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21 February, 2007 / theexpositor

A Lesson Learned at the NRB

As I entered the Orange County Convention Center, I had no idea what to expect. This was my first time to attend a National Religious Broadcasters convention so I was a little anxious about the event anyway. I mean I was traveling to a major city (Orlando, Florida), there would be thousands of attendees and I would be there to meet with some important people about syndicating our daily radio program. But what we were about to witness shocked even me.

Little did I know that the convention center had scheduled a fantasy convention the same time as the NRB. Now fantasy doesn’t mean the same to my generation as it does to the younger crowd. When I was a kid fantasy meant I was daydreaming about making it in the NBA, in spite of the fact I was too short and too slow. Today, fantasy takes on a totally different perspective, one of death, depression and the occult and it extremely popular in today’s postmodern age. 

As my daughter Jenny and I made our way through the convention center, we soon realized we were two fish out of water, and soon found ourselves surrounded by young men dressed in black trench coats with make-believe shotguns, young girls “dressed” in very skimpy bikinis and wearing devils horns, and entire families drenched in fake blood with plastic chainsaws extruding from their backs. When I stopped at an information desk to ask for directions, it was easy for the attendant to see that we did not belong in the fantasy group and politely directed us to the proper area. 

Later that day, in a conversation with other NRB attendees, a comment was made about how shocking it was to see the graphic and sometimes obscene displays of the fantasy crowd. They were offended by the displays of occultism and the extreme methods many people went through to make their point. But while they were speaking, I was impressed with the thought that it was not irony that the two events were going on at the same time. I shared with that while I too was offended and shocked, I was also saddened and heart broke by what I witnessed.

What have we done as believers, as preachers of the Gospel, when a whole generation would turn out by the thousands for an event that glorifies death, and at the same time shun and even ridicule an event that is supposed to glorify the Lord God?

Well John 3:19 certainly comes into perspective here that lost people love their lost ness until God convicts their hearts. But what responsibility does the contemporary church play in this? Well, I think we play a big role.  

While we are wasting precious time trying to please everybody and his brother by changing the message so they will not be offended, millions of people are dying and going to a sinners hell because we are too sorry to simply be obedient to One we claim to love and follow.

Could we have stayed off this terrible onslaught of evil if we had just had the courage, commitment and resolve to commit to the true Gospel? If we were more committed to the sufficiency of Scripture instead of being commited to doing everything we can to be liked, would it have made a difference? If we had backbone like a crowbar instead of backbone like a piece of thread, would it have made a difference? 

Would have it halted the swell of sin overfall? No. But what if we were able to reach one person? Would it be worth it?

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11 Comments

  1. Kathy / Feb 21 2007 15 44

    A very interesting article. Although the “seeker sensitive” crowd believes that we must invent new ways to reach the lost, my experiences prove otherwise.
    While handing out comic tracts (Chick Tracts) during Halloween trick or treat times in different cities, providing “Free, please take one” tracts at dog shows, or just plain showing people what the BIBLE says about salvation, the responses of people wanting to know the facts of the Gospel continue to amaze me. Yes, I do personaly help people come to know the Savior as a “Soul Winner”, and at all ages.
    There isn’t anything special about me, I just do what Jesus commanded: “Go…”. If people would be willing to GO and make disciples, we wouldn’t need to figure out ways to get them into a church building so they can hear the Gospel.
    What the Lord said to do really works, if people really will do it. There is no reason to re-invent the Gospel so that today’s crowd will respond.

  2. Nathan / Feb 21 2007 16 09

    Kathy,

    You did have to reinvent the method in which the gospel was presented. Imagine standing outside your house and preaching the gospel from your street corner or in the middle of the dog show. Do you think that anyone would stop and listen? probably not. They might think you were crazy. So what did you do? You purchased comic books that have the gospel message. You used drawn pictures, comic characters and caption bubbles to draw people to make the gospel easier to understand in the culture.

    I don’t know where everyone is getting that the seeker sensitive movement is trying to “revamp the gospel”. It is trying to revamp the method, as you have done with your chick tracts.

  3. Nathan / Feb 21 2007 18 51

    Mike, I am also curious as to why you labeled this post under “apostasy”. Were these people once Christian and have abandoned their faith or were you referring to the fact that the church was not reaching them as apostasy?

  4. Katie / Feb 21 2007 19 15

    Thank you for this blog Mike. Although this saddens me as much as it does you, I am not surprised at all. As a teenager I hung around the “fantasy” crowd–like the ones you mentioned. That was me dressing up as a vampire and wearing all black. At the time I didn’t care if God existed or not. As an adult, I was no longer in that lifestyle but I was still far from God. My husband and I had been to several churches throughout the county and none of them felt right. I wanted to find out about God and He kept tugging at my heart. Many places we visited didn’t speak “our language” and I still felt confused about what the gospel was about (what a nightmare church-hunting was). It wasn’t until I went to a “contemporary” church that I finally learned that I was missing Jesus in the equation. The gospel was the same, but they used “unconventional” (through artistic means) ways to get the same point across. I was spiritually dead inside before I accepted Christ. Two years later I reflect on who I used to be and how far I was from God. I am concerned for my generation and those coming up behind me. Unless we learn to understand their behavior and get to know the person they are inside; I don’t see anything changing. It’s like one of my friends once said, “No one cares what you know until they know you care.” Love them with the love of Christ. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in helping these people. I know your stand on the contemporary church but I find it hard to agree when God has led me to one. He has placed in my heart to reach out to other 20-somethings like myself who don’t know there is a God that loves them. In some cases, like the “emerging churches” you have been discussing, the fear is warranted. But I still believe that there is enough room for Traditional and Contemporary worship services as long as they are Biblically based. Love your show and look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  5. Mike / Feb 21 2007 19 30

    Nathan,

    I wasn’t aware that the apostasy catergory had been applied. I am away from the office but will look at it when I return. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  6. totaltransformation / Feb 21 2007 20 23

    Great blog. If you don’t mind I am going to add you to my blog roll.

    -J. Kaiser

  7. Kathy / Feb 22 2007 6 17

    Nathan…Tracts have been around for hundreds of years.
    Besides, in my personal work I use the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Bible. Showing the person one-on-one what the Lord says to do to be saved. The tracts simply are a way to get Bible quotes to a large number of people. Any effect from someone reading the tract comes from GOD’S WORDS printed in the tract.
    And it is the Lord’s command to “Go”, Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
    It is the Lord’s Heaven, the Lord’s Salvation, and the Lord’s Church, and we have no business contradicting Him.

  8. Nathan / Feb 22 2007 16 20

    I understand that… but you do realize that by putting th gospel into modern looking cartoon comic tracts you are using an updated method? You have just looked at the culture, decided that a comic book is a good touch point and have become culturally relevant. Maybe you can see now what we are talking about. We don’t water down the gospel, we simply use a new method to present it.

  9. Kathy / Feb 22 2007 18 48

    Nathan, I applaud anyone who reaches out to lost people, in old or new, traditional or “modern” ways!
    As long as the Gospel is not changed from what the Lord says it is, any way to help people to come to the Saviour is extremely valuable.
    My point is that folks seem to have abandoned the “old Fashioned” ways of reaching people…ways that have been proven to work, even in these modern times.
    And sometimes the Gospel is changed to”another gospel”.
    Sometimes even the Lord Jesus Christ is changed to “another Jesus”. So any people reached with one of those falsehoods is still in danger of going to hell, instead of being saved by the true Jesus (and going to heaven)!
    We all should pray that the Gospel goes out in it’s purity, and that many will hear it.
    By the way, “setting up shop” at dog shows, fairs, or even walking the streets to get the Gospel out hasn’t been done around here for so long, it IS new (again)!

  10. nathan / Feb 23 2007 7 22

    Amen to your post Kathy! The gospel should never be changed. I agree that sometimes the gospel is changed to suit people’s cultures, and it is wrong. I would just say that it is an exception to the norm, not the norm.

  11. mitchell / May 4 2007 23 19

    did paul have comic books or christian rock to woo those who would not be turned otherwise?????…..you dont change the BIBLE to fit you,,,you must change to fit the bible….the tried and true methods of the APOSTLES IS THE WAY INTENDED…THEY FOLLOWED GODS INSTRUCTIONS…..HOW CAN WE EVEN THINK FOR A MINUTE WE HAVE ANY AUTHORITY TO CHANGE THEM?????

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