Before I say anything, I want to make sure that I am understood in this: my goal for this article is not primarily to criticize. Criticism ought never to be an end in itself. It serves only as a means to a greater end. I hope that my goal is clear by the end of this article. Also, this is my opnion. It may not reflect the opinions of all the writers for the Sci-Fi Christian.
I was given the following video and was asked to write on it. I watched the video and had two major thoughts. I will address my first though second and my second thought first (confused yet? U Mad?).
You can check out the whole article here.
First, I was impressed by these people’s ability to create this set. It really looked like Tron! I’ve begged my wife to go on a vacation to the Grid, but she had to sit me down, crush my dreams, and tell me that it doesn’t exist. It was like the whole Santa balloon was popped for me all over again. I’ll continue to put LED Christmas light ropes on my car and throughout my house anyway. She can’t stop me.
Second, I want to encourage you to consider if this is the sort of church you ought to go to. What would make me say something like this? I am aware that the Christian Church is very diverse, but is this too far?
Let me be blunt in saying that this is too far.
If you are like me, you may have watched this and thought to yourself, “There is something wrong here, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.” It isn’t like we can point to one verse in the Bible that says that something is wrong with what this church is doing, but it seems that they may be missing the point.
This is a very big case of missing the point.
Let’s examine some points here to see if they may help transform that abstract feeling to a more concrete and thought-out opposition.
My biggest concern with a church like this is the method they use to get people to come to their church. The “bait and switch” method is clearly illustrated. They bait people with the idea of cool sets, smoke, and lights and then try to spring Jesus on them. The smoke and lights have nothing to do with the Gospel nor are they centered on Christ. Since anyone can enjoy the smoke and lights, anyone would be inclined to stay at this church, but the Church is to be a body of believers primarily. The people that come for the lights and smoke aren’t automatically going to be interested in the Word of God. This requires a work of the Holy Spirit. It seems that it would be easy for the leadership of the church to desire to attract more people by softening the Truth.
I am reminded of Matthew 7:21-23. This passage is part of a sermon given by Jesus which teaches that some people who think they are saved really aren’t.
Am I saying that the people of this church are not saved? No. It is not for me to making a sweeping judgment like that. I will say that they do not appear to have many comparable traits with the churches in the Bible.
What I am illustrating is this warning: since there is such a disastrous deception as false conversions (thinking you are saved when you are not), it is wise to be on close guard. Be watchful over your soul. I believe that a healthy thing to do for your soul is to make sure you are part of a church that teaches boldly the Word of God. That way, you can be part of a church that is eager to watch over your soul alongside you as well.
The underlying approach to ministry here in this video seems to be a desire show the world that believers can be cool. Who doesn’t want to be part of a cool group? But the Bible says that the world hates the light (John 3:20). Yes, there are those that in the name of “Christ” act like idiots, but I am not talking about them. God is their judge, and He will vindicate His Name against them. Realize this: Jesus Himself said that He was offensive (Matthew 11:6). Many of the disciples, followers of Christ, and saints over the years have been killed for the sake of Christ.
Would they have been martyred for Tron Church? Would they have considered the cost of their lives worthy?
Is this a better way? Should the disciples have picked up on this new way of “doing church” back then? Would the Church have been spared thousands of lives if Church History was altered to have this sort of method earlier? Why didn’t the Lord Jesus Christ command us to do this earlier? Would He have been more pleased by this?
I do not believe this is a better way. We are not called to attract the world. We are told to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. We are told to command people everywhere to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. There is no better way.
Yes, reach out to your community. Yes, engage culture. Yes, share the Gospel. Yes, plead with people to repent and believe.
Teach the Word of God, but not at the cost of the Word of God.
Now, let me conclude with two concerns that you may have about my viewpoint and some advice and helpful resources.
First, some may say that it is good to bring these people in with whatever means necessary. Didn’t Paul become all things to all people that he may win some (1 Corinthians 9:22)? Paul didn’t compromise the Gospel. Instead, he said that he become all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel. Yes, he quoted the culture’s poetry in his sermon, but he didn’t decorate the catacombs that the church met in to illustrate the Odyssey in hopes the world would think he is fun. Paul didn’t become all things to all people to change the image of the Church or to make the Gospel less offensive. This is the same man that said, “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God,” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5, ESV). His appeal was nothing but the power of God. Would Paul use the “bait and switch” method? I would say no (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Second, some may say that I am being judgmental. To that, I have to explain what judgment is and what it is not. The Bible says that the use of the Word includes reproofing, correction, and training (2 Timothy 3:16). It is impossible to reproof or correct without making a sort of judgment if something is right or wrong. To say that we aren’t to cast judge is not to say that we deny that there is such a thing as right and wrong. As Christians, we know that they are right and wrong. Consequently, we stand for what is right at all times, but in a case-by-case appropriate manner.
When we are commanded not to judge, it means that we are not to sit in our own version of the Judgment Seat that only belongs to Christ. You don’t decide what right is and what wrong is. The only authority we have is the Word. The Word is the judge, and we administer what it says. Furthermore, never are we to act as if we decide who is saved or not. Rather, we go to the Word and examine what it says about the characteristics of a believer. If someone is acting outside of the characteristics while saying he or she is a believer, we are to warn and plead with him or her to repent. I am not making a judgment over this church in the article or the people that go to churches that are like it. Rather, I am showing you with examples from the Bible why I am concerned.
Finally, here is a helpful resource. The book, “9 Marks of a Healthy Church,” is a resource that may be an interest to you. It goes through 9 biblical principles that every healthy church ought to have. They also have a website that has some resources and even a page to do a “church search” for healthy churches in your area.