Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hope for Some

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . . Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
I Corinthians 12:12-14, 27

Last week I received two mailings from a new church that is just starting in our community. They were identical except for the color scheme. In bold letters they announced their vision:


And on the other side of the postcard, they explained:

"There are many places in this world where we feel insignificant, used and even invisible. However, God says that each person is extremely valuable. What if there was a church that reflected that by welcoming others, being generous, serving the community and bringing hope to the hopeless?

"New Hope Christian Church is a brand new church that seeks to do just that. We are a church for people who may have given up on church, but haven’t given up on God. Come join us and give hope a try!"

I changed the name. They don't call themselves "New Hope." The actual name is non-biblical and generic, (and sounds very modern) and connects them to another church with a similar name in the northern part of the state.

Aside from the fact that they are new and they are meeting in a movie theater, their vision is the same as every other church. Don’t all churches try to provide hope for the hopeless and teach people that they are valued by God? And doesn’t every church wants to be a place “for people who have given up on church"?

We are, as Paul says, the Body of Christ. At least that is what we are trying to be.

When I looked more deeply to find out what this church actually believed, I found that the message wasn’t really for everyone. And it wasn't new. The paragraph describing what they believe “About Jesus Christ,” concludes with this sentence, “At the appointed time in the future, He will return to take those who belong to him to live with God for eternity in heaven.”

Those who “belong to him” will go to live with God for eternity in heaven. The others will be lost. Heaven for some and hell for others.

The section “About Man” says that human beings “are open to Satan’s influence, unable to please God, and are hopelessly condemned to spend an eternity without Him.”

“Hopelessly condemned.”

That doesn’t sound like “good news” to me. The best marketing in the world will not make that good or true or Christian.

So the new church “for people who may have given up on church” just repackages bad theology and markets it with new graphics and digital imagery. And the task of explaining the faith in the world gets a little harder.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but if you join you are a member of a a very "exclusive" club! It is always about us and them.