BANGOR, North Ireland (BNC) by Colin Graham — During the years of our service here in Bangor I have looked at the denominational churches and wondered how they get to be so big, well attended and well-funded. This week I received one of the clearest answers which confirmed what I already knew.
I am friendly with a young man who works at the local coffee shop. He told me that last Sunday the church he attends had “split” services for the first time. They had 400 people at the first service and over 300 at the second.
I asked him, “What do you think draws that many people to services?”
His response says it all: he said, “We are very open. Our philosophy of belief is, come as you are and believe what you want!”
I asked again, “At your church, what would a person need to do to be saved?”
He said, “Well, we kind of leave a blank space there for people to fill that in themselves. If someone really wanted to respond to a ‘sermon call’ then the pastor would have them say the sinner’s prayer.”
Now I really like this guy for his honesty and integrity, so I said to him, “Have you ever found the sinner’s prayer in the Scriptures or have you ever read in the New Testament of anyone ever changing their condition before God by no more than a prayer?”
He thought a moment and said, “No, I actually have never looked, and I must!”
So, this must be what I have been doing wrong: I have been teaching people that, in order to be saved, they must follow God’s will instead of filling in the “blank” with their own ideas. I have also been teaching people what is actually in the Bible instead of giving them false hope by telling them things that are not even in the Scriptures.
Will we change to follow this brilliant plan of the devil? No indeed we will not!
The Scriptures teach us that if the house is not built by the Lord, they that build it labour in vain. So, we will continue to plant and water and God will give us whatever growth is pleasing to him (Psa 127:1; 1 Cor 3:7).
My job is to obtain an opportunity and cultivate it.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us