Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Connecting People

Awaiting me in the thick stack of mail was a letter from the ADA Foundation. On the exterior of the back flap of the envelope were two lines which I copied:

Those phrases seemed familiar. I hopped on the internet and found similar phrases on a Lutheran church website that I’d seen before, which said “CONNECTING people” and “SHARINGlife.”

The ADA Foundation is a philanthropic and charitable organization sponsored by the American Dental Association. They provide grants for research and education, assist the needy in accessing dental care, and provide charitable assistance. Interestingly, their catchphrase, “CONNECTING PEOPLE. CHANGING LIVES.,” is nearly indistinguishable from the slogans on the home page of this church and on those of other church websites.

The home page also states they are “all about reaching people with God's grace to transform our local community into passionate followers of Jesus Christ.” Is that what God’s grace is all about? Making people passionate followers of Jesus Christ? No.

Jesus came to redeem fallen sinners who are enemies of God. He didn’t come to make them passionate followers, He came to forgive their sins. God’s alien work, to convict us of our sin, is done by the preaching of the Law. If the preaching of the Law is never carried out, God’s proper work, the forgiveness of our sins accomplished through the preaching of the Gospel, will never be heard. God’s work is thwarted.

Another Lutheran church on the web used the exact same phrases on one of its pages as did the ADA Foundation. Their page closes with a parishioner’s comment: “The connection is working, if we work at it, because we are all worth it.”

When the Church becomes like the world, it can offer nothing other than what the world can offer, some form of self-help. It becomes indistinguishable from a corporate benevolent society, offering connections, happiness, vision, changed lives, and Starbucks. It becomes indistinguishable from the slogan on the back of the envelope. The Church can only be the Church as she continues to clearly proclaim God’s wrath through the Law, followed by the redemptive work of Christ in the proclamation of the Gospel. If you want to talk about “connecting people,” connect them to the perfect life, death, and resurrection, worked out for us on a cross by Jesus Christ our risen Lord.

1 comment:

Red said...

wouldn't there be some kind of copyright issues on that? and what if it was the church copying? wow!