- Relaxed, casual atmosphere with FREE refreshments and pastries
- A LIVE BAND playing awesome music
- Safe, fun environment for kids
- Real answers for life
- People genuinely caring for and about each other
- FREE ADMISSION (no ticket required)
The flyer also directs the recipient to the church website, which offers this description of the new church:
A priority at _____ (new church site) is journey, not judgment. Judgment brings division and it creates discomfort. We want to be on a journey together. A journey allows us to know Christ and to know His hope collectively, rather than on our own. There is no need to go through life alone!
This venture is actually not a new church start but a part of a "multi-site" strategy being launched by this established church. I will be presenting a paper at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting November 15-17 in Washington, DC, tentatively titled, "A Biblical-Theological Critique of the Multi-Site Church Movement." I’ll try to post the paper when it's done.
Though I might appreciate the zeal of this church for evangelism and outreach, there are questions about wisdom (Romans 10:2). On churches meeting in movie theaters, see my previous post (March 20, 2006) "Our Lady of the Movie Theater."
Most disturbing is the website note's downplaying of judgement, since "Judgement brings division and it creates discomfort."
Didn’t Jesus say that anyone who comes after him must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23)? Didn’t Jesus say that he did not come to bring peace but a sword (Matt 10:34)? Maybe I found this particularly jarring, because we just finished a series through the parables in Matthew and each parable of our Lord has a striking word about judgement. A sampling:
The parable of the wheat and the tares:
Matthew 13:40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The parable of the dragnet:
Matthew 13:49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The sheep and the goats:
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
It is judgement, judgement, judgement! Jesus knew that we have to understand the wrath of God before we can appreciate the grace of God. Certainly, unregenerate men do not want to hear of the wrath of God for their sin and the coming judgement. Thus, they often are offended by gospel ministry that is so "judgemental." Still, it is certain that "we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ" (2 Cor 5:10). For sure, all those parables also announce the future blessings in the kingdom for those who are saved from their sin. But can we clearly preach the gospel without announcing the wrath of God for sin and the only escape through the righteous life of Christ? Can we preach the resurrection without the cross?
"Ah," some say, "but we must catch the fish before we can clean them." But at what point are these seekers told that they must begin denying themselves? That the Christian life is not about "fun" but about holiness (and this brings the greatest joy)? That worship is not entertainment to meet our needs but service to meet God’s demands for glory?