Bible Basics: Religious Gimmicks
Only the naive are unaware that gimmickry is very much a part of religious activities in many of the churches today. Gimmickry is a novel device or gadget or a new ingenious scheme. The important feature of a gimmick is not immediately apparent. It is designed to "catch" -- catch the unaware! This truth, from a religious concept, really needs no proof -- it is axiomatic.
Churches claim to be biblically oriented, but one would face an impossible task should he seek scriptural proof for the gimmicks sponsored today in the churches. Many churches of Christ have ceased to preach a full gospel -- or fully preach the gospel (Rom. 15:19), and have had to turn to the man-made gimmicks to survive. God knows this as well as many brethren. Some churches have long forgotten what the Bible says about many things and, as a result, decay and death is everywhere in view.
From this sickening condition comes the cry, "We must do something!" This something is not a return to the Bible; it is a farther departure with no further discussion about the matter! So, these erstwhile "Book, Chapter, and Verse" people are now embarking upon an adventuresome course far removed from Bible guidelines. Their action ceases to be by faith because "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Their hearts and conscience no longer demand "a thus saith the Lord" for the actions of the congregation. They are now conditioned to do things unauthorized in the word of God and to brush off criticisms with "We can do many things for which we have no Bible authority."
These gimmicks include church-sponsored ball teams, skating parties, hay rides, joy busses, etc. These things have divided churches and are a bone of contention in others. I know of no one who opposes ball playing, skating, and hay riding as such; the issue is, Can they be church-sponsored? How many churches need busses? Look at the large new cars driving into the parking lot with no one in the rear seat! Look at the busses with less than a handful of small children on them! But then look at the busses when they depart to the ball games, picnics, the Opry! They are full! Some churches tape
money under the lucky seat to get more interested in riding the Joy Bus! What a gimmick! What desperation for church growth!
Truth Magazine XXII: 14, p. 229