Tuesday, August 25, 2015

False Advertising

We live in the a age of advertising. It has gone beyond the selling of product to individuals advertising themselves for a multitude of purposes. And congregations and Christian ministries have taken this up. It may be argued whether this is all bad. Certainly it seems to be reality. But there is one tendency in it which is nothing but bad. The tendency to make unrealistic and exorbitant claims. To maintain that the right brand of toothpaste is the key to improving your love life. Christians can pick up this idea of making dubious promises to attract people. I am not speaking only of the health and wealth gospel, though this is the extreme case. It is common for people who would shrink from that with alarm to nonetheless to offer Christianity as some sort of happiness pill that will make all your problems go away. But using any kind of deception to sell Christ is wrong (2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5). It also sets the new convert up for a fall when things do not turn out the way they were promised.

Now there are benefits to Christianity. We are assured our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:33,34; 1 Peter 2:24,25) and we are children of God (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7; John 1:12,13) if we put our faith in Christ (Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9). We can know God (Jeremiah 9:23,24; Matthew 11:27; John 17:3) and have the hope we will be with Him forever (Romans 8:18-25; John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:3-5). And we can rejoice and have peace because we know God and what life is all about (Philippians 4:4; John 14:27; 1 Peter 1:8). But all this comes out of a deep understanding of God and His truth and is not a superficial happiness pill. And God promises we will suffer real trials in this life (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). We are told we will face opposition (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; 1 Peter 4:12,13). We are also told we will face genuine spiritual struggles (Ephesians 6:10-13; Galatians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Christ told people to count the cost of following Him, for there is a real commitment involved (Luke 14:25-33; 9:57-62; Matthew 16:24-26). Therefore, we must be careful what we promise people. And we must remember that real faith is a choice and that manipulating people into a profession of faith for the wrong reasons can easily produce false converts. And these can actually be harder to really convert, believing that they already are Christians or have tried Christianity and found it wanting.

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