Tuesday, June 17, 2008



To publicly announce something is to recommend the product or service, and this should be done with an understanding of integrity and truthfulness. But we all know that businesses often play "sleight of hand" with their advertisements, tricking the public into buying things they otherwise would not. One common advertisement says, "Free Delivery" when you purchase appliances. But, such is not the case. You pay the delivery price when you purchase the appliances, then send in for a "rebate" on the delivery price. If it was honest advertisement, the advertisement would read "Delivery Price Rebated," but that is not as alluring as "Free Delivery."
All of us have been "caught" in this business scheme at times. Especially the big stores love to trick and trap customers, all in the name of competition. And business should always be spelled "G-R-E-E-D."

Now let's transfer this to church-related matters. We have so departed from "the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians. 11:3) and His gospel, that the term "mega church" is a commonly-accepted word today. "Mega" means "B-I-G" (like "big business"), and this modern "church" is running things like the business world. It advertises falsely, and presents a false message that deceives the masses. Paul even says in the passage quoted, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." And is not this exactly what has happened to the modern church (even many not denominated "mega")? We talk about everything and everybody but the Lord Jesus Christ. We magnify ourselves, our singers, our preachers, our buildings, our programs, our crowds, and our accomplishments. In other words, we are guilty of false advertisement. Let's look at a few.

(1) "BEST SELLER FOR 2000 YEARS." This ad is on a large roadside billboard in a town in North Georgia (beautifully done in several colors, with a large open Bible also printed). Then there is the name of the large, local church where it is said "Bible Studies Are Now Forming." In other words, this church wants us to believe that the Bible is a "best seller" book, and has been for 2000 years. But, this is false. In the first place, the Bible canon as we know it today was not even completed until around 350 AD, then was not available in book form for mass selling! But this church wants to capitalize on people's ignorance by "selling" itself with false advertisement. Further, even if the Bible is a "best seller," that does not mean those who purchase these Bibles either read them or understand them. Or for that matter, that this church is actually teaching the Bible in all its naked, pure truth. (This is not being judgmental of this particular church, but of the advertisement in general.) We do not have to encourage people to study the Bible by saying it is a best seller. So are a lot of romance and mystery novels.

(2) "BIBLE BELIEVING." This is easy to say, hard to practice. We almost laugh when we see this on numerous church signs. No one ever says, "Here, we DO NOT believe the Bible." That would be too blatant. We had rather craftily say that we do believe it. But, again, is not this false advertising? Does a church have to say that it believes the Bible? Come on. True church = Bible believing! Don't we prove this by what we teach and how we live? Ever seen any restaurant advertise that they had "Bad Food Here"? They may indeed have such, but they always advertise, "Good Food Here." The truthfulness of the statement is only in the eating! So it is with a church. Labels and names mean absolutely nothing. The proof is in the teaching, experience, and practice of the Christian people themselves, not in any thing they advertise. See I John 2:3-6 for "proofs" of true Christian love and character.

(3) "NOT YOUR GRANDMA'S CHURCH (BUT WE THINK SHE'D LIKE IT TOO!)." Can you believe this? Maybe not, but the ad is full-page in a local area magazine, with (of course) church name, location, web site address. Hooray, there is finally a local church our grandma would approve of! What foolishness this is. Not the old-fashioned assembly, where there was just preaching, praying, singing, shouting. None of that. Let's get modern, sister. Wear your beach clothes and sandals, meet early so you can get to the afternoon ball game, swing with us to the tunes of Christian rock, and don't worry about being told you're sinners, etc. Have we come to this, brethren? Indeed, we have. Where is the true fear of the great Jehovah? Where are the weepers and mourners? Where are the proclaimers of Christ and Him crucified? Who dares to be a Daniel? Anyone out there who really cares?

"SIMPLICITY IN CHRIST." That's not advertised. Sounds too corny. Who cares for purity, honesty, simplicity? Only God's humble, elect people, but they don't advertise their humility. That would be nothing but religious pride. And we already have plenty of that.

No comments: