Friday, June 06, 2008

Where is the Gospel not allowed?

The following is from Tony the Lawman.

The story you are about to read is true.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I received a call today from a friend of mine. He is a godly man who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, his family, his fellow Christians, and those who are bound for hell apart from the gift of eternal life that only Jesus Christ can give. He is passionate about biblical evangelism. I’ve listened to him preach in the open-air and I’ve listened to him engage strangers in one-to-one conversations.

He speaks the truth in love.My friend came up with an innovative way to reach lost people with the gospel. His plan was simple enough: set up a table; give away hot and cold drinks; give away gospel tracts; and use this simple act of kindness as a springboard for sharing the Law and the Gospel with lost people. All he needed was a place to set up his table.My friend approached two organizations.

Both organizations are hosting large-scale events. One boasts of an expected, one-time attendance of more than forty thousand people. The other will host their event every week. Both organizations are inviting vendors to man booths to sell their wares and advertise their businesses and organizations. Both events are taking place on private property, but are open to the public.My friend was honest about his intentions when he approached each of the organizations.

The first organization expressed concern that by giving away beverages, my friend might diminish the sales of other vendors.They also seemed less than enthusiastic about my friend’s plan to distribute gospel tracts and engage people in spiritual conversation. “It appears that we don’t have any room for you, right now.” They told my friend. “We’ll keep your name on file, and we’ll let you know.”

A bit discouraged, my friend went to the second organization. He knows the people well who run the organization, and he was confident that he would receive a positive response from them. This is the organization that will host tens of thousands of people at their event.Just as before, my friend was honest about his intentions when he approached the second organization. Like the first organization, the second organization denied his request to distribute hot and cold beverages because they didn’t want his free gifts to infringe upon the other vendors’ efforts to make a buck or two.

But there was one significant difference in the way the second organization responded to my friend’s request to distribute gospel tracts and engage people in spiritual conversation.“We’re not billing this as a religious event.” My friend was told. “You won’t be able to hand out any gospel tracts.” My friend was shocked.

Why?

The first organization: a farmer’s market setting up in a mall parking lot.

The second organization: my friend’s church.

That’s right. My friend’s church is inviting some forty thousand people to their “campus” for an evening of food and frivolity. And the Gospel is not welcome there. As was the case last year during a similar event, my friend will have to stand across the street from his own church the night of the event to hand out gospel tracts.

I'm angry and I'm heartsick. I'm angry that a church (any church) would tell one of its members that the Gospel is inappropriate for a "church" event. And my heart breaks for my friend and for a church that seems to have drifted so far away from God's mandate to preach the Gospel to the entire world.

I will simply close with this. As the line continues to fade--the line between the world and those professing to be the church--I pray that churches like the one my friend attends will come to realize that their exclusion of the Gospel at any time is a sin against God.

I pray that this church and churches like it will repent--turn away from its sin and return to proclaiming His Gospel.

2 comments:

steve martin said...

Heartbreaking and shocking post, Wayne.

What the heck is your friend doing at a church like that? Unless he stays there with the hopes of converting some of the "churched".

Absolutely disgusting.

- Steve M.

WayneDawg said...

That's not my story Steve...that story is from Tony Miano who has a ministry out in California.

It is shocking. If this happened to me at my church I would have left that same moment they told me no.