After seeing the video of a Minneapolis church having their Easter Sunday “3D” giveaway, my mind began to race and to be honest my blood began to boil. This giveaway was not of clothes or food; most definitely not Bibles. This giveaway was one with new 3D TVs, new 3D Nintendo DS game systems, and 3D movie theater gift cards. To top it all off this giveaway was not for an evangelistic block party, but the main focus of a worship service held on Resurrection Sunday. Most of you my be intrigued, but let me point out the most disturbing line that led the coverage of this church. The pastor said (please pardon his language) “I have no problem bribing people with crap in order to meet Christ.” Bribery for Jesus?
Isn’t real worship more than just getting people to meet Jesus? Real worship is characterized by a surrender to the Savior’s call, repentance and hatred of sin, faith in the atoning work of Christ and His resurrection power that frees us from the bondage of sin, and assurance given by the Holy Spirit who is set upon us as a seal. Even if that is what Pastor Dykstra seeks to highlight, the allure of the 3D TV is the actual spectacle. Though he sees nothing wrong with this practice, I wonder if there really is anything that should regulate our worship? If it is merely our sense of what is acceptable, then we have no right to say that this Pastor is not doing what is acceptable for his congregation. If there is some clear biblical principle, then we have a sure ground to know whether or not this worship gimmick is right or wrong. So, is there such a biblical principle? I think so, and it is called the regulative principle.
Paul in 1st Corinthians 2:1-5 makes clear a very simple principle: that which wins a person is what will keep him. Look with me to what Paul says in verse one of this chapter. He did not come with lofty speech or wisdom but simply the testimony or word of God. Verse two emphasizes that he did not want to be known in this congregation for anything but his relationship to the crucified Christ. Paul even made clear his weakness so that it was the Spirit of God who was highlighted to the congregation in verses three and four. Then in verse five we see the reason: he wanted their faith not to be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Paul’s fear was that those in his churches would be won to man’s wisdom, something far less than the powerful, saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ
The clear implication of this passage at least for worship and evangelism is that we must make foremost the power of God as revealed in His Word alone. To be blunt we must read the Scriptures, pray the Scriptures, sing the Scriptures, counsel the Scriptures, teach the Scriptures, preach the Scriptures, apply the Scriptures, see the Scriptures performed, and live the Scriptures. Why? So that people will not be captivated and kept by worldly wisdom, but transformed and renewed by the power of God.