Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:17 that there were those who corrupt the gospel by handling the word God deceitfully (2 Corinthians 4:2). There are a bunch of modern marketing efforts that corrupt the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Some try to market the gospel by offering food, fun, and frolic.
The gospel itself is supposed to draw the lost to Christ (John 6:44-45). Neither Jesus or the apostles used such carnal tactics (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Using coffee and donuts to draw people will eventually take hamburgers and steaks to keep them coming! Other techniques might include changing the name and touching the emotions with nostalgia and drama. Why is this done?
- First, because it is what people want. “People are looking for churches that meet their needs, and they are finding that at all kinds of churches” (Tom Savage, pastor of Grace Baptist Church).
- Second, because of the misconceptions, people have about the one true church. Since they “water down” the name, would they water down the truth too?
- Third, because of their popularity. Since everybody is doing it, they might as well too (1 Samuel 8:5-7; cp. Numbers 14:6-10).
- Fourth, because you cannot argue with success. Some even appeal to the number of cars in the parking lot as a sign of success! It seemed as if Saul was successful in his conquest of the Amalekites, but he violated the decree of God (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
We must not peddle the gospel to the highest bidder! We are disciples who are to live like Christ (1 John 2:4-6). We could surely baptize more people per year, but would we convert them from the heart? Would they be converted to the pure and simple gospel?