Beware of gimmicks

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Almost everything the unbelieving people of the world engage in, is being brought into the Church. It is believed that in this way people will remain in the Church and attend worship services and other church functions. In an exaggerated way we could describe the situation like this: If the young people are on the streets, this is bad. If they are in the shelter of the Church the problem has been solved, even though they are doing in the Church just what they did on the streets. For this reason the church program should be planned in such a way that they can do what they want.

Jesus did not try to gain as many followers as possible at the expense of the Truth. When He had fed the 5,000 men with two fish and five loaves of bread, He began teaching them. Appealing to the hearts of His hearers, He powerfully proclaimed that He was the Bread of Life, who had come down from heaven. But the majority did not want to hear this. Even those who had been with Him for some time left Him. His message was too hard a saying for them. Had Jesus compromised the Truth and given them only earthly bread, an enormous number of people would have remained with Him. But what did He do?

Jesus asked those who remained with Him: "Do you also want to leave Me?" But Peter gave the right answer: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life" (John 6:68). The Church must continue to offer people the words of eternal life and must try to get people to hear them.

Someone has said: "When faith ceases, gimmicks begin." Let us beware of gimmicks and trust in the power of the Word. "The Gospel... is God's power to save everyone who believes it" (Rom. 1:16).

The Lutheran Confessions state: "When there are useless, foolish displays, that are profitable neither for good order nor Christian discipline, nor evangelical propriety in the Church, these also are not genuine adiaphora, or matters of indifference."