Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bait and Switch?

My girls, my Bro and my wife

Several people I know make at least part of their living selling Newspaper subscriptions. The bait to try the paper is a gift card that is roughly equal to the first months subscription. In accepting the card, the person is agreeing to start a subscription to that newspaper which they can later cancel if they choose. Of course this is my simplified explanation, but the customer must be made aware that this will be an ongoing purchase until it is cancelled. It is the same way with the book, magazine and music sales pitches we hear all the time. How clear the sales person makes the continued subscription is a matter of debate but I imagine many people never hear much beyond the free gift card. It is like the TV music pitches for the oldies. Buy one at the regular price and get the second one for a penny. The fine print that you can’t read at the bottom of the screen is that now they will send you their choice for music every month for eternity if you do not cancel…in person…at their home office…in a place you have never heard of or will ever find. A lot of sales pitches work like this, including the typical pitch to receive Christ as your Savior and stay out of hell. While that is true, it is not all the truth or even the true starting point of importance. After 40 years of pastoral ministry I am becoming concerned more and more that our well meaning evangelistic efforts are at a very minimum misguided. Consider this from Andrew Murray:
“The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him—something very different.” People still decide, not yield. I believe I have lived my life trying to do your job, going for a decision that has no need to grow as apposed to yielding that has growth as its very essence.”

It seems to me that our evangelistic zeal is to get a decision not make a disciple. Are we trying to do something only the Holy Spirit can do? Notice Jesus’ way of making disciples in his time on earth. The decision was to follow, not just make a decision. I’m thinking there is a lot of baiting going on in the Christian world today that is part innocent and part ignorant. In the long run this may be doing more damage to the kingdom than it is doing good. Statistically the churches of today are much larger than at any time in history. Why are so many people making so little difference? Why is Christianity today characterized as a mile wide and an inch deep? Could it be so simple as they made a decision but never yielded? Is there something you or I can do about it? I'm thinking there is. What do you think?
If you haven’t read He Love’s Me by Wayne Jacobsen, now might be a good time. It is a great sequel to the theology behind The Shack.

1 comment:

Doni Brinkman said...

Liking Andrew Murray more and more all the time.