Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The worst Baptist Press story I think I've ever read

Yesterday I noticed just about the worst story I think I've ever read on Baptist Press (news service for the Southern Baptist Convention). Here's the link.

The article relates how "evangelist" Ronnie Hill gave away a new Chrysler 300 LX in a sort of "gospel raffle" (my words here, not ones actually used in the article) to a Methodist woman who, along with c. 10,300 other people, took the time to register for the raffle by listening to Hill's online three minute evangelistic appeal. The "winner" admits that when she registered for the raffle she did so "selfishly" but now she sees "the car is secondary" (but she's still keeping it).

But wait, there's more. Hill claims that 3,200 of those who listened to his three minute message have been soundly converted. I think as a follow up to this promotion, Hill should offer a new car to anyone who is able to find one of those 3,200 who shows any remote signs of authentic regeneration.

But wait, there's more. The car dealer who gave "evangelist" Ronnie Hill the best deal he could find on the car also had a testimony to share. As the article relates:

For Kelly Chadwick, general sales manager at the north Georgia dealership, Hill was an answer to his prayer as well. Chadwick, who attends Airline Baptist Church in Gainesville, Ga., said that while praying during his drive to work he asked God to help the dealership sell a vehicle the same day Hill called to buy the vehicle for the giveaway.

"It shows you that there's nothing God can't do," Chadwick said. "There's nothing that He can't handle."

Truly profound. Clearly, God was at work in this.

I don't know what makes this story worse. The fact that "evangelist" Ronnie Hill put forward this pitiful gimmick or that Baptist Press is promoting it so enthusiastically.

Too bad Paul didn't think of this before he wrote 2 Corinthians 2:17: "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ."



Anonymous said...

But wait, there's more...He teamed up with NAMB to have a hotline available. This kind of thing is never questioned.

When is Baptist Press going to do a story on the effective ministry of Paul Washer or David Miller? Ofcoarse they wouldn't because that would be too "controversial" because there is theological content to their preaching. This however, is acceptable because it was percieved to yield "positive results".

Good post.

Evangelical Forum Guy

Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with Jeff. Note that the author of the article is a pastor at First Baptist Cumming, which promoted the activities. It is unfortunate the entire subject of the article was about the gimmicky nature of the events. Could a Baptist pastor not focus on God's message in this article - beyond the buying and raffling of a car? God is doing amazing things through technology - from the internet to reaching the unreached through portable audio players - so I am not against things that are true to the scripture, and used to get people to listen (whether a raffle fits is another question). It is just unfortunate that the article focuses on the gimmick and not the message. I also suspect many domestic new car dealers are praying daily for sales.

Where I disagree a little relates to the comments about those who purportedly professed their faith. Whatever we think of the manner in which a message was delivered, how much can we comment on the sincerity of those people? I suspect God has used many fallen people and misguided schemes (not of God's doing, of course) deliver a message, so He might have used this series of events to reach some people.