Christianity is Not a Game
Pastors who do not know their Bibles, and who do not understand salvation, often preach, as if Christianity is a game. This makes sense if a pastor has been brought up in the world and sees Christ’s church in competitive terms. We are not suggesting they are inviting competition with the devil, for that is actually conflict and war. They are inviting competition among churches.
When a pastor is operating in the flesh, he sees the church with the eyes of the world, not with the eyes of heaven. This is why so many churches look like corporations. This is also why the Bible never presents the faith as a game, for the church. The closest possible reference is for the Christian to run the race, even to win the race, or fight the good fight of faith. The clear reference is to the individual enduring to the end of a long, arduous battle with sin, the world, and the devil.
Competition is what sinful men do (Eccl 4:4), but it is an abomination for the church. Christianity is Christ, the Good Shepherd gathering His own flock (Ps 23; Jn 10). Christianity is a branch being grafted into the Vine (Jn 15), who is Christ, pouring His (life) Spirit into the people (branches). Christianity is Christ, the King, in a work of reconnaissance, securing His people, like David did when the Amalekites raided Ziklag and made off with the women and children (1 Sam 30).
It is a grievous thing done under the sun when pastors turn the church into a statistical game of comparison with other churches. They boast in the number of satellite campuses. They boast in the number in attendance. They boast in the number of baptisms. The one thing they never do is boast in the Lord.
Even more insidious is the manipulator, who uses fear to motivate the flesh of others (e. g. “no blessings from God without tithing”). Common is the presentation of economic scarcity to promote scarcity consciousness, “We are running out of this, and we are short on that, and if we do not get what we want, we will be a loser church.”
Really? A loser church? As opposed to what?…a winner church? Christ never sent his disciples into a game, where his people were judged by the number of disciples they made. Is your arm in competition with your big toe?
It is the devil’s work in the church to inflame the passions of the flesh. He sends his minions to lead God’s people astray (Ezek 34). He gets the divisions he wants by inciting them to compete in worship music, church size, use of technology, and the additions of climbing walls, sports centers, and coffee houses to lure the masses. The reprobate love the worldly “church.”
Instead of weeding out the tares from the church, by use of the sword of the Spirit (Heb 4:12), the charlatan preacher sets up strategies to multiply the number of goats — using the schemes of the world, to attract the worldlings. The false preachers use Madison Avenue techniques of promoting the “new” and “improved.” The lazy ones simply copy the mega pastor down the street.
Genius gurus are quoted, or if there is big money in the bank, they have them come into town to tell of the newest things, like the men of Athens, who were always discussing the newest ideas (Acts 17:21).
The gathering of God’s elect people from every nation is the work of the Holy Spirit, using the preaching of God’s Word. The sanctification of God’s redeemed and regenerated people is the work of the Holy Spirit, using the preaching of God’s Word.
It is the Holy Spirit, who directs the steps of Christ’s lost sheep, to the place where they can hear the faithful preaching of the Bible. Therefore, it should be every local church’s first commitment to find and employ an expositional preacher of the Bible. To shirk this first task, invites the charismatic motivational speaker, trained in organizational growth and development, to come and play-act as pastor. His candidating message comes with the promise to share the “secrets” to being a “successful” church, as opposed to being a loser church.
God help us. We do not need a “game changer” pastor because Christianity is not a game. May God grant forgiveness and correction to those who make it so.
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 8, 2022