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Apr 09 2010

Bribe Them To Salvation

Yes, that’s one approach.  Well, at least for this one mega church in Corpus Christie, Texas.  They had the bright idea of a massive and expensive give-away just for going to church this past “Easter” service.  The prices included luxury cars, gym memberships, bikes, television sets, etc.  I guess if nothing else works, bribery is in order.  Imagine that, bribing someone to salvation.  It left me wondering what was wrong with the approach that Jesus and His apostles took.  They did not entertain anyone.  They had no prizes to give away.  At most, Jesus fed the hungry.  No one won any prize simply for showing up and listening to the Good News.

After reading about this “bribe,” I thought about the Gospel and how it was spread.  What happened?  What changed?  Why is entertainment, prizes, rock music and the other fun activities necessary?  As that old saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink.  This church led people to the church pews but they can’t save them.  The reasoning behind this prize give-away was that those that would not normally go to church to hear the Gospel, this was one way to get the Good News to them.  While I applaud the reason behind this expensive bribery, I again thought back to how Jesus taught His disciples.  And for the most part, throughout the ages, that’s how the Gospel was spread.  Before I came to faith, I can pretty much guarantee that if a church were giving away Lamborghinis and other such prizes, I would have shown up.  It would not have mattered  that I was a Muslim at the time – the possibility that I, too, could be a proud owner of a Lamborghini would have been enough to make me sit through some sermon while checking to make sure I had my raffle ticket ready.

I thought about all the people in that city that are out of jobs, lacking the funds to pay their electric bill, no money for  rent, food, clothing, losing their homes, etc.  We’re living in a very rough time.  I thought to myself did they not wonder how Jesus would have used that money if He were here today?  Would He be giving away luxury cars, gym memberships, etc. or would He have quietly been preaching the Gospel to folks while feeding the hungry.  That mega church gave away more than $2 million dollars worth of prizes.  What a bribe – and that’s exactly what that church did – they bribed folks into showing up.  Perhaps that church knew something Jesus did not know – how to really reach people.

I thought to myself “how on earth does someone even come up with such an insane idea?”  I figured they had to have been drunk or something to think up such insanity.  Reminds me of something I read recently.  I was reading about this church that was located at a nudie beach.  Okay, I thought to myself, that’s okay because the Gospel is to be taken to those that need it and who better than a bunch of people that shamelessly walked around butt naked.  Guess what?  It was a butt-naked service.  The pastor stood up at the podium, with a bible in his hand and nothing else.  He actually stood there naked preaching from the bible.   I guess if you want to reach people that do not like to wear clothes, you get naked too.  I watched the video in – well horror at the audacity of preaching from God’s Word NAKED.  The video did blank out the “pertinent body parts” but it was obvious that it was a service in the buff.  I could not imagine people having the moxie to stand up NAKED and sing Gospel hymns, yet they did.

I thought of a great idea for that nudie church to increase their size.  They should take a page out of that mega-church in Corpus Christie and have a prize give-away.  It has to be good prizes like luxury cars, television sets, etc.  There you go, you have a bunch of naked people at your church hoping to be one of the lucky winners of a brand new Lamborghini.

Sometimes I think nothing can shock me until I read about a pastor standing at the front of the church wearing nothing but what he had on when he emerged from the womb.  He stands there while looking at his naked congregants holding their bibles.  They held to the position that God made us naked and there’s nothing shameful about the human body.  Makes me wonder what their explanation is when God made Adam & Eve covering for their naked bodies.

Entertainment is here to stay in churches whether it is prizes, promises of wealth, musical entertainment, and even watching your preacher preach in the nude.

So while these entertainment preachers are doing their thing, the “real” Gospel is being quietly taken to the world.  The Gospel is being spread through those quiet churches, through our interactions with those that we come across, we write about it on our blogs, bible studies in our homes, speaking to people we meet.  We’re quiet.  We don’t make the news.  We’re not getting wealthy off of God’s Word.  We’re not entertaining people.  We’re not giving away prizes for listening to us.  And we’re doing it with our clothes on.

Jesus knew what He was doing.  He bribed no one.  He was not wealthy.  The only prize He gave away was eternal life but He did that quietly while feeding the hungry.  That’s how He taught His apostles to preach.  Quietly, without fanfare or accolades.  They bribed no one.  They simply preached the Gospel as they were taught by the Son of God.  Repent and be saved.  There’s no way around that.

So please keep your prizes, your entertainment and PLEASE do us a favor, keep your clothes on.  You dishonor God with your bribes, entertainment and your preaching in the nude.  You are the wolves in sheep’s clothing devouring people.

It also grosses me out.

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Photo:  Young woman with cake by Petr Kratochvil

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  1. Lane

    I thank the Father of my Lord Jesus for finding this article! It brings comfort to know there are those who are seeking the Father, the one true God and that by the man Christ Jesus who laid down his life for sinners. I appreciate this article, your view on what is going on and add only the words of the apostles (through whose word, we are saved) Which is, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Lane,

      You would think that this is a Christian country with all the churches all over the place — that is until you walk in and listen to what they have to say. While there is not a single church on the face of this earth that doesn’t have something that needs to be dealt with, but if they are preaching repentance as taught in the Word of God, then they are on the right track.

      The church that did that massive give-away, I can kind of see their reasoning — that is get the people in so they can have an opportunity to hear the Gospel. The other one, the nudie church, I can’t even imagine what their reasoning was and I don’t want to know.

  2. Repent Harlequin

    ” There you go, you have a bunch of naked people at your church hoping to be one of the lucky winners of a brand new Lamborghini.”

    That’s crazy, Blog Lady T., it would never work. Where do you imagine they would put their tickets?

    1. Tishrei

      Here I was annoyed at their shenanigans and there you go making me laugh.

      Guess I never though about where they’d store their tickets, LOL. Leave it up to you to think of everything.
      :) BLT :)

  3. Margaret

    Tishrei,

    It seems like there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing lurking about and the sheep simply don’t care to recognize that fact….. Like you said, the true gospel is being preached rather quietly — the way Jesus preached and lived.

    Somehow, certain people just are not satisfied with the true Jesus….. They just want something “interesting” while they get their ears tickled.

    Those owlets are simply growing like weeds!…. They must eat like little piggies.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      Yeah, people want things interesting while getting their ears tickled. And there’s no lack of … um … “interesting” things out there to amuse those folks.

      I had not seen the owlets for a few days and was I SHOCKED at how much they grew. It’s really amazing how fast birds grow. People think we had growing pains in our legs growing up, I can’t imagine what their legs feel like at that rate of growth.

  4. Loren

    Good point, Kent. Hopefully they would remember to include nice warm, fuzzy seat covers with that new Lamborghini, too :)

    1. Repent Harlequin

      Good one, Loren.

    2. Tishrei

      OY — between you and Kent, you guys have thought of everything.

  5. Pete

    To make the gospel more appealing to the world, we have poured water on it and dumped on the sugar. In many cases, what we then have is not the gospel but deception. We indeed have heaped upon us teachers to tell us what our itching ears want to hear. The flesh will hate the true gospel. Last time I checked, we are not to bring the world into the church but instead are to go into the world and teach the true gospel. A lot of church today is all about US and being entertained, and this is a sign of the flood of lies and the fallen away church called Mystery Babylon, Mother of Harlots. Great blog by the way.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Pete,

      “To make the gospel more appealing to the world, we have poured water on it and dumped on the sugar.”

      What a perfect (but very sad) description of what has happened with the church today. And yes, the flesh will hate the true gospel and people flock to hear what they want to hear. I find this to be so disturbing that I have blogged extensively of this — I call those preachers “entertainment preachers.” People are deceived by them but ONLY because those preachers are giving them exactly what they want. They would be out of business if people insisted on hearing the Word of God. It’s not like people don’t have the Word of God available to them — they do but it gathers dust while they listen to lies. That’s what they want so that’s what is delivered to them.

  6. Repent Harlequin

    I think the whole idea was misguided and silly and a poor use of money. It’s the kind of thing you would expect to be suggested by some undiscerning member and shot down quickly in committee. The fact that it wasn’t is quite sad. Compromise of this nature does not advance the gospel.

    It would be different if you invited single moms from the community to get their oil changed in their cars or offered free child care if they came to a worship. Or did any other outreach. But this is bad.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Kent,

      I was just getting ready to run out the door when I saw your comment come in.

      I couldn’t agree with you more — and what an awesome idea about helping out the single moms.

      $2 million is a lot of money and it was a total waste. But then, they were doing what the people want. You can’t get a person to salvation through prizes — when God is ready for someone to be saved, He does it and prizes are not necessary to aid Him.

  7. justifiedfreely

    What a great (and also very sad) article. My dad (a pastor, but not of the megachurch variety or, thank goodness, of the nudity church variety) says that, as a young kid, he had the brilliant idea that people should go out and hand out 5 dollar bills for anyone who would pray a prayer or come to church. It appears that, adjusted for inflation, that megachurch has taken my dad’s childish idea and actually used it. It is sad that people feel the need to water down a gospel that is so perfect and powerful.

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