This post will most likely ruffle some feathers. But after hesitating to post these thoughts last Easter, I’ve decided perhaps the church could stand to have their feathers ruffled. Being in ministry and seeing the effects of the lack of gospel coming to bear on people’s lives daily, what I have to say is something I think about often. However, it is the various church postcards in my mailbox and the newspaper adverstisements I have seen for Easter that have put it on the forefront of my mind.
The bottom line and my question is this: If His Glory and the Gospel are enough… If His Word is True… If all we need is Jesus, Why the gimmicks and all the distractions?
The church in its attempt to be relevant has sold the gospel short and replaced it with slick marketing of entertainment. It seems the goal is to be the biggest, the best and the most fun so people want to come back. But, I’m afraid this has left our churches full of malnurished Christians feasting on everything but the Bread of Life.
We wonder why the mass exodus from the church is happening among college students and young adults who have been raised in the church, this is why. (If you haven’t heard the statistics, it is staggering and I’ve written about it once before here.)
As churches strive to entertain with high-tech productions, entice with gimmicks, and proclaim moral values and law, the one thing needed most and that makes church unique is missing. Though Jesus may be talked about, who He is for us is not fully taught leading to a growing disconnect about what the gospel is and how it applies to everything has invaded the church.
What we need to hear and know is of His unfailing, perfect love and obedience on our behalf. We need to hear and know that even in our sin, He looks at us as righteous because He was perfectly righteous for us. We need to hear and know how He identifies with us in every way. We need to hear these things so we know we can go to Him without shame. We need to know He is for us and He did everything necessary to secure our right standing before Him. He is where our identity is found. This is our hope to hold on to and only solution to all of our struggles and doubts.
But if the church elevates law over gospel and fun over truth, His glory for us is unseen and the church is no longer a divine and necessary distraction from the rest of our week.
Churches: instead of setting out thousands of Easter eggs on Easter Sunday to create an experience, give these children Christ. No, they may not “get it” completely, but teaching proceeds understanding and the repetiton of the gospel is what we all need all the time.
Just as we eat breakfast and then become hungry a few hours later, if we aren’t fed a steady diet of Christ, we will turn to other things to fill us. And soon that won’t do it for us, so we will look to something else. Only by feasting on the Bread of Life will we ever be satisfied.
Christ is enough and the good news of His gospel needs no help in being applicable. “…It is the power of God that brings salvation to all who believe…” Nothing needs to be added or taken away. Ironically, when we do the church ceases to be relevant and often those who grow up in it leave because they don’t see it as life-giving.
What we need this Easter and on every other day is not an…
But, for His words “It is Finished!” to bring healing and hope to our hearts.