Thursday, July 08, 2010

This Is Not Jack Hyles

Are we to think this is "gospel centered" and "God focused?" Is this bait and switch here? Is this just something done for the community, a gift to the community? Is this a legitimate form of "evangelistic outreach?" People in the world aren't going to be attracted by God and the Bible. They "need" something carnal to get their attention.

What do you think?

Do we have anything in scripture that teaches this kind of method? Does anything in the Bible say it's wrong?

Does 1 Corinthians 1-2 apply here?

25 comments:

Charles E. Whisnant said...

First Baptist Church didn't use this when I was there in the late 70's. Didn't have to they were having 20,000 then. Usually it was your independent fundamental baptist church that were always doing these kind of things. I know we did. So you can get a crowd and use high power evangelism and see hundreds saved. Right? Word of Life was good at this.

Many churches are closing their doors to a lack of attendance. I don't agree with this statement "Christians should 'create festive, hospitable, healing and creative places..which, like the lover in song of Songs, leave those touched by them aching to know more." But I do agree with need to be be more Christlike in our Christianity.

Christian said...

Brother Brandenburg,

Were you able to view the PDF (page 2). This may answer some of your questions.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Charles.

Thanks Christian. I looked at the second page of the pdf. I believe the questions remain.

Victor Mowery said...

I could be completely mis-remembering here, so correct me if I am wrong. But I seem to remember this church was at one time in fellowship with the Ohio Bible Fellowship, a group of pastors that would not have cared for this sort of thing in general. Looking at the OBF site now, I do not see Tri-County listed. In fact, I see fewere churches listed than the last time I looked. I don't want to hear gossip, but is there a story there? Or have I distorted my memories? Thanks!

d4v34x said...

If indeed it is a generous gift to the community, might it not fall under "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven?"

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

Why would a church need to show the world how to have fun or think it a good thing to provide the world free fun? And I'm pretty sure that isn't the point anyway.

That reasoning would be the justification for about anything that Hyles did and Schaap continues today in the realm of promotion of the church, using this type of means in order to get attention and stir interest.

d4v34x said...

I'm not trying to justify this. I'm offering possible good motivation and scriptural basis that might not be being translated to best practice.

Don Johnson said...

Irony is so ironical.

Had this been a promotion of FBC Hammond, the young fundies would have been all over it, no?

But it's one of their homeboys, so it's ok, I guess.

FWIW, Chris A mentioned in an earlier post this year that he was no longer a part of the OBF. No explanation given.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Christian said...

If the flyer is given out printed front and back then I would propose no "bait and switch." You ask legitimate questions about the world and fun (which I suggest has become a kind god to many in our culture); but I suspect there is a world of difference between this one time event (to celebrate the completion of a new building) and the on going circus with the others you seek to compare this to.

Bobby Mitchell said...

"The Devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. Providing amusements for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men afire."

Charles Spurgeon

Christian said...

Was Levi wrong to hold "a great feast" for Christ and invite the Publicans and others? (Luke 5:29) This is part of my text for this Sunday AM.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Christian,

I'm fine with a defense of this if it is defensible. I don't think it is, but I understand that it is normal fare of fundamentalism and evangelicalism today, so some defense should be necessary besides "it works." And when someone says "it works," I would wonder what they mean by "works." Succeeds at honoring God, pleasing Him. Or is this merely adiaphora, a liberty of the church, neither wrong nor right.

The reason I point it out even if it isn't a regular practice is because this makes it, I believe, a perfect opportunity to discuss whether we should do it or not. Young preachers, old preachers, any preachers should be thinking through whether this is right and appropriate and the best. I believe this type of stuff is a major scourge of the church today. If you do it once, like this, why not do it twice if it's so good, and then why not four times and eight? At what point is it too much if it's OK to do once?

Regarding the Levi situation. I am preaching through Luke on Wed night. Levi, the tax collector, invited folks to meet Christ. This wasn't a "meal strategy." Or something even like a "fun fair."

Don,

Exactly. That irony is one of the points---why I gave it this title. People should be thinking of this on principle, not just based upon the names. This makes it easier to see here.

Bobby,

That's a great quote. Thanks!

D4,

I can appreciate your wanting to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Don Johnson said...

I should add that I personally don't have all that much of a problem with such events as a concept. That is, I am not against using means like this to make contacts with lost people.

But the delicious thing about this one is the past pontificating that certain ones have engaged in...

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Lou Martuneac said...

Don:

But the delicious thing about this one is the past pontificating that certain ones have engaged in...

Clearly had this same event with the hype piece been done by a non-Calvinist in IFB circles that man/ministry would be skewered by the angry YF camp at and around SI. With ChrisA, however, censorship by omission seems to be the play.


LM

Lou Martuneac said...

Victor/Don:

On Chris and the OBF- My understanding, third person, is that Chris did not renew his membership, but will still fellowship with OBF men. Some suggest Chris feels the OBF is too separatistic for him to stay in membership..

IMO, the bigger issue is that Chris is on record stating that consuming alcoholic beverages is not sinful, not a factor for division or a test of fellowship. This may be a primary reason and/or contributor for non-renewal with the OBF.

Chris made his position on alcoholic beverage clear in his sermon, Alcohology: The Bible & Wine

Here are sample excerpts:

9:20 Drinking alcoholic beverages is never right, “The Bible is not as clear as all that.”
26:45 “God gives wine, the Scripture says, to gladden men.”
27:10 “The Bible often talks about wine as a symbol of God giving people joy.”
53:25 “You can’t say drinking is sin. Unless I want to make Jesus a sinner”
53:40 “Is there a biblical basis for forbidding drinking; No! In fact I think Col. 2: 16-23 forbids us from forbidding.”
53:55 Food and Drinking, “Is not a factor of division and a test for fellowship.”
54:00 “Is there a biblical, basis for forbidding alcohol? I don’t think so.”

On the alcohol issue: Chris claims an abstinence position, but in his sermon he allows for social drinking of alcoholic, intoxicating beverages. All I can say is that for him to believe and teach that drinking alcohol is not sinful, is permissible as far as he interprets the Bible and also claims to be an advocate for abstinence is to be taking and advocating both positions.


LM

Christian said...

Brother Brandenburg,

"The reason I point it out even if it isn't a regular practice is because this makes it, I believe, a perfect opportunity to discuss whether we should do it or not. Young preachers, old preachers, any preachers should be thinking through whether this is right and appropriate and the best."

To this I say Amen. I think the challenge for most is processing the information...Too many today (fundamentalist through evangelical) have not been taught to process new information. Getting used to names and following examples is easier. On the other hand challenging old paradigms and traditions seems to be the self proclaimed responsibility of each new generation. In this I see both reason for hope and despair. A return to the Bible and a biblical philosophy of ministry is crucial, but it is easy to divert and there are so many diversions.

That being said. My understanding of a Bait and Switch (http://tinyurl.com/35dckqd) does not fit this situation. I may not agree with the proposed ministry, but it is not a bait and switch. There is no deception here...the Gospel is spelled out right in the ad.

[b]Quick and scattered thoughts:[/b]
A spattering of passages to ponder in thinking this through - John 4, 1 Thessalonians 2; Jeremiah 48:10; 1 Corinthians 9; Luke 5:27ff.

Questions to ask:
Is there a place for purposefully "connecting" with people in order to give the Gospel?

Is it biblical to meet the "needs" of the lost in order to show them the glory of God? (I understand that fun is not a real need, but the issue seems to me to start broader than having fun and thus we need to think it through to the specifics.)

How do the saints of God celebrate the goodness of God in their lives? Are the ungodly invited?

What is the place of fun/entertainment in the Christian's life?

What part of the culture should we/should we not emulate in order to reach the ungodly in that culture?

For those concerned about this ministry -- Where might the same philosophical underpinnings be evidenced in your own life and ministry?

And what does it mean if I am certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that I have utterly purged such practices from my life and ministry?

What is the best means to prevent unbiblical practice in this area and help others avoid such as well?

For His glory,
Christian Markle

P.S. Brother Don, if I have been one to pontificate as you suggest please feel free to email (chrisjen at gmail.com) me so that I can correct/clarify or conscientiously repent.

d4v34x said...

But the delicious thing about this one is the past pontificating that certain ones have engaged in...

Love rejoices in the truth, not the perceived inconsistencies of brothers in Christ.

Christian said...

Brother Brandenburg, said, "Regarding the Levi situation. I am preaching through Luke on Wed night. Levi, the tax collector, invited folks to meet Christ. This wasn't a "meal strategy." Or something even like a "fun fair.""

From my study, I would suggest that Levi's feast was not just an invitation to meet Christ (ie a simple meet-n-greet). It was an elaborate celebration. The purpose of the feast seems to be wrapped up in the phrase "made him a great feast." The word "feast" (only used here and Luke 14:13, which see!) is not your typical festival - it was a reception. Combined with the pronoun him we may safely conclude that it was a reception in Christ's honour. Lastly, it was a great reception in Christ's honor.

Ryle has a good quote: "We are taught secondly in this passage that conversion is a cause of joy to a true believer. We read that when Levi was converted, he made a great feast in his own house. A feast is made for laughter and merriment Eccles x 19. Levi regarded the change in himself as an occasion of rejoicing and wished others to rejoice with him"

When was the last time this happened in our churches? When was the last time we invited the lost to join us in laughter and merriment to celebration our joy in the person of Christ (no, I am not suggesting support for Christian comedians). I am saying however, that it is easy to criticize the brother who has a "funfair," and sense that we ought not ever invite the lost to a celebration of joy and merriment to receive/meet Christ. We are good at saying what we ought not do, but we need to be better at saying what we ought to do instead.

Levi's feast does seem more spontaneous than strategic (but this is unclear). It seems authentic in it motive -- joy, rather than a promotional methodology for evangelism. It is natural vs unnatural. However, I also note that it was criticized.

I commend this as well as Luke 14:12-14 as you evaluate this aspect of ministry.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bro Markle,

I'll write on this in the near future---the example of Matthew. A Fun Fair and what Levi did, a new believer, are so different in character, that to parallel them is to mischaracterize the latter in order to justify the former. It's dangerous. And you say they were both criticized. Well, yes. One by the Pharisees and, I'm assuming, the other by me, sort of lumping me with the Pharisees. So you parallel the criticism of both as Pharisaical? I don't know how else I'm supposed to take the subtle way that you brought that point in. I've never said there was anything wrong with eating with sinners. That was the criticism of what Jesus did.

I will deal with this in a separate post in the near future. I do have to finally get to Aaron's latest criticism of TSKT, and that will come, but this will come first.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Christian,

You gave a wikipedia of bait and switch, and if you read down a ways, it gives examples of bait and switch in the political world that will help understand its practice.

You say that it isn't bait and switch because there is an introduction to the gospel on the back. I don't agree.

The fun fair pushes fun, a certain type of food associated with a carnival, carnival games, prizes, inflatables, tractor rides, i.e., things that the world would come to experience, and absolutely free, in capital letters. That is the bait. What is the switch?

The switch is the gospel. A presentation of the gospel doesn't fit a fun fair. It's not like a fun fair. Church isn't like that. Worship isn't like that. And God isn't like that. The fun fair and all these things are incompatible with one another.

Here's what I think. Evangelicals and fundamentalists have been doing this so long now, it just seems normal.

Let's say that instead of "Fun Fair," you wrote "Jesus Is Lord" and then had verses about the wonders of Jesus, and the grace of salvation. And then you wrote, "Come to find out more. Absolutely free." Would the world be interested? You know they wouldn't. So instead you offer them carnal things, just like the world would. And this is fine? The Jews seek after signs, the Greeks wisdom, and Americans snow cones and carnival games.

Here was one of your questions:

"For those concerned about this ministry -- Where might the same philosophical underpinnings be evidenced in your own life and ministry?"

I'd be open to know and find out. I would hope to know and find out. You are talking about me. I don't know of any evidenced. You'll have to let me know if you know of any. And this was not about "concern" for this church. This was a public announcement and offering that I'm questioning. That's good to do, right? It could be helpful to my readers? If there is a better example that you have seen recently, from another church, easily linkable like this, let me know.

Don Johnson said...

D4, you said:

Love rejoices in the truth, not the perceived inconsistencies of brothers in Christ.

Well, you are right. My apologies.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Lou Martuneac said...

Kent:

You made many good points to Christian, whom I believe means well. There are several excerpts I’d like to react to, but just this one for now. You wrote,

The switch is the gospel. A presentation of the gospel doesn’t fit a fun fair. It’s not like a fun fair. Church isn’t like that. Worship isn’t like that. And God isn’t like that. The fun fair and all these things are incompatible with one another.”

You know what the first thing was I thought of when I read that paragraph? MacArthur’s Resolved conference. The Gospel doesn’t fit a CCM Rock-N-Roll concert, but for the so-called “conservative” evangelicals Church is like that.

BTW, I often say “what you use to win them, you’ll have to use to keep them.” Mike Harding expresses that sentiment this way, “What you win them with, you win them to.” Chris might think about that if he plans to continue this method to gain a crowd.


LM

Lou Martuneac said...

Kent:

You also wrote, “Let’s say that instead of ‘Fun Fair,’ you wrote ‘Jesus Is Lord’ and then had verses about the wonders of Jesus, and the grace of salvation. And then you wrote, ‘Come to find out more. Absolutely free’.”

He is despised and rejected of men,” (Is. 53:3) crickets would have been the result.

BTW, I noticed that SI ran a Filing promoting a local newspaper article about Chris’s event. What chance do you think Chris’s event would have made the paper if the primary message on the handbill was Jesus Christ?

Ironically, the newspaper story line was how this is a non-denominational church; perfect! That IMO indicates the writer did not know what the church actually stands for apart from a place to go for food, fun and entertainment this weekend.

And predictably SI makes no mention of or reference to the handbill used to draw a crowd.


LM

Kent Brandenburg said...

Lou,

I trust that Christian means well too.

I can't disagree with anything that you wrote.

Lou Martuneac said...

Thanks Kent. Just trying to put a handle on what I'm seeing in this.


Lou