Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Beauty of the Bride

Some say the Church must appeal to the lost and make itself more attractive to 'the world' in order to draw people to attend worship services. They reason that the mission of the Church is evangelism, and the success of the Church must be measured by the rate of its growth, therefore all activities must be oriented toward growth; growth is defined by numbers, therefore the Church must direct all its efforts, including worship, toward attracting lost souls to the Church. Therefore, worship service must be made appealing to 'the world' with irreverent music and visual aids, coarse language, a loose grip on scripture and the mandates of God, flashing lights, or any number of other lures.

Those who reason this way are mistaken. To them, God says:
    "Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." ~2Corinthians 2:2-7

As the whore scorns the virgin, so 'the world' scorns the Church of God. Shall the virgin paint her face and expose her flesh for the sake of fellowship with the whore? Shall she debase herself, discarding her virtue as if it were refuse, for the sake of fellowship with the whore? What quality of fellowship will the virgin then have to offer to the whore? In order to 'save' the whore, shall the virgin become a whore?

No. Indeed not. Not all the lost will be saved. It is not for the Church to decide. Indeed the Body of Christ saves no one. Only Jesus saves. The virgin shall "Let light shine out of darkness" as a beacon of hope and a reflection of the glory of God. So also shall the Bride of Christ.

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