What The Bible Says
“What The Bible Says - Vol. 5 / No. 3”
What The Bible Says
Vol. V - No. 3 / July 3, 2022
'SIDE DOOR EVANGELISM'
What do barbecues, softball leagues, and plays have to do with the work of the church? If you believe in “side door evangelism” then it has everything to do with it.
What is “side door evangelism”? It is the practice among many religious groups to offer to the public some form of entertainment or recreational activity with the intent to lure them in to teach them about the gospel. They offer some exciting activity to get an opportunity to tell people about Christ. It sounds like a real screwed idea doesn’t it?
Yet, is this method right according to the teachings of the Bible? Is it what the Lord wants for His church? The following is a list of some serious problems with “side door evangelism”:
1) It Is Not Based Upon Bible Teaching Or Example. No where in the record of the New Testament are such methods commanded. Neither do you see Christ or His disciples offering some frivolous activity to draw the crowds to hear the gospel. Their methods were limited to public (Matthew 5; Acts 2) and private (John 3:1-21; Acts 8:26-40) teaching situations. It is true that the miracles of the New Testament attracted a lot of attention. Yet, the purpose of these acts were not to merely draw crowds and create public stir. They were signs that proved the deity of Jesus and confirmed some of the early disciples as teachers of God’s word (John 20:30-31; Hebrews 2:1-4).
2) It Draws The Wrong Crowd And Not The True Seekers. The purpose of the miracles are clearly seen in the feeding of the five thousand plus by Jesus with only five loaves and two fishes. The day after the miracle, a large crowd followed after Jesus. In John 6:26-27 Christ told them, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Jesus was discouraging these people in chasing after bread and encouraging them to pursue eternal life.
When a church peddles pizza parties and basketball games to the public and tries to slip in a little teaching of the gospel on the side, then they are reversing the priorities that Jesus set here. Such a church is fostering man’s hunger to satisfy and stimulate the flesh before the spirit.
Consider this question, too - who is drawn with recreation and entertainment? People who are looking to be amused or to be excited. Yet, all the church needs to present to the world is the message of the crucified Christ (John 3:14-15; 12:32-33). That is all that is necessary to find the true seekers of salvation who will become genuine disciples.
3) It Is Manipulative. Suppose that a friend invites you for dinner and then after getting there you find out they had you over to try to sell something to you. How would that make you fee? A little used? A little manipulated is how most of us would feel.
Then consider this scenario. A church advertises and offers a concert, or a softball league, or an exercise class to the public. After getting the crowd there, the church has some teacher or minister present a message about the gospel. See the parallel? It is luring people with one thing and trying to give them another. Christ’s church has no business being involved with such manipulative methods. The church needs to be up front with people. If a person is turned off to the Bible being taught, then so be it. It is not fitting for the Lord’s people to hide their real agenda underneath fun and frolic.
Why is “side door evangelism” so widespread and popular? Because there is some surface success to it. When you give away free food or entertainment, people will come. Yet, when this occurs the only thing the church has been successful at is giving away food and entertainment. Another reason why it is popular is that it appeals to human reasoning. It makes sense to man’s way of thinking to shroud the message of the gospel in recreation and entertainment to make it more appealing to man’s appetite. However, if proclaiming the gospel in the atmosphere of fun and frolic was spiritually successful, then why didn’t the church in the New Testament do it? Why didn’t God command it? The reason the Bible is silent about it is because it is not what God wants. If He wanted it, He would have said it.
The subject of “side door evangelism” raises the great question that churches must answer: Should God’s work be done His way, as revealed in the Bible, or should it be done man’s way? For those who sincerely want to please the Lord and who completely trust His wisdom, there is only one way to go about the work of the church…that is the Lord’s way.
STANDING IN THE PLACE OF GOD
Though people sometimes get out of their place, we must never put our thoughts or practices in the place of God. In the Old Testament, Joseph, though he was second in command to Pharaoh, knew he was not to stand in God’s place. “Fear not: for am I in the place of God?” (Genesis 50:19). Some ways we can put ourselves in God’s place are:
1) By Wearing Religious Titles. There are many who wish to be called “Reverend”. Yet, Psalms 111:9, in taking about God, says, “Holy and reverend is His name.” Why should anyone want to be called God’s name? Could it be they do not know what the Scriptures say or go on doing it regardless? Neither are we to call anyone “Father” or “Rabbi” in a religious context as taught in Matthew 23:8-9.
2) By Making Religious Creeds. The word “creed” means ‘I believe’. Many religious organizations have formulated creeds, manuals, and disciplines by which to govern their particular church. In giving a defense of their creed some have stated they contain nothing more than what the Scriptures teach. If that’s true, why not just do away with the creed? The truth in the matter is creeds either add more than what the Scriptures say or they take away from what the Scriptures says. Denominational creeds, manuals, and disciplines are NOT the same as the Scriptures! The New Testament is to be our ONLY creed! “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:8-10). When churches formulate creeds, who are they seeking to please? When man’s commandments are taught and practiced instead of the commandments of God, Jesus says our worship is rendered vain (Matthew 15:9). Can you find book, chapter, and verse for everything believed and practiced in the church you are a member of?
3) Those Who Originate Churches. Who started the church you are a member of? Where was it started? When was it started? Jesus taught, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matthew 15:13). Jesus is to be the “Head” of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). The head is to have absolute control because Jesus is described in various places as “King”. In His kingdom/church there is no democracy for He is the absolute sovereign Ruler. In Matthew 16:18 He said He would build His church. In Acts 2 we have the record of those who were being saved being added to the church (Acts 2:47), thus it was in existence in 33 A.D. in the city of Jerusalem. Can you read in the Bible the name of the church you are a member of? (Romans 16:16b).
We must at all times be careful not to overstep our bounds and begin dabbling into things of which we have no business. If we aren’t careful, we might be standing in the place of God! —E.R. Hall, Jr.
Eternity will be a long time to think about what you should have done.
Trust God’s authority, not man’s majority.
If you don’t plan for the future, you probably won’t like what you get.
Too much time is wasted by people telling how busy they are.
"What The Bible Says” is e-mailed twice a month. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in the next mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and you will be removed promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page for further instructions as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Bible Classes …………..….…………… 9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….……… 10:30 AM
Evening Worship …………………........ 5:00 PM
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
Website: www. EastAlbertville.org