No Other Gospel
Down through the years from time to time I have heard how a Bible study method has resulted in x number of baptisms. Or I have read in a church bulletin how a particular church announced so many baptisms and then went on to say that they kept 97% of all those they baptized. I have heard or read about such and such a preacher who had baptized x numbers of people while conducting x numbers of meetings. I have even had it explained to me that if I used such and such a method, I would find that out of every ten doors I knocked, seven would agree to study…and out of those seven studies, x number of people would be baptized. It was practically guaranteed. I have heard of certain books written by certain authors and these books were responsible for, again, x numbers of baptisms. Now you may say that what I am about to write is due to my own lack of “success” or to jealousy on my part. And maybe some of that is in me. I don’t think so, but I will admit the possibility. Such reasoning sends up a red flag in my pitiful brain.
I thank God for every baptism following upon a consideration of the life, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord (such as the Gospels present), and which follows genuine repentance and acknowledgement of Christ as Lord, and which results in a life which begins to change for the good, seeking further spiritual knowledge and issuing in service and honor to God.
Books (excluding the Bible), humans and methods do not and cannot improve on the simple and clear gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is more than possible to convince folks to be baptized in response to a five-step plan when those same folks have really not even hardly been introduced to Jesus Christ. And I have also, myself, baptized way too many people, who seemed to have never understood the importance of life lived for Jesus following baptism.
I do not speak as an “authority” on this. But I can tell when the wheels come off. I believe in books. I believe in preachers. I have a method of study I try to use with people I’m wanting to introduce to Jesus. But there’s something that doesn’t ring true for me, at least, in the sure-fire, guaranteed results promised or at least, glorified, in some circles. Am I alone in being bothered by certain church growth “experts” who tell us we need to approach a certain “demographic” with the gospel…in other words, we need to “target” young married people with jobs and children who will be able to “finance” the church of the future? I’m just wondering out loud…and maybe I am wasting your time here…but I wonder if this “slickness” is helpful? Is Jesus honored in all this?