Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fornication

You may be wondering about the title of this post. Well this entry is going to be about sex (sort of) and I felt I had to continue with the one-word titles beginning with the letter "f." I could only think of three words relating to sex that begin with an "f" and since this is a family blog...

So here's the deal. The Big Church Across the Street is advertising a series called...wait for it..."Great Sex-pectations." Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Aren't they clever?

Last Sunday was the first in the series and the pastor was (presumably) going to answer the question "who invented sex?". Of course, any woman could have told him men invented sex, but that is a whole other topic. I think he was probably actually going for the answer that God invented sex. I'm just guessing here, seeing as how I didn't actually attend the service or listen to his sermon.

This Sunday's sermon is titled "Sex: Why Wait?" and is sure to be the most unpopular in the series.

This morning The Big Church Across the Street aired a commercial about the Great Sex-pectations series, asking the question "Sex: What Does it Take?". Ummm, health class anyone? Anybody remember the answer to this question? At the end of the commercial, Pastor Smooth leans in toward the camera and says "join us this week as we talk about....(voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper)...Sexxxx." Ewww.

I know what you're thinking...okay Laurie, what's the point. My point is this: why do Christians feel they have to sell Christianity to get people in the door of the church? What happened to the good news that Christ Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again to overcome death? When will we figure out that 12-step Christianity just doesn't work? When will we figure out that feel-good Christianity is misleading? What does sex have to do with the crucified Christ?

Let me be clear. I don't think there is anything wrong with pastors teaching Biblical truths about sex. I just get riled when Christians try to use these tactics to allure people into the church. It reminds me of 1st Thes. 1:3-4 "For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts" (emphasis added).

I know someone is probably going to misunderstand what I am trying to say or get upset with me. I know all the normal responses -- "God can use anything" "this could get someone into church" "sex is in the Bible" -- I know, I know. I just wonder why humans think they can come up with something better, more clever or more appealing than the Word of God which does not return void, but always accomplishes His purposes. Why use sex to sell the gospel when we've got the greatest story ever told of Jesus Christ. That should be enough.

13 comments:

Todd Richards said...

Preach it, Laurie. Oh wait.. you are a woman, so you can't do that. But regardless... great post. I couldn't agree with you more.

Troy said...

Expect your hits from Google to increase because of this post.

Dustin said...

hhmmmmm, if I'm interpreting what you're saying correctly (and please feel free to correct me if I'm not) I'm going to have to disagree.

IF this "big church of mystery" is scripturally giving a sermon series on sex, I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. In fact, I applaud the fact that they are doing it, and doing it in this way.

Maybe I need to see the commercial, but it doesn't sound like he's selling anything, but rather advertising what his sermon is going to be. It's not different than the HFBC site having the "Blueprint" ad up for the Colossians series.

Sex being discussed from the pulpit is extremely important. There are so many people that get married and have a problem with their sex life. Why? Because while growing up in the church sex was taught as something that is “bad” until you are married. Well, what happens when you get married? How do you change your mindset just like that? If you never hear the beauty of what sex is and how every part of it relates to Christ’s love for the church, then you will have a harder time seeing it when you get married. What better place to hear what scripture says about sex than from the pulpit?

So, my take is this. Advertise it however you want. I would put the commercial under being “culturally relevant”.

BTW, thanks for the post. I think it’s a great topic!!!

kelly said...

I think it's important for churches to address this topic. It's better to hear it in church than from society. And I'm not necessarily sure the pastor was trying to "sell" it to the public (I saw it on t.v.). This church has a lot of commercials introducing things going on. This commercial may bring a couple that's struggling in that area to church and may bring healing to their relationship. It's not like this church (like another church that advertises)is "fluffy". I believe they have sound doctrine and will approach this series in a way that will glorify God.
BTW: I think you're great Laurie ;).

Shanna said...

Selling sex? It worked for George Michael. It works for Britney Spears. It works for Josh Hartnett. Why shouldn't the preacher across the street try to sell it? Maybe enought people will buy into it that he can get a new dome out of it. Excellent.

Dustin said...

I don't see how he's "selling" sex?

James said...

I don't think the issue is a sermon on sex or a church advertising that the pastor is doing a sermon on sex.

A bigger issue would be if any chruch is trying to draw people to Christ based on meeting "felt needs" alone....like a doctor trying to pull out a splinter when the jugular vein is severed..."come to Christ, you'll improve your marriage, job, sex-life, etc. etc."

Maybe that's where you were going, Laurie??

Todd Richards said...

James, excellent point. Now in Christ, all of those things you mentioned are better (more complete, if you will)... but they are subordinate to the true need that is present in our lives - namely a mender from our broken, dark hearts.

Laurie said...

James, that is exactly my point. I thought I had made that clear in my post by pointing out that I didn't have a problem with the topic. I have a problem with the philosophy, not the theology (to quote a friend). Thank you for bringing some clarity to my comments.

Also, for anyone who may be wondering...I don't have a problem with the theology of The Big Church Across the Street in general. I believe they teach truth as stated in the scriptures.

Silvia said...

Laurie, that I couldn’t agree with you more. The sad thing about the church these days is that it is about the business of “selling” Christ—promoting, advertising and pitching the Faith as if it were something that could be purchased. They try to make it appealing to come to church, because apparently their need for redemption isn’t enough. When I was at First back in the day, we used to call that church across the street the “Baptidome,” always parading bigger and better things than what we (First) offered. There are churches now, pretty prominent ones in our city at that, that do nothing but teach about 30% Gospel and 70% fluff. Actually I can think of one HUGE church that teaches about 10% Gospel and 90% pep rally. Some people will say, “well at least they’re getting something.” No, that is NOT something. If Satan can’t feed you a lie, he’ll feed you a half truth. It is nothing but the Word diluted and watered-down. The Word speaks specifically against that.

There is a commercial about a church which I’m sure you’ve seen. I can’t think of the denomination that is putting it out there, but I remember the first time I saw it, I was completely mesmerized at how it promotes “acceptance” of everyone. It starts out with people sitting in pews—I think the first one is a single lady, and she is catapulted out of her seat, I don’t remember the next one, but he too is catapulted out of his seat. The third example is of two men sitting side by side with their arms around each other, clearly depicting homosexuality. I remember thinking, “wow, you have NO idea what the Word says about homosexuality. Read your BIBLE!!” The Lord hated the sin within Sodom so much that he destroyed the city by raining sulfur on it! He sent two angels into Sodom to retrieve Lot and his family. At Lot’s insisting (even he knew how outrageous the sin had become), the two men (angels) stayed at his house. The entire city, “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’” Is that not incredible!? They were practically knocking down the door. It blows my mind!! When someone CHOOSES to sin with homosexuality, they “suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them…so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1). So the Lord gives them over to their sin and then they BEAR THE MARK of being given over, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” (Romans 1). People who are homosexual bear an obvious mark of being “given over.” Okay, so I went into that long speech to say that this commercial essentially connotates that it is okay to be gay and be in this denomination, because they won’t “catapult” you out of your pew.

Why does the Christ have to be marketed like a product?! Why isn’t the death of our sin enough to move people to repentance? Why are we not teaching more sin, and the separation it creates from the Holy Spirit? Why are some of these huge churches nothing but big cheer rallies where you leave feeling great about yourself and your life? We already know that that “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4). Looks like that time has already come.

Preach it Laurie. The masses need to hear it.

riles said...

My own two cents, for what they're worth, are related to the purpose of Sunday morning worship and teaching. Isn't Sunday morning for the gathering of believers to worship corporately and be equipped and trained to go out as the body of Christ? If this is the case, then there is no point to selling anything. I'm pretty sure that seeker-sensitive churches, in the end, turn around about as many genuine believers as a traditional church where both preach the truth of God loyally. The difference is in which equips its members the best.

Personally, I don't think the church is the best place to just bring someone who is not already a believer. It is uncomfortable, for one. Also, there are still a lot of people who will judge you for any number of things that you may wear, say or do that don't meet their criteria for good, church behavior. Historically, the Sunday gathering was also a time for breaking bread in rememberance of Christ. Nonbelievers have no place in that, lest they take the Lord's name in vain.

To me, this rules out any reason you should need to advertise. The only other reason I can think of would be to communicate your events and sermons to your members or other believers, but I also see the church as a place for the Church to locally plug in. I know that many people don't do this for a great many reasons--I myself go to First, which is a large church, and I pass several other churches on my way. Nevertheless, if you are that big of a church, I can't see how the spread of your ministries and events by your members can possibly be too little.

Erin said...

wow - this really disappoints me and makes me sad. not the topic at hand, but how it's written about here. the sarcasm is dripping and i'm honestly sick to my stomach. "pastor smooth", coy remarks about "the church across the street" (just go ahead and say it's name for crying out loud), basing opinions on assumptions and making accusations without actually hearing the sermon. i guess i'm that person who misunderstands, and is definitely not in agreement.

CoachLee said...

Laurie, As I read your blog this afternoon, my reacton was a lot like Todds.... thinking I couldn't agree with you more. When I saw that 12 people had already posted comments... I was very interested to see what they had to say about this subject, but was heartbroken as I read some of the comments... encouraged by others.

Let me start by saying that the Church everyone is talking about is pretty sound in their teaching, and their pastor on track with the Bible. However, I tend to agree with what others have already said.... there are too many Churches that preach promises of health and wealth if you come to Jesus. That's just not true salvation. Salvation involves a Savior dying on a cross. It involves Jesus paying the price that we could never pay. It is a recognition that we are all sinners.... and that we must repent of our sins.

Silvia said it best when she said that “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4).

My prayer is that we as the body of Christ would get off the sidelines and into the game. There are too many Christians that are bold about their faith on Sundays when they are surrounded with their friends. Anyone can do that. Imagine what kind of awakening our country might see if we were as bold about Christ during the week at work.... in the gym... in the grocery line at HEB?

That's the news we should be "selling".... Christ Crucified. Not just on Sundays.