The most effective means of bringing people to Christ is planting new churches. At least that is what the experts tell us. There was a time when I believed this with all my heart, but I am not so convinced anymore. Many of todays “modern” church plants are extremely ineffective.
This week alone, approximately 100 new church plants will begin holding public services in America. Most of these new church starts are based upon a seeker-friendly or purpose driven style of ministry. In simple terms, the seeker-sensisitve church model is based on designing a service for the non-christian. It has to be attractive, appealing and most of all “relevant” to the unchurched. The unchurched decides what is relevant for them, and they have decided that a message about a cross, their sin, a God that holds them accountable for their lives, hell or how to make peace with God is not relevant. They want nothing to do with that type of message. They want to know how to raise their kids, how to have a better marriage, how to be succesful. Essentially, they are interested in anything that will make their life better now. Today’s modern church plant is striving to give them what they want, at the expense of what they truly need.
This model can attract large crowds, but it is not effective in leading large numbers of people to true faith in our crucified and risen Savior. Still, it is the most popular model among today’s church planters. Which begs the question: Is it a correct model? Is it a biblical model? Should we be using it? The Apostle Paul was a prolific church planter. If he were planting churches today, would he be using this seeker-sensitive model? If you read his works, and study what he did, you would walk away with one clear conclusion: Read the rest of this entry
The message of the Cross is the heart of Christianity. In fact, it is THE message and the cornerstone of the Christian faith. We should never grow tired of learning about what happened there and all of its implications. It never gets old and we must never move on from it! For the past few years, I have made it a goal to read at least one book each year that discusses this topic. I have just started reading a new one that I would like to share with those who read this blog. It is called “The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness” by Jerry bridges and Bob Bevington. I will be sharing quotes from it when I am done, but today I wanted to share this extended quoted about how the Old Testament sacrificial system served as a pre-cursor for Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for our sins.“Atonement by animal sacrifice was the method by which sinning Jewish believers, estranged from God and excluded from covenant standing, were forgiven and restored to relationship with the inflexibly holy and yet merciful God. The penalty for sin was separation and death; if a sin occurred, so must a separation and a death. No amount of remorse, regret, or improved behavior could remove the guilt. The offender was required to die without the possibility of restored fellowship to God – unless the God-ordained animal substitute was offered (separated) and killed (sacrificed) in the place of the dinner. The act of substitutionary death was the main point of the old covenant atonement for sin. In viewing the sacrificial process, defiled Israelites were reminded of what they would have endured if the sacrifice had not intervened.
It is important for us to note that this God-given system of animal sacrifices united three essential concepts… Read the rest of this entry