Winning Them And Keeping Them
I didn’t coin the phrase, something I’ve heard like, “you keep them the same way you get them,” speaking of church growth methods or how a person comes into a church. The thought is to motivate a church and its members not to “get” people into the church in ways that one would not be able to “keep” them, because “keeping them” is the point. My beef with the phrase is that it still sounds like pragmatism, that is, it’s still about getting them and keeping them. What scripture presents is that it matters how you get them, whether you keep them or not. The Bible indicates that you, you yourself personally, are not getting anyone. God is supposed to be getting them and then He gets the glory for it. Using carnal means for getting people is not God getting them, but “you” getting them, which isn’t God’s will, because He doesn’t get the glory from that. With this explanation, you can’t keep anything that you didn’t get in the first place. God keeps them because He got them and if it is He that gets them, then He really got them. Sure, you want your church to grow, because more worshipers of God will glorify Him. You care about people, so you want them to be in a Bible preaching and practicing church. That is love: love for God and love for others. It matters if a church is built up, grows in size, but not at any cost. It has to be in a way that still brings glory to God. God has also told us how He wants it to occur and that is through the gospel – alone.
I don’t know when it was that I first heard the terminology, open-minded. I found it first used in English literature in 1819 in a book titled, Solitude, by Johann Georg Zimmermann with the following sentence: “How frequently do we observe, even in persons of rank and fortune, who reside continually on their own estates, a haughty manner and arbitrary disposition totally incompatible with that candid conduct that open-minded behaviour, . . . . !” It was used a little over a dozen occasions in total up until the 20th century, so uncommon. Now whole books have been authored on open-mindedness, which might be tell-tale. The Economist in 1892 reads, “What is wanted is not a mixed body of advocates, each eager to show the goodness of his own particular case, but a jury of impartial, uncommitted, open-minded men, who have no prejudices one way or the other; who will hear the evidence fully, and who will report upon it on its merits.” The first dictionary in which it arises is The Century in 1895. I don’t think that being open minded advanced as a desired trait in relations to modernity. The opposite seems to be “narrow minded,” which is viewed in a negative way. Can someone be both narrow minded and open minded? Do the two contradict? You can’t learn without open-mindedness, it seems, and you’ll be easily swayed toward error without closed-mindedness. The two ideas themselves don’t contradict. However, an unwillingness to change, that is, to recognize, admit, and then believe the truth is closing the mind, no matter how narrow it is.
AB 2943 and Churches
AB2943 passed the California assembly this week, 50-18-10, so overwhelmingly. The exact wording in it is the following: “Existing law prohibits mental health providers, as defined, from performing sexual orientation change efforts, as specified, with a patient under 18 years of age. Existing law requires a violation of this provision to be considered unprofessional conduct and subjects the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity. This bill would include, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual. The bill would also declare the intent of the Legislature in this regard.” The bill later says, “The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.” It also read, “Contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.” Based on how the law is interpreted, which would be normal as I’ve watched it, this would make evangelism or at least pastoral evangelism of the stated categories to be illegal, and the writing of biblical or theological books to help those categories as also illegal, essentially taking away freedom of speech and of religion. I’m writing this to inform you. There are many assumptions being made that offend God, reject truth, and infringe on God-ordained rights.