (I certainly do not mean to demean Jesus' bride or my own home church!!)

So, to know if a church is "whacked" we need to have a clear definition of a "true Biblical church" since a "whacked" church would be otherwise (as stated previously).

So, who defines a "true Biblical church"? The Bible!

Yet, so many denominations interpret the Bible in different ways! Thus, there are many different ideas for what a "true Biblical church" is!

So which is true? That could be another post, or an ongoing sermon series!

A simple "yes" or "no" question (Is Church Whacked?) doesn't always have a simple "yes" or "no" answer it seems.

Are we willing to tackle difficult questions and answers? Are we willing to probe our own whackness with the disecting sword of God's word to cut out our whackness?

In doing this, only the Holy Spirit can correctly operate with the sword of the word to disect, probe, cut to the heart, discerning our thoughts and intents, in order to remove the cancer of sin, of whackness within us.

So let us pray for mercy, grace, discernemnt, guidance, and the power of God's spirit to help us, to humble us, to care enough about God to deal with difficult theology, to save us to the end from our sin, from our whackness.

November 11, 2008 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Jason McFadden said...

I like what John Piper has said on gadgets like PDA's, Smartphones, etc. [not an appeal to authority]

Use these tools to God's glory!

I personally have a smartphone with (shameless plug) Laridian PocketBible and had it also for my previous PDA and I love it. It's such an awesome tool.

I love gadgets, too much I'm afraid. I oocasionally lust and covet for my own iPod Touch someday to the point it's probably an idol! You see how whack I am.(Pray for me!)

Yet, I can also say that despite my diversion to gadgets here and there, the Bible on my SmartPhone has never been one of those "demoware" things where it's just cool to have but never really need or use. I actually benefit from my PocketBible as a resourceful tool! Thanks be to God for it. So I am hoepful that I am using it to His glory.

Now I just need to flee from idolatry.

November 11, 2008 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Isn't this all kinda like the tail wagging the dog? 'Whack' is most definitely a 'worldly' term, wherein church could not be defined by the world to be anything but 'whack', I would also submit that an iPod is an awesome way to get people into your church - if you're trying to appeal to them on a worldly level. I WANT and ipod, but I NEED help, the hungry NEED food, the sick NEED healing, give them what hey want and they'll come back over an over until they figure out they don't ever get what they WANT, in fact the longer they stay the less they are getting what they WANT. The church is full of people who got an ipod once, and they're showing up to see if they can get the iphone next, meanwhile the rest if the world is looking at these crazy church goers as a bunch of brainwashed idiots sitting in pews waiting for the next time they get a chance to win an ipod. Hungry and dying, sick, and alone, the world waits right outside the door, not for a message or a demonstration, but for justice and peace. the iPod giveaway will bring them in, only to poison the water.

November 11, 2008 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Jason McFadden said...

Maybe I should clarify that I don't think John Piper, or myself, would ever endorse, promote, or support using a gadget give-away to get people in the church door.

I used him and myslef as an example that although it's not ok to use a gadget give-away to draw people to church, it is ok to simply use a gadget for it's designed purpose and moreso for glorifying God in doing so, like using a Bible reader.

I wanted to be careful to not convey that simply wanting or having or using a gadget is bad or wrong. I know of at least three iPods, two iPod shuffles, and one iPhone in my own church. And I know at least three of those are loaded with God glorifying data.

Jow, I'm not sure how the phrase "tail wagging the dog" applies here. Not because I think you used the phrase wrong. I'm just not very familiar with it.

I do understand what you talk about when it comes to wants a.k.a "felt needs" versus real needs. I agree. People's ears are itching to hear...an iPod give away, not the gospel. If we give them the former, we do harm. And doing harm is "whack", especially when people call it "doing church" when in reality theyr'e doing harm. Again, that's whack-tastic.

Thanks for your comments Joe.

November 11, 2008 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Churches today think that God's Word is not sufficient enough to bring people in, so they concoct ways of drawing people in and THEN hit them with the Gospel. Only thing is, those they were drawing in weren't there to hear the Gospel to begin with. If you draw them in with entertainment, you have to KEEP them entertained or they'll go elsewhere.

Stick with preaching the Gospel and people will come. Just like the verse in the Old Testament says God's Word will not return void. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is by the Word and through the Word that people are saved. Not by any gimmicks or tactics we may think up.

November 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

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