I just finished listening to a commercial for songs by Allan Jackson, songs like:
- What a Friend We Have in Jesus
- Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
- Amazing Grace
- I Love to Tell the Story
- This is My Story
- Love Lifted Me
- He Lives!
- Blessed Assurance
- When We All Get to Heaven
- Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
- How Great Thou Art
- Precious Memories.
These songs brought back precious memories of my early journey in Christianity. They were so simple and straightforward. While listening to those old songs “my heart felt strangely warmed.” They captured the essence of what a 16 1/2 year-old kid, who had just discovered Jesus for the first time, felt.
I know most theologians think these hymns are too simple. But are they really? Do those of us trained in theology make things too complicated? Do we turn up our nose at people who find assurance and peace in those simple songs? Are present day songs any better? I don’t think so. Any song that melts your heart and motivates you to tell the story is okay with me, even if it’s not so good theology. Like the song “I’ll Fly Away,” a song I remember singing in the hallways of seminary.
Pastors, don’t get so sophisticated in your theology that you can’t connect with your congregation or worst yet, people far from God. Come down from your theological high horse and wallow in the everyday. Do whatever you have to do to connect with those who don’t know the old story, who need a friend like Jesus, who need to be lifted by love, so that some day they can tell the old story. After all isn’t that what sharing the faith is all about?
Folks, anything that can take you hack to the moment Jesus came into your life is worthy of respect. They are precious memories that hopefully will return your eyes upon Jesus.
“Do whatever you have to do to connect with those who don’t know the old story…”
Ok, I’ll play the game…..I’ll bite…..I’ll start the challenging conversation with an off the wall thought to make a point:
Stripper poles for Jesus….because studies show kids are more likely to go to and stay in church when dad attends regularly!
Simple or sophisticated, good theology helps to draw healthy boundaries.
I suppose it was too much to think “so long as it’s moral, legal, and ethical” was presumed 😉
But extra points for creativity.
I hear yah Bill, but I’m not sure that’s what Chris was really getting at. Of course it’s assumed that moral, legal and ethical are requirements. I think the example was extreme to make a fairly specific point. I think Chris was trying to explain that there are limitations to doing whatever you can in the name of connecting with as many people as possible, and that there are plenty of ways churches might try to do so that may very well be moral, legal and/or ethical, but still may not be Biblical. The prosperity gospel comes to mind as an example of what some churches might do or say to connect with people but isn’t all that biblical. I think Chris was looking for the Biblical boundaries so that churches don’t go too far.